AskPatty attended the BlogHer09 conference last week and we're so excited to share our experience. Even though we have worked together for more than two years, this was my first chance to spend some real quality time with my editor Brandy Schaffels. We drove to the airport together, flew together, roomed together and ate together, and had a great four days meeting fabulous BlogHers together! Somehow she managed to forget her cellphone at home, but after her initial panic and notifying important contacts that they could reach her on my blackberry, she also discovered that her iPod touch could still keep her connected by Twitter and email throughout the conference thanks to the excellent WiFi coverage at the Sheraton! Catastrophe averted!
First, a big shoutout to the three heads of BlogHer Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins, and Elisa Camahort; conference manager Lori Luna; and Community Manager Denise Tanton for making this incredible event possible. I was at the second BlogHer event in 2006, and since then it has evolved into an amazing educational experience for women (and even a few men) bloggers!
Even though the event presented a ton of information on a variety of female friendly subjects, we car folk at AskPatty were pleased to see these two automotive sponsors participating in the event:
General Motors has been a proud sponsor of BlogHer since 2006. This year, Chevrolet provided an entire fleet of fuel-efficient carpool vehicles for transportation to and from the conference and staffed a ride-and-drive station in the lowest level of the Sheraton offering test drives of the latest Chevy lineup including the Camaro, Equinox, Traverse, Tahoe Hybrid, Malibu, and more.
Michelin sponsored a breakout session on Green and Eco-Blogging, that featured Diane MacEachern, a best-selling author who encourages women green the marketplace with their purchase power; Jennifer Taggart, a concerned mother and environmental and consumer product law attorney; Siel/Green LA Girl, an L.A.-area environment writer and activist; and Sommer Poquette, who has made it her mission to educate women and mothers on eco-friendly products, practices and laws. Topics were eco-friendly and educational for all in attendance, whether leafy green or just starting to bud, and Michelin even purchased offsets for energy use of the entire conference!! The Michelin Man, aka Bibendum, was on hand in the Expo area to take pictures with the BlogHers too.
Another fun vehicle in attendance was the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile! BlogHers loved coming outside during the day to tour the big hot dog, and take their picture with it.
I was so excited to bump into new and old friends, including Yvonne DiVita (You can follow her on twitter at @lipsticking), Linda Lowen of the About.com Women's Issues Guide, Susan Getgood of Marketing Roadmaps, Tracy Mooney Chief Cyber Security Mom at McAfee, Barbara Jones of One2One Network, and Beth Rosen of themidlifewife.com. Everywhere we went, we met a diverse assortment of ladies, older and younger, and many even brought their babies.
The first night's keynote featured more than 20 amazing women whose blogs appealed to us in wonderful and profound ways including Tanis Miller, the Redneck Mommy, whose reading of "Dear Internet, I'm Placing You on Notice" sent me bawling for 30 minutes in a nearby restroom, and Melissa Ford of Stirrup Queens whose recital of "Updating the Donation Room Porn" also turned Brandy into a blubbering, tear-stained mess.
After the keynote, BlogHers assembled for Karaoke. Brandy played backup dancer with jennyonthespot while SecondHandKarl, one of the few men in attendance, performed to "You can leave your hat on." Coincidentally, the girls had matching purple streaks in their hair, which is how the two knew they must be kindred spirits. GM's social media director, Christopher Barger was up on the Karaoke stage as well, but video of his performance of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" was tragically (fortunately?) damaged by some unknown (and maybe not unintentional) computer glitch.
And no matter how it might have appeared, Brandy was NOT stalking Bossy (whom we are familiar with from last year's excellent Saturn road trip) even though she kept bumping into her and professing her love for Bossy's blog.
We skipped the Bowlher09 event on the second night, and while were sorry to miss out on the hot pink feather boas and all the fun with the fake @scottmonty, we were quite pleased to experience the Eggplant Parmesan and Penne in Vodka sauce at Carmines on Rush Street - as well as their incredible homemade tiramisu.
Over the course of the weekend, we met lots of women who told us how much they love their cars, and others who told stories about being mistreated at car dealerships, including one who said she had been turned away for a test drive because her husband was not with her. Can you imagine?
The days flew by so fast! Everywhere we went, we were passing out our cool AskPatty Tire Pressure Gauges (did you get one?), sharing info on carblabber, and picking up fun swag to bring home, including Mr. Potato Head dolls, Spiderman books, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, a Go-Girl Female Urination Device (oh yes, we'll have more on that later), reusable water bottles, Bounce fabric softening dryer bars, Suave hair products, Pepsico beverages, and lots of cool reusable shopping bags. This is just a fraction of the swag other women collected, but each one of us had enough fun stuff to cover our bed the night before we left and it cost us $20 to check that bag o' swag at the airport!
Next year's event will be held on Friday and Saturday, August 6-7, at the The Hilton New York in New York, New York! They're already accepting registrations, so don't miss out on your opportunity to attend the next one!!
President and CEO
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