BlogHer 16 – Lots of memories, laughs and swag


BlogHer 16 is the largest conference in the world for women in social media. This was my second BlogHer – I attended last year’s conference in New York City.

This was my first time to visit Los Angeles. I’ve connected through LAX a couple of times but I’ve never been outside the airport. Because I was in town for a conference, I didn’t get a huge opportunity to look around but I did fall in love with the weather. It was in the low eighties when I arrived and it seemed like the temps stayed in the eighties most of the time, cooling off enough for a sweater or light jacket at night.

I spent the first day hanging out with my friend and fellow conference attendee Rosemond from Round and Round Rosie. She is the real deal and the best example of how internet friends are real friends.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Rosemond talking about how she loves naps and microwave popcorn…or something like that. LOVED spending time with this lady.

She took me for coffee and we drove around and looked at some of the celebrity homes. Here’s where Ozzy Osborne lives:

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

I thought about stopping by but it would have been rude to do so without calling first. Just KIDDING! I have no desire to see the inside of their house.

After checking in, my first event was the “Wine and Gyn.” The idea behind the event was “who wouldn’t like to sit down and have a glass of wine with their gynecologist?” Actually, not me, but there was wine, so…

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
As it turns out, I didn’t really want to learn THAT much about my vagina and I left this lovely glass of wine on the table.

The “Wine and Gyn” included free wine (actually, the cocktails were free-flowing throughout all of the BlogHer sponsored events, which was nice) and a panel discussion with the founder of Hello Flo, a gynecologist and some other lady whose credentials I wasn’t clear on. Call me a prude, but the discussion was a little too graphic when the call to action to “go back to my hotel room later and check out my lady bits with a hand mirror” came, I left my glass of wine on the table and exited.

And yes, totally out of character for me to leave good wine on the table.

The Evening at the Expo was a lot of fun. A lot of great sponsors, fun swag and of course, wine and snacks. Thankfully, no one tried to talk to me about vaginas at the expo.


Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
I visited the CLR booth where I learned my cleaning style was “avoider.” Just kidding. I already knew that.
Liking the clear frames I got to try on. I just bought new specs but I’ll definitely be looking at some clear frames for next time. Yes?

I loved hanging out at the Melissa and Doug Booth, the Embassy Suites Booth and of course, the Best Buy Booth is always my favorite. Check out this washing machine – it does two loads at once. I need this in my life, especially with two boys doing two sports this fall. Oy.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

Friday was the first full conference day. It felt like Saturday all day…conference time is a funny thing. I was invited to attend the Staples Breakfast and I got to hang with fun celebs like volleyball player Gabby Reece, actress Lori Loughlin, and Elle from What’s Up Moms.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
I look like Mary Katherine Gallagher in this picture, don’t I? Also? I’m 5’11 and I have on 3 inch wedges. Gabby had on flats. WOWZA.

They also had the absolute cutest table decorations and I WISH I’d taken a picture of them. I got a great back to school swag bag from Staples that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be for my kids…but no. They wouldn’t appreciate these cute pineapple push pins and there’s only one water bottle and they’d fight over it, so…

The day one lunch keynote featured Sheryl Crow and Kim Kardashian. I love Sheryl Crow even more than I did before and although I remain “meh” about Kim K., I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to look at that giant booty in person.

I have to say, the booty was impressive but I was really disappointed in the response to the announcement that Kim was keynoting. I’m not a fan but the some of the trollish hatred I saw online was OTT. BlogHer is a huge conference and Kim talked for MAYBE 15 minutes. Her words weren’t inspirational for me or even entertaining but I’m sure they were for some. I came away from listening to her speak with the impression that she’s a pretty happy person with a pretty happy marriage and a good mother. And, a big thump on the head to those of you that were making snide comments under your breath (or in some cases in your full inside voice) while she was being interviewed.  You know who you are.

Also on the agenda for Saturday Friday was an event sponsored by McDonalds. I had fun taking a break from the conference environment and sitting outside the pool drinking some iced coffee and sampling some smoothies. Who wouldn’t like that?

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Don’t let the fact that I have a sticker on my sunnies detract from my overall level of coolness…

We got to meet some of the execs and PR people from corporate McD’s but the BEST part was getting some unexpected food photography tips…and of course the really fun French fry  swag bag that contained a coffee mug, 12 K-cups and some vouchers for free Happy Meals. McD’s obviously speaks my love language.
Playing with my camera…damn shadows.

