Short vacation journal: I went to California to learn about blogging and to “meet” Kerry Washington!

Last week we came back from San Jose CA, where I attended the BlogHer 2014 conference. I had never been to a blogging event before, and I was nervous and a bit unsure of my ability to “fit in.” As you may have noticed by now, I am a rather introvert person, who spends a lot of time (over)thinking, and way too little time interacting with the outside world. What prompted me to attend BlogHer was the prospect of learning from the blogging pros and also of getting to meet various brand reps, as well as other bloggers. Last but not least, my husband and I talked about it and we came to the conclusion that a trip to California would be a very nice vacation. With a baby on the way, who knows when we’re going to be able to afford another vacation? So off we went. πŸ™‚

I consider myself a newbie blogger, and I thought the conference offered lots of opportunities for bloggers like me to grow. The first day – the so-called “Pathfinder Day” – was particularly newbie-friendly, and it gave me the chance to learn some useful blogging strategies on how to build an audience, how to improve search engine optimization etc. Learning from the pros is always a bonus, so I made a point to attend as many keynote speaker events as possible. Below is a pic I took during the Q&A session with Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess:

Everyone was very excited with the keynote speaker on the third day, who was actress and activist Kerry Washington. Rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s A-list? Yes, please!

Interaction with the various brand reps who attended BlogHer was on top of my list, and the Expo Hall was the perfect spot for such networking opportunities. From innovation in the field of kitchen design…

…to innovation in food and home storage products…

…the BlogHer organizers didn’t hold back, and they made sure a variety of bloggers’ interests were covered during the conference. I even attended a brief arts&crafts session – and loved it!

As a food blogger, I couldn’t wait to check out the food menus and sampling opportunities – and I was not disappointed. I am not allowed to eat deli meats during my pregnancy, and I was a little nervous about what I could actually eat during the conference. From small ham quiches beautifully decorated to renowned vegetarian dishes such as spanakopita, there were many options available to me, and my fears were unfounded.

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There were also plenty of dessert and soft drink options for bloggers to try. Who could say no to a M&M’s decorated muffin? Or to some chocolate ice cream? Not me, that’s for sure! πŸ™‚ During my tasting sessions I also got the chance to sample two products which I had never tried before: a probiotic soda and a lentil cupcake. The soda was sparklingly crisp and refreshing, while the cupcake had a deliciously moist texture and a light frosting, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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No conference should end without a party, and BlogHer 2014 made no exception. The closing party was hosted by McDonald’s and featured special guest Rev Run of Run-D.M.C. What a great way to say goodbye to this year’s BlogHer conference!

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I’m very glad I attended BlogHer 2014: I learned a lot, networked for three straight days, and made a few new friends. As I sit here writing the end to this post, I cannot help but wonder: What will happen to me between now and BlogHer 2015? I am slightly apprehensive because I have a difficult year ahead, and a few significant challenges in both my professional and my personal life. I can only hope and pray for the best – for myself and my family. πŸ™‚

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated by any of the companies mentioned in this post or shown in the accompanying pictures. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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