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Sunday Funday – Gearing Up for BlogHer ’13

By on July 21, 2013
in News, Sunday Funday with 39 Comments

Thanks to blogging, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some fantastic people. Between multiple seasons covering New York Fashion Week and the fashion & beauty blog conferences I’ve attended, I have found great friends in bloggers from my genre.

This week I’ll be heading to Chicago for my first BlogHer conference and it’s on a whole new level from any conference I’ve been to in the past. I mean, there were over 5,000 bloggers in attendance last year. That’s a pretty daunting number.

Now, I’ve heard the jabs taken at SwagHer, I mean BlogHer, but I’ve been blogging for so long that swag isn’t a draw for me. I am going for the educational sessions, the chance to catch up with blends (blog friends) and the opportunity to meet inspiring women from outside the beauty and fashion realm.

blogher-2013-conference

The thing is, looking at the schedule for BlogHer and reading blog post after blog post about how to prepare for the conference has my head swimming. I’m intimidated, to say the least, and I haven’t even begun to figure out what I’m going to pack. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not about to play the heels-at-a-conference game. There is a limit to the whole “suffering for fashion” concept.

So, my question to you, dear friends, is who has suggestions of things to see and do in Chicago? And are there any great restaurants I can’t miss? Every time I’ve been to the city, I had a friend to guide me and we rarely ventured downtown. One thing I must find is great deep dish pizza. It’s the one thing I can’t find in Cleveland.

Also, if you’re a blogger going to BlogHer, let me know. I’d love to meet you. And if you have any advice for a newbie, I’m all ears. 

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There Are 39 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Carissa says:

    You must go to Lou Malnati’s and try the Malnati’s classic! Also bring some good walking shoes & walk the magnificent mile, even if you don’t buy much its just so amazing to see the super sized versions of the stores. I also recommend buying the Streetwise Chicago map, between that and the google maps app on a smartphone you should never get lost.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1931257345/ref=aw_d_img_back_books?qid=1374419276&sr=8-1

    I will say that I went on the L train one time & one time only, because it was horrible! It goes extremely fast, does not slow when it goes around corners and is just not a pleasant experience at all! There were no seats available when I made a transfer and had to stand holding heavy bags and nearly fell on multiple people! All the locals seemed fine standing up but I think its an acquired thing(like sea legs!).

    Hope this helps!

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      That is so helpful, thank you. Have you ever tried the HopStop app? I use it whenever I go to NYC to navigate the public transportation. You can use it in Chicago as well. I definitely want to check out TopShop on Michigan Ave.

      • Carissa says:

        I used an app called Chicago Transit to find out when buses(I refused to take the L again) were expected to arrive and the Chicago Transit Authority website was helpful as well.
        http://www.transitchicago.com/mobile/

        I also used yelp(website not the app because the app was glitchy when I went in February) to find good food around where I happened to be at that time.

        I went in TopShop but they were doing some kind of repairs in the store and everything was covered in a thick layer of dust so I didn’t buy anything(who wants to remove drywall dust from something they just bought!?!) I really liked the City Target (the building has some really cool architecture) and Ulta(there is an amazing spiral staircase!) both on State st. Also if you are looking for souvenirs(I love touristy souvenirs but I know not everyone does) there is a store called Love from Chicago on Michigan Ave. in a mall called The Shops at North Bridge(if you go to the mall go on the catwalk/bridge thing inside for an amazing view!) Oh and Tiffany’s has this really cool statue above their door that is worth a look.

        Sorry for the bombardment of information this is just the stuff that sticks out in my mind as favorite things I saw!

        • Michelle Mismas says:

          Don’t apologize, I love all your suggestions and really appreciate you taking the time to share them. Going into Tiffany’s can be dangerous for my wallet. We’re supposed to get one in Cleveland and it’s probably a good thing it hasn’t opened yet.

  2. Debbie says:

    For pizza Lou Malnati’s or Pizzaria Uno or Due. You should try to get to Girl and the Goat Stephanie Izard’s (from Top Chef) restaurant.

