PR Done Right

**This post is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form. I just think this was a particularly awesome experience that warrants a shout-out.**

One of the major things people talk about at BlogHer is the swag. Last year, I brought home way too much stuff, and a lot of it eventually wound up in the trash. This year, I was way more cautious about only bringing home stuff that I genuinely wanted. The rest of it, either I didn’t pick it up in the first place, or I gave it to one of my hotel roommates.

Something I actually did want to keep, was a Play-Doh duffel bag. Sure, it’s nothing huge, but I knew Catie would like it, so it was one of the things I shoved in my suitcase to bring home with me.

Flash-forward to Sunday, at LaGuardia airport. My suitcase was 3 pounds overweight. The (not-very nice or helpful) airline attendant told me that I’d either have to take some stuff out or she was going to charge me $75. (Which, BTW, would be on top of the $25 I was already paying to check my one damn suitcase in the first place, and good GRIEF, don’t get me started on that sucky new airline policy.) I didn’t want to pay $75 for 3 pounds worth of stuff, so I quickly opened my suitcase and grabbed a few things to shove into my carry-on.

Without thinking about it, I put the Play-Doh duffel bag in my carry-on bag. It never occurred to me that Play-Doh would be considered a “liquid” (WTF?), and so, a few minutes later at security, my Play-Doh was confiscated by the TSA.

To be fair: I know this was my fault. I should’ve packed more carefully ahead of time. I was annoyed with myself, and I was irritated with the TSA (because come ON, you can see that the package is sealed and has never been opened or tampered with, and I also heard from other people who got their Play-Doh past the TSA without a problem, which just made me even more irritated). I mentioned something on Twitter about how the TSA took my Play-Doh, and somebody made a joke about how they actually took it so they could play with it themselves in their break room, and I really thought that was the end of that.

A few days after I got home from NYC, I got an email from a representative of Hasbro, apologizing for the trouble I had with the TSA, and asking for my mailing address so they could replace the Play-Doh that was taken. I was pretty surprised. None of this incident was Hasbro’s fault in the slightest. What am I going to say? “Damn you, Hasbro, you gave me a lovely gift for free and I lost it, and it’s all your fault!” That doesn’t even make any sense.

We got the new Play-Doh set in the mail yesterday. Catie is very pleased.

Catie loves Play-Doh

Catie loves Play-Doh

So, thank you, Hasbro. You made a little girl’s Saturday morning a lot more fun than usual.

**Honest to God. Not sponsored at all. I just thought they deserved a little praise there for handling the situation so well.**

BlogHer '10 Recap

Getting back to real life this week has been crazy hectic. Here’s my BlogHer recap as quickly as possible (which is still probably way too long). Expect sentence fragments & a ton of links ahead!

* Flew in on Thursday. Minor flight issues (re-routed to JFK instead of LGA), but otherwise fine. Registered, settled into the hotel, met my roomies (I already knew Angie, but this was my first time meeting Patrick and Mandi), couldn’t get the wi-fi to work, and met my Boyfriend of the Weekend, Armand – aka the Hilton’s IT guy. (He was awesome. And cute. And he flirted with me, which, like, never happens. I mean, come on, I’m a chubby mom in my mid-30’s. I’ll take what I can get.)

* Got dressed up for Thursday night parties: first the People’s Party (highlight: I met The Bloggess!), then the Schick Intuition party (and I know, it feels weird to say I’m going to a party sponsored by a ladies’ razor, but really? That party was freaking awesome. Open bar!).

Jen (@jenbshaw) & me

me with Ali (@adil320)

Danielle (@daisyJD) double-fisting her cocktails
Danielle! (Who I’d never met before, but she’s awesome! And very pretty!)

* Left the party and sat in Jen and Brittany’s hotel room and ate greasy pizza at midnight and gossiped about all kinds of random stuff with Heather, Heather’s cousin Leah (Leah, do you have a blog?), Ali, Mishi, Danielle, and… um… at least 1 more person who I’ve totally forgotten. (I’m not trying to be rude, I’d just had like 4 drinks that night, so things are a bit… blurry.) That might’ve been one of the highlights of my weekend, I love those ladies.

* Got up way too early on Friday, and Angie and I went to Dawn and Lotus‘s room to wake them up. I saw Dawn’s boobs. (Side note: WOW.) We all split up since I was in DIRE need of breakfast and Diet Coke.

* Went to lunch at Carnegie Deli with Angie, Aunt Becky (who is awesome and hilarious; she threatened me with physical violence within like 5 minutes of meeting me, so she’s totally my kind of people), and the one and only Anissa freaking Mayhew, which was amazing. There were also husbands there, and a couple of people who met with us later, but OMG the links are getting obnoxious, aren’t they?

* Had a free reflexology foot massage. Another highlight of the trip, for sure. That felt amazing.

