2010 Blogher Conference FAQ: NYC edition

Well, it’s that time again: The annual pre-Blogher freakout.

Only this year it’s amplified because it’s now closer to 1500 people freaking out instead of 400 and because it’s in New York ohmigod NEW YORK and what will I wear and what if a homeless guy pees on me and OHMIGOD NEW YORK and hey, is that Kathie Lee?

This is now my fifth Blogher conference (I expect my commemorative watch, Lisa) so coupled with the fact that I’m one of those rare 8.3 million New Yorkers, I believe I have the basic qualifications to answer a few questions about the weekend.

Wait, you live in New York City? I thought you live in Brooklyn.
Both are true.

Is it true that New Yorkers all wear black?
Wearing pastels in New York is like taping a sign to your back that says mug me, please. Wearing white is simply a gift to the dry cleaners of the world.

Fantasy New York
Real New York

Should I wear my comfortable shoes?
We don’t do comfortable because we spend all our time getting in and out of our cars and not actually walking anywhere.

Oh no, wait…sorry, that’s LA. So then, yes, by all means wear your comfortable shoes.

How do people dress for the cocktail parties?
The PC answer is wear whatever you want. You will see that answer all over the place.

The real answer, that everyone is afraid to tell you, is MAKE AN EFFORT, PEOPLE.

If you’re dressed in New York, you’ll always be ready for anything–or anyone–you encounter. There are 362 other days a year that you can sit home braless and unshaven in your khaki shorts and stretched-out tank top.

 Random Blogher celebrity encounter with Rocco DiSpirito.
He wore blue. I wore purple. And probably breast milk.

Do people really get mugged? Will I get mugged on the subway?
Definitely. 4.8 million people a day ride the subway because they get mugged. Here’s a picture of my daughter on the subway only seconds before a guy in a Yoda suit and a ski mask swiped her lollipop.

She looks TERRIFIED!

What do I do if forget to pack something?
We now have stores in NYC! It’s one of Mayor Bloomberg’s greatest legacies. What do you need? Mascara? Flat iron? Doughnut maker? Spy equipment? Edible pasties? We’ve got it.

Also, there are people at Blogher who allow you to borrow things. I’ve borrowed deodorant. It’s true.

Will I see a celebrity? 
Not at the Hilton.

Let me rephrase that – where can I see a celebrity?
Ree Drummond‘s room.

I’m shy – what can I say to my absolute most favorite ever blogger when I meet her?
GOOD: I’m so happy to meet you – I really like your writing.
BAD: I am your stalker. Come to my room later and I’ll show you the shrine made out of Jell-o and barbed wire.

Why didn’t that big blogger talk to me?
There are a few possibilities:
-You smell.
-You introduced yourself as her stalker and talked about your shrine.
-You’re giving out “I hate the world and have a huge chip on my shoulder” vibes.
-She’s overwhelmed at this particular moment because she’s human too; try her again later.

Whatever the reason, if someone doesn’t talk to you it is probably not because she is “popular” and you are “not popular.” For further elaboration, please refer to my 2009 Bloggers v Popular People Field Guide.

What if a popular blogger really doesn’t talk to me?
Every year there is that one blogger who writes a big angst-filled post-Blogher tell-all piece of link-baiting garbage on who didn’t talk to her at Blogher. Don’t be that person. Focus on the people you like, who like you back, and go have fun. I’d hate to think you left your family and friends for three days and risked being mugged on the scary subway just to dwell on one person who you didn’t connect with.

Do I need business cards?
It depends whether you want to give your contact info to people you meet or not. Maybe you have one of those secret password protected blogs and a pseudonym from the Witness Protection Plan. In that case, business cards are not for you.

What if I don’t like one of the sponsors?
Ignore their booth and don’t take any of their freebies. Not everyone’s politics are your politics and it’s bad form to stage a sit-in on the conference floor.

What if I really really don’t like one of the sponsors?
Write about it thoughtfully on your blog.

No you don’t understand, I have inside information about one of the sponsors that involves embezzling, illegal off-shore funds, an arms for hostages deal and a dog-fighting ring.
Get a book deal.


