BlogHer 2011 Newbie Tips Part 2 {Conferences}

Yesterday while I was 30,000+ feet in the air, I wrote this post giving BlogHer attendee hopefuls some basic advice that I learned on my 72 hour BlogHer whirlwind. My head is still just spinning with all I learned, saw and heard at this wonderful conference. You’d think it’d be hell on earth to be with 3600+ women in San Diego, but it was completely the opposite. I am so humbled and inspired to really just keep trying to make my voice heard using one spray paint can and Zumba workout at a time. And today I’d like to round out my helpful tips with 5 more things I learned as a first-time BlogHer attendee. I want to help you help yourself so you don’t feel quite so alone.

Here we go.

Newbie Tip #6: You need kick ass roommates/wing women. For as long as I can remember, I have known I’d be rooming with Carolyn (@temysmom). I adore her, and I instantly felt like her and I connected on Twitter. As BlogHer was approaching, we knew we needed at least 2 more roomies to make BlogHer a bit more affordable for all of us. I tweeted a couple of times using the #blogher11 hashtag that her and I were looking for roommates, and thank the blogging gods that Heather (@emealz) found me and came on board as roomie. Along with her, she also brought Suz (@suzrocks). Essentially, we are 4 women who do not know each other in real life, and we were about to live with each other for 3 days. Could have been a recipe for DISASTER.

It wasn’t.

The instant Carolyn picked me up from the airport, and her, Heather and I were chatting away, I knew this was going to be absolutely fabulous. Suz walked into our hotel room late that evening, and we were all joking and laughing with each other as if we’d known one another for years. It’s that sort of bond that you feel with women who you know can lift you up, can make you smile/laugh til it hurts and can assure you that you look simply stunning. My roommates were good for my soul and my heart.


Suz, Carolyn, Me.


Heather and I.


Suz and I.


Carolyn and I.

I left BlogHer with a lump in my throat because the instant I was away from all of them, I missed them and wanted to cry. They were not simply my roommates; they are now lifelong friends. I love each one of these girls so much. What was great about rooming with them is that we each did our own thing, yet had quality time with each other. We may not have always been a foursome, but none of us ever had to be alone because one of us was likely available. You need to find someone like them to have as your home base during such a monstrosity of a conference. It’ll help keep you calm, comfortable and confident…those are the 3 C’s to have a positive BlogHer experience.

Newbie Tip #7: Take pictures. Lots. With your iPhone, with your point shoot, with your DSLR. Just take the darn pictures! You’ll regret not doing so later, and they really do help have some memories to reflect on. Or it’s proof that you were really drunk at Sparklecorn (proof below):



Or that you REALLY, really did meet one of your favorite bloggers EVER. (It’s Rhoda, y’all. omg.)


I bet you’re wanting to see more my pictures, but that will simply have to wait until my Wordless Wednesday post that will be FULL of BlogHer photos. Though I can’t promise it’ll be wordless because I love to talk. Ok, it won’t be wordless. And I don’t want to make a separate tip for my next statement, so I’ll just slip it into this one: you do not need a laptop. Why? Well, the internet connection will suck (boy did the wi-fi suck), and you won’t have time. I wished I would have just left mine at home and it would have been one less thing to worry about.

Newbie Tip #8: Eat and sleep. Obvious, right? Yet those are 2 things that seem impossibly hard to do when there’s an expo, sessions, parties and people to talk to. It is non-stop fun. FUN. But, please make sure to rest. Eat. Eat real food, not a bunch of samples from the expo hall. I’ll admit that very few parties offered what I would be used to for dinner. Nonetheless, if you need to take a break to eat a meal at a restaurant, DO IT. The night my roomies and I ate at La Puerta (which I HIGHLY recommend- it was so effin good!) was one of the highlights for me. Might have been the 2 purple hazes I drank that left me in a haze. FYI- a purple haze is sangria mixed into a margarita. I know, delicious. Seriously, try one. Or four. Before I ate that meal, I just remember either feeling really hungry, really dehydrated or really tired of eating Kudos bars. Lesson learned, a gal needs some fuel to get through BlogHer. Take a nap if you need to. Sit. It’s ok to sit.

