Monday, August 4, 2014

Blogher '14 Recap & Downtown San Jose Favorites




Adrienne and I headed out to the first day of the conference..

Well, I returned from the Blogher conference full of great ideas and new thoughts percolating in my head. It was a good experience, inspiring speakers like Kerry Washington, Arianna Huffington, the Blogess and some famous tech folks like Kara Swisher were one of the best parts for me.




Kerry Washington is as thoughtful and kind as she is beautiful. Love her passion for making the world a better place. I've got to start watching her show, Scandal. I feel out of the loop and it's supposed to be that good.



The individual small classes were insightful, some more than others. I did enjoy the panelists and what they shared. One new idea we learned is that the future is about SMO, (social media optimization), not SEO as bloggers have been lead to believe. Basically, the thought is build your tribe, and followers through your social channels, and success will follow. I think I agree and frankly the whole SEO (in which your audience is coming primarily via search engines), is mystifying and annoying. Google and other search engines change up their search algorithms and you cannot count on the traffic they send to you or be sure about how you get it.

The other helpful session I took was about adding video to your blog. 'Vlogging' is the future and if you aren't already making them, you should be. There were great tips about just doing it, even if you know nothing. In fact the three women on the panel were Youtube successes without any professional equipment or cameras.  Most just used a regular camera or phone. It was inspiring enough for me to try it at home. I videotaped myself cooking. Yikes, let's just say this might take me a while. I don't want to scare people away! I am hoping to...soon. I like the idea of readers knowing the real me. (Or do I? ;I)

To me, the highs of the conference were meeting new people, bloggers from nearby and some far. I connected with green bloggers like, ClimateMama, finally met Valerie's Kitchen, a local blogger, in person, and made friends with a new blogger mom Saundra from, In Spirit and on Purpose. I loved  catching up with my good friends and getting to know new ones like stylist Malia and social media maven, Kerry Rego, even better.

Malia and Kerry


Though I live very close to San Jose, I decided to stay overnight for the full conference experience.  I cannot say enough good things about the Fairmont in San Jose, who was the official hotel for the event. Many bloggers stayed in the South Tower, 14th floor. The views of the San Jose skyline were lovely. My room had a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, was spacious and luxurious. I would very much recommend requesting that tower and a higher floor.

Loved my view!!!


We even enjoyed the pool one afternoon. Gotta love a rooftop pool and drink service. We had fun floating around and chatting with other blogger gals, while sipping cocktails. The palm trees and view were quintessential California. It was a nice break after a day in a  big conference center.



Adrienne chilling in the pool. 


The Fairmont's location, food and service were super. They have 3 restaurants, a sushi bar and a lovely lobby bar with live music and some fun dancing on weekend evenings. It's my top pick if you are staying in San Jose.


 As a native San Josean, I felt compelled to share some great spots while we were all out during the conference! So we wandered a few blocks away to another San Jose landmark, The Sainte Claire. This gorgeous 1926 hotel has an early California-Spanish design and was recently renovated to it's former grandeur. It's worth a walk over to see the lovely lobby and Il Fornaio.



The Il Fornaio restaurant there is arguably one of the best in Downtown San Jose. The homemade pastas, breads and mozzarella and caprese with their finest olive oil are some of of my favorites. I love the bar there and it's a fun spot to grab a quick Aperol and panini before a show. Many of the live theater venues like the Center for Performing Arts and The Montgomery Theatre are within walking distance.

Kerry, Malia, Adrienne, Tamera and Jennifer.


         Another evening we took a few photos outside the hotel by the Circle of Palms and then walked to the building next door, to a San Jose institution, the Capital Club, for dinner alfresco and with a view of the city.


The Capital Club has a wrap-around deck and couches to have a drink, a bite and watch the sun set on the surrounding mountains while you watch the airplanes land at SJ International nearby.





Other fun San Jose landmarks are Original Joe's, which backs up to Il Fornaio and is traditional  Italian fare at it's best, and it's old school bar attached at back called the Hideout. Tanq at the Marriott is an glass enclosed bar with a happening vibe that we  dropped into as well and is steps from all of these.



Across the street from the Fairmont is the Tech Museum of Innovation or what we SV peeps call The Tech, which is fun for the kids or techy geeks. It also has it's own IMAX movie theatre, showing some of the best nature and science movies.  The San Jose Museum of Art is also across the plaza from the Fairmont and always has new exhibitions going and a cafe for a quick bite.






