Photo Credit: Fake Plastic Fish, Beth Terry

Did BlogHer 2010 really happen already? It seems as though I am still planning for the trip but it has come and gone. I look at the photos and some of my quick recollections and wonder if it is possible I was there at all – is that me in those photos? Do you ever feel like that? From attending the Green Soiree on Thursday night (literally flying in, changing and running to the event), dinner with the eBay Classified team, interviewing for the Project Mom Casting, meeting with clients, finishing the touches for the Green Affair and getting my photo taken with a famous dog – there was hardly time to sleep! I always promise myself I’ll see more of the city and less of the hotel. I say I’ll sleep more, drink less and eat better but I never do. I promise myself I’ll not worry so much about what I wear or pack as much but the suitcase is full and I change a thousand times. It was all worth it and it always is!

A few Memorable BlogHer 2010 Moments:

1.  Meeting the Moxie Girls. Yes, I actually met them in person and wows are they all that and a bag of chips! Hugging SafeMama in person and talking late into the night with this dynamic duo was outstanding!

2.  Getting Gorgeous in NYC event by Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland. A fun Friday event that allowed me to expand beyond my “green” niche and hang out with some fabulous women bloggers, that I admire. I was able to meet the Go -To Mom who was already gorgeous in NYC, chat with Allison Worthington and Barbara Jones (who of course I admire) and try on some jeans that made me look two sizes smaller (for real). I had my hair styled with the Remington Ceramic Pearl Styling Wand, discovered the PowerMat and realized I am way taller than Dina from Baby Center! Everyone says that to me when we meet, I’m taller than they thought (5’11).

3.  Laughed with My Sister. I love my sister and it never fails, she’ll make me laugh. From telling me that Elephant Ears

My Sister Really Believes

at the fair are “natural” (please don’t argue this – it isn’t worth it), to being obsessed with the Palm Reading and Fortune Telling at the Green Affair and believing beyond a reasonable doubt it was true! We had great laughs, bonded and I fired and hired her a million times but the truth of the matter is – there is no getting rid of her and I would never want to.

4.  Angel Bonding Baby! I was able to hang with the 3 Green Angels and that was awesome. There are some great photos from the Green Soiree and Green Affair of the three of us, you’ll have to check them out!

5.  Seeing good friends and getting to know Selfish Mom and HiTech Mommy. I loved seeing Sarah from Get Buttoned Up and chatting with her, an inspiration to say the least.

6.  Saying Hello and Good Bye in 2 Seconds. That’s how it worked at BlogHer 2010 for some of us and Lori and I are a perfect example of this! Yelling hello, nice seeing you, tweet you later on an escalator is about it! With so many offsite events, great tracks, keynotes, and NYC offerings it was hard to do it all and see everyone for more than just two seconds.

Oh the Swag

Swag. Yes, I like the swag I think I will actually use. I do not think it is currency or the new black but it certainly is a plus and I’d be lying if I said I don’t like it. I get to try things I would have never ever tried or thought my kids would like. Zhu Zhu  Pets annoy me but my kids love them so that is a bonus. I now have a kick butt pair of Assets to make me look smooth and hot in my dress pants, love it!

Sure, there were terrible brands I do not buy and lots of misrepresentation. That is everywhere.  I look away, take in what I want to take in and appreciate the effort by BlogHer to reduce our prices, suggest usable swag and eco-friendly options to companies with the help of the BlogHer green team and to provide the Swag recycling. There are always varied views on what BlogHer can do, are doing,  should do and how they have improved. Will they ever make everyone happy?

Not About the Swag

Not to me at least. I know that conferences are important and they help me professionally grow; connect with new people and clients. Jennifer James writes about the value of blogging conferences and why they matter and she is spot on but what you might not know is what I personally have gained from attending conferences such as BlogHer.

1.  Independence. Yes, a chance to be Sommer and not just mom. I love being a mom and wife but deep down there is more and it gets lost with laundry, cooking, dishes and patching the boo-boos.

2.  Confidence. I never thought I could travel to a big city alone, find my way around and hale a taxi but guess what I can do it! I never realized I could plan an event from hundreds of miles away, run a business partnership with others in different time zones but I it is possible, I’ve done it and I’m doing it.

3.  Acceptance. In my small town it is easy to see similar people and isolate myself from differences but when you travel you see differences in people from the way they dress, talk, look, and act, eat, etc. Traveling outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to accept other ways and appreciate uniqueness and differences. It has opened up my eyes and helped me to try new things.

I believe my personal growth over the last year has been tremendous but it also lent itself to adjustments for the family. Adjustments in how my husband and I parent, how we deal with our changed relationship and mom working more. Adjustments in how I manage my time prioritize and decide to take on projects so that my family remains my number one focus. The personal growth has helped to make me a happier mom and a mother who can take my time away and use the experiences in lessons I teach my children. It also shows my children that women work, dads help with laundry and take children to school and families can work together.

From the parties, connections, dinners, drinks, swag and personal and professional growth – BlogHer 2010 was well worth my time. Everyone attends conferences for different reasons and each person attending gets something different out of the experience and has different takes on the tracks, sponsorship, expo, food, etc. It certainly is a diverse and dynamic crowd! Why do you attend and what did you gain from BlogHer 2010?

Why not? Great tips for free!

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