I woke up bright and early Friday morning to get dolled up for Day 1 of the BlogHer conference. I wanted to get there for registration and breakfast (okay, for the coffee).
Here's a picture from the grand ballroom in the midtown Hilton once all of us had arrived and taken seats. Every table was filled. It was overwhelming but exciting!
Many of the leaders from BlogHer and SheKnows Media were on hand throughout the conference to introduce speakers, presenters, and award winners.
Because there were so many people at the conference, I didn't always have the best seats for picture taking, so please excuse the out-of-focus shots and all the fuzziness!
The morning keynote speaker was Soledad O'Brien, broadcast journalist and former CNN anchor.
She looked beautiful and was extremely well-spoken. I enjoyed listening to her.
Here she is (on the far right) interviewing some of the girls involved in her StarFish foundation. She is a huge advocate of women supporting women!
After her presentation, I attended a writing session about storytelling. I sat in on a panel of women from all different backgrounds who spoke about how to tell a good story and about why storytelling is so important. As a former English teacher, I found a lot of insightful information in this session. The blogger from http://www.fostermoms.com was especially inspiring. I went up to her later at the conference to speak with her personally because I was so moved by her story. Check out her blog if you have a chance. She and her family are incredible.
The afternoon keynote speaker was none other than Gwyneth Paltrow.
We're all friends here, so I'm going to be honest. Her outfit was horrendous. Here's a better shot.
I mean, she's super famous, and this is what she chose to wear? What about that outfit says, "I look good today and I'm going to speak to 3,000+ people because I look so awesome." Does she have a mirror? Seriously. What went through her head when she was getting dressed? I imagine the voice inside her head went something like this:
Black combat-like boots for the hundred degree heat in NYC? Check.
Super short seersucker shorts that sort of look like a skirt and could be worn sailing? Check.
White top that looks priest-like with long ties left hanging? Check.
Black blazer that really doesn't go with this outfit? Check.
I just don't understand. I guess when you're a celebrity you think you can wear anything. Well, I'm here to tell you that you can't.
You can't, Gwyneth.
And although she seemed very endearing as she spoke, it was all just very unrelatable. She talked about her blog - goop - but the fact that she has a whole team of people working on it with (aka for) her didn't really resonate with me. She insists that it's like a "real job" for her, though I highly doubt that her blog work and my blog work align. After all, I write, edit, take pictures, reply to comments, etc. for my blog. I AM MY TEAM. Oh, yeah, and I don't wear outfits that don't match in any which way like Ms. Gwyneth. So really we have nothing in common. But it was cool to see her.
I attended another session about going from blog to book, although I didn't find the information incredibly helpful. Obviously there is no way I'm ready to write a book, but I was interested in finding out more about the overall process. I actually learned more from the Q&A session that followed.
From there, I took a few walks around the Expo Hall, which was basically a place where many of the sponsors lined up and offered information about their brands. I got a few product samples but nothing overly special. I was hoping they would have more beauty sponsors, especially considering that the conference had mostly women attendees (yes, there were a few men, but not many!).
It was close to 5:30pm at this point and I was ex...haus...ted. After going to bed late the night before and being at the conference all day, I needed to decompress. I headed back to my friend Amanda's apartment and we decided to go eat at a tapas place near her called Pil Pil. It was incredibly delicious!
We got an assortment of five plates and Amanda got sangria. I couldn't do alcohol after the night before. I had had enough and felt so dehydrated, so I went with water.
These pictures didn't turn out well at all because it was very dim in there, but these were two of my favorite plates that we shared.
This is the Coca De Serrano -- a flatbread with serrano ham, manchego cheese, and grapes topped with truffle oil. I couldn't believe how much I liked it!
We also shared a cheese platter with manchego (I mean, can you ever have enough of that stuff?), a dish of Brussels sprouts sautéed with pancetta and onions, and Spanish meatballs. I loved it all!
That night, after we both had long days, we decided to turn in early and watch some "Real Housewives" together. We enjoyed talking to the Housewives through the TV to tell them all of the things that were wrong with them.
You know, because we're perfect.
Hope you'll stop back to read more about my adventures at BlogHer! Part 3 coming soon. Oh, and happy hump day!