Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blogher 11: Best of the Expo and Sponsor Suites

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With breakfast on the first morning over, it was time to checkout the Expo floor.  The expo floor is the part of Blogher where all the sponsors show off their newest products and programs.  It is also where they laden you down with so much free stuff that you beg people for bags to carry it in with promises of being their best friend.  Note:  Pepsico has enough bffs but will still give you a bag if you need it.  Quick, go buy Pepsi and chips!  Yes, that is my puffy, tired face on the right and of course we run in to this pretty lady within 30 seconds of entering the Expo area.   How adorable is Tera Rae Stephens?!  She is the best hair stylist in all the land.  But she's so much more than that, too.  She's always been a cheerleader for me and she has a great business-y mind.  You really are getting more than just a cut and color with her.  And she promises to teach me how to do those amazing beachy waves...

I was immediately attracted to the Glad booth with all its lovely florals and pink.  Upon closer look, I found what I think is the most beautiful cookbook ever created called Pretty Delicious!  Using vintage-esque florals and sweet eyelet details, the printed recipes are gorgeous and trumped only by the amazing photography.  This is quite possibly the best bridal shower gift idea ever! And the best part, the recipes actually sound good and are healthy for you!  Bonus!  The author, Candace Kumai (a total cutie) was in the booth sharing recipe cards of some of yummy dishes created exclusively for Glad To Go.  I can't wait to try her Roasted Fig and Blue Cheese Salad!  Glad To Go is their newest container.  And I must say it is rather brilliant.  It is basically two containers that secure together with one lid.  So if you want to take a salad along with you, the dressing can go in the separate, smaller container which fits right in to the middle of the same lid that closes the container.  Perfect for kid's snacks and even some craft supplies.  I don't see them yet on their website but they will surely be out soon (Check out this little video to see more about the cookbook and the new Glad product!)

For even more loveliness you simply must check out her blog.  It is pure eye candy!!!!!!!
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Lowe's was out in full force with a two story booth that resembled a house.  They were there to showcase a few of their different programs, one of which was Lowe Creative Ideas magazine and website.  I knew Lowe's was more lady friendly but had no idea they were such a great resource!  Check out this photobooth frame project and this spray painted stencil rug that could also work as a tablecovering or photo backdrop.  Lowe's had teams on hand to interview people about creativity.  Here is my pal, Amy being interviewed.  Doesn't she look like a natural?  And she's totally TV cute.  I'm pushing for her own show...  I've signed up for a free subscription for Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine and can't wait to be inspired!  

Later in the day they also held a bloggers challenge.  They put together teams of bloggers, gave them materials from the store and let them get creative with them.  The team pictured above, including the super funny Angry Julie, put together a really fun tablescape set up.  They used buckets as seats and some clear tubing for drinking straws.  What a fun idea!!!!   

And they also made sure that I knew about the kid's workshops they hold at each location called "Build and Grow Clinics".  The police car is one of the crafts they have coming up and even has a working light on top.  What kid wouldn't love that!?!  Check with your local stores for dates.   

There was a time (a very short time) where I would only let my son watch PBS cartoons.  Luckily Dinosaur Train was on at that time.  He didn't even remember about the shows he was not allowed to watch any more.  He learned so much about dinosaurs from this show it blows my mind.  But until now, there has been a relative lack of themed toys to go along with the show.  I was super excited to see this bingo set on the Expo floor along with some other great card games for young kids.  And my kids thought I was the coolest because I got a picture with Buddy.    

These cool Wall Tracks by Hot Wheels are sure to be a hit at Christmas.  Out now, they retail for about $30 for a starter set and they are hung on the walls using those rad 3M sticky tabs that don't damage the wall surface.  The sets can be added together to make large installations and can even be put in corners.  They are a really fun way to let the kids get really creative.  

Needing some extra energy, Amy and I checked out the Hershey's S'mores Suite.  They had S'mores makers all around the sweet and it was the perfect afternoon sweet treat.  They even had an area decorated like you were at a beach campfire enjoying your s'more.  You can check out more pictures of the suite here. 

I fell in love with the invitation designs by Paper Culture.  Everything about the company is cool and modern and so ridiculously lovely.  They have added some gifts in the form of personalized bamboo plaques to their standard paper offerings.  They are SO well done.  How rad are those boy name plaques?  They make them in various sizes and would make an awesome keepsake baby gift.  If you don't know about Paper Culture be sure to go check out their designs.  With Christmas coming up, I can't think of a more perfect place to buy your family Christmas cards.  

A highlight, for sure, was meeting Wendi McLendon-Covey, the newest Hillshire Farm Spokesperson. She was super funny and warm and she was right by some yummy food samples.  I had to get a photo with her because Bridesmaids (remember her from that movie?) might be one of my favorite movies.  I love that she is their spokesperson.  Go meat! 

One of my favorite things to have happened at the conference was that I got in to a very intimate private session sponsored by Hillshire Farm about food photography and styling.  I learned so much listening to the esteemed panel of professionals they put together.  I left there so inspired and it really made me want to be better.  Sara Remington shared some amazing photos from her portfolio and I was super excited to hear that she doesn't use a lot of crazy equipment.  She urges food photographers to keep it simple and use nature lighting.  And I had seen William Smith on Food Network before and loved hearing his tips for styling food.  He was funny and friendly and, like  Sara, says keep it simple.  Oh and work fast.  Food doesn't like to sit around.  

There are a few more items from the show that I want to share, but they are so good, they deserve their own post.

If you are a blogger and thinking about going to Blogher, do it.  At least once.  Such an amazing experience! 

all photos are mine. 


Tera Stephens said...

ummmm HELLO!!! That's me with you, in your post right here!!! So exciting! And your kind words didn't suck either!!! xoxoxo

lyndsey @ the stationery place said...

i am totally loving all your blogher recap posts -- so thorough! nice work. i should have hung out with you more -- you and amy seriously made the rounds w/ all the cool stuff available! i missed out on a lot, apparently.


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