Paying with Passion at BlogHer

Prior to embarking on our 3,000-mile road-trip, Skype contacted me and asked if I’d be at BlogHer ’14 in San Jose, CA. I haven’t been to BlogHer in years and told them so. They came back saying, “I don’t think you understand. We want you to go to BlogHer on behalf of Skype and become our Family Ambassador.”

However, there was another complication: BlogHer was near the end of our huge trip and the kids and I were supposed to spend that week with Jamie’s family in Utah. After some agonizing–and a very generous mother-in-law who agreed to watch the kids for four days–I flew out to California. Prior to doing so, I had a blast interviewing a bunch of BlogHer panelists via Skype, one of whom was Elise Bauer, founder one of my favorite food blogs Simply Recipes.

Skype was a sponsor of BlogHer and was THE place to hang out with a cool Airstream Lounge where attendees stopped by to make “Passion Pledges” in exchange for some pretty cool swag. It was a campaign that resonate with me and that’s why I volunteered to sign on. We all have a passion for something, whether it’s travel, spending more time with family, or just trying something completely new. Skype’s campaign was to not only encourage people to pledge their passion and motivate them to follow through, but also to prompt them to share their pledges online to inspire friends and family.

The contest isn’t limited to just BlogHer attendees. Just make a pledge about how you are going to live your life with more passion, share it on Twitter or Instagram using the #PayWithPassion hashtag through Aug. 31, 2014 and you’re entered to win some awesome prizes including a Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Awesome, right?

And BlogHer was great. Though it was still overwhelming, I had a really great time attending the sessions, going to the parties and hanging out at Skype’s airstream talking Passions with the other attendees.

The Aussies always know how to party

Over these coming months, I’ll be doing some fun campaigns with Skype as a part of their Moment Makers ambassador program. Sure, Skype is awesome for keeping in touch with families and friends but I love that they’re taking this to the next level. They’re looking for people who love to share their passions over Skype—from trading fashion tips with friends to previewing that dance recital with cousins to bedtime stories with grandma.

There are three ways to get involved: apply to become a Star Moment Maker (someone who works with Skype to showcase their talents to the world), upload a moment you’ve made with Skype, or sign up for their newsletter.

Stay tuned for my family’s passion moments over these next months.

And yes, at least one of them will assuredly involve pumpkins.



BlogHer ’09: The Year of the Wiernermobile

I was not going to attend BlogHer ’09 and I was OK with that. Though I made some great friends at BlogHer ’07, I found the event entirely too cliquey and overwhelming. BlogHer ’08 in San Francisco was better but I still wasn’t feeling it.

My only saving grace were those bacon mints from China Town.

So, when I got wait-listed for BlogHer ’09, I decided it was a sign I was not supposed to attend. But then the skies opened and the good Lord smiled down upon me to the tune of Sara Lee offering to fly me to Chicago a couple of days before BlogHer for a fantastic back-to-school nutrition summit (that I’ll talk more about later).

And then I knew I had to stick around for BlogHer.

I had fabulous roommates: Secret Agent Mama Mischelle is just the sweetest life-sized Macedonian doll who I would have bottled up and taken home with me if only she didn’t snore. :) Hilarious Sarcastic Mom Lotus was the partier: she threw the Room 704 Party (one of the largest non-sponsored parties) and didn’t even come back another night because she was up playing. Fruit Lady Amy was my fellow Colorodoan who was supposed to be my snuggle buddy but between her staying with a college roommate one night and me taking Mudslide Mama’s empty room another, we only had one night to spoon.

My last year’s roommate Michelle from Scribbit is still recovering from last year when I allegedly attacked her.

Sadly, my camera is near death so I really didn’t take very many pictures but I did write a synopsis over at Mile High Mamas today.

It involves the best swag, the best party, the biggest controversy and the absolute highlight of BlogHer ’09: RIDING IN THE WIENERMOBILE.


It doesn’t get any better than that, folks. READ ON

Twilight, BlogHer, Spa and Bullies, OH MY!

Twilight Week

It’s been a busy week of recovering from my latest ailment (because that is what I do). I have a lot going down and some very fun news I’ll divulge next week once it’s confirmed. It involves Twilight. In fact, I’m declaring next week Twilight Week. Who’s in? If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, there is still time to come over to The Dark Side!

BlogHer or Bust

As many of you know, I have attended BlogHer the last two years–the biggest, baddest blogging convention around for women. This year, I got wait-listed. Because that is what I do. And then I get sick.

I just heard back that I’m *in* if I want to be. Problem is I’m not sure if I want to go. I may have missed the boat on getting a roommate who does not get sick as often as she blows her nose. Oh wait, that would be me and I am the bestestestest roommate around. Just ask Jamie. The guy who sometimes sleeps on the couch. I’m curious if you know of anyone who got added at the last minute to the BlogHer roster or someone who is looking for a spooner roommate?

