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2010 Blogher Conference FAQ: NYC edition


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Well, it’s that time again: The annual pre-Blogher freakout.

Only this year it’s amplified because it’s now closer to 1500 people freaking out instead of 400 and because it’s in New York ohmigod NEW YORK and what will I wear and what if a homeless guy pees on me and OHMIGOD NEW YORK and hey, is that Kathie Lee?

This is now my fifth Blogher conference (I expect my commemorative watch, Lisa) so coupled with the fact that I’m one of those rare 8.3 million New Yorkers, I believe I have the basic qualifications to answer a few questions about the weekend.

Wait, you live in New York City? I thought you live in Brooklyn.
Both are true.

Is it true that New Yorkers all wear black?
Wearing pastels in New York is like taping a sign to your back that says mug me, please. Wearing white is simply a gift to the dry cleaners of the world.

Fantasy New York
Real New York

Should I wear my comfortable shoes?
We don’t do comfortable because we spend all our time getting in and out of our cars and not actually walking anywhere.

Oh no, wait…sorry, that’s LA. So then, yes, by all means wear your comfortable shoes.

How do people dress for the cocktail parties?
The PC answer is wear whatever you want. You will see that answer all over the place.

The real answer, that everyone is afraid to tell you, is MAKE AN EFFORT, PEOPLE.

If you’re dressed in New York, you’ll always be ready for anything–or anyone–you encounter. There are 362 other days a year that you can sit home braless and unshaven in your khaki shorts and stretched-out tank top.

 Random Blogher celebrity encounter with Rocco DiSpirito.
He wore blue. I wore purple. And probably breast milk.

Do people really get mugged? Will I get mugged on the subway?
Definitely. 4.8 million people a day ride the subway because they get mugged. Here’s a picture of my daughter on the subway only seconds before a guy in a Yoda suit and a ski mask swiped her lollipop.

She looks TERRIFIED!

What do I do if forget to pack something?
We now have stores in NYC! It’s one of Mayor Bloomberg’s greatest legacies. What do you need? Mascara? Flat iron? Doughnut maker? Spy equipment? Edible pasties? We’ve got it.

Also, there are people at Blogher who allow you to borrow things. I’ve borrowed deodorant. It’s true.

Will I see a celebrity? 
Not at the Hilton.

Let me rephrase that – where can I see a celebrity?
Ree Drummond‘s room.

I’m shy – what can I say to my absolute most favorite ever blogger when I meet her?
GOOD: I’m so happy to meet you – I really like your writing.
BAD: I am your stalker. Come to my room later and I’ll show you the shrine made out of Jell-o and barbed wire.

Why didn’t that big blogger talk to me?
There are a few possibilities:
-You smell.
-You introduced yourself as her stalker and talked about your shrine.
-You’re giving out “I hate the world and have a huge chip on my shoulder” vibes.
-She’s overwhelmed at this particular moment because she’s human too; try her again later.

Whatever the reason, if someone doesn’t talk to you it is probably not because she is “popular” and you are “not popular.” For further elaboration, please refer to my 2009 Bloggers v Popular People Field Guide.

What if a popular blogger really doesn’t talk to me?
Every year there is that one blogger who writes a big angst-filled post-Blogher tell-all piece of link-baiting garbage on who didn’t talk to her at Blogher. Don’t be that person. Focus on the people you like, who like you back, and go have fun. I’d hate to think you left your family and friends for three days and risked being mugged on the scary subway just to dwell on one person who you didn’t connect with.

Do I need business cards?
It depends whether you want to give your contact info to people you meet or not. Maybe you have one of those secret password protected blogs and a pseudonym from the Witness Protection Plan. In that case, business cards are not for you.

What if I don’t like one of the sponsors?
Ignore their booth and don’t take any of their freebies. Not everyone’s politics are your politics and it’s bad form to stage a sit-in on the conference floor.

What if I really really don’t like one of the sponsors?
Write about it thoughtfully on your blog.

