BlogHer 16 – A Photo Story From Los Angeles

Last week I pushed myself out of my introverted comfort zone and went to BlogHer 16 in Los Angeles.

It’s not easy for me to go to a huge conference, share a room with women I don’t know, and spend four days surrounded by thousands of people with very little alone time; you can imagine how awesome BlogHer must be if I manage to make it there!

Last year was my first BlogHer- and I went big- flying all the way from California to New York City  I wrote about my BlogHer 15 experience last year, and I have to say that not being a “newbie” for this year’s conference made it much, much less overwhelming and far more enjoyable overall.

A bit of background about BlogHer- it was founded in 2008 as a publishing company created by women for women to write and share content- the kind of company the founders always wanted to work with but couldn’t find. BlogHer has helped thousands of women writers and entrepreneurs  become empowered and successful, and with last year’s alignment with SheKnows Media, is certain to help thousands more women reach their dreams and live their passions.

So much happens at BlogHer- I thought I’d offer a BlogHer16- A Photo Story of Los Angeles to help you have a sneak peek, and hopefully motivate you to join me next year!

BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I’m not a big city girl – so I always head out into nature. Santa Monica beach is full of all sorts of interesting creatures, and great views, too!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I wanted my BlogHer 16 roommate from North Carolina to have the ultimate L.A. beach experience – doesn’t get more beautiful than palm trees in the sunset.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
After walking nearly 8 miles along the beach, we headed for Third Street Promenade – a gorgeous outdoor shopping mall in Santa Monica. Thank goodness for our Lyft ride home – we were exhausted!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
BlogHer and SheKnows Media always choose beautiful locations for the BlogHer annual conference. The downtown JW Marriott was top notch, and our view from our room on the top floor was awesome – and I could constantly check the freeway traffic!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Los Angeles always has cool stuff to look at – our hotel was right around the corner from the Grammy Museum. Grammy Awards 2016!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
BlogHer does a fantastic job making us feel welcome, and showing us how to get around the hotel…so many experts among us! (I’m called a ‘middle school’ expert!)
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
A big part of the BlogHer 16 conferences is the Expo – a chance for bloggers to connect with brands and check out all the trending products heading out into the marketplace. Thursday night is dubbed “Evening at the Expo”, so if you’re there early, you can get the first glance at the products, hosts, and have some drinks and appetizers . I’m a huge HGTV nerd, so meeting Sabrina Soto (Velcro ambassador) was great fun – and she helped me figure out how to hang Lily’s apartment curtains with their new HANGables product – fingers crossed it works! And yes, she’s as sweet in person as she is on TV…
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
The days and nights of the conference are jam packed – I love the Staples event each year (I’m a teacher and secret-stationery-supply-hoarder, you know!), and this year’s hosts Lori Loughlin (remember Aunt Becky from Full House?) and Gabby Reece (Olympic volleyball star) offered their ‘celebrity mom’ perspective on back to school. I left with a fab new backpack and gift card for school supplies! Win-win!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Loved Gabby’s super down-to-earth thoughts on mothering.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
And I can’t forget the speakers…I stay mostly on the “Publishing and Writing” strand, and this talk on content by Lain Ehmann, Rachel Holis (The Chic Site), Susan Kaplow and Jadah Sellner (Super Green Smoothies) really made me think about building a community with love and consistently offering honest, helpful information. It was powerful.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
BlogHer 16 did have its share of celebrity keynotes – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone? I LOVED Sarah Michelle Gellar’s message about living life, tackling challenges, and remembering that failure is our first attempt at learning. She’s launching a new product line called Foodstir- look for it in Whole Foods soon. And maybe a Buffy reboot in the works???
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I popped into a Business strand – talking about being an expert, and the ‘imposter syndrome’ with Julie Ross Godar and Tiffany Pham. I just love some of their points about being ‘smart’ to see your faults, and being OK with talking about what scares us. I had to LOL when I read the ‘fake it til you make it’ part – I tell my students that all the time!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Lunchtime keynote at BlogHer 16 –  Kim K. Make your own judgment – I’m not going to hate on my blog. She has beautiful hair.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Another spotlight moment – meeting Jessica Leahy, author of “The Gift of Failure” and writer for the New York Times. Teachers really are kindred spirits. When she saw me fan-girl with her book (and yes, she jumped down from the podium to sign it), she made my day. Love her brain. And the rest of the panel – Kathy Cano-Murillo (CraftyChica.com), Ayinde Howell (ieatgrass.com) and Penny Sansevieri were pretty cool, too!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I haven’t gotten my official AARP card – yet – but I was nevertheless invited to their #DisruptAging talk. I’m so glad I went – besides the delish bubbly and the free book, I was surrounded by the wisdom that comes with having lived for 50+ decades, and the beauty that comes with it.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Can you believe they’re all over 50? Successful, smart, strong women. Surround yourself with who you want to be.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I volunteered as a mic wrangler this year, offering me the chance to meet speakers and run around the room like I’ve got my own talk show! This session was about writing a memoir – these four women have each published their stories ranging from college advice (Christine Glascoe Crowder) , living in a harem (Jillian Lauren), grieving the loss of parents (Claire Bidwell Smith) and living in India (Jenny Feldon). I’ve got their books on my to-read list for sure!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Lunchtime speaker at BlogHer 16 Lucy McBath – mom of Jordan Davis and Faith and Outreach Leader for Everytown for Gun Safety – brought tears to my eyes.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Saturday’s lunch ended with keynote Mayim Bialik (Blossom, Big Bang Theory) sharing her thoughts on being a ‘hippie-crunchy-chewy-mom’ and how to live an authentic life in and out of the spotlight of celebrity. The had the crowd mesmerized! Have you checked out her website, GrokNation.com? So cool!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Another fun BlogHer event was watching the screening of Tig Nataro’s new pilot TV show, “One Mississippi” – and she entertained us with a Q and A right after.
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Feet up, last speaker of BlogHer 16. Comfy shoes and clothing is a must!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
One thing BlogHer knows how to do is have fun – the closing party at The Conga Room (owned by Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, will.i.am) was hoppin’ thanks to child-prodigy DJ Fulano. He’s only 13!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Is this my tired face, or my “I love Whiskey Sours” face?
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Saturday night, packing up…one of my favorite free swag items from the conference was this tee from the TNT #GoodBehavior TV show (and yes, we had a choice!).
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Just some free swag…great booths at the Expo this year! I’m telling you…that bai Cocofusion is like a pina colada in a bottle!

