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THIS BAND OF BLOGHERS ’13 » Apart From My Art
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The Chicago Skyline

I can’t believe how worried I was about going to the BlogHer ’13 conference. But the reality was that I had no anxiety! None. Nothing. Nada. As my mother would say, “No shpilkes.” Yes, I had worried about the color of my toenails. It didn’t matter. Did any of you see my toenails? They were a beautiful red, Geranium by Essie. And I’d obsessed about how many business cards to bring with me. Two hundred? Four hundred? I wound up with six hundred! How about buying the perfect journal for notes? Anyone notice the orange-not-to-be-missed cover? Nope, that didn’t matter either. How about the cool, blue pen I used? None of it mattered. What really mattered was coming to Chicago for my very first BlogHer Conference and meeting bright and talented bloggers from all over the country.

The thrills started when I landed at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.


First things being first, I headed to the ladies’ room. Now, I’ve been in airport ladies’ rooms all over the world, but I’ve never seen one with toilets as nice as these. The seats are automatically covered with fresh paper after each flush!

Toilet at Chicago

Beverly Hills Hotel: Please note.

After dumping my stuff in the room at the Sheraton, I met up with my buddies, Julie DeNeen and Linda Wolff at the Chi Bar where a bunch of other bloggers had gathered. We all start screaming. “Oh, I’m so happy to meet you. Finally! You look just like your avatar. I love you, I love your writing!” Love, love love –– it was in the air. Everyone just wanted to meet, hug and talk.

After breakfast the next day,  Julie DeNeen, Linda Wolff and I started exploring the city.

Breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago with Julie DeNeen, Sandra Sallin and Linda Wolff

Chicago welcomed us with Blogher banners,  stunning sculpture and striking architecture…

…and Navy Pier.

Navy Pier in Chicago

I found the Herald Tribune Building fascinating.


There were stone fragments collected from all over the world embedded in one long wall. It looked as if there were hundreds of them.   These stones represented historical events and locations but I could not explore them further because Julie wanted to go to the American Girl Store.

We then went over to the Expo at McCormick Hall. It was filled with over a hundred sponsors such as La-Z-Boy, Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, Windex, Samsung, Ulta, White Cloud, Folger’s, Dodge and my personal favorite, Trojan Lubricants.

They were all giving out loads of swag. Julie, Kate and my other Blogettes insisted I stand in line to win some Trojan lubricant and a vibrator. I stepped up to spin the the Wheel of Lubricant (my name for it). Round and round it went, but I lost. I only won the lubricant. But my gang wanted me to have it all. They insisted that the wheel be advanced one click so that I could win the Grand Prize of lubricant and vibrator (!) or they were going to tweet to the whole world that this 72-year-old blogger was denied a vibrator. Trojan caved!

Sandra Sallin in front of the Trojan Wheel_of_Lubricant

There were parties and parties and parties on top of parties. At one bash, Julie, Kate, Stephanie, Helen and I met a charming, funny, young man, Spencer_ Whitman (note the underscore). He created an application, www.appcertain, which monitors what children download to their   iPads. He told us to always include the underscore when searching for him on the web because if you search for him without it, you’ll end up on a male porn star’s website. He told us this so often, that I started calling him Spencer Underscore. We decided to adopt him.

After more rounds of parties, finger foods, drinks and free Budweiser-flavored lip gloss, suddenly it was the last night and the last party. The music was blaring, booming and deafening, and I wanted to walk out. But Spencer Underscore Whitman wanted to dance with me. So Grandma started rockin! We sailed through “The Wobble”, “Put a Ring On It” and a bunch of other music that I’d never heard before. It didn’t seem to matter and all of us just danced and danced.

Then it was off to the CheeseburgHer party in the Presidential Suite on the thirtieth floor. How could I miss that one? So we all crammed into the elevators like grunions throwing themselves on the beach. When the doors opened, we were swept into a glorified frat party with more earsplitting music. Donning our CheeseburgHer hats, we  jumped and jived to more unknown dances and unfamiliar music.

My favorite event was the Voices of the Year Awards, presented by Queen Latifah. The awards were given to only 100 out of 3600 blog submission world-wide. I was very fortunate to have my post, “My Mother Left Russia with Rags on her Feet” honored. Some of the other winners read their posts on stage.  Many of them were quite moving and others were hysterical.

Sandra_Queen_Latifa at BlogHer

That’s me right next to Queen Latifah. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to a Queen.


The conference was a blast. It was a mixture of summer camp, the first day of school, frat parties and the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

Did I have fun? Yes. Did I meet smart people? Yes. Would I go again? YES! In a heart beat!

