I am just back from the whirlwind that is BlogHer. What is BlogHer you might ask (that is, if you are a new reader around here)?

I quote my friend Darryle Pollack from the Huffington Post, whom I also saw at BlogHer this weekend in Silicon Valley. THIS is what makes BlogHer so unique….

“Created in 2005 by three women as a gathering for women who blogged, BlogHer has multiplied in size – and importance — every year since. Now a successful website, advertising network and TV channel the annual BlogHer conference is the jewel in the crown — where bloggers, marketers and sponsors come to connect. Four smaller conferences have also blossomed from it.

Twitter , blogs and social media channels have been buzzing about BlogHer for weeks. There’s advice, lists of tips– even lists of the lists of tips.

So, why such a big deal about BlogHer?

I can’t tell you.

Seriously. There’s something for everyone, so BlogHer means different things to different people.

With several tracks on the official program, some people stick to the amazing amount of information offered in the sessions and never leave the conference site. Others never set foot in the conference itself, too busy with all the sponsored events going on outside. Since bloggers have become a powerful force, some come just to be wined and dined. The swag is legendary; people bring empty suitcases to cart it all home. Then there are the parties. One year my son stopped by my hotel room in Chicago and ran into drunk women roaming the halls; I’m sure it felt like his college dorm. So there’s that, too.

In a world where the Kardashians are the gold standard of success, for me, BlogHer represents a kernel of reality, a source of inspiration and an island of sanity where people are appreciated not for what they look like or what they have, but for who they are. Sometimes that feels like a rare thing.

And for me that’s a big deal. Maybe Martha Stewart and Katie Couric (speakers at Blogher) understand the power of that, too.” (Darryle PollackHuffington Post, 2012)

Today I’ll be (kinda) short and sweet. I learned a lot about myself and about life in general this weekend. Eleven things to be exact. In no particular order:

1. Complaining on social media works! I am not one to EVER spew diarrhea on social media, but when United cancelled my flight to Silicon Valley last Wednesday morning and literally left me NO alternate way to get to my speaking gig, I panicked. I was desperate. I literally BEGGED them on Twitter to help get me to San Jose. Well, they completely re-routed me, put me on a great Air Canada flight right to LAX, no extra charge, and made it right. Don’t kvetch for the sake of kvetching, but some brands know how to do social media right. United, you impressed me.

2. I realized that speaking may truly be my favorite part of my (many) jobs. My Pathfinder Day with Jennifer Evers went without a hitch. What a room full of wickedly awesome women, thirsty for knowledge, hungry to take their online businesses to the next level. What a group of incredibly engaged, dynamic, ladies. Jen and I enjoyed teaching, and apparently, the attendees saw the value too. Helping women succeed is my happy place, my sweet spot. It feels like home.


3. I learned that there are a million ways to pronounce Montreal. There’s “Mah-ntreal.” There’s “Muh-ntreal.” There’s “Mon-treal.” Everyone pronounces it differently in the US. I crack up to myself every time someone says, “Oh, you’re from Mah-Muh-Mon-treal.” Yes, I’m from Montreal.

4. Most people suffer from FOMO – and geez, you should try and cut that shit out ASAP. What’s FOMO you might ask? Yah… it’s the Fear Of Missing Out. And you know what? It’s harder to go to bed early, nurture yourself, rest your body, and NOT go to the party, than it is to follow others because you’re afraid you might miss something. We all wanna be where the party is, but more often than not, the best party is with those we love (good friends and family), and not with complete strangers we’re trying to impress. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out and have a good time, but many people look outside of themselves for gratification, instead of within. Be content with what you’ve got. You’re enough. You’re not missing anything. And you’re not missing out.

5. Canadians rock. Nothing more to say here.

6. People can surprise you – some for the better, some for the worse. Sometimes, those we think rock, actually suck. And other times, those we think are average, are gold. Yah, it’s true.

7. I learned that not all women are girls’ girls – and not all share. And this is disappointing. You know the kind of woman I’m talking about – the woman who doesn’t disclose. The woman who keeps all the information to herself. The woman who doesn’t tell you where she gets all her good stuff. The woman who doesn’t share stock tips, or her private contacts, or where she gets the best deal on whatever.  I much prefer a woman’s woman. We need to be women’s women. I say it a lot, but it takes a village not only to raise a child, but to raise a WOMAN. We must help each other, collaborate, lift each other up and SHARE with one another, and not be petty for the fear that someone may get ahead of us.

