One of my favorite pics with one of my favorite people from Alt. Check out Stasia's blog Thrift Me Pretty.
*Sometimes a post needs a theme song--so if you want to listen to a song while reading this post, open this link in another tab. May not be appropriate for work or around little ears. You've been warned.
First, lets talk about the reasons I wanted to go to Alt. (or... how can I explain it? I take it frame by frame it...)
2) I don't know...I wanted to go to discover why I wanted to go. Everyone tells you to go to Alt with some goals in mind--which was great advice and I certainly wrote some goals down. However, I also went in with an open mind thinking that maybe my goals at the beginning of the conference would change by the end of the conference. They did. And they still are.
3) Opportunity. I've been blogging for a long time. I love this space and I will continue to do the same things I've always done which are writing, special needs spotlights, tutorials, art and more writing. I just want to do it better, especially when it comes to my creative endeavors. And maybe work with some cool peeps down the road--be it businesses or individuals. We'll see, but really it was a great opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of that.
So those were my reasons, now for the expectations. Perhaps my biggest expectation was the overall environment. I had heard (and I can't remember where) that there was no room for mean girls at Alt, that the founders and organizers very purposefully tried to create a culture of inclusion. Therefore I was really looking forward to a friendly, inviting conference. Secondly, I expected it to shine--visually and in all the little details. I mean these are the women who blog about amazing parties planned down to the last flower and stripe-y straw--surely this event had to showcase the type of beauty and talent. Lastly, I expected to be worn out, dog tired by the end.
I can honestly and happily say Alt met and even exceeded my expectations. First I met some AMAZING people. Mostly women, but there were some dudes representin'. It's been so long since I've felt surrounded by my people. The kind of people you immediately 'get' you and who you hit it off with in a few sentences and continue meeting up throughout the conference like you're old pals that you've known for years. I had decided early on that I was going to talk to as many people as possible, introduce myself, make friends, ask questions, say hi, compliment their outfit, whatever I just wanted to meet as many people as possible. Mission a-freakin'-complished. Whether it was someone whose outfit I was digging or a person who just finished teaching a class my motto was 'no fear' and I talked and interacted with any and everyone I could. And everyone was kind, welcoming and eager to share.
And many other people were the exact same way with me--eager to say hi and introduce themselves. In fact a few times someone would introduce themselves to me and I'd think, Oh they're probably first timers just like me with not many friends here. Then later I'd see them actually teaching one of the classes and I'd realize they have a popular blog and they already know a lot of people here. They were just being friendly, kind and inclusive. This happened several times. That was probably my favorite part of Alt--the feeling that everyone was actually here to support each other and that there is room for everyone. Perhaps I'm painting too glossy a picture, as I'm sure that when it comes down to it there's some competition and I doubt everyone truly loves everyone... but I felt nothing but love.
The details--yes Alt was beautiful and very well planned and executed. From the sponsor dinners, to the classes, lounges and parties everything was beautiful. Additionally there were some great "freebies" to take advantage of--for example you could meet with a graphic designer and a lawyer for free to ask some questions and get some professional feedback. For free!
OK--enough chit-chat. Lets look at the pretty pictures.
photo by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit
The first night at the Bing sponsored dinner (above)--so much fun!
Below some pics from the second nights street themed party.
Gabby Blair and a few other fly ladies. Photos by Justin Hackworth for Alt.
Hanging in the Bing lounge with baby Zuzu who I brought for 1/2 a day. Honestly having a baby at Alt was fun... someone to hang out with and snuggle (ha!) and instant people magnet.
Photo by Justin Hackworth for Alt
Practicing our best stank face with some of my favorite gals and fellow artists--Beth Allen Art and Yellow Bungalow Shop
Of course the big buzz at Alt was Martha Stewart as the keynote speaker. Martha seems to be a rather polarizing person--you either love her or you don't--but regardless of your personal feelings you have to admire the woman's business savvy, style and what she's done for the art of homemaking. Fun fact, she did a little Q&A after the interview and I got to ask her a question. And I recorded it on my iPhone. Oh yes I did. Watch me ask Martha if she really "does it all" here!
My overall rating? I give Alt 2 thumbs up. I definitely plan on going again and in addition to networking, marketing, and having fun I think I should make it a goal to lip-sync O.P.P. every time I'm at Alt.
Oh yes I did.