No you don’t understand, I have inside information about one of the sponsors that involves embezzling, illegal off-shore funds, an arms for hostages deal and a dog-fighting ring.
Get a book deal.


What is the real scoop on the behavior around conference swag?
You know those old ladies who take all the dinner rolls from the restaurant and put them into their handbags and then ask for more? Some of them will be there this weekend, only they’re disguised as 28 year-olds. And really, they’re only asking for more so they can host a dinner roll giveaway for their readers to drive more quality traffic to their blogs.

Like them on Facebook to earn an extra entry towards a bonus loaf of pumpernickel. Then give them a big hug.

What do I do if there’s a party I’m not invited to?
May a free night in Manhattan be the biggest problem of your weekend. Grab a friend and go explore!

Suzanne Reisman has a smart post on NYC attractions off the beaten path. And Genie of The Inadvertent Gardener suggests some great dinner splurges in New York with fantastic suggestions in comments too. I can personally vouch for that $26 Minetta Tavern Black Label Burger; Nate used to make them for a living.

 Photo courtesy Serious Eats; price courtesy an improving economy

Oh my gosh, are burgers really $26 there?
No, some are as low as $22 if you know where to look. In fact former New Yorker Julie Marsh suggests you hightail it out of Times Square and walk two blocks west to 9th Avenue for some affordable, fun dining options with more local character. You didn’t come all the way here to eat at the Olive Garden, right?

I still don’t know where to eat or what to do in my free time.
You can always ask some of the locals and former locals who will be at Blogher. New Yorkers loooove giving advice.

Look for Anna of Mommy Poppins, Isabel of Alpha Mom, Kim of Mom in the City, Doug of Laid-off Dad, Beth of Role Mommy, Vera of I’m Not Obsessed, Elina of Mamaista, Carol of NY City Mama,  Kelcey of Mama Bird Diaries, Torrie, Metalia, Melissa Chapman, Marinka, and plenty of others.

They’ll be the ones wearing black who talk really fast.

What is your least favorite part about Blogher?
When I get home to a post from someone saying, “I saw Mom-101 and wanted to say hi but didn’t have the nerve.” Please say hi? I won’t bite. I might even hug you.

What is your real very best single most important tip ever about Blogher?
This one also from Julie: Be sure your Spanx don’t show above your waistband when you lean over. Someone will take a picture. We’ve seen it happen.

119 shards of brilliance… read them below or add one

jodifur July 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hysterical! Thanks for this! great advice.


Becky July 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

HAHA! On the second to last question, I seriously thought you wrote, “I may even MUG you.”

Now THAT would have been an even better ending to an already great post. :)


veep veep July 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

so excited everyone will be in our city this time for bloghlate can't wait to read about all the late night stops to ATMs to bail roomies out :)


motherbumper July 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Spanxs check before leaving room — got it. Best advice I've read in ages.


Motherhood Uncensored July 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Shrine of Jello and Barbed Wire…

Hmmmm. I think you're onto something.


sam {temptingmama} July 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

ROFL! OMG Liz, I can't wait to see you again! This is BY FAR the best BlogHer post.

*unpacks jello and barbed wire*


Also? Spanx? They WILL come off on the dance floor of one of the parties. Guaranteed.


Amelia Sprout July 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

That whole chart thing never fails to crack me up.
I am a former New Yorker and I cannot wait to be “home”. I'll be the one avoiding conference food to go get things I miss eating. Also, people here still think I talk to fast and it has been 9 years. I am looking forward to fitting in again.


Carol @NYCityMama July 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Dang…you called me out on the wearing black and talking fast….and mugging for lollipops on subways.


Adventures In Babywearing July 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Don't take your baby to a bar.

This is my favorite getting ready for blogher post (and maybe the only one I've allowed myself to comment on since I'm not going this year, but you certainly made me smile.)

have a blast!



Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) July 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm

So, it seems I should leave the Jello and barbed wire at home. Damn you, Liz.