Sandra Sallin in front of her poster for Voices of the Year for BlogHer

All images appearing on THIS BAND OF BLOGHERS ’13 are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Cathy Chester - You are simply amazing, Sandra. Your spark lights up a room, and sets you on an energy course that even Julie (the baby) couldn’t keep up with.

    Loved the post!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Cathy, you are the most giving person. I so aprecaite all your love. Thank you. I’m lucky to call you my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Deneen - I knew it would be epic, this post of yours. I had so much fun with you roomie! We make quite the pair. 🙂 xoxoReplyCancel

    • sandra - Tweedle dee and Tweedle dumb! We do make a great pair. You really made the conference so much fun. I’ve got dibs on rooming with you next year! Remember.ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - It was so awesome to meet you, Sandra. You give me so much hope for the future. Congratulations on your VOTY award. I’m so glad to know you.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Chloe. Right bac at you. You are a delight both in person and your writing. I’ve admired you from afar for a long time. You’re pretty cool in person aso.so enjoyed the Midlife session at BlogHer. Great job and great shoes.ReplyCancel

  • Antonia - Wow, what an amazing time! The post really captures the excitment and the fun. I’m looking forward to going some day.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Anntonia, how delightful to meet you some day. It’s really fun to hug in real life all the friends we make on line.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Great recap and really great photos Sandra! I so wish I could have gone to meet you and the other fabulous Bloppies…hope to be there next year!ReplyCancel

  • Judi Briscoe - New friends! Dancing! Sight seeing. Eating. Drinking. ….free vibrators and lubricant. OH MY! Did you ever ever imagine writing would so expand your world?ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - I can feel the fun and hear the laughter in your writing – what a great time! Thanks for sharing some highlights Sandra.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Glad you could hear the fun in my writing. I hope I didn’t embaress you. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Sandra, love this! Gorgeous pictures — you are awesome, and I wish I had half your energy! So proud to be sharing VOTY honors — and Queen Latifah herself! — with you! xoReplyCancel

    • sandra - We’ll always be together Lois. That picture is one to savor! What a time we all had.ReplyCancel

  • Daphne Romero - sounds like a blast, sandra. i sure hope i make it next year. your photos are great and really tell a story… thank you for sharing…. (i am going to stop over at voices of the year to read submissions – congrats on yours being selected)ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Daphne. I really enjoyed the submissions. The readers were spectacular at the Voices of the Year ceremony. Amazingly good.ReplyCancel

  • kat - It looks so much fun and as I was reading this, I felt like I was with you cheering you on the vibrator win! 😀ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Kat, it really was funny when everyone was egging me on and the poor woman manning the booth. She didn’t have a chance to not give me that vibrator. It was a hoot.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - Love this post….you are such a bright shining star! Loved your light – you are truly inspirational!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Ellen. I’m thrilled to ba an inspiration. You’re an inspriation also in the work you do to inform women about their health issues.ReplyCancel

  • AlexandraFunFit - This post only reinforces what I already figured out – you are the person I MUST meet in person before the year is out. I would love to meet Queen Latifah, but as I started reading this I was thinking how I’d shove her out of the way to meet you. As to your ill-gotten vibrator gains – zoom zoomReplyCancel

  • sandra - Why thank you AlexandraFunFit. Yes, we must meet next year. I’d say the bar, but maybe you would not approve. 🙂 I’m impressed with your site and I will subscribe. The vibrator? You would not belive how it looked. That’s why I didn’t show it. I did not want to offfend peoples delicate sensibilities.ReplyCancel

  • SunbonnetSmart - What fun to have met you, Sandra! BlogHer was like rolling off a log, wasn’t it? More fun than a barrel full of BlogHers. I loved seeing you out and about, flitting all over the scene with different BlogHers on your arm, every time I saw you. And, I am very jealous of you and Spencer. Until I read your wonderful post, I thought he had eyes only for me. I have to admit this has been hard to accept…especially the photos…ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Robin, he is a doll isn’t he? We’re all going to adopt him and help him PR his product. I’m big hearted and I think I can share him. You have the most beuaitufl skin. No pores!ReplyCancel

  • Karen D. Austin - Whew! BlogHer certainly was a fun-filled and exhilarating experience for you. I’m glad to know I can skip the pedicure. And I liked the Trojan story and Underscore story and . . . well, all of the stories! Thanks for giving us nonattenders a little window into BlogHer13.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Karen, I just remember the discussion on the boards as to whether to have blue, pink or red toes. Really funny looking back at it.ReplyCancel

  • Connie McLeod - Sandra, Im so glad I met you IRL. I love reading your blog. And the picture of you and Queen Latifah is the best. For the record, I won a vibrator too!! LOL! You rock and are my inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - Beer flavored lip gloss. Vibrators. Trojans. Sounds as you were at a Frat party. Rock on. And royalty too. It just keeps on getting better and better

