Sparkle + unicorn – uni

Here’s a little bit about a BlogHer party that I mostly wrote on the train on my way back from NY, but it got out of hand to include in the post I put up that night.

I wasn’t really sure about going to parties at BlogHer this year, but I ended up checking out one of them. Mostly for Phoebe. You see, it was the party known as Sparklecorn. Where, as best I can tell, the “corn” stands for “unicorn,” and the “sparkle” stands for “sparkle.” I know that I have mentioned that Phoebe loves unicorns. Have I also mentioned that Phoebe, unlike most 6-year-old girls, loves sparkly things? So naturally I wanted to go to this so that I could lord it over her that I got to go to a cool party while she stayed home.

This party seems to be a BlogHer tradition, and many get into the spirit by dressing in sparkly things. I did not come equipped with sparkle, but they let me in anyhow. Happily, to aid the sparkle-deficient (and to augment the sparkling of the sparkle-prepared), there were approximately a gazillion glowsticks around. On every available surface, and every willing person.

A pile o’ glow.

I don’t know any of these people.

The tables were adorned thusly, with glowsticks, shiny unicorn confetti, and candy necklaces:

I snagged a few of these sparkly unicorn confetti bits to bring home for Phoebe.

I liked the way these wine glasses caught the light. The light was actually changing colors, but somehow I only got a decent shot when the light was white. But you can still see the reflected glints of a thousand glowsticks.

I did not snag any of these to bring home for Phoebe.

Chewbacca really got into the spirit. (He was actually just a cardboard cut-out.) Lady Gaga looks comparatively lackluster.

This woman (sighted on her way to the party, and who was not a cardboard cut-out) also really got into the spirit of things.

The pièce de résistance was definitely the cake.¹ I can only be glad that Phoebe did not know of the existence of such a thing before her 6th birthday.

I didn’t stick around long enough to see the dismemberment of this remarkable cyborg rainbow unicorn pony cake, so I can only guess as to how it was constructed. I submit to you that it was held together by magic, the magic of friendship. That and at least 40 pounds of fondant.³

¹ The cake took the cake. ²
² Should this be reflexive? The cake took itself?
³ I have since seen a diagram of the cake’s construction, which included a disappointingly large amount of styrofoam compared to the quantities of magic.

calling cards

When I went to BlogHer in 2010, I got my act together to get some business cards printed. Unlike those cursed with foresight and preparedness, who may be easily enticed by services that can (for example) make business cards for you (with sufficient advance notice), I found myself needing alternate arrangements. My plan involved printing a regular 8 and a half by 11 sheet of card stock with 12 copies of my newly designed business card, and since I didn’t want the back to be plain, I had the image of my big doodle (currently on my banner) printed on the back. I carefully cut the cards apart with a paper cutter, giving me 12 cards per sheet, each with a different piece of the doodle on the back.



This year, upon deciding on a Wednesday that I would be leaving for BlogHer on a Thursday, I didn’t have a lot of time to make business cards. I did remember coming across some leftovers of the old cards, and I made it my mission to track them down on Thursday. Given that our house eats things, this was no small challenge. However, I thought to combine the task with getting some things off my to-do list, namely getting some things into the attic. The good news is that I got the cradle mattresses into the attic (roughly 3 weeks before the last person who used them turns 4), as well as several other large items that have been clogging the frightening pile of things that is somewhat ironically called “the guest room“.¹

I also found the target of my search. Mission accomplished!

Sort of.

I guess I gave away quite a few cards in 2010, the majority to people who probably thought I was insane, and who I never heard from again.² I found 2 loose cards, and a stack of 12 that were rubber-banded together.

Upon finding them, I realized that I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to give them away. You see, the 12 unique cards from a single sheet could be re-assembled like a puzzle.

Backs, re-assembled.

Since it was my last full set, how could I break it up? Realistically, I was not going to make more of these cards. Possibly ever.

In my rush to pack, I managed not to bring the two loose cards. However, I did think to cut a few blank business-card-sized rectangles from some plain index cards, and I packed a box of glittery crayons. For the many years before I ever had any sort of business card, I joked that I should just make some with crayons. The time had come for that joke to be realized.

