I like to write recaps two weeks or more after events happen. It gives me time to process. I am also a lazy procrastinator who watches a lot of Game of Thrones instead of writing.
I was in LA for the 2016 BlogHer conference earlier this month, an event or which I have always felt I came in too late in the game, but one in which I always feel at home. LA is a weird town. More about that in a bit.
BlogHer holds a lot of my people. There are so many women I have known online for years who are connected to this conference (and I worked for BlogHer for a while, before I started working for Hand to Hold), I almost cannot walk ten feet on arrival day without seeing someone I have to hug.
This year was particularly special because one of my posts, Twin Life, was selected as a Voices of the Year Honoree in the Eye Candy category. While not a piece of my writing (because honestly, I haven’t been really writing that much lately), this post is one of the closest to my heart. The intricacies of my girls’ relationship are much more impactful in photos than in any words I could string together. I was immensely proud to see them up on the big screen during the ceremony.
It’s also worth noting that I am dangerously close to becoming one of those people who attends the conference and hardly goes to any sessions. I attended a special breakfast sponsored by Merck for Mothers and #EndMaternalMortality, and I sat in on most of a session on podcasting (no podcasting for me, but the org I work for is starting one).
But I also skipped sessions to meet an old high school classmate for lunch, hung out in my room to squeeze in a deadline, and opted to stand outside the ballroom and nosh on tiny desserts and coffee while everyone else craned their necks to get a peek of Kim Kardashian. That lunch, those desserts, and the conversation I had with two other keynote-skippers was well worth it.
Every time I visit a new city, I’m fascinated by who lives there and why. I think of LA as the town in which a lot of people live, but everyone’s from somewhere else. “You really have to get outside of downtown to see the real LA,” said my friend Doug (lives in Hollywood, grew up in Dallas) when we had lunch. He had tons of recommendations, but unfortunately my schedule didn’t allow any of them. I may always regret not getting on that TMZ bus.
The good and bad of LA, based on the 3 days I was there, taking into account I only left my hotel to go to lunch at a sushi place and to Sprinkles for some bomb-ass cupcakes:
Good: THE WEATHER. I was warm for sure, but until you’ve lived in the blast furnace that is Texas in August, you will not understand my enthusiasm for California weather.
Bad: The smog. I noticed it as soon as we drove away from the airport.
Good: The views! I love having mountain views outside my hotel window, even if they are covered in smog and we can barely make out the Hollywood sign. Austin has hills, but so much more of Texas is flat flat flat. And I hear the beach was close? I saw it on the flight out.
Bad: The homeless population. We passed by a camp on our way into downtown that looked like a miniature city. Tents, shopping carts, and boxes. It was pretty jarring.
Good: Beautiful people. I kept wondering if all of the wait staff we encountered at restaurants were actors (I’m looking at you, Man Bun).
Bad: TOO MANY FLAT BRIMMED CAPS. I am a Texas girl whose formative teen years were the 90s. I wanted to grab every single cap I passed and give it a good squeeze. Give me a good old broken-in baseball cap any day over this flat-brimmed, duck-billed nonsense. By far the most irritating part of my trip. Also lots of spandex and heels. I can’t hang with that.
Good: Can I say the weather again? Because MY GOD.
Bad: The traffic. According to Doug (he’s my unofficial LA guide now), everything is about a 25-minute Uber ride away. I wiled away minutes in my hotel room thanking the lord I was not sitting in that LA traffic down below.