Friday, August 2, 2013

BlogHer 2013- CornFedGirl in the City

Sometimes I fly to faraway places to meet people that I "Know" from the Internet. Just last weekend I spent time in Chicago at the BlogHer conference. I went alone. No kids. No Brock. Just me and a 37 pound suitcase which may or may not have been filled entirely with shoes, tampons and my bubble wand.

My first BlogHer was last year. It was held in New York City. I was nervous. I was anxious about flying alone to NYC. I was worried about my kids (and the state of my house) without my presence. I obsessed over clothes and luggage weight and seminars and everyfrickenthing. I was kind of a wreck. The worst part, in all honesty, is that I was embarrassed to tell people that I was flying across the country to meet people I only knew from the Internet. It felt a little desperate. Or pathetic. It was making me feel like I spent all my time in a Dungeons and Dragons chatroom, pant-less and friendless (except for my cats). So instead of using the word "blog", I told people that I was going to a "Writers Conference". In my mind, the word "Writer" felt less... lame. I simply was not embracing my title of "blogger" and I did not know what to expect.

Guess what? BlogHer is not lame. BlogHer is awesome. In fact, blogging is awesome. My readers are incredible. The opportunities presented to me that derived from sitting in my living room and typing on my laptop have been mind blowing.

So this year was different. This year I was proud to say "I'm going to BlogHer!" Then, because sometimes life is kind to a girl, I got to add, "There is an I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing where 15 of the co-authors get to meet in person, sign books, and read some funny stories. I'm one of those authors!"

In fact, BlogHer is so awesome that I wish I was there RIGHT NOW, experiencing all the people and topics and Chicago food and culture that I missed out on last weekend because there was so much to see and do and listen to that I couldn't fit it all into one short weekend! But instead, I'm home! Doing laundry!

Chicago- I heart you.

So I happily flew alone to Chicago to meet up with my Internet friends. Yes, I am a 38 year old woman who has Internet friends. And guess what? My Internet friends are AMAZEBALLS, even if some of us don't wear pants and do count our cats as friends.

THURSDAY

I roomed with the lovely Jen. It was a roommate match made in heaven. She brought me gluten free treats and goodie bags from her friend, Christian. I gave her a magnet made by the Cotton Floozy and promised not to snore. We shared hair products and clothes and earrings. Jen is hysterical, stylish and magical. She has nice boobs, too. Rooming with Jen was a highlight of my trip.

Jen and I enjoyed many a romantic walk on the riverfront.
We also ate some really greazy fries here, which gave us both gas.


The first night, Jen and I met up with fellow Funny Bitch Leaguer, Elizabeth, and her fabulous friend Lauren for dinner. Elizabeth is so talented, beautiful and thoughtful. I knew that I like Lauren immediately when I noticed we were wearing the same dress. We piled into a cab to head towards a place called Mana Food Bar. Upon arrival, the ladies witnessed me giving the cab driver the business for trying to short us on our change. Apparently, much like that controversial talking Barbie from the late 80's, I look like I think that "Math is Hard!" I almost felt bad for the swindler. But soon the delicious tapas and enchanting conversation blurred the memory of my missing $2 and the night was fabulous. Seeing Elizabeth again and meeting Lauren was a highlight of my trip.



FRIDAY

Jen and I hopped the shuttle to the Expo, where we mingled with our peers and some of the sponsors. I particularly enjoyed the personable gals at the Ulta Beauty booth and the friendly folks at Honest Tea. Of all places, while waiting in line in the ladies' room, I met up with a few of my I Just Want to Pee Alone co-authors. Then poor Jen, who had run 10 miles that morning, almost passed out from hunger. Because I'm a giver, I made her wait a skoosh longer before we headed for lunch; I had super duper important business to attend to at the Trojan booth which may or may not have included procuring enough lube to fill a swimming pool. This was where I flagged down the gregarious and charming Nikki of Moms Who Drink and Swear.

There was some foodage and drinkage, then I saw Queen Latifah up close. She's really pretty.


Then all of the co-authors went to the I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to Jen from PIWTPITT, Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Just Start By Saying and Bongiorno's Deli for making the signing and location happen. Next, I want to thank my family who came to support me. They were probably the only four people in the crowd who knew me. Thirdly, thanks to all who bought tickets because they enjoyed the book. There were so many lovely faces in the line of people and I seriously enjoyed meeting everyone. Lastly, I want to tell you all how INCREDIBLE my co-authors were in person. It is now my life goal to organize some sort of pee alone reunion tour every three months or so, just so I can hang out with these fabulous women and get to know them better. We can talk about life while we braid each other's hair and share the tinkling sound of our glorious laughter.

Seriously, none of them were weird in person. At all. They were all the shit. I want them to be my neighbors.

Also, I am kicking myself for not taking more pictures.

It was a whirlwind. I did give my camera to my wonderful uncle, one of the very few, brave men at the book signing. He gallantly snapped some shots for me.

There was a line. For us! Thank you to all of you who stood in line
(to see Jen and Patti) and pretended like you knew my blog!




This is Keesha from Mom's New Stage. She's beautiful and sweet and so tiny.
I wanted to see if she would fit in my suitcase because I planned on
bringing her home with me but we were somehow separated as the night when on.
Keesha- come back!!!!


RachRiot, I love you so.
This is one of the funniest women on the Internet.
Follow her on facebook. Do it now.


The really pretty, fresh faced one is the lovely and very dramatic
Rebecca from the Frugalista Blog. She is hilarious and her skin is like porcelain.
 I obviously need to figure out what products she uses. Help me, Frugie.

