Stay Wild Part Playlist

urban jungle party inspiration - plus party playlistSo I’m sure you are all over all the Alt Summit posts but I have one more to share.  The music.  The music for the party – any party really – was really important to me.  We had the urban jungle theme and I wanted to make sure that the music added to the atmosphere.  Don’t laugh.  But the sound I wanted for the party was based on the funeral scene in Zoolander.  If you don’t remember it, which is totally possible, it had a great beat, it was instrumental, it was overly cool and felt a little urban.  But I’m pretty sure that Pandora would’t have had a channel for that so I went through my own music to see what had a similar feel.

These songs are some of my favorites right now and both the Phantogram and the Lorde nailed the sound.

And I LOVE mashups so I spent a little time researching indie/hip hop mashups.  I’ve listened to The Hood Internet before and they kill it every time.  Here are some of my favorites from the playlist.  And while Step by Vampire Weekend is not one of The Hood Internet songs, I can’t get enough of it.  And don’t even think of skipping French Montana over Beach House (!!!!)

Stay Wild Mini Party at Alt Summit

My team for our urban jungle themed mini party at #altsummitI was super lucky to get to decorate one of the mini parties at Alt Summit this year!  And I had a fabulous team of ladies to work with.  I always love to collaborate with Lauren but was super excited to get to create something fun with Jenny and Alexandra as well.  Aside from the fun (and immense stress) of planning the party, I am so grateful for the quality time that I got to spend with this rad group of ladies.  Jenny and I have been online pals for ever but getting to hang out with her (and room with her for the second year in a row) was so much fun.  And while I met Alexandra last year, I truly loved getting to know her better during party set up.

cool concrete centerpieces and custom calligraphy panels at our min party at #altsummitWe couldn’t have pulled off this party without the help of Holly of Paisley Petal Events.  She is a local SLC gal who I had met at a blogger event years ago.  She was more than willing to help us in any way we needed.  We shipped tons of stuff to her house including the neon sign (that got damaged in shipping and needed to be fixed – she handled all of that like a pro!).  She also made the concrete block table centerpieces for us.  There is no way we could have shipped those without it costing a million dollars.  She also came by to drop it all off to us at the hotel and then spent ALL day Friday with us setting up.  She even recruited Toni to help us out on Friday too.  I can’t thank her enough for her generosity.  She’s amazing!  See that rad lettered banner?  That is all Lauren’s handwriting.  My favorite printer, Direct Edge Media, printed a few of those out for us and they turned out SO amazing don’t you think?

diamond honeycomb with moss on chain link fence from stay wild mini party #altsummitGiven that our theme was urban jungle, we wanted to take it a little bit to the streets.  Make it a little gritty.  We HAD to have chain link fence.  And I blew my own mind when I added the moss to the honeycomb diamonds.  You may remember from my list of goals for the year that I mentioned that when I am around other creative ladies I sometimes get really self-conscious and implode.  I get paralyzed and can’t make decisions.  This totally happened here.  I was able to shake it off a little bit after the moss.  I loved how it looked and felt like it was a small victory for myself.

Stay Wild - custom suckers and prints for our party guestsWe were super lucky to have a few amazing vendors on our side who were beyond generous with their product and time.  See my full post on Lollipics here - but how freaking cool are those suckers?!  And the mini Stay Wild art prints feature more of Lauren’s handwriting and were very popular.  These were printed by Stationery HQ.  Email Chris Hernandez if you want to know more about having your own prints done! (chernandez@printhq.com).

Custom neon sign by Endevour Neon for our #AltSummit partyOh yeah.  And we had this custom neon sign made.  The coolest ever.  I’ve always loved neon signs and after seeing how easy it was to order something custom, I am certain I will have one in my house some day.  And when you check out all the other amazing work by Endeavour Neon you will want one too!  Their customer service was BEYOND!  We held a contest during our party and the very lucky Allison ended up with it.  I’d like her to know that if she needs me to take care of it while she’s whenever she vacations, I would be happy to.  And if you want to order one for yourself, just email Andrew at endeavourneonsigns@gmail.com.

