Tag Archives: blogher13

The Day I Saw The Conjuring (aka The Day I Nearly Peed My Pants in Chicago)

By now, I think most of you know I went to the BlogHer conference in Chicago last weekend with my friend, Mel. We had a very memorable experience, complete with a great many noteworthy events. Among them? THE CONJURING. (Thanks to Grace Hill Media.)

Why did I just force myself to re-watch this trailer? Why? Why would I do that so close to my bedtime?!!? (Shuddering, shaking off the creepy imagery and taking a deep breath) Thanks to our so-precious-I-wanted-to-put-him-in-my-purse concierge, we were lucky enough to see it at the ICON Theatre where things like 40-ounce bottles of Blue Moon and bacon popcorn are served.


Yes. I said BACON. Which I’m pretty sure means “love” in Ancient Greek.

Now drunk anesthetized, bloated satiated and ready hyperventilating, we walked into the theater and took our seats. And damn if every preview wasn’t for a different horror movie. (Way to warm us up, ICON.)

And then it began.

I don’t think I’ve seen an R-rated horror movie in a decade. (Who am I kidding? As a mom, I barely break away from PG. Scary = Cruella DeVille) This film doesn’t give you a break for even a minute. And the fact that it is based (not loosely, it claims) on a very REAL story kept me on the edge of my seat … fine, on the edge of Mel’s lap … the entire time.

I’m not joking.

I’ve never had another woman (except my own mother) protect me from harm more than Mel did that day. She knows how I struggle with disturbing imagery. Profoundly. How it haunts me during the night and in my dreams, should I actually fall asleep. Let’s just say her hand and my eyes became very well acquainted. But I still managed to see some of it. And hear ALL of it. Sometimes that can even be worse.

Truth? There are a few scenes I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to shake. Ever. The story is about ghost hunters Ed & Lorraine Warren researching the terrifying events that took place at the Perron home in the 1970s. The family had five children. Five. Little. Girls. (I’m shaking my head.) I hate that kids were involved. The demonic apparitions there were so very vengeful and bloodthirsty. They literally chilled my bones. And it was obvious everyone around me felt exactly the same way. Throughout the entire film, the audience had two settings:

  1. Staring wide-eyed and whisper-quiet without blinking or even breathing at the screen … OR …
  2. Gasping, shouting and screaming involuntarily at the heinous and mounting displays of otherworldly evil

I won’t give it away.

I can’t give it away.

Oh, but I so want to warn you when not to look. But that’s not my job. I’m just so freakin’ glad Mel didn’t feel that way.

DO I RECOMMEND THE MOVIE? Well, yes. I do. As long as you can tolerate the fear. Or maybe if you have a wonderfully protective friend like Mel. Why is this one so different? For me, I think it can all be summed by the quote at the end of the movie.

“Diabolical forces are formidable. These forces are eternal, and they exist today. The fairy tale is true. The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.” – Ed Warren

I swallowed hard when I read those words on the screen and wanted to head directly to the nearest church. I’m totally serious. It was, if you will, a helluva story. And from everything I read after seeing the film, the Perron family is completely pleased with the finished product. This story just resonated a little too close with me.

Or maybe it’s just because I kept thinking about Annabelle …

… and how much she looks like the 100-year-old doll my grandmother gave me as a child.


Cue creepy music. Fade to black.



My #BlogHer13 – Yep, I’m Naming Names!

I’m back home from Chicago. BlogHer13 was, not surprisingly, a colossal success. Mel and I managed to have fun AND get some real work done at the same time. I just love it when that happens.

  • We’ve got some incredible products to review. (Monster Inspiration and Kiss Products, can you hear me?)
  • We made a lot of new friends … (Thanks, Ulta, for picking us to interview Wendi McLendon-Covey!)
  • … and business contacts. (High five, White Cloud!)
  • We even got a little writing done together. (Our August article is ready, Manilla!)

But there is always room for improvement. So, naturally, I made a list.


