BlogHer ’12 Sponsor Silliness and Swag
Here goes my third recap post of my BlogHer ’12 NYC weekend…the sponsors at the conference itself, which took place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If you missed my last two recaps of my Physique 57, YogaWorks, and Chobani SoHo experiences, you can still go back and read them!
If I could sum up the BlogHer conference in a few nouns they’d be…information, inspiration, and sponsors. I know that a conference is meant to be a teaching tool, and BlogHer certainly served as that. However, you really can’t go to a blogging conference without expecting (and hoping for!) some fun sponsor action. After all, who doesn’t like swag?
Yeek, I need to settle down and stop going out-of-chronological-order in my recaps when I left my house on Thursday, I thought I had a lot of baggage.
That is, until I ended up hauling these babies from taxi to train, and then from train to car. My shoulders fell off.
I arrived and check-in at the New York Hilton was seamless, though elevator travel throughout the conference (it should not take 15 minutes to find an open elevator!) was not. My room was OK…the bathroom was a bit dingy, the humidity was kinda out of control, but what are you gonna do? I got an amazing deal and didn’t have to do anything to organize it all. I’m eternally grateful to “Room Awesome”‘s planner, Stephanie of The Froggy and the Mouse. What a sweetheart…all of my roomies were actually (Melissa of Growing Up Geeky and Linette of The Kid’s Fun Review).
Expo Hall Experience
I unfortunately arrived too late to see Obama give the opening address to BlogHer participants, but badge pickup went super quickly (thanks to BlogHer for offering an affordable student rate!) and after a much needed post-travel shower, I made my way to the first conference party (apparently these are a BIG part of BlogHer, but I had no idea until a month beforehand and never ended up attending any others), Evening at the Expo. Essentially just the same Expo Hall that was open the entire conference…WITH WINE!
I visited eons of sponsor booths throughout the conference’s three days, though Friday and Saturday had no wine (le bummer). My favorite sponsor experiences were those with people in silly costumes and/or the opportunity to dress up in silly costumes myself.
Plenty of Perks
Fun photos were not the only activities available to bloggers at sponsor booths and suites. Since I listened to some T-Mobile reps’ shpeals on the latest apps (and put on a feather boa), I received the treat of one of my first massages…and I went to a very special place, I have to say. It was just pure heaven. Too bad I’m too cheap to ever purchase another massage, ha!
Starbucks gave private demos of their new home espresso beverage machine, Verismo, to small groups of bloggers. My demo guy was fabulous! I wasn’t a fan of the drinks produced by the Verismo machine, because I drink my coffee black. Just way too much milk (and 2%, which has a rich taste I’m not used to) and not enough espresso. Still, the machine did create some incredibly frothy, aromatic milk out of a powdered K-cup style insert. I think these machines will be really popular among those who prefer espresso beverages to coffee…think of it as the Keurig for the espresso drinker.
The perk of the Starbucks suite was the $5 gift card I received on my way out. I don’t go to Starbucks a lot anymore but when I have no local cafe options, they are definitely my go-to over Dunkin Donuts, so I know I will use this. They also have more convenient hours than many local cafes.
Bailey’s Creamers reps were passing out mini cupcakes…I selected red velvet, Ginawent with s’mores.
Didn’t sample any of their products since I don’t like sweet drinks OR creamers, but I did sample some coffee-colored OPI nail polishes in the form of a complimentary manicure- already much needed!
I have no clue why Bankrupting America (a non-profit with a mission to distribute easy to understand, creative educational materials about our nation’s economy, something we definitely need more of) was serving Skinnygirl‘s original and peach margarita flavors.I think they wanted to attract people to their booth. Shameless free-drink-if-you-talk-to-us, but I’ll take it. As in, I’ll take a peach on the rocks, please.