Ahem. This is my 5th BlogHer, too and yes, folks – RELAX. You will have a much more enjoyable time without The Freaking.

It makes me incredibly sad that every year folks come back from BlogHer and write angst-ridden posts, when in reality, the conference is not really that dramatic.

Also? It is is a conference, right? Let's act like it!

Very excited to roam NYC again – it's been years for me!


Musings of a Housewife July 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm

This. Is. Awesome. :-)


Torrie July 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Being that I'm vegan now, I made my shrine to you out of barbed wire and pudding instead of Jello. I hope that's ok. Is that OK? PLEASE LOVE ME.


Ellen July 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

As a long-time New Yorker I'd like to add that if you end up roaming around NY and get lost, talkreallyreallyfast when you approach someone on the street for directions or they will think you are asking for money. Also, and I've seen it happen, don't pass off swag to homeless people. They need food, not plush toys. Also, if you start collecting business cards, careful not to mix them up with your own. At Blissdom I accidentally handed out Megan Jordan's to someone and she gasped “YOU'RE Velveteen Mind?” So I said no. And told her I was The Bloggess.


Andrea July 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

So funny! This is my first BlogHer but not my first visit to NYC. I am SO looking forward to all aspects of the trip! Thanks for the laugh.


Boston Mamas July 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Oh. Liz. :-)


Allison M. July 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

i nearly spit out my water about the yoda and swiping of the lollipop


Julie Pippert July 20, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I would never, ever want a photo with Kelly Bensimmon. That must mean i'm a blogger. Although, a few months ago when I was in NYC, I did get photos with the Countess, that modern philosopher who will be best known for her remarkable insight that money can't buy you class.

Can I add another swag possibility?

The awesome Lori Luna from BlogHer is working with me and a guy named Andrew from the American Cancer Society's NYC Hope Lodge.

Hope Lodge is a place that provides housing and support for cancer patients who have to travel away from home to get medical treatment.

I think we all know how challenging and expensive big diseases like cancer can be, and can also identify 100% with the “oh NO I left my soap/shampoo/toothpaste etc.” feeling, and also the “I'm in a foreign place, I wish I had some comfort SOMEHOW feeling.

So any swag or (if approved by hotel) room toiletries may be donated for Hope Lodge.


Briar July 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

This is brilliant. I would like to amend the bar/baby thing to add that if you really NEED to take your baby to a bar, you can just come to Brooklyn, where babies rule the world.


Mom101 July 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

That's so awesome Julie, thanks for that.

I would imagine there will be a lot of great do-gooding at the conference. That's bloggers at their best.


Naomi July 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Laughing out loud.


Julie @ The Mom Slant July 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I love this post (and not just because I got to contribute to it).

Seriously. Anyone want some yummy food that won't cost an arm and a leg, come find me. I'll gladly duck out and revisit my old lunchtime haunts.


Muskrat July 20, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I got my favorite “I'm going to be walking all damned day” shoes at the Camper store in SoHo a few hours after taking the Georgia bar in February 2004, and they served me very well for the 4 days of debauchery that followed. And, they're black.

Comfortable and black = perfect Manhattan garb.


Jennifer July 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

PERFECT LOL Loved it!!!!!


Laurie July 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I personally (personally!) forget things on purpose so I can go roam the narrow aisles of Duane Reade with a big bag while people scowl at me.

Only part of that is true.

I love roaming the avenues for food. I'm going with Julie.


Magpie July 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Oh, and the New Yorkers? They walk really fast too.


Mocha July 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

While in New York I think I'll turn the table on it and actually DO the mugging. I hope I can find such cute girls on the subway as yours to steal lollipops from.


Mom et al July 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for suggesting that we put a little effort into our wardrobes. I’m going to tell my husband that as a native of NY you fully support my plans to go shopping this week, as some new and fabulous additions to my attire would be well advised for the trip. And shoes, I’m going to tell him that you said I need new shoes. I might be paraphrasing that a little bit, but I'm sure you don't mind?


