BlogHer ’08 ~ The People’s Party

 

I didn’t attend BlogHer, the women’s blogger conference held in San Francisco, but I did attend the BlogHer People’s Party! 

I wanted to attend Blogher ’08, but a couple of things held me back from registering.  First, I’ve only been blogging a short time, since May on this WordPress site.  I didn’t feel qualified to attend with only 2 months of serious blogging under my belt.  Also, I was laid off from my part time job as a food server at Julia’s Kitchen.  With less income coming in, it didn’t seem like a good time to spend money on a conference.  The thing was, I was dying to go and meet some of the other women bloggers.  I had met some through Twitter.com and some I had stumbled upon their blogs randomly, and they were amazing women – full of humor, caring, creativity, and depth.  They had inspired me to begin blogging in a more professional way. 

I was so sad thinking that the women who I had come to think of as friends were going to be in San Francisco, right in my own backyard practically (I live about an hour from SF), and I wasn’t going to get to meet them.  Then an amazing thing happened!  (Shhh…I think I used “The Secret“!)  I heard about The People’s Party from Megan (@velveteenmind, http://velveteenmind.com/)!  I read it on her blog and I immediately wrote to her and asked her if I could come, she said, “YES!”  Then I wrote her back and asked if I could bring Angela, and she said, “YES! But we may run out of drink tickets so be prepared with cash just in case.”  No problem!

Angela and I drove into San Francisco together, parked and found the Westin St. Francis just fine.  Angela is one of my best friends and our joke of the night was that she was my “entourage”. Finding the party was another thing, we wandered through the corridors for a bit, even scored a schwag bag from a medical convention!  As we carried the bags away on our quest to find The People’s Party the doctors we passed gave us strange looks, obviously thinking, “Yeah right, sureee you’re doctors!”  Okay, they were right, but still. 

Finally we heard women’s voices and I said, “That HAS to be it!”.  We followed the voices and found it, the BlogHer People’s Party!  woo!  We were given two drink tickets apiece as we entered and pretty much headed straight for the bar and some white wine.  Next we picked up our schwag bags, which were full of fun stuff!  Even a hardback book that I was planning to buy!  (shhh…i must have used “The Secret” again!)

 The next order of business was finding my friends.  It was harder than I thought it would be!  It was a dimmly lit room and I had to walk by casually and stare at people’s name tags, without tripping and spilling my wine, to see if i knew them or not!  The person I wanted to find the most was Tina Cruz (@sendchocolate, http://casadecruz.blogspot.com/).  I found Megan and said hello and we took a pic, and I asked her if she’d seen Tina, she said no.  I chatted with a few other bloggers and we exchanged business cards.  Next, out in the hall I saw Erin! (@QueenofSpain, http://queenofspainblog.com/)  Erin has done so much live blogging (which she is a natural and amazing at) that I knew her instantly!  She said, “It’s lauralovesart!” and I said, “It’s Queen of Spain!” and we hugged.  She was with a guy from photrade.com and we took a couple of pics together to commemorate.  So fun to see her in person!  I could totally drink some wine with that girl!  I asked Erin if she had seen Tina and she said no.  Angela and I headed back inside and mingled. 

Next I saw Laura Fitten! (@pistacio, http://pistachioconsulting.com/) I didn’t even expect to see her because she had told me she would probably not make it and so we had talked about meeting later in the week at a Tweetup. It was really fun to see her in person, and it felt like a bonus since I wasn’t expecting her!

We came back to the hall and Erin said, “Tina’s down there by the bathroom!”, so I hurried down and found Tina (@sendchocolate), Leah (@califmom, http://www.califmom.com/) and Lucretia (@geekmommy, http://www.geekmommy.net/) all sitting in a circle on the floor near the bathroom of all things!  I pounced on them!  Then I joined the circle to catch up, then someone said that The Bloggess was in the bathroom so we went to investigate…

I knew Jenny, the Bloggess, was there at the party and I loveee her blog!  (@theBloggess, http://thebloggess.com/) She has an awesome sense of humor!  I reallyyy wanted to get a picture with her.  She was there, and then she disappeared before I could talk to her.  Finally she was back and I went to talk to her and she was sooo cute and funny!  Later in the night she was holding court in the bathroom of all places, drinking wine and sitting on the counter!  Had a blast hanging with her, I just love her!  I could definitely drink some wine with her too!

Mrs. Flinger licked me.  With a sticker, and for real.  Leslie has the cutest twitter personality and is even more fun in person!  (@mrsflinger, http://mrs.flinger.us/)  I love love love her!  We screamed “Squeee!” when we saw each other!   It was amazing to meet her in person! 

 I also got to meet Sweetney!  Tracey was so kool!  (@sweetney, http://www.sweetney.com).   I was just adoring all these women!

Angela and I went back to the main room for her to get another glass of wine, I sat my glass up on the counter and the bartender filled it up, I was trying to slow down, didn’t happen.  Out of nowhere two engineers from Yahoo appeared and one started dancing with me.  They were nice, but wouldn’t give me a straight answer as to why two guys from Yahoo were at a women’s blogging partay!?  They wanted to take us dancing, but I was there to see my friends so we said goodbye.