What is the real scoop on the behavior around conference swag?
You know those old ladies who take all the dinner rolls from the restaurant and put them into their handbags and then ask for more? Some of them will be there this weekend, only they’re disguised as 28 year-olds. And really, they’re only asking for more so they can host a dinner roll giveaway for their readers to drive more quality traffic to their blogs.

Like them on Facebook to earn an extra entry towards a bonus loaf of pumpernickel. Then give them a big hug.

What do I do if there’s a party I’m not invited to?
May a free night in Manhattan be the biggest problem of your weekend. Grab a friend and go explore!

Suzanne Reisman has a smart post on NYC attractions off the beaten path. And Genie of The Inadvertent Gardener suggests some great dinner splurges in New York with fantastic suggestions in comments too. I can personally vouch for that $26 Minetta Tavern Black Label Burger; Nate used to make them for a living.

 Photo courtesy Serious Eats; price courtesy an improving economy

Oh my gosh, are burgers really $26 there?
No, some are as low as $22 if you know where to look. In fact former New Yorker Julie Marsh suggests you hightail it out of Times Square and walk two blocks west to 9th Avenue for some affordable, fun dining options with more local character. You didn’t come all the way here to eat at the Olive Garden, right?

I still don’t know where to eat or what to do in my free time.
You can always ask some of the locals and former locals who will be at Blogher. New Yorkers loooove giving advice.

Look for Anna of Mommy Poppins, Isabel of Alpha Mom, Kim of Mom in the City, Doug of Laid-off Dad, Beth of Role Mommy, Vera of I’m Not Obsessed, Elina of Mamaista, Carol of NY City Mama,  Kelcey of Mama Bird Diaries, Torrie, Metalia, Melissa Chapman, Marinka, and plenty of others.

They’ll be the ones wearing black who talk really fast.

What is your least favorite part about Blogher?
When I get home to a post from someone saying, “I saw Mom-101 and wanted to say hi but didn’t have the nerve.” Please say hi? I won’t bite. I might even hug you.

What is your real very best single most important tip ever about Blogher?
This one also from Julie: Be sure your Spanx don’t show above your waistband when you lean over. Someone will take a picture. We’ve seen it happen.


120 thoughts on “2010 Blogher Conference FAQ: NYC edition”

  1. HAHA! On the second to last question, I seriously thought you wrote, “I may even MUG you.”

    Now THAT would have been an even better ending to an already great post. 🙂

  2. so excited everyone will be in our city this time for bloghlate can't wait to read about all the late night stops to ATMs to bail roomies out 🙂

  3. ROFL! OMG Liz, I can't wait to see you again! This is BY FAR the best BlogHer post.

    *unpacks jello and barbed wire*


    Also? Spanx? They WILL come off on the dance floor of one of the parties. Guaranteed.

  4. That whole chart thing never fails to crack me up.
    I am a former New Yorker and I cannot wait to be “home”. I'll be the one avoiding conference food to go get things I miss eating. Also, people here still think I talk to fast and it has been 9 years. I am looking forward to fitting in again.

  5. Don't take your baby to a bar.

    This is my favorite getting ready for blogher post (and maybe the only one I've allowed myself to comment on since I'm not going this year, but you certainly made me smile.)

    have a blast!


  6. So, it seems I should leave the Jello and barbed wire at home. Damn you, Liz.

    Ahem. This is my 5th BlogHer, too and yes, folks – RELAX. You will have a much more enjoyable time without The Freaking.

    It makes me incredibly sad that every year folks come back from BlogHer and write angst-ridden posts, when in reality, the conference is not really that dramatic.

    Also? It is is a conference, right? Let's act like it!

    Very excited to roam NYC again – it's been years for me!

  7. Being that I'm vegan now, I made my shrine to you out of barbed wire and pudding instead of Jello. I hope that's ok. Is that OK? PLEASE LOVE ME.

  8. As a long-time New Yorker I'd like to add that if you end up roaming around NY and get lost, talkreallyreallyfast when you approach someone on the street for directions or they will think you are asking for money. Also, and I've seen it happen, don't pass off swag to homeless people. They need food, not plush toys. Also, if you start collecting business cards, careful not to mix them up with your own. At Blissdom I accidentally handed out Megan Jordan's to someone and she gasped “YOU'RE Velveteen Mind?” So I said no. And told her I was The Bloggess.