Top your own cheesecake bar at our urban jungle mini party #altsummitI wish we could take credit for this fun cheesecake bar idea but it was decided on by the Alt team.  The mini cheesecakes were just several bites in size and there were a ton of toppings to choose from including a salted caramel sauce.  AMAZING!  I love interactive food displays and the fact that this was dessert related made it even better!  None of my photos really show the amazing hand made paper garland that Jenny made by hand.  There is a very small section attached to the cheesecake bar sign.  Isn’t it the coolest?!  I don’t know how she managed to get it all done.  It was magnificent.  It went across one whole wall in the room!

DIY animal keychains at our urban jungle mini party #altsummitWe also provided an easy craft for the party guests to do.  Since we were the “wild” room, we knew that mini animals were a must.  I didn’t end up with one of these keychains and I’m pretty bummed out about it.

Alexandra Hedin and me at our mini party #altsumitSo yesterday I mentioned a lot of other gals that I adored.  But today I need to pay a little attention to Alexandra.  She’s amazing.  Not only is she one of the most enjoyable people that I have ever met, she is smart and witty and ambitious.  She’s always put together but ain’t afraid to get down and dirty.  I love her sense of humor and am lucky to know her.  SO glad that we did this party together.

Lauren and I enjoy our wine, this party was no exception.If you look past our heads, you can see more of Lauren’s amazing calligraphy skills.  We had these prints printed by Direct Edge Media also and then just popped them in gold frames to hang at the party.  If you don’t follow Lauren you simply must.  She’s got the most amazing styling talent I have ever seen.  You know those people who’s instagrams you just don’t believe because they are too perfect?  She is not that person.  She has a natural talent for surrounding herself with beauty and finds it in the little things.  I am lucky to have found her online.  She has become a trusted friend and I wish her all the success she can dream of.  She’s going places you guys.

Alexandra Hedin and Jenny Batt at our mini party #altsummitWe did a lot of laughing before, during and after the party.  How darling is Jenny?! (on the right).  Jenny works harder than anyone I know.  She is ridiculously creative and business savvy at the same time.  I look to her for advice all the time and trust her immensely.  She creates content that makes the entire internet community gasp with awe.  She is the nicest person, funny and crazy supportive.  This is just a nutshell.  I could go on about Jenny for days.  In a nutshell she is “crazy awesome” (I’m pretty sure Jenny coined that phrase).

My urban jungle mini party decorating team at #altsummitThis party was an amazing opportunity to create a fun atmosphere for Alt goers.  It was a lot of work but a great exercise in collaboration from afar (2 of us in SoCal, 2 in Seattle and the party was in SLC).  I couldn’t have asked for a better team and hope we all get the chance to play together in the future.  I’m sure that I can get the band back together for the right price. ;)

Altitude Summit Recap 2014

Alt summit 2014 #altsummitAlt 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.

Trying to repack bags so we don't have to pay heavy luggage feesThe 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.

Airplane selfie with Lauren from A Fabulous FetePlane selfie!!!!

Colorful dinner with Furbish at #altsummitOne 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.

Erika Domesek was amazing at #altsummitThe 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.

Loved the decor in the Wayfair.com lounge at #altsummitI 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.

Smilebooth photo booths are the best #altsummitSo 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.

Cheers with La Crema Wines at the Cricut party #altsummitThe 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.

Party gals having a little photo booth funI 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!

My fave Melanie from You are My FaveAnd 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.

Might be the cutest picture of me ever? #altsummitThis maybe not being the best picture of everyone else but it is probably one of the best photos I’ve ever taken so it stays. (This is Ashley, Melanie, me, Kelly and Jared from Smilebooth)

In love with Ashley of Sugar and Cloth at #altsummitAshley, 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 from Paper N Stitch at #altsummitBrittni 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.

This girl is my everything, Amy from This Heart of MineAnd now my public love letter to Amy,

Dearest 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.

