I am going to recap this like I did BlogHer, people/places/sessions except this time I am going to see it through all the way to the swag. People this may get long, there were a lot of great people to gush over!
My Inner Circle
I went to ALT after some serious nudging and encouragement from a certain someone *cough* *cough* Meghan. Meghan (far right below) and I had attended Shutter Sisters Camp in October and instantly bonded over Sx-70 and Spectra cameras. At the time I was 90% sure I was going and then well if you read my blog you know life came to a screeching halt, literally. After that day Meghan would send up the occasional flare keeping the promise of ALT on horizon.
You should know these women, they are pretty spectacular in their own right. My roommate Mae (far left) is a fellow photog and interior design blogger at Here in This House. Mae, Mae, Mae what would I have done without you? I have to tell you that when I travel to conferences I like to float. Don’t look at me for a schedule or a clue as to when and where I am supposed to be I definitely like to go with the flow.I’m pretty sure if Mae had left the hotel AFTER I did I wouldn’t have had to have my winter coat FedEx’d back to Cali. Yeah I forget things too.
Only one missing from this foursome (and the photo, her stand in the lovely Shutter Sisters founder, Tracey Clark) was Aimee aka (Greeblemonkey) a partially repartitioned hard drive nor man with a cast could prevent this girl from landing just in time to enjoy our first meal (courtesy Blurb) at delicious Tin Angel Cafe, and the staff were probably some the nicest people we met in Salt Lake City, nice as in they were taking guests back to the hotel in their own cars when taxis were nowhere to be found, did you know in SLC its illegal to hail a cab?
photo source: BROOKE DENNIS.
Dinner with Blurb making new friends, Aimee in a cab en route. I’m still mystified how I came home without a single photo of the four of us!
Remember that sparkly number I bought at JCREW for my ALT trip? Check this out. Mae coined the phrase bloggerganger after Pam and I showed up to the Dinner en Blanc Party like this:
I met Chelsea from Lovely Indeed and her better half Ryan at the Blurb dinner and then literally ran into Ryan at every turn thereafter, seriously fun peeps I would like to know better.
image MOSS + ISAAC,
One person I set out to introduce myself to was Nicole of Making It Lovely she spoke on the How To Grow Your Blog Readership panel. MIL was one of the first blogs I read regularly. She inspired my current office set up.When I saw her office rearrange post on her blog a few years ago I literally dialed up West Elm that day and ordered the Bond desk and downloaded the flip clock radio screensaver. I made sure I shared that tidbit with her when I met her at Alt, she was sweet not to walk away at that self exposing stalkerish moment. I love Nicole and her blog, in a I respect your space kinda way.
I missed seeing Dooce speak, kicking myself there. I did however see her in person, she is one tall drink of water. She makes me want to go buy tall boots, she has to be 6 feet without them and ask for the 6 month post Pixie haircut cut. Somehow she makes tweeting about snowmen and glitter farts look cool, now that’s swagger.
I totally rushed Summer and Brooke from The Girls With Glasses Show on Friday night after their Paris Party, they were exhausted I’m sure but were more than happy to cheese it up with me.
I met the darling Erin Loechner from DesignForMankind. An admitted latecomer to the DFM bandwagon doesn’t mean I am any less enchanted with her style and her blog. She is so kind, I emailed her a few times before the conference just to tell her how much I loved her site and name dropped some mutual friends, why? I don’t know I just assume that we are all connected anyway. I really love how easy going and friendly she is, after reading her blog I didn’t expect anything less. She talked about how she handled ALT in a completely different way this year focusing on her time pulling away when she needed to and investing time in herself and her business instead of spending four days in an all out push of self promotion. I can see how you would get to a certain point with your blog and see the value in the separating herself and taking the role of observer versus a returning participant. I think that is awesome that she can recognize the difference and share that honestly with her readers. A blogger after my own heart.
I jumped in to her impromptu circle, I’m not sure what it was officially called but the just of it was people took turns telling others what they wanted to accomplish in the new year and others who thought they could help approached them and offered help in the form of a business card. IT WAS AWESOME to witness these connections. Each person had one minute to ask for something, two if it induced tears.
I also sat in on panels with a few of my blog favorites Holly Burns Nothing But Bonfires, Grace Bonny Design*Sponge but one thing is unavoidable at conferences you can’t sit in on everyone so you have to miss a few good ones including Bri Emery from DesginLoveFest, Liz Stanley Say Yes To Hoboken and HGTV’s Emily Henderson.
I took a session on table top food photography with the wonderful House of Brinson team Susan and William Brinson. The session had long filled up but they were kind enough to let me crash. It was a very good exercise in stretching myself photographically speaking. I could immediately see how I have gotten very comfortable and frankly lazy in my skills especially in the kitchen which usually requires a tripod set up for which I am completely guilty of not using. I now know thanks to William that I need to start at f16 and dust that tripod off. I will come back to this soon on the blog if you are interested in what I learned.
A memorable part of my conference weekend. Listening to Pilar Guzmán, Martha Stewart Living, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Apartment Therapy and Deborah Needleman, Wall Street Journal talk about the transition from print to digital content was fascinating. I am torn on this one, my tactile loving ways have me still renewing my paper subscriptions but this weekend I had the chance to scroll through an e-zine on an iPad and let’s just say that I may be squirreling away a few shillings for the next iPad release.
Ben Silverman, creator of Pinterest is the most unassuming thoughtful person with a HUGE following. I kept running into him all over the hotel and his eyes would look up for a second and say I’m really uncomfortable in this space. When he took the stage for the lunch keynote on Friday he had the attention of everyone. He shared slides and personal stories about how a medical student coming from a family of all doctors one day up and left the East Coast to pursue a dream to create a community on the web where we connected in a very visual way. If you would like an invite to become a part of this wonderfulness (warning pinning is addictive) drop me an email at info (at)themodchik.com.
We wrapped up the conference on Friday with the final keynote from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. I have read her book and follow others as they share their stories of what happens when they commit to making others happy, one of her Four Splendid Truths. . You know what happens right? Happiness breeds happiness. Gretchen went over the basics of what needs to happen on a regular basis and I admit my ears perked up when she got to clutter and sleep. You need lots of one and none of the other. Amen to that. Every Wednesday she posts quick lists of SIMPLE changes you can make on a daily basis to shift and align yourself towards happiness. One thing I remember her saying, if it takes less than a minute to do it – DO IT. That and make your bed. I can’t get behind that one yet, baby steps. I’m looking forward to her new book Happiness in the Home maybe by then I’ll be closer to becoming a regular bed maker.
Whew that was a lot I know. Imagine BEING there and taking all of this in four short days. I was lamenting to someone that these conferences leave me feeling simultaneously drained and stimulated. You put a lot of yourself out there but you get it back two-fold. The connections you make should you choose are pretty fantastic and usually develop into relationships that last for more than four days. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.
I’m working on my photos so come back and I’ll take you on a tour of Salt Lake City!