Chicago here I come! #BlogHer13

I've barely written anything about the fact that in less than a week I will be heading to Chicago for BlogHer13.  Actually... I don't think I've written a single solitary thing here on my blog.  I did add a little button in my sidebar AGES ago, but no posting. So.... I'M GOING TO CHICAGO FOR BLOGHER 13!!!!!! This will be my 4th BlogHer conference...

BlogHer10 was in NYC.  I felt like "it's right there... how can I not go???"  I was SO stressed.  I didn't know what to expect.  I worried about events, sessions, parties, people, clothes.  Anxiety was huge.  The only blogger I had ever actually met in person was my roomie, Danielle.  I love her to death... but she was SO busy (Sparklecorn party people are always busy!).  I was so overwhelmed and questioned what in the world I was thinking going to BlogHer???  I ended up breaking down with Casey (the tears... they were ugly)... and to this day I credit her with saving BlogHer for me.

BlogHer11 was in San Diego.  I thought "it's as far away as a thing could be while still being in the US... how could I possibly go?".  But then I was picked as a volunteer... and the travel planning began.  I had never been to San Diego, or California, or really off the East Coast before (I mean... I've been to Canada, and England, and Scotland, and Italy... and, and, and... but never anywhere in the US that wasn't on or near the East Coast.)  The volunteering gave me purpose.  My roomie, Colleen, majorly helped me socialize and sight see.  That Colleen... she's as cool as a cucumber.  I don't know if she realized how much she grounded me... kind of gave me a "base".  I still had some anxiety... but was better because I knew what to expect, and I had some people I had already met in person.  It was also better because Colleen introduced me to her AWESOME bloggy friends.  I met Melisa, Diane, Liz, Michelle, Sue, and, and, and... oh my gosh there were too many to list.

BlogHer12was back in NYC.  Another "how can I not go, especially when I loved it in CA so much???"  I had 2 roomies, Courtney and Michelle.  They were awesome roommates and we really connected.  We also did a lot of pre-BlogHer planning and schedule chatting... so we planned on a lot of social events together.  Lunches, dinners, and parties are so much more fun for me when I have someone to walk in with.  I also was so thrilled to meet up with the people I had met the previous 2 years.   It makes such a difference, when in the crowd of thousands, you suddenly see a familiar face that also sees you as a familiar face.  I met so many friends at BlogHer12 that I don't even want to attempt to list them.  I know I'd leave people out... but they are people I now communicate with constantly on Facebook and Twitter.

BlogHer13There was no skipping this year.  I learned so much, and had so much fun in NYC that I even bought my BlogHer13 ticket as soon as I got home in August!  This year is a little different.  I haven't thought at all about clothes or shoes.  I'm not sure what my schedule is.  I've barely looked at the agenda.  I almost don't think I'm leaving on Wednesday.  (I think my kids have people to take care of them while Nick is at work.  haha). This year the trip is about the people for me.  From the beginning (when I started A Madison Mom in 2007) blogging has been about making connections.  Finding people I relate to... and people who show me new things.  Blog conference are absolutely about making physical, "real life", connections with those people you've met online and those you haven't.  This year is about meeting up with friends.  People who don't blog or "obsess" over social media will never understand... but some of the people who live in my computer are absolutely real friends.  I love that blog conferences and event make it possible to see them in the flesh.   And, I have a few sessions that I MUST GO TO... because the conference really is about learning for me.  I've barely thought about private parties and haven't made a HUGE effort to get invited to anything.  If I got invites I thought really hard about the fit and the guest list rather than the fact that "yeah I was included!!!"  I've turned down some of the invites I've received.  I've stuck with the events I know I enjoyed previously... and the brands and hosts I love.  I've tried to make mental notes about where all of my past BlogHer buddies will be so I can find them to hug.  I also have a roomie who I LOVE (online and in person).  Elizabeth is my New Jersey Digital Mom leader.  I LOVE that a few of the NJDMoms will be in Chicago. (They are my people!)  I especially love that having Elizabeth as a roomie feels like having a little bit of home in a new place.  I know that even if we don't leave the room and just sit with room service and TV one night... we're gonna have a blast!

This will be my very first time in Chicago.  I'm really pretty excited about getting to see the city.  There are a few things on my list of things I have to do.  Like, find out about this whole "Chicago Pizza" thing.  (NY Pizza people... NY Pizza.)  And I HAVE to see that big bean.  And I HAVE to stand on that glass floor/window overlooking all of Chicago.  And I would love to get on the ferris wheel at the Navy Pier.  Um.... it's kind of sad how little I know about Chicago.

Have you been to Chicago?  What do I need to see?????

Are you going to be at BlogHer?  Make sure we're connected on Facebook and Twitter.  Message me there to swap cell numbers.  Meeting you is on my To-Do list!

Oh... and if you're looking for me in Chicago... here's the "real me".  I'm hoping I won't look so wind-blown in Chicago.  But then again, it is the "windy city" right?