Lessons Learned at BlogHer13


July 31, 2013 by Katia

The journey to BlogHer13 started with me kneeling in front of my sleeping husband’s side of the bed, silently and intently staring into his sleeping face trying to challenge the hypothesis that he was actually indeedly sleeping.  

Lessons from Leg I of BlogHer Journey:

1. This:

BlogHer2 002

The writer’s left eye.

Is creepy.

And 2. Yes, he was asleep.

But I simply HAD to share the news with someone! I had just found out that one of my posts was selected as a Voice of The Year in the Op Ed category. I was not originally planning to attend BlogHer. I was still on mat leave, with an 11-month-old baby and a 4- year-old boy. I’m in Canada and this was in Chicago and merely fantasizing about attending immediately evoked the holy trinity of disturbing thoughts: GUILT, MONEY and MOTHERLY TRIBULATIONS. And then came the VOTY announcements and there was much talk and much #rejoicingandcongratulating all over the Twitter and somebody I don’t know said “see you in Chicago!” and I was all like “Oh, I’m going to Chicago? OK!”

Lessons From Leg II of BlogHer Journey

When somebody I don’t know says “see you in Chicago” I report!

And I go all out!


Lookit! Mama is on stage with the Queen!
Photo courtesy of the lovely Reb at http://www.thelifenostalgic.com/

So I booked a conference/hotel/airplane ticket and showed up.

I don’t know what Chicago thought of me, but boy, oh boy, Chicago.

July - BlogHer 006

Lessons From Leg III of BlogHer journey

If I ever cheat on Toronto it will be with Chicago. And for the less vulgar reader, love at first sight does exist.

Now excuse me while I get a little sentimental. Does meeting your blog tribe (in blogging terms) or girlfriends (in IRL terms) for the first time count as love at first sight?

Lessons From Leg IV of BlogHer Journey

Forget the female cattiness clichés. When there’s 5000 of us sharing a space, including so many newbies, so many introverts stepping outside of their keyboard comfort zone we get our shit together and shape up and all of a sudden you see support, everywhere you look. It seeps through the words of the presenters sharing their knowledge, tips and personal stories of success during sessions. Support bumps into you unexpectedly and punches you in the throat when you ask someone you meet in the hallway to take a picture of you with your tribe and they sure do, but they also tell you everything you needed to know about self publishing and setting up Google alerts and you realize that it’s actually Kim and Jen whom you’ve been reading! Support radiates from newly created and web-generated friendships, when women you’ve been blog friends with perform little acts of kindness, like waiting for you at the door to a large conference hall so you don’t get lost, like taking your photos during a special moment, tagging and posting them, like sharing their own private experiences and a bag of snacks to soothe your tummy and soul, like telling you about the swag you can get for your kids and leading you to the exact stand where you’d find it, losing their cell phone in the process, like talking you up to another blogger, like telling you you look nice at a time when it’s really REALLY crucial to look nice.

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These ladies did this for me:

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It’s hard to make strong connections and then leave them behind, but it’s comforting to know that support comes in so many shapes and sizes and we don’t necessarily need to share a space to provide it to each other. But we totally rock when we do.


Thank you for your friendship and for sharing your unique voices.

Stephanie at Mommy For Real

Natalie at The Cat Lady Sings

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine

Linda at Ellroy Was Here

Jen at My Skewed View

Julie at Julie DeNeen 2.0

Sarah at Left Brain Buddha

Sandra at Apart From My Art

Kristi at Finding Ninee

Deb at Urban Moo Cow

Jessica at School of Smock

Jean at Mama Schmama

Sarah at Sadder But Wiser

Rachel at The Tao of Poop

Jane Marsh at Nothing By The Book

And some great dudes too:

Rich at That’s Life Sometimes

Clark at The Wakefield Doctrine

P.S. BlogHer also produced my best selfie in years. Since this post is already verging on narcissistic, who cares, I’m sharing, dammit.

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I leave you with some ducks.

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37 thoughts on “Lessons Learned at BlogHer13

  1. I love this Katia…. you’ve encapsulated BlogHer so wonderfully. I too had heard stories of cattiness and cliques at BlogHer, and found only friendship and kindness and awesomeness. So glad you are now my IRL friend 🙂

  2. Lizzi Rogers says:

    Glad you had such an awesome time – looks fabulous 😀 Thanks for sharing.

  3. Congratulations on VOTY, love that selfie, and it was great to meet you in the hall! 🙂 I appreciate the shout-out, but those accidental meet-ups and impromptu sessions in the hallway are one of the great things about BlogHer. You never know what you’ll learn or where you’ll learn it – I LOVE learning on the fly, which is why I walk around like a sponge.
    Great review of BlogHer13, I’m happy to made it!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Kim! You’re right, I wasn’t prepared for the impromptu learning sessions in the hallway and they were just as valuable. Thank you so much for your kind comment and for stopping by!

