Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This post is long overdue, and almost obsolete -- hello, BlogHer was over 10 days ago, which is like 10 years IRL! My only excuse for not getting it done sooner was that I had so much swag to sort through; besides, I feel like I already got the obligatory post-BlogHer post up the morning I left San Diego.
Despite the late date, I persisted in getting this post published, because I think the swag at BlogHer 2011 was fantastic, and I wanted to give mad props to the companies who gave it a lot of thought and came up with unique, useful stuff for bloggers to take home and rave about. So without further ado, here are my picks for the best swag at BlogHer 2011:
Best Swag for Women
With all the standing, walking, dancing and partying that went on over BlogHer weekend, I'm sure every single conference attendee stopped by the Dr. Scholl's booth to soothe their tired, achy feet. Dr. Scholl's really got it spot-on by handing out gel high heel inserts, gel ball-of-foot pads, and compact Fast Flats that fit into your purse so you can switch out of your stiletto party heels when your feet just can't take it anymore. They even had a Custom Fit Orthotics kiosk so they could analyze your arch and stance, and give you a pair of Custom Fit Orthotic inserts that are best for your feet. Is it any wonder that the Dr. Scholl's booth was perpetually mobbed?
Best Swag for Men
There were quite a few male bloggers in attendance, but BlogHer is still primarily a women's conference, so it's no surprise that most of the swag was geared towards women, kids and families. Not that men don't like Pringles and cell phones and Lindt chocolate, but you know what I mean. I didn't think I'd have anything substantial to take home to Alfie until I looked in the official BlogHer swag bag and saw a Waterpik SinuSense water pulsator and neti bottle, both perfect for clearing out his sinus-related allergies. Not the most glamorous swag, but oh-so-useful. In fact, both of my roommates, Megan and Kim, also took the SinuSense home to their husbands. All three of us crowed with delight at the thought of the SinuSense reducing our husbands' snorting and snoring.
Best Swag for Kids
I realize this is subjective, depending on your child's age, gender and interests. I love the Build-a-Bear plush monkey (from the MomSelect Swag Suite) for little girls and the Chuck & Friends DVD (from the BlogHer swag bag) for little boys, as well as the Sesame Street figurines from the Playskool booth -- but my kids wouldn't give those adorable toys a second look. So I guess this category should really say Best Swag According to My Kids. Most of the swag that made it into my suitcase was kid-related, and my post-BlogHer homecoming was like Christmas morning for them, but they had clear favorites. The Pea loved creating her own fashions with the Fashion Playtes gift certificate I got at the MomSelect Swag Suite, and the hands-down winner for the boys was the set of Redakai cards I received at the Big Toy Book Sweet Suite. They loved these holographic cards so much, we simply had to go out and buy more! Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of Redakai and Fashion Playtes in the next few weeks.
Most Fun Swag
Were you not able to make an appointment to one of the spa/beauty/pampering sessions offered by various companies at BlogHer 2011? No problem, thanks to Skinny Cow! I pink puffy heart the Skinny Cow booth for remembering that Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and providing false eyelashes (as well as makeup artists to help put them on) so we could all look and feel good throughout the partyfest that was BlogHer 2011. This was another popular booth, with perpetual lines of women waiting for their "falsies".
I must have gained five pounds walking around the BlogHer expo floor and sampling all the goodies! I loved the Dove ice cream bars, Shari's Berries brownie pops, Skinny Cow ice cream and snacks (their Milk Chocolate Heavenly Crisp is to die for), McDonald's Mango-Pineapple Smoothies and Jimmy Dean Sausage Biscuits -- but I have to award first prize to King's Hawaiian sweet rolls. How could I not have known such a treat existed? Their sweet, tender bread comes straight out of my Filipino childhood memories. They're my New/Old Product Discovery of the conference, and I totally love them.
Coming from an all-girl, Catholic school education, not to mention a country where 80% of the population is Catholic, it really boggles my mind that the Eden Fantasies booth was one of the most crowded booths on the expo floor. What, they weren't sneaking in to visit the booth in the early hours of dawn? Then I realized that this was the opportunity of a lifetime -- what better time to check out sex toys without embarrassment than at a convention with a ton of women? Far better than disguising myself and going into a seedy sex shop! Thank you, Eden Fantasies, for focusing on what women want, and bringing it out into the open!
As soon as I entered the Big Toy Book Sweet Suite I gravitated towards the Shains fashion accessories booth, and I could not tear myself away! I spent ages customizing rubber keychains for the kids with the letters in their name and accentuating their cuteness with little icon buttons. I couldn't resist making a bracelet for myself -- these things are so cute, and just as fun to wear as they are to make. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of Shains in the next few weeks.
Best Swag Bag
I'm talking about the actual bag that the swag comes in. Most brands hand out reusable shopping bags, but the California Raisins board went all out and gave cute striped canvas totes to everyone who attended their BlogHer lunch. Runner-up: the uber-hip, uber-sturdy Timbuk2 cargo tote for Purex Insiders (note: you can still apply to become a Purex Insider here; maybe next year you'll get a cute bag of your own!).
I'm sure I've forgotten to mention a few items I loved; if I remember, I'll update this post. And there were even more great items that I wasn't able to take home with me because I didn't have space. All I can say is, I'm so glad that the companies at the conferences I go to don't hand out lame pens and exercise balls and bottle openers! Blogger-friendly companies rock!
Disclosure: All items mentioned in this post were handed out during the BlogHer 2011 conference, either at official conference events, the conference expo, or at private events. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.