If you follow my Instagram feed, then you know that last week I was lucky enough to attend the Alt Summit Conference. My ticket was sponsored by the fabulous Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, and I went with my good friend Stef of Girl. Inspired. as part of the Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores blogging team. It was my third year in attendance, and I have a fabulous time each year.
There is so much work leading up to Alt, weeks of planning and preparing – trying to get all of your ducks in a row so that when you finally do make it you can conquer the world with your business cards. It is almost like Disneyland for Lifestyle bloggers. Overflowing with events and visual appeal that assaults your senses on every level. By the time you leave Alt Summit, your head is swimming and you are quite frankly…exhausted. You have a bag filled with goodies, business cards you have collected, and a mind filled with possibility and dreams.
For 3 years in a row I have attended this conference, and each year I have pulled something different from the event. Perhaps that is because I had a different outlook or approach each year. This year for my take away post, I decided to focus on my biggest revelation.
My best conversations happened when I allowed myself to be a wallflower.
Let me back up a bit and explain. As mentioned previously, Alt is filled with so many vibrant colors and personalities. Shining beacons of style and artistic flair. Last year I let my party girl shine. I danced all night, I wore all sequins, and I basically let my inner teenager out to play. It was FUN.
Now here is a tidbit that might surprise you – many bloggers are often introverts. We have no problem putting our heart on the line over the computer, but put us in a room filled with people and we freeze. Over the years I have moved more towards the middle of the introvert / extrovert spectrum thanks to my husband’s overly friendly personality. But it didn’t use to come naturally to me. And I still have to sometimes fight my way through it in certain situations.
I was exhausted this year. As in, going on 3 hours of sleep each night exhausted. It reminded me back to when I had my newborn babies. Sure, I can go on little-to-no sleep as a mother…but do I want to throw my hands up in the air like I just don’t care? Umm…
This year’s Alt was more reserved, and I found it was equally as wonderful. Let me tell you why.
I got to meet the PEOPLE.
When you are so busy seeing the glitz and glamour, it can be easy to miss the people standing next to you. With a quieter soul, I found myself standing next to some of the smartest women I had ever met. Women I would’ve never found in the middle of the dance floor. I found myself in conversations with fabric designers, artists, women who ran incredibly huge charities trying to change the world for good. By just sitting still and allowing myself to be quiet, I could appreciate these entrepreneurial women who were smart, and funny, and courageous, and inspiring – women who make me look inside and want to be BETTER. To think bigger than ourselves in ways that will change the world.
These women standing on the sidelines of the disco ball, are a force to be reckoned with. And I had the privilege of standing next to them this year.
At a conference such as Alt, it can be easy to get sucked into thinking the most powerful person in the room, the person you just HAVE TO meet, is the one on the speaker panel in front of you. I say – look to your left and right. That person sitting next to you that you have never seen before? That woman or man just may be the very reason you were meant to go to Alt. That person just might change the world, or be the catalyst in your life to get you to change it yourself.
Or she also might be the very company you would LOVE to work with, but is there unofficially, and you would’ve never known if you hadn’t taken the time to look them in the eye and say hi.
Don’t be afraid to sit on the sidelines. There are some amazing women there waiting to talk to you.
And now for the Photos…
I had so much fun hanging out with the incredible Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores girls. My goodness, the laughs we shared were endless!! I honestly cannot say enough good things about these ladies. They are so kind and generous and funny and welcoming, it was like hanging out with long lost friends. And if you haven’t already, you NEED to check out the new Jo-Ann Creative Spark blog HERE.
Their Wednesday night dinner was incredible, and as with the theme of this post – I found myself sitting next to some amazing women! Women who worked for HBO, and Microsoft who love to craft and cook. Women from Seattle and Portland who had me in stitches with their stories. And don’t even get me started on the swag bag Jo-Ann’s gave out. So much amazing stuff that I cannot wait to play with!
I got to finally meet the lovely Caroline from Sew Caroline. She is such a joy to be around, bubbling over with creativity and joy, and an incredibly clever mind hiding behind those cute glasses she normally wears. She is the real deal folks, and I was thrilled to get to hang with her! We had some fun with confetti poppers in the HIVE mini party room. Because after all, there was a panda.
We had girl’s night in our pajamas with Stef, and Liz & Elizabeth of Simple Simon & Co. All women whom I am proud to call friends. I got to hear of the things they are working on in secret for their blogs in 2015. I got to hear of their personal life, cheer them on in their struggles and rejoice in their victories. I got to have a moment of in-person connection with these incredible women apart from our on-line world.
Stef also introduced me women at Alt that I had never met before. Bloggers who specialize in foods and parties and wine – women like Courtney of Sweet C’s Designs. (Who I have never laughed so hard with).
And I also got to hang with friends who met us in the hotel lobby, friends who live in the area but were not in Alt Summit attendance. Like Marissa of RaeGun Ramblings, and Alexia of Lexi Made and the Sewing Rabbit Team. (I got to play with her twins – eek, they are so so cute!!!). I also got to hang out with Melissa of Eco Armoire and last year’s SR Team, and let me just tell you – she is GIFTED in networking. She knew everybody at Alt by the end of a day. So so good. And I got to see Mandy of Fabric Paper Glue again in her bubble bath themed mini-party, which was stunning and overflowing with bubbles.
Furthermore, this year’s Alt Summit was about the Inspiration Quote.
They were everywhere, it was like we as a creative group of women came together to cheer each other on. To remind one another that we are ALREADY perfect, just the way we are. They were on business cards, on hand outs, on wall hangings. Inspirational quotes seemed to be the underlying theme, whether Alt planned it or not, and I loved it.
It wasn’t about how stylish you could be, in a group filled with influential tastemakers. But rather about how gorgeous you already are, flaws and all.
That we are all, beautifully flawed.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…