I was so excited to be invited by The Zeno Group and Kenmore to attend their 2012 Blogger's Summit in Chicago. I woke up full of energy and anxiety Friday morning and ready to head to Chicago. Of course, I had heard that there was probably going to be some snow, but I wasn't worried -- it was Chicago. They deal with snow all the time. When I got to the airport and through security, I had a seat at my gate and looked up at the ticker-like board thing and saw the departure time listed as "Pending." Hmmmm....
We got pushed back a few times, but finally took off and I was headed to Chicago. I was anxious that we might not be able to land. I had heard all morning that flights had been diverted, turned around, etc. So I didn't breathe easy until we were on the ground; even though we had to sit on the runway for more than 30 minutes before getting to the gate to deplane. Luckily, I had spent the entire flight laughing and talking with the man seated next to me. I was fortunate enough to sit next to a guy that wasn't 400 pounds, had a sense of humor, talked to me about his family, and listened as I blathered on about mine. We swapped cards and he gave me some good tips on touring Chicago. (Oh, and side note here: If you remember my post about US Air, United was 10 times better.)
Once off the plane, I found the Zeno Group girls (Carson, bless her heart, was amazing under all the pressure of the logistics nightmare that was unfolding with the weather wreaking havoc on their meticulous plans for the perfect weekend), and a few of the other bloggers began showing up shortly after. I was really thrilled to see that most of them were very much like me -- moms who enjoy writing and sharing, and just really normal and down to earth. There were a few dads too. At the airport I met Heather, from Our Kids Mom, Wendy, from Around My Family Table, Lolo, from Crazy About My Baybah, Jessica, from jessicagotlieb.com, Mike, from mikesenese.com, and Jim, from The Busy Dad Blog. It was about 4 PM when we all gathered in the terminal, 18 degrees, and snowing hard. After about an hour, Jessica, Mike, and Jim left on their own to take a train into downtown. The rest of us were content to wait for the car, but by 6:30, we discovered that the last car that had left the airport had taken nearly 4 hours to reach the hotel and that the car that was supposed to be coming for us was MIA because he had been involved in an accident. Luckily, since Jessica, mike, and Jim had left, Ellen from Love That Max had arrived. Since she was a New yorker, the rest of us jumped on her coat tails and followed her to the train. We arrived unscathed but about 2 hours late to the hotel after a 3 block walk through a snowy downtown Chicago from the train station, and our Blogger's Summit weekend was finally underway!
|NOT flip-flops or slip-on tennis shoes. And I didn't stumble once.|
(A very special thanks to Janice from Meal Makeover Moms for this AWESOME shot of the shoes!)
After running up to my room to change into the grown up clothes I had brought (including these killer leopard print heels that I had bought specifically for that evening), we slipped into the banquet hall just in time for dessert (they still fed us dinner). We missed the keynote speaker from Google+ that evening, but I was lucky enough to sit with Evan Hansen, the Editor in Chief from Wired.com (luckily, I did not know who he was until 10 minutes into the conversation, so I was not intimidated at all before that). Honestly, I enjoyed speaking with Evan so much that it almost made up for missing the Google + speaker. Dinner was fancy and pretty good (I didn't know there was even such a thing as purple broccoli...), and I was having a blast.
At this point, the best thing about the Kenmore Blogger's Summit was the other bloggers. I was learning so much from them. For example, did you know I have a "Page Rank?" Neither did I. (FYI, mine isn't that bad. It's a 2 out of 10. It's not great, but since I have never done a give away and I don't have ads, that's actually pretty good). I also got some great tips on increasing traffic, building my own site (or having my site built) and I FINALLY understand Twitter (thanks to Rob from Look What Mom Found And Dad Too).
After dinner I hung out with some of these amazing bloggers until after 2 am and then went to my room and collapsed into my amazing bed. (I am working on trying to get Sofitel to give me a bed to review....so far, no luck.) Come back tomorrow for the ACTUAL summit details! It may take me more than one post to tell you everything -- SUCH. COOL. STUFF.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Kenmore paid for this trip, and I received a free small appliance for attending. The opinions that I share about them, Chicago, and the products they showcased however, are all mine and 100% honest (as always).