What a weekend!  What a weekend I had at the 2010 BlogHer conference in NYC.  Two days in the BlogHersphere was like two days in heaven.  I met old friends.  I met new friends.  But, most of all, I was inspired, invigorated, and energized by the 2500 women (and some men) in attendance at this year’s conference.  It was the largest ever.

Early Celebrity Sightings
On Thursday morning, I packed my large plum-colored Diane von Furstenberg suitcase full of clothes (but left some room for all the ‘swag’ as my fellow bloggers call the goodies we receive) and headed off to the BIG CITY.  It was a smooth train ride into town and then a quick taxi ride to the Hilton Hotel, which was to be my home away from home until Sunday.

I met an old friend for lunch and then headed to the AOL party at Hudson Yards on Thursday evening.  “Indulge in sumptuous cuisine crafted by Marcus Samuelsson as you watch the renowned chef cook up a live demonstration of an exclusive KitchenDaily recipe.”  I did enjoy meeting Marcus, as you can see by my smile.  And I also enjoyed sampling Marcus’ menu of corn salad, fried chicken (hadn’t had fried chicken in a long, long time) and chocolate pancakes with fresh raspberries for dessert.  I also enjoyed a custom manicure at the AOL StyleList nail salon.

There was more celebrity watching as I walked back to the hotel past Times Square where Justin Timberlake was filming a new movie.  “It’s Justin Timberlook,” said a Southern tourist who was standing nearby.  “I better call my daughter and get her down here right away.”  “It’s Justin Timberlake,” I said with a chuckle, along with the hundreds of other bystanders gawking to see the extras dance to a Frank Sinatra love song when the director yelled ‘action.’ (Can you find Justin in this picture?  Aren’t I a good photographer?  It is like looking for Where’s Waldo.  I’ll give you a hint, he is wearing a black suit. Ha, ha. See if you can spot him.  I tried to and you can too.)

I was so exhausted from the 90 degree heat and celebrity watching that I fell fast asleep as soon as I arrived back at my hotel room. (Thankfully there were no puffy beds at the Hilton.  I don’t like puffy beds. However, there was a special little night light that went on when I stepped out of bed and went off when I got into bed.  It is a wonderful invention. I always forget to bring a night light when I travel and usually trip trying to find my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Special thanks to the Hilton for installing these night lights in guests’ rooms.)

A Full First Day At BlogHer
Jory des Jardin, one of the founders of BlogHer, says that there are 55.6 million women who read blogs monthly or more.  Jory says that bloggers are eight times more likely to read blogs daily and tweet daily.  She says bloggers blog to express themselves, to have fun, and to connect with others like themselves. (That’s me.  I agree.  I agree. I like to express myself.  I definitely like to have fun, especially now that I am 50+.  And I like to connect and build friendships with other boomer women who are going through the same trials and tribulations of life after 50 that I am.)

So what did I learn from my blogger friends?  And who did I meet? Here’s my first installment:

I learned how to stoke my creativity at the writing lab. I learned a lot about writing from three talented female writers and bloggers – Rita Arens, Carleen Brice and Jan Sokoloff Harness.  Some of their comments applied to more than just writing…

  • Jan says that when I am writing and “I hear a negative voice, I should visualize a STOP sign, and think of something else.”  Jan also says that “physical activity is a great way to spark creativity.” She says that sometimes she takes a walk and looks for one thing while she is walking, such as anything that is yellow.  It gives her brain a break.  She also says that if I want to be more creative “I should try to change my perspective, such as I should ask myself “how would my child look at this problem?” or “how would my mom look at this problem?”
  • Carleen says that “sometimes you have to encourage yourself to be creative.”  She says I should keep things around my desk that inspire me. (I think I’ll have to buy some more fresh flowers to keep near my writing desk.)
  • Rita says that “some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.”(I know what she means, some days I feel totally in control and buzz around like a bee, while other days, especially days I don’t get much sleep, I am totally the windshield just sitting there feeling totally helpless and full of bird poop.
  • Rita recommended that I watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s video on “Nurturing Creativity” from the TED conference.  If you liked Eat, Pray, Love as much as I do, I highly recommend you watch this video. (Can’t wait to see Gilbert’s movie.  Will it be as great as my other all-time favorite Julia Roberts’ movie, Pretty Woman?  I think I’ve watch that movie at least 50 times since it first appeared on the big screen over 20 years ago. I still love the clothes Julia wore in Pretty Woman. And I still love, and always will love, Richard Gere.)
I met some fabulous 50+ women who blog just like me.  We chatted away, like we were old friends, even though we had never met before.  As fellow bloggers, we were full of conversation.  Ooh, let me share their blogs, you must check them out…
  • Adela blogs about wisdom born with age at TheBlackTortoise.
  • Nancy is a teacher, tutor and author and blogs at Nancy’s Garden Spot.  (She is just about to turn 50 and told me all about the gardening bloggers group.  I told her I was recently commended for my garden at my condo on the corner at the shore and I told her that when I eventually retire I may just want to join her gardening bloggers group. Yes, I may.)
  • Mary Margaret had beautiful gray hair (we all marveled at her beautiful gray hair as we ate our lunch.  I mentioned to Mary Margaret that gray hair is very trendy now that Lady Gaga dyed her hair gray for her Vanity Fair cover. I must get a copy of the magazine, being the Lady Gaga fan that I am…should I dye my hair gray…yes, no, no, absolutely not now).  More than her beautiful gray hair, Mary Margaret is a fantastic artist, writer and photographer.
  • Irene is an award–winning journalist, author and blogger and Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.  She blogs at The Friendship Doctor.
  • Sheryl had beautiful long red hair (I always wanted red hair.  Should I dye my hair red…yes, no, no I don’t think so) and is a health and lifestyle writer.  You can find her blog at the Healthy Women website.
That’s enough for now.  There’s so much more to share and tell.  Stay tuned for my second and possibly third BlogHersphere posts and hear about the fashion bloggers, the fitness bloggers, and more, more, more.  But, while you’re waiting, I’ll leave you with a few memorable quotes from the Voices of BlogHer:
“Teach her geekyness and pass it on, it’s what girls know how to do.” Liz Henry
“Wish not for a lighter load, but a stronger back.” Jason Mayo (He’s a super duper dad blogger.)
“Hope inspires action, yet requires great patience.” Stephanie Roberts
“Don’t settle for being well, be vital.” Lissa Rankin