Indeed, I did give out a few such hastily-scribbled cards on Friday. Then late Friday night, having gone back to the hotel room both tired and wired, I found myself unable to go to sleep. Instead, I sat down and did what any normal person would do: I got out my Japanese brush pen (which I keep in my backpack) and lettered some text on one side. Then I doodled a few of my smiley little sea creatures and micro-organisms on the back. I even colored a couple with crayons (and took this photo) before sleepiness kicked in.

It is totally normal to hand-draw business cards at 11:30 at night and color them with crayons. I don’t know what you are talking about.

You may also note that I have included my Twitter handle. Several people asked for it, so that is what I scribbled on the crayon-written cards. Having given out that info, I then felt that I should see what I’ve said on Twitter. I saw that it had been a…while. So I tweeted, which I’m pretty sure is one of the signs of the apocalypse. And since that one stray tweet, I have gotten caught up in a comparative tide of tweeting, which likely will come to an end as soon as my work finds me once more.³

¹ It is a hazardous space that has neither room, nor guests. (At least no guests have yet been uncovered under the piles.)
² I also gave some to my friends, who already knew I was insane.
³ I have this half-finished book review that followed me down on the train to New York, but I managed to ditch it somewhere in Penn Station. I fear it will track me down tomorrow. Those buggers are dogged.

by the seat of my pants

Do you remember how a couple of years ago, when BlogHer was hosted in New York, I managed to get my act together to go rather last-minute? This might give you a sense of déja-vu.

A while back, I learned that conference was again going to be in New York. I thought I’d just ignore it. Then I began hearing murmurs that some of my much loved and admired blog crushes were going to be there. I found myself wanting to go. With all the stuff I had going on, I wasn’t sure that it made sense for me to go anyhow. On the one hand, I have a lot going on. (I’m busy, I’m tired. I have a job. I have kids.) On the other hand, New York is so easily accessible for me, and I don’t often get to see my blogger friends. On the other hand, I only have two hands, but that’s never stopped me from this sort of back and forth debate with myself before.

A couple of months ago, I made a decision. I decided to put “decide about BlogHer” on my to-do list.

Yesterday I checked it off the list.

From my seat in a BlogHer session.

A few days ago, I still wondered about going, but I had a few obstacles. Like no conference registration, no hotel reservation, and no childcare for Friday. Also, I had not really discussed the whole scheme with John, whose participation was also needed. But then a few days ago, the fantabulous Magpie offered to share her hotel room with me. Then on Wednesday I inquired about having the kids go to the daycare on Friday, having only moderate hopes given the short notice and the place’s dependence on staffing. But the answer turned out to be “yes.” Wednesday evening, I brought up the subject with John, and he was willing (if not eager) for me to go. I went to the BlogHer website and registered for the conference Wednesday night, 7 hours before the cut-off. Thursday night I took the train down to New York. Amazingly, all my ducks lined up in a row. And I didn’t even have to shoot them.

Last time I went to BlogHer, I really enjoyed meeting and spending time with some great people, but there were some things that left me feeing unhappy. All the swag and corporate sponsorship left me feeling dirty, and there were some things that gave me flashbacks to the dark days of junior high. But this year, I was better prepared. I was determined not to come home with a giant bag of useless crap, and I set my expectations low for networking with new people. In the end, I had a wonderful time. Things were a bit rushed, as I opted for a fairly early return today (Saturday), but it was probably good that I didn’t have time to feel burnt out from it all.

I got to spend time hanging out with a few of my favorite bloggers (and favorite writers, for that matter), at times following them around like a love-sick puppy dog. I heard some great talks and panels–funny, inspiring, moving, informative. I met some great people. I also attended some big-name talks, which I enjoyed more than I expected. All of it made me wish that I could blog more. I even tweeted, which is probably one of the signs of the apocalypse.

I have more to say about who and what I did and saw (not that I “did” anyone), but it’s after 11 at night now, and I should get to bed. I’ll probably just save the rest “for later,” which means placing it along with the other 500+ embryonic posts in my drafts folder.

A view from the hotel room this afternoon. I have a lot more photos to share…too many for tonight.