Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In Which a Crabby Chicago Mom Blogger Actually has Fun at Blogger Events

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Let me eat cake!
I've just wrapped up my 8th(!) year of blogging. Clearly at this point I'm the crabby old lady of the Chicago mom blogger community. Gather round, kiddos, let me tell you how things worked back in the day and what you young whippersnappers are doing all wrong.

Well, it's not just that blogging has changed. I've changed. My kids have grown. I'm a legitimate work-from-home-because-my-family-counts-on-my-income gal instead of a chasing-two-young-kids-telling-stories-on-my-blawg-and-getting-a-few-sweet-invitations-and-some-swag kind of gal.

Because of my paid work/need to make money and the lack of kids to escape from (though really, some days I do need to get away from our puppy much as I love him--of course, I loved my little kids too), I rarely go to blogging events these days.

If the timing and the topic are right (not to mention the location and expected crowd), I might go. Most of my blogging energy is directed toward The Maker Mom and their aren't a whole lot of maker or science and tech events that pass through town (side note: while it's fine that several Chicago museums are running blogger reviews though organizations like the Clever Girls Collective, it'd be nice to be recognized as a local blogger whose target audience matches theirs. See? I told you I'm a crabby old lady.).

At this stage of the game, I don't have patience for crowds. Dear brand, if you are hosting a public event and there's nothing special or exclusive for bloggers and (God forbid) you expect me to wait in line with everybody else and pay for my own parking then just leave me off your list.

(Note to self: I was on a trip with OnStar a few weeks ago and though I blogged about the Buick, I still need to write more about the my experience with the brand. They were totally worthy.)

Despite my increasingly hermit-like ways, I did make it out to two outstanding blogger events recently. The fact that I won major door prizes at both was icing on the delicious bloggy cake as you'll see above.

And there was delicious bloggy cake as well as other excellent food.

The first event was sponsored by Red Tricycle Chicago, a where-to-go/what-to-do online destination with site in nine major metropolitan areas across the US. It was interesting to meet with and hear founder Jacqui Boland talk about how she turned her digital city guide into a national presence over the course of seven years.

The event was sponsored by the Microsoft Surface 2, a piece of technology I was interested in learning about (and won!). I liked that it was a luncheon event that promised not to take up my entire day. Bonus: I got to drive in with Stacey and we enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Little Goat.

The Surface2 demo was seamlessly integrated into a cooking demo. There was an intimate crowd of friends and new faces and it took place on a sunny day in Chicago. Even if I hadn't won the Surface2, I would have called the event a win.

The other event was put on by some of my early blogging peeps, MJ Tam and Beth Rosen. I wanted to see and support them, but honestly, I was a bit twitchy about the fact that it required me to essentially take a full day out of the office (and arrange doggy daycare). However it was a fun and informative event.

The food was delicious--almost a mini taste of Chicago-- there was a factory tour involved and I got to be in the studio audience while they recorded an episode of Chicagonisa Live.


The event was hosted at Nielsen-Massey maker of high quality pure vanilla and other extracts. I knew they were local because I get press releases from them from time to time and I have some of their product on my shelves (and now even more).

Capannari Ice Cream was also part of the event. They are a hike away from me in Mount Prospect, IL. We've never made it out for treats despite their tours, movie nights, and being named both a Chicago Parent and Red Tricycle favorite. They are now closed for the season, but thanks to a gift card in the swag bags, we'll definitely be heading out in 2014.

North Shore Distillery served up beverages. What? They offer factory tours on Saturdays? I'm so there. Also, I won this super cool History of Gin artisan spirits set from them.


I'm not sure who provided what, but both Bent Fork Bakery and the French Pastry School were credited with providing delectable desserts and artisan sandwiches.

There was also a melange of PR folks working behind the scenes on the event.I'll give a shout-out to Savor Agency because I've known them the longest, but we only got in a quick hello (and we've both worked with Mrs. Prindables). But I'm sure the Chicagonista gals- MJ, Beth, Nancy and Duong- played a huge role in shaping the logistically complex event so that it would resonate with the bloggers in attendance. It did. I'm sorry I had to run home before someone could steal my gin to get the dog and take care of the after-school events.

And now, I crawl back into my cave, now with a lovely vanilla scent, until the sun in shining and the average temperature is in the 50s.

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