A ‘Lil Thing Called Lice

Today, I will be checking out the reputable Indulgences Day Spa for a Mile High Mamas feature. If you will recall, my last spa visit elsewhere resulted in this catastrophe. I have high hopes I will not acquire H1N1. Because acquiring infectious diseases in the most unlikely places is what I do.

P.S. Any potential BlogHer roommates? Please disregard the last paragraph. I swear I am disease-free. For now.

Bully or Bust

We are also in the throes of party-planning for Haddie’s big bash on Monday. As we were discussing her invite list, conversation turned to a kid who can sometimes be a bully. I am also good friends with his mother, which means Said Bully will be in attendance.

Hadley gets along fine with Said Bully but her friend Alex does not. When she asked if he would be invited, I responded affirmatively. Alex started to protest but my dear Hubby, ever the diplomat, stepped in:

“Don’t worry, Alex. He’s mean but fair. He beats on everybody equally.”

Busted at BlogHer ’08–Part II

Hands down, the best thing about BlogHer ’08 was my roommates. Anyone who can survive me for an entire weekend should receive a medal. And as for my family? A life-time achievement award.

I had a grand time with each gal and these are a few of my favorite memories:

Jill of Glossyveneer is super petite and sweet. She just started running last year and decided to do a marathon. Because isn’t that what every first-time runner aspires to do? Jill was in charge of setting the alarm and just to illustrate how nice she is, she said this after our first night together:

“I have been turning over every 15 minutes all morning watching the clock
so I can make sure to grab the alarm when it goes off. I didn’t want it to
wake everyone!”

Ummm, call me crazy but isn’t that the point of an alarm clock? Rest assured, they were privy to my brand of wake-up calls: steam rolling.


Speaking of sleeping, Michelle of Scribbit was my bed buddy and evidently, things got cozy with this tall and refined beauty in our full-sized bed one evening.

Amber: “I just want to commend everyone for being such quiet sleepers last night!”

Michelle: “Well, except for when you snuggled up to me and stroked my hair with your arm over my chest.”

Jamie is still lamenting why I don’t ever do this to him.

Evidently I have a thing for blondes.


This was Loralee of Loralee’s Looney Tunes’ first year at BlogHer but she has been stalking visiting many of the popular blogs for a year now so she was the one doing the introductions.

Well, with the exception of our final morning when we sat down at a table with publicists from GCI Group in New York. As we were going around the table introducing ourselves, the conversation went roughly like this:

“Hi, I’m Amber. I blog about my life at Crazy Bloggin’ Canuck and am also the editor of The Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas blah blah blah.”

“Hi, I’m Michelle and I blog at the popular blog Scribbit. I run my own advertising and am looking different ways to expand my business opportunities blah blah blah.”

“Hi, I’m Jill and I have been blogging at Glossyveneer since way back in 1991 and am training to run a marathon while raising money for the Leukemia and Olymphoma Society blah blah blah.”

“Hi, I’m Loralee and I blog at Loralee’s Looney Tunes about my Ta-Tas.”

How can a person compete with that? They can’t, which is why the male publicists at our table never gave the rest of us a second glance and why Loralee was a show-stopper everywhere she went!


Not to dwell on all my air-travel traumas but Hadley had a fascinating insight about it all the other night.

For those who need a refresher: Flew to Canada with children. Airline lost Bode’s reservation. We were stuck on the runway for three hours due to a storm. Flying back to Colorado, the flight was canceled due to bird in windshield. Huge nightmare ensued with rebooking. Flew to San Francisco the next day. First flight smooth. Layover from Orange County canceled. Shuttled down to LAX. Caught another flight several hours later. Flying back to Colorado, not enough room for the plane so it was rescheduled to International Terminal. Everyone on the flight bused to new gate. Huge delays. Then the mechanical problems began.

To sum it up, I won’t be flying anytime soon. But my children do every night. After our bedtime routine, we “airplane” the kids to bed. When Hadley came in for her landing a few nights ago, she asked:


“Yes Hadley.”

“Did my flight just get canceled?”


I have included a list of some of the great people I met at BlogHer. At least those whose business cards miraculously survived the trip home.

Alex Year Two ; Attack of the Redneck Mommy; Believer in Balance ; Crazy Says What ; Crunchy Carpets; The Dana Files; Delicious Baby; Geek Mommy; goGUgo; goodyblog; Indulge Laugh Create; It’s My Life; Mommy Bits; Mommy Needs a Cocktail; Mommy Poppins; Mom Without a Map; Send Chocolate; See Jane Fly; Shannon Renee Mouton; Shazia Mistry; Sizzle Says; Sparkplugging; Table4Five; The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide;; VDog & Little Man; Velveteen Mind; Watch Me! No Watch Me!

