Its no secret that I spent the better part of last week/weekend in New York City attending one of the biggest blogging conferences in North America. I had the pleasure of going with a dear friend, and ended up meeting some fantastic ladies. Carolyn, and TerriAnn were the best roommates a newbie could ask for. You should check out their blogs. I learned more about OBAMACARE in an 30 minute conversation from these ladies, than I had in reading everything I could get my hands on. Government rulings affects everyone different. Also, I’m happy to live in Canada.
BlogHer was.. Intense. Yup, there is no other word to describe it. It was my first time being at a conference of over 5000 women, and it was nothing like the tech conferences that I frequent. For starters, these women are amazing, smart, and driven. Most of them had to foot the bill for the conference themselves so they wanted to get the most out of the experience. And that they did. There were private parties, and swag, and sessions, but mostly parties and swag that most people grativated towards.
I followed along the twitter stream for a week or so just to have an idea of what the deal was going to be, but I seriously wasn’t prepared for the insanity that took place that weekend. Having a friend that I knew with me there made things a bit easier. We wandered out to Times Square a few times, shopped around, and even went to go see a Ghost on Broadway, thanks to (MamaDramaNY). I haven’t seen the movie, so I went in with a clean slate and I have to say that I really liked it. The male lead is beautiful and the set design was fantastic.
The thing that we didn’t get to do was go to the sessions. I think we made it to 2 of them. Some of them didn’t really make sense, others were wayyyy too early in the morning, especially since we had the ability to go out the night before. Not that we did or anything. I came home with most of my drink tickets. Now what does that tell you?
The thing that blew my mind, and still continues to, was the amount of parties and swag that companies were giving away. It seemed that this year most of the brands were swiping your badges in order to follow up and email you later. I am slowly starting to see some of the emails trickle in. Some of the brands were fantastic in their presentations (Starbucks), and went above and beyond to make sure that the guests knew about their new products, other pretty much handed you samples and left you alone.
I am a fan of both- in moderation. I like learning about things that are in the pipeline, who wouldn’t, and I, like anyone else love free stuff, but I don’t want to stand there and talk to brands about it. I did have some interesting conversations while getting our nails, and eyelashes done. Not being the girlie girl that Marie is, the lashes were a new experience that I most likely won’t repeat. But I have a few pairs if I feel brave.
I live in my bubble of personal finance, and everything is fantastic, but going out and talking to other people out there, I came to learn that a) there aren’t that many YOUNG personal finance bloggers, and B) most of them are not women. The look of surprise on the brand’s faces when I told them what was I wrote about was awesome, mostly because they didn’t really know what to do about it. There were their for the moms. The wonderful, fantastic ladies who have kids, and pay attention to what type of toothbrush their kids use; not someone who writes about saving money for GEN Y.
Marie, my friend who went with me, and I have big plans for next year, and it will have start with bringing bags that we can carry our loot/swag back home in. Since I refuse to check bags in, we had to leave a ton of things for the cleaning staff, but I am all set for vitamins, digital scales, smoothie makers, bathing suits, and fake eyelashes. Yep, you read that right.
The total came out to less than than I have expected since we had all of our meals provided to us. We did venture out, but they were to food carts that I loved.
Things that I learned:
- Rooming with people is an awesome way to meet new people and SAVE A TON of money. My roommates were great, and took to parties that we crashed.
- Be prepared with things like bandages, comfy shoes, and ear plugs. Yes, earplugs.
- Delta Arlines can make a 49 min flight stretch out to 4 hours.
- New York has the BEST STREET FOOD. Period. 53rd and 6th is the place to be. The line never ended.
- The CheeseburHer party lacked fries.
- These ladies know how to bust a move. (Side note: there was a booth that was handing out hangover pills. Totally not related to the parties from the night before)
- Comfy shoes are your best friend, and staying in the same hotel as the Conference saves you a lot of headache.
- You can barter everywhere, including in Times Square.
- Hillshire Farms makes the best chicken with gouda sausages.
- Coffee-mate Natural Bliss creamers tastes like milkshake. And there might be a video of us chugging that floating around the interwebs.
- People love Canadians. We went and sat on the steps in Times Square and had random as to take pics with us. Yeah, we’re that pretty. ( If you squint hard enough, you can see me taking a pic in one of the pics above)
Total trip: $1000