  1. Elleroy Was Here is dressing me. As cool as I tried to look this year, this lady always outdid me. Seriously, she is one of the coolest in the biz. (Nicest, too.)
  2. Skew the Jen Mold is calling all my shots. I’ve never met someone more decisive so I’m handing her the keys in 2014. (God speed, Jen.)
  3. The Spin Cycle is teaching me some of her magic tricks. Picture it. A solid white dress, an exploded red wine bottle and not a single drop on her. Her sleight of hand was incredible. I recommend you reserve your seats for the show now. We’re gonna be better than Siegfried & Roy! (I get to be Roy, Susan.)
  4. My Life & Kids and Kelley’s Break Room are going to facilitate the BlogHer After Hours sessions. I expect a power point presentation along with the demonstration next year, ladies. (And snacks.)
  5. The Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms is hosting the opening ceremonies. They introduced me to most of my posse for the entire weekend. (I’m still sorry I taught that kid one of my PG13 words at the Expo, Erin.)
  6. Leigh Bones is doing my hair. Anyone who saw her Friday night will know why. (Leigh, can mine be rainbow? Oooh! Or ablaze? The Blogger on Fire!)
  7. The Cat Lady Sings is going to tell everyone she’s older than me. And you guys are all gonna just nod and act like you believe her. (Right?)
  8. Parties for Pennies is riding between Mel and me on the shuttle whenever we’re “broken.” That cheerful little person had no idea what she was getting herself into when she sat down beside me. I’m pretty sure she heard my life story from age 12 on. (Remember to pick your seat mate more wisely next year, Heidi.)
  9. Thoughts From Paris is carrying me on his shoulders throughout the Expo so I can see everything and maybe go head-to-head with Optimus Prime. That dude is huge. (I’m talking about DJ. I think he was actually taller than the spacebot.)
  10. According To Mags is serving as my wingman, co-cheese eater, technology tutor, talk show co-host, handholder, stunt-double, evil twin or whatever the situation calls for. Why fix it if it isn’t broken, right?

Honestly, these ladies (and DJ … sorry, DJ) were just the tip of the “great people iceberg.” But I promised myself I’d limit it to ten people I just met. (The exception being Mel who, for the second year running, didn’t abscond with my kidney while I slept.) Because I have two kids, a spouse and two furry, little vermin, all of whom I’ve neglected since Thursday. And I’ve missed them terribly.

Suffice it to say, I met a lot of great people last weekend. And I loved all of them. (Fine, fine. Most of them.) And now … I’m off to unpack my suitcase FULL of product samples.


This is what BlogHer is all about, Charlie Brown.



That Suburban Momma

#BlogHer13 and the Amazing Technicolor Weekend

Once upon a time, there were two girls who blue into the Windy City.

BlogHer '13

Split a bottle of white at the Purple Pig


and donned their dress reds.


Orange you glad I shared?


* * * * * * * * * *

Trifecta Writing Challenge

“Give us a thirty-three word piece that has color in it.”


Packing for #BlogHer13 (plus the very first ODNT Procrastination Video!)

pack·ing /’pak-ING/vacation preparation; the action or process of reminding me that I did not diet at all but rather somehow managed to gain weight prior to the aforementioned vacation and therefore can now be found crying, hiding and cursing audibly on the floor in the closet

BlogHer '13

Yes, that’s right. I’m leaving tomorrow for Chicago. Remember? My girl made a video to help everyone recognize me at the conference. The trip and the company are sure to be fantastic. Unfortunately, prior to this little respite in my crazy summer, I need to take on the one activity that is sure to be made my eternal assignment as I pass through the Gates of Hell. Packing. I loathe it so. Which is ironic considering how much I love to travel.

What have I done do far?

Well … I got the suitcases down from the attic. (No, they are not even unzipped yet.) Also, I put the clothes from the dryer onto the bed. (Well, yes, the laundry hamper is still brimming.) Did I mention that I also need to pack both of my kids for a little getaway they’re taking in my absence? Oh, wait. And I made this little video. I’m calling it Episode One of the ODNT Procrastination Videos.

To all the people reading who know me personally, please keep trusting me to watch your children. Mine are turning out okay … aren’t they?