  • BlogHer 2013: The Social and the Savvy (Part 1) | Musings on Motherhood and MidlifeMusings on Motherhood and Midlife - […] (VOTY) of Apart From My Art (who stood front and center with Queen Latifah):  It’s the people you meet! The bloggers […]ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Hi Connie, How about those vibrators!! I actually gave mine away to a friend bemoaning the fact she didn’t have one. So I felt sorry for her. Did you notice that it anatomically looked like a certain barnyard animal?????ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Linda, who would have thought of Budweiser margarita flavored lip gloss. In two flavors no less. Truly a hoot!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn Jacobi - Dear Sandy,

    You look beautiful and sounds like you are having a ball! Would love to get together with you and Bob sometime soon.

    Love, KathyReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Kathy, I’d love to see your work and your studio.ReplyCancel

  • Generation Fabulous Rocks BlogHer 13 - Generation Fabulous - […] Sandra Sallin This Band of BlogHers 13 […]ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for including me Generation Fabulous.ReplyCancel

  • Raquel @ Organized Island - Wow! Looks like a great conference! I am overwhelmed just by reading your post. I am making it a goal to get there next year as I have never been. Thanks for sharing – LOVE your photos! That airport! The doughboy! The toilet! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Raquel, It really was fun. I was fortunate to find my tribe of “bloppies” and GenFab” people from Facebook. So we hung arounf together. Plus I had great roomie.See you next year.ReplyCancel

  • Mo at Mocadeaux - I’m experiencing retroactive FOMO (fear of missing out) as I read everyone’s Blogher stories! I wish I had been able to go! Next year for sure!! Your picture of the automatic toilet seat covers at O’Hare cracked me up! They really are quite fantastic!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Mo, I was so shocked at the quality of the toilets I simply had to take a photo. I mean the trip starts there> 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Beverly Diehl - Looks like SUCH a blast. Spencer Underscore, Trojan vibrators, Navy Pier, and so many gorgeous parties. But reading your text and looking at your pictures I *feel* like I was there.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - So glad you enjoyed Beverly. Next year?ReplyCancel

  • Robert - You deserved all the fun and accolades. love you and your blog!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much Robert.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) - Sounds like you had a blast! I have seen the Queen Latifah pic before and was wondering who those people next to her were, and now I know. How very cool!

    Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your memories with those of us who couldn’t make it!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Andrea, Will I meet you next year at BlogHer? Great fun meeting up.ReplyCancel

  • Tana Bevan - Sounds like you had a blast! Woo-hoo!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I did Tana, will you be there next time? I bet you can get some great doodles out of it.ReplyCancel

  • Pat - Sandra,
    Congratulations on winning a Blogher award, but what impresses me most is your joie de vivre! I can read it through your words and see it in every photograph. I hope we can meet one day. You are an inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Pat, I was quite thrilled to win this honor. I’d love to meet you. Maybe at another BlogHer?ReplyCancel

  • French Madame - How incredibly cool! What an honour it must be for a blogger to get to go there! Awesome city to visit too, I loved your photos 🙂

    I didn’t visit an ice bar in Sweden, but I did went into one in Norway a few years ago. We were suited with thick suits and served vodka in a glass made of ice!

    X DaniëlleReplyCancel

    • sandra - Stockholm has a very stylish Ice Bar in a hotel. They give you special jackets and gloves to wear. You can only stay for a certain amount of time before the ice gets to you. It’s great fun.Yes, BLogHer was a lot of fun.ReplyCancel

  • Katherine Kotaw - The picture of you with Queen Latifah is filled with so much joy and strength, Sandra! I absolutely LOVE it, and that’s SO WONDERFUL about your award! I absolutely MUST read the blog that won you your award next 🙂 It’s such a joy being on your site!

    Hugs, KatherineReplyCancel

  • October | Sandra Sallin | Style at a certain age - […] Even when I was a child, I drew, painted, cross-stitched, cut out, embroidered, knit while lying on the floor listening to the radio! My middle sister was also an artist. When she was 14 and I was 7 I saw her completing a drawing homework assignment. She drew an apple, a piece of driftwood and a watch. It was done so perfectly that I was intimidated and decided I would never become an artist. So, instead I turned to music and performance. I wrote about this creative crisis on my blog here. […]ReplyCancel

  • Lillian plummer - Well I have just found you Sandra via La Contessa., better late than never! What a fabulous blogger you are and painter. I am going to enjoy reading through your blog but it may take a while. Congratulations on being top 100. Love and best wishes Lillian xxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Contessa and thank you Lillian. Hope you enjoy my journey!ReplyCancel

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