Get Ready for #BlogHer 14!

I'm Going to BlogHer '14!BlogHer14 is around the corner! This will be a magical time–a tenth anniversary celebration of all good things female and Social Media! Learning new things, meeting new friends, seeing old ones. Many of us are sitting and wondering (or pacing and wondering) what is on the to-do list before BlogHer.

Here are my suggestions of things you may forget:

 

  1. Clean your laptop and phone screen. Even if you aren’t taking your computer all day long with you–nothing shows screen grime like airport or hotel lighting.
  2. Post on your blog. Something decent that you won’t mind sponsors and new friends pulling up while you stand there.
    If you haven’t posted for months–make the effort.
    If you’ve posted and the most recent post is going to be something minimalist, just your latest workout or a picture of your lunch and that isn’t representative of what you want to be known for posting–then draft and/or publish a post that is the core of your blog.Don’t fall into the trap of just posting a giddy “I’m going to BlogHer! I hope to see you!” Yes, you can do that, but post something solid.
  3. Make sure there is plenty of space for new pictures and video on your phone. If your camera icon is hard to find: move it to the front page.
  4. Keep an eye out for the app announcement. There will be paper agendas but if you are anything like me–you won’t have them when you need them.
  5. Put an alert on your phone calendar for any do not miss items.
  6. Check out the sponsors. Follow them on Twitter/Facebook if they interest you. Explore their websites a bit.
  7. Wear the shoes you plan on taking. Seriously.I tend to end up getting a pair for wearing with a dress and then…the first time I actually wear them I am blistered in an hour. Better to know that before I go.
  8. Check out the conference group on Facebook. Follow @blogherevents on Twitter. Join the Skype buddy system if you need a buddy or just want to share in the excitement.
  9. Pack a heating pad, medications for headaches/migraines and your usual meds. Oops need a refill? Get it.
    After years of packing for BlogHer and doing the “Is it worth the extra space to take this med? I mean I haven’t had an asthma attack, stomach flu, stuffed up head for years” I recommend taking them.
    Granted there are drugstores in San Jose. There are even sponsors with such things. But, the time you don’t bring them–no dice.
    Likewise take your “feminine” care items. I don’t care if you haven’t had a period for 8 months or have just finished your period–surprise bleeding is common at BlogHer. If you have a uterus–take supplies.
  10. Open your heart and your mind to new ideas, new people. Be ready to poke yourself into a group of other people if they interest you.
    Practice not taking slights, bad wording, bad manners, bad attitudes to heart.
    That woman who pushed past you without a second look? She probably had other things on her mind, bad news from home, something that seemed important to get to on time.
    Be open and receptive. At the same time, don’t take things personally.
    Many of us aren’t professional conference go-ers. Some of us don’t ever get out. The whole range of insecurities, unpolished manners, and stress can lead to someone saying or doing something that takes you aback. Don’t let it ruin your conference.
    At the same time, make an effort to try to be aware of others, speak to them, smile, shine up your own manners. Tuck insecurity away.
    You are special. You are worthy.  You are a BlogHer. Prepare to sparkle!

Take a Quick Survey

I know, I know. I started the month pretty good and then bam…nada. I have a reason though. I have been in the hospital for a chronic condition flare. Or maybe it isn’t the chronic condition but previously undiagnosed other chronic condition, or maybe I expect too much out of myself. You see the hospital didn’t give a lot of answerThe upside to hospitals are: meds! Good Jell-o (once they let you have it) and… TV. I rarely watch TV at home. (Survivor in season, sometimes something with the kids but rarely) We watch TV in hotel rooms…and I watch it in the hospital. I have no focus and can’t read. Pulseox thing makes it hard to type. (Darn touch typing! Why can’t I just be a classically trained two finger typist?) and of course, the meds and being sick makes everything sort of horrible sounding. Seriously–I read status updates and texts and a post I wrote last week –embarrassing. Completely. I still am ramble-y and messier than usual. I’ll work back up to minimal polish soon. I promise.

In the meantime, back to tv. I watched a lot of it. But, I didn’t watch the nifty BlogHer TV–instead relying on the dubious production and storytelling values of cable television. Yes, I may have babbled incoherently about Amish/Mennonite kids at a bachelor party in Atlantic City and the sheer genius of some show about a duck call making family.
I should have watched BlogHer TV! You should too…go click the video in my sidebar. There are some really great ones and I am sort of hooked on the Hila vids in particular; even though I don’t do food pictures or food tv. She makes me laugh. Watch a lot from here too because I get some pennies from it for my hospital fund–ok for probiotic purchases? dog toys? Something.