Truth? I made two other videos. Perhaps I’ll “release” them later. Milo and I were having a blast.  But I had to stop myself … and start packing! I figured I should start by making a list. Maybe you guys can help me. I’ll go first and you can add your suggestions in the comments. You know I’m completely serious, right?

  1. Dresses – And I need to find ones that make me look neither fat, old, sloppy nor poor. (Sigh)
  2. Shoes – Cute, comfortable ones plus others that will piss me off but give the illusion that I’m tall, interesting and glamorous.
  3. Underwear/bras/pajamas – I’ll have a roommate (Mel) so I need to bring my best stuff then try to pass it off as “everyday.”
  4. Heinz 57 ketchup costume – It’s slimming, wrinkle-resistant and  it goes with everything
  5. Purple pen – For all the autographs I will be signing.
  6. Make-up – To augment the smoke and mirrors of #2.
  7. Flat iron – If my house was on fire, it’s the first thing I’d grab after the kids. (Sorry, Dave & Milo.)
  8. Laptop & iPhone – Let’s be honest. I should’ve listed these essentials before clothes.
  9. Jewelry – Or in my case “jewelry,” considering one of my necklaces was a party favor of Vivien’s that she wanted to throw away.
  10. My tickets to see THE CONJURING – Damn it. I’m not going to sleep for weeks. Guess I should also pack some under eye concealer for the bags I’ll be sporting after that freakin’ movie!

Oh, yeah. And Mel suggested I bring a bathing suit. In case we want to swim in the pool. (pause to let your mouth hang open a minute like mine did) Seriously? Have you seen that fool? There’s no way I’m standing next to her in a bathing suit. And don’t even get me started on my hair. Besides the fact that I just colored it so the pool would look like a crime scene, the whole curly-to-straight thing doesn’t just happen.  (I said … IT DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN, MEL!!!) But I digress …. what am I forgetting? … what am I forgetting? …



So You’ll Know Me When You See Me at #BlogHer13 (and everywhere else!)

I leave for Chicago in three days.

BlogHer '13

And I’ve got more left to do than I actually have time to do it. So, naturally, I’m spending the entire day at JURY DUTY. (long, drawn out exasperated sigh meant to elicit pity) At least, they have Wi-Fi. Shoddy, unreliable, computer-keeps-locking-up, people-looking-over-my-shoulder-wondering-why-my-screen-says-tits Wi-Fi. (second sigh) So I will attempt to write … and be witty (Stop looking at my screen, old dude!) … and share something my daughter made for me recently.

She knows I’m leaving Thursday for my conference and, while she’s not happy about it, she supports me. And was sitting beside me as I watched a video created by my good friends, Erin & Ellen at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, to help other conference delegates identify them in Chicago. I could see my girl’s wheels spinning the whole time. Her mad iMovie skills couldn’t wait to get to work. She ran to grab her iPod and start snapping.

“No, Mama. This is VIDEO. Move around. …. No, stop. You don’t have to talk. No one will be able to hear you. … No, you already did that face. Do another one.”

The gap in technology between the two generations was uncomfortably palpable. Thank goodness someone knew what she was doing in that room last night. Her finished product was awesome. I loved it and didn’t change a thing. So, while I probably won’t be wearing my old Johnny Depp nightshirt at the conference (remember …. I said probably), I should still be pretty easy to recognize. Thanks to ODNT, Jr. Here goes ….

Love that kid. See how easy she’s made it for you. I can’t WAIT for the movie! Gosh, who do you think they’ll get to play me? (Please be Ellen DeGeneres.) Oh and remember, at any given time, you could also spot my travel partner Mel and me in our formal wear.


What a couple of jackasses. Heinz should really be paying us by now. Or filing a cease and desist. Either way.

So, if you see me (us), come say hi. Unless you want me to join your foolproof pyramid scheme, need my help with your big move next month or want to show me your six boxes of vacation slides. In that case …. I am NOT going to Chicago. That is NOT me. My name is Margarita Fuentes.

And I don’t speak English.