Yes, I speak of BlogPaws 2010.
My friends encouraged me, dare I say some even admired me, for spending a weekend (in Ohio) with strangers. I “knew” a few people from the internet but only by name – or cat’s name. Parents and co-workers were a different matter.
Why couldn’t I just say I was attending a blogging convention and left it at that? But nooooooo. Let’s not forget I’m the girl who when complimented on an article of clothing or jewelry trips over herself to divulges what a steal they were at Target or T.J. Maxx. Of course I had to tell them it was a convention for pet bloggers.
I’m not ashamed of my love for cats (animals in general) or my blog. All my friends and co-workers proudly received my I HAVE CAT cards. But attending a pet blogging convention apparently raises the “crazy cat lady” flag up the pole significantly.
We let me say I don’t regret my decision to attend for a minute. Not even after realizing expedia.com messed up my return flight and I had to pay an extra $250 to change it (while Columbus is lovely, I will not be spending an entire month there thank-you-very-much).
Upon arriving at The Westin, a pet friendly hotel (and yes, there were a few cats present), I noticed a cute boy in the lobby. I managed my expectations by telling myself chances were he was in Columbus for some other purpose, grabbed schwag bag and went to my room to fresh up before cocktails
Bad news? Not a lot of guys. Good news? I sat next to “lobby boy“ who, as it turned out, was in fact there for BlogPaws (he’s a dog guy but I let’s not get too picky people).
Bad news? Only one complimentary drink ticket (what?). Good news? Drinks at the bar were only $5! Drinks on me!
Bad news? No dinner. Good news? Ended up going out to the oldest 4-Star restaurant in the city on an adorable cobblestone street in Germantown drinking bottles of Veuve (Cliquot) with a celebrity blogger Lynn Haigh of Frugal Dougal and Pawpawty fame, Helin and Esther (two lovely hip chicks from NYC who work for PeoplePets.com) and..yup… lobby-boy!
The sessions were informative but the opportunity to meet other pet lovers and bloggers was for me, the best part of all. There were animal-world celebrities there like the very cute Dorian Wagner (yourdailycute.com), Robin Olson (coveredincathair.com), Bernadette Kazmarski (The Creative Cat), Andrea Arden (Underdog to Wonder Dog) and Janiss Garza (Sparkle the Designer Cat) just to name a few.
There were even a few non-animal celebs like Eddie Griffin the comedian of “Deuce Bigalow” fame. Okay, he wasn’t really with us but he was staying at The Westin and was overheard telling his crew that “the whiteys closed down the bar.” He seemed surprised and impressed. Imagine if he’d known the whiteys were also pet bloggers! But there was another “celebrity” among us of whom I was unaware.
At one of the panel discussions Natalie Malaszenko, the Director of Social Media & Commerce at PETCO, gave an amazing presentation and I decided to go introduce myself.
At a pet blogger convention introductions can be rather involved. First introduce yourself, then your blog/pet followed by a short description of why you are at BlogPaws (work for a corporation, blogger etc). As I launched into “Hi, Tamar from I HAVE CAT, a blog about living in NYC as a…” Natalie stopped me and says “of course we know I HAVE CAT at PETCO.” Um. What?!?!
She then proceeded to call over her co-worker Lisa Epstein who had apparently been talking about me on their plane ride over (what?!) who began telling me what a fan she was and how much she enjoyed my latest post (“Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush“).
OMG – or OMC as the pet cat people say – my very own celebrity moment! This must be what fame feels like!
There is so much more I could say about BlogPaws, and there have been many posts written about the weekend (I’m lagging) but let me just say it was impressive, motivating and affirming and I can’t wait to go next year. The founders of BlogPaws Caroline Golden (Romeothecat.com I can’t believe she lives in Charlotte!), Yvonne DiVita and Tom Collin did a terrific job pulling it all together without a hitch.
If I may make a suggestion to them for next year – let’s continue keep BlogPaws interspecies conference. Don’t split up the cat and dog people.