I escaped my motherly, wifely and domestic duties (yet not attorney duties; the laptop came along) this past week and went to New York. I went for the BlogHer Conference, but stayed longer and made a mother/daughter weekend out of it too. I had high expectations of what the conference would be like. It really wasn't at all what I had hoped, but that doesn't mean I didn't gain useful information and enjoy myself. I did. It was just a different experience than expected.
I was inspired by several booths in the Exhibition Hall, and will blog about those in the future. I did meet some great people at lunch, and had fun getting to know some local bloggers better (see below). Outside of the conference, my mom and I had some amazing meals; met some hospitable people; had some great laughs; got to have valuable, hard to come by mother/daughter time; saw a smashing musical, Wicked; and had some phenomenal food, oh wait, I already said that. Can you tell we love really good food?
Here is a quick countdown of the top things I learned while in the Big Apple. And since I'm talking about New York, and we did go by the Ed Sullivan Theater, I'm going to do it David Letterman style from 10 to 1. Well, actually, there are 13, and really they are in no particular order. Here goes:
13. I learned that there are many unwritten rules to follow in New York. I felt like I do when in another country. So, I watched and followed: i.e. be careful about ordering a fragile dessert to go; don't get in a taxi at the hotel until the bellman tells you to; listen to your tour guide when he is speaking; and watch for speeding bikes even when the box says you can walk. While in Rome, right?
12. I learned that a really good concierge in a really good hotel knows her business!
11. I learned that cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery really are that good. I actually learned this lesson a couple of times!
10. Thanks to our dedicated tour guides, I learned that there are 8.7 million people in the 5 Burroughs of New York City; 35 languages spoken; 843 acres and 26,000 trees in Central Park; and where Jackie Kennedy Onassis's apartment was located. The tour guides we encountered spoke multiple languages, English being a 2nd language; cheerfully worked long hours; tirelessly studied New York statistics, history and interesting facts and tidbits; and loved their adopted city and country. They were kind and helpful and truly wanted to educate and inform the tourists.
9. I learned that to have a cup of coffee and a cup of tea and one dessert at The Plaza Hotel will run you $30 before the tip. (Still worth it!)
8. I learned that New Yorkers cross the street when they can, regardless of whether the box says to walk or wait.
7. I learned that I can feel lonely with no one to talk to even when surrounded by 2,400 bloggers. I learned that sometimes it takes traveling across the country to get to know more about people in your own city: Molly at The Snyder 5; Suzi at Pink Vanilla Cupcake; and Anna at Girl With Blog; and I was glad about that.
6. I learned how to make BlogHer or another blogging conference a better experience next time thanks to Jackie at Mommy Drives. I am very thankful that she sat down next to me at lunch on Saturday.
5. I learned that while New Yorkers do hustle and bustle out on the street, dining is another story. Dining is taken seriously. It's not just the act of filling one's stomach, but an experience. It's an enjoyable, relaxed and often lengthy repast, which my mom and I quite liked.
4. I learned that the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) and Stouffers have teamed up to encourage families to have meals together. According to CASA, children who infrequently have family dinners (less than 3 per week) are twice as likely to use marijuana and tobacco and more than 1.5 times likelier to use alcohol than children who frequently have family dinners(5 or more per week). I'll be posting more about this soon.
3. I learned about bitdefender, an online security program for protecting kids using the Internet, and their new website, BitMoms.com . Bit Moms is meant to be a interactive website and social network for parents who want to make the Internet a safer place for their kids.
2. I learned that P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water program is making a huge difference to children in developing countries. I'll be blogging about this topic soon. It's quite interesting.
1. I learned that Wicked has an inspiring and challenging message, which you'll see tomorrow in Motherly Advice.
Note that most of the highlights of my trip were seeing New York and partaking of lots of absolutely wonderful food with my mom. While I did learn some valuable information, techniques and tricks of the trade in the sessions I attended, I was disappointed about the lack of networking opportunities. I do think I have the tools to make the next blogging conference better, whichever and wherever it is. Will I go to BlogHer 2011 in San Diego? I'm not sure yet… What blogging conference experiences have you had? Which ones are your favorites? Bloggy Bootcamp? Blissdom? BlogWorld? Stop back by tomorrow for a bit of Motherly Advice. Over and out…