Friday, July 15, 2011


Last Thursday I woke early (5-something) to go hiking with a gaggle o' girls (with whom I'll be camping for a week at the end of the month, more on that later). We went to Stewart Falls, where I was equal parts irritated by all the bugs and overwhelmed at all the beauty of where I live. Arriving home, I finished packing and, not having any time for a shower, drove as quickly as I could to Park City, with the music of Fleetwood Mac as my traveling companion.

I arrived at The Canyons' Grand Summit Hotel with about ten minutes to spare before my first class: Beginning SLR Photography by Justin Hackworth. Grateful that the gate was open for underground parking, I gathered what I needed and made it to the classroom on time. You can read my review of the class on evo's blog, but here is where I show you that I learned the difference between this

and this

After Justin's class I checked into my room, a 1-bedroom suite shared with Camille, and got ready for the opening night keynote, an Ignite session including blowing bubbles with Jenny On The Spot and ending in a zombie attack as hosted by Jenny The Bloggess. (Note: all the jennys. this is why i went by phread.) Someone even proposed to his longtime girlfriend, which was very sweet, although many in the crowd (myself included) were confused by the whole thing because we thought the couple was already married to each other, and that this was a, like, "Let's renew our vows," -type proposal, which is maybe an awkward thing to do in front of a room of strangers. When I later realized it was an actual marriage proposal, I felt bad for not cheering for the couple.

Dessert was served by going to different sponsor suites to enjoy their cupcakes or cupcakes-on-a-stick or whatever. Amy invited me to join her in the xbox kinect suite, and asked if I'd like to play the dance-off game (what's it called?). I had never played via kinect before, but am convinced that this type of technology will change the world. The song was chosen: Venus (bananarama!) and the level (hard!), and as it happens, I scored over a million points. To be specific, I think it was 1,007,300. Or something. Amy wrote this on the Keep Score poster, and little did I know, A Million Points is many. Like, The Most Points.

I got to bed late that night, after a great lobby chat with Cecily, but woke up in time for Friday's 6:30 a.m. aerobics class, sponsored by New Balance (who gave participants a new pair of shoes, isn't that thoughtful?). I had a light breakfast and opted to shower and dress rather than attend that morning's keynote where, guess what, it was announced that I had been the high scorer in the Kinect suite. Many people told me that the announcement included the promise of winning an actual xbox and Kinect system, which would be awesome (I don't have those things), but upon my arrival at the suite to claim my prize, I learned that I won 4 games. Which is great. For people who have the capacity to play them. (Should I buy an xbox? We already have a wii. Do I need both?)

My schedule that day consisted of learning more about the laptop & program on loan to the live bloggers from Microsoft (still playing around with that stuff), and The Food Workshop. The Food Workshop from last year was so legendary that this year they put two on the schedule, and I was thrilled to get to be assigned to cover one of them. I've drafted a review, but as of the time of my writing this post, it hasn't been added to the evo blog; when it is, I will link here so you can see what I thought about it. The ride up the Orange Bubble Express with April was magical-- I had no idea that The Canyons was so humongous. The food was unbelievably delicious (my favorites were the Hangar Steak, and the Spanish Summer Salad), and the hands-on portion made me believe that I could make that kind of food in My Real World.

The food photography portion of that class was also awesome, taking beautiful pictures of food is a skill that I don't know that I'll acquire in this life. Post-class I rode the Orange Bubble back down the mountain with Jeremy, who is afraid of heights, and I hope our conversation eased at least some of his anxiety.

Upon hitting ground level, I sprinted to meet up with Darin, who had driven the kids up for that evening's family party at Park City Mountain Resort. I directed him to the underground parking, and then we all went to my room so I could change my clothes. We took the shuttle over to PCMR and got ready for dinner (I'm sure it was delicious, though I didn't eat anything). Did I mention it was sponsored by Bush's Beans?

