That was Blogger Bash for me this year. After our amazing vacations to Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, I honestly just wasn't sure if I had the energy or motivation to head to New York City for a few days as well. Now, I love New York and have loved Blogger Bash the past two years I've gone (read about those here and here), but going this year was a bit out of reach. I had a hard time spending the money on a ticket, hotel, etc right after we had been gone so much, so I was thrilled when I saw that Blogger Bash was looking for volunteers. I filled out the form and crossed my fingers.
I can't even tell you how excited I was when I got an email saying that if I still wanted to volunteer, they had a spot for me! Dave and I immediately started talking about a hotel and making yet another vacation out of it. We looked at lots of options but in the end decided that it wouldn't be enjoyable for them to be there since they wouldn't actually be with me, and 2 kids in NYC alone... yeah, not worth the hotel money. I booked a room at Yotel and asked on the Facebook group page if anyone wanted to be my roommate. I was a bit nervous but I didn't really know my roommates last year so I figured I'd try. While I couldn't find a roommate for my room, I was offered by multiple people to just stay with them for 2 nights since they were staying for 3 or 4 nights. I ended up bunking with Emilee from Pea of Sweetness and got ready to pack up and go!
New York itself is always my favorite. I love the hustle and bustle, the sights.. it's hard to put into words. I drove to New Have, CT and grabbed the train down to NYC. A quick walk from Grand Central to Yotel and I got settled in. I love the first night. A few of us had a group message to help plan and meet up, and I was able to grab some dinner with Kristin of Faith & Family Fun and Kendra of Simply DARRling. They are seriously the sweetest and funniest girls. We had a quick dinner down the street from our hotel and then ended up back at the Yotel bar for more drinks.
Blogger Bash itself was amazing. It kicked off with a Care Bears Brunch that was so yummy! I'm a huge fan of the Care Bears and the message they send. I'm so excited that I can share one of my favorite things from the past with my daughter and son. The Care Bears brunch gave us a lot of really great information and I'll have so much more Care Bears stuff in the coming months!
The first day had lots of pull outs: speed dating with brands (which I wasn't picked for which kind of makes me sad, like, why not? You know?), and then a trip on the Ride through NYC. Originally I signed up but was afraid of being late for my volunteer shift so I ended up giving up my ticket, and seriously, I'm so happy I did. I can go on the ride any time, but volunteering was priceless. The ladies who run Blogger Bash are amazing, but seeing how hard they work behind the doors in incredible. Seriously, they make it look so effortless, always smiling, always courteous, pausing to take a picture with you... you would never know that one company forgot product X or that that the wifi was down or that an entire box of candy was MIA. Just effortless amazement from those women. I loved that I got to spend time with some of my favorite ambassadors like Jenn and Stephanie, and got to help brands. Brands do so much work and it was so nice to be helpful to them. Most events I'm just in there talking and trying to sell my brand to them that it was so nice to just help them. Grab them a drink, or tape, or move boxes... I think I just like being helpful. It was a lot of work but it all paid off amazingly when Sweet Suite 2016 started.
I can't even put Sweet Suite into words. So many amazing brands and toys and I can't wait to share everything with you, but honestly, it's too much for today. I have lots of posts coming with individual companies or toys so for now you just get tons of pictures.
Crazy, right? So many amazing toys!! Later in the week, you'll see my favorite toys, but for now, just drool over everything pictured! And I promise, that's only like half!
Day 2 started off with an early volunteer shift! Again, I'm up at like 5 am anyways, and a quiet walk through NYC was surprisingly therapeutic. Again, I loved seeing the behind the scenes stuff and was lucky enough to help set up in the Babypalooza room. Some of my favorite brands were there, but it also made me realize that my little guy truly isn't a baby anymore. So many of those brands weren't brands that I could connect with or write about because that phase is over for us. It made me a bit teary buuuut I had work to do so there was no time for tears!
The day started off with the Kate and Mim Mim breakfast! It was such a heartfelt story about how they developed the show. Emmalee is a big fan of the show and I love the messages that it shares: you can be anything you want, you can solve big problems, and you're only limited by your imagination. It's truly a show you want your kids to watch.
Ps. That's Laurie, and she is one of the brains behind this whole thing. I totally fan-girl when she's nearby.
After the breakfast, it was just a blur of amazing brands at the Expo and Babypalooza.
The final event I made it to was Shop Ireland, a curated group of shops from Ireland. It's clearly in my lineage. I have a shamrock and a 6" Celtic Cross tattoo, as well as a small red headed child so I was clearly in love. Each artisan had something new and it was so relaxing to just sit and chat with other bloggers as they sipped Irish Coffee.
Sadly, a huge storm came rolling in and on a boat, even a docked boat, it's not necessarily fun. The worst part is that although the storm stopped and the final party, complete with a spin around the harbor to see the Statue of Liberty, was back on, it was delayed a bit. The final party was pushed back about a half hour and we were told we'd dock around 7. Unfortunately, I had to be on a 7:05 train and I couldn't take any chances so I had to say bon voyage a bit early. Waah. In the end, I was thankful because I was able to switch my ticket for an even earlier train and get a faster train that made less stops!
It literally took me hours to get home and days to recover, but once again, I am so thankful that Blogger Bash gave me the opportunity to go as a volunteer. I loved going to Blogger Bash and the connections I made with both bloggers and brands are invaluable. I can't wait to see next years; because, seriously, how do you top a yacht as a conference location?