July 31, 2013

#BlogHer13 - TOONswag Adventures...day 1

I am Canadian (sorry). You guys know the last time I tried to go to the States I was turned away at the border for not having a work permit? That's right folks: you need a work permit to do public speaking in the USA, if you're getting paid. Who knew? I sure as hell didn't (it was my first paid gig) and most certainly neither did the company that hired me. Surprize.

Quite apart from all the speaker-prep work I wasn't going to get paid for, I'm very sensitive and easily intimidated by people in uniforms fingerprinting me, so to say I was traumatized is an understatement. I was crushed.

And therefore extremely apprehensive about getting to BlogHer. I was about to cancel and sell my ticket. And then I found out that I won the VOTY Award. But more about that later.

As it happens, I got on the plane to Chicago with no trouble whatsoever. As soon as the nice man with the American flag on his pocket gave me back my passport, the anxiety I'd been carrying since May melted away. I felt a great weight lift from my soul...

Closure is a wonderful thing, if you can get it.

This year I booked an extra day at the head of the BlogHer 2013 conference (I am smart). It was worth the extra hotel fees just to be relaxed and rested. Tracy Beckerman, syndicated humor columnist, author, friend and wielder of gold lamé thongs had invited some friends to dinner to celebrate the support she felt for her very funny book Lost In Suburbia. Gracious lady! Terrific way to kick off the conference with friends, most of whom I'd already met.

I wasted no time in toonswagging the very first person who whispered the secret password in my ear:

"I have blue-footed boobies!"

It was none other than Anne Parris, the blogger behind Not a Supermom and founding member of Generation Fabulous. She scooted into the booth across from me and I whipped out my iPad and began scribbling.

FYI Anne was on a panel at BlogHer discussing MidLife Bloggers. Did you know that women over 45 are reppin' the fastest growing slice of blogdom? I'm in there somewhere. I KNOW YOU'RE SURPRIZED, RIGHT?

Finished the toon just in time for my sushi. They had uni! Very few restaurants have it cuz it's got to be fresh.

What's uni? It's raw sea urchin and it's my favourite.

Back at the Sheraton's Chi Bar, I had to draw Nicole Morgan, blogger at Sisters From Another Mister. She and I have been innerwebbing for three years and finally met.

Man, she's gorgeous! Also she's got some great beauty tips which I'm hoping she'll vlog. Her voice and accent are silky. Hint...clunk.

Dear friends from conferences past hugged me tight. Then I hit the pillow. Hard.

Way more toonswag coming soon...maybe even tomorrow.

July 23, 2013

BlogHer 13 - reppin' with #toonswag!

Packed? Check.

Tickets and registration printed out? Check.

Butterflies in tummy? Check.

Tomorrow I will (fingers crossed for a good airport experience) hop on a plane and head for Chicago to join my friends in the blogging world at BlogHer 13. My plan while I'm there is to eat, drink, be merry...and toonswag of course.

What the heck is "toonswag"? It's when I live-draw people that inspire me, usually at a conference or social media event. The drawing is a gift to them, and it fits neatly into their luggage cuz it's digital. I've drawn celebs, speakers, panelists, and regular bloggers like me.

I started toonswagging last year at BlogHer; some 6 events and 49 social media personalities later I've got quite the collection. Although I'm super shy, I have been known to surprize foks by marching right up to them and asking if they'll pose for me. However if you want to be toonswagged you should let me know by fluttering your eyelashes and uttering the secret password:
"I have blue footed boobies."
I am serious.

Which brings me to this:

#BloggerCOOL is something we can all tap into. It's a wildly inclusive thing started on the fly by Abbie Gale All That Makes You on FaceBook. The group quickly snowballed into several hundred women connecting on several hilarious topics, one of which was boobies. Before I knew it KissyFace had drafted me into drafting the mascot.

The blue footed booby is a noble critter. There will be stickers floating around BlogHer 13, cuz Elizabeth Lee jumped in and printed hundreds of boobies.

Photo-creds to Elizabeth Lee!

I'm JUST SAYING in case you see them stuck on people's lanyards and stuff. There's even a twitter account → @bloggercool.

I wonder if anyone will draw me at BlogHer...

July 18, 2013

Ball...(part 6).

...continued from here.

This is the story of my ball. (It's a series. If you're new you can start at the start.)

I wondered who else could possibly be down here in this murky underworld.

Continued here...

July 10, 2013

Ball...(part 5).

...continued from here.

This is the story of my ball. (It's a series. If you're new you can start at the start.)

I fell for what seemed like an eternity, screaming my guts out.

A voice...? Who could be down here?

Continued here...

July 8, 2013

CONTENT MARKETING: ...does toonswag count?

Since my last speaking gig went belly up, I've been jonesing for some social-media IRL action. So I jumped when my friend Mila invited me to (acclaimed author) Mark Schaefer's Content Marketing workshop right here in Montreal. Aptly named "ContentMTL" and deftly thrown together by SocialMeex and the McGill Writing Center, the gig was packed.

Naturally I whipped out my trusty iPad and Wacom stylus and toonswagged the dude.

There's always that weird moment when I show the drawing I've just done of them, with me holding my breath, "Will they hate it? ...will they let me tweet it out, even if they hate it?" Mark was all like, "YESSSS!"

What the heck is content marketing? Basically it's writing (or drawing) stuff and getting it out there on the innerwebs. The workshop was aimed at business strategists, advertising marketers and publishers. 

As usual I fall outside the kinds of stuff that people are doing with that shit but whatever; I still got a lot out of Mark's brilliance. Mostly because he tells funny stories. Ha.

This fashion statement was snapped by Mila Araujo!

There was a panel after that with some amazeballs people: Micheline Bourque, Brendan Tully Walsh, Craig Silverman, Mila Araujo, Julien Smith (omg JULIEN SMITH) and Ray Hiltz from SocialMeex was the moderator.

Yes. I totally drew six people in one hour. 

The entire room erupted into spontaneous applause when Mila said this.

Toonswag whuttup! So yeah, there's that weird moment once again when I show Julien Smith my toonswag, ask his permission to tweet it out and try to exchange biz cards all the while trying not to drop all my gear on the floor because I AM SO AWKWARD. He was gracious. He got my card out of the case for me.   

Actually I took a lot of notes when I wasn't drawing. If you have an iPad, you know how irritating the touchscreen-keys are, right? Well, this time I was trying out a Logitech FabricSkin keyboard thingie I got through Best Buy. 

My fingers were a blurr.

Holy crap this thing is great - perfect for conferencing cuz you can type really fast thanks to the keyboard. I may just take this to BlogHer 13 with me. Hopefully that trip won't go belly up too!

See my whole toonswag collection here.

July 2, 2013

Ball...(part 4).

...continued from here.

This is the story of my ball. (It's a series. If you're new you can start at the start.)

The ground gave way and I fell. A blood-curdling scream tore through me.

Down, down I plummeted...

...into an abyss of inky uncertainty.

Continued here...