I had the absolute best time at BEA this year! Don’t get me wrong, I had a GREAT time my first year but I’ve been blogging for much longer now and definitely feel like I have a better grasp on what I like/don’t like and have just read more in general. Also, literally everywhere I went, I ran into someone I knew and could just chat and hang out with them/wander the floor together! That was SUCH an awesome aspect. I’m splitting my recap into parts so this post won’t be WAY TOO LONG. 🙂 Also, the first time I mention someone I will put their twitter handle in parenthesis — this is basically a theme of BEA. You introduce yourself and then “I’m ____ on twitter”. “OHH yes!”
Bright and early Tuesday morning, I headed to the airport on 4.5 hours of sleep! I’ve just been so busy and frantically finished packing really late Monday night. Eeek! I met up with Nikki (@jnikkir) at the airport because we were on the same flight so that was fun! She got to sit next to me and freak out with me as I read The Raven King. Let me tell you, the way to read highly anticipated books is to sit NEXT to someone who has read it. I only got about halfway through before we arrived in Chicago!
Once there, we met up with Cassi (@MyThoughtsLit), Christina (@mylife_inbooks) and Jess (@gonewiththeword) at the airport so that we could all take an uber to the hotel together! Our wonderful uber driver let us squeeze 5 people and 8 (large) suitcases into his SUV. We had to put some carry on suitcases in our laps and Jess was in some weird seat in the back surrounded by luggage but we survived! (Note: surviving and not dying will be a common BEA theme.)
Once we got to the hotel, the lobby was like a conglomeration of bloggers and I hugged many people and it was generally amazing! <3 Danielle (@loveatfirstpage), my other roomie was already there so we got to smush her and head up to our room to drop off our stuff!
After settling in a bit, we met up with Kristina (@gonepecan), Daphne (@dmtrumps) (love your accents, you two), Amy (@trippingbooks), Alyssa (@WithTheBanned), Brittany (@bookaddictguide), Sandie (@sandieachen) and her friend to head out to dinner! But first. Kristina was all about THE BEAN. I say this in all caps because she was really excited about THE BEAN. Haha, but it was worth it! We took a bunch of fun pictures there! Then we walked to Lou Malnati’s for some Chicago deep dish pizza!
After we made it back to the hotel, Jess, Danielle and I hung out in our room, watched Friends and waited for Rebecca (@unboundpages) to arrive! She wasn’t getting in until late so we waited up and then I dashed down to the lobby with messy hair and no make up to tackle hug her because what else would book soul sisters do? <3
Then we went to sleep because BEA Day One would be upon us…
Wednesday: BEA Day One
We woke up bright and early (as one does when you’re at BEA) and got ready to go to breakfast at Yolk! I had spread the word about getting breakfast together since the exhibit floor didn’t open until 1 pm and last I had heard was 18 of us would be there! A bunch of us met in the lobby and split into different ubers but guess what? Our uber NEVER came. We literally watched this person drive around and around and finally canceled the ride after 15 min. Called a new uber. SAME THING. In the meantime, Nikki tells me they didn’t have tables ready even though I had gotten a reservation confirmation text that morning! Weird. Anyway, we ended up having to cancel the 2nd uber and just grabbing a taxi after waiting a total of 30 min. Definitely frustrating and Danielle was definitely getting HANGRY. Haha 😉
As I stepped out of the taxi at Yolk, Katie (@polishedpage) and Mary (@knoxdiver) (my nickname for her is Marg, long story) were walking up and I ran toward Marg, yelling “MAAARG” like in a romcom, ready for a hug and she gives me this look and I’m all, well crap, are we not doing the nickname thing? Turns out she pronounces her nickname with a hard G. Who else thinks this is weird? Sound off in the comments.
Anyway, Katie, Mary, Danielle, Rebecca and I ended up at a table together that we dubbed the “middle child” table because we kind of got forgotten and then when everyone else was leaving we still hadn’t gotten our food, haha. Hangry Danielle ate 8 grape jellies while waiting (I’m kidding.)
We had the BEST time at breakfast. Like this type of thing is what I LOVE about BEA. Sure, yay books, but oh my gosh, seeing my friends and hanging out and being absurd and ridiculous and laughing the ENTIRE time? That’s what I love. We had so much fun and ate a lot of really good food (soo… three of those plates in the above picture were mine…) Definitely started BEA off right!
Back at McCormick, we waited in line to get in while reviewing our battle plans. Except not really, we were all really chill and just knew we wanted to walk around the booths for drops. As soon as they let us in, I lost all my people and so I walked really fast aimlessly and found myself in the Harlequin booth where they had these lovely men bookmarks so yup, my first BEA goodies I grabbed were these:
Typical, I know.
I eventually ran into people I knew and we went to a few drops, including one of my most anticipated — The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron! The cover is gooorgeous and I’m sad I didn’t make it to her signing but I am so psyched to read it!
Top highly anticipated books I grabbed from drops that day: Replica by Lauren Oliver, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco! I also participated in a really annoying dice game for a book drop… where you rolled a big dice and whatever it landed on, you had to get that book. I mean, why try to force people to get books they don’t want, when they want to read and review another? It’s okay though because we went through the line multiple times haha.
After the last drop of the day, we headed back to our room, dropped off all our stuff. I had a surprisingly large haul for it being a half a day!
Then it was time to head to dinner! Destination? Portillo’s! Everyone was eager for me to try cheese fries because apparently it was a TRAVESTY that I had never had cheese fries before. I’m sorry, okay?! Katie, Mary, Danielle, Sabrina (@ForestofPages), Rebecca and I squeezed into an uber and the nice driver put up with us and our crazy conversations (ie: Goat Slinging Book). At Portillo’s I got the most amazing italian beef, cheese fries and a chocolate cake shake that was so good my mouth is watering just thinking about it now. YUM. We ended up being at the EXACT SAME Portillo’s as Ellice (@LibrarianEllice) (YAY) so we got to meet and chat with her!
Shenanigans ensued when Ellice pointed out two tall guys that “may be famous”. If any of you all have followed Danielle and my stalking adventures last year, you’ll know that we’re good at it, especially when athletes are involved. Long story short, tall dude had a name tag on his backpack and apparently he plays basketball for the University of Maryland! BOOM. Let’s hang out all the time, Danielle so I can meet Seahawks players, please. 😉
When we headed back to the hotel, Sabrina nearly DIED (see? dying/nearly dying theme at BEA) when our mini van uber driver didn’t close his door properly and it FLEW WIDE OPEN WHILE WE WERE DRIVING. Sabrina did not fall out, thankfully, but we did all get highly suspicious when our driver took us on a crazy weird route (underneath McCormick? abandoned concrete looking construction areas?) but Katie navigated him back. Whew.
We grabbed Cards Against Humanity that I had brought and made plans to play down in the lobby area in the hotel. We (me, Danielle, Rebecca, Jess, Mary, Sabrina, Laura(@LECrockett)) got all settled at some tables before we realized that OOPS, I had not packed the black question cards. I didn’t know there was a second box! Thankfully technology came to the rescue and we downloaded an app for the question cards! We had a hilariously good time and I can’t ever forget Laura’s best/worst answer she played.