Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 6, 2012

#BlogHer2012 – My Wrap-Up

I went to BlogHer2012 and all I got was 3 vibrators.

these are samples, not mine


And a full-size bottle of Lysol. And many over-the-counter drugs. And a bunch of flash drives (my favorite is the Dole banana). Okay, I got a lot more, including press-on nail designs (and press-on nails), Greek yogurt bars, full-size Aveeno lotion and Neutrogena sunblock (thanks CVS!), insulated Land of Lakes grocery bag, insulated Dannon snack bag, Best Buy cake pops and cotton candy, a Jamba Juice pedometer, a kids t-shirt, a lollipop, teeth whitener and toothpaste from Arm & Hammer, an Energizer flameless wax candle (plus batteries), massage oil, intimate moisture balm, Muppets Band-Aids, 2 Chapsticks, a Pfizer Post-it note pad asking how I feel about getting old, an iPad subscription to 4 Martha Stewart magazines (yet, no iPad), a mirror compact from the Oogiloves movie, a mirror compact from Rosacea facts, Lorax stickers, $5 gift card to Pet Smart, $5 gift card to Starbuck’s and a ton of reusable grocery bags.

the swag – only some of it.

Plus coupons for free: Land of Lakes eggs, bottle of Bailey’s non-dairy creamer, McDonald’s food, and Dannon yogurt (3 types). Yes, it was a very commercial conference.

yes, there is more

Many vendors offer more prizes if you’re in the first (insert number here: 50, 100, 200) bloggers to either enter their booth and sign up, or send an email after. By walking into the CVS booth, I got a year subscription to Cooking Light. And by sending an email to an electronics company, I’ll have a $179 video camera shipped to me soon. Apparently I was quick on the draw (for once). Turns out this wasn’t from an official sponsor though. Oops!

Many companies tried to get you to check out all their station by giving you a sign-up sheet you get stamped at different parts. Once you completed the stamping (at Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson’s, Samsung, etc.), you have to take a picture and post it on Twitter with their hashtag, and then check back at a certain time to see if you won. Really???? I won’t be winning any of those prizes. Too much work.

one of two Pfizer booths

But I did give out so many business cards that I worry that my inbox is now going to be even more full with press releases from companies I don’t care to work with. My fault.

for all you ladies in menopause.


The participating companies were exceedingly eager to be at BlogHer, to have access to this group, as we were told by MANY of the PR and  marketing people there. They created displays especially for the conference, like this Clorox booth which was gorgeous (the PR people tore it down at the end – it was created by a NYC artist just for the event).

the bleach was donated to poor people who need bleach

Several companies had suites where they invited bloggers. Hersey’s and Walmart teamed up to serve s’mores and had a fire pit plus s’more cookers in their tiny room.

the Hershey’s/Walmart s’mores suite

Starbuck’s took appointments (I actually snagged one) to introduce its new Verismo pod machine (think Nespresso and Keurig). They had fake white brick walls lining the room, and a serene space where they taught us about how the machine works and its quality. We went to the next room to make our own.

the Starbuck’s suite – by appointment only

Hot Wheels had a trio of rooms where they displayed their awesome wall tracks.

Hot Wheels wall tracks

And they have a new Bakugan-like toy that you can throw on the ground or table, and it opens up into a car. They have an iPad game (free) and you can buy special cars to use on the iPad.


A collection of me in silly photos on the Expo floor.

with Duck Tape woman

Got Milk?

I know we look stupid

Bowling with swag

I speak for the trees

Hey dude!


Each night there were 3-4 “community” parties, meaning everyone is invited. The later they were, the louder they got. It was very difficult to meet people to talk to, because they were so loud – between the music and the talking. One of my few friends there suggested that next year they have a Mid-Life mixer, with more chairs and no loud music. Sign me up (except I probably won’t go the conference again).

That said, the parties had their fun. The Sparklecorn party features glow sticks and a unicorn cake every year. Plus women get dressed up in sparkly dresses – many of whom really shouldn’t. I mean REALLY shouldn’t.

the Sparklecorn unicorn cake. They also had a balloon person making unicorn horns to wear

I didn’t stay until the bitter end (okay, I only stayed an hour), but apparently I missed a jerky guy punching the unicorn cake, and breaking it.

The People’s Party had a bowling alley at the party.

the Bowling party

bowling with Leah from Suddenly Frugal

The Come As You Are Party had cute cupcakes and cake pops (plus great signature drinks), and a photo area I didn’t get to.

I love me some cotton candy

The Fashion Show featured women bloggers and some dogs (partly sponsored by Pet Smart, and their Martha Stewart collection of pet costumes). They gave away really cute reusable bags and pet stuffed toys dressed for Halloween. I’ll donate those to an animal shelter.

I missed the CheeseburgHer party because…I was just done. I didn’t want to wait up ’til that late hour of 10 p.m. just to see women I didn’t know who probably wouldn’t talk to me, decorate McDonald’s paper bags as hats, and be surrounded by McDonald’s food I don’t eat much in real life.

