Monday, August 8, 2011

Blogging by the Bay: #BlogHer11 (Part 1) - Hello San Diego!

Me a top the San Diego convention center overlooking San Diego Bay
Beautiful San Diego...

I just returned on Sunday from San Diego where I attended my second BlogHer Conference.  BlogHer is the largest female blogging convention in the world with over 3000 bloggers in attendance.  Attending BlogHer is a great way for bloggers to meet in the real world and to learn about the tons of brands that help to sponsor the conference.  I went to the conference with Laura from the blog and we were looking forward to having a wonderful time exploring San Diego and enjoying the whole BlogHer experience.

Embassy Suites San Diego Bay - photo credit Jackie Harper
Our Home Away From Home - Embassy Suites
We flew into San Diego the Wednesday before the conference began to have some fun and explore the city.  When I left on the plane from Detroit, it was 97 degrees in the shade. So it was wonderful to arrive in San Diego where the temps were in the 70's everyday.   The San Diego Airport is a short $10 cab ride to downtown and our hotel for our stay: The Embassy Suites San Diego Bay.

View of San Diego from our Hotel Room at the Embassy Suites - photo: Jackie Harper
The Embassy Suites San Diego Bay is a beautiful hotel right across the street from the San Diego waterfront and also within 15 minute walking distance from the convention center and tons of other hotels and restaurants.

It was great to have a hotel room with all the comforts of home for our stay.  The living room of our suite contained a beautiful large leather sofa and chair, a large leather ottoman for putting up our feet that doubled as a coffee table, a 42" flat panel TV, a dining room table that we used for computer space and a granite counter cabinet that housed a wet sink, mini frig and microwave oven.

The bedroom had large windows that overlooked million dollar condos and also gave us a partial view of the bay. The beds were very comfortable. Our granite counter bathroom was large and beautiful.  I wish the bathroom in my own home was as appealing. There was a second vanity with sink in the hallway which enables someone to be using the bathroom while another person can still use the sink and the mirror.

The suite also contained a private nook just for unpacking and storing luggage so it is kept out of sight and out of the way. My only criticism of the hotel room was that the bathroom door swung open into the hallway instead of swinging into the bathroom, which caused some traffic jams between me and Laura.

"Unconditional Surrender" Statue on San Diego Waterfront - photo: Jackie Harper
Enjoying the San Diego Waterfront
After we checked in at the hotel, Laura and I were hungry so we walked the short distance from the Embassy Suites to the bay to look around and see what we could find to eat. We let our noses lead us to "The Top of the Market," a restaurant on the top level of a docked ship.

Near the restaurant is a statue called “Unconditional Surrender,” a 25-foot, 6,000 pound statue by artist J. Seward Johnson commemorating a famous World War II photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, New York City on Aug. 14, 1945 following the announcement of V-J Day. We actually saw an older couple sweetly reenacting the kiss for their own photo.

The seafood at "The Top of the Market" was wonderful.  We sat at a table on the outside of the ship facing the water.  It was a beautiful day and we ate and watched the navel ships and helicopters go by on their way to and from Coronado Island Naval Base.  I have not felt that relaxed in a long time.

Pre-Conference Fun with Vicks® at East Village Tavern Bowl
After lunch, Laura and I walked around the bay for a while and attended our first pre-conference event.  Procter & Gamble was a sponsor of BlogHer11 and Vicks® put on a wonderful networking event at East Village Tavern & Bowl, which was walking distance from the Embassy Suites Hotel.  Actually all the events at BlogHer were within walking distance of the Embassy Suites, which saved us lots of money on transportation - and forced us to get lots of exercise.

Julia will be running the show for P&G at BlogHer12 in New York
The Vicks® party was a lot of fun.  There was all kinds of tasty food and drink.  We found out that our bartender was originally from a town near Sandusky, Ohio and he loved that we were from the Detroit area.  He also made the best long island ice teas in the world!

This party also allowed me to finally meet in person Julia Wendzinski. I initially met Julia on Twitter through FREEISMYLIFE when she was a college student at MSU.  Julia wrote a review for my blog about the Douglas J Aveda facial treatment that she received for FREE with a coupon from my blog.  Julia is now a P&G marketing manager and she will be running the P&G marketing events at BlogHer12 in New York. Now I can say that I knew her back when :)

Bowling was blast.  I have not bowled in years, and it showed since I probably got the lowest score out of everyone that bowled.  But I had a great time because I was with my blogging homies - Kay Lynn from Bucksome Boomer - @bucksome , Mel from Two Savvy Sisters - @a_savvy_sister and Laura from Laura in the Motor City -@lauramotorcity. It was also very nice that we had the whole bowling alley to ourselves which made everyone feel very special.  BlogHer private parties are awesome.

Embassy Suites Hot Tub Anyone?
One of the nice amenities at the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay is the hot tub.  All that walking around can get to your feet quickly. It was great to be able to get into the hot tub at the Embassy Suites and relax at the beginning or end of a day.  Although we did not have a lot of downtime during the conference, Laura and I made sure some hot tubing was part of our agenda.

Next up...
Stay tuned as I tell you about our other adventures in San Diego in the next installment in my series "BlogHer11: Blogging by the Bay".

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Blogging by the Bay: #BlogHer11 (Part 2) - BlogHer Special Screening of Disney's movie "The Help"

Disclosure: The Embassy Suites sponsored 3 nights of Laura's and my hotel stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel San Diego Bay.  Food, drinks, and all gifts at the VIcks networking event were provided by Vicks.  All opinions stated are my own.

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