Monday, August 13, 2012

I Wish I Ate My Way Around Blogher 12

I spent last week in  Foodopolis  – New York City – for the BlogHer conference.  I did not want a repeat of the stomach woes I had at Blissdom. As much as it killed me to say no to even a taste of lactose filled food (because, yeah, Foodopolis is not as fun if you’re lactose intolerant.) I figured I’d b better off if and when I unknowingly eat something containing lactose.

Top left: Me and Ree The Pioneer Woman. The Lorax is so infatuated with me he followed me from Blissdom to Blogher. I'm flattered Lorax but I'm happily married. Sorry. Food carving at the Dole booth. Me, a giant banana, Anne from Green Talk,and Laurie from Groovy Green Living. Eggsland Best. Tasty organic spicy sesame ginger Thai noodle lunch - if you follow me on Foodspotting you might have seen this already.)

I thought I was doing fairly well, especially by taking advantage of vegan options when able – thank you BlogHer for having plenty of food options for those of us on special diets.  

Unfortunately, sneaky lactose food the day before, nerves, and grief gave me more than a lactose tummy ache Saturday morning. I got sick in the middle of the expo hall after talking to the lovely folks at Bioron. I. Was. Mortified! I was convinced everyone thought I drank too much the night before instead of me getting sick because I ate food I shouldn't. This is not the way I wanted to make an impression.

If you have tips on how to deal with food sensitivities while traveling, short of packing all of my own food (what’s the point of traveling then?) let me know in the comments below.

The Good
  • Rock star keynote speakers such as Martha Stewart, Katie Couric (one of my personal heroes), and President Obama via Skype (BlogHer extended an invitation to Governor Romney but he could not make it.)
Katie Couric is one of my personal heroes

  • Even though my heart is still hurting from Blitzkrieg’s passing, I was brave enough to take risks at Blogher12. I wrote on Condo Blues how I took a risk and went sightseeing and traveled the entire trip using the subway by myself (a big thing for this Ohio gal.) How walking up to a table full of strangers to say hi when I was feeling lonely paid off time and time again. I even risked going to sessions outside of my comfort zone to help me decide whether I should write that book I’ve been thinking about. You can read more about that here.
  • The Land End Night School party (Back to school already? ) because I finally got to talk to someone about food. Happy Family was there to talk about their organic lunchbox options and gave me a few samples to experiment with in recipes. I also got to talk with Top Chef fan favorite Sam Talbot about creating healthy lunch options. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture taken with him.
Sam, you can toast my granola any time!
Photocourstey of Momtrends 
  • The giant robot unicorn cake at the Sparklecorn party. This may have been a Charm City Cake (Go Duff! You rock!) as in past years but I can’t get a confirmation on that.
If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram @condoblues you might have seen this already.

The Not So Good
  • 5,000 people attending Blogher12 broke the Hilton. (Sorry Hilton.) Unlike BlogHer10, there were several logistical snafus on the hotel and BlogHer’s part due to Blogher closing registration only a few days before the conference started. I’m sure the extra rush of people registering late contributed to situations like the mega long line for lunch before the Martha Stewart keynote.
I took this photo from the back of the lunch line. Fortunately, the line moved quickly. Unfortunately, they didn’t let some people behind me into the ball room because we were in danger of packing too many people into the ballroom.

Crazytown!
  • The conference food was sometimes lacking. Friday’s breakfast of eggs, fruit salad, bacon, potatoes, and pastries, was filling. Unfortunately, Saturday’s breakfast was dry croissants and pastries. No protein and nothing significantly filling. Stealing a banana from the Gluten Free table was the only way I could eat something I should. Saturday’s lunch was sparse too. It seemed like they ran out of food to give us complete meals on Saturday. I’m a bit ticked I paid for 2 real meals on Saturday and was served enough food for one. Learning, networking, and navigating a big conference takes energy and food makes that.
I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy about BlogHer 12. I coordinated large special events and even served on two past BlogHer Green Committees (I’d do it again but they don’t have a Green Committee anymore.) I know it isn’t easy trying to please such a large and deserve audience. Despite the logistical growing pains, the conference was worthwhile. I learned so much information that will make me a better blogger. I made connections with bloggers of varying viewpoints and niches. And yes, I talked to a few brands to find new and helpful things for you, The Greatest Readers in The Blogashpere. After all you have done to help my family and me this summer, I owe you that.

Next year BlogHer 13 will be in Chicago (try the pizza! It’s fab!) Will I see you there?

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