Bravery and BlogHER

She pulled up on the random street corner in her soccer-mom mini van and told me this is it, and while the wheels were still moving I jumped out onto the Chicago city street. “Just go down two blocks and it will be right there,” she yelled out the window as she sped off.


There I stood alone, in the city. You know the one with the wind and the murders and the good restaurants. You know that one. The one that could devour a little Iowa girl in one bite. Ok, so I might be exaggerating, but I was in an unknown area of the city, and had no clue where to go.


Slowly I followed her directions and made my way to my destination. It took only a couple minutes to find, and with one phone call I was safe.


Immediately, I felt empowered, and even more so as my destination was the Swirlgear offices in Chicago. I met Lacie Whyte, founder and creator of Swirlgear and her partner in crime Marisa. We talked running and clothing, and future plans for the brand. {check the sidebar for a code for free shipping. Yes a shameless plug}.


Lacie Whyte Swirlgear


With my adrenaline rushing I opted for the train as opposed to a cab. Of course I had no clue to how operate the ticket machine or even how to make my way through the gate, but after a little education from the nice CTA worker I made my way to the platform.


At this point, after checking my dying phone, I realized I should probably text my mini-van driving friend and tell her where I am.


Patiently I waited for each stop keeping an eye on the map and my destination. Next up Roosevelt. I depart my train and head in what I think is the direction of the lake, after walking past a city-style Target {which gave me comfort in some weird way} I soon realized I was going the wrong direction. After finding my way, I cross over to the Museum Campus.


Chicago train


Once approved by security I’m able to make a quick visit with my sister-in-law who works there. After a visit to the flesh-eating bug room {it smelled like beef jerky}, and seeing the legers from the Roosevelt family, and the skeleton of a new species of shrew, I hugged my SIL and wave goodbye to Sue.


Bug Room Field Museum


Exhausted I made my way to the lake, caught the nearest water taxi and chugged to Navy Pier. The wind rustled my hair and I watched the sailboats glide along the lake. Once on dry land I walked to the hotel, put my key in the door and fell into bed.


Navy Pier


What a day, and that was only beginning of what was soon to be the weekend of bravery, because I was about to enter BlogHER, the largest blog conference in the nation … 5,000 people to be exact.




I maybe an extrovert, but I was still nervous, not like puke nervous, but more like wedding day excited nervous. Luckily my mini-van driving mentor and baby xanax were by my side most of the time, which made it easier.


Even still I believe my brave little journey through the city, empowered me, and helped me find the courage to meet my tribe.


I quickly learned that no matter what the conversation, someone will always mention poop or meth. {usually it’s me, but it does fit the conversation}


I learned that at a blog conference no one is offended when you are Tweeting or Instagraming dinner.




Movie stars and “famous” bloggers are just normal people. They put their pants on one leg at time and snort when they laugh.


I learned that friendships, even made through Twitter, Facebook and our blogs, are still REAL friendships.


Blog Friends


That unless you stand up and ask questions or engage with others you will never learn something new.


I learned to talk to people on the bus. You never know who you will meet.


Clown noses make the best accessories.


clown nose


And the best part …


I learned that I’m braver than I think, because I went to a dance party alone. Because it’s fine to take a baby to a bar, it’s not fine to take him to a dance party. Thanks Melissa Wells for making me feel welcome.


Me and the Melissa's


Now it’s time for me to re-enter the real world. Where I get the stink-eye for tweeting during dinner, and taking a baby into a bar may not be that acceptable {unless you live in my hometown}.


However, I am a little braver than I was before.



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