|Adrienne and I headed out to the first day of the conference..|
Well, I returned from the Blogher conference full of great ideas and new thoughts percolating in my head. It was a good experience, inspiring speakers like Kerry Washington, Arianna Huffington, the Blogess and some famous tech folks like Kara Swisher were one of the best parts for me.
Kerry Washington is as thoughtful and kind as she is beautiful. Love her passion for making the world a better place. I’ve got to start watching her show, Scandal. I feel out of the loop and it’s supposed to be that good.
The individual small classes were insightful, some more than others. I did enjoy the panelists and what they shared. One new idea we learned is that the future is about SMO, (social media optimization), not SEO as bloggers have been lead to believe. Basically, the thought is build your tribe, and followers through your social channels, and success will follow. I think I agree and frankly the whole SEO (in which your audience is coming primarily via search engines), is mystifying and annoying. Google and other search engines change up their search algorithms and you cannot count on the traffic they send to you or be sure about how you get it.
The other helpful session I took was about adding video to your blog. ‘Vlogging’ is the future and if you aren’t already making them, you should be. There were great tips about just doing it, even if you know nothing. In fact the three women on the panel were Youtube successes without any professional equipment or cameras. Most just used a regular camera or phone. It was inspiring enough for me to try it at home. I videotaped myself cooking. Yikes, let’s just say this might take me a while. I don’t want to scare people away! I am hoping to…soon. I like the idea of readers knowing the real me. (Or do I? ;I)
To me, the highs of the conference were meeting new people, bloggers from nearby and some far. I connected with green bloggers like, ClimateMama, finally met Valerie’s Kitchen, a local blogger, in person, and made friends with a new blogger mom Saundra from, In Spirit and on Purpose. I loved catching up with my good friends and getting to know new ones like stylist Malia and social media maven, Kerry Rego, even better.
|Malia and Kerry|
Though I live very close to San Jose, I decided to stay overnight for the full conference experience. I cannot say enough good things about the Fairmont in San Jose, who was the official hotel for the event. Many bloggers stayed in the South Tower, 14th floor. The views of the San Jose skyline were lovely. My room had a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, was spacious and luxurious. I would very much recommend requesting that tower and a higher floor.
|Loved my view!!!|
We even enjoyed the pool one afternoon. Gotta love a rooftop pool and drink service. We had fun floating around and chatting with other blogger gals, while sipping cocktails. The palm trees and view were quintessential California. It was a nice break after a day in a big conference center.
The Fairmont’s location, food and service were super. They have 3 restaurants, a sushi bar and a lovely lobby bar with live music and some fun dancing on weekend evenings. It’s my top pick if you are staying in San Jose.
As a native San Josean, I felt compelled to share some great spots while we were all out during the conference! So we wandered a few blocks away to another San Jose landmark, The Sainte Claire. This gorgeous 1926 hotel has an early California-Spanish design and was recently renovated to it’s former grandeur. It’s worth a walk over to see the lovely lobby and Il Fornaio.
The Il Fornaio restaurant there is arguably one of the best in Downtown San Jose. The homemade pastas, breads and mozzarella and caprese with their finest olive oil are some of of my favorites. I love the bar there and it’s a fun spot to grab a quick Aperol and panini before a show. Many of the live theater venues like the Center for Performing Arts and The Montgomery Theatre are within walking distance.
|Kerry, Malia, Adrienne, Tamera and Jennifer.|
Another evening we took a few photos outside the hotel by the Circle of Palms and then walked to the building next door, to a San Jose institution, the Capital Club, for dinner alfresco and with a view of the city.
The Capital Club has a wrap-around deck and couches to have a drink, a bite and watch the sun set on the surrounding mountains while you watch the airplanes land at SJ International nearby.
Other fun San Jose landmarks are Original Joe’s, which backs up to Il Fornaio and is traditional Italian fare at it’s best, and it’s old school bar attached at back called the Hideout. Tanq at the Marriott is an glass enclosed bar with a happening vibe that we dropped into as well and is steps from all of these.
Across the street from the Fairmont is the Tech Museum of Innovation or what we SV peeps call The Tech, which is fun for the kids or techy geeks. It also has it’s own IMAX movie theatre, showing some of the best nature and science movies. The San Jose Museum of Art is also across the plaza from the Fairmont and always has new exhibitions going and a cafe for a quick bite.
Adrienne and I discovered a new addition to this area, below the South Tower of the Fairmont is a new 7,000 square foot MUJI store. MUJI is a Japanese retailer with wonderful home accessories as well as lovely skincare, very chic clothing basics and other charming items. We were instantly enchanted with it. Think Ikea and Uniqlo combined, but a bit more upscale. It’s worth a trip downtown just to visit.
The last night Blogher held a fun street party with Rev Run as the DJ. He exceeded expectations!