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BlogHer ’12 – Swag, Swag, and More Swag

by Shawanda Greene

This past weekend, I ascended upon New York City to attend BlogHer ’12.

I set out to accomplish one goal: recoup my registration fees in complimentary swag.

I warmed up slowly. On day one of the conference, I circled the expo center with dignity and discipline, refusing to sample the Michael Angelo’s pasta because “It has too many carbs.”

I’d sneak a piece of banana crumb cake here, swipe a cup of fresh orange juice there, swap business cards with the brand managers, and feign interest in every vendor who bore valuable gifts.

But by the time, 2:00 pm rolled around on the final day of the conference, I briskly and shamelessly walked pass booths to pilfer their goods without breaking my stride.

I’d engage the different reps at the Arm & Hammer booth just long enough to get them to unknowingly offer me my third tube of Whitening Booster.

What I can’t show you is the Skinny Girl margarita I gulped down right before my third chair massage. Also, I tried s’mores for the first time . . . ever. To think, all these years, I missed out on one of the greatest joys on earth. Don’t worry. My stove runs on gas, and I fully intend on making up for lost time.

Martha Stewart was inspiring. I walked out on Katie Couric for a free false eyelash application. By the time Soledad O’Brien and Christy Turlington’s onstage interview rolled around, I was plotting how I’d grab more booty from the exposition hall before closing time.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I met a few people. I learned a few tricks. But look at the swag!

Full Frontal View of BlogHer Swag

Full Frontal View of BlogHer ’12 Swag

Aerial View of BlogHer Swag

Aerial view of BlogHer ’12 swag

Shawanda and the Lorax

Me, the Lorax, and a random black dude off in the distance at BlogHer ’12

 

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Daisy @ Add Vodka August 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM

That’s a LOT of swag! I’m jealous! I wanted to go to BlogHer and all other blogging conferences. Hope you had fun!
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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I’m gonna try to go to Blogher ’13 in Chicago next year. I’m super pumped about FinCon next month. Wish you could make it!
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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L Bee and the Money Tree August 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Holy hell, did you swipe twelve bottles of lotion? Amazing.
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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Twenty! The Baileys lady told me I could take all of the bottles that were on a counter. I decided to limit myself to twenty. Ya know, so as not to appear greedy. :D
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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femmefrugality August 7, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Holy moly you really made out! Looks like it was fun, too. :)
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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM

It really was. Since I rarely coupon, I figured this was my chance to score a bunch of “free” stuff with minimal effort.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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Ornella @ Moneylicious August 7, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Lots of fun stuff in the Swag Bag
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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 8:25 PM

I think I’m most excited about the lip balm, whitening booster, and travel size bottles of lotion.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland August 7, 2012 at 6:36 PM

HA, best recap ever!
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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Thanks! Figured I’d try a different angle. I think my FinCon recap will include a list of personal finance bloggers I’ve only known as icons and avatars.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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Donnalee August 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Huh, I find that really disappointing: to basically cheat people into giving you multiples of crap which you are not dying for the lack of just seems like scammy stuff that loses my respect. Too bad you couldn’t have ‘had enough’ without that–like make some social and business contacts, have some fun, learn some things, and maintain self-respect.

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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 9:04 PM

You make an excellent point. No one is dying for lotion or press on nails. Although, I, literally, cannot function without lip balm.

I’m not sure if it escaped you, but I was half joking. And even if I weren’t, companies attend these events to hock their wares in hopes of spreading the word about their merchandise and creating life-time customers. I don’t know who you are soooo, rest assured, I couldn’t care less if you respected me.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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Wendy T August 7, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Here is a very interesting perspective that another attendee wrote that resonated with me after reading this post:
http://www.foundthemarbles.com/2012/08/what-i-learned-at-blogher-12/

I will say you may want us to believe you are half joking, but the photo tells the truth.

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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I respect that blogger’s perspective on building relationships with brands. I’m not totally sure what she blogs about, but I blog about personal finance. Therefore, I will promote a brand’s products or services to my readers IF they can either save or make my readers’ money.

There are a few new products I identified that may accomplish that goal, but honestly, I can’t recommend them until I try them. In the meantime, I’ll continue to revel in my “free” swag.

For the companies I’m already familiar with, I talked to them. I fully intend on keeping in touch with them. Their products are services. Thus, there’s no swag to show you.

