Alt: Meetin’ and Learnin’

First of all, huge thank you to everyone who left such kind comments on my last post. After a weekend full of sleep, recuperation, and some deep thoughts, I am feeling much better and finally ready to share my wonderful experiences from Alt Summit. Its hard to believe that two weeks have passed since I narrowly escaped Seattle’s silly snowstorm and fled to the less-wintry confines of Salt Lake City to play and learn with 500 other fabulous bloggers.

Ever since I signed up for alt, i’ve sort of been asking myself why I decided to go. I heard about it after the first year (the conference is in its third), and mostly heard rave reviews last year from the likes of Amy, Danni, and Melanie. Over the summer I received e-mails that the early bird deadline was approaching, and even though I wondered why I might go, when the deadline approached, I clicked “register” and felt so excited. This blogging thing started as a way to chronicle home renovations and general goings ons, and even though it hasn’t grown into anything huge, it feels like it has become more than just a diary, it has given us a creative outlet and a community of like minded people to embrace. A lot of what I heard at the conference was “how to quit your day job”, and I think I can fairly say for both D and I that we’re not looking at that as a goal right now. I think we both just enjoy this outlet and the creative possibilities and Alt was a great step toward becoming more immersed in these possibilities.

I met some fabulous people and learned a ton. I took seminars on Site Design, Working with sponsors and ad networks, Connecting a blog and a shop (especially helpful for us to grow our little etsy businesses), Blogging about interiors, and Building a personal brand. In each session I felt more energized and engaged in wanting to grow our little community. I took tons of notes and I have a lot of ideas that I can’t wait to bounce off all of you.

Regardless of the photo above, I hardly took any real photos the whole weekend and instead relied on my phone (one of a very few androids in a sea of i-phones) to snap the activities. Instead of a verbal play by play of the conference, I thought I would share some of my favorite moments and some of the most important things I will take with me until next year.

Bring a cute notebook and a cute case to hand out all those fabulous cards (ooh, that reminds me, need to share our new cards with you all!) I brought a wool pendleton case and a zoom-zoom-zoom notebook that I picked up at MOMA in December.

Get excited about SWAG! It will come in beautiful packages and be overly generous. I hope to be able to share some of it with all of you, its that great!

The Grand America is just that: Grand. Beautiful at all hours of the day, but particularly at dusk. Its a little pricey to stay, but if you find a group of roommates, its awesome to be at the center of the action.

Speaking of roomies: its nonsense when people tell you are crazy to room with people you meet on twitter. I linked up online with Kristen and Allison, and they were both awesome ladies that I loved swapping stories with at the end of every day. Stranger Danger no more 😉

Nail Polish is key (third only to top knots and red lipstick). I chose Loreal’s Water’s Edge with a topping of copper glitter. Loved it! Actually, it felt awesome to get up and ready everyday. I know, i know, i have  JOB and should be presentable, but I work with all men and over time I’ve come to realize, nobody cares. So to get up and put real cute outfits together (see that up top? mustard AND polka dots, wowza 😉 put on full makeup, and care about details like nails was sort of refreshing. I will try and keep it up.

How many bloggers does it take to set up room service? 4: 3 for the table and one to document it for the blog! (har har har). A story about these fine ladies: Katie, Brittni, and Jenn. We were all supposed to fly from Seattle to SLC on Wednesday before the Dinners with sponsors. On tuesday midmorning, the snow began to fall. As we were all a-tweeting, Brittni suggested that there were seats left on flights out Tuesday night if we could find a place to crash. Katie found a room free at the Grand, and we all crazily switched our flights. It was nuts! Again, total strangers (except for blogging), and we all bunked down in a crazy frenzy. And, as witnessed above, ordered room service at midnight after long travel days. You know what? It was crazy, but also fairly awesome. These gals are all terrific, and I’m not sure I would have had time to connect with them otherwise. We really got a chance to chat, and it was nice to start the conference a little early with some awesome bloggers to link up with.

Eat a good breakfast, there is a lot of hustlin‘ to be done. I ordered this banana brulee oatmeal from the Garden cafe and it was the best oatmeal I’ve had in my life!

The design camps on Saturday are TOTALLY worth staying for. I went thrifting with Liz, and then came back to the Grand for textile design. We painted some silk and it was awesome! Photos by b.a.d. photography.

Ah, but perhaps the most important thing I learned the entire weekend was of the pastry called Kouing Aman. Its like a croissant stuffed into a muffin tin and baked through with honey. AH-MA-ZING. Thanks to Liz for reserving some of these at Les Madeleines just for our group.

The theme I kept hearing again and again through the weekend was to step outside your comfort zone in order to achieve true growth. Building a community and/or business isn’t easy, and in many cases you need to feel uncomfortable in order to get where you are going. For me, immersing myself in the wonderful Alt community was the first step in going outside of my little laptop comfort zone and it was so worth it.

Be my roomie next year?

Here are some related links that I couldn’t resist sharing, in case you want more:

I bought this book upon a recommendation in the Journalism for Bloggers panel.

Helena was awesome to share some too-strong cosmos with (thanks hgtv!)

Uncle Beefy is a riot, so is capree, and carina for that matter (Carina even invited me to the cool kids party on Friday night, but then I was too zonked to go. me <– lame)

Man, can Tabitha thrift. She’s the stylist for Parks and Rec, so no surprise there. Plus, she’s hosting a pen pal project, come join me!

Melanie has compiled a pinterest board of posts about alt. Also, Ben is adorbs.



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6 thoughts on “Alt: Meetin’ and Learnin’

  1. Mustard AND polka dots? Gorgeous! Welcome to UT, the land of dressing fancy on a daily basis. Ha ha Keep those nails, make up and fancy outfits comin’! The food looks delish: was it “provided” for you or did you venture out to eat? I want to know if you hit up any yummy dining establishments so I can try them out next time I’m up that way (or if you went to some of my favs). Also,cosmos that were TOO strong? In UT? Oh Heavens, not sure I believe it. What a fun time you had! So glad you got wonderful pics to share. Yay for you and Alt!

  2. I want to go! I also want a polka dot shirt to wear with my mustard sweater. You look gorg! Will have to check out some of these links, maybe you could give me a crash course starting with yelling at me just to make my blog prettier. I respond well to shouting.

  3. So glad we were able to room together that first night in SLC Brianne. It was such a crazy way to meet, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. :) And my breakfast at midnight the night we got in was SO yummy.

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