TBEX Behind The Scenes

I thought it would be fun to share a few behind the scenes pictures from the Travel Blog Exchange Conference.

We'd been planning the details of the conference for months, but things really started to heat up the week before I left for BlogHer. I flew in a day early to meet in person with co-host Kim Mance for the first time, and we checked out the Chicago Cultural Center, our venue. OOOh, look at that elegant sign.

The building was completed in 1897 and served as the city's original Chicago Public Library. Today it hosts weddings, meetings, and many free programs arranged by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. It's also home to the incredibly helpful Chicago Visitors Bureau (a TBEX sponsor). Just wandering around the building was a treat. This is the world's largest Tiffany staned-glass dome, and it made me want to renew my wedding vows right away - too bad my husband was home with the big kids

Preston Bradley Hall - Tiffany Glass Dome
Preston Bradley Hall - Tiffany Glass Dome

One detail that caused a lot of unexpected drama was the swag bags. While I was blithely lining up useful and interesting items to fill the bags, Shanna Quinn's apartment was beginning to overflow with boxes. By the time everything arrived, she was practically sleeping on swag.

Boxes full of Swag
Boxes full of Swag

The tireless Shanna took a day off of work to stuff the bags and then loaded them in her car and Kim's mini-van. We all arrived at the Chicago Cultural Center loading dock at 7:30am on the day of the event, we took load after load of them upstairs.

TBEX Gift Bags on the loading dock
TBEX Gift Bags on the loading dock

Did I mention that Baby Eilan helped?

Debbie and Eilan loading gift bags onto a cart
Debbie and Eilan loading gift bags onto a cart

The view from our meeting room was gorgeous

View from our meeting room at the Chicago Cultural Center
View from our meeting room at the Chicago Cultural Center

and we were delighted to see that our hard work paid off. The room was packed with attendees eager to hear from our speakers!

Travel Blog Exchange '09 Attendees
Travel Blog Exchange '09 Attendees

I'll post more about the actual event soon!

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  1. Amy @ The Q Family on July 29, 2009 at 8:48 p.m.

    That's gorgeous!

    I wasn't there but it looked like you ladies had done a wonderful job. Kudo to both of you! I hope to be able to attend the next one. You are having the next one, right? right? :)

  2. Elliott Ng on July 30, 2009 at 3:53 p.m.

    Congrats on what seems like an event that will likely be 1 of the top highlights of 2009 for the travel blogosphere!

    Major props. Especially with a new baby!

  3. jessiev on July 30, 2009 at 5:06 p.m.

    WOW. even MORE thanks, to eilan, as well! what a LOT of work. thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Cate on July 31, 2009 at 10:25 a.m.

    I'm so glad you'll be posting the goings on.I thought I had rsvped to this event, but realised I just did a might be there, so missed out. Next year I'll be there for sure. Great to hear things went well.

  5. Donna Hull on August 1, 2009 at 9:34 a.m.

    Thanks for a great event, Debbie; it more than exceeded my expectations. I know it was tons of work for you, Kim and the others. Looking forward to next year.

  6. Dominique on August 2, 2009 at 7:59 a.m.

    Camera, check. Ice tea, check. Business cards, check. Looks like I'm ready to roll here :lol:
    Gah, I usually manage to hide from the camera!
    Thanks for all of the work y'all did to pull off this really successful event.

  7. Nancy D. Brown on August 2, 2009 at 3:34 p.m.

    Great event. I bow down to you AND Eilan for being in such fine form in Chicago. You are amazing, Debbie!

  8. CanCan on August 7, 2009 at 1:38 p.m.

    Phew, "swag" is almost a four letter word after BlogHer and TBEX. I wonder how things will change next year.

    You did a WONDERFUL job organizing an I had a great time at TBEX!

    Many thanks!