Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Trip to NYC for BlogHer '15 - Part 3

Okay, so I'm finally getting around to documenting the last part of my BlogHer trip to New York City.   The second full day of the conference was last Saturday, and it already feels light years away.

I got there early again -- this time with a grande iced mocha from Starbucks in hand because, well, why not?  (After all, my motto for the trip was "When in Rome...")

I grabbed some breakfast and entered the conference hall, purposely sitting with a new group of women to mingle with over eggs and bacon and hash browns.  They fed us well there!

Up first, we heard from Ayinde Howell.

I hadn't heard of him before, but he's a lifelong vegan turned well-known chef who has opened his own vegan restaurant in NYC.  He's also acted in a bunch of things I hadn't heard of that I found after Googling him.  I thought he was a really captivating speaker.  He was funny, witty, and informative.  He definitely got our day started on the right foot with his optimism and positivity.

Next was something called "The Pitch" where several women entrepreneurs presented their "inventions" - which ranged from literal inventions to organizations to non-profits.  Each woman had a short time period in which to give her "pitch," explaining the importance behind her creation.   Up for grabs was a marketing package worth something like $100,000 plus backing by the "She Knows Media" company.  Oh, and an Apple watch.

Here was the panel of judges who could ask questions of the women.
The winner was chosen by a mix of the judges' votes and ours.  Here are the presenters waiting to hear who won the grand prize!

I forget the name of the woman who won (I should have written it down!), but it's the woman who is the 5th from the left in the picture above (she's kind of looking down).

Then I headed to another breakout session.  I chose "You as a Brand: Brands & Bloggers."  This was, by far, the best session.  We learned about how to work with sponsors and become part of affiliate programs.

We returned to the grand ballroom for lunch and a keynote from supermodel Christy Turlington Burns (and wife to Ed Burns!).  She came to speak about the organization she founded called "Every Mother Counts" that aims to increase awareness about maternal health, especially for women who don't have easy access to that information.

Afterwards, we had one more breakout session scheduled.  For this last one, I chose "Social Media Bootcamp: Lightening Lessons on the Latest - Facebook and Pinterest."  I have yet to jump on these bandwagons, mostly because

a)  I'm a teacher and just think Facebook can be a bad idea, even if it is private

b)  I'll get addicted and these are time eaters (keeping up with my blog and the others that I read is time-consuming enough!).

I know I need to join the world of social media to increase my readership, blah blah blah, but going back to work soon in a new building in a new position with new people is stressful enough right now! One step at a time...

Before the closing keynote, we had a break to visit the Expo Hall again.  Fashion expert Carson Kressley was there as well as country singer Billy Currington!  In fact, I got an autographed CD:

And I'd like to give it away if you're a Billy Currington fan.  Leave a comment below letting me know if you're interested.

The closing keynote speaker was Ava Duvernay, director of the movie Selma.  She was interesting to listen to, and hearing what she had to say about breaking into the world of male directors in Hollywood was intriguing (sorry for the awful pictures... all I had to work with was my phone!).

From there, we were bussed to Pier 42 (or 43 or 44?  I can't remember...) for the closing party sponsored by McDonalds.

Upon arrival, I headed to grab a drink because the humidity was ridiculous!  A whole drink station was set up and I got a pink lemonade.  Apparently SVEDKA vodka was a sponsor, which I was unaware of until I ordered.  A nice man asked if I'd like my lemonade "spiked."  Um, yes.  Yes, please.
Here was the stage set up with a DJ so we had some music while enjoying Happy Meals, salads, fries, and beverages.  I actually didn't eat anything because I was saving my appetite for a dinner with my friend afterwards!
Soon after, Boyz II Men arrived (the 3 of them who are left in the band -- I still don't know where the 4th one is).  The ladies went cray cray.

And then went even more cray cray when the guys handed out roses, which, I'm assuming, were given them by BlogHer.  Good PR work.

I left after Boyz II Men performed because Nick Cannon wasn't supposed to get there for at least another hour.  Plus, I didn't really care if I saw him or not.  Oh, and I was hungry.  There was that.

I jetted back to Amanda's apartment and we went to Uva, a great little Italian place on the Upper East Side.  We shared a bottle of wine and the waitress brought out bowls with it.  She said you drink the wine from the bowls.  We were a bit confused, and Amanda asked for a wine glass, but -- remember my motto?  Yup.  When in Rome...
So I drank from the bowl.  And the wine was just as good!  (Sorry for the dark photos.  All of the restaurants we visited had dim lighting, which - if we're being honest - we all look better in anyway!)

After we split two (yes, two - they were small) appetizers, I opted for a type of pasta primavera dish with chicken.  It was delicious!  Amanda got pasta with a duck ragout sauce that was also good.

We headed back to her apartment after another long day, watched a little TV, and had some girl talk.

The next morning, before I headed back home, we grabbed brunch at a place called "The Barking Dog."  I got eggs, home fries, and bacon -- my standard -- but Amanda got a yummy brunch salad that I was jealous of once it arrived.  It had some lettuce and was topped with bacon, ham, cheese, chopped tomatoes, hard boiled egg, pieces of french toast...

Then I set off to Port Authority to catch a bus home.  Although I had such a wonderful time in NYC, I couldn't wait to see my family again!

Oh, and I have to mention this.  I was a little (okay, a lot) worried about what the state of our house would look like when I returned after the boys were home together for a few days.  My husband actually did a GREAT job of keeping things in order... better than I expected!  That just proves to me that he can clean up; he just chooses not to most of the time.

I still have so much paperwork to get through from the conference, but - all in all - I'm glad I went.  I met a lot of awesome women and discovered some avenues I plan on exploring in the future!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you have a good Tuesday.


  1. Wow looks like a great time and lots of good info! And OMG Boyz II Men!? Memories ... :)

    1. I know! I saw B2M when I was 16 at a local fair. It's all coming full circle! :-)

  2. Looks like you had a great time and learned lots!! :)

    1. I did, Kristina! Thanks for stopping by the blog! :-)

  3. Oh my gosh I want to see Boyz II Men live! That's awesome. I think I'd be weirded out drinking wine out of a bowl but like you said, when in Rome! I wonder why they do that. I'd also love to hear Ava Duvernay speak because I've read some articles about her and she sounds amazing!

    1. B2M are actually really good live! They're sort of old now (at least old for boy band standards), but they still sound great. I have no idea about the wine in a bowl thing... I think it was explained in the menu, but clearly my priority was the drinking of the wine - haha!

  4. Wow, looks like quite an experience! I'm glad you got a lot of good info out of the branding session, and what an experience drinking wine from a bowl! Too funny! Loved your motto! :)

    1. Thanks, Laura! And, hey -- the wine tasted just as good! :-)