I left the house late. Then the truck tires needed air. I had forgotten my checkbook. My very first BlogHer conference trip could have had a smoother start.
Thankfully the chocolate milk gods fixed it all after gulping down a nice bottle of NesQuik chocolate milk. (And no I didn’t get anything for saying that! I just love NesQuik. And how STUPID is it that I just had to interrupt my thought to disclaim that.) Frak. Where was I? Oh…milk. Right. Anyway, after my chocolate milk woke me up and calmed me down, I made it to the airport in time and flew to Chicago with my Orlando chicas Angie and Shari.
The Windy City
When we arrived in Chicago, we met up with Lotus of Sarcastic Mom and then ended up having to wait 45 minutes for the car Angie had reserved to pick us up. You’d think with a reservation, you wouldn’t have to wait. Right? So we ditched the reservation and picked up a cab instead.
Step off the cab and get immediately hugged by VDog (who I’ve never met before). Apparently, that is how folks roll at BlogHer. Run inside. Check in. Run upstairs. Drop luggage. Run back downstairs to meet with Jessica Braun of Edelman for a Quaker volunteer opportunity. Crap! Is this how the rest of the weekend will be?
Gotta Love Mango
Sarah, Devra, Vanessa, Anne-Marie, and I headed out to the Washburne Culinary Institute to volunteer with Common Threads, a non-profit organization which has partnered with Quaker. The Common Threads summer camp teaches 8-11 year old mini chefs about world cuisine and kitchen skills. We all helped the kids cook some Caribbean cuisine. Which means we used a lot of mango. The kids were awesome. They all payed attention when the chefs introduced the dishes they’d be preparing and they had great kitchen skills. What I loved the most is that the kids are getting introduced to different cultures from around the world through food. Because really, what better way to learn about a culture and its history than learning about their food? The second most awesome thing I loved? The kids were in the kitchen from the very beginning to the end: prep work, cutting, cooking, and cleaning up. I can only hope they go home and help out the same way after camp. 😉 Top Chef Chicago winner Stephanie Izard also stopped by and hung out with the kids for a while. She was super sweet and gave the kids tips as they worked on their food.
Cows Must be Scarce in Chicago
After the Quaker event, it was back to the hotel and preparing for the onslaught of parties that were kicking off the conference. Because I hadn’t really eaten all day and was already feeling tired, I decided not to go to the SocialLuxe Lounge party and instead hung out at the hotel for a bit before dinner. I heard SocialLuxe had some great swag though.
Though the party started at 8:30, folks were lined up at the door well before that. It’s just like when you line up in front of the club waiting to get inside cause [insert artist-who-plays-at-club’s name here] is playing that night. Only 10 times worse because it’s like a thousand women (and one man) trying to get their hands on a swag bag. It’s a claustrophobic’s nightmare. Or a man’s. But not this man.
And then…when the club doors open – I mean the ballroom doors…it’s a mad dash inside. Grab your bag. Grab your free drink ticket. Spend the rest of the time saying, “Excuse me. Sorry. Did my bag just hit you?” Once you get past all that though, you mingle. And you talk to the sponsors. But you don’t dance. It’s not that type of party. Which boggles my mind because music was playing. And where I come from, you dance when music’s playing. I’m just saying.
Not two hours later though, it’s off to the next party. They really need to rethink calling these things parties. Again, I’m just used to a different meaning of the word I guess. Anywho, it was time for the Room 704 party hosted by the Room 704 ladies.
And once again it was a mass amount of women all crowded together like a mosh pit waiting to get their swag bag and little bunnies. Except that this time we weren’t waiting to get inside a particular room, but rather were all crowded around in an open area of the hotel’s lobby floor. Once we got our bags, everyone pretty much went their own way. People were tired from having traveled that day, attending various parties/events, and all the commotion from the “parties.” Some mingling occurred, but you could see everyone was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed. And left feeling “empty,” if I can use that word.
Was that it? Is this how the conference will be? It’s certainly not what I expected. This so far has not been fun.
I went back to my room exhausted, confused, and disappointed. This was not what I had envisioned the conference would be like. Perhaps that was the problem. I had all these ideas of how things would be and had set myself up for disappointment when they didn’t turn out that way. A friend also reminded me that the conference itself had not actually begun yet and so we needed to keep that in perspective.
So, tomorrow would be another day. It would be the actual first day of the conference and I resolved to have a better time. I had to meet more people and have a good time. My way.
***Pictures to come later. Come back Wednesday for day two of my BlogHer 2009 trip.***