  9. So funny! This is my first BlogHer but not my first visit to NYC. I am SO looking forward to all aspects of the trip! Thanks for the laugh.

  10. I would never, ever want a photo with Kelly Bensimmon. That must mean i'm a blogger. Although, a few months ago when I was in NYC, I did get photos with the Countess, that modern philosopher who will be best known for her remarkable insight that money can't buy you class.

    Can I add another swag possibility?

    The awesome Lori Luna from BlogHer is working with me and a guy named Andrew from the American Cancer Society's NYC Hope Lodge.

    Hope Lodge is a place that provides housing and support for cancer patients who have to travel away from home to get medical treatment.

    I think we all know how challenging and expensive big diseases like cancer can be, and can also identify 100% with the “oh NO I left my soap/shampoo/toothpaste etc.” feeling, and also the “I'm in a foreign place, I wish I had some comfort SOMEHOW feeling.

    So any swag or (if approved by hotel) room toiletries may be donated for Hope Lodge.

  11. This is brilliant. I would like to amend the bar/baby thing to add that if you really NEED to take your baby to a bar, you can just come to Brooklyn, where babies rule the world.

  12. That's so awesome Julie, thanks for that.

    I would imagine there will be a lot of great do-gooding at the conference. That's bloggers at their best.

  13. I love this post (and not just because I got to contribute to it).

    Seriously. Anyone want some yummy food that won't cost an arm and a leg, come find me. I'll gladly duck out and revisit my old lunchtime haunts.

  14. I got my favorite “I'm going to be walking all damned day” shoes at the Camper store in SoHo a few hours after taking the Georgia bar in February 2004, and they served me very well for the 4 days of debauchery that followed. And, they're black.

    Comfortable and black = perfect Manhattan garb.

  15. I personally (personally!) forget things on purpose so I can go roam the narrow aisles of Duane Reade with a big bag while people scowl at me.

    Only part of that is true.

    I love roaming the avenues for food. I'm going with Julie.

  16. While in New York I think I'll turn the table on it and actually DO the mugging. I hope I can find such cute girls on the subway as yours to steal lollipops from.

  17. Thank you for suggesting that we put a little effort into our wardrobes. I’m going to tell my husband that as a native of NY you fully support my plans to go shopping this week, as some new and fabulous additions to my attire would be well advised for the trip. And shoes, I’m going to tell him that you said I need new shoes. I might be paraphrasing that a little bit, but I'm sure you don't mind?

  18. iPhones support tweetdeck? Why did no one tell me this?

    Really, that was awesome. Sad I won't see you this year!

  19. Crap. I just read this line:

    “Please say hi? I won't bite. I might even hug you.”


    “I might even mug you.”

    Which I think is a slight bit more awesome.

    Forwarding this on to my two IRL, new blog friends who are coming with me. One has never been to NYC before. They're a bit FREAKED OUT.

  20. Okay so here's the deal…last year I was a big ole chicken shit. I saw you and Kristen and didn't say hi. Fear. Anxiety. Day of keynote. Take your pick. (Jello shrine was at home, so ya know, I wouldn't have mentioned it.)

    If I don't see you by Saturday I swear I'll DM you. You two were at the top of my, I need to finally meet list…I just…meh. Am chicken shit.

    Love this post. Truly, the LA thing cracked me up. Dude, why walk, when there are so many freaking cars? 😉

  21. Best prep post I've read. I've already got my post about who was too good to talk to me started, so I'm ahead of that game.

    I will say the first thing I said to you at my first blogger was “Oh, I love your blog, I thought you were taller” – you were very sweet to that creative intro of myself.

  22. Of all the BlogHer tips posts I've seen in the past few days–and holy shit! there's a lot! and many are about shoes!–this is *the* best. Thanks. If I see you, I'm gonna come and say hi. Please don't be scared by my inability to form complete sentences in social situations. On second thought, maybe I'll just wave and smile.

  23. This will be my sixth BlogHer conference, so I have first dibs on that commemorative watch. 😉

    Love all the advice, although I'm not sure how to reconcile the comfortable shoes with making an effort to dress better at cocktail parties. Guess that gives me something to work on for the next two weeks.