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Unfortunately Girl and the Goat has a waiting list a mile long. I think she just won a Beard award as well so I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon. That’s awesome for her but a bummer for me. When I checked OpenTable the first available table is for mid August. :(

      There was a Pizzaria Uno near my college campus in Cincinnati. That’s the first time I had that amazing buttery crust. Yum!

      • Debbie says:

        She has a second place called Little Goat Diner that is easier to get into. Lou Malnati’s has a little different type of crust than Uno, not sure how to describe it really but very good.

        There are also tons of good beer bars/brew pubs (might be mis-remembering if you’ve mentioned beer here before) Rock Bottom is a good brew pub downtown. Or Revolution Brewing if you can get out of the downtown area.

  3. Pam says:

    In Chicago: Lou Malnati’s for pizza, Nandu for empanadas, Al’s or Portillo’s for Italian beef, Smoque for bar-b-que, The Rosebud for Italian, Real Tenochtitlan for mole’.

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      All awesome suggestions. Thank you for breaking it down by category. Writing all these down. Mwah!!

  4. Angela says:

    Okay, a must do is Xoco for some tortas and churros. Don’t let the line disappoint you, they are worth the wait and you can order online/pickup.

    Chicago polishaholic tip:
    take the redline CTA train north, to argyle & step into nail polish heaven. Lee nails & lynamy are my favs. They have great prices and you can dig up HTFs and retired colors easily.

  5. shannon says:

    I’m not sure how many conferences you’ve attended in general, but planning what to attend and studying a map is always good. And sometimes all the attendees can overwhelm the wifi or it randomly cuts out, so paper is good!

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Thanks for the tips! I’ll have my tablet for taking notes. My handwriting is worse than a doctor’s so I would probably have no idea what I jotted down, ha!

  6. Joanne says:

    Honestly, the El is one of the easier modes of transportation in Chicago – just keep in mind that it’s the mode of transportation for hundreds of thousands of people daily.

    If you’re staying in the city, put on some walking shoes and navigate by foot. It’s gorgeous out and you can easily get most places walking. Or you could always take a cab ride.

    As for site seeing, I recommend: Chicago River architecture boat tour, seeing Buckingham Fountain lit up (to music) at night time (top of the hour), have a drink at the observation level of the John Hancock (best views of the city).
    If you have time and like quirky things, you can take a Haunted Chicago tour.

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Haunted Chicago tour? Sounds interesting. I’ve been to the top of the John Hancock for drinks. It’s worth it to go back, just for the view. *fingers crossed* for no clouds.

  7. Gina says:

    As a northeast Ohio native who has lived in Chicago for 4 years now, I’d rather have any pizza you can get in Cleveland any day over Chicago deep dish, but that’s just me! So I can’t help you on that front, but my very favorite restaurant downtown is Russian Tea Time. You have to go with friends and get the tea service, which is served from 2:30-4:30. The little trays of finger foods are delightful, and the Russian tea is amazing.

    As for shopping, it depends on what you like, but there are a few good flagship stores on Michigan Avenue that are worth checking out – Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor Loft, Nike. Also, the Nordstrom Rack on Chicago just off of Michigan (basically, if you go to Top Shop, head west on Chicago for like two blocks) has a big wall of OPI on clearance right now. Someone like you probably already has the colors that are on sale, but you never know! If you end up on Michigan Avenue and are hungry, you can check out the Grand Lux Cafe, which is a bit of a tourist trap, but if you get a good seat by the windows, you can watch people walk by below on Michigan, and you can stuff yourself with delicious beignets.

    If you do venture into any of the neighborhoods, Piece Pizza in Wicker Park has awesome thin crust pizza (since deep dish isn’t my thing, that’s where I usually go), and then you can head up Damen to Black Dog Gelato, which has absolutely amazing gelato. Goat cheese cashew caramel FTW!

    Also, if you haven’t already done it, walking around in Grant and Millennium parks downtown is nice as long as it’s not too hot out. I think this week is supposed to be a little cooler.

    I don’t spend a ton of time downtown – I tend to stick to the neighborhoods because there’s not a ton to do downtown in the evenings other than shopping. But if I think of other things I’ll be sure to come back and leave another comment.

