Ish, Eve and I left on Tuesday, August 3 to head to New York. We were there for five nights.
Then we visited Connecticut for three nights (since I spent the first 26 years of my life there and yet haven't really been back since I moved away nearly NINE years ago.)
Then, since we were already on a traveling jag, we decided to spend two nights in St. Louis, visiting Ish's 97-year-old grandmother who had never met Eve (and vice versa).
If you're counting, that's 3 hotels, 4 flights, 10 nights, and countless family/friends/parties/business-ings. WITH A BABY.
The trip was great. Traveling with Eve was great (she is a miracle baby, I swear). But still. It's over and the truth is: I have never been so exhausted from a "vacation" in all my life.
I started looking at the photos I took with my phone yesterday, and laughed my head off. Not only am I STILL the worst photographer ever, but I photographed about .0004% of Things That Happened.
I don't even know where to begin. But I will try.
PART ONE: BEFORE NEW YORK, WHEREIN I ACCIDENTALLY BUY 7 NEW DRESSES
I have a lot -- I mean, a LOT OMFG LOT -- to say about BlogHer. If I can pull my head out of my ass long enough, I will try to put together an eloquent post about how the conference has morphed over the years. But for now, let me say that it's a good thing I don't suffer from social anxiety because I would have spent the entire conference hyperventilating in the hotel shower.
My point here is that back when BlogHer first began, there were no special cocktail parties that involved extra showers or jewelry or high heels. You used to attend the conference and then you'd burst forth from the closing keynote to the cocktail area and get yourself a Sponsor-tini and collapse. There was mostly no going back to the room to change. There was mostly one main event. Yes, there were other parties, but they weren't always giant to-dos. They certainly weren't the focus of the conference.
That started to change a couple years ago. By now, by 2010, the parties are a giant part of the conference. There are dozens of them: public, private, sponsored, non-sponsored, on-site, off-site, cocktails, finger foods, dinners, desserts, cheeseburgers. It is The Way Of Things. You attend the conference, you go back to your room, you change for the evening.
That was never, ever MY way of things. I have never been able to attend a party at BlogHer (other than the ones BlogHer hosted, of course) because I was working and/or exhausted AND needing to be up before the sun. I never had a moment to change. I never had a moment to even try to fix my makeup. Wearing heels of any sort would have been nothing short of perverted. My only accessories have been clipboards, Bluetooth headsets, and walkie-talkies.
This year, I'd be DAMNED if I didn't take time to get dressed up.
I'm a whole new person.
I weigh less than I've ever weighed at a BlogHer conference, for one. I actually FIT into dresses and cute(ish) clothes. I don't hate the way I look, and I don't have to wear I'm-working-don't-bother-me black.
I can wear heels! Not like, a lot (there's still plenty of walking, and I still weigh a metric ton), but at least some! A little! Because you know what I can do? I can SIT! WHENEVER I WANT!
Add in the fact that I'd also be there as a representative of the Clever Girls Collective. I'm excited and proud to be part of this venture, thrilled to be able to say that it's in part MY company. My partners are beautiful and put-together women, and I enjoy being with them. It makes me want to look beautiful and put-together, too.
ESPECIALLY since mostly bloggers who've met me have only seen my frantic, sweaty, crazy-eyed, melty-make-upped, clunky-sensible-shoed self.
And also? I got to be me. Not me, the person you yell at when you don't like your lunch or can't find your break-out session or have a complaint about the air conditioning. Me, as a blogger. Me, as an entrepreneur. Me, as a wife and new mother. Me, as someone who loves the blogging world and always has.
I feel good and am looking better, and I really wanted to go to BlogHer as a refreshed version of myself.
So, I shopped.
I thought about my makeup. I thought about my jewelry (I barely ever do this; I barely have any; I've never cared much about accessorizing, even though I've wanted to). I bought dresses that weren't a size MILLION and in fact, weren't even plus-sizes anymore. I bought shoes.
Also? I bought everything on clearance and spent practically no dollars. I forgot what it's like to be able to buy "regular" clothes on sale!
And headed to New York with my husband and daughter and partners and new business cards and more confidence than I've had in years, with more dresses than I've ever owned.