All of this leads up to… BlogHer wants your opinion about how you watch or don’t watch video on the internet. What size box makes you cringe and what makes you click. Go answer this super quick survey. Seriously–very quick even if you are slow brained like me today. Your thoughts are so valuable and your opinions will help BlogHer.com make better decisions about video content. So do me a favor and click the survey link!

Survey Link:

BlogHer Video Survey (Super quick, under 5 min, please!)

The Smell was Unstopable…


As you know, I was at BlogHer. That means I came home to that lovely chore: washing stale laundry. I don’t know about you–but I know that my clothes may never smell quite so bad as after a trip. I blame the suitcase. It couldn’t be four days of walking, dancing, sweating, eating standing up, eating while animatedly chatting, or pressed against strangers in elevators. This year…I have no fear that I will catch the scent of conference food in the air whenever I wear the same clothes. Why? Downy Unstopables In Wash Fresh Scent Booster

How do I know? last year, the nice folks at P & G demonstrated Downy Unstopables In Wash Fresh Scent Booster at BlogHer. Ok, they talked and handed me some. I looked at them skeptically. I am NOT a scent person. Wouldn’t it be waxy? It looked waxy? What would I do with them?

In fact, I may have handed them off to oldest child (Johnny Mac Pippin’s Mama) when we got home. (I did) But, we had more.

One day, while doing a load of laundry known around here as “dog towels” but generally includes anything unsavory smelling–I threw some in the wash. And…MAGIC. Not only did the dog towels not smell when they came out of the laundry–a feat that doesn’t occur with our normal cleaning regimen–the smell didn’t pop back up as the haunting ghost scent of that section of the towel area.

Then, it was on to (shh–don’t tell the scent hater) OUR towels. You see we don’t wash them after every use. Everyone has their own towel and it makes no sense to wash seven or eight or ten towels every day. Sometimes, the “people” towels would have an odor…after just one use. It wasn’t the unclean bodies touching them. It was some sort of reactivation of deep down mustiness. Blame the child who hoards wet towels in her room. Anyhow, using the Downy Unstopables In Wash Fresh Scent Booster meant I wouldn’t smell that “wet towel” smell. I also wouldn’t notice that freshly showered boy smelled like he needed another shower after an hour in his room. hmmm.

I hear you thinking “Ok, why is Tarrant talking about LAST YEAR’S swag? I know she’s running late with her posts on the conference, but that’s excessive” I will tell you why: P & G is running a nifty program–now through the end of August. (Coincidentally-my birthday is in August. This is a great way for you to give me a birthday present and get some nifty stuff!) Click the link in the widget below! Buy some Unstopables (or any other product on the site!) and I get a nifty commission. You can get Unstopable nice scented clothes…or a Swiffer…or an Olympic themed bundle!

Guess what else is cool? FREE SHIPPING if you spend more than 25.00. 10% off ALL orders through the end of the month.

So, you save a bit of money, you don’t need to schlep the stuff home. (and really…if I were you…I would pick up some of that Olay Regenerist while you are at it. I think buying wrinkle stuff at the drugstore feels worse than buying condoms or a pregnancy test. Who wants to stand there and try to figure out which one and whether you are worth it…then face the scorn of the checkout clerk? You are worth it. I am secretly plotting my OWN purchase of more Regenerist. (Yes, I use it. Yes, that is why some of you think I still look like I am in my 20s.) Also, know that Swiffer is the official mop of the Flamingo House. You want one of those too.

Click! Buy! Anything will give me a bit of a commission for my birthday AND give yourself some mighty fine products.

Downy Unstopables In Wash Fresh Scent Booster

A Fashion Show Stole My Heart

Last year in San Diego, I grumbled when NY was announced as the site of BlogHer 12. It’s not my favorite venue. (San Diego still wins) I love NYC. I do. It’s just…well…not my favorite hotel. Maybe that’s the problem. I have favorite NYC hotels.

I’ve grumbled a bit all year leading up to BlogHer. I didn’t swoon over the agenda. I didn’t swoon over the speakers. I didn’t swoon over the sponsors. (Ok, there may have been a small swoon over Harley-Davidson) I knew I would go and have fun. After all, there’s the Voices of the Year. There is the fact that year after year it is a big family reunion and I meet new members of my online family. I learn about things I never considered. I remember why I go and why I blog.

But, this year, I was extremely unhappy when the surprise evening Fashion Show was announced. I may have snarked. Screamed. Been incredibly grouchy. I think I stopped myself from tweeting a co-founder and saying “Really? What are you thinking?”

