New York, New York + 4,000 women

I was apprehensive, to be sure, about BlogHer 2012.

Spending three days with thousands of women in New York City didn’t sound appealing. Before you take offense, let me explain…

NYC overwhelms me. My long-time readers know this.

It’s just impossible to find a space that isn’t already occupied. There are people everywhere. Don’t get me wrong. I like people. A lot. I do. But being a country girl at heart, my crowd time must be immediately remedied by some peace and quiet time. Or, I at least need to find a spot to just duck out for a minute. In New York City even the sidewalks are crowded. You have understand that here in Columbus, we rarely encounter crowds. We all those festivals or gallery hops or long lines.

The other thing is the air quality. I feel it immediately when I get out of the airport. Thick, merciless, unrelenting and entirely different then the fresh air we take for granted in Ohio. And trees. I need them. Call me an uncultured asshole, but NYC just isn’t my bag of chips. With that said, I think New Yorkers rock and I have profound respect for them.

And as for the thousands of women under one roof, for one purpose–it sounded like a giant slumber party, which I have never enjoyed. I blame that on witnessing too many slumber party hazings in middle school. The first girl to pass out would be immediately adorned with peanut butter between her toes and feathers and chocolate syrup in her hair. I know. Totally f’ed.

But when compared with my reality every day–three kids, a giant dog (who won’t stop licking himself) and a thriving yet always demanding business–NYC and BlogHer sounded downright awesome. And, to my pleasant surprise, they both came through.

Before I left, Seth said, “relax, take it easy and have fun–you deserve it.”

With that kind of zero-guilt blessing from my husband, I set on my vacation auto-responder and hopped on a plane. A few hours later I was in a cab on my way to Greenpoint in Brooklyn to my sister’s apartment.

We started with a manicure and pedicure.


It was Anna’s first time. The first time her toes had been scrubbed and then painted and polished. And, no surprise here, she loved it.


How she made it into her 30s is just one of those unexplainable things about Anna. With her toes looking better then they ever had before we grabbed lunch. At a taco truck, of course. Being a gluten-free girl, taco trucks and their corn tortillas are saviors when traveling.


Another picture


And then Anna escorted her helpless big sister into the subway sauna.


I could feel my pores exploding in the thick, soupy air and made a mental note to keep my make up foundation off until after my next ride.

We exited at 23rd and 5th Ave and headed up to the Hilton in Midtown.


I heard from both Anna and Jess, my right hand woman at Cement Marketing and also a New Yorker, that this is their least favorite part of town. Anna walked me all the way into the Hilton, just to make sure I got there (sweet sister) and then she left me alone with 4,000 mom bloggers.

Over the course of the next few days I met the most amazing women. These are the ones who caught my attention.

Melysa of Sex, Lies and Bacon. She was excited to meet me, which I thought was hilarious.


Then Megan, a fellow entrepreneur mom, who created the Hatched It! app for working parents who desperately need synced kid’s calendars. Custom to our needs it beats a Google calendar and you can even create custom calendars to share with ex co-parents! Brilliant.

And I loved her. I love any woman who starts her own thing for the sake of spending more time with her children, for the sake of escaping the ridiculous and outdated nine to five.


At the keynote lunch the next day I met Kelly, daughter of Shelly (@StillBlondeAfterAllTheseYears). The photos on some of these are grainy because I turned the iPhone into a little mirror to take them.


Kelly shared the story of her blended family with me. She was six when her mother (Still Blonde After All These Years) met her step-father. She went on and on about how rewarding it was, and still is, to have their relationship to emulate. And to grow up in a house filled with so much love. As for her two step-brothers. She feels like they are her bio brothers. “There are no labels at all anymore,” she said. I wished I would have been recording the conversation.

At the same table I met Leslie, a blogging connection of Jess’. I immediately fell in love with her raw open attitude and her sense of humor. She is an artist, a mom a wife, and a blogger and this post she wrote was featured on Apartment

She’s kind of awesome. We ended up spending a lot of time together, and even played hookie to go shopping. This is Leslie trying to sneak pictures of two Cirque du Soleil performers taking a smoke break with their full face paint on.


She and Jess got along like two peas on a pod.

Also, I got to spend a few hours with Kristin from Vancouver.

Remember, Kristin? Benjamin and I went to see her in Vancouver ages ago. During that trip she met her now husband. Like me, she got a lot of hate from readers for finding love so quickly. Then she bailed on publishing her writing. A loss to the blogging community.

Anna and I snuck out for some more shopping, eating and site seeing. This time to Chelsea Market.

And then the High Line.

