[PHOTOS] Voices of the Year Community Keynote at BlogHer 2016

It still doesn’t seem real, but it really happened and there are photos to prove it!  For those of you who aren’t “into blogging” but you read blogs, you probably saw that many of your favorites were in Los Angeles at the beginning of August for a conference called BlogHer.

CHECK IT OUT: Submissions are open for Voices of the Year 2017!

I’ve always been drawn to the stage, and as quiet as I seem – I really do love to talk, perform, and share. No one would guess that I was in every play I could get into in high school (oh yes, a card carrying member of the Thespian Society), a pageant girl, a high school and college cheerleader, and a dancer. Nonetheless, I was nervous. Everyone at BlogHer is really nice and supportive, but for real? That stage is big. 

Photo credit: BlogHer

BlogHer is one of the largest if not the largest conference for female content creators. Over 3500 women gather every year to learn, collaborate, share… and party.  One of the highlights of the conference is the Voices of the Year event.  Thousands of people are nominated, and each piece submitted is reviewed by at least two judges and as many as six.This year it was sponsored by Merck for Mothers and of the about seventy-five honorees, there were thirteen amazing bloggers and game changers presenting their work on the main stage during the community keynote… I was one of them…

READ:  BlogHer Voices of the Year: I’m a 2016 Honoree!

Photo credit: BlogHer

Remember #OscarsSoWhite? The creator of the hashtag and the movement that eventually left Twitter and landed on the Oscar stage was one of the thirteen. Aisha Tyler was not only the emcee, but she was making cocktails during the champagne reception for the honorees. Here are the two of them at the bar… I can’t even make this up.

Katie Reed of A Mother Thing and I. She did such a great job!

Posing with my birthday twin Natalie DeYoung (@singingfool1224 on Twitter).


It’s time for a congratulations/thank you/pep talk from co-founder of BlogHer, Elisa Camahort Page (@ElisaC on Twitter).

I was really lucky to get to hang out backstage with the other presenters during rehearsal and between readings/presentations (yep, there was a rehearsal). We didn’t have a LOT of time, but we made time for some good selfies.

Photo credit: BlogHer

I walked on stage when they announced me, and stood at the podium while the video played. I was listening closely for laughs, and once I heard them, my nerves settled a bit. Here’s my video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmq9fqAnjG8

The only part of my speech that I remember is, “Thank you all for laughing.”

Photo credit: BlogHer

Watch the whole event here:

My presentation and speech start at 23:13

When I left the stage Aisha Tyler said that I did a good job… 

Thanks for taking this pic @ReignofApril!

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed an amazing reception with these crab claw cocktails that made me rethink my decision not to eat shellfish… mercy.

We were given these beautiful yellow roses, and our actual awards! Now lemme tell you. I haven’t had a physical award in like… twenty years – longer than that – I won a pageant when I was a freshman in college. That was the last time that I held a trophy in my hands. Man, it feels good. I’ll have to take up bowling or something so that I can get more of these.

Photo credit: BlogHer

I’ll do my official BlogHer recap soon, so stay tuned. For those of you who are on this page because you are thinking about submitting your work – do it. When the opportunity arises, do it. If you are here because you have won a VOTY and are wondering what it is like to present, all I can tell you is that it is amazing. Should you accept when they ask you if you intend to present? Yes.

Photo credit: BlogHer

It was a once in a lifetime experience – no really – you only get to do this once. If you submit and they call your name? You answer. Get out there and accept your award.

Photo credit: BlogHer

Yeah!!!! This was the sign next to the screen that had my video playing…

Photo credit: BlogHer

Photo credit: BlogHer

Even if you aren’t presenting, go out there and be celebrated, get on that stage and say cheese, bask in the congratulations at the reception, pose next to your work in what I called the VOTY Hall of Fame. You did something great and you deserve the recognition.

Photo credit: BlogHer

It’s an experience that I’ll never forget. Thanks BlogHer.

See the full list of honorees here: http://www.blogher.com/announcing-2016-voices-year-honorees

Experience it here: http://www.blogher.com/what-we-saw-blogher16-voices-year-community-keynote

Submit your work here: http://www.blogher.com/submissions-are-open-blogher17-voices-year