In 2005, I started this blog.
At that time, I didn’t know there were other mom bloggers online. I didn’t even know that what I was doing was called ‘blogging.’ I called it an ‘online diary.’ And shockingly, people started showing up to read it. And they came back. And they introduced themselves. And a lot of them were moms who also had ‘online diaries.’
Within just a few months, I had found my tribe. Very few moms were blogging in 2005 and there was absolutely no money in it. We were all doing it purely for the love of writing and community, and anyone who was blogging back then will tell you now- despite the fact that blogging has caught on and become a “thing” and nearly all of these mom bloggers have gone on to do really amazing things as a result of their blogs– back then it was really kind of awesome.
In 2006, some of those mom bloggers headed to San Jose for the first-ever BlogHer conference. I read their stories from home, looked at the photos of all these women meeting for the first time and having a great time together, and vowed that I would go the next year, come hell or highwater.
In 2007, I somehow convinced my husband that I just HAD to go to Chicago for BlogHer ’07, and meet all of these amazing online friends in person. I giddily took pictures with everyone I saw, like Sarah and Susan Tanis, and really, it was like one big girls’ weekend. We laughed together, cried together, laughed until we cried together. We played hot potato with a stinky cheese.
And we crashed a party.
At the end of that weekend, we decided to have our own little get together in Yvonne and Lena’s hotel room. We asked everyone we saw to meet us there late Saturday night and we went all out, buying wine, vodka, orange juice…
…and, just to make things even more special, a few bags of McDonalds cheeseburgers and french fries. In a (perhaps slightly… drunken?) burst of creative inspiration, I put a bag on my head as the guests started to arrive.
Within minutes, several dozen women had packed into the room and made themselves comfortable, drinking, talking… and eating cheeseburgers and french fries.
Within a few more minutes, security showed up at the door. Yvonne and I did what any good party hosts would do at that moment.
We hid in the shower.
Meanwhile, Lena bravely faced the men at the door.
“We’re just writers, sir,” she said in a small voice. They looked past her into the room, at the women eating cheeseburgers, some wearing bags on their heads.
And then they made everyone leave.
But tons of photos were taken and circulated around the Internet. Our room party became symbolic of the giggling girlfest that was BlogHer ’07. We learned a lot that weekend, but the biggest takeaway was this…
We needed to have another, bigger CheeseburgHer Party the next year.
For BlogHer ’08, Alpha Mom sponsored it. We reserved a hotel suite. We bought lots and lots of wine and burgers. And clearly, word of the CheeseburgHer Party had spread by the time BlogHer ’08 rolled around, because instead of a few dozen women showing up…
This photo is actually not the party. This is the hallway outside the party. Our suite simply wasn’t big enough to hold all of the bag hat-wearing, cheeseburger-eating revelers, so the party spilled outside of our door. And that attracted some attention.
Which ended up making our party waaaaaay more badass on the Internet. That year, the CheeseburgHer Party went viral.
McDonalds sponsored our party at BlogHer ’09. This time, we had the Presidential Suite at our disposal, with this view of Chicago from the windows.
You might think this party had reached its zenith at that point. Oh no. In 2010, BlogHer made it the official BlogHer closing party. This time around, it was in an actual ballroom, complete with huge buffet tables laden with cheeseburgers and Snack Wraps. And this time, there was a DJ and a dance floor. I didn’t know it until 2010, but there’s not much better in life than dancing with a bag on your head, WHILE EATING AS MANY MCDONALDS CHEESEBURGERS AS YOU WANT. This is basically what heaven looks like, y’all:
That party went over so well that we’ve been BlogHer’s official closing party every year since. In 2011, McDonalds did the impossible and added a french fry station to the party. This was a tricky feat to accomplish, because the fries had to be cooked and served on-site in order to be good- but they did it. And since McDonalds french fries are on my list of all-time absolute FAVORITE foods in the world, I think that was the year I reached CheeseburgHer Nirvana.
I also think that BlogHer ’11 was our best party yet. Check it out…
We also had lots and lots and lots of cheeseburgers …
As if that weren’t enough, McDonalds also provided a table full of scissors, markers, stickers, and glitter glue so that people could personalize their bag hats. And personalize them they did …
And this brings us to BlogHer ’12. Yes, we’re doing it again.
And once again, it’s going to be FABULOUS. As always, everyone with a BlogHer pass is invited, and if you’re not a burger eater, not to worry- Once again, we’re including a vegetarian buffet (with REALLY good food), so that everyone can enjoy themselves.
CheeseburgHer has changed quite a bit from 2007. The mom blogging world in particular is huge now, and these days when people ask me if I’m going to BlogHer and I tell them yes because I host the CheeseburgHer Party each year, they tend to look at me in disbelief. “Really?” they say. “That’s YOU?”
That’s the power of CheeseburgHer, y’all.
But for all of the changes, the essence of our party remains the same. We’re still a roomful of (mostly) women, dancing, laughing, eating, drinking, and having the time of our lives.
Will you be there?