  4. So glad you stopped me to take your pic. I loved meeting you and your tribe. What a great bunch of women!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Awwww….it’s my tribe all together in real life!! I’m so sad I missed this!! Unfortunately, BlogHer was in the middle of my cross-country move this year! I completely plan on being there with you girls next year – and I already can’t wait! I’m so happy that you had a fabulous time! Oh, and congrats again on your nomination!

  6. Sh, don’t tell anyone, but this is my favorite recap post. 😉
    There is so much I’d like to comment on, because I loved every bit of this post, but I’ll just say:
    1. You are funny
    2. That is the best selfie I’ve seen in a while
    3. I loved meeting you SO MUCH
    4. I love the structure of this post – it’s literary. Literary rocks my boat.
    5. 🙂

  7. We didn’t really get to chat- but I loved hearing your voice anyways! Job well done!!!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Cheryl! You were the first friendly face and person I “knew” that I literally “bumped into” on the escalator as I had just entered the building for the first time. It was so reassuring to realize through your friendly hello that I was actually wasn’t going to feel so isolated.

  8. Jen says:

    I’m sobbing. Literally Katia. I love you, for real you know. You are amazing and powerful and strong. You could have done all of those things without us, but I was so happy to be there by your side. (Even if it meant losing my cell phone ;-)) Now my son is wiping my tears and as I try to explain to him why I’m crying it starts all over again.

  9. […] The journey to BlogHer13 started with me kneeling in front of my sleeping husband’s side of the bed, silently and intently staring into his sleeping face trying to challenge the hypothesis that he was actually indeedly sleeping.  […]

  10. Oh, I just love this. I’m so glad you came and that I met you in person and could give you a well-deserved congratulatory hug. I hope if you cheat on Toronto but it doesn’t work out with Chicago, you will consider New York. xo

  11. Robbie says:

    That is one helluva selfie. How could you NOT show us?

    • Katia says:

      I kinda thought it might be a once in a lifetime kinda luck so I may as well. Thank you so much for acknowledging the importance of a good selfie, Robbie 😀

  12. Yvonne says:

    Congrats on such a great achievement! And it sounds like Blogher was a great event.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Yvonne. It was was wonderful. I know you’re in the UK, but if there’s an equivalent, I would totally recommend that to anyone.

  13. Jill says:

    You need to make that shot your background EVERYWHERE – it’s that good. Glad you had a great BlogHer – I missed being there this year!

    • Katia says:

      Yes!I was hoping to see you, but that just means I’ll have to go again next year, if only just to meet you. Thank you so much, Jill! Kind of a big deal for that you’re here! 🙂

  14. OK, two thoughts. 1. HOW did I miss this post this week? I guess the travel delay threw me so far out of whack, I had no idea what was going on. I am so sorry I didn’t see this earlier, and I absolutely love it! And 2. That is the best selfie ever. And I agree with Jill (wheee!) you should use it for everything, it really is that good. And your thoughts on the tribe of girlfriends was so perfectly articulated. I know i need to stop talking about it, but I am still so grateful I met you.Being at BlogHer was one of the most intense, joyful experiences of my life.

    • Katia says:

      I agree, it was for me as well, even though it was so short. Of course I’m regretting my decision to only spend a day there, but I know I would have regretted any other decision as well. It’s sort of a lose/lose when you have such young children at home. It was incredible meeting you and as I said, I only regret not having spent more time together 🙂

  15. Julie DeNeen says:

    I was so glad to meet you, even though it was later on in the conference. And that selfie is AWESOME!!! xo

  16. I love how you weave images and words together, Katia! It’s really beautiful. And you standing next to your piece…Wow! I’m so glad it was such a great experience for you. You deserve to be standing on that stage. And thank you for letting me be a member of your tribe!

    • Katia says:

      It’s going to sound so sappy and unoriginal but I never say things like that just for the sake of saying them – I am proud to be a member of any club you belong to, Rachel 🙂

  17. Nina Badzin says:

    Loved your summary! I’ve never been to a blog conference, but after almost three years of blogging it’s feeling like I best get my tush to one.

    • Katia says:

      Oh yes, Nina. I was originally intending to go, as I’ve mentioned, but I will never regret going. I’m already seeing the fruits of that “labour”. I hope we can meet at the next BlogHer!

  18. […] It’s so funny how life works. Had I ignored that voice instead of noticing and responding with a “you do realize you were just thinking with your boobs, right?”, I would have never gone to Chicago. […]

  19. Aussa Lorens says:

    Haha this post is adorable and so makes me excited about going! A wee bit less anxious 😉
    Okay, here’s a random question for you: Did they tell all of you to wear black and white on stage?!?! Every photo I see, it seems like everyone is wearing black and white!

    • Katia says:

      Good, I’m glad it was comforting to read the post. And I meant every word.

      No, they didn’t give us any instructions on what to wear on stage. Mine was white and dark blue and I think there was someone wearing orange. It was multi-coloural… 🙂

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