Monday, August 08, 2011

Starting With Swag

I'm back from BlogHer!

My overall feelings about the conference are:

1) I am majorly impressed with how well organized it was, how awesome the sessions and speakers were, and how excellent and bountiful the food was.

2) I have an overwhelming amount of information to sift through.

3) I met some amazing, beautiful, kind, ingenious, welcoming, thoughtful women.

4) I am inspired.

5) I am exhausted.

6) I gained two pounds.

7) I am appreciative of the dozens of BlogHer sponsors who make the whole thing possible.

If you followed me on Twitter, hopefully you were not too annoyed with my constant BlogHer updates. To say that myself and the rest of the 3,600 participants were excited to be there would be entirely accurate, if not an understatement. There was generally a sense of effusiveness in the air; a desire to learn and be inspired and inspire others and, of course, have a hell of a lot of fun.

I've decided BlogHer deserves its own week of blog posts. If you don't care to read about BlogHer, please come back next week. But I promise there will be photos and what I consider to be entertaining anecdotes.

Today's post will focus on the now infamous swag. Swag refers to the copious amounts of free stuff handed out to bloggers by the many, many sponsors who fund the conference. I had no idea what to expect, and let's just say I was again overwhelmed by the swag experience. 

But let's start at the beginning. I flew to San Diego with Christina, after chugging two morning-time glasses of wine in the airport due to my extreme nerves about flying in an aluminum death trap thousands of miles up in the air.

It was after 5 somewhere... Here, it was around 10 a.m.

San Diego's airport blows -- everyone who flew to the conference knows it, and I'll just leave it at that. San Diego itself is a really beautiful city. It has a gorgeous and bumping downtown, with lots of handsome military types hanging out all over the place.

I'd had another glass of wine on the plane (YES IT WAS NECESSARY) so when we landed I was undeniably and thankfully drunk. Christina went off for a few hours to meet with a friend and I spent my few free hours chugging a latte, eating an enormous cookie, napping, ignoring bloggers in the elevator of my hotel (I was drunk and didn't trust a normal word to come out of my mouth), and showering.

Christina returned and we jaunted off to the expo hall to check out the swag.

It. Was. Crazy.

For some reason the only photo I have from the expo hall is of a dude carving a giant block of soap.


So you're just going to have to trust me when I say it was crazy. I had to have another glass of wine to calm myself.

Basically what happens at the expo hall is you go around talking to all the sponsors and they give you free stuff and a schpiel about their product and you smile and behave very nicely because you are happy they gave BlogHer money and you want them to keep doing it.


This morning I laid out all my swag on my bed because I wanted to see it all together, in one place. It's an impressive haul.


I seriously can't wait to put that Waterpik thing in my nose. Also seen here -- a card by Robin Plemmons, some Quaker cereal, some Pepsico coupons, The Write Dudes pens, Ivory soap, Knorr stock concentrate, a Chase USB, Stacy's, Sunchips, and Tonka.


I was stoked to see Paper Culture there. Also the Mother Company, HTC, Mastercard, P&G, Brawny, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Zarbee's (they make natural children's cough medicine).



Dove (which also provided ice cream - delish), an Aiming Low mug, Kmart, and a pad of paper & pen from the People's Party.



Hallmark, McDonalds, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms, CVS, California Raisins, and Lowe's.

You might think I shouldn't give the sponsors any attention on my blog, but I simply do not feel OK about going to the conference and returning with all of this stuff without at least mentioning all of the companies I encountered. The former journalist in me feels like I need to provide full disclosure. And as I said, I really am glad these companies sponsor the conference.


More BlogHer stuff I plan to cover this week: The bloggers I met and saw, stuff I learned, amazing speakers/guests (Indra Nooyi - CEO of Pepsico, Ricki Lake, Fatemeh Fakhraie, Carol Jenkins, Giuliana Rancic, and Bob from "The Biggest Loser," ) parties I went to, and stuff you should read.

Now for a nap.



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