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A #BlogHer16 Recap – the “experience of BlogHer”

BlogHer is a 3 day conference all about blogging. Last night I got home from BlogHer2016 with lots of funny stories, blogging tips, and more that I could not wait to share. I had wanted to blog during my trip but my laptop was running really slow and I was honestly too exhausted each night to try to think about writing. I took my daughter Katie (blogging at threemintballoons.com) with me to BlogHer this year so she could learn, connect with sponsors, and make a network of her own with other bloggers. Follow her blog to see her BlogHer recap, coming soon!

So much happened at BlogHer that I decided to do two separate posts. You're reading the post about the “experience of BlogHer” – what's its like, who is there, what to expect, and how to prepare to have a great time. I'm sharing all of the business and blogging wisdom I learned from the panelists, sponsors, and speakers over on Rainmaker Media Works today, which you can read here: 20 Things I Learned at BlogHer16. The posts are both long so grab a cup of chai and let's enjoy!

BlogHer16-Program-and-Badge-jenniferppriest

Here's what happened at #BlogHer16:

BlogHer Day 1 – Thursday August 4, 2016

BlogHer starts in the afternoon so we got to the hotel around 3pm. We chose to get a hotel in Pasadena, CA, about 15 minutes away, because the hotels in downtown LA were more than double the price of the one we got in Pasadena. It is really fun and convenient to stay in conference hotels, and I usually do, but there's something about DTLA and NYC … the hotels are crazy expensive and they aren't all that amazing. I spent less on two nights' hotel and parking at the Hilton Pasadena than I would have for ONE night at the JW Marriott in DTLA.

Conference Tip: look for hotels or an air bnb slightly outside of the area the conference is in and take a cab, train, or bus to the event each day. If you have a car, you'll still have to pay to park at the conference hotel but the amount of money you save can be significant!

After Katie and I dropped our luggage off in Pasadena, we drove down the 110 to the JW Marriott in downtown LA. The parking is valet only at $45 a night. It threw me for such a loop that I left my bag with my business cards in the car! I found out from another conference goer that there were discount cards at registration taking the cost to $20 for the whole day or $16 if we left before 5pm each night. Do research before getting to the venue to check pricing. The Adele concert this same weekend at The Staples Center next door contributed to the parking prices being inflated everywhere around the event.

We headed up to registration to grab our badges because we were a little early. Because the event had so many attendees (I heard it was over 3,000) everything was very spread out on multiple levels of the hotel and there was a lot of walking.

Conference Tip: get to larger conferences early to beat the lines and learn the layout of the venue before it gets crowded.

We skipped the “Wine & Gyn” keynote – well, we tried to go and it was crass and gross so we left. Instead, we headed for the Expo Hall!

We checked out the GoRving display outside with the two camping trailers and then headed to the booths to meet sponsors. We had such a blast with the fun sponsors and their engaging representatives. At LampsPlus we met Michael Murphy who is now one of my favorite people EVER! You know when you meet those people who just make you laugh and you connect on a number of things? Okay, you connect on the topic of crafts? That's enough. Before LampsPlus, Michael worked with a TV network and attended the Craft & Hobby Association shows! Follow Michael on instagram. Check out more from LampsPlus.

We got through about half of the booths. Here are some noteworthy stops (some of these are affiliate links which help support this blog):

  • Baskin Robbins had samples of their new flavors and the new ice cream pizza! On Friday we went back and got their new donut hot fudge ice cream sandwiches. I had half of one and almost had a heart attack. Serious YUM!
  • Vega makes vegan protein powder and other vegan energy products. I was really surprised by the great taste! The protein comes from peas, which are not paleo, but their energy drink is totally plant based AND paleo friendly.
  • GoDaddy was a main sponsor and it was great to see their team there. I get all of my domain names through GoDaddy and their customer service is top notch!
  • Bai had some super tasty new drinks with just 1g of sugar and no artificial flavors: Bai Bubbles. We picked up a whole case at the end of the show! My favorite was the Jamaica Blood Orange flavor.

  • Mixbook was there with Amy Tangerine! I love their printable books and talked to them about a new project I have been working on…I'm going to be doing a video all about it and sharing that with you soon. It's scrapbooking 2.0. Seriously, you won't believe what I am doing!
  • VELCRO® was sharing their new resealable bags with PRESS-LOK® closures and HANGables™ which can hang 4 pounds of stuff on the wall. You can combine packs, like 3 packs x 4 pounds = 12 pounds, to hold heavier items. I will be showing this in action on THURSDAY here on the Hydrangea Hippo YouTube Channel so be sure to SUBSCRIBE!

  • KNOCK KNOCK is one of my all-time fave companies, located right here in Venice, CA. They were showing off their always sassy and smart sticky notes, notepads, books and more. I had a couple of lovely chats with them about new DIY lines they are coming out with in the Spring (you will LOVE them!), blogging conferences, and how much I just love (and own) all of their products. It's so cool when you see a company you LOVE at these events!
  • Dorco is a new way to get razors. Think razor subscriptions but for women and men, and at a much cheaper rate. Katie tried one of the razors while we were at BlogHer and she said it was BETTER than the Venus razors we usually use. Well, it must be awesome! Get more info from DORCO.
  • Babybel cheese was there with a booth. They now have 5 flavors of cheese! I have such fond memories of Babybel cheese growing up… these were a treat at my grandma's house!

There were so many amazing sponsors that I really enjoyed meeting and whose products we loved learning more about. The main themes among sponsors seemed to be food, wellness and nutrition, travel, and jewelry, though there were sponsors from nearly every industry. I'll be sharing more from the sponsors I connected with in future months, fingers crossed!

 

Tried these at #BlogHer16 … definitely yummy drinks for crafting. I like the red one best. This is not your Grandma's V8!!

A photo posted by DIY Blogger ✂ Jennifer Priest (@hydrangeahippo) on

One of the trends I really liked seeing from many of the food vendors were efforts to make their products more natural, less processed and with no added sugar. We are making progress in the food industry!!

After we went to all the sponsors and our feet were worn out, we headed up to Pasadena and grabbed dinner at WholeFoods. When we got to the hotel room, we realized that I forgot to pack underwear.

So, yeah. Xaver had to drive down with underwear and a bunch of other stuff we forgot. I got two hours of sleep. It was kinda nuts.

CLICK the NEXT button to see what happened on Days 2 and 3 of BlogHer 2016!
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