Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My First Blogging Conference: Alt Summit Recap

“If you have an apple and I have an apple, and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” 
These wonderful words, first spoken by playwright George Bernard Shaw, perfectly encapsulate the spirit of Alt Summit. Alt is a place to spark conversation, share ideas, and feel generally understood. I loved my time there -- the people, the insights, the glorious decor. Here were some of my favorite bits:

The Grand America Hotel

The conference took place at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, and let me tell was grand. Like, guys, I did not belong anywhere near a hotel that nice. Chandeliers everywhere, victorian wallpaper for days, chairs that were so fancy I was afraid to sit in them -- it was a wonderland packed with amenities and I was not worthy of any of it. I actually didn't sleep at the Grand America, but I basked in the glory of it any time I was there.

The bathroom sponsored by The Honest Co.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I may have spent like 30% of my time at Alt in the bathroom. For one, it was a great place to run into people (Oh hey, girl! I'm loving that lip stain you're applying. Also, can we be friends forever?!). But the biggest reason I kept finding myself attracted to the bathroom was the SICK swag spread laid out by The Honest Company. It was basically what I expect the bathroom in heaven will be like. All of The Honest Co.'s products are eco-friendly & non-toxic, so I felt guilt-free snatching pretty much all of them. 

Silhouette's Sponsor Dinner

The first night I arrived in SLC, I went to a dinner sponsored by the beautiful people at Silhouette. It took place at The Melting Pot, you know, the place where you DIP THINGS INTO CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE. So yeah, obviously, it was delicious. But even better, the company was absolutely top notch. There was one long table where most of the attendees sat, but I ended up at a small booth with four other phenomenal women. It was such a joy to laugh and swap stories with these genuine, hilarious girls. Big shout out to Carly, Brooke, Emily, and Camille and a big, huge thank-you to Silhouette for creating such an amazing evening.

Pinterest Strategies Breakout Session

Alex Evjen and Rachel Faucett

I actually stole the George Bernard Shaw quote I used earlier from Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte. She and Alex Evjen of Ave Styles had me and a room full of others positively mesmerized during their presentation on the ins-and-outs of Pinterest. You might not expect a session about Pinterest to be deeply inspirational, but I found myself so riveted by the way they framed the conversation. One of my greatest takeaways from this discussion was the idea of being an "influencer." I tend to reserve that word for people with thousands of Twitter followers and signature fragrances, but it turns out if you know any humans who like you even a little bit, you get to call yourself an influencer. Your mom, your sister, your college roommate -- all of these folks are people whose lives you influence, and it's totally okay to call on them to help share your content because, hey, they're your biggest fans. That's how you grow your influence: work with the people you've already got.

Hosting a roundtable discussion

I hosted a roundtable on Blogging with Comedic Voice, and I loved absolutely every minute of it. Since this was my first time at Alt, I really didn't know what to expect from the roundtable format, and I was particularly nervous that my topic wouldn't really work with it. As it turns out, it went swimmingly, and it was all thanks to the lovely gals who showed up. They just made it such a profoundly fun, easy experience. Before long, the table was full of women from all parts of the blogging world discussing what it means to utilize humor in our various contexts. I learned so much just by listening to their experiences, and I honestly could have stayed in that little comedy huddle for days.

Oh, and for anyone who wasn't able to make it to my roundtable (or those of you who weren't even at Alt), I posted some of my notes for you on the blog. 

The beautiful people

Blogging can be a really isolating experience at times. It's usually just you, your computer, and thazzit. Alt created a place (a real place, not an online one) for all of us isolated blogger weirdos to be together and just marvel at each other. There were times where I would see people whose blogs I read, and I would think, my god...they're moving. Breathing, eating, occupying physical space. That blogger is more than just her profile picture or her DIY tote bags -- she's a human being.

And I met so many beautiful human beings at Alt. Everyone was truly kind, ready to embrace you and talk about any and everything (not just blogging). I engaged in conversations about marriage, womanhood, cocktails, Tina Fey -- you name it. It was so uplifting to be around such talented, authentic people.

The business cards

Remember all of those beautiful human beings I was talking about? Well, those guys made some seriously creative business cards. While business cards are usually a staple at most conferences, they have become somewhat of a magical tradition at Alt Summit. People deck their cards out with trinkets, toys, gorgeous designs. It's amazing, and every time you get a new one, you feel like a million bucks. It felt like I was a nine-year-old in the 90s trading Pokemon cards -- gotta catch em all.

There was so much I loved about Alt, and I actually don't even think I began to scratch the surface here. Oh, like I forgot to mention this insanely pretty garden party that took place on the final evening:

So in summation, Alt was excellent. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to go, and I would love to go again. Going into this experience, I was nervous about awkwardly inserting myself into conversations or being the comedy gal in a sea of designers, but I decided to just go with it. I sat down with strangers, I mixed, I mingled, and it was great. There is a lesson to be learned here, probably something about putting myself out there or making the best of every situation, but meh, I won't overthink it.

Thanks to all who made Alt the joyful thrill ride that it was!

All photos (except for that one Instagram of me awkwardly standing by my roundtable) courtesy of Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis


  1. Dang, girl… My presence made it into 2 of your pics? I'm bursting with pride, and that's for real.

    1. I mean, it's not surprising! You are a blast and a half, and I loved getting the chance to meet you. We'll have to cross paths again!

  2. Great recap, I wish I had met you. It was my first alt as well... I was overwhelmed to say the least but look forward to another!

    1. Yeah, it was definitely a whirlwind experience. It was difficult to take it all in. I'd love to go again, and hopefully I'll see you then!

  3. Loved your recap. Made me smile and I haven't seen that awesome photo of all of us!!! I need to have it!! Where did you find it?? Sending you a big hug and missing your curves. LOL LOL xxoxo

    1. Troy!! You are phenomenal, and I am so glad we got the chance to meet! I got the photo from the Alt Flickr page. I was definitely digging around for it because I had a feeling we'd all be looking pretty fierce in it.

  4. Wow this sounds completely incredible! I must go research these guys now......!

    1. Seriously! I definitely recommend Alt Summit to anyone who loves fun and beautiful things!

  5. Replies
    1. Such a joy to meet you, Emily, and what luck that I got to sit with you at the Silhouette dinner! Hope all is well with you and your man!

  6. Yay! I'm so glad you had a good time. It's so fun to see a blog or two I follow in your pile of business cards :P I looove that polaroid one! so creative!

  7. So glad we met- and so glad I got to sit by you and spend a really awesome night chatting!

  8. this sounds like a really fun event, and not just because of the swag! Like you I tend to think of influencers as bloggers who have thousands of followers, but if I really think about it there are some smaller bloggers who I follow and love who are definitely influential.

    Emmett - Hippie Lace

  9. Looks really fun! It's been cool seeing different blog posts about Alt Summit. I like that yours is funny and full of photos.


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