Last year I was so thrown for a loop over my stolen iPhone, I forgot to write about the amazing blogging conference I attended. For the second year in a row, I went to Blogalicious, which is run by the three smart, savvy, hard-working MamaLaw ladies, one of whom is a good friend. I once again roomed with my local blogging pals Leticia and Kim (who celebrated her birthday while we were down there!), and we lived it up South Beach style for four days.
What I love about Blogalicious is that it's smaller than the other conferences, so there's more opportunity for conversation with other women, more access to organizations and brands, more time to get to know bloggers in an intimate setting. It's also well-organized and so much fun. Here are my personal "favorites" from the 2010 Blogalicious conference:
Favorite bloggers I met:
1. Ellen a.k.a. Love That Max: Oh Ellen, how I love you. I could write a sonnet proclaiming how fantastic she is, and after talking nonstop for two hours one night, we realized we're kindred spirits with similar backgrounds in journalism (although hers is definitely more prestigious) and the same taste in friends. Ellen is one of those women who can head an entire magazine, give a workshop on writing, befriend Sharon Osbourne and shake her booty playing Just Dance without an ounce of self-importance. She writes primarily about parenting a child with special needs but also about motherhood in general with a humor and grace that's irresistible. Go read her blog, now!
2. Beti a.k.a. Poly Republic: I literally met her the very last morning of the conference, but we bonded quite quickly over our mutual love of British TV series like Skins and The In Betweeners (and certain young English actors) and decided to chat over twitter about said shows using a #britishtvrocks hashtag. So if you're into British TV (whether you watch it on BBC America, Netflix, or beg your UK friends to send you DVDs), join us in our ongoing conversation about our favorite shows from across the pond. Oh, and if you don't care about British TV, check out Beti's blog anyway. She writes about empowered women who are living passionately and making a difference.
3. Sheila a.k.a XiaolinMama: I've met Sheila before at other summits and blog conferences, but this was the first time we really had the opportunity to hang out together. A fellow food lover, we went to with four other Blogalicious ladies to DeRodriguez Cuba at the Astor Hotel. Not only did most of us have the bacon-topped fufu of our lives, but Sheila got the signature dish, Rabo Encendido en Lata, which as you can see, came in a can! Not only is she an adventurous foodie, she's an enterprising woman who runs the Clever Girls Collective with three friends and business partners, and has one helluva sense of humor. They hosted a fantastic party where the main attraction was playing Just Dance 2. I did some Beyonce-like moves to "Crazy in Love" which were thankfully not videotaped for posterity -- although, then again, maybe my husband would get a kick out of it. Sheila gets bonus points for bringing her gorgeous friend Casey, who like me (and so many of us at the conference), is raising multi-culti kids.
4. LadyBrit just happened to be standing with Ellen waiting for food when we started chatting, and 30 seconds later we were gabbing about some of my favorite topics, namely Brooklyn, the Park Slope Food Coop, and British celebrities and films. It turns out the American Cancer Society is one of her clients, so we talked a lot about cancer awareness among minority groups, and how, of course, cancer is a subject that's close to my heart. She's also, for the record, got an amazing English accent that's ab-fab.
5. Liza a.k.a. LizaWasHere: While Liza (that's LIZ-a, not LIE-za) was fangirling over PunditMom, I ended up with a huge girl-crush on Liza, who is funny and smart and lovely and in one of those it's-a-small-world moments knows my old entertainment-journalism friend Lori Tharps, who not only grew up in the same city as Liza but also went to the same university.
1. Bali Leggings: Everyone who stopped by the Bali booth received a free pair of black Bali firm control leggings, and I LOVE mine. I wore them under a purple Gap dress that is just a tad too short for the autumn chill, and then added a cardigan and black shoes to coordinate. They're comfortable, form-fitting, attractive and trendy. I'm a size 14 and received compliments on them, so you don't have to be a size-2 to wear them. I can't say enough good things about them and plan to buy another pair when I get my next Macy's coupon.
2. Instead SoftCup: OK, I know it's not something most people talk about in mixed company, but these are a life-saver. You use a lot fewer of them than tampons or pads (they are good for 12 hours of use), they are relatively easy to use (especially if you, um, have had babies and aren't squeamish about your body), and they are a lot better for the environment than the alternatives. I highly recommend and am happy to answer questions if anyone wants to email me about specifics. My brothers and a couple of guy friends read this blog occasionally, so I'm gonna stop talking about menstrual cups now.
3. So-in-Style Barbie: Whoever thinks that only African American girls will play with a black Barbie has never met my daughter and her friends. My daughter, who as most of you know is of half-Latino, half-Chinese descent, and her pals, who are everything from platinum-blonde Caucasian to biracial to South African to Asian to everything in between, adore playing with these Barbies. This is the second one I've received at an event, and they're great, regardless of your child's racial make-up.
4. Mr. & Mrs. Mini-emergency Kit: The lovely folks at OnStar gave these out last year at Blogalicious, and mine was just about down to one nail file when lo and behold they were back with more this year. These emergency kits have come in handy more times than I can count, and if they hadn't been in the car or in my purse, I would've had to make last-minute stops at drugstores... or suffer disastrous consequences and wardrobe malfunctions.
5. The Wine Sisterhood gave us all a purple boa, a stemless wine glass with their adorable logo on it, and a T-shirt I can actually wear to something other than sleep. Their Sweet and Sassy Moscato and Rebel Red were yummy, and Kim and I even shot a video with the hosting BlogRollers ladies about how much we enjoyed unwinding in their wine-tasting suite. And no, neither of us got drunk at the suite.
Despite all of that, the absolute best part of the trip was getting to spend time with my local girls Kim and Leticia (pictured) again. We talked late into each night like middle-schoolers at a slumber party, and it was just what these mamas needed to focus on what blogging, for me at least, is really about -- relationships. Can't wait to do it all again next year.