Monday, February 10, 2014

A Dose of Alt Does a New Year Good: Alt Summit 2014 Recap Day 1

Note: Pictures without my watermark are taken by the official Alt photographers Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis.
I returned from my first Alt Summit just over 2 weeks ago, and I really do feel like a transformed woman! I've been on a roll ever since - not just with follow-up from the conference but renewed enthusiasm for all my projects I'm juggling. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I now have a course of action to follow for 2014, and I thank Alt mostly for that.

As I do with my major recaps, I looooove giving my readers all the nitty gritty details. I'm Type A by nature, and I know there are those of you on the other side of the screen wanting to know as much as possible (like I do!) before committing to something costly like a big trip or conference so I want to do it justice for you.

My Alt Summit recap will be broken down by day, and I'll follow up with my top learnings overall, an overview of my outfits (fashion is very important at Alt!) and a "best-of" business cards post. 

Here we go . . .

Day 1 - Wednesday 

My traveling outfit - thank you to Myrtle&Flossie for my comfy shawl!
The polar vortex tried to keep me down, but in the end my homeyloverfriend Mr. Lovebird did an extremely selfless act helping met get to SLC nearly 4 hours ahead of schedule from my original flight. He had me (and a few others) blubbering about this at the conference, but more on that later . . .

I spotted a couple Alt attendees waiting for the connecting flight in Phoenix including Camille who kindly watched my suitcase while I ran my pregnant self to the bathroom before boarding (thank you to Eden for setting up the attendee Facebook group beforehand!).


Seeing the topography change literally transformed my outlook as I made my way cross-country - it was good for me to have an experience like Alt in a place that's aesthetically so different from where I live. My mom had told me how gorgeous Utah is, and I could not stop taking pictures! I think my fellow flight passengers were annoyed by my camera clicking. Oh well!

I shared a cab with a fellow Alt attendee Kate, and it was very easy getting to the venue - The Grand America Hotel. My NYC-desensitized self nearly jumped when the doorman opened the cab door and welcomed us! I was already in awe . . .

My roommates Mindy and Caroline were wrapping up lunch and exploring a bit when I arrived so I went ahead up to our room and settled in before getting ready for my brand dinner with HomeGoods . . . 

I could not get enough of the view from our room!

As I've read about Alt over the years one of the unique aspects that caught my eye were the intimate brand dinners. My dinner with HomeGoods was held at Finca, a tapas restaurant and as a lover of tapas, I have to say these were the best I've experienced (and the company wasn't bad either!).

We had each completed the quiz prior to the dinner and were given a picture frame to match our style (and a generous gift card!)
Our host kept refilling my plate since I needed to "eat for two!" - I tried to decline, but it was hard to resist (and my tasty mocktail too!)
The dinner helped ease me into the conference and I appreciated the candidness of the HomeGoods team to talk about what opportunities are available to bloggers. As a HomeGoods fan I enjoyed hearing how their items are curated as well as specific tips for shopping locally here in NYC (I have my fingers crossed that one is coming to Jersey City!). 

I loved the relaxed atmosphere of our dinner and especially the small size - if you consider Alt in the future definitely sign-up for the dinners (it's included in your ticket but they're first-come, first-serve!). Meeting a few attendees pre-conference helped me feel confident for the official start of the conference the next day.

That night I spent some time chatting with my roommates then I crashed HARD! I had reviewed the schedule and knew it was going to be a jam packed day, and I wanted to be well-rested . . . 

Until day 2 of my recap:
  • Want to know more about the brains behind Alt? Watch this interview with co-founder Sara Urquhart. Similar to my post sharing Blog-Her co-founder (and fellow Wellesley alum!) Lisa Stone's interview, it's important to me know the foundation of the conferences I attend