Blasting at BlogHer ’08–Part I

BlogHer was a blast. I will not do a long, drawn-out synopsis because frankly, most of you don’t care that I bought bacon mints in Chinatown and then made unsuspecting BlogHers sample them while I snapped pictures of their reaction.

Or do you?

(Victims Roommates Michelle from Scribbit and Jill from Glossyveneer; my other victim roommate Loralee has some great shots on her blog, too.)

My experience was completely different from last year, mainly because I went with more reasonable expectations and I did not try to conquer the world by befriending everyone and getting caught up in the junior high cliques. I met some fantastic gals, made some quality networking contacts, saw San Francisco and played. A lot.

While I didn’t get much out of the sessions (except for the travel writing meet-up), the overall conference experience was great. Some highlights:

    • I met The Grover. Sesame Street was at BlogHer and I taped a 1-minute segment with the furry monster, wishing Bode a happy birthday. We have already watched it about 50 times and I am sure he will treasure the DVD forever. Or it will serve as a reminder of how mommy tried to suck up for missing his birthday in the first place.
    • Exploring Chinatown, followed by dinner with Michelle and Jill at B44, an ultra-cool restaurant tucked away in a quaint alley called Beldon Place. After surveying the menu I queried “What is oxtail? Some kind of fish?” only to have Michelle reply: “I believe it is an ox’s tail.” Who knew?
    • Skipping out Saturday afternoon and riding the trolley down to Pier 39 with fellow Canuck Kerry. I then skipped out of the closing reception at Macy’s and had a heart-to-heart with Jill at Lori’s Diner. Evidently I have a propensity for skipping. At least that’s what my high school teachers wrote on my report card.

    In my next edition of BlogHer ’08: my sexual orientation is put into question and a round-up of all the fantastic gals that I met.

    P.S. And yes, I am straddling a dragon but that has nothing to do with the aforementioned “orientation in question.”

    BlogHer Babes Part II

    Some of the best moments of my trip to BlogHer did not occur until Saturday—the day I decided to play hooky. It probably had a lot to do with my record-breaking 7.5 hours of sleep but that additional half hour of just lying in bed just may have been the highlight. Or maybe it was that I did not have even one kid using my face as a springboard.

    It was tough getting out of bed but since my arrival, I had been salivating over the network of lakeside trails just adjacent to the W Lakeshore Hotel. I rented a mountain bike at The Navy Pier and headed north. My once deserted beaches and trails exploded with activity: sunbathers, swimmers, runners, cyclists and volleyball enthusiasts. Think Frogger on Wheels and you can pretty much imagine my motion.

    After several miles, the crowds thinned and I reclaimed the pathway. I finally stopped at Foster Beach on a bluff called “Contemplation Point.” I kicked back for a few minutes, relishing the balm of fresh air, the army of rough waves and the sand, gradual and smooth. And, I welp, contemplated.

    Really, the only downside was battling the swirling wind whose severity came as a surprise to me. Later, I had an epiphany as I shopped at the Navy Pier and observed the onslaught of souvenirs that boasted the mantra: Chicago—The Windy City.

    Evidently I am not the first person to notice.

    That afternoon, I met my roommates at the Imax to take in a very large, very 3-D Harry Potter.

    (Me, Melina, Meg and Melissa)

    We fully anticipate this will start a major fashion trend.

    That night, it was off to BlogHer’s final extravaganza at The Children’s Museum. I was admittedly hesitant to attend. Though I have certainly never been characterized as shy (think Frogger on Sugar), interacting with such a large number of women was both exhausting and overwhelming.

    I had a good number of both engaging and banal conversations and then stalked the conference’s closing speaker, Elizabeth Edwards. I would have approached her but 1) I had skipped her speech in order to watch the obtuse My Super Ex-Girlfriend on HBO and 2) This Canuck’s vote (or lack thereof) is useless to her. Besides, it was much more fun to play paparazzo.

    I also reconnected with my favorite cohorts: Liz, the two Shannons, Lisa and Kristy. We chatted for a couple hours and experimented with how many Mommy Bloggers we would could cram into the photo booth (only four). Kristy was unfortunate to get behind The Big Haired Lady. Pictures will be forthcoming. Well, not of Kristy. Sorry, babe.

    We grabbed a bite to eat (actually several bites but who was counting), and watched the fireworks on the pier. And then we grabbed more bites with my first official introduction to fried dough and wandered the pier marveling at the energy and pulse of that great city. And we ate. Or did I already mention that?