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BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Sunday morning slog through LAX with 51 pounds of swag hiding in my bag – be sure to always bring a BIG, empty duffel to BlogHer!

BlogHer is definitely the place for writers and bloggers and women who want to surround themselves with others who want to work hard to reach their dreams. Have you been to a BlogHer conference? Come with me next year!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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His laugh, low and husky, always makes me smile.  Not a man to rush, he enjoys the moments of his life, no matter how big or small.  ‘Things have a way of working themselves out,” he always tells me.

For a little northern California girl, Los Angeles is a city of magic.  PSA shuttles me to Burbank during the summer, never disappointing my expectations.  The burgundy Buick feels slow and safe, just what a small granddaughter needs to feel welcomed in the big city.  The short drive to Sherman Oaks holds the anticipation of Christmas morning at the end of the road.  Down one endless avenue to the next, right up to the little yellow house.  His strong hand reaches for mine across the beige upholstery.

The radio in the front bedroom quietly broadcasts the latest news as Nanook the Husky softly nuzzles my welcome.  Push up pops appear from the freezer.  The bullfighter still graces the bedroom wall.  Joan of Arc gazes from her perch.  The bean bag offers a nest to sink into.

He slows down with time, his feet shuffling down the street and heavy on the pedal.  My turn to drive now.  Eyeglasses no longer slip from their case tucked into his breast pocket.  My turn to read aloud the news.  Clarence Thomas on the front page evokes his sense of morality, long honed through years in the legal profession.  His hands strong, skin thin, grasp mine gently across the kitchen table.  I settle into the moss green upholstery, trying to plant myself in the moments I know are few to come.  The clock talks to him now, announcing the loss of minutes left to spend together.  “Go, Abuela, I’ll stay here,”  I urge, clamoring for another precious moment.
Later that night, strains of ‘Gone With The Wind’ float through the apartment.  The phone rings in the dark.  ‘Please come,’  the voice pleads.  ‘He’s gone.’

We arrive in the darkness.  More stoic unsettled, she draws the long silver Cartagena scissors to tenderly snip a lock of his hair.  So still.  The tears flow silently, slowly.

His hands clasp in tranquility.  I slump to his side, tenderly kiss his cheek.  No rush now. He has enjoyed the moments of his life.  I savor this last one we spend together.  Somehow, I know things have a way of working themselves out.

EC Writes

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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