Adrienne and I discovered a new addition to this area, below the South Tower of the Fairmont is a new 7,000 square foot MUJI store. MUJI is a Japanese retailer with wonderful home accessories as well as lovely skincare, very chic clothing basics and other charming items. We were instantly enchanted with it. Think Ikea and Uniqlo combined, but a bit more upscale. It's worth a trip downtown just to visit.



The last night Blogher held a fun street party with Rev Run as the DJ. He exceeded expectations!



When is the last time you danced and sang in the street with a ton of other crazy people to 80's and 90's music?

Exactly!! 



Life needs more of those moments!


I'm glad I attended Blogher in my hometown. Downtown San Jose can be very fun!


Kim

21 comments :

  1. Wow, sounds like a very fun time! Great pics of you lovely dolls!
    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

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  2. Sounds like you had so much fun. I hope to attend a blogger convention one of these days!

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    1. Lana, I think it was so worth doing!! I hope you get to also. I can highly recommend the Blogher one.

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  3. Looks and sounds like a fabulous experience.
    Cannot wait to see your Vlogs!

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    1. Thanks hostess...Me too. Hope I have the guts to do it!

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  4. Glad you got lots out of the conference Kim. It is very competitive in the blog world and it's easy to fall through the cracks. Having tried doing a couple "home" videos, I can tell you it's tough to get right with editing capabilities. Some of the "big" bloggers have them professionally done. Social media .. other than FB and IG, was there anything else they recommended? I've always been tempted to go to one of these events. Once the house is complete, I will review my blog options and maybe make a few changes:) Hope your week is off to a great start.

    xxleslie

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    1. that's...."without...editing"

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    2. Leslie, they recommended Linkedin and Twitter as well. I love your videos! I was thinking about yours. You dii such a great job. I need to take some time to rework my blog in Fall as well.

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  5. Hi Kim! What a fun experience and brought back so many San Jose memories because I used to go there a lot and have definitely been to Il Fornaio there and love it. I totally agree with you about the SEO being so confusing and overwhelming and it's nice to know it's moving to a new direction. Also, about the videos, I have been thinking about trying more too and it can be so time consuming but I've done mine with my DSLR camera in the past and they're not professional but I think being more real is more relatable that videos that look professionally produced. :) Loved all the group photos and it's nice you stayed in the hotel too for the full experience. I had no idea how big the Fairmont was there. :)

    xoDale
    www.savvyspice.com

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    1. Dale, Yes seems the consensus is that the videos should be real and don't necessarily need to be professional looking!! Il Fornaio has been my favorite downtown for a long time too! Yes, totally recommend the Fairmont! It's a fun spot and lovely.

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  6. Oh blogging is just a bit of nonsense for me, I applaud your professional approach.
    I'd also need subtitle for videos!

    That is such great group shot.

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    1. My first try video was awful..Love that picture too!

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  7. K..oh to your comment, definitely not, it would be an advert! I keep most of my life private even though I choose to blog.

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  8. Just started introducing video on my blog with Vimeo which seems to work quite nicely straight from my phone as well as laptop. I almost forgot that YouTube can also play a big part in your SMO. The conference looks like way too much fun and no boys allowed you say, what, so not fair!
    :)

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    1. Paul, There were a few guys.. If you come next time, I'll smuggle you in!!
      I love your videos. They are beautiful snippets of sound and beauty!

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  9. Hi Kim, I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time at BlogHer. I'm sorry I wasn't able to join up with you all due to scheduling. I loved the pics! It does sounds like there were some great speakers and some valuable info shared. I totally agree about the SEO thing. Growing channels simply makes more sense to me than crafting seo phrases. Loved hearing that. I have added videos when we travel if I'm excited about the place we are visiting. They are most definitely not professional but it's fun to add a bit of ambiance to capture a place in time. Enjoy the waning days of 'off school' summer with your boys!
    xx, Heath

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    1. Heath,Thank you. You were missed!! Yes some good tips about the whole SEO thingy.. Your videos are super.. I definitely like the idea of adding travel ones like you and Paul. Hope you enjoy the last days of vacation too! x

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  10. Dear Kim,
    thank you for this interesting report! I find the idea of a blogger-meeting fascinating, and will be on the look-out whether we have that in Germany too. (If not, there might be a good field for starting one). Till now I have met 2 bloggers in England - otherwise I 'know' them through their comments (wich give you a picture over time - some I am e-mailing with now). Thank you for joining.

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  11. Sounds fascinating ! and what a fun group of women - you all look fabulous!

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