I’m not sure if you’re a regular reader of my blog, but I have a dry, somewhat sarcastic sense of humor. Passersby may not understand it. I thought the whole “look at the great people I met” angle of BlogHer would be overdone and uninteresting. Quite frankly, I’m bored with it. So, I chose to show a different, more lighthearted perspective.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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Lance @ Money Life and More August 7, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Not a conference for me (obviously) but I’m glad you made out well! Enjoy your swag!
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Shawanda Greene August 7, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Probably not. :) Less than 0.5% of conference attendees were men. Hope you make it to FinCon!
Shawanda Greene recently posted..The Anti-Social Guide to Selling Your StuffMy Profile

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Buck Inspire August 8, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Love it! If you got together with my wife, you two would be like Thelma and Louise of the show! You have some very serious readers and passerbys, haha. Would also be interested in a boring recap of things you learned. Would men get anything out of BlogHer? I hear J $ attends. Sounds like you had a good time and that’s all that matters.
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Shawanda Greene August 8, 2012 at 4:52 PM

I think my mom would’ve loved the BlogHer conference as well. She likes that kind of stuff.

Although almost all of the speakers were women, I think most of the sessions were useful for both genders. I’d have to say my best learning experience didn’t come from a session but a copy editing writing lab. The woman who led the workshop, Pat Dunnigan, is a fabulous writer and journalist who blogs at SuburbanKamikaze.com. She recommended I cap my blog posts at 400 words as doing so would force me to omit needless words. I’m nervous about it, but I think it’ll dramatically improve my writing. If you can only use a few words, you gotta make ‘em count.

The other thing a panel of bloggers reminded me of was to avoid checking my email before noon in order to improve productivity. This one is tough, but I’m trying to break my addition to checking email as soon as I awake in the morning and one hundred plus times throughout the day.
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Kate-Madonna August 14, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Please forgive me, but.. are you serious? You could have done better with about $20, some pride and a trip to Target. I know this sounds harsh (and it’s not normally my style,) but is this what it’s all about- the swag? (And not truly awesome swag at that.) You left the presentations themselves for … more swag? I must be missing the entire point of being a blogger, because I thought it was about much more than 10 free tubes of teeth whitener.

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Shawanda Greene August 14, 2012 at 8:19 AM

I guess I didn’t get my certified copy of the Blogging Rules Book back when I started my blog in May 2009.

I don’t know where you blogging Nazis are coming from, but you need to calm down. Lighten up. It’s okay to have a little fun.

Over the years I’ve written about a host of serious issues. Hopefully, you didn’t take one of 300 plus articles I’ve written and conclude, “She’s not serious about blogging.” And even if I wasn’t, it’s my blog. It’s my platform. It’s my voice. It’s my experiences.

And yes, I left Katie Couric’s interview largely because it wasn’t interesting. You’ve done that at conferences, right? Left presentations because they weren’t what you expected or just boring? Now Martha Stuart, on the other hand . . . that woman had something to say that I wanted to hear. So, I stayed.

And as for the teeth whitener . . . My teeth are ridonkulously white and I’d like to keep them that way. Unfortunately, the Crest Whitestrips I normally use cost about $40 or $45. The whitening booster costs about $5 or $6. I can’t wait to see if it works. Oh and I’m typing this with my press on nails. So far, their good. If they make it through the week, I’ll recommend them as a budget alternative to acrylic nails.
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Kate-Madonna August 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM

There’s no rules book, but there is decency and ethical behavior- maybe also referred to as common sense. (Just like not calling your readers, “blogging nazis,” probably won’t win you over any new fans.)

A few people have also expressed their disappointment with your attitude towards swag. This isn’t about you not being serious about blogging, it’s about you making it all about the “free stuff,” and less about the valuable connections and relationships. That was plain to see about the photograph you chose.
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Shawanda Greene August 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

So what if I “disappoint” some people? It happens. I didn’t steal anything. I shared a part of my experience with my readers. And I didn’t care to elaborate on other factors.

Hopefully you realize I don’t seek the approval of everyone. Some love me. Some hate me. Most are indifferent. That’s cool. What’s important to me is that I inform, inspire, and/or entertain my readers.

If you do regularly read my blog, it’s a shame your first interaction with me is a personal attack on my professionalism. I responded in kind to your assertion that I lack dignity (and now morals and common sense). Yeah, soooo, uh, the “blogging nazi” comment stands.
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Brian Long August 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

“and fain interest in every vendor who bore valuable gifts.”

Feign, not fain.

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Shawanda Greene August 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Dammit! Teaches me not to blindly accept suggestions by my auto-proofreader. Thanks for pointing out the error.
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Elle August 15, 2012 at 7:15 AM

Congrats! I think your swag bag would make great gifts for others. I hope that you will be able to recoup some of the money you paid. It’s funny many of the brands were giving out different items to people depending on how much they connected with them. I laughed when I got a email from a company about a major ticket item they thought they had provided me for a review. SMH had they gave it to me the review would already be posted. If I attend next year, I probably would be more into the swag then I was this year.
Elle recently posted..BlogHer 2012 Conference RecapMy Profile

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