XOXO,

me

secret garden party pics from #altsummitLauren 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!
I went nerdy for Nerds with my business cards at #altsummitBusiness 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…

Party aftermath #altsummitAnd 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.

Cheers to another amazing #altsummitWhen 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!

Fashion Posts by Bloggers

dirty-side-of-blogging-logo

Great winter outfit, plaid flannel, faux fur and rose gold braceletSince I’m in the middle of posting about my recent trip to Alt Summit I thought today’s Dirty Side of Blogging would be to show you how blogger’s get outfit shots.  I had been missing my husband on my trip as he had been traveling when I left and we’d been apart for a while.  So I decided I wanted to wear the Becomb bracelet he had given to me for my birthday because I was thinking about him.  You can’t just take any old photo.  You style the shot.

behind the scenes of shooting a blogger outfit postWhich sometimes means you are in a bathtub, with wet towels all around you, and you take 4-5 photos to get THE shot.  Glamorous, no?

 

Things you Should Know Before you go to Alt Summit

Things you should know before you go to Alt SummitCan you believe it?!  Alt Summit is next week!  This will be my second year and I am even more excited to go this year.  I’m so looking forward to learning and being inspired by the tremendous talent that will be there but also to meeting a bunch of my online friends in person!  AND I am decorating one of the Friday night mini parties (with Lauren, Jenny and Alexandra).  I belong to a Facebook group that is for Alt attendees and some questions have come up about what to expect at the conference so I thought I would try to answer some of them here.  First and foremost, it is an awesome conference, you will learn a ton and meet a gazillion new people.  You will leave feeling super pumped about where you are headed and super inspired to get to work on your blog.

Tips for attending Alt SummitComing to Alt can be kind of scary.  I know a number of my first-time friends are nervous.  There is so much hype that we feel like we won’t measure up or “fit in”.  I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I felt the whole time I was at Alt.  While there are blogger celebs (some legit, some in their own heads), 99% of the people who attend are the nicest people you will ever meet in your whole entire life.  That goes for attendees, brands and speakers.  And if you are coming by yourself, know that you will meet gals in Salt Lake that you will end up spending the entire conference with.  Also, it is really fun figuring out who will be there ahead of time.  Search the #altsummit hashtag on twitter and instagram and start interacting with people before you even get on the plane!

business cards at Alt SummitHere is some straight talk about business cards.  This is one of the things that freaks most people out.  There is a lot of talk about bringing unique business cards with you.  First, you will meet a ton of people but there is no chance you are going to be able to meet all 600 people at the conference.  I was more than fine with about 100 cards.  I didn’t give nearly that many away but I knew they were back in the room if I needed more.  Second, I’ve been hearing grumblings from people about the “special” cards and how they actually don’t like to get them.  By special, I mean they are oversized, come with something, are messy, etc. I like business cards to be normal sized.  Call me a purist but I think they are just classic.  If you want to make a “special” card that really stands out, think about bringing those just for brand contacts (although make sure they aren’t just going to throw it away because it won’t fit in their files).  Do not stress about your cards.  But you do need to have a card.  Last year there was a wall that you could post your card on and it was fun to check out what everyone did.  Don’t let this get to you.  I never heard anyone utter a negative remark when someone handed out a regular old card.

the weather in salt lake city - its coldY’all, its fracking cold in Salt Lake City.  This California girl wasn’t sure how to handle it.  The cold laughs at how ill equipped our “heavy” jackets are.  While you don’t have to spend much time outside, I just want to remind you to bring gloves, scarves, hats, etc. if you will be outside for more than a few minutes.  I had originally planned on wearing a skirt to my Wednesday night dinner but after waiting in the taxi line at the airport, realized I would probably turn in to a popsicle if I did.  Also, there is a coat check at the conference and the parties.  Don’t try to be a hero and walk across town without a coat because you think you will have to lug it around all day.  Bring it!

