the best-designed week of my life

you'll recall i spent last week at the altitude design summit, billed as "summer camp for bloggers." i have to say that the description totally fit! i hung out with new and old friends, filled my brain with all sorts of new ideas and inspiration, and enjoyed a much-needed break from day-to-day life.

i'd been dying to attend ever since alt was born in 2010 -- but the first year i was on a business trip the same week, and last year i had a new baby to take care of. this was my year and i was so excited to finally go!

technically i was there for work, on behalf of one of my clients [one charming party, the most fabulous party blog you will ever read] -- and on that level the conference was awesome. so many amazing bloggers and brands were in attendance; we were able to generate / develop great collaborations and partnerships. but beyond that, for me -- first and foremost as a blogger! -- alt was just the breath of fresh air i needed to remember that i'm on the right track. 

i could probably talk for days about everything i learned and did last week, but instead of boring you out of your mind -- here's a condensed version.
my top 5 experiences at alt.

ONE | my peeps

sometimes i feel like no one in my "real" life quite understands my "online" life. family and friends look at me like i'm an alien when i say i'm a blogger or i work in social media. as i learned at blogher this summer, it is sooo refreshing to be around people who GET me. this is my tribe. we all automatically have something in common -- love of blogging, of good design, of the internets -- and i felt like it was easier to make friends with that kind of foundation already laid. 

[me & brittany -- photo is mine]

TWO | ben from pinterest

alt's keynote addresses were off the hook. "the relationship between traditional & new media" by pilar guzman (martha stewart living), deborah needleman (wsj magazine) and maxwell gillingham-ryan (apartment therapy) was fascinating and timely. "designing your life" by gretchen rubin motivated me to make my life a little more deliberate (and to read her book again -- i HIGHLY highly recommend the happiness project!) but it was the heartfelt, honest look at the business of pinterest -- by founder ben silbermann -- that touched me the most.

hearing ben's path to creating pinterest, finding himself, and sharing his vision for the future of social media made me want to be better. the internet really can bring the world closer together and give us meaningful lives in the process. i felt lucky to be in attendance that day.

[photo is mine]

THREE | good paper supplies

naturally, the paper goods at this conference caught my eye more than anything else. from neon business cards from strangers to letterpress cards in my gift bag to pinhole press notepads on every table, i was in paper heaven. more to come on all that.

[photo is mine]

FOUR | celebs

i got to interview anya, the winner of project runway! this has nothing to do with stationery or with this blog but i thought it was pretty cool. i also ran into dooce at lunch one day. she said she liked my green jeans. OMG!

[photo credit -- dana ]

[photo is mine]

FIVE | an education

from stimulating panels to meetings to random conversations, my brain was filled to the brim with new information. i love learning from fellow bloggers. i also took a few design camp classes -- bookbinding, taught by allison from igloo letterpress, and sewing, taught by dana from MADE -- and loved being able to indulge my creative side a bit.

[pic of me from the bernina twitter feed -- i made that bag!]

[i'm not in this photo but i just really love it -- that's grace bonney from design sponge, 2nd from left on the floor -- i think it captures the essence of alt. chatting, texting, sitting, learning. that was my week!]

[me, jessie from shop sweet lulu and brittany from one charming party at dinner the first night]

so there you have it. if you're even considering attending alt in the future, i highly recommend it -- you  might surprise yourself with how worth it and fun it is. even if you get nervous in large social gatherings like i do :) like i said, it took me two years to get there -- so save your pennies and maybe i'll see you in 2014.

and p.s. -- unless otherwise noted, all photos were pulled from the alt flickr page. these amazing photos were taken by the hired photographers -- justin hackworth, b.a.d. photography and moss & isaac


  1. So fun hearing about your time at Alt. You completely missed the big snow/ice storm- didn't you? Lucky!

  2. Great recap. My mind is about to explode with all the info you shared. Maybe a mother/daughter blog fest in 2014?

  3. Ah, wasn't it fantastic? Less than a week back in the "real world" and I'm all nostalgic.

  4. ok, #1: how did you snag that interview with anya? I got a pic, but thats all. #2: adorbs pic of you and ben, #3: so glad your class with allison of igloo was awesome, she was a great roomie for the conference!

  5. yes i missed the snow! and yes helena it feels like a zillion years ago already :)

  6. Ack! So many amazing people were there, and lots of Seattle peeps too! My school schedule messed me up this year...last year it was hubby deploying! :) I'm getting there somehow, someway...

  7. I loved hearing about your experience and seeing the photos!

  8. thanks marlene! and dawn, you should totally go next year. we had quite the SEA representation.