Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Alt Design Summit recap

It came, it went, and I'm so glad I was there.
Of the few conferences I've considered going to over the years the Alt Design Summit is one that really got me jazzed. 3 days of hanging with design enthusiasts and blogging friends, sharing inspiration, swapping ideas? YES. And what? They wanted me to teach a class? I really couldn't refuse.

So I'm here to report that seriously, ALT is really great.
I'll definitely be back next year!

There was something for everybody....
panel discussions, keynote speakers, yummy food, fun dinners, gold and glitter, and plenty of time to be chatty.
If there was ever a spare moment you could pop into one of the lounges to snack and chat....like the Cottonelle toilette paper room. Have you ever seen such cute toilet paper containers?--designed by Jonathan Adler (who even puts their paper in containers?)
I loved reconnecting with old friends and putting faces with the new ones. My friend Lyndsey above is too cute (and works as a PR consultant for bloggers. If you need one, she's your gal!)

It was fun to see the fashions and hair styles. Geeky glasses, buns, and neons were in.
(photos from the Alt Flickr sets, by Justin Hackworth):
I got to sit down and chat with Anya, winner of last season's Project Runway. And oh my, she is absolutely adorable. Her voice is the sound of the siren, luring you in. You could listen to her talk all day. She's also really down to earth and was so sweet to hang out all day chatting with bloggers and taking photos.
Unfortunately I was a bad photographer that day and my battery ran out right as she and I were going to snap one. Duh. So here she is with Lyndsey again and Brittany of One Charming Party, another really fun gal.
But my favorite part of the conference had to be the speakers and classes. And now I'm kicking myself for missing the first day when Amy Butler, Grace from Design Sponge, and Pilar from Martha Stewart spoke (didn't want to leave Casey stranded for too long with the kids). Oh well, next year.
I was totally excited though to hear Ben Silberman, co-founder of Pinterest speak on Friday. My buns liked it too.
Ben told "his story" of how he got to where is he and how it took a lot of hard-work, leaping into the unknown, surrounding himself with people who have similar passions, and swallowing a bunch of "NOs" before someone finally said Yes.

He shared photos of what the early Pinterest mock-ups looked like and the years leading up to the its launch. And he shared motivating thoughts like...
"I want to be known for the things I make and not the things I say."
"Our mission (at Pinterest) is not to keep you online, it's to set you offline. Pinterest should inspire you to go out and do the things you love...."
It's very motivating to hear people's success stories. The room gave him a standing ovation at the end which was well deserved. We love Pinterest! Thank you Ben for creating it.
The next keynote speaker was Gretchen Rubin, author of NY Times best selling book, the Happiness Project. I haven't read the book but her presentation was about "designing your life" and touched on points from the book. Many of them are basics that we know but are always good to reminded of like...getting enough sleep, exercising (even just a little), spending time with our kids, breathing in the smells around us, taking time to enjoy the small things. She had many great personal stories to share and was such an enjoyable speaker.

Saturday morning began a slew of Design Camp classes taught by various bloggers. And there were many cool options to choose from....Thrift shopping at the best local spots, how-to photography, book binding, water-color painting, jewelry making, and of course...sewing! Rachel from Handmade Charlotte taught the morning class and I ran the afternoon one.

It was so much fun! I loved seeing all those sewing machines set-up together....and better yet a group of excited students, ready to tackle a project.
They had two hours to make a simple tote bag and stencil paint a pillow cover:
And pretty much everyone finished both projects--which was only possible thanks to our fabulous group of volunteers. It was so great to meet these ladies in person!
Left to right: Nikki from Salty Pineapple, Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest, Britteny, me, Delia from Delia Creates, Cheri from I am Momma Hear me Roar, Collette from Heaps of Laundry, Christie from a Lemon Squeezy Home, and Stacie from Jame.
What a group of ladies!
There were just as interesting in person as they are on their blogs.
And because only 1/2 of our students showed up for the class, everyone got great one on one time with the sewing experts. Thank you again ladies!
In the last 1/2 hour of class everyone stormed the painting table and busted out pillows.
The big reveal moment--always the best payoff of a stenciling project.
After the class some of us just weren't ready to part with each other. So we gabbed in the hotel lobby for two more hours, drinking hot chocolate. And I swear we only scratched the surface of getting to know each other. We need more blogger meet-ups.
And since we were in Utah, it was only timely that it finally snowed the last day I was there. Yay! I can handle small snow dosages.
Crunch crunch.
My two nieces smiled at the fallen snow too:
I stayed with my brother Mark and sister-in-law Sara who treated me to gourmet maple and bacon donuts one morning and the Pie for pizza at night. YUM.

And I came home with a box of Alt swag....
I didn't even realize there was a free ski lift ticket to Solitude in there (not that I could have used it in my pregnant state. But Casey would have loved it).
And a couple toilet paper containers came home as well Our bathroom looks real snazzy now.
Thank you ALT for such a wonderful weekend!
Hope to see you next year!

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