I knew a lot of the bloggers participating. I loved some. Even with the fact that I knew they weren’t traditional supermodel material–I thought BlogHer had forgotten me and women like me-women who don’t care about clothes on a regular basis.

I bought a special pair of shoes for my first BlogHer (06). I bought the famous red dress for the year I did a community keynote. I’ve planned to dress for parties a couple of times, but gave that up in favor of spending more time with people. I go to BlogHer in jeans and a tshirt–just like I go around everywhere.

I don’t buy new clothes until something wears out…and even then it’s usually something picked up in the discount rack. For years, I would laugh and say “Wardrobe by BlogHer” just because during the first years of the conference, t-shirts abounded. I could dress in a different .com tee for a week or more. Every single new not jeans or dockers item of clothing with the exception of the two outfits I have purchased for weddings and one suit I purchased for a business meeting in the past oh…most of my life…has been gifted to me by my mother or my older sister (including the aforementioned red dress and any other dresses I have worn at conference.) Really. Yes, I am almost 43 and my mother still dresses me. Ok, she doesn’t because she is on a very fixed income now and lives with us.

I won’t even…ok, here I go. I will confess: the other issue is that I am not really happy in my skin right now. I’ve gained a lot of weight in the past few months. I’ve got a broken crown and some other dental issues I need to get tended. I am having some other health issues. We’re working to sort those out. But, in the meantime, I’ve lost my drop-dead gorgeous. (For this reason, I considered buying some clothes for BlogHer this year but looking at the racks in my size made me even more blah about the whole current appearance thing.)

So, I expressed anger about the fashion show. BlogHer isn’t about FASHION. How shallow! How ridiculous! It’s to help us meet each other, own our writing, own our power in the world, be visible.

I avoided the sponsor 6PM.com at the Expo. I don’t buy clothes. Leave that for the clothing types of people. I appreciate sharp dressers. (a lot actually) I’ve respected all our sponsors over the years for providing products for the whole range of attendees, but just like I’ve not been in need of baby for years (though now I do have the most beautiful grandson…) fashion other than the cool Lee jeans last year–didn’t grab my attention.

Fashion show night rolled around. Not only did I still have a grudge about the whole thing, but I learned the afternoon before the fashion show that our very first prairie dog Wilma had passed away. I was grieving. Sullen. I didn’t want to go to the FASHION SHOW. Not only would there be froufrou stuff that I would never wear–there would be dogs. Dogs in CLOTHES. (something else I loathe.) I love dogs. I’ve been campaigning for a dog for a long time. But dogs in clothes? Yuck. Beside, PetSmart would just remind me of all the hours I have spent there buying prairie dog supplies. Denise dragged me anyway. I chatted with people. I waited for it to begin. Could we just get this over with? Please?

Then it started. And…immediately I saw something I didn’t expect. I saw real clothes on real women. I saw stories. I knew these women and I also knew that some of these clothes would work for me. I saw something else. For all I can say my jeans and tshirt are comfortable and me…they are the wrong sort of comfort. They are me hiding. I saw those women and remembered twirling in the red dress. I remembered great outfits I’ve had in the past and the power that comes from wearing something that you feel really good in. It isn’t body size or pattern or season or whatever passes as traditionally attractive–it is wearing something that suits you and puts you forward. I saw me in powerful clothes–not schlepping invisibly in my ill-fitting jeans and free/inexpensive t-shirts.

So, yeah, I cried a bit. Not because I knew stories behind those women, stories shared on their blogs, their tweets, their Facebook. The tears were because I was happy for them, yes. I also had tears because hells bells, the stupid BlogHer fashion show really was about women, their stories…and owning our power. (And it wasn’t just a shameless “We’ve got 5000 women and what do women like? Clothes! Make-up! Shoes! Let’s make some money.” So, yes, now I am working out a budget in my head. I am heading to 6PM.com at some point soon because they took a chance on a conference that can be ruthless on things “girly.” I saw things that I could wear.)

Later that night, I apologized to Elisa (Elisa always gets my immediate post-conference rants for some reason–and raves) and told her I had hated the idea. I didn’t tell her why I changed my mind. I just said that it might have been my favorite part. It was…even if I still love the Voices of the Year.

So, watch the fashion show. Consider clothes and power. Consider whether you too are hiding in cheap clothes that don’t suit you because it just seems “easier” and “more appropriate.” (because after all, you have children!) Then remember how you felt in that one outfit…you know…the one. I suspect we can find another “one” now.

(Totally unsponsored post from someone who was bound and determined to hate the fashion show and who has yet to venture quite as far as 6pm.com and so hasn’t even bought something.)

Thank you BlogHer for not messing up the conference with the fashion show. Thank you for not forgetting…me.