Recap: My Weekend at PopSugar Play/Ground
This month I attended PopSugar Play/Ground: a two-day festival celebrating women empowerment and the body, mind, and soul. Located at Pier 94 and designed similar to a trade show format (mixed with whimsy), the interactive event featured wellness and beauty booths, retail giveaways, sample products and experiences, and plenty of opportunity for grounding and play.
Headlining the event and speaking on the big stage in various keynotes and panels were accomplished women including Kate Hudson, Mindy Kaling, Yara Shahidi, Tiffany Haddish, and PopSugar founder, Lisa Sugar -- to name a few.
Attending PopSugar Play/Ground ...Solo
Going to events alone is a struggle -- but necessary. You have to make friends to get pictures taken of you, network without having a social breakdown, etc. I'm pretty introverted/shy (though talkative when comfortable) so I love being alone BUT that also means I have a hard time "peopling" without social exhaustion.
Traveling, blogging, and going to events solo helps bring me out of that shell and I'm always practicing ways to do things outside of my comfort zone.
I'm not going to lie: when I have to "people", a minimum 2-day detox follows for my sanity.
I went to PopSugar Play/Ground alone and it took a couple hours to calm my social anxiety down. Once I took the first step, however, it got so much easier. So many women started conversations with me and I, in turn, started conversations with other solo attendees who looked as overwhelmed as I was. It helped make for a full day of experiences.
What to expect at PopSugar Play/Ground
I arrived at Will-Call to pick up my badge and then received a swag bag with a cute notebook, coupons, samples, and stickers. The notebook was my favorite.
Once officially inside I noticed a majority female crowd, ages 18-35, all enthusiastically participating in activities, shopping the bazaar, and lining up to win prizes. Some women frolicked in a giant ball pit with rainbow-colored slides, while others were en queue for hair, makeup, and spa treatments.
I headed straight to the Wendy's food truck for free Berry Iced tea & Berry Chicken salad because I know my priorities.
I was glad I didn't dress up (I wore jeans and a tank top). There was no need to come in your Sunday's best. Most people wore either workout clothing or weekend casual outfits. Those who were dressed to the nines (likely for the 'gram) had a hard time participating in many of the activities and, by the end of the day, clearly had aching feet. To each her own!
One thing I thought could be improved was the long wait time to participate in the bigger experiences. I got a free facial and waited an hour for my turn. Though not the fault of PopSugar, the vendors could've been more prepared (like having more booth attendants) or offered a faster sample service.
Things I loved about Play/Ground
PopSugar Play/Ground seemed like a huge success, so I wouldn't be surprised if they do it again next year. If so, here are some of my favorite highlights:
1. The star power was real. Even more real, though, was the girl power. Hearing accomplished women confront female competition, digital detoxing, believing in yourself, and today's political hot messery felt comforting. The crowd lit up -- with each panel more ignited than the last. The topics were right on target with issues and feelings we all shared.
2. I got much needed R&R: I didn't line up for too many spa treatments / freebies because of their longer lines (and also because #DontTouchMyHair), but I did channel patience from the deepest pits of my soul and waited my turn for a hydrating Skin Inc. facial that did not disappoint.
3. Photo opportunities galore: PopSugar knew its demographic well! Instagrammable opportunities were around every corner and I took full advantage of them. A couple photos even made it to my travel and wellness Instagram page!
4. Networking opportunities: If you play your cards right and suck up the social awkwardness early in the game, you'll find there to be a large number of wonderful women to meet. I had some great conversations and learned there were a lot of budding entrepreneurs in the crowd (none of which tried to sell me anything, phew).
5. I won stuff: I hardly ever win anything -- though lately I've been luckier than usual. At PopSugar Play/Ground I won $50 Kohl's cash, make up accessories, beauty products, and some other swag and chotchkies I've already misplaced. Point is... I WON THEM!
Transportation to PopSugar Play/Ground & Pier 94:
PopSugar Play/Ground took place at Pier 94, which is essentially the northern tip of midtown west in NYC. If you're a local you probably just rolled your eyes because going to events at the pier on the weekend sometimes means crowds and unreliable transit.
Luckily, I followed PopSugar's suggestion and waited a few hours after opening to arrive. I got there at 12:30pm with no lines at all! I took the NJ Transit to Penn Station (I was coming from a wedding in Jersey) and walked all the way there (disclaimer: I think walking 2 miles in 80°F heat is like walking to the corner store). If you want to skip the boob sweat, the closest train stop is the C/E train at 50th and 8th avenue, or the 1 train at 50th and 7th.