Group shot courtesy of Kim Moldofsky.
(The following is my “behind the scenes” take on my recent trip to the Kenmore Blogging Summit. I always wonder how these blogging trips go and I’m sure others do too…so here you go!)
When I received the invite from Kenmore to attend the Kenmore Style National Blogger Summit and participate in a focus group, I was floored! Being a homeowner of a fixer upper I am super duper interested in all things that have to do with house and home. And appliances, well they are like the icing on the cake (and isn’t the icing THE BEST part of any cake?! YES!)! So to fly to Chicago (which has fast become one of my favorite cities) and to chat it up with the folks at the classic Americana brand, Kenmore, well, sign me up!
I’ll be honest. As the date approached I was worried with what to wear? Would the other bloggers like me? Would I fit into this “mommy blogging” travel/focus group thing? And I’ll be really really honest..when I saw the list of bloggers attending, I did start to think “Is this going to be like that movie ‘Dinner for Schmucks?’ Oh God, am I Jessica Gottlieb’s schmuck?!” I soon threw that idea out of my head and channeled my inner more confidant Sarah…the one on my right shoulder. She won out and I was soon excited, jazzed and very much looking forward to connecting with these bloggers and the folks at Kenmore.
After a long, and non-sleep producing, red-eye flight from Maui, I arrived at The Wit, our hotel for the weekend. Once checked in, any and all doubts went out the window, as I gazed through it to my view of Lake Michigan through the tall Chicago buildings.
That night called for cocktails on The Wit’s swanky bar, The Roof. After sitting at the reserved table all by lonesome and asking on twitter if this was indeed a joke, I soon saw Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing and Meagan from The Happiest Mom.
With some chick chat (and a yummy cherry alcoholic concoction), my heart settled down. I was not a schmuck. I was indeed part of this mommy blogging group and it was fantastic! Food, drinks, good conversation…my first night left me with even more excitement for the next day when we would travel to Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates.
Friday morning we were whisked away in a bus about an hour outside of Chicago to the Sears headquarters. If you’ve grown up in the States no doubt you have been to Sears, bought a Kenmore appliance or just simply know this iconic Americana brand. Here I was, little ol’ Ohana Mama all the way from Hawaii entering the mecca of appliances!
Once all settled in we previewed Kenmore’s all new products. Yes, Kenmore has completely redone ALL of their appliances. We learned of the thought, research and design that went into this major overhaul and finally got to touch, see, (heck smell) the appliances. I was impressed with the giant French Door refrigerator and was blown away by Kenmore’s Elite Washer and Dryer. This bad boy can actually talk over the phone to give you a diagnosis! Yes, people, the Kenmore Elite washing machine “talks” on the phone! We saw it all. From washing machines, to refrigerators, to stoves, to dishwashers to smaller appliances, even A/C units (is it sad that I was waaaay into the A/C unit? It’s hot here year round folks. Hot.).
We were then treated to a lunch and a cooking demonstration by Sears’ own Chef Billy Parisi. And finally we were divided into two groups, with half of us off to discuss washing machines and laundry and the other half off to talk about refrigerators…two major staples in any busy home! The Kenmore family really wanted to get our point of view, wanted to learn about our needs and wants, likes and dislikes and listened to our suggestions.
The Summit ended with a cooking show live at the Kenmore Studios in downtown Chicago. It was Mommy Bloggers vs Foodie Bloggers and while the mommy bloggers kicked major bootie, the foodies won..I mean come on…it’s in their name. But good try ladies, you did us proud!
The Kenmore Blogging Summit was only my second blogging trip and while it started with some jitters, insecurities and what-ifs, it ended with a renewed respect for Kenmore, some new blogging friends and new RSS feeds in my reader. Thanks to the awesome Kenmore folks!
Disclosure: Kenmore took care of us, shared really cool information and appliances with us and then paid us for our time in the focus groups. They also put us up in the hottest (as in cool) hotel in Chicago…they know how we roll… or at least how we’d like to roll when we don’t have kids in tow! Kenmore also paid for my twelve hour flight, one lay over and hours and hours of “me” time.