  24. A big thank you for saying wardrobe does matter. I haven't been “talking” about it much because of all the “it's a serious, writer-ly conference, not a fashion show!” people. But, I hereby re-claim my wardrobe paranoia and demand to know what everyone is wearing.

    Great advice!

  25. I can't make it this year but if I could I would take all of this advice and I would totally hug you. But in a non-stalky, no shrine-I-Promise kind of way! 🙂

    This is a great post. I hope all attendees read it!

  26. And this is the conference guide I have been waiting for….although, I will have to come up with an alternative to the “shrine building” now….thanks for killing that idea! 😉

  27. Great post. but. despite my many visits to NYC, I'll still be the girl in color. So, you know. Send your mugger friends my way, 'kay?

    So, I have to mention that my word verification is “queso”. I have no idea why, but its cracking me up.

  28. Can you call the Spanx peeking out of the waistband if they are the ones that go AAAAAAAAALLLLL the way up to your bra?

    I need to know this. Before I buy.

  29. Words of advice from a seasoned pro, I love it!

    I'm a New Yorker attending Blogher for the first time and I'm very excited to experience everything Blogher has to offer.

    Hope to meet you there.

  30. As I was reading about the mugging, I remembered the time my mom came home from work and said someone attempted to mug her outside of her office at Columbia Univ in broad daylight with tons of people around. The guy was tugging on her bag and she grabbed the bag back saying, “No, you can't have my briefcase, there are only papers in it and you probably aren't a sociology major.” The guy screamed at her, “You are one crazy bitch!” let go of the bag and ran off.

    Since it is summer in the city, if you see anything wet on the sidewalk, step over it, not on it. Along that same line of thinking, something wet drips on your head, it might be pee, but more than likely it's air conditioner condensation.

    The buildings are tall in NYC. But if you spend more than a couple of minutes looking up at them, a crowd will form around you and people will start looking for “The Jumper.”

  31. One more thing, if you hear someone call out “Hey asshole!” it's probably someone who knows you are a tourist, and it attempting to give you helpful information. It's not meant to offend.

  32. Damn, Fin finally weaned, “leaked breastmilk” always seems better than, “Spilled my lunch all over myself. Again.”

    Seriously, I smiled from start to finish. Thank you.

  33. Excellent post! Makes me way homesick and truly wishing I could come to this amazing event. I'm uber-jealous. Can I peek in the windows? 😉

  34. spanx? we have to bring spanx?

    oh, I just want to stay home now…it gets worse with each blogher post tutorial I read…

  35. Spanx you very much for this post-busting BlogHer cherry this year, so I appreciate it! Am now currently eating life-size Bloggess Jello shrine- whew… THAT would've been embarrassing. 😉

  36. dont be afraid of the 25 guys at blogher either 🙂

    I'm totally looking forward to this event!

    PS. its about 95 and hot in the city right now… you might want to pack ice packs or something 🙂

  37. Okay, I'm completely embarrassed to say this: this is my first visit to your Blog (OUCH!). Came across you via Twitter… and am SOO happy i did!

    I LOVE your post… I've lived in NYC and grew up on Long Island… so I laughed my ass off at all of what you wrote.

    Guess I'd better say hi to you.

  38. I want it to be known that I am officially 10 pounds lighter on the Internet than IRL. I am also much taller on the Internet. See you in New York!

  39. I'm shy – what can I say to my absolute most favorite ever blogger when I meet her?
    GOOD: I'm so happy to meet you – I really like your writing.
    BAD: I am your stalker. Come to my room later and I'll show you the shrine made out of Jell-o and barbed wire.


    I laughed out loud when I saw this! Thanks for the laugh in what is otherwise a blechy blahy day.

  40. It's fun to see in the comments who else did some time in NYC. I won't make it to my old haunts, I'm guessing, because my Alma Mater is way up on 116th Street. (I know, I'm so fancy.) But I will be happy to provide my famous Ex-Boyfriend Tour of the East Village to any who are unfamiliar with the area.

  41. Sounds like sooooo much fun….really wish that I was able to make it!! I'm determined that next year I will!!! Enjoy x

  42. Can't wait to meet you Liz…it was you that taught me how to play Scramble on FB, LOL 🙂 I swear I get it now, even though I no longer play.

