Chicago: Blogher Style

August 13, 2013

It’s the people that you travel who can make or break a trip. It’s always the people. As much as I love travelling by myself and exploring the sights and sounds of a city, the memories I retain more often are the ones with people in them. They can be strangers or life long friends. It comes down to the people.

Blogher this year was no different. The original plan was to go to Blogher with S, one of my favourite PF bloggers from LA, but job changes and an upcoming wedding made it really hard for her to take a week off and fly cross. Even though that didn’t pan out, I managed to talk some of my favourite blogger friends from Toronto to come on a 9 hour road trip with me and explore the windy city.

It was then decided that we would load 2 Ford trucks with 7 girls and make our way down to Chicago and take over the Blogher would by storm, or at least do some really fun things. The thing about going anywhere with 6 girls is the amount of stuff we tend to carry with us. This is before we had our fill of swag from Blogher.

Our blogger party was made of:

  • Dainty Girl, Nicole Wilson.
  • Rock that Look, Anjali Handa
  • The Domestic Peach, Mel Grosser
  • Chic Darling‘s West coast editor, Sarah
  • Nat and Marie, Marie Nicola

Good thing we had a Ford F150 and Ford Escape to hold all of our things. 

This was our ride. As it was a 3 seater, we called this part of the trip- 3 Girls in a Pickup Truck  OR  #3girlsinapickuptruckIt was surprisingly roomy  and had room for our stuff inside the car. The way back was a different story as we had to throw all of our bags and ALL of our swag in the back of the truck. We were very surprised at how great it was on gas. It was a tank each way.



Blogher this year was slightly different than last year. The expo was smaller, and there was a lot of talk about outboarding etc. Even the advanced sessions were almost too basic. We split the sessions into groups and shared notes after to make sure that we didn’t miss anything. The thing that I did enjoy was the ability to have a chat with the brands at the booths between hauling bags of swags back to our room.

The smartest decision that we made by far was booking at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Chicago. The hotel was attached to the conference, and the lovely folks at the hotel gave a HUGE discount on a suite. We were able to fit 7 girls in the suite and each of us had our own bed!  

I HIGHLY recommend the Hyatt in Chicago. Not only did they have the best staff, but its brand spanking new! The views are spectacular, and the fact that you have the option of a suite adds that extra little bit of class. There were some VERY jealous people at the conference. I had quite a few ladies asking who had the suite.

The even better part was the amazing team behind BUYTOPIA picked up our room costs leaving us with a free suite. Now if that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is.  The hotel had the most spectacular view, and tons of room to spread out.

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

IMG_1327 IMG_1332

Chic Darling, Blogher13

 Some of the highlights for me where watching Melissa swoon over Sheryl Sandberg, and listening to Randy Zuckerburg and Brit Morin. These ladies were inspirational, and very honest about their experiences, and worth the price of admission.

Brit Morin


Oh and the food! We were lucky enough to have the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago include breakfast in our room package so we didn’t have to wake up super early to make it down to the conference. Because, let’s face it- 7am was not going to happen.

Food and activity recap will be on Chic Darling as I doubt most of your care here, but I leave you here with a picture of the BEST CEASER SALAD I have ever tasted. EVER!

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 7.39.18 PM


Would I go back next year? Maybe. I would want to check out BlogHerPRO (not that I’m saying that I’m better but maybe the content would be more advanced).

Total cost for this was $350- $200 of was the price of the ticket. We didn’t end up driving the cars around in the city since a) parking is a pain and b) the generous folks at Hailo Chicago hooked us with enough cab fare credits to make sure that we had a good time!

I would recommend buying your ticket in advance- aka at early bird prices as you can always sell it if you can’t go. Waiting till last minute really hurts the wallet.




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  • Joe @ Stacking Benjamins August 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Wow, that sounds like a great time. I love Chicago. Growing up in Kalamazoo, we were close enough to visit often. Your suite looks incredible.

    • Marissa August 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      It was fantastic!

  • LaTisha August 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Wow, this looks like it was an awesome trip! Glad you enjoyed yourself. hope to see you soon!

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:09 am

      Dear friend, I miss you!

  • Todd @ August 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Wow sounds like a legit trip! I had never heard of “BlogHer”, which I suppose makes sense 🙂

    Good thing you had good road trip buddies–that really does make or break a trip!

    I will say one of those first photos, the view of the beach is obscured by a port/factory. Someone should go out there and hug those trees and some sand haha.

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:09 am

      They should! 😉

  • John S @ Frugal Rules August 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    It sounds like quite a nice experience. The suite looks really nice! I lived in Chicago for five years and love to go back to visit, it’s such a great city and there is so much to do there.

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:09 am

      The city is beautiful and looks a lot like Toronto. We felt right at home.

      • Karen J August 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

        Great photos of a part of town that thousands of visitors see, but that’s seldom shown-off for us locals!
        Very happy to see that you had a good time, too.
        And fun that your take on the similarities to Toronto pretty-much corresponds to my take on Toronto! I’ve felt very much “at home” there, when I visited from north-eastern Illinois! Definitely worth the drive, every time!

        • Marissa August 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

          The two cities are very similar although Chicago is a touch bigger.

  • Kostas @ Finance Blog Zone August 15, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Well-deserved for the work you do I would say! Haven’t had a chance to go through Chicago yet, but I will surely use your advice once I’ll get the opportunity to do so!

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:08 am

      You should. The conference was an excuse for the road trip 😉

  • eemusings August 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Fun times! If I lived in America BlogHer would definitely be on my bucket list.

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

      They had people from Australia this year.

  • GamingYourFinances August 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Sounds like a great trip! I’ve never been to Chicago but it’s on my list of places to visit once we’re financially independent!

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:06 am

      It was worth every minute.

  • Catherine August 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Sounds like a great time. I’d love to go to Chicago and attending a blogging conference! Some day….

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I would love at working with a brand that you’re close to and see if that is possible.

  • Matt Becker August 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Sounds like a cool trip. I would love to be able to check out one of the blogger conferences and actually meet some of these cool people for real. And road tripping is always a good time. You guys did it right.

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:06 am

      Have you thought about going to fincon? It’s worth the trip.

  • Budget and the Beach August 15, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I just commented this over at Daisy’s site! Looks like an awesome time!

    • Marissa August 16, 2013 at 12:05 am

      It was. We had a blast.

  • Buck Inspire August 25, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    What an adventure! How did you get the suite hookup? Did you have to hunt down a sponsor? Would male bloggers get bored since the content is skewed for women? Chicago is an amazing city. Thanks for sharing!