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Wow, thank you Gina! That is all so so helpful. Maybe it’s a grass is always greener thing with the pizza. I’m sure if I lived in Chicago, I’d yearn for more traditional pizza.

  8. O.C. says:

    The architecture cruise is great! They take you on a boat through the canals, to see all the neat old buildings in downtown. The best tour you could take, in my opinion. :-)

  9. Kim says:

    This is my third BlogHer Conference, and I’ll say this: don’t forget your phone/laptop chargers and comfy shoes! Also: they say to bring an extra bag for all the swag, but you have the right idea. The first year, I brought home so much swag that it took me almost a year to sort through it all…and at that point, I donated most of it to Goodwill.

    Take advantage of sponsored sessions and 1:1 opportunities to connect with brands you care about. Follow up with people afterwards (or even during the conference) so you’re not blankly staring at a stack of business cards weeks later.

    Let me know if you’d like to meet at the conference!

  10. Florasol says:

    so helpful, really! I’m going to Chicago too, so write, write, write!!! (I’ll go mid-august, pity we won’t be there in the same days, we could meet!!)

  11. Ms Jelena says:

    How exciting for you!!!

    Have fun :)

    xx

  12. Juls Tribechic says:

    Personally I feel that Giordano’s Pizza has the best deep dish or “stuffed” pizza around. I think 3 locations. But when I lived there it was a must visit for guests and when I hit Chicago it’s always something I have and I always bring one home!

  13. marie says:

    I love Lou Malnati’s as well. Working downtown, we order this for all our fun office occasions and EVERYONE loves it. Being a Chicagoan, I have to say, you gotta go there. Don’t try their delivery, it is horrible wherever you order from :)

    As far as seeing and doing stuff, I would recommend doing a boat tour as the weather is good for that this week. There is one on the lake and one that goes on the river — I like the one on the lake when I have family in town.

    Enjoy Chicago!

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      I’ve either been to Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s before but I can’t remember which. It’s been a while, ha!

  14. Sarah B says:

    You should eat at Italian Village on Monroe Street! It’s actually three restaurants in one. . . go to the one upstairs. You will know what I mean when you get there. It’s very cozy & warm & YUMMY!!! The lasagna will easily feed two people.

    Also, the architectural boat tours are fun!

  15. Sarah B says:

    Oh, one more place. The Blackstone Inn is on Michigan Ave., but away from the Mag Mile. It’s full of history, and it has an AMAZING tapas restaurant on the bottom two floors. The chef there has won on the Iron Chef show twice.

  16. LondonMarriott says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter, native Chicagoan. hi!

    If you’ve already had the famous pizza, skip it unless you’re really craving. Chicago is such an amazing food town! If you like Mexican and don’t want to wait for one of the Bayless restaurants, try New Rebozo on Superior. A-ma-zing. Bonus, there’s a Nordstrom Rack nearby! I also like any of the many rooftop bars for drinks, including the Roof, Market, or Epic. Or get fancy and head over to Fulton Market if you really want to be a foodie.

    I also vote for an architectural boat tour. Check Groupon or LivingSocial for deals – I always do when I travel. You can do yoga at Lincoln Park Zoo on Sunday, and there are two awesome fests: Taste of Lincoln Park and Randolph St Market Fest. Of course you’ll probably be busy, but I like to recommend the non-ultra-touristy stuff :-) Have a great time!!!

  17. Melanie says:

    I live in Chicago, it’s going to be a little chilly at night here this weekend….a suggest you take advantage of the tours, and if you can catch a game at Wrigley. Shopping is great on the Mag Mile as well.

  18. Maureen says:

    I lived in Chicago for 4 years while working on my Ph.D. at Northwestern and loved it. I also worked downtown and took the El daily – it’s really not that bad, but if you’re riding it during peak hours, expect some inconveniences.

    You’re already there so this may not help, but other options include Cafe Iberico (great tapas and sangria)on LaSalle and Gino’s East (the original on Michigan and Superior is worth it to see all the names on the walls).

    There are great places in Evanston, but that may be further than you want to go!

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