By: Jenn K

Cruising shotgun with my friendly Uber driver who said people take photos of these highway signs all the time. #viewfromaPrius

In order to improve and build on our Living Hilo Style brand, Anne and I recently attended our first blogger conference together.  The last time we traveled and roomed together was in high school, as service club members.  I recall having fun then but I’d like to think that we had even more this time around since we are no longer minors. 😉

Mayim Bialik talks about being a granola hippie mom and how she lives a lifestyle so differently from other celebrities.

The conference was put on by media powerhouse SheKnows, who owns the female-friendly site, BlogHer.  It is an annual affair catering to bloggers, from across the country and other parts of the world, who are either learning about or working to improve blogs and blog sites. This year’s conference, titled BlogHer16, was attended by about 3500 women.  It was held in the beautiful JW Marriott at LA Live.

Awesome food and swag every day!

Anne and I were able to attend lecture / Q & A sessions about monetizing, building, maintenance, and search engine optimization  (SEO).  We also attended insightful keynote sessions during mealtimes and were treated to an amazing lineup of celebrity speakers: Sarah Michelle GellarKim KardashianSheryl CrowMayim BialikAisha Tyler.  As well as other amazing women who spoke as advocates of their own causes.  All of these women of different backgrounds and ideals utilize their celebrity statuses to elevate themselves and others, to raise awareness for their individual causes, and to make a living.  Each session was an opportunity to grow mindfully as women while maintaining focus on what is important, in a narcissistic world.

Loaded, but this wasn’t even half of it.

Evidently, no BlogHer is complete without an expo…and swag!  A sea of vendors provided opportunities for collaboration with bloggers to help their businesses get the much-needed exposure across the Web. Bags of bath products, handmade jewelry, snacks, and other useful items were generous sponsor contributions, hoping to draw each attendee to love their products and causes enough to write about them. Offers to win prizes were everywhere as long as proper hashtags were used to caption posted photos and tweets.  We scored some great stuff!

Volunteers with Sarah Michelle Gellar, the owner of Foodstirs, a fun subscription kit for kids and adults to create dishes together.

I was fortunate to be chosen as a volunteer which provided opportunities to not only work alongside organizers but to also meet bloggers through casual conversationssharing tips and techniques, and exchanges of business cards. We also got to know others outside of the conference, who also happened to be attendees.  A few have become friends and we all plan to spend time together when they visit the Big Island.

When you find a person in LA that looks like a guy you know in Hilo, you assemble for a quick usie.

Surprisingly, we met no other bloggers from Hawaii but that didn’t stop us from hanging out with Hawaii people.  Thankful that our friends Wendy and Marla joined us for the first couple of days!  We also got to make a new friend, Marla’s cousin and fellow CA resident Nadine, who joined us for dinner one night.

With Anne, Wendy who flew over with her, and Marla who drove up from San Diego.

Wherever one travels there is almost always opportunities to spend time with friends originally from home or to meet people with Hawaii ties and experiences. Live Hilo Style everywhere and you’ll always be rewarded with new and lasting friendships.


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