    Photo: Lisa, Me, Dana, Shannon and Lovely Liz

    The next day, I was welcomed home by a loving husband, eager children and a clean house. The latter element would have been accepted without suspicion if Jamie had refrained from announcing, “We kept it this clean all weekend. Really.”

    And then he gave Hadley that knowing glance. The one that says, “Keep your mouth shut if you ever want to watch Dora the Explorer ever again.”

    Evidently, What Happens in Denver, Stays in Denver.

    Though the same could be said for Chicago….

    BlogHer Babes Part I

    My two and a half day estrogen overload a.k.a. BlogHer has finally come to an end. Well, it was actually three and a half days if you want to calculate the time spent in flight. Or rather, the time spent on the ground waiting for said flight that was canceled then rerouted through St. Louis. Did I mention I encountered extreme delays there as well?

    Oh, and not to be forgotten is when I was handed what I thought was a harmless piece of paper as I was “selected” in the security line. I then underwent my own little private booth of puffer smoke and a veritable terrorist debriefing. Here’s a little hint for you: if you are selected in security it is not a good thing. Ever.

    When I finally arrived in Chicago, my zany roommates Melina, Melissa, Meg and I hit the Whisky Skybar for a preliminary gathering that consisted of a small dark room, loud music and lots of women. Women who blatantly checked out each other’s bosoms name tags. I haven’t seen that much cleavage since…well, I guess if I was a man I could readily answer that question.

    There was also blatant prostitution as women whored their business cards. “Hey, never heard of me? Likewise. Here, take this card and you will never look back.”[Insert seductive, come-hither-to-my-blog look]. I was unprepared for such debauchery and had naively printed off about 30 cards. Thirty cards that were gone within 30 seconds. I think my services would be labeled as a quickie.

    I met scads of fantastic whores gals who included Lisa of Midwestern Mommy and Kristy of Slacker Moms R Us.

    The next morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. (yes, that would be 4 a.m. Denver time) and went for a marvelous run along the lakeside trail. The air was dank and dark, the lake unsettled under a heady drizzling sky. I was alone for much of my trek, something I initially attributed to Chicagoans being late risers but after further retrospect decided it is because they are just a little bit smarter than I.

    BlogHer was a whirlwind of swag (that I ultimately forgot in the hotel room), speed dating for chicks and classes. Lots and lots of classes. Some helpful and empowering, others notsomuch. What I was not prepared for was the rhythm and hierarchy of the blogging cliques; in some ways it was high school all over again as I was transported to the late 80s. I bemusedly sat back and observed as the band geeks accused the popular panel kids of excluding them. The only thing missing was my big bangs.

    Sadly, the big hair still lives.

    That night, the cocktail party was on the rooftop of the Grand Ballroom. I mingled with some fantastic gals: Jenny of Absolutely Bananas, Liz of This Full House and the two Shannons of Believer in Balance and PhatMommy.

    We later wandered around lost in Chicago looking for a late-night dinner. Because getting lost is an inevitability when dealing with estrogen overload. Rest assured, we were able to ask directions due to the absence of testosterone. These events alone confirmed that I was making some bosom friends. And not the name tag kind.

    Photo: Kristy and Jessica “comparing notes.”

    Stay tuned for BlogHer Part II. Or rather, playing hooky from it….

    BlogHer or Bust!

    As many of you know, I will be attending BlogHer in Chicago next week. This will be my first time without Hunky Hubby and the children. Be prepared for my personal edition of Mommy Blogger Gone Wild. If I can manage to stay up past 9:30 p.m., that is.

    The lovely Mocha Momma is sponsoring a getting-to-know-you in 10 seconds or less for attendees. Little does she know of my talent in this area. Once upon a time, I gave a talk in church that ran oh, say 20 minutes over. I was so hassled and teased that the next time I spoke, I clocked myself at a clean 5 minutes. Someone came up to me afterwards and shaking her head, said, “Congratulations. You just crammed a 30-minute talk into 5 minutes.

    Talent, people. Talent

    And so me, in 10 seconds or less:
    Bred and born in Calgary, Canada. Went to college in the U.S., and was the queen of study abroads. First semester: Natural Science Field Expedition where we backpacked all around the country. Final semester: the Middle East. No backpacking involved for fear of getting blown up by terrorists.

    And I wondered why it only took me five and a half years to finish my degree in broadcast journalism.

    Worked for a number of years as a travel writer and as a publicist and radio personality for Utah’s ski and outdoor industry. Know how to say “skiing is cool” in 100 different ways.

    Moved to Denver and married the love of my life in 2003. Have two great kids whom we drag on our many biking and hiking expeditions.

    Will be launching Mile High Mamas for The Denver Post at the end of August. Life goals are to someday rule the world and to get more than six hours of sleep doing it.