Typically, Thursdays on In Good Taste mean “Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.”
What a lot of you don’t know is that I cheat on the challenge.
I know I just outed myself, but in a normal week, there is never a guarantee that I’ll actually have the time to bake a fifteen-hour loaf of bread from start to finish.
So I bake ahead. Two, three weeks in advance, I bake two or three types of bread in a week so that I have time to write the posts and spend the next few weeks eating them sharing them with friends and family.
But not this week. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I was in Chicago at an annual blogger conference this weekend, where Kalyn
challenged me to use my technological savviness to send updates surrounding the conference. There was no time to bake.
This year, there was a lot of drama at the conference, most of which I was blissfully unaware of until Sunday when I started reading stories about women who were dissatisfied with the energy at the conference this year and who felt that the presence of brand sponsorship was distracting from the intended purpose of the conference: networking and community building.
I didn’t notice this to be a particular problem, because for the most part, the conference met my general expectations and I still felt a sense of community, even if I had to look a little more closely to find it.
The Sheraton Hotel where the conference took place was right on the Chicago River, a pleasant location located within blocks of bustling Michigan Avenue.
I visited friends in Chicago for the few days leading up to BlogHer and worked from my company’s office downtown, so by the time Thursday rolled around I was feeling pretty comfortable with the city and ready to spend some quality time with the lovely ladies of the blogosphere.
The highlight of the weekend was spending time with bloggers who I know in real life but don’t have the opportunity to see very often, and meeting bloggers for the first time who you feel like you know already.
On Thursday night I had dinner with Kristen from Dine & Dish, Sandie from Inn Cuisine and Lydia from The Perfect Pantry at an Asian bistro that was slightly off the beaten path but perfect for good conversation and vegetable pad thai.
Friday night after a busy day of conference sessions, I attended a food blogger dinner at a Chicago institution, Greek Islands
The night didn’t end after dinner, because if there is one thing bloggers like to do, it’s party. The final destination of the night was a party hosted my MamaPop
at the Sheraton, where there was a cash bar, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson and a giant cake shaped like a unicorn.
So, no complaints on this end.
Saturday evening brought more parties, where Jessica showed off a sassy pink feather boa.
Before I continue, it should be noted that by Saturday night, I would have been just as happy to have crawled into my luscious hotel bed, ordered something fattening from room service and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
But, I found myself headed to a party that’s become somewhat of a conference tradition: The CheeseburgHer Party. I’ll spare you the photos, but Flickr has more than a few pictures tagged
to fully illustrate the silliness that results from putting a few hundred women in a room with wine and cheeseburgers.
Overall? I think I like Chicago.
If you went to the conference, feel free to share your own experiences and if you didn’t, feel free to chime in about what you think makes for a successful event of this nature.