And CouponCabin.com clearly knew who they were dealing with when they gave me this shirt…
T-Mobile also gave me cake pops and Terra chips. They really spoiled me! I spent about 5 minutes searching through the cake pops trying to decipher which was a red velvet, then gave up. I have yet to eat the one I selected but when I do I’ll update you all as to what flavor I got (because you’re riveted).
Plethora of Products
Meg, are you liking the alliteration this post is pumping out?! I talked to a boatload of brands, and a few of them stood out to me.
Monthly subscription services for food samples are usually above my budget, though they do offer tasty and high-quality products. From what I saw, Love with Food offers the same quality for an excellent price point – $10 a month! I hope to do a full review on the blog soon! Even better…for each box bought, they donate a meal to a hungry child. The website’s product page features beautiful photographs and SO many treats I want to try.
Dannon had the sweetest rep, Janelle, working at their booth. Maybe I just thought that because she recognized me instantly and said she loves my blog?! They also put up with me when I frantically ran to them before my writing clinic session, sputtering that I was staaaaarving, and could they spare a snack? Why yes they could!
Light ‘n Fit Vanilla used to be a daily snack for me in college. Now the line is too sweet for my tastebuds and also tastes less real than I’m used to…but in this situation, the Light ‘n Fit Greek variety held me over til lunch and did its job. I also sampled the Oikos Blueberry – yummy, but again too sweet for me. I picked up a coupon so I can get one of the plain tubs though!
The Michael Angelo’s reps let me try some of their prepared meals and I really enjoyed talking with them (and eating their Italian food with red wine, duh).
Their products are made with natural ingredients, many of them are very light (unlike most pre-prepared foods), and were created with the influence of Michael’s mother, Sara’s, recipes.
I got a coupon for a free item and asked my mom to add it to her grocery list asap!
Someone left a giant box of Popchips outside her hotel room and declared that they were first-come, first-serve. I got served…with a snack for the train ride home on Sunday (and brain fuel for my paper).
The Dole booth was super elaborate, complete with a tiki hut and fruit carvers. And that banana you saw earlier.
I felt smug that my shoe choice at the Expo Hall party on Thursday night was a perfect match for their booth.
I obviously took one home. I doubt I’ll ever use it as anything other than a keychain but come on, it’s a banana, and now my keys are #Fitfluential with one keychain each for #EAT, #MOVE, and #ENJOY. I just need a #SLEEP keychain!
Wait, Dole makes food?! Just kidding. I pounded these Pineapple Real Fruit Bites before Saturday morning’s Physique 57 class. They made for good fuel and I had a great workout, and again the calorie-noticer (not counter…trying not to!) in me liked the 90 calorie serving size. However, these still have more artificial ingredients than I am used to (though there is some real pineapple in there) and I’ve seen recipes for similar products on sites like Lean Green Bean. If anything, enjoying the Real Fruit Bites has inspired me to make my own, more natural version at home.
Finally, I got to test out the Bowflex CoreBody Reformer, which looked pretty silly to me until I stepped up onto it and felt my core engage as I struggled to balance. And to think the Olympic gymnasts do flips on beams a million times higher and a zillion times thinner?! The helpful rep also showed me the book of exercises it comes with – soooo many, and much of them I never would have thought of on my own!
It’s really portable too and can be packed up and carried on one’s back with a strap. CoreBody workout DVDs are also available to pair with your reformer. An ideal piece of home workout equipment for someone living in a small apartment or working with a tiny workout space!
Best For Last
I didn’t even find out Kate Gosselin would be appearing at BlogHer on Friday until the night before while waiting to get into the Evening at the Expo Hall. Another brush with fate! I never imagined that when Rachel gave me the idea for my blog’s name, one day I’d actually be TELLING Kate Plus 8 about it!
Would you have been as down as I was to take silly photos at the sponsor booths?
Do any of the products I tried or perks I received strike your fancy? I had to find a creative way to ask that question!
Have you ever gotten the chance to do something you truly NEVER thought you’d get to do?