Honorable mention: The Aldi sponsor suite on the sixth floor. This setup was geared toward selling baby products, which I don’t really need, although I do know a lot of women having babies, but it was the COOLEST atmosphere. There were mimosas and cupcakes and I got to sit down, chillax and make some brown sugar vanilla scrub. So, if you’re a fan of Aldi and are interested in baby stuff, check them out. They’ve got a whole line of baby care products.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

The SUPER highlight of my conference Friday was meeting two of the editors from Babble and getting to tape some live video for their site. Babble is a Disney owned parenting website and I’ve been writing for them since November of 2014. It was so fun to meet some of the team in person and I’m only sorry that I didn’t get pictures with them. Megan, Robin and Alex, you were AWESOMENESS!

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Me talking about how I’d wished I’d have shown my boobs more in my twenties and how my husband tried to kill me with decaf K-cups…you know…just a normal day at the office.

I ended my night by popping into the Open Mic Night sponsored by Listen to Your Mother. Meeting Ann Imig, Stephanie Precourt and Melisa Wells in person was fantastic and I have so much love for the movement. Seeing these fabulous women get up on stage to give a voice to their written words is an experience that will never cease to amaze me and I’m so excited to play a little part in the LTYM movement…and very grateful that the BlogHer attendees get a taste of it.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
My friend Leigh Ann getting ready to read an essay about her twins and my awesome friend Stephanie at the computer.

Saturday was a day for learning. I went to two different sessions and took some great notes on making pretty images and making videos. My favorite session was the one with Lynne Chen and Jessi Sanfillipo, AKA Shuggilippo. They were sweet, down to earth, and super informative. As always, there were a ton of sessions to choose from.

We finished up with a party at the Conga Room and just like that, my whirlwind weekend was over.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Shenanigans and bad lighting. I look super excited to have my feet on Elaine’s lap. Listen to Your Mother Detroit Metro, Southeast Texas, San Antonio and Austin representing.

I am a big fan of blogging conferences and the BlogHer/SheKnows powerhouse in general. I’ve been connected with BlogHer since I started blogging in 2014 and they’ve been very good to me and I’ll always be a fan. Although there are a lot of e-courses and webinars that teach the tools of the trade, there’s no substitution for the community and the opportunity to connect that only a large conference like this can offer. That, and it was nice to have a whole bed to myself for a few days.

Did you know I write regularly for SheKnows Parenting and Living sections? I do!  Check out my full list of articles!

I’m excited to see where BlogHer17 will be held and already looking forward to BlogHer Food in October, which will be held in Austin. I’ll be working the conference so if you’re planning to be there, come and say hi.

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
See you next year, BlogHer! Thanks for a great conference!
Hanging out with the folks from Zenni Optical on Thursday night. These are SO ME, right?
It wouldn’t be BlogHer without a random shot of my feet, right?

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this little peek behind the curtain. If you’re a blogger wondering if you should go to a blogging conference, GO! If you’re not a blogger, I hope you’ve loved reading a little bit about the weekend where I didn’t have to wipe anyone’s behind or make anyone a snack. Every mama needs that now and then. If you’re curious about BlogHer, you can see some of the conference highlights on video. It’s really a great, all-around platform for women in publishing. Check them out and feel free to ask me anything about BlogHer, BlogHer conferences or conferences in general. Sound off in the comments, y’all!

Behind the scenes at BlogHer16|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
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  1. SO FUN to read all about the conference, Jill!! You have me wanting to go next year… I am anxious to see where it will be. Location location location…

    You are on FIRE girl!!

  2. I loved reading all about BlogHer 16, I didn’t go this year so this was a great recap! I’m hoping next year is in NY again. So glad you had a wonderful time! xo

  3. This was an awesome BTS explainer! I have never been to a blogging conference but this seems like a reall good one to try and make it to! Maybe next year! (& those clear glasses look so cute on you, def keep them in mind for your next pair!)

  4. I’ve never been to BlogHer but now you’ve made me REALLY want to be there…and I’m with you on Kim Kardashian. Meh, but show some respect for a fellow human, no?

  5. I went in 2014 in San Jose and nobody told me to check my vagina…. How funny!! I really enjoyed this recap both for the info and the great humor. I love your shoes and choice of nail color btw!

  6. Glad you had such a great time! If it comes back to the East Coast perhaps I will go to it next year. I thought I would miss it, and I’m sure I would have had a great time (and loved to see you, of course!) but I’m also glad I took a break. My blog is veering in a very different direction and I need some time to focus on that for now, but who knows what next year will bring!

  7. This makes me sad I can’t make it to BlogHer this year. I’ve never been, but after Mom 2.0, I’m feeling hooked on conferences. Just can’t work out schedules to make it happen ???? Maybe next year!

  8. Total confession to make right now. I really like free wine. You are getting me excited for Blogher 2017. And you look great! I need to talk to you about my wardrobe before hand.

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