Next the party was winding down and we ended up in the bar at the Westin with Leah and Tina.  They were hungry and Angela and I needed to sober up before driving so we went to Denny’s nearby.  Had a great time but the service was slow as molasses.  Felt like we were there for three hours! 

Angela drove us to her apartment in Albany, then I drove myself home.  It’s been a long time since I got home after sunrise! 

I had a blast at the BlogHer People’s Party and I am so grateful to Megan for inviting me.  It was truly a sureal experience meeting women I felt I knew so well from seeing their pictures and reading their words on their blogs and twitter.  Now I really know them in person and I feel like I have a bunch of new BFF’s, Best Friends Forever!  Fun, fun time! 

BlogHer ’09 here I come!  woo! (definitely using “The Secret”!)

I met many more women than I could mention here, and I have a lot more fun and amazing pics from the party than I could post here, maybe of YOU! please check my flickr.com photo stream at: http://flickr.com/photos/lauralovesart/

To subscribe: See up and to the right, you may subscribe by RSS or email through feedburner!

Connect: Twitter – http://twitter.com/lauralovesart,

Facebook – Laura Iriarte

 

MySpace URL: 
 
  http://www.myspace.com/lauralovesart  

Digg, Mashable,  and everywhere else – lauralovesart

Zemanta Pixie

Chez Panisse

Yesterday, my friend Angela invited me to come visit her. She lives in Albany, next to Berkeley. I drove over and we decided to go out to lunch to this place that I can’t remember the name of, but she said it was across the street from Chez Panisse. So, I said, “What about just going to Chez Panisse?”. Angela said, “Well, I checked on that online and it said that you need to make reservations about a month in advance”. Angela is getting a degree at UC Berkeley (that I don’t remember the name of but it has something to do with food and wine). Angela also just finished reading “Alice Waters and Chez Panisse” by Thomas McNamee. (I can’t figure out how to underline the title here in WordPress – forgive me, I do know better). In any case I knew Angela would love to eat there between her major and just finishing the book, so we drove downtown Berkeley and found a parking spot and put 10 quarters in the meter. Berkeley is so cool and quirky. There were people picnicking in the grass in the meridian of the street. Lots of them! With cars driving by on both sides of them, like they were in a park! Most of them were eating pizza from a nearby place. I was dying for Alexandra’s digital camera! I had asked Angela to bring hers, but the battery was dead, so no luck there either.

We decided to try Chez Panisse before going over to the other restaurant, and they took us right in! We went upstairs to the cafe, which I am told is a bit less formal and pricey than the restaurant.

We were seating in a very tight spot, very close to another table, but we didn’t mind, everyone was very friendly. They first ask if you would care for still or sparkling water and they bring it the table in a pretty etched glass decanter. It says Chez Panisse on one side, and Still on the other. There was a wonderful flavorful brown bread that was served with some very yellow butter. Angela said that the guy that started Acme Bakery nearby had worked at Chez Panisse and Alice Waters had helped him get started, so we imagined that the bread was probably from Acme Bakery. That was where our bread from Julia’s Kitchen had been from, too. The busser girl told us the butter was from grass fed cows and that it was yellower because it had more carotene. Wow. I guess I didn’t even know what color butter was supposed to be. I’ve grown up on the pale butter made from grain fed cows. It’s kind of a shame.

We ordered a bottle of rose wine that was rather inexpensive and Angela said she had read it was one of Alice Waters’ favorites. It was perfect! Our server was apparently in training because another server came over to open our wine while instructing her. Later I saw her trying to open the wine for another table. I wanted to help. (I could have taught her much better…)

We shared an appetiser. (I’m on a budget) It was a salad with fried goat cheese. Angela once again said that she had read that it was one of the classic dishes at the restaurant. Next we share an entree. There was a boneless chicken that they said was pressed as it was cooked to make it crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. It was wonderful! As were the herbed peas. I’ve never had better peas. Honestly. And then there were some homemade potato chips as well. So good! Lastly, dessert. I had a peach and raspberry tart with vanilla bean ice cream and Angela had the fresh fruit, queen anne cherries and a plumcot. We were both in heaven! Truly a meal to remember!

In between all of this, I forgot to mention that since I knew I was going to be near Chez Panisse I thought I would bring along a resume and drop it off, since I am on the market at the moment. After we were seated for a few minutes I handed our server my resume and asked her if she could please give it to her manager. A few minutes later she brought it back to me and said it would probably be better to wait until I was leaving and give it to a manager myself, that way they might have time to sit down with and talk with me. Then, once again, a few minutes later a woman comes up to our table and says, “Hi, I’m Renee, did you want me to look over your resume?” I gave it to her of course and we continued our lunch. When we finished I checked to see if she was available, but the said she was in a meeting and had my number and would call me. Honestly, that is probably for the best, I don’t know what kind of interview I would have given after drinking half a bottle of wine!

Angela and I stopped and she got a couple of cheeses and some bread and salami and a lovely cold bottle of prosecco and we went back to her place, where her son Elijah and boyfriend Jesse were, and watched a French foreign film I had rented from Netflix, called Avenue Montaigne. Not Amelie, but very cute. We had the best French themed day!

Chez Panisse didn’t call today. Maybe tomorrow.

P.S. I LOVE blog comments!