blog: The Road to Chicago – Blogher’13 Recap

As a rule, I’m skeptical of women only events, including Blogher’13. I don’t really think of myself as needing a special brand of opportunity because I happened to be born female. For that reason alone, I would have probably been considered the closest thing to a Blogher’13 bottom feeder as they come. While other bloggers go to “make brand connections” and “network” I’m preoccupied with trying to offset the cost of my ticket in free swag and bond with other like-minded bloggers I find in the closest proximity to me.

It was a success on both accounts! Although, as nice as the swag was, the conference was a memorable few days, not because of anything to do with Blogher’13, but because of the company of the six other Canadian bloggers that I found myself road tripping to Chicago with: Marissa, Noor and Sarah of Chic Darling Anjali of Rock That Look, Melissa of The Domestic Peach and Nicole of DaintyGirl.

I don't have any road trip pics, but I do have a pic of the dash of the Ford Escape. Enjoy.

I don’t have any road trip pics, but I do have a pic of the dash of the Ford Escape. Enjoy.

Sorry Blogher, you couldn’t really compete with the combined experience, expertise and just general willingness to have fun as my travel mates. Between us we had brand building, marketing, editorial, media, income generation, relationship building, community management, technology and wine – that’s nothing to shake a stick at!

Cheese Hands! From l-r: ME! Anjali, AddVodka, DaintyGirl, Noor, Melissa & Marissa... blinking.

Cheese Hands! From l-r: ME! Anjali, Sarah, Nicole, Noor, Melissa & Marissa… blinking.

What brought us together was one common friend, Marissa. What got us to Chicago was a team effort, aligning our group with different brands that wanted to support our quest to go to Blogher’13. Ford Canada gave us a Ford Escape Titanium and an F-150 to drive there and back; Hailo Chicago provided us with in app credits so we could explore the city; Buytopia helped us experience something new with a credit that we used towards the spectacular City View suite provided by the good people at the Hyatt Regency McCormick.

The only pic of the suite! That's the blogger table in the City View suite at Hyatt Regency McCormick

The only pic of the suite! That’s the blogger table in the City View suite at Hyatt Regency McCormick

With so many things taken off our plate, we were able to relax, work and have fun all at the same time. The Hyatt Regency McCormick’s City View suite was incredible, three rooms that connect to create one massive suite that normally sleeps six, but could fit up to nine people with cots. There were three bathrooms, a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, a spectacular view of Chicago and a dining room table that our computers claimed as a workspace pretty quickly once we discovered the free wifi.

To me, next to food and shelter, wifi is up there – especially if I’m travelling!

#win

I have a hunch Optimus Prime uses Android over iPhone...

I have a hunch Optimus Prime uses Android over iPhone…

Since the Hyatt was connected directly to McCormick Place I could drift in and out of Blogher’13 conveniently. While the keynote speakers were top notch, I didn’t think the conference on a whole came close to comparing to Blogher’12. I’ll leave it at that.

YOINK! I stole this pic of the Blogher'13 Expo from DaintyGirl's blog.

YOINK! I stole this pic of the Blogher’13 Expo from DaintyGirl’s blog.

Regardless, the moments I find myself reminiscing on had nothing to do with the conference. Saturday night, when we couldn’t score a seat inside Giordano’s, we just ordered takeaway. Listening to Jay-Z from Dainty Girl’s iPhone, we feasted al fresco on deep dish, much to the envy of patrons inside – We looked like a movie scene.

Sisterhood of the Patio Pizza Eaters. Yum. Giordano's!

Sisterhood of the Patio Pizza Eaters. Yum. Giordano’s!

Another time, we took the Ford Escape for a spin and toured Chicago. Saw Magnificent Mile, checked out Millenium Park and found a liquor store.

Late night karaoke at “Mother’s Original” where the staff called us “The Canadians”.

We destroyed "Party in the USA" like Miley robbed twerking of its innocence

We destroyed “Party in the USA” like Miley robbed twerking of its innocence. YOINK! Thanks for the pic, Anjali!

iPhone photoshoot at “The Bean”, followed by Chicago Mix popcorn from Garrett’s, a steak dinner and a late night hookah lounge.

Can't go on a trip without buying 80lbs of popcorn...

Can’t go on a trip without buying 80lbs of popcorn…

GPS shenanigans! On the way back, probably to make up for royally getting the Ford Escape crew lost for 3 hours, the GPS took us off the i-90 to a little town called Marine City where we picked up an 8 car ferry back to Canada. It was the most charming $7 we ever did spend and a million times faster then taking the bridge!

Later USA! I'm on a boat!

Later USA! I’m on a boat!

Pit Stop for Olive Garden’s AYCE soup, salad and breadsticks and the famous quote, overheard from the server station “I don’t care about your face, you’re just a number to me!”. Note to self, don’t move around a lot at Olive Garden. The servers don’t like it.

Hacking the Ford Escape’s in dash entertainment system to play a never ending playlist of 90’s hits.

The work table sessions in the suite and bonding over buffet breakfast!

Worktable session. YOINK! I grabbed this pic from thirtysixmonths.com

Worktable session. YOINK! I grabbed this pic from thirtysixmonths.com

And, you know what, it was such a good time, I would travel anywhere with these ladies. I would do it all over again. So who knows, maybe Blogher’14 might actually go down?

Anyone know where it’s going to be?

Thank you again to my travel mates, Ford Canada, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Buytopia and Hailo Chicago!

The moment I realized I had forced all my friends to watch AfroSquad, I knew that talking about Internet culture was where I was meant to be. Between reddit, Nat&Marie and eating junk food, there's just enough time for my personal blog Karmacake.com. That is all. That is it. Oh. Instagram: Karmacake

2 Comments

  1. DaintyGirl_TO

    August 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Great recap babe! I hope BlogHer’14 happens with this crew…so much fun! xo

    • Marie

      September 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      It was a pretty special time. I heard through the grapevine that there’s some changes in the wings for 2014. I really enjoyed road tripping 🙂 Especially the making a bed and sleeping in the backseat. If it’s further, we should RV! haha! 1 crew in the RV and 1 crew in the car.

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