* Community keynote speech. Awesome. Left my iPhone on the table. Not awesome. Realized it when I got upstairs to our room, then ran back down to retrieve it. I ran into Armand, my Hilton IT Department Boyfriend, and he said he’d help me find it. I almost kissed him. (I didn’t.) (Oh, also? Found out that because Patrick and I had been alone in the room when Armand came to set up our wi-fi, and we were both talking about our spouse and kids, who obviously were not the same people, he thought that Patrick and I were having an affair. Even though I’d just met Patrick, like, 15 minutes earlier. I found this highly amusing.) Ran back to the ballroom where the keynote speech had been, but my phone was gone. Found some friends, asked them to tweet about it, and Armand very sweetly walked me ALL OVER the damn Hilton looking for it. I filed a report with security, he took me way back in the kitchen to make sure it hadn’t gotten scooped up with the dishes & linens, etc. It was really so nice of him, since it was way above & beyond his regular job duties. I even tweeted the Hilton that they need to give him a raise.

* My iPhone never turned up. Broke my damn heart.

* More parties on Friday night. More booze too. Wish I knew that the photobooth pics were going to end up online, because I would’ve taken more. (Although that one with Miss Grace is awesome.) Snuggled with miss Annabel Spohr, made my ovaries ache.

Annabel and me

Tried to go to sleep that night but stayed up talking about hair metal with Patrick. We share a common love for c0ck r0ck. (Angie slept through that conversation, but we kept poor Mandi awake with all our talk of Warrant, Bon Jovi, etc.)

* Saturday, went to a couple of sessions. One of them was the session on writing through grief and loss with Cecily, Loralee, Kim, Anissa & Peter. It was a really touching session, and everyone around me was crying, but I was doing a really good job of holding it together. Until I got an email from my sister, which said, “I want you to enjoy your weekend in NYC, so go to the Apple Store and buy yourself a new iPhone, and I’ll pay for it.” THAT, my friends, is the moment that I burst into tears. (It wasn’t just the phone, it was a combination of everything, I think.)

* Saturday afternoon, went to lunch at Serendipity with a bunch of people (seriously, enough with the linkage already), then walked over to the Apple Store to get my new phone. Walked back to the hotel, synced my iPhone with my laptop, and I think that probably everyone within a 5-mile radius heard my screams of joy when all my data was restored. (Sorry about that.)

* Saturday night, more parties and more booze.

me and Miss Jenny Grace (@grace134)

It was awesome and so fun, and I’ve totally lost my voice from talking over the loud music. (In fact, that was my only teeny-tiny complaint about the parties – the music was TOO LOUD. Which I think shows that I am officially old.)

* Sunday morning: cab ride to LaGuardia with Lotus and Jen.

cab ride to LaGuardia with Lotus (@sarcasticmomlc) and Jen (@jenbshaw)

We look good for how tired we were.

* Got through security and found Casey.

sleepy at the airport with Casey (@mooshinindy)

Who also looks good for how tired she was.

* Flight home was uneventful. Saw Catie and Dave waiting by the escalators at baggage claim for me, Catie started jumping up and down when she saw me. I picked her up, and for the first time in ages, I didn’t care that all 37 pounds of her hurts my arms. I just couldn’t get my face out of her neck. I missed the feel and smell of her. Who knew you could miss someone so much after just three days?

Happy to be home, but yes, we heart NY

I think she was pretty happy to see me, too.

Not the pre-BlogHer post I was planning

Tomorrow, I’m getting on a plane bound for New York City, so I can go to BlogHer ’10. I bought my conference pass ages ago (February, I think?), so I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.

But yesterday, there was a big chunk of the day where I thought I was going to have to scrap my NYC plans completely. See, yesterday we found out that my uncle Stanton (you know my cousin Cat who I talk about all the time, and our kids are BFFs with each other? This is her dad) had a massive heart attack. Like, he was dead for 10 minutes and the EMTs managed to shock him and get him back. It’s really really bad.

It makes no sense. He’s one of the most athletically fit people you’ll ever meet. He’s an avid cyclist and rides his bike every day. This whole thing actually happened while he was on a bike ride with his friends. It’s just a freak thing. It’s basically the equivalent of Superman having a heart attack. Completely illogical.

And all I could think about was how Cat must be feeling, about how I’d feel if it were my dad, and I just wanted to do something. Anything. So at one point I offered to sell my BlogHer pass and change my plane ticket to fly to Texas with her. She said no, and she flew out last night with Austin, her 18 month-old, since he can still fly for free, plus you know, the Magic Healing Powers of Grandbabies can’t possibly hurt. She told me not to change my plans, to go to BlogHer and have fun. (Sure. Easier said than done!)

Right now it looks like things are very much in a wait-and-see phase, and we likely won’t have any news until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest, by which point I’ll already be in New York.

So, you know, just FYI: I’m generally not the socially anxious type, and I don’t do Blogger Drama as a rule, so if you see me obsessively checking my phone with worry lines on my forehead? I’m not freaking out about the conference thing at all. I just don’t cope very well with family crises (but then: who does?). So if you happen to notice me looking all frazzled and distant, please come over and talk to me, give me a hug, slap me upside the head, shove a drink into my hand, whatever. I’d really appreciate the distraction.

Oh, also, for those of you who’ll be at BlogHer this weekend? See y’all tomorrow. (Yay!)