Friday, July 31, 2009

Just What I Needed: BlogHer 09 / Chicago Vacation


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I got home from Chicago on Tuesday and although I've been very, very tired, I had a wonderful trip. Here's a rather lengthy recap. I hope it won't be too boring for my readers, but I had a fabulous time and I want to share it with all of you.

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I arrived Thursday night and took a cab to my hotel. I got my name badge for BlogHer 09 and checked out one of the cocktail parties for a few minutes. I grabbed a sandwich and relaxed in my room for the rest of the night.

FRIDAY

Friday was day one of the conference and absolutely awesome. I went to the newbie breakfast and met some really nice people right from the start. I thought I lost my cell phone so I skipped some of the early sessions to go to my room and make sure it was there. It was. Whew. I met a nice girl named Amanda in the hotel lobby and we agreed to meet up and go to lunch together. Then I went to a session called Identity/Passions: The Transformational Power of Blogging. It was fabulous and I cried for the first of many times at BlogHer. Definitely a rite of passage. After lunch I walked around the exhibit floor and scored a bunch of fun free stuff. Next up was Identity/Passions: LifeBlogging Outside the Lines: When you’re not a Geek, a Political Wonk or a MommyBlogger. It was okay, but not great. I wish I'd had something else appealing to go to during that slot or skipped it altogether. Next I went to the session that was the main reason I went to BlogHer 09: Identity/Passions: PatientBloggers - You Are Not Your Disease, You Just Blog About It Every Day. OMG, this made my trip! It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I got to meet some of my favorite patient bloggers and cried and bonded with some amazing women. It was super fantastic.

Friday night I met my friends Megumi & Keely at The Drawing Room for drinks & dinner. We had a fabulous meal and a fun time finally chatting in person. I had the champagne cocktail (prosecco, sugar cube, aromatic bitters & lemon oil), an heirloom tomato salad (delicious) and the burger (beef short ribs on little buns with homemade tomato chutney & pickles - also delicious).

SATURDAY

I slept in and missed the morning sessions because I was just so worn out. I didn't feel like I missed much, though I do wish I'd heard Ilene Chaiken speak. I checked out of the hotel, stowed my luggage and headed to lunch where I met some more awesome women. I went to two geek lab sessions after lunch: one on Twitter and another on SEO. Both were very informative.

My friend from college, Sarah, met me at the Sheraton after she got off work and we did a little shopping, then headed to Frontera Grill. We waited 1 hour, 45 minutes for a table, but it was well worth it. I had a fabulous Mexican Mojito (possibly the most delicious drink I've ever had), guacamole and pork tacos. We tried to save room for dessert, but failed. After a quick stop at Trader Joe's and to pick up my luggage from the Sheraton we took a cab to Sarah's apartment and crashed for the night.

SUNDAY

I slept in until at least noon because I once again was completely worn out. After I got up Sarah made us a delicious pizza for lunch and we booked an architecture boat tour for later in the day. We did a Wendella 60 minute tour on the Chicago River and had a good time. We got frozen yogurt at Berry Chill and decided to get groceries to make chicken parm & roasted asparagus for dinner. It turned out fabulous! So yummy. After dinner we just bummed around, chatted, drank copious amounts of peach sangria and watched some HGTV & Food Network. We also bought tickets for the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry for the next day.

MONDAY

We went to breakfast at Kitsch'n's River North location. I had pancakes & bacon. They were good, but nothing superb. We had to stop off to print our tickets for the HP exhibit, then we took the bus out to the Museum. We looked at a few things and then got in line for our 11:45 entry time. The exhibit was so cool! The fake British accents were cheesy, but the theatrics were really fun for the kids who attended and we loved seeing the artifacts from the movies. You absolutely must see it if you have the chance before it ends.

After HP we went to the German U boat exhibit. Neither of us had been since they completely redid it, and we got a lot out of it. I didn't have much context for the whole thing when I first saw it in 8th grade. I don't think I even realized it was a real captured U boat or how cool that is. They have a video playing at the end that shows how they moved the boat into its current space, which was fascinating and answered a lot of our questions.

We did a little shopping, then headed back to Sarah's to make dinner. We had some fabulous chicken tacos and chocolate lava cakes. And more sangria, of course. We watched Obsessed and tried to get to bed at a good time since it was back to reality for both of us the next day.

TUESDAY

It is impossible to get a cab in Sarah's neighborhood so I took the El with her to work and got a cab to Midway there. It was hard to say goodbye and she made me promise I wouldn't wait so long to come see her next time. I stopped to see C at work after my flight arrived in KC and got home around 4:30 pm. My fur babies were so happy to see me, and I was thrilled to see them, too. We cuddled in bed all evening.

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Getting away from my regular routine for a few days did me a world of good. I was able to just enjoy my down time with no guilt about what I should be doing instead of resting. Rather than berating myself for not cleaning or doing laundry or writing I hopped into my roomy, comfortable hotel bed and flipped through fashion magazines and watched TV. It was bliss.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.