The Open Mic night allowed bloggers to put  their name in a bowl, and if chosen, read a selected blog post out loud. Man, there was real downer stuff in there – like the woman whose birth mother found her on Facebook and looked terrible, and the woman whose jerky ex-husband wanted, then didn’t want a relationship with their son. The woman whose son died. It went on and on. Fortunately there were a few women who were so funny I wish their pieces never ended. Getting food poisoning at Chipotle and barely getting home before the explosion can be quite hilarious – if told the right way.

But I always think of a blog post as relatively short and not an essay that goes on for 12+ minutes. I must have the wrong idea, because almost every blogger who read their work (plus the 15 Voices of the Year winners who read theirs at another celebration), had the longest posts I’d ever heard. These were major essays,  thousands of words long, and it made me wonder if I actually know what blogging is! (I do understand the irony, that this is the longest blog post I’ve ever written).


Awesome keynotes, from President Obama, who spoke live via satellite to our group.

President Obama talks to BlogHer 2012 attendees.

Martha Stewart was fabulous. I didn’t have the closest seat. I was lucky to even have a seat. It was overcrowded.

Katie Couric was awesome. You can see I didn’t have the best view (again). My view was actually of a marble pillar and a screen two feet in front of me. I moved over to take this photo.

Hi Katie Couric! Can you see me in the back?

And it was interesting to hear Soledad O’Brien, Christy Turlington Burns and Malaak Compton-Rock talk about their foundations.

Christy Turlington Burns and Soledad O’Brien


While the bathrooms would be crowded in between sessions, the hotel turned most of the men’s rooms into women’s rooms. Awesome! They put curtains in front of the urinals.

the men’s room, er the ladies’ room

I met Laura, one of my favorites from the conference, in the bathroom. She lives in the same town where our camp is.


I liked hanging out with the humor bloggers and sex bloggers the best. They were more fun. I met lots of fashion and beauty bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, the head of social media for eBay, a dominatrix with her own dungeon in San Francisco, the blogger who wrote the Elf on the Shelf post that I passed along to many, a bunch of Aussies and Canadians, women who double as social media consultants, and lots of women who write about toddlers. I met one male blogger and one Italian guy who doesn’t blog but just wanted to see what the conference was all about. Okay!


Probably not. One blogger I know describes it as a combination of Disneyland and High School. I think that’s apt. Plus a lot of people weren’t so friendly, spending their time typing on their phones instead of saying hello.

It was too crowded and tough to meet people, in spite of there being 5,000 attendees. I got closed out of several panels because they filled up and the bouncer wouldn’t let me in. At lunch, you had to get there extra early if you wanted to even get a seat. I’m sure with a venue change, the attendees could be better accommodated, but they let in too many people this year, and couldn’t handle the numbers. Here’s what it looked like in line for lunch one day.

lunch is behind all these ladies, but they have to go the other way to get INTO line.

We’ll see how it shakes out. I’m glad I went, but I can’t say I found “my tribe” as many who go there do. There were some hugely talented writers and business women there. And it was easy to see the power of the (blog) press and the power of this demographic to the economy.


  1. LOVED…your recap!!! So awesome and detailed. You have a much better memory than I do!!! So great to meet you and snuggle on the couch with you and a cheeseburger slider! See you next year love! xo

  2. Loved hanging out with you, Domestic Goddess!

  3. Debbie, Great wrap-up. I must say I am so glad I skipped it. It sounds fun but not at all what I was looking for, although the keynotes, I’m sure were interesting. Thank you for making me feel better about my decision.

  4. You made the right decision, Sheila! That said, I got tickets to TBEX next June in Toronto. Might be a better fit for both of us.

  5. Does not sound like my kind of thing. See you at ASJA again next year!

    • What a difference compared to ASJA. Totally different beast. They did have a panel on how to pitch the magazines. Ha! Good luck to them.

  6. thanks for this great synopsis. I briefly thought about going and am glad now I stayed put. Did you actually have to wait on line for lunch on an escalator?? That’s what the photo looks like, ugh! I hope that you did come away from the whole experience with some worthwhile contacts.

    • No, the line wasn’t on the escalator, but you had to hope that those getting off the escalator in front of you could find somewhere to put their bodies! I had to literally push a woman (nicely) in front of me on the escalator, because she got off and just stood there. Who does that? The line wasn’t very organized for awhile, and it took me about 20 minutes to get through it. The next day I got there 10 minutes before lunch, and it turns out they opened the doors early, so there was no line for me, but I got a terrible seat. You can’t win.

      About the contacts, time will tell.

  7. Great recap! I didn’t know about the punched unicorn! What a sad thing to say someone accomplished at BlogHer!

  8. It was so kick ass meeting you at BlogHer. Thanks for the love and for saying the humor gals were fun. I felt the same way you did. Ugh. I was just glad I found my “tribe” before I ever got there, I would have been crying in a corner of high heels and sparkly dresses.

    • Jen – so awesome meeting you there! I so wanted to post our picture (with you punching me in the throat) on this blog post, but realized you probably didn’t want your photo floating around out there on the internet, or you would have put it out there yourself!

  9. […] year I think I’ll donate one (or more!) of the three vibrators I got at BlogHer, along with some companion goodies, if they don’t sell on eBay first. I think it would be […]

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