I arrived at the National Geographic Kids party in Chicago an hour late…
My session at the blog conference where I was speaking had run long and then I got lost on the way to the party. By the time I got there, they were in the process of giving away Nat Geo Kids books to the guests.
“… And this one is for Tracy Beckerman,” one of the hosts announced as I entered through the back of the room.
I looked across the room and tried to make out the name of the book. I was pretty far back and had forgotten my glasses. I squinted hard. Sadly, it was a big blur.
I took a guess. “Oh wow! It’s a book on, um, Animal Poverty,” I finally exclaimed to one of my friends standing near me. “That is so interesting. Really, I had no idea that animal poverty was a problem. It is SO cool of National Geographic to call attention to that issue and bring it to light!”
My friends stared at me.
“I guess I could see how it could be a real problem for animals with jobs, like circus elephants and seeing eye dogs who suddenly find themselves unemployed,” I continued. “I should have figured that the recession was hitting working animals hard, too.”
My friends continued to stare at me.
“I’m really excited to read this book. I love animals and I think this is really an issue I could get behind. I would love to become an advocate for National Geographic and do what I can to help eradicate animal poverty!” I said enthusiastically.
My friend Nicole finally broke the silence.
“Oh,” I finally said sheepishly. “Well that’s something completely different, isn’t it?”
They all nodded their heads.
“Well then. Nevermind.”
* * *
So clearly I’m not the brightest bulb in the socket. Which reminds me of a joke:
Q: How many Bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: 50. 1 to actually change the bulb and 49 to take a picture and post it on Instagram.
OK, you might have to be a blogger to appreciate that one. Fortunately, in Chicago I was surrounded by about 5000 bloggers who thought it was really funny.
Anyway, the National Geographic event was not actually part of the conference. Theirs was a private party at the uber-cool City Winery that I was thrilled to attend (and Nat Geo, if you are reading this, I just want you to know, I do not have the IQ of a flea. I’m just hopelessly blind without my glasses.) This was one of a number of private events I attended while I was in town for the conference where I got a chance to learn more about some fantastic brands, connect with some super cool people, and be a part of the powerful blogging scene that has emerged over the last decade.
In addition to the National Geographic party, another incredible event was The Awesome Party (yes, it was actually called that and it was, in fact, pretty awesome) hosted by a new site called Yappem, a social media platform where people can share their experiences — good or bad – about products, brands and places; the One 2 One Network, a company founded by my friend Barbara Jones that helps brands engage with women and moms in a meaningful and impactful way through social media, PR and word of mouth; and Cool Mom Picks, the blog brainchild of Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase which profiles the best in gifts, gear, and everything new and cool for moms. It was the perfect mix of food, products, and people.
I was able to learn about Yappem and loved the idea of real people sharing honest opinions about the brands they are using. I was also thrilled to have a few minutes to chat with Barbara about One 2 One because she is so passionate about the work they do there and that passion is infused in their mission! And since I am all about being a cool mom in the ‘burbs, Cool Mom Picks is my absolute go-to site for, of course, cool mom stuff, so I loved being there to support Liz and Kristen!
Next I stopped by American Girl Place where my friends Danielle Elliot Smith and Jenny Ingram were hosting a party to help announce a new line of Bitty Baby dolls, outfits, and accessories, including 11 different dolls with various skin tones, hair, and eye-color combinations. Even though my daughter has outgrown her American Girl years, I now have two nieces who are 2 and 4 and I was thrilled to be the one to introduce them to the phenomenon that is American Girl by giving them each lookalike dolls for their birthdays this year! For a roomful of moms, being in the American Girl space for a private event enabled us to all get in touch with our inner little girls and I have to admit, I don’t think any of us were just in it for our daughters. I loved every pink and blue cupcake minute of being there!
One of the sponsors at the SocialLuxe lounge was Cottonelle. As someone who not only does all the toilet paper shopping in my house, but is also the only person in my home who seems to know how to actually CHANGE an empty roll of toilet paper, I am intimately acquainted with Cottonelle and am a big fan of their products. They debuted a new campaign called “Let’s talk Bums” which is all about a complete Cottonelle Care Routine using their TP and Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Wipes which I think will be a big hit with the mom crowd!
The CBS “Mom” event hosted by my friends MJ Tam and Beth Rosen of Chicagonistas Live, and Beth Feldman, the PR powerhouse behind Role Mommy was a lot of fun. We got a chance to shmooze, confess some of our most embarrassing mom moments on camera, and see a preview of the new CBS show “Mom” starring Allison Janey and Anna Faris which airs this fall and looks HILARIOUS!
My friend Alli Doubek and her partners at Social Soiree hosted a party at a restaurant called Yolk in Chicago, which has the most killer breakfast crepes I’ve ever eaten. Sears, Lands End and Handcraft Artisan Wines were all sponsors. I have to say, I LOVE my new Lands End bag, which ended up being my airplane carry on for all the other stuff I got over the course of the week!
Finally, I wrapped up the week at the BoomBox B(L)oomers party at a very cool space called Catalyst Ranch. This party, for bloggers age 45+ was all about connecting brands with mid-life bloggers who represent one of the most overlooked yet growing and powerful demographics around today. Brands like Theraderm, The Wine Sisterhood, and Fat Boy Cookies, (who were all sponsors of my Lost in Suburbia Cool Mom Book and Blow Dry Bar Tour!) were on hand to connect.
(As an aside… I really have to give a shoutout to Theraderm here. I’ve never been fussy about my skincare before but I started using Theraderm products about 5 months ago and I have truly seen a huge difference in my skin. It’s one of those things you don’t realize you need until you try it and now I will never use anything else.)
I also got connected with a new company (or at least new to me) called BloomEnjoyYourself.com which is a sophisticated online boutique that celebrates sexual intimacy, exploration and learning for women in their sexual prime. I don’t usually blog about this part of my life because my kids read my blog and they would be horrified, but I will say that I think Bloom’s perspective is a breath of fresh air. I also happened to win a Lelo vibrator from them, which I will ONLY USE AS A BACK MASSAGER, KIDS (wink, wink). Thanks Bloom!
It was great to be in the Windy City for a few days and immerse myself in the blogosphere in real life. While I was there, I also had a chance to sample the food at a couple of great restaurants and appear on Good Day Chicago! More on that tomorrow!
©2013, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
My new book, “Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” is now available. To get a copy for you or a cool mom you love, CLICK HERE