    I was in NYC today, had to pay a visit to China Town. Can't wait to come back for BlogHer….ahhh back to midtown.

  43. This is the greatest thing I've ever read EVER. I'm a former NYer and I agree with everything you've said. I'm totally hugging your face at BlogHer.

  44. I was like, I'm going to comment but there are going to be like, 70 comments before mine and who has time to read 70 comments? Then I got here, and 74 comments. 😉

    Anyway! I can't wait for my first Blogher! NYC! My 4th time in NYC. When I'm not at the non-celebrity spotting Hilton, I will be in Saks because it's my second home when I'm in the USA. And FAO, spending money to rid myself of the guilt of leaving my kids for the first time for 3 freaking days. (Don't worry my doctor gave me my first Ativan prescription today!)

    I have to admit – I want the swag. All of it. Even the pens. I don't care, I am like an old lady stealing bread rolls sometimes, really! Don't hate me?

    Also? The last subway ride I took in NYC was going back to my friend's house in Queens. We were on the subway at 4 a.m. and a scary dude started playing with my hair and I was freaked out and thought I would die right then and there. Seeing as I survived that – I'm no longer scared of the NYC subway system!

    I can't wait to meet you – and so many others!!!!

  45. I, for one, am greatly looking forward to having plenty of nerve to walk straight up to you, give you a big hug, and talk about my Jell-O shrine in your honor. In fact, now that I know how much you love Jell-O shrines, I'll even bring some photos for you so you can see it for yourself. 🙂

  46. pffft. WhatEVER. When I finally get to a blogher I am TOTALLY going up and introducing myself as a stalker with a shrine. Tell me you wouldn't be both weirded out AND intrigued!

  47. This post is awesome, and not just because it has given me the brilliant idea of mugging some random BlogHer attendee, while leaving behind my business card. Of course, I shall be dressed up and will not smell.

    Thanks, too, for the shout-out on the food post — glad to get some corroboration on that burger!

  48. Thanks – this is awesome. It took me forever to read because I'm laughing so hard I can't see the screen. It's my first BlogHer, so I figure if I show up and don't hole up in my very expensive room the whole time, it's probably a success.

  49. Great post, I'll have my husband read it. He's convinced I'll step one foot into Central Park and get attacked. I have to walk four blocks to The Buckingham for an event Friday night and he's making such a fuss. Now, walking back at 11:00 pm, will that be a problem? Should I take a cab even though it's four blocks?

  50. Yes Liz, that's a good thing since I'll be needing my eyeballs to see what you're wearing and my hair to look better than anyone else's. 😉

    Looking forward to seeing you again.

  51. Neat! I've not been to NYC for a few years, and am very much looking forward to being there again. 😉

  52. My mom doesn't blog so I can write this: when she got divorced and was “stepping out” for the first time as a single gal, she had a new pair of pants that sat along her hips. She came into my room and said, “what do you do about this? they're too high for my pants!” Her huge white underpants were resting at her bellybutton. I pointed out (gently, gently) that, um, over the past 30 years, different types of underwear had been invented. The next day, I took her out and bought her several different pairs of spanx. Role reversal, indeed. I just try not think about why she wanted some in red lace.

  53. Laughed so much I spit my Earl Grey all over my NYCB 4th Ring Circle shirt, circa 1995.
    Can't wait to get back to the city and folks who know how to walk!
    Even better, I get to lead a bunch on Friday morning for the Broadway 5k walk/Run Tutu's for Tanner.
    I appreciate all the advice. I'll eat all my shrine to Ree, hitch up my skirt and have fun at those sponsored parties.
    Makes me break out in hives thinking that this conference would be like High School. Although I have been blogging gluten free since 2006, no special private parties invites have come my way. Except one. Would love to go to the Nikon one though.

  54. That was fantastic. And just reminded me to be much less of an ass about this whole thing. Screw the parties I'm not going to. *I'll* bring the party to where ever I am. Yep, I just said that. Cause I'm the life of the party.