Newbie Tip #9: Write down information on the back of business cards (especially the PR biz cards). I did not do this and am learning the hard way that I apparently do not have a good memory. Now I have a thick stack of PR cards that all look the same, and I have no clue which brand the rep was representing. Lesson learned. For those of you who are wondering why the company isn’t on the business card: lots of companies hire PR people to do the expo stuff for them, so they may not be employed by the company but rather by an agency. Hence why I have oodles of Edelman business cards. Also, DO make address labels with your name, mailing address, blog URL, twitter handle, cell phone and e-mail address. It’ll save you from writing those things over and over in the expo hall. I made about 90 and that was about 60 too many, but it saved me time and the brands even commented on what a clever idea it was. Not that I thought of it myself, but you know… I’ll take what I can get.

Newbie Tip #10: If you want to go to BlogHer, just GO. Like I said in part 1 of my top 10 BlogHer newbie tips, you do belong. Just do it. BlogHer helped me realize I am amazing, I am worthy and I have something valuable to offer.

Yup, me, Monica Benavidez has something to offer the blogger world:


Thanks to Skinny Cow for the lurvely lashes. Swoon.

BlogHer 11- I love you.

Stay tuned for a post on Wednesday filled with pictures + a party/swag/expo recap post later this week where I’ll let you know what I thought of Mario Lopez, my newest obsession with cake vodka and maybe some info on a vibrator with a built in disco ball that I can’t figure out how to use. (If you figured out how the hell to put the batteries in, lemme know…not that I tried using it or anything).



  1. Carolyn
    August 9, 2011 / 12:16 am

    Seriously ROFL about that last comment. No… haven't figured out how to use it yet. I'll be posting my SWAG post tomorrow. I think. Still going thru all my crap.

  2. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality
    August 9, 2011 / 12:27 am

    Monica, you are SO cute! A doll! So glad we got to meet and hang out some. I love your recap & need to do one too, since this was my first BlogHer too. It is overwhelming (yes, even for me!). I hardly knew anyone there either, so it can be just as daunting for anyone. I didn't meet as many people as I would have liked, but was really busy with the cooking thing the 2nd day. It was non-stop and I had plenty of fun too. glad you had a good experience. I will definitely consider going to NYC next year! Hope to see you again. thanks for being so sweet!

  3. Go Against The Grain
    August 9, 2011 / 12:36 am

    oh Monica you never fail to crack me up. love you post and I think I need to go next year.

  4. SuzRocks
    August 9, 2011 / 1:17 am

    Yay for roommates! I don't know if I'll even have time to write a recap post…I will just have to point everyone to yours. I'm a little bit scared to see what the pictures look like with Edward and I.

  5. Alicia
    August 9, 2011 / 5:13 pm

    your pics are great, and i love your recap. really looking forward to going next year!

  6. Bare Feet and Blue Jeans
    August 9, 2011 / 5:23 pm

    Thanks for newbie tip #10. I've been blogging for just a little over a year but never even considered going this year. I'm making BlogHer 2012 one of my goals for next year!

  7. Tottums
    August 9, 2011 / 9:53 pm

    Great post! I'm already looking forward to BlogHer12, which will be my first time. Can't wait to see your photos tomorrow :)

  8. Bari
    August 10, 2011 / 12:29 am

    I'm glad you had such a great time. I can relate to the post conference sadness. I think I was in FitBloggin withdrawal for weeks afterwards.

  9. Anonymous
    August 11, 2011 / 3:52 am

    I bet you had a terrific time. How exciting to even be invited! Lucky Girl! 🙂 I bet you have a ton of pics. lol. Who wouldn't! One question, out of curiosity and does not apply to you at all, but to the contest itself. Did you have to make your own recipe or could you use one you that you got from some-one else? You know to keep it fair. Were their rules? THX. BTW- You have a GREAT BLOG! =)

  10. Anonymous
    August 11, 2011 / 3:58 am

    I just have to ask, Who did the top of your blog. I don't have a blog but a friend who is has a web site and it would be useful to show her products. Thanks!

  11. Monica @
    August 11, 2011 / 12:18 pm

    Anon 1: I don't mention any recipes here, so I am not quite sure what you're asking, sorry.Anon 2: I do all my own HTML/design work for my blog.