8. I heard an interesting concept from a fabulous blogger I love, Rachel Faucett, AKA Handmade Charlotte:  When you’re in balance, you’re really not going anywhere at all. When you’re in balance, you’re flat, or stagnant. It’s when we’re out of balance and the scales are tipped, that we propel forward, and grow. I found this philosophy SUPER interesting. I’d love your thoughts on that one.

9. I learned that if you’re cool going anywhere alone, good things come. And oh the great people you may meet! I met some phenomenal women this weekend going places alone.

10. I learned that vulnerability is strength, and not weakness. Thank you Brene Brown for saying it- cuz I lived it this weekend.

11. And finally I realized that success comes from following your dreams. I read on Twitter a few weeks ago, “If you don’t follow your dreams, you’ll work for someone who did. Find time to make your passion a reality.” Amen to that.

Also, the weekend in photos:

Touching down in LA and literally the FIRST person I bump into, one of my ultimates faves, funny guy Andy Samberg. Yes, I was starstruck.
Getting ready to give a full day's seminar on The Path From Blog To Business Owner
Getting ready to give a full day’s seminar on The Path From Blog To Business Owner
My Blogher co-speaker Jennifer Evers! Celebrating our incredible Pathfinder Day with a sangria at one of the BlogHer parties
My Blogher co-speaker Jennifer Evers! Celebrating our incredible Pathfinder Day with a sangria at one of the BlogHer parties
Reuniting with some faves. From left: Rachel Faucett (Handmade Charlotte), me, Beth Blecherman (Tech Mamas), Darryle Pollack, and Jyl Johnson Pattee (Mom It Forward)
Dinner with some more blogging faves: Danielle Smith, Nicole Feliciano (Mom Trends), Andrea Fellman (Savvy Sassy Moms), Kristen (Bon Bon Rose Girls), Nadia Carriere (Child Mode) and me. (Isabel Kallman, AKA Alpha Mom, we didn't get a photo together, but you should know I absolutely adore you).
Dinner with some more blogging faves: Danielle Smith, Nicole Feliciano (Mom Trends), Andrea Fellman (Savvy Sassy Moms), Kristen (Bon Bon Rose Girls), Nadia Carriere (Child Mode) and me. (Isabel Kallman, AKA Alpha Mom, we didn’t get a photo together, but you should know I absolutely adore you).
Opening keynote: Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess. She couldn’t be more perfect. Or talented. Or funny.
Shooting an inspirational video about WomenOnTheFence.com, #GetOffTheFence Movement, entrepreneurship, and balance for the amazing site GenConnect.com. Joining a group of incredible videos from experts such as Madeleine Albright and Katie Couric. Will air soon.
A highlight – finally meeting tech legend Guy Kawasaki who I interviewed on WomenOnTheFence.com last year.
Texted photo from hub while I was at BlogHer. Evening activity: fishing and skinny dipping. What a combo! Was hoping big brother didn’t hook little brother’s ass! 😉
The essence of #Blogher14. Meeting new kindred spirits- Romy Raves and Stacy Cox. #girlpower
BlogHer isn’t complete without the Expo floor – a PLETHORA of brands coming to work with bloggers. Always a highlight. Here I am in the Yoplait booth.
Yes, even an appearance from Khloe Kardashian
photo 2
Keynote Kerry Washington, aka Olivia Pope from Scandal on helping women.
Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post interviewed by Guy Kawasaki on how to thrive (Photo credit: Masala Mommas)

A closing party hosted by Rev Run – of Run DMC, playing DJ (Video credit: Blogher)

Drinking San Francisco coffee!! Never woulda thought my flight from Silicon Valley to Montreal would get cancelled and I’d find myself on a shuttle to San Francisco. Flying home from San Fran.

Thank you Blogher for putting on such a stimulating, intelligent, conference. Thank you for letting me teach a crowded, packed room full of awesome women. To Lisa Stone, Elisa Camhort and Jory Des Jardins, the three Blogher co-founders, I tip my hat to you. You have created a platform to give people a voice and share ideas – you have much to be proud of.

And that’s it… I’m back to my July blogging break. 😉