Esther Crawford July 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

You seriously made me laugh out loud. So good!


Mr Lady July 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm

iPhones support tweetdeck? Why did no one tell me this?

Really, that was awesome. Sad I won't see you this year!


Jenny Grace July 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm

And fabulously accurate.


FireMom July 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Crap. I just read this line:

“Please say hi? I won't bite. I might even hug you.”


“I might even mug you.”

Which I think is a slight bit more awesome.

Forwarding this on to my two IRL, new blog friends who are coming with me. One has never been to NYC before. They're a bit FREAKED OUT.


Issas Crazy World July 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Okay so here's the deal…last year I was a big ole chicken shit. I saw you and Kristen and didn't say hi. Fear. Anxiety. Day of keynote. Take your pick. (Jello shrine was at home, so ya know, I wouldn't have mentioned it.)

If I don't see you by Saturday I swear I'll DM you. You two were at the top of my, I need to finally meet list…I just…meh. Am chicken shit.

Love this post. Truly, the LA thing cracked me up. Dude, why walk, when there are so many freaking cars? ;)


Nicole Pelton July 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Best prep post I've read. I've already got my post about who was too good to talk to me started, so I'm ahead of that game.

I will say the first thing I said to you at my first blogger was “Oh, I love your blog, I thought you were taller” – you were very sweet to that creative intro of myself.


Twenty Four At Heart July 20, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Can't wait to meet you!
: )


Jill @alexcaseybaby July 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Finally. A pre-BlogHer post that doesn't make me want to tear my eyeballs out and rip my hair out in clumps.


Mom101 July 20, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Wait, is that a good thing Jill?


Jamie July 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Great advice – maybe one day I will make it to a conference…..


Kristine July 20, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Of all the BlogHer tips posts I've seen in the past few days–and holy shit! there's a lot! and many are about shoes!–this is *the* best. Thanks. If I see you, I'm gonna come and say hi. Please don't be scared by my inability to form complete sentences in social situations. On second thought, maybe I'll just wave and smile.


~j. July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm

This is awesome. As are you.


Julie {Angry Julie Monday} July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm

My eyes were tearing up reading this. Hilarious…and I'm a fast talking, black wearing Californian.


kwr221 July 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Spanx? In NYC in August? Shoot me now!


Ann Imig July 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

And of course, try a real bagel. For once.

OH! And meet a Jew!!

Great post.


Average Jane July 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

This will be my sixth BlogHer conference, so I have first dibs on that commemorative watch. ;)

Love all the advice, although I'm not sure how to reconcile the comfortable shoes with making an effort to dress better at cocktail parties. Guess that gives me something to work on for the next two weeks.


MelADramatic Mommy July 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

A big thank you for saying wardrobe does matter. I haven't been “talking” about it much because of all the “it's a serious, writer-ly conference, not a fashion show!” people. But, I hereby re-claim my wardrobe paranoia and demand to know what everyone is wearing.

Great advice!


Elaine A. July 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I can't make it this year but if I could I would take all of this advice and I would totally hug you. But in a non-stalky, no shrine-I-Promise kind of way! :)

This is a great post. I hope all attendees read it!


Cathy July 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

And this is the conference guide I have been waiting for….although, I will have to come up with an alternative to the “shrine building” now….thanks for killing that idea! ;)


julie @ just precious July 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Great post. but. despite my many visits to NYC, I'll still be the girl in color. So, you know. Send your mugger friends my way, 'kay?

So, I have to mention that my word verification is “queso”. I have no idea why, but its cracking me up.


the new girl July 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Can you call the Spanx peeking out of the waistband if they are the ones that go AAAAAAAAALLLLL the way up to your bra?

I need to know this. Before I buy.


Nicole {at} The Wannabe WAHM July 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Words of advice from a seasoned pro, I love it!

I'm a New Yorker attending Blogher for the first time and I'm very excited to experience everything Blogher has to offer.

Hope to meet you there.


Lavender Luz July 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Who gave you the key to my Shrine Room?


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