Top 5 Reasons To Go To BlogHer

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending Blogher ’14.

I can’t even begin to decompress and describe the mind bomb that is this conference. 4,000 bloggers, most of them women, in scenic California, partying it up, networking, and honoring each others’ voices.

I arrived in San Jose, CA on Thursday afternoon and was greeted by cupcakes (made out of lentils???) in a beautiful city. I ask you, does it get any better than that?

San Jose CollageWell yes, it does. Because there are keynotes. AMAZING, funny, gorgeous, talented, and freaking cool keynotes!

Who was on the list?

Jenny Lawson – who you may know as The Bloggess, and author of the hilarious memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I met her, and we talked about funny female authors, and we both just finished reading Nora Ephron for the first time, and she signed my book “Knock Knock, Mofo”. Isn’t she great?

Tig Notaro – the comedian best known for her stand up show discussing the humor and heft of having breast cancer. You can download free tracks of her stand up at her site here, including clips from her famous show, Live.

Arianna Huffington – as in the founder of The Huffington Post! Best speech of the keynotes; she was inspiring, charming, funny, and flawless. And you know what? I met her too, and I spoke to her in Greek! *seriously might faint just thinking how awesome that was*

Kerry Washington – the actor and activist. She shared behind the scenes stories from her show, Scandal, as well as why civil rights and philanthropy are so important.

Keynote CollageWhy go to BlogHer?

BlogHer is drastically different than writers conferences, in my opinion. When you go to a writers conference, there’s a pretty strict schedule of classes to attend. It’s more about learning, networking, and deciding about indie vs. traditional publishing routes. It’s awesome and definitely motivating, but different.

1. BlogHer is basically a giant party.

No I’m not kidding. That’s how it feels. Everyone is smiling. Everyone wants to meet people. Everyone wants to know what you blog about and which classes you attended, and which yogurt you picked in the Yoplait #tasteoff challenge!

Shocker! We picked Yoplait.

YoplaitThat’s me and the illustrious August McLaughlin
hanging out with a giant spoon. #GoodTimes

The Expo room with all the vendors is fun to bum around. And for those looking to write sponsored posts, the connections are yours for the making!

2. The Keynotes

See above. Then wipe the drool from your chin. I can’t wait to see who’s on board for next year’s keynotes.

3. Voices of the Year Community Keynote

If you want to hear the voices that are groundbreaking in the blogosphere, attend the VOTY celebration. I was in awe of these women. And I want to share them all with you. Here are the 12 Voices of the Year that spoke at the conference. (All were phenomenal, but I starred the ones that spoke the most to me personally.)

*Parri Sontag ~ Her Royal Thighness ~ Leisure Suits, Braces, and Beanies: My Life as a Dodgeball Target

Kristin Vanderhey Shaw ~ Two Cannoli ~ More Than Words

Tammy Soong ~ World’s Worst Moms ~ First Reason Not to Get a Tattoo: Your Mom Probably Has One

*A’driane Nieves ~ Butterfly Confessions ~ America’s Not Here For Us

*Meredith Bland ~ Pile of Babies ~ 9 Awesome Things About Having a Physical Disability

*Janelle Hanchett ~ Renegade Mothering ~ We Don’t Start With Needles in Our Arms

Phyllis Myung ~ The Napkin Hoarder ~ Sometimes I Still Wish I Was White

Ashley Garrett ~ Baddest Mother Ever ~ It’s All One Life

*August McLaughlin ~ August McLaughlin’s Blog ~ My Big Brindle Heart: A Love Story

*Grace Sandra ~ Grace Sandra’s Blog ~ Letting The Stupid Little Ni**er Go

Jenna Hatfield ~ Stop, Drop, & Blog ~ The Bridge That is Any Bridge

Lisa Page Rosenberg ~ Smacksy ~ The View From Here

4. Networking and Friendships

Business CardsHoly business cards, Batman!

There are 4,000 bloggers in one building and you get to hang out with them!!! I actually ran out of business cards.

Also, meet bloggers you follow online.

After using Twitter as a ginger beacon homing device, I met up with Aussa Lorens from Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.

Photo credit - Aussa Lorens

Photo credit – Aussa Lorens

You know who else I Twitter stalked?

Hege and Cotille from StitchFix! Photo coming soon as it’s on Cotille’s phone, but the girls will be sharing their photos from BlogHer and all the StitchFix fashionistas at the conference using the hashtag #StitchFixInTheWild.

*double squeeee* I even went out to dinner with them! And we leisured on Santana Row, San Jose’s trendy hot spot for restaurants and clothing boutiques.

But best of all was meeting fellow blogger, longtime friend, and founder of #GirlBoner radio – August McLaughlin!

August and Jess

Photo credit – August McLaughlin



5. BlogHer is literally a giant party.

The end of the conference is a big, outdoor party. And Rev Run from Run DMC was the dj. #ILoveThe90s

Rev Run Run DMC

Do you need any more reasons than that?
So, will I see you at BlogHer next year?







31 responses

  1. um yes! This sounds awesome! and i love Aussa, she’s great

    1. There were some international bloggers there! I met women from England and Australia. *nudge, nudge* πŸ™‚

  2. I’m so glad you had so much fun! I went 2 years ago in NYC and it was a blast, but honestly, I don’t think I really got all that much out of it, if you don’t count the free vibrators. Plus, our keynote speakers weren’t all that. But I loved meeting all the bloggers and it was a ton of fun, regardless!

    1. I will agree that the conference largely depends on the speakers as that is the biggest portion of how your time is spent – listening to them. I am gaga for all of this year’s keynotes and LOVED VOTY, so for me it was worth it.

