Tuesday, August 07, 2012

BlogHer '12 in New York

There is no clearer example of the American dichotomy than to experience New York city and North Dakota in the same day. Hell, the same lifetime. Last Thursday, I headed to the Empire State for BlogHer '12, this time in New York.

I love the event but the crush of assertive estrogen always turns me into a bit of a wallflower, or a perky cheerleader when faced with a real wallflower. Even women are scared of that many women. And the number one question on all the social media channels leading up to the event? "What to wear????"

Because I've been wearing one of three rotating pairs of shorts all summer, I had to dig out my dresses, makeup and jewelry from the shed, amid the cobwebs and live mousetraps. I was fancy when necessary but what really got me some attention was this:

I wore it all day Saturday and gals were stopping me in the hall, giving me their cards and talking about their own connections to farming. Thanks, Tracey!

Anyway, as any BlogHer attendee knows, it's not the clothes that make the girl, it's the business cards. Mine were designed by my dear friend, Lisa, and I picked them up at the Moo booth at the BlogHer Expo Hall. Finally got around to looking at them in the cab on the way to a film screening of "Toxic Baby" (more on that later). They look sharp, right?

Starring The Mae Flower!

This year, I roomed with my pal, Beth Terry, who recently published a book, 'Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too', based on her blog, My Plastic Free Life. Though the world knows her as a serious activist urging zero-to-minimal usage of plastic, I know her as a giggly pal who has the same inclinations for staying up late and partying until the wee hours. She brought along a bunch of her books and sold all them - yay!

Though, I was still stuck at La Guardia for President Obama's live satellite address, I made sure not to miss live interview lunches with Martha Stewart (funny, scary-smart, confident) and Katie Couric (warm, likable, smart) so there's that. Both ladies were warm and seemed genuinely happy to be there, which was nice. Also, it was Martha's birthday so we sang to her - fun.

Me and Cho
Also, I did run in to Margaret Cho at a party for Harley-Davidson at Whiskey Park, across from Central Park. She was funny, adorable and a terrific sport. In one weekend, I hit my celebrity quota for the summer.

A big highlight for me was being asked to lead a writing lab at the conference, entitled: "How to Give Your Day-in-the-Life Stories Universal Appeal." There were two 30-minute sessions and the 'students' were so delightful, we could have talked all day long. I was expecting to face a bunch of open laptops but they all arrived with paper and pen - yay for retro note taking! They asked smart questions, listened hard and shared their own challenges and successes. I wish we'd had longer time together.

A big plus of BlogHer is getting some serious face time with those I work with all year long online. It's truly amazing how much you can accomplish in one champagne-infused conversation, at least 50 emails/texts/Yammer's worth.

With BlogHer Editors, Julie Godar and Rita Arens.
On Sunday, I took the train to Brooklyn to visit my old friend, Tony Dokoupil. I met him when he was a young intern at my PR agency back in the 90s, but he has since blossomed into a husband, father and writer for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. We had lunch, watched his son, Oliver, do his best Tasmanian Devil and later, he gave me a tour of the world famous Park Slope Co-op while we slurped our gourmet popsicles from People's Pops. He's a good egg, one of those friends that feels like family.

On my way to his house, I walked by an auto body shop and a man came running out, yelling to me, "Thank you for walking in front of my shop, beautiful lady!" Odd, but sweet. As compliments go, this one was unique and yes, I'll take it.

Sunday morning, I indulged a deep desire to go jogging in Central Park. Cliched it may be but I can never seem to get enough of that green belt of humanity. I was beyond tired but that's what 5-hour energy drinks are for, yes?

I made it to the Jackie O. Reservoir but was saddened to see this sign announcing the upcoming spray of RoundUp:

That stuff is hard to avoid in this life.

Chemicals or not, I made the trek and took in the NYC skyline. Of course, I also partook in one of my all time favorite activities: helping tourists. Whether it's giving directions ("Strawberry Fields is that way.") or offering my photographic services to a German couple ("You want a picture together?"), I played the ever-helpful local. I used to do this all the time in San Francisco (look for freezing people with upside down maps) and I miss it. Mama Iva says I missed my calling as a tour guide.

Sunday night, Beth had made a hard-won reservation at Momofoku and we had the dining experience of a lifetime. They only serve 12 people at one time and reservations are made only one week in advance - and they are gone within minutes. We were served an unforgettable 12-course meal (with pairings) made by expert chefs right in front of us. There are no cell phone calls allowed, no photos and there are no menus. Yes, it is very, very expensive. It may be the most I've ever paid for a meal but each dish was its own culinary epiphany. It was the ideal way to say goodbye to big city food before I return to farm life with its own menu of red potatoes, sweet corn, privately raised beef and SCRANCH produce, also delicious but not that creative.  

I'm still recovering from my Big Apple adventures. I was tired when I left North Dakota and I averaged maybe 4 hrs. per night while there, so I'm still catching up. I have a couple of foot wounds that need tending but I'm here in one piece.

I LOVE New York....

... but it's good to be back at SCRANCH.


Major Bedhead said...

Ha. I was one of those wallflowers you came and talked to and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that. So. Many. People! I was totally overwhelmed at times.

Great recap. I'm extremely jealous of your Momofuku experience.

Heather Clisby said...

Oh, yay! It was a huge crush of the estrogen - a bit overwhelming, I agree. Glad our paths crossed and thanks for stopping in to SCRANCH.