Wednesday night dinners at Alt SummitThe Wednesday night dinners are really fun.  They are a great way to have an extra minute with a sponsor that you feel might be a good fit for your blog.  But they are also just a great way to ease in to meeting new people and practicing your small talk.  If you don’t make a huge connection that night, do not worry.  If you don’t end up with a ton of swag, don’t let that get you down.  That is not what these dinners are about.  Also, some of the brands will have brought on a blogger “host” to decorate the party.  Some won’t.  Enjoy the dinners for what they are and try to learn from it in anyway you can.  And for most of us, this will be the only time that we will be out and about in Salt Lake City.  Take it all in, it is a beautiful town!

stuck in salt lake cityAlthough I haven’t heard too many people talk about this part of the Wednesday night dinners, Lauren and I found that we totally got stuck.  As we were leaving, we asked the hostess to call us a cab.  Because there is another large conference in town at the same time, she told us she had just called for someone else and been told that the wait was over an hour.  She suggested we walk across the street to the mall to see if it might be easier over there.  So we did.  In 14 degree weather.  They didn’t have cabs either.  So we would up sitting in the weather room of the Cheesecake Factory for about an hour.  So not awesome.  But you won’t be stranded all night.  You will eventually make it back to your hotel.

Breakfast options at AltBut where am I going to get my coffee, you say.  Last year the lobby bar of the Grand America, where the conference is held, put out a breakfast bar in the morning.  While the line was a smidge long, it moved quickly.  This is where you can grab a cup of coffee, a light breakfast, like a bagel or yogurt and get ready for your day to start.  In case your want something a little heartier, there are other restaurants on site and also a nice coffee shop right across the street at Little America.  We stayed there last  year and the walk is easy, even in the snow.  The Little America also has nice little bar where you can get bar foods like chips and salsa etc, if you need a little something extra later in the day.

Brand Lounges at Alt SummitThe brand lounges are a really awesome way to interact with the sponsors and find out how they would like to work with bloggers.  Last year, I didn’t take advantage of these on the first day.  I thought they would be there the second day as well.  And while some of the sponsors were available, a few of them changed.  So make sure you make time each day to drop in and check out what is happening.  Also, while they are handling the round table and workshops a bit differently this year, take advantage of them!  The photoshop class I took was hugely helpful and if I had gotten nothing else out of the conference I would have been ok.  They have brought in some amazing gals to host the round tables and you will have frank discussions about a wide variety of topics.  Don’t miss these!

Snacks at Alt SummitIn most of the lounge areas you will be able to find beverages and light snacks throughout the day.  So while you get lunch both days at Alt, the lounges are a great place for a mid morning snack or afternoon coffee break.  I’m a freak about food and when I am hungry, all I can think about is eating.  You will be well taken care of.  Fear not!

Alt Summit Mini PartiesMini parties!!!  They are so fun!  The parties are held upstairs at the hotel in the meeting room area.  There is a common hallway and then each party is held in a different room.  You are free to move from party to party and go back again.  Each party will have a theme of some sort.  And they have worked at spreading out a few different elements to make sure that you check each one of them out.  Some will have photo booths, some will have food, some will have bars, some will have crafts.  Like I said, I am helping with one of these and you are going to love it!  Dress is up to you.  Be yourself, be comfortable, be cute but don’t stress!  Just have fun!

Drinking in Salt Lake CityOverall at the conference, people dress pretty cute.  But it isn’t a fashion show.  Nobody won best dressed.  Last year I made sure that wear outfits that were totally “me” and I felt super comfortable the whole time.  A first impression is everything but you don’t need to get carried away.  I wore flat booties to the parties both nights because I knew I would rather enjoy myself 100% than be in pain from heels.

And if you need to bring home souvenirs for your kids, my favorite toy store of all time is right in the hotel called JouJou (see more about this store in my I think I like Salt Lake City post – link below).

Want to see more about Alt?  Check out my posts from last year:

Alt Summit is Ridiculously Awesome

I think I like Salt Lake City

Carded at Alt Summit