I knew things were going to be alright when I walked up to the conference registration line yesterday and ran smack into The Pioneer Woman. O.M.G!!!


Ben was with me and was all – what the hell is wrong with you?! – when I started geeking out. She was quickly surrounded by dozens of fans, and I was too shy to say anything anyways, so I took a stalker photo with my iPhone.


This morning I woke up wondering what else would be in store for the weekend. :)

After a nice sweat sesh at the hotel gym, I picked up a Starby’s with my new pre-paid AmEx card to sip on before the conference got started.

American Express sponsored my trip and ticket to BlogHer, and I’m using their new pre-paid card for my expenses while in San Diego. The card is re loadable, has zero fees associated with it, doesn’t impact your credit score and is great for giving to unsupervised, San Diego-wandering husbands to make sure they don’t spend too much moolah while you’re sitting in conference sessions.

I met a new friend Emily in line at Starbucks and we hit the exhibition hall before the first session of the day started.

Holy swag! Brands from Skinny Cow to Dove were inside handing out dozens of samples and coupons. I sipped on everything from a Mango & Pineapple Smoothie from McDonalds (TO DIE!!!!)

to Nutty Dark Chocolate squares from Lindt (among a million other things.)

I lugged my goodie-filled bag to the first session of the day, Bad Blogger Pitches (The Other Side of the Blogger/PR Relationship.) Here are my takeaways:


When pitching to a brand/PR company, approach them with the following information:

  • Why you want to work with the company/brand
  • What makes you and your blog special
  • What your background is
  • Other similar companies/brands that you have worked with
  • Who your community is (age, gender, location)
  • Traffic AND engagement metrics
  • How the relationship can be mutually beneficial

After the session, it was lunch time. I’ve been so impressed with the meals/snacks provided at the conference so far. Not only is everything super fresh and healthy, but they have gluten-free and vegan options available at every meal. Nice, right?

Spider monkey!

Better. ;)

OMG there was a flash mob during lunch – HA!

I was going to head back to my room for a little R&R before my next session, but as I was heading out the door, I passed by the Tropicana booth which was giving out free manicures.


They were offering pink or yellow, to coincide with their lemonade flavors.

I chose pink, naturally. :)

Afterwards I headed to my second session of the day, Photography: A Metaphor for Life with Penny De Los Santos, an incredible photo journalist and food photographer.

INSPIRING was the first word that came to mind as I left this session. This woman is almost as good of a story teller as she is photographer, and I had goosebumps the entire time.

Here are my takeaways:

What makes a great photograph?

  • Light. Where is it coming from, how strong is it, is it filtered or direct, etc.
  • Color. Follow the color. Examine the time of day, what people are wearing, background, etc.
  • Composition. Something you learn and study.
  • Subject. Pick a very visual subject. If shooting food – pick something that has tons of texture, detail and is very visual – ie, not white rice.


  • Practice patience. It may take HOURS to get that perfect shot.
  • Change your perspective a ton – up high, down low, etc.
  • Follow the color and movement
  • Use props when shooting food
  • Don’t be afraid of movement in a photograph (blur)

How to grow:

  • Look at photography everyday. Magazines, books. Study the photographs and styling.
  • Practice regularly.
  • Keep a visual journal to develop good habits.
  • Surround yourself with people that challenge you
  • Show your work to your peers, editors, anyone who can give you constructive feedback

Gahhhh I wish you could have been there – it was such an incredible session, and I now want to be a professional photographer when I grow up. :)

Well I’m back in my room now snacking on some Skinny Cow treats I got at the expo hall while I wait to meet some girls for happy hour.


In case you were wondering, Ben’s been pretty much livin’ the dream today. Hung out at the pool for a bit, had a beer & burger for lunch, and was enjoying a nice forty on the balcony in his boxers when I got home.

Must be rough. ;)