“Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself,” Ree Drummond advised on her keynote and then proceeded to sing Endless Love to her dog on the big screen. Host of the Pioneer Woman blog, a bunch of cookbooks, and the number one food show for women on Food Network, it all started with her self-deprecating stories on her blog.

This BlogHer Chicago conference is all about the power of a small story to make a big change.

I only have about 20 minutes before I run back to McCormick Place to hear Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In. I am sleeping on my mom’s couch. (Thanks!) Here are a few highlights.

Kathleen Sebelius gave the keynote on the first day. We are in good hands in this country with Sebelius as secretary of health and human services, rolling out the health care. “Women put their health last,” she said. Not me, I vow.

Sebelius drew applause when she talked about the need for mental health coverage. With health care for all coming soon in this country, “62 million people will have access to mental health that they don’t have it today.” And this, “Depression is real.”

Secretary Sebelius advocated for more women in decision-making positions, be it in corporate boards or elected offices.

“Take a risk,” Sebelius said. “Kick a door open. Put yourself in.”








Yoga in Millennium Park, sponsored by Yasso yogurt, was awesome. The drizzle on my yoga mat stretched me. Then, I felt grateful when a bit of blue peeked through the clouds.

Other highlights for me were the panels on caregiving, podcasts, Instagram, and essay writing. Guy Kawasaki spoke at lunch. He gave the example of NPR as a place with great content that’s earned the right to host a telethon a couple of days a year. (Not to self: provide great content, only then host a telethon.)

Kawasaki is is a huge fan of Google Plus. He said it is for your passion, whereas Facebook is for your friends. And he referred to his four kids as “my four start-ups.”

I loved when Elisa Camahort asked Kawasaki, “Four kids, a lot of work — how do you do it all?” He acknowledged that he has three women making him look good — a wife, a nanny, and a @PegFitzpatrick, who happens to be my #blogchat Twitter friend.

And that reminds me, for more updates, you can follow me on Twitter at MaryBethC for more on BlogHer. But right now I’ve got to run back to the conference and lean in.

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