1. The Serenity Suite + TwitterI had no idea what I was doing at BlogHer. I have my personal blog, which has been scattered in its aim and post frequency. And I have the gDiapers blog, which is a project that I want to do better. And so I was off to a conference to try to make some sense out of both of those things. I had little agenda except to see what this was all about, to meet some blogger friends in person, and to search for new voices to woo as guest bloggers. My flight wasn't going to get in in time for me to go to the opening events at the conference hall. So I got to my hotel room and I turned to twitter. I searched simply "#blogher13". Quickly I saw a tweet that included #blogher13 and #serenitysuite. So I searched #serenitysuite and found a recent thread of tweets saying to come to room # whateveritwas and say hi. I timidly tweeted back something like #reallycanicometo? And got a pleasant response that yes, all were welcome! I threw on some deodorant and headed out the door. I was warmly nervous, like when you're about to jump off rocks into a swimming hole, which you've done before, but now your bladder is telling you the time might not be best, but then you shrug and go in anyway cause you know you can pee in the river. Yes you can.
I found the right room. Thankfully it had a sign outside that said "serenity suite", so I was at least fairly confident I wasn't about to be abducted by a tricky tweetster. I poked my head in. What did I say? Probably hello. Or "Serenity NOW!!!". More likely hello. There was a smattering of ladies lounging on the floor, in chairs, milling about eating chocolate and cheesy popcorn. The chit chat started off small and awkward, but rapidly gained momentum and soon we were howling at a story told by Heather, who writes the blog The Extraordinary Ordinary. And then Kimberly of Red Shutters loaned (accidentally gave) me a pen. And Cheryl of Busy Since Birth had us break the ice with some introductions, though we quickly got distracted and abandoned them (sorry Cheryl!). And Sarah of Bluegrass Redhead pulled out a pic of the world's most perfect pink prom dress and her wearing zombie makeup and the whole room swooned. I was in love. I pulled out PugHer, my daughter's stuffed pug in the kittycat nightgown, and I captured the scene so as to remember it forevah. My BlogHer Origins began in The Serenity Suite courtesy of Twitter and Heather's inviting tweets. And I wrapped up the weekend there as well, with baby gawking thanks to the kind uterus contribution of Melissa of Peanut Butter in my Hair. And a Candy Crush confessional with Ellie of One Crafty Mother. Ugh. #fishshakecandycrush
2. Familiar + Faces
|this guy rocks.|
|pug on over here, kim.|
3. Rule + Relatability
|They would meet again, casually, over breakfast the next day.|
4. Speakers + Zombies
|From the serenity suite to empty pig seats. |
I'm not trying to jump on the keyword "zombies" bandwagon, but zombies help things. They really do. Helpful zombies get more brains. When you're desperately hungry and sitting next to other hungry bloggers, and you're listening to the fantastically creative and powerful Gale Anne Hurd (producer of The Walking Dead) and two of the other hungry bloggers are impossibly afraid of zombies, and so you hashtag #zombiesarentreal #zombiesarentreal #zombiesarentreal, it simply is the perfect concoction. Another chemical win cooked up by BlogHer. We had only an hour to get food in between Hurd and the fashion show (which was amazing, so amazing that I'm not going to write about it. Google it. It hath already been written by others.). So naturally we attempted to get a seat at the most touristy joint in the city and ended up eating in a mall food court.
The right ingredients.
I'm sad that between the supercharged momentum immediately following BlogHer and the vacation time that I've cashed in on so that I could finally blog this, I've lost many of the details that were screaming to be written earlier on. And so here are final parting thoughts, tidbits, mentions, and more pictures of PugHer, in no particular order. Read on, but I'll sign off here with this: I will sell a kidney if I have to in order to attend BlogHer '14.
Thought: Twitter is actually useful. I'm hereby using it more. I've even made LISTS! And if you've read this far, you're probably on one.
Tidbit: "Use your voice like a condiment." Sage advice from a workshop I attended. Perfectly applicable to my own writing, but more time-relevant to the evolution of the gDiapers' blog.
Mention: Thank you to Listen to Your Mother for hosting the Open Mic. I'm a fairly brazen writer, but a timid out-loud reader (except to my kids, then it's all out there all the time). I read this post to the group, and nearly lost it on tears. But I pressed on and was greeted at breakfast the next morning by fellow bloggers who had heard me, and they encouraged me to blog more, that I didn't suck so hard at it and should give it some credit.
photo: I kissed The Pioneer Woman.
Thought: So I'm giving my blog some credit. I changed the domain from Sunshine Daydreams to It's Me, Kelli. And here we are. I added social icons! I used pics from a produce photoshoot that I've been dying to do ever since I realized my invented game of produce-holding would never take off. I added a napkin background and updated my url in most places. I am even referring to myself now as a blogger (though I still might be whispering it and looking over my shoulder to make sure no one is listening).
photo: gRegal product placement
Tidbit: Be consistent with your branding. In retrospect it's such a "duh" piece of advice, but only if you know you want to be a blogger from the outset. I never set out to brand myself. I set out to write a blog that was named for my daughter and would capture the wordy overflow of my brainpipes. My twitter handle was created on the spot because a colleague pressured me in 2008 to start a twitter account and I digitally barfed out the first thing that came to mind. *barfitsmekellidone* But the realization that I had at BlogHer was that that barfed out twitter handle really told more than just barf. It speaks to my identity. Kelli is the part of me that I know the best. As I go through the legal process to change my last name from McKee to Martinelli, a name of my own choosing, I struggle with who knows me as what last name. The legacy of a last name is lost on me. But my first name has been mine since Charlie's Angels held social influence. I will forever be Kelli. And I will kick the ass of any transvestite who comes at me with a knife in an alleyway.