  55. New York City in August? If you're wearing Spanx you've got bigger issues that a waistband showing!

  56. Spot-on, as usual!

    I hate that I won't be there, but I can look forward to hopefully seeing you and some of the other fab NYC-based bloggers the next time I travel to the greatest city on Earth (what, you thought the chocolate and cheese and trams would have changed my mind by now? Pfffft.)

  57. @well read hostess, YES those “bigger issues” are exactly why I wear Spanx. Thanks for understanding.

  58. And oh god do NOT stop in the middle of 5th Ave to look up at the taaaaaall buildings! That is really annoying to the fast-walking New Yorkers who have places to be, damnit.

    And you know Liz, that does look like a nice lolly she's got there, I can totally see how that could happen. (Though I had to wait to move back to Toronto to get mugged.)

  59. Awesome tips! I will be a newbie this year- so new that i only got my pass today- a week and a half before the big event!

  60. Thank you SO much for this awesome post! I am a blogher newbie and so very excited/terrified. Hoping I get to meet you in person! And I promise, no mention of my mom-101 cheez-whiz shrine.

  61. I definitely plan on meeting you. You won't recognize me because I'll be incognito (dressed as the Yoda Subway Mugger) and because, well, you've never seen me before. I won't introduce myself as a stalker, per se, but would it be too forward of me to make out with you? (You had me at the breast-milk stained purple top.) I. can't. wait.

  62. Excellent as usual, especially for the Mayor of Aruba (and I'll be Zabar's) My NYC fave is just walking around. Like Paris in the thrills but not as pretty.

    When we lived there we walked miles every weekend, or biked.

    HOPE I get to see you and give you that hug. After missing last year I have missed the physical connections. See you on 6th Ave babe!

  63. It seems like there are going to be a lot of newcomers this year. I'm looking forward to meeting a ton of new people!

    And also to seeing vets like you, of course.

  64. Thanks for the laugh before I get back to the business of FREAKING OUT as I prepare for my very first BlogHer.

    I hope to run into you (and I will say hi). I'm the fast-talking Californian.

  65. Okay. I was totally laughing at this whole post until I got to the list that shows a blogger (not to be confused with a popular person) *might* be going through their Google Reader on a Friday night. That one hit a little too close to home.


  66. This was laugh-out loud funny, and most of it applicable to any conference in NYC. We LOVED the comment about venturing two blocks over to 9th Avenue for more interesting and less expensive food! I'm the proprietor (translation: I greet customers, sweep floors and pay bills) of Brickyard Gastropub. We hosted a pre-BlogHer meet-up that went quite well and we'd love to see many of you visit us during the conference. We're at 785 9th Avenue, near 52nd St., and we promise less expensive and more interesting food and drink than what you'll find in the shadow of the Hilton.

  67. Loved this post. This will be my first BlogHer conference and my second time in NYC this year. I'm thankful I live in the DC Area so I can hop on the bus up there.

    I can't wait to meet everyone. Well not all 2,000 attendees but you and you and YOU! 🙂

  68. This one of the funniest blog posts I have ever read! Seriously LOL! It actually made me feel like less of a loser that I didn't register for the event and got shut out (so NY, I forgot to RSVP, geez).

    Two more tips: 1) if you are lost, just stand there looking helpless for a minute or clutching your map, and someone will probably offer you directions. Someone else may chime in that's not the best way to go, try his way, 2) for good cheap eats, hop that mean ol' subway to Brooklyn. Burgers are only $13.

  69. Love it!
    Love it!
    Love it!
    Now why didn't I know to come here PRE-BlogHer???
    Oh well s*** happens
    At least I'll be ready for next year…Sandiego?! Wha??

  70. Thanks so much for the links to good places to eat in NYC. As a serious foodie, I can’t wait to try them out and then write about it on my blog. Thanks again!

  71. As a born and raised New Yorker, I so enjoyed this – so true and so well-said! I especially like the comment about having a free night in Manhattan – forget the Swag at the parties, the best thing to do in New York is people watch! I am looking forward to returning to my hometown for Blogher12.

  72. Loved this post. Thank you for admitting what everybody else is afraid to fashion-wise, that we do need to step it up and at least *try*! (-:
    PS: I will not hug you. My Spanx will show and the photo exposure risk is not worth it. (-:

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