Thursday, August 11, 2011

San Diego Stories

Once upon a time in a world long, long ago I traveled for work. In the days before 9/11 it was fun, but never quite as glamorous as it looked from the outside. I attended meetings and conferences in almost every major city in the continental US. I learned how to navigate to get upgrades on seats. I amused myself by checking to see what  price Starbucks charged for my tall coffee in cities other than New York. But I never learned how to eliminate jet lag. Jet laggggggg. That thing that happens when you switch time zones and almost always is worse flying West to East.

So in my feeble attempt to rise above it I am going to blog just to catch up and tell you where I've been and what I've been up to.

The place was San Diego. The conference was BlogHer11. If you are not familiar BlogHer is a network of women bloggers founded in 2005 by Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins and Elisa Camahort Page. In six years the network now reaches 26 million women bloggers. Their growth is extraordinary.

The numbers seem to vary as to exactly how many flooded the San Diego Convention Center this year but it seems to be hovering around the 3000 mark. Yes, 3000. For those not convinced bloggers clout is sought after and growing one needed only to walk the Expo floor crowded with companies hawking samples and swag from Lindt chocolate to Scrubbing Bubbles to be convinced otherwise.  BlogHer's tribe is not just mommy bloggers and openly claims to want to push past that image, but the truth is what I saw was still predominately mommy bloggers. As we know, a mommy blogger I am not. Still I found my peeps and I got to mingle and listen to a number of very cool women on the agenda.

My highlights:

  • Gretchen Rubin moderating a panel that included Brene Brown. If you have not seen Brene Brown check out her TED talk. She'll win you over and yes she is everything and more in person.
  • The Hufffington Post women panel, led by Lori Leibovich including but not limited to Agapi Stassinopoulos (you know I love Greek wisdom!) and Janice Min, the woman who turned around the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Getting to see what Emily McKhann of The Motherhood and the other members of One Mom Can Make a Difference did on their trip to Kenya at a special showing of the feature ABC News produced. 
  • Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico's Keynote. Can I just say corporate America needs more women at the helm like her? Of course I can! This is my blog!  Indra was so powerful she may warrant me writing a blog devoted to just her.


In between I got to dine with new friends Kat Gordon of Maternal Instinct and Rebecca Rivera of Digitas, chat with Lisen Stromberg of PrismWork and rejoice with Colette Martin of the impending publication of her first book on learning to eat allergy free. I even managed to squeeze in cocktails with my cousin, her husband and their friends who just happened to be in San Diego. My big fat Greek family is everywhere!

Best of all was being surrounded by my good friends Karen Quinn of TestingMom and Nancy Moon of MoonPR (If you are looking for THE best in PR, hire Nancy!) Together we managed to add seeing Blood, Sweat and Tears into the program and a jaunt to LaJolla.

After that the next best part was that for two and half days of the conference I got to practice saying out loud that The Secrets They Kept, my novel, will be published and available for sale in September. It's getting easier, but the nausea remains even though the jet lag is waning. And as for the price of Starbucks at the San Diego Marriott, $2.69 for a tall coffee!  Incredible but true, some things are cheaper in NYC!
Morning walks at the San Diego Pier..you just never know who you will run into!

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