      We didn’t get any vibrators this year, and I did here about it from past attendees. That’s pretty hilarious. The most talked about thing we got was the lentil cupcakes. Oh and Khloe Kardashian was there too, but I did not go to see her. I know, you’re disappointed.

  3. OMG, me and my Fancy Dancy New Hip with be partying the night away with y’all next year. πŸ™‚ Twitter stalking indeed. SOOOOOOOO glad you had a blast, Jess!!!!

    1. You were missed Jenny! You’ve GOT to read the blog by Parri Sontag! You will bust your gut. She’s hilarious.

      1. I can’t wait! There were 3-4 that I wanted to get at. πŸ™‚

  4. I’m confused. You said this was held in a “beautiful city” but then you said the conference was in San Jose. Which is it?!

    I kid, I kid. Kind of. Don’t know if you knew that I lived in San Jose for 8 years. In fact, I graduated from San Jose State University. Moved from there up here 20 years ago and never looked back. I suppose SJ has its charms, but all I saw was the traffic, the crime, and the high cost of living. And the professional hockey team that always blows it in the playoffs.

    Glad you had such an engaging time, though! Sounds like a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to network. I think I’ll hold out for the Bloghim conference instead.

    1. Ok, everyone from the Bay area said San Francisco is better, but I had never been to CA before, so I still thought it was gorgeous. But I didn’t have to drive in it, so that was nice.

      And men have conferences exclusive to their gender for a hell of a long time, so don’t go getting huffy with me sir. Men are welcome at BlogHer and even speak at BlogHer so you can come if you want to. πŸ˜›

      1. That was a huffy-free comment, my friend!

        I did not realize that men could attend BlogHer, though. I think that’s great. Woo-hoo, equality!

        Glad you enjoyed San Jose. I couldn’t resist the dig. San Francisco is to San Jose what Paris is to Peoria, but at least you got to see palm trees!

        1. Well, I was told numerous times to return and visit L.A. or San Francisco. The conference does move every year, so we’ll see where the map lands.

          And yah, men are welcome. You would be surrounded by a lot of women, but I still think you’d like it. The speakers were awesome and included head exec’s from Twitter and Ebay talking about technology. Engineers from Google. I thought it was cool to hear from all the Silicon Valley peeps. Interesting stuff.

          1. Hey, maybe it’ll land in Portland next year. If it does, I’m buying you a bacon maple bar!

            1. Oh I would so make that a full week’s vacation at least if it was in Portland! And Joe would go with me and we’d have dinner with you and Tara! Pine State Biscuits?

            2. Tell you what. Pine State Biscuits for breakfast…dinner at Tasty ‘n Sons! Or Navarre. Or a dozen other places that you guys would love.

              That would be a real blast. I hope you two really do make it back out here sometime.

  5. Sounds like a bloggy blast! How cool you met all those people. And Rev Run! My husband is super jealz of you now, Run DMC was one of his favorites!!

    1. Yah my husband wanted me to get a t-shirt signed for him, but I was like no – you are not turning me into THAT GIRL. LOL

  6. I’m glad you had fun! And you met the Stitch Fix people??? I can’t wait until mine gets here. August 14.

    1. I can’t wait to see your fix! I hope you love it! The girls from Stitch Fix were AMAZING and so lovely to hang out with. They invited me to their warehouse and shop, but that was in San Francisco. Someday!!!!

  7. That event looked like such a blast! I would love to go to one like that sometime and hang out with you and August. You know I ❀ you ladies. πŸ™‚

    1. Must happen, Kitt! #MutualLove

    2. Well, we totally talked about you! All good things! πŸ™‚

  8. Aw. I love this! What a great wrap-up, which only makes me miss you more! (I know, a whole day has gone by. LOL)

    Honestly, spending time with you was SUCH a tremendous treat for me. I’m already eager for more opportunities, even more than my first Stitch Fix. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for everything, beautiful lady! ❀

    1. Ohmygosh I was talking up a storm to Joe when I got back about how much fun I had with you! Thanks for all the dinner dates and the FABULOUS conversation. We totally are sisters. Love you!

  9. I SO wanted to go, but it just wasn’t going to fit in with the move, but look for me next year. I’m so jealous!

    1. Met a few other travel bloggers and one who was just starting out. I think you’d love it Jane!

  10. karenmcfarland | Reply

    Oh my goodness Jess, you may never come down from the clouds girl! First the pre-wedding honeymoon, then the wedding and the wedding. And then…BlogHer? Someone stick a pin in this woman! Sorry to deflate you but you are having too much fun. I don’t know if that should be allowed. Sounds dangerous to me. Just kidding. But how are you going to top this? πŸ™‚

    1. I won’t. It’s back to the grindstone now. LOL

  11. Awesome recap, and it was so great to get to meet you πŸ™‚ LURVED the ginger stalking. There should be an app for that.

    This was my first conference of any sort, ever– and I’ve wondered about how it compares to a writing conference… since this was basically (like you said) just a huge party. What other conferences have you been to?

    1. I’ve been to UW-Madison’s Writers Institute and to DFWcon in Fort Worth, TX both 2x. They’re really different from one another too. But if you want more classes and education then a writers conference is the way to go. There’s more on publishing – indie or traditional – craft classes, and editing tips. This past year both conferences added more of a social vibe with cocktail parties or fireside chats. Definitely try one, I mean they’re just so motivating, you know? You leave with this newfound energy!

      And yah, there should be a ginger app. And fireworks whenever 3 of us are in a room at the same time!

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