I'm back from Alt Summit, and as usual, I can't say enough good things about this conference! This was my third time to attend, and this year I felt more relaxed and at home than ever before. Over the years I've gotten to know so many of the attendees that Alt now feels like a really fun family reunion!
I shared a room with Monica Lee, and she is the best roommate a girl could have! You've listened/watched her on Smart Creative Women, right? Well, every day of the conference we set aside time to talk about the day's events and the things we learned. It was great having her there to bounce ideas off of, and to help me figure out my plan of attack for 2014! She is also quite the party girl!
For those who don't know, Alt Summit is a design conference geared toward bloggers. That being said, I'm not what you might call a traditional blogger yet there is tons of information that is applicable to me as an artist. You meet lots of artists, designers, shop owners and photographers, as well as people from all creative fields. We learn about social media and blogging as a way to grow our businesses and connect with our communities. I always learn from the classes-- check out the Alt schedule-- but I also learn from conversations and connections. For me, this year was all about the connections.
There is a generous, giving spirit among the women at Alt. Everyone is open and willing to answer questions and share information. There isn't a competitive feeling in the air-- just an overall excitement about learning, growing and meeting new people. It feels like we are all contributing to a big, amazing collaborative project! I love this picture below from the Cricut party, where we were all asked to wear green. I can imagine other events where seven women show up wearing the same dress-- "oh, the horror" they might say! But not at Alt! They celebrated their adorable matching dresses from Target!
I love seeing the same dress styled seven different, unique ways! So cute!
In addition to meeting tons of awesome, talented, hard-working women, you get to meet fabulous sponsors! On the Wednesday nights before the conference starts, the sponsors take us out to dinners. I chose to dine with Cricut at the Melting Pot, and what a great choice it was! I got to meet the super-cool Cricut team, hang out and chat with Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte, Mindy (pictured above third from left) from Mindy Joy Media, Ana from We Love Citrus, among many others!
And to top off the great meal and wonderful conversations, Cricut gave us all new Cricut Explore machines!!!! There aren't enough exclamation points to convey my excitement about this machine and the fact that I'll be getting one in a couple of weeks! As you probably know from my Quilt Market booths and my Creative Bug classes, I am passionate about no-sew projects using fabrics. This machine is going to open up a whole new world! I can cut paper, fabric, iron-on, cardstock, even leather, all using my own designs!
There is a lot going on at the conference, and it is three full days of parties, meals, classes and networking. This year I made a special effort to take care of myself and tend to my own needs as an introvert. I know I am a better when I am well-rested and make time for myself. Sometimes that means heading back to the hotel room for a quick mid-afternoon nap. Sometimes it means sneaking off to a quiet table, hiding (or trying to hide) behind a plant and devouring some cheesecake!
People say you need to make the most of these conferences... take in every minute. I agree, but over the years I've learned to carve out some alone-time. I also padded the trip a little by coming in the day before the conference and leaving the day after. Monica and I spent Saturday afternoon relaxing, and that evening we had a lovely dinner (filled with tons of strategizing) with Sarah Jane! Not only did I come back this year feeling inspired, I also feel refreshed and ready to go! 2014 is off to a great start!