Anna wanted to show me how awesome this place was. It used to be a subway line and instead of just letting it go, they gave New Yorkers a place to climb up above the traffic.

You can take your shoes off and get your feet wet, and look at the gardens.

And sit and watch traffic.

This part mystified me. I’m not going to lie.

I did go to a few panels at BlogHer.


And then I met Ree (Pioneer Woman).

She remembered me from years ago when we had lunch at SXSW in Austin.  It was totally random. I spotted her and walked up all excited and then she invited me to sit down and join she and her sister while we waited to hear if she won a huge blog award (which she totally did). We killed the time talking about blogging, men, Texas and Oklahoma. At the time I was dating Mr. Man (remember, that one?). Well, I was happy to update Ree on my recent back yard wedding to the man of my dreams and, being the romantic she is, she was thrilled.


And in case you ever had any doubt, she is as sweet and as wonderful as she looks. The moment above was sponsored by Land O Lakes butter. I waited in a line to spend two seconds with her. Afterwards, I left the Hilton again to join the real New Yorkers.

Anna and Ryan and I met for dinner. Aren’t they beautiful?


The next morning we hit the Brooklyn Flea Market.


The prices were par for the NYC course, but without a thrift store anywhere in site I made do.

I have become hooked on thrift shopping and, with three children to clothe instead of one, it’s now a necessity. I’ll write more posts soon just on thrifting tips, ok? But for now, back to NYC.

As you can see this flea market was a treasure trove of goodies.











Afterwards we took a break in a Hipster bar in Wilmington (I think). By this point it was all a blur of people in an endless concrete jungle.


Two hours later my trip ended in La Guardia. US Airways grounded our flight for a while due to the impending storm.

Can’t blame them there. Totally understandable. Only that the grounding (due to weather) came after a two hour delay (due to air traffic control).

I remained relatively calm until we landed in Philadelphia. We dashed off the plane, desperate to make our connection and then instead of apologizing as we watched the gate door shut, the US Airways employee said, “We gave your seats away to other passengers, anyway.”

That’s when my head exploded in anger. We were all just so frustrated. A simple apology or a smile. Anything. But no, instead a cold shoulder and a shrug. Sorry about your luck even though you spent a small fortune on your tickets.

Instead of waiting for the next outbound flight (the next evening), and it was already 11:00PM, we all shared a hotel room in Philadelphia and booked a flight with Southwest the next morning. Oh, and the hotel room, the Marriott in Philadelphia airport, refused to offer AAA discounts and jacked up their room rate by $100 to take advantage of all of the stranded passengers.


By the time we returned to Columbus, I had to restrain myself from dropping down and kissing the ground. Instead I waited until I got home and kissed my husband and the kids.

One lucky lady here,











13 Responses to New York, New York + 4,000 women
  1. Jen Reply

    You can totally tell that you and your sister are related. I too love thrift shops – we call them op (opportunity) shops here. Most of my clothes are from the op shops and I’ve found some great bargains. I also try to get my son’s clothes 2nd hand too – much much cheaper especially as he’s growing at a rate of knots.

    • alaina Reply

      That is SO funny you have different names for the thrift stores. Is that because it’s an opportunity for you or the shop owner?

  2. Jennifer Reply

    I’m sorry that you had other people’s unhappiness put on you because you found happiness. I’m glad that you’re still here to tell your love story. Write on, mama.

    • alaina Reply

      I second that! I’m glad to still be here writing as well… I have a thick skin because of a former life as a morning radio chick. The things people said! Astonishing.

  3. Amy Reply

    Looks like a great time (save for the flight home), thanks for sharing the pics!

    • alaina Reply

      My pleasure. Thanks for reading (and commenting) Amy.

  4. My Name is JACY Reply

    This did look great Alaina!! Minus a few hiccups, you are one lucky lady ;)

    I’d love a trip to NYC about now… It looked like a marvelous time with marvelous people!


    • alaina Reply

      Yes! It was! Thank you.

  5. zankin Reply

    These are a lot of really amazing pictures!! It’s good advice to relax and just enjoy it, but I’d have trouble too, I’ve never been to NY, just the idea is a bit intimidating to me.

    • alaina Reply

      Definitely! Thanks, Zankin.

  6. Amy Reply

    I didn’t have my first mani/ped till I was 45! LOVE them. You and your sister look very much alike. So great to see your new blog and how happy you are :)

  7. guepe Reply

    Yay! Longtime reader here – I love your new blogging incarnation – feels like your energy is behind it more than ever, and it makes for a great read!

    • alaina Reply

      Thank you, Guepe!!!

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