And last but very certainly not least,
this is the one and only Patti from Insane in the Mom Brain.
I love her. If people still wrote letters,
I would force her to be my pen pal. She would sign her
letters with tiny squirrel paw prints and I would spray every
letter with pony pheromones.

SO. Many. People.
Such a wonderful night.
The I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing was a highlight of my trip.


SATURDAY

There was some touristing, art looky-louing, a boat trip where we viewed some architecture (including an undulating curved building), a protest (that I somehow ended up in the middle of), a delicious soy latte, a short nap and an angry man on a bike with a Bozo horn. It was a wonderful and chaotic day in the city where I walked about 16 miles. I was happy, although windblown and sweating profusely.

Oh, and this happened,. Naturally.

I lunched with Jen on the lakefront, then dinnered with some lovely blogging ladies at a pub. Upon walking alone back to to motel from dinner, I got lost. When I looked up and noticed that I was East of the Undulating Curved Building, I realized I had overshot my destination by about three miles. I turned around and found my inner speed walker for the journey back. I map via landmark and I knew that I was finally in the right spot when I noticed the ice cream truck. Rather, I noticed the familiar creepy man that had parked his ice cream truck outside the hotel all weekend, in hopes of tempting the BlogHer ladies with some frozen treats. I doubt he was successful, as looked like the type of person that would try to lure children into his big white windowless van with his puppy.

Still, I was a little relived to see him because I knew that I was finally back at the hotel.

Then he yelled toward me, "How about trying my chocolate covered banana?"

Then I almost stabbed him.

I arrived at the motel a deflated, sweaty beast. Almost immediately, I was whisked away to a private area with about 15 other bloggers. We were hand selected by the Ulta Beauty team purely on the merits of our AWESOME for some interviews. So without a shower or a clothing change, at 9:30 that night I was filmed by a crew of people with fancy television cameras.  Naturally, in my hideous state, I was positioned next to a stunning celebrity. I have always admired the humor of Wendi McLendon-Covey from Reno 911 and Bridesmaids, and she is truly a vision of beauty. I think she drinks water from the Unicorn River and only eats butterflies and fairy dust, as her skin was pore-less and her hair was shiny and appeared to be spun from gold. Seriously, that women is glowing. And she is warm and welcoming and so so funny. Meeting her was THE highlight of my trip

As Wen-to-the-Di and I casually chatted for an Ulta Beauty interview, there were mics and cameras pointing at us while a flock of people gathered around, staring at us with stone faces. I tried to be cool, even though I looked at hot mess and was wearing clothes that I had napped in and a pin that Jen gifted me that spelled "OH SHIT" in rhinestones.

Oh, and when I get nervous, I shake like I have mild Parkinson's and sweat some more and do this weird barky seal laugh.

So do you want to know what I said?

Do you want to know what fascinating topics I selected to discuss with this talented, accomplished and beautiful woman?

Do you REALLY want to know?

I talked to Wendi McLendon-Covey about periods, pimples and pubic hair. 

And someone filmed it. And I received an email from Ulta that the video is on its way.

Then I flew home, with a 40 pound suitcase that may or may not have been full of shoes, my bubble wand and lube.

Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi



17 comments:

  1. OMG. You are so funny; I'm a fan. I was at BlogHer and know Jen PIWTPITT but did not meet you. Would love to next time.
    Estelle

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    1. Thank you! My kids think I'm funny, too. :) Let's meet at the next BlogHer. I vote for Denver, so that I don't have to fly anywhere.

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  2. Johi! I know! I didn't get enough time with you either! So glad I got to sit with you at the signing! So when're you coming back? We can do the city properly! I will keep you from getting lost, and will fan kick the crap out of anyone who offers you a chocolate banana. Eeeeuuuuwwwww!

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    1. I'm so happy that we were signing buddies. I don't know when I am coming back. Maybe I'll plan to visit my cousin after her baby is born. :)
      Did you see the ice cream truck guy? Super creepy. Long, stringy, greasy grey hair and everything.

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  3. Yes! You SLEPT with Jen. This is monumental.

    And I have burned three different bagels because I keep reading this and forget to check my damn toaster. THREE BLUEBERRY BAGELS lost their lives because of this brilliantly funny post. I hope you're happy, Johi.

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    Replies
    1. Jen's boobs are monumental.

      The fact that you burned THREE bagels tells me that I should have edited the length of this better. Brevity was never my thing.

      And it did make me a little happy. Yes. It did. xxoo

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    2. It had nothing to do with the length and everything to do with my ADD.

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  4. I totally agree with you on the IJWTPA co-authors reunion every 3 months!! And we need to do it for a week so that we all get to spend a great deal of time with one another!!! Sorry I missed BlogHer this year. So glad you had so many highlights to your trip!

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    1. YEEEESSSSS. I'm sorry that you missed it as well! It was a great trip to Chicago!

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  5. Jo, we sooooo need to get you out to P-Town. Oh, the shenanigans that would ensue. Just make sure that Brock is ready with bail money...hypothetically speaking, of course.

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    1. YES! And THANK YOU for the goodies! I loved it all. You are the sweetest.
      I'll tell Brock to start saving now...

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  6. I am not only jealous of you going to BlogHer, but also that you were so brave to go in the first place. I hope to save up my brave points this year and MAYBE try for next time !!

    You're so awesome!!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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  7. I am so sorry I missed you!!! Although there is a slight chance I may have tried staring at your belly button trying to read your badge. Sorry about that. ;)

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    1. I'm sorry that I missed you too! I don't mind people staring at my belly button, as long as they keep their fingers out of there. :)

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  8. Sounds about right for a BlogHer conference. :)

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  9. Awe... Hopefully one of these years I can make my way to one of the BlogHer Conferences... Glad you had an amazing time!!!

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