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