Alt Summit just ended for 2014 and already I can’t wait for next year’s conference. This is my second time going and a very different experience than the first time. Because of all the brands that come in search of bloggers to work with, I set some pretty unrealistic goals for myself in terms of connecting with them. There were times throughout the conference that I felt pretty down. I wasn’t comparing myself to others in terms of content but wondering why they were invited to private sponsor breakfasts and meetings and I wasn’t. And since I was part of team decorating a mini party this year, I didn’t get to actually go to many of the sessions. I gained SO much from them last year. In the end, the Alt Summit experience was still very important and positive for me. It came down to getting to spend time with people in the same creative field with you and building my community. Which I think is pretty dang important too. I left feeling refreshed and ready to tackle some big creative projects.
The trip started off in a frenzy. I was traveling with Lauren and we both had a ton of stuff to take with us due to the mini party and all our cute outfits. To avoid paying the heavy luggage fee, we did a little curbside rearranging. Luckily the airport was not busy and the skycaps (is that what those outside guys are called?) were SUPER nice and patient. It was pretty funny with shoes, and other things, falling all over the place.
One of the coolest parts of Alt is the Wednesday night brand dinners. Brands who are sponsoring the conference take about 20 bloggers out to dinner at different restaurants around Salt Lake City. It is a great way to ease in to a conference that has a bazillion attendees and also a good way to get to know a sponsor better if you think they might be a good fit for your site. I headed out to dinner with Furbish Studio. I am a huge fan of Jamie and the team. Their use of color and patterns absolutely delights me and their designs are so inspiring. The Furbish team was lovely and I’m so glad I got to spend a little time with them.
The panel by Erika Domesek from P.S. I Made This was amazing. This was the third time in 2 months that I have gotten to attend one of her events. No, I am no stalking her. But this gal knows what she is doing. After the first event I did a little research on her and found her to be super business savvy. But creative at the same time. I will make every effort to attend anything she is doing locally. She’s the stuff. I sat front row and tried to soak up everything she said. Aside from her knowledge, she is one of the best presenters on the planet. She’s engaging, funny and real.
I didn’t get much time to check out the brand lounges this year. But I love how Alt sets these up. It give you an opportunity to meet the brands but also a fun place to take a break, find a snack, take some pictures, etc. The Wayfair room made me so happy. Their pinks and golds were super girly and made everyone smile when they walked in.
So Smilebooth was in and around Alt again this year. There really is nothing better than a Smilebooth. They have the best lighting, the best staff and create some really fun memories. So let me tell you about this girl right here in the middle, Melissa of Melissa Creates. She’s my people. We have been online friends for years but I had gotten to meet her in person in NY a few years ago. She is one of those people who is willing to help, support and do just about anything you need her to. She is passionate about what she does, she is really creative and I love watching her teach herself new skills. She’s not afraid to be nerdy, doesn’t need to be like everyone else and I freaking love that. She’s the best! And you know I love Lauren. I have far too many posts to link to for her as we’ve been playing together for a few years now. Simply put, she’s amazing.
The parties are especially fun at Alt. La Crema helped host the Thursday night party with Cricut and Method this year. It was an awesome party and super cool to get to see some of the amazing things the new Cricut can do. And, of course, we had to find the Smilebooth.
I adore this photo. These gals are pretty incredible. I finally got to meet Carmen and Kori in person. I can’t stand that they live in Florida with Melissa. I wish we were all neighbors so bad. Carmen is ambitious and super hard-working but has this really playful side that makes me smile. I love watching her grow her business. Kori is this crazy amazing graphic designer and illustrator. But beyond that she is super funny and warm. Then you have Kim who is bubbly and fun to be around. It has been awesome to see where she has taken her business which all started with her blog. She’s an inspiration of what can be done with hard work. Amy is someone I just got to meet when I sat in her roundtable discussion on pricing yourself. She’s awesome. Ridiculously friendly, totally open with information that others often keep close to the vest and just plain adorable. Alt is so fun because not only do you get to see old friends and meet people you know of online, but you get a chance to meet a lot of new people. I met Amy at Amy’s roundtable. Amy was so sweet and easy to hang out with. She is a travel writer and if you spend even just a second on her site you immediately start a list of places that you want to visit. So great to meet you Amy!
And then there is Melanie. I love her so much. We locked eyes from across the room and headed immediately to the photo booth. This gal is everything. She’s talented, crazy creative, has the cutest son and is probably the nicest person I have ever met. She’s the real deal and I am grateful to know her.
Ashley, sweet Ashley. I simply have not had enough time to spend with her yet. She gets me. She’s super funny and just has this great, friendly vibe. I need more time with her. Go read her blog. All of it, from start to finish. I adore her style and love her writing style. It is one of my favorites. And I love her cat.
Brittni is another gal that I need more of. The thing about her is that she is quiet. She’s not one of those people who is boisterous and in your face. She’s sweet and friendly and has amazing style. And then you read her blog and you are like, OH MY GOSH SHE’S A FREAKING CREATIVE GENIUS! I want to play with her and see how her mind works. I want to know what makes this gal tick. I can’t wait until our paths cross again.
And now my public love letter to Amy,
You light up my life. Our friendship is new but I feel like we instantly connect on so many levels. You make me want to turn in to a hippie and start a commune where we can raise our families side by side and make beautiful blog posts all day. You make me laugh like no one else (don’t tell my husband, he likes to be the funny person in my life). I look forward to learning more about you. Just know I will never come visit you in the winter. I would literally freeze the moment the planes flies over your state lines. I can’t wait for our Twitter slumber party.
Lauren and I had some more photobooth fun with Andrea and Alix. Remember my post about her from a few weeks ago? Aside from her healthy living side, she makes awesome DIYs, has great style and keeps it real about parenthood. I am so excited that we finally have some concrete plans in place to do some shoots together. And I love finding new to me blogs. I met Alix at her mini-party and couldn’t wait to check out her site. LOVE!
Business cards are big business at Alt. This year I recycled an old idea of mine and passed out vials of Nerds along with my card. I have to say, I was not at all upset to have some leftover…
And of course, there is always a little bit of in-room party aftermath. When you have 3 girls who have an hour to get ready before the next conference event, you make it a party. So grateful to have roomed with Jenny (who I am going to declare my love for in tomorrow’s post) and Lauren again.
When the parties are done, you don’t want the night to end so you find anywhere you can in the hotel to keep it going. You know that you only have a limited amount of time with these amazing gals and you cherish every minute of it. Sure I could barely stay awake on my trip home but it was all worth it.
My heart is full, my head is spinning with ideas and I’m praying for more hours in the day. So while I didn’t come away with my initial conference goals met, I came away with something even more important. The fact that my community is growing and bonds are strengthened is essential for doing my best work in this online arena. That is all thanks to Alt Summit. And I can’t wait for next year!