Archive of ‘New Adventures’ category

Alt Summit | Thursday Sessions

We woke up bright and early on Thursday and headed over to the Alt HQ at the Grand America. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott just around the corner so it was an easy-peasy commute.

We arrived about 30 minutes before the first session so we could take a look around and check out where our sessions would be held. We also found the lounge sponsored by Epiphanie, Minted, and Daily Luxe. Epiphanie had a photobooth set up with an exclusive sneak peek of a collaborative art print created by Kal Barteski and Karen Walrond. I used it in my photobooth shot below and you can pre-order it here.

After a bit of meet and greet, it was time for my first session. Each timeslot had three sessions running consecutively. It was always impossible to choose which to go to, though I was really pumped up for the first session on collaborations. I am a true believer in shared work and working together to make something amazing. It’s no different with blogging.

I learned a lot from the four panelists on how to develop collaborative relationships and find others with a similar aesthetic. What we didn’t talk about was how I need to get over myself and just contact people to collaborate with. More on this later!

After the first session, it was time for a break. There were thirty minute breaks between each session to network and pick up a snack or two. This break found us nibbling on mini muffins and fruit smoothies.

Session two was all about managing your online life. Each of the panelists chose an online organizational tool and spent about 30 minutes showing the pros and cons. I already used three of the four methods but the one tool I learned most about was Evernote. Adelle Charles, from Tinder, sold me on the benefits of keeping an online notebook using Evernote. I can make multiple notebooks and fill it with links, photos, articles, maps, whatever. I no longer have to weed through a bunch of random bookmarks in my browser or email myself links to articles. Evernote keeps it all together. Hooray! (If you’re curious, the other three online organizational tools discussed were: Google Web Tools (docs, reader, calendar, etc.); Pinterest; and Flipboard.

After the second session, it was time for lunch. Walking into the Grand Ballroom at the Grand America Hotel was quite a site! Cargoh sponsored the keynote lunch and put a gift at each participant’s seat. The tables looked gorgeous! This is the gift I chose:

The amazing assortment of gifts was incredible. You would think that the same packaging would yield the same contents, but you would be wrong! I received a letterpressed datebook and others at my table received scarves, a watch, jewelry, USB plugs, and so much more. Everything was uniquely created by Cargoh clients! Amazing.

Once the gifts were opened and squeals of delight resounded around the room, it was time for lunch. We ate and chatted with our tablemates while the stage was being set for our keynote speakers.

Lunch included a salad, pot pie, and dessert. I’ll let my pictures tell the story:

After lunch, it was time to sit up straight and pay attention to the amazing keynote panel that was presenting.

Some of the takeway points from the keynote were to know your reader, master the art of storytelling, inspire your readers and to make sure everything you do fits your brand. Branding was a hot topic and I spent a lot of my sessions working on my personal brand. It’s all very exciting!

While the panelists spoke, there was a huge screen scrolling twitter feeds for #altsummit, and #cargoh and the nerd inside me was thrilled to get one of my tweets on the jumbotron:

After lunch it was back to the smaller sessions. Next up was “From Blog to Book” and I was like a kid on Christmas when I took a seat 50 yards from THE Amy Butler.

This was a very well attended session with people sitting on the floor scattered around the room because all the seats were taken! I learned so much about the process of getting a book deal from a blog. What I loved most was that the panelists shared the dirty details as well as the upside of publishing a book. I took tons and tons of notes.

Afternoon snack consisted of a Green Goddess dressing fountain and fresh veggies for dipping. I have to admit, seeing this green fountain was a bit startling, but quite delicious. It was not uncommon to see tables of people mingling during the breaks exchanging business cards and chatting about their businesses.

If the previous session wasn’t enough to get the creativity going, I was set to sit in on the “Kickstarting your Next Project” session.

Mistakenly, I thought the panel was going to speak about Kickstarter, but was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was geared more towards finding the next great idea to blog about. Way more my speed.

Done with sessions for the day, it was time to head back to the hotel room for a bit of sprucing up for the Winter White party. I had no idea what to expect and spent way too much time trying to find just the perfect outfit. I ended up wearing white jeans and a gauzy cream top. I decided to do my hair in a faux-hawk since there are not many opportunities for me to rock the hawk. (You can’t really see it in this picture by Justin Hackworth, but it’s the only one I have.)

So many amazing white ensembles. Amazing hair styles. Tons of food (hello, a mashed potato bar? That’s right.) There was also a shaved ice station, a photobooth complete with faux skis and winter gear props, and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. In a word, it was fab.

After we had our fill of braised ribs, salmon, potatoes, and bread pudding, we tucked ourselves back into our rooms in preparation for another busy day ahead.

Tomorrow: Friday Sessions.


Also in this series: Alt Design Summit: Day 1- Wednesday

Altitude Design Summit + Sundance Film Festival

I’m headed to Salt Lake City tomorrow to attend the Altitude Design Summit. I am super excited to meet so many amazing designers, photographers, and bloggers. I’ve got a packed schedule and lots planned. Tomorrow, I’ll arrive in the morning and then pick up my pal Karyn before heading off to Frida Bistro and a tour of the best thrift shops in SLC. Wednesday, we’ll do some site-seeing and then head to the kick-off dinner for Alt at the Tin Angel. Thursday and Friday are packed with seminars and sessions with amazing speakers. There are parties each night at the Grand America where Alt is taking place. Saturday is a jam-packed day with hands-on classes. I’m taking bookbinding, printmaking, and tabletop food photography. Psyched! Then Sunday, we have tickets to a remake of Wuthering Heights at the Sundance Film Festival, which happens to be on my 40×40 list. Hooray!

