Whether you are going for the first time or just need a refresher course, here are my two cents (adding to Kristen's excellent tips) to make sure you have a fabulous time at BlogHer.
- Inhale and say it with me: Bringbusinesscardsandyourlaptopnoyouwontbetheonly oneeveryonefeelsawkwardandshysodontworry nothosearentcliquestheyarejustgoodfriendssogotalk tothemtheyarereallyfriendly. Now exhale. We good with number 1?
- I have been to 4 out of the last 5 BlogHers and I honestly can't recall a thing about what anyone wore. I do recall the people who had beautiful bright red or purple hair, though. You will see a range of attire but most people are casual. As in, jeans and t-shirts casual. The people who are dressed up are usually the marketers and that's only because their bosses are there. Dress comfortably and for yourself, not others. If you aren't 100% comfortable with your outfit, it will bum you out. (Trust me on this.) And if you want to be memorable, dye your hair pink.
- Roommate protip: Laxatives are your friend. If you are sharing a room with someone and the bathrooms don't allow for much privacy, you will be constipated at BlogHer. Even if you don't wear perfume, bring it to leave the bathroom smelling fresh. It's what considerate roomies do. (Let's face it, hotel bathrooms aren't known for their ventilation.) You will probably won't have a proper constitutional until you get back home so just keep on eating your fiber and drink lots of water. Again, you'll be in good company—everyone will be kinda grouchy and clenchy by Sunday.
- Leave the gym clothes at home. Trust me, even if you have the best of intentions, you won't be working out.
5. Don't go all out the first night. I repeat: do not go all out the first night. You have two more nights of partying ahead of you (PS have you RSVPd for BowlHer yet?). Pace yourself like the pros do. The night before BlogHer is insanely fun. Between the parties and the cocktails and the excitement of meeting new people there is a very real potential that you will be jetlagged, drunk, and up until 4am convincing yourself that it will be no problem to wake up in time for breakfast at 8am. And that you won't be hung over. (Even if you don't drink you will feel like a truck slammed into you.) You know what saved me on the first night of BlogHer08 in San Francisco? A midnight kimchi ramen and fried chicken date with mah girlz. If it we didn't pull ourselves away from the fun to eat something salty, fried, and carb-laden to soak up the alcohol, the next morning would have been even more brutal than it was. The smart folks will go to bed early on Thursday night. I won't be among them. I know this advice will be largely unheeded (especially by me) so try to get lots of rest leading up to BlogHer and prepare to be tired and hungover on Friday. But don't worry, you'll be in good company.
6. Bring an extra bag (or leave plenty of room in your suitcase) for schwag. Bring Ziploc bags for anything that might spill in your suitcase (like household cleaner, lotion or shampoo freebies).
7. Wear comfortable shoes. I cannot stress this point enough. Even if you think you will be sitting in sessions you will be on your feet a lot. A lot. A lot. Last year, I wore very comfy Sofft heels (sorta like these) to the first cocktail party and lasted for about two hours before changing into my beloved flip-flops. Despite what you keep hearing about "cute shoes," this conference is the time to take care of your feet. No will judge you for wearing your clogs or tennis shoes. In fact, they'll be saying, "Damn, that lady is one smart cookie."
8. These are the shoes I will probably be bringing with me (or similar) and you can use these as a guideline for what to pack for yourself.
Okay, okay. Bring one cute pair of cute shoes. These red kicks happen to be Crocs (yes, Crocs!) and I can wear them for hours.
My last piece of advice is just to relax and have fun. I know you just tensed up and maybe even had to take an Ativ@n after reading that, but really: Everyone Is Nice. And if you don't have anyone to talk to, just find me. I'll be over in the corner changing into comfortable shoes.