While Darin and some of the kids ate, I and the kids who did not eat danced. We were pretty lonely on the dance floor, what with it being so early in the evening. We headed outside and took a ride on the lift to do an Alpine Slide ride (so much fun!), after which I sent Darin up the mountain to claim his Zip Line ride. The older 3 girls went and had fun on the Alpine Slide some more while the wee kidlets and I tackled some serious mini golf. After brushing up on the wii, these kids took it very seriously, I'm sure.

Bubba also championed some sort of climbing apparatus (which we originally mistook for a bouncy house). I cheered him on and my heart nearly exploded; he had to climb through several levels of lattice-worked straps, pushing his li'l body up each time. I'll be honest, I didn't think he'd be able to do it. But he did. Mark that one down as the first of many.

Darin finished with the Zip Line, and it was my turn. Victoria and I stood in line together, and while Victoria spoke with the girl in line behind us, I kept looking at her (the girl behind us) and thinking, "I know her. But I can't think of what her blog is. I'll wait for her to mention it." And then she mentioned it: not her blog, but her being on The Biggest Loser. YOUGUYS! I got to meet one of my television friends.

The rides closed at 9, and so we headed back inside where the dance floor was filled. My kids and I danced to a few songs, and then the DJ played a song as requested by one (or more) of my children. What followed was 2 of my kids and I leading a dance. I don't have video of us doing the dance, so I'll show you the video we watched to learn it:

That was fun.

After a shuttle back to The Canyons, I bid farewell to my family (amidst cries of, "Come home with us, Mommy!" ugh!) and headed to bed.

6:30 arrived too soon, but I got dressed and was only a little bit late to Kia's yoga class. I'd only done yoga once before, an instructional session, and hadn't been a fan. But now? I crave it. What a perfect way to start the day!

After showering, dressing, and packing up my belongings, I went to my first session of that day, Working With Designers and Programmers. (How I long to know what they know.) A break for lunch with Aimee and Helene, and then my final session, Hands-On Workshop: Vlogging. I ended up doing a string of vlog interviews in a gondola with Jenny, Carly, Pam, and Lisa. You may end up seeing some of that footage at a later date.

Checked out of the hotel, I helped get the ballroom set up for the Closing Keynote, a stirring address by Me Ra Koh. I related with her on many (too many) fronts, and her words really touched (I'm sure) everyone in attendance. (If you've got the time, you can watch her address -- the audio improves after the beginning -- and I do recommend it.)

The closing party was another ride up the gondola at The Red Pine Lodge. More delicious food, and some fantastic conversation with Allison and her husband. A couple of cozy fireside chats (not Fireside Chats) and laughs with Trevor later, I found myself on the gondola ride back down the mountain with Justin and a couple I don't know, but they must be Big Time because apparently they photograph stuff for Williams-Sonoma.

I then bided my time and made a few wardrobe adjustments in preparation for the traditional End-Of-The-Conference-Adults-Jumping-Into-The-Pool-Fully-Clothed event. It was very fun until -- Scram! The Fuzz! Yes, we were kicked out. And yelled at. Yelled. It was like being at Perkins or something.

I dried off in Jen's suite's bathroom, changed my clothes, and drove home. And then on Sunday? I slept for a million hours.


Mrs. Organic said...

This sounds like a must-attend event. And you're a millionaire!

Amy said...

1-you totally need an xbox kinect. Dance central is a blast, the sports game involves the whole family in a competition and there is nothing better than watching the family old people plugging holes in an underwater glass box on Adventures.

2- I'm jealous you rode down the lift with They are a great photography couple.

3- Me-Ra is one of the most inspirational woman I have eve met.

4- I enjoyed getting to spend some time with you. It was an excellent conference. And you really are kick-a dancer. So sad I'll be missing your Blogher class

~j. said...

Mrs. O - I think you'd REALLY like it! Go next year!

~j. said...

Amy -
1 - I know! It was so fun, I just don't know about justifying the cost (blahblahblah, boring!) when we've already got another system that we don't use too much.
2 - Thank you for identifying them! They are great people, I enjoyed listening to them talk about what they obviously love to do.
3 - AMEN.
4 - Same! I always enjoy getting to spend time with you, you are refreshing to be around. Hope to see you again soon!