I’m bringing the laptop so I’ll try to blog from the event. I mean it *is* a blogging conference after all. Stay tuned for updates!

Altitude Design Summit | Jan 18-2, 2012

I registered for the 2012 Altitude Design Summit taking place in Salt Lake City, UT in January! The list of speakers is amazing! Amy Butler, Kal Bartestki, Gracey Bonney from Design*Sponge, Pilar Guzman from Martha Stewart Living and that’s just skimming the surface. The four-day event includes roundtable discussions, expert panels, classes, field trips, parties, dinners and so much more. I am so psyched.

Bonus is that it takes place during the same time as the Sundance Film Festival. If you are playing along, you’ll remember that Sundance is on my 40×40 list! I booked a few extra days before and after the AltDesign Summit ends so that I can explore SLC and experience Sundance a little bit. I am also thrilled to share the experience with two of my favorite art girls, Amy and Karyn, both of whom are Artful Journey alumni.

Will you be at AltDesign Summit in January?Make sure you let me know so we can meet up and say hello.
Have you started making plans for 2012? What are you most looking forward to?


PHX food: Dinner at Technique Restaurant

On Wednesday, my guy and I went out to dinner at Technique Restaurant in Scottsdale. We originally wanted to go here for my birthday but the place was already booked. The next available reservation wasn’t until this week, so I took the first available opening. What’s so unique about this place is that it is part of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. Students complete their final course in the restaurant, spending three weeks as chef and three weeks in the front of house serving guests. It was a great meal at a bargain price. There are a few rules for dining at Technique. First, you must choose between a three-course or a four-course meal and the entire party must agree on which course selection to have. Next, you’re not allowed to make substitutions. Since the students are being graded on plate presentation, you aren’t allowed to swap mashed potatoes for french fries. The good news is that there are at least five choices of hot and cold appetizer, main course and dessert, so we didn’t really feel limited to what we could order.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking. We only had mobile phone cameras to document the evening and even then, my iPhone battery was nearly spent, so my guy took all the pictures. Check them out:

The menu had a cool, modern metal cover

The dining area

The kitchen is open so you can watch the students prepare everyone’s meals.

Since it was my “birthday,” I ordered the drink of the day, a Tequila Sunrise.


My guy got a glass of wine that I can’t remember the name of.

After we ordered, we were served homemade Focaccia bread and three kinds of butter: basil herbed, sundried tomato garlic, and salted butter.

For our starters, I got the smoked sweet potato soup and db got the shrimp risotto. My soup was so creamy and the smokiness did not overpower the sweetness. It was really excellent. db said that his shrimp were a little overcooked but the risotto was so good he didn’t really care. I tasted the risotto and it was pretty freakin awesome.

For our main courses, I ordered the filet which was served with a side of french fries (totally unnecessary), grilled zucchini, and the most delicious roasted tomatoes I have ever had. They were like little bursts of garlicky sunshine. db got the lamb with asparagus, pea puree, and baby yellow squash. His lamb was great but the plate looked like it sat for a bit before it was brought to the table. You can see that the pea puree was a little dried out. Of course that did not stop us from cleaning our plates. 🙂

For dessert, I ordered the salted caramel pot de creme. AH MAH GAH. It was a-frickin-mazing. The custard was light and creamy with just a hint of salty sweet caramel. The hard sugar candy was also lightly salted which was an amazing contrast to the sweet of the sugar. The two tiny chocolate chip cookies were crunchy and chocolaty. It was so good and I was so full that I couldn’t finish it. I was sad. db ordered the chocolate mouse, which came covered in a thick chocolate coating. There was a thin piece of cake as the base. Raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries off-set the sweetness of the chocolate. It was quite a treat. This is what his dessert looked like inside:

We ended the meal with a cup of coffee (decaf for me) as we completed the evaluation form for the meal.

Honesty was encouraged and we praised where appropriate and offered constructive criticism where applicable (hardly anywhere… but really, those fries, despite being hand-cut, were totally unnecessary). Overall, I would love to go back and try other items on the menu. It is reasonable enough that it could be added into a regular rotation of restaurant nights ($15 for 3-courses; $18 for 4-courses) and somewhere special enough to take out of town guests for a unique dining experience.

Technique Restaurant | Scottsdale, AZ
4301 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251



It’s Blogtoberfest time! Cathy over at {tinniegirl} hosts this month-long blogfest! It’s a great way to start posting more often and connect with new readers. Last year I was in Austin, TX for 3 weeks in October and wasn’t able to participate, but this year, I am ready to go. I posted everyday in September except for 4 days, so I am excited to complete a full month of blog posts! I’m also cooking up a giveaway to do during October, so check back to see what it will be!

Interested in joining in? Click on over to Cathy’s blog for more info and to get signed up!

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