ALIX: So. Our Alt recap. Are we ready??
DOTTIE: Lady, I don’t even know where to start. My mind is still swirling!
ALIX: I know! There was so much awesome crammed into such a short period, you really need a few days to just process it all. For those of you who are new to the party, the Altitude Design Summit is basically a big fat glorious summer camp for bloggers.
DOTTIE: The days are packed full of speaker/panel sessions and roundtables. The evenings are filled with parties and loads of “getting to know you” moments.
ALIX: I can’t believe it was our third ALT Summit! When we went to the first one, we had just launched Modern Kiddo and didn’t know a single person there. I remember being a tad nervous….not knowing what to expect. What would we learn? Ultimately it was so inspiring. I know we came away from that first session determined to turn Modern Kiddo into something special.
DOTTIE: In a lot of ways, we’ve grown up along with Alt. We’ve learned so much along the way—at the conference and beyond. Every year we glean new information and come away with our heads swimming with ideas. It’s just such a positive environment!
ALIX: One of the things that makes Alt so lovely, is the attention to detail. This is a design-lovin’ crowd, friends, and you can totally tell!
DOTTIE: From the amazing gift boxes brimming with cool swag, to the sponsored lounges. Everywhere you turn is something cool and colorful.
ALIX: I was OBSESSED with the Cottonelle Lounge…..adorable, colorful teensy cupcakes and these Jonathan Adler toilet paper cover holders (who knew??) that I’ll be storing makeup or tights inside! I maaaay have smuggled three in my bag. Ahem.
DOTTIE: You know, even the food looked fabulous. I think my favorite meal was the first keynote luncheon. The lovely people at Cargoh had these wonderful little boxes at every place setting—all different sizes and each containing something different.
ALIX: I know, it was such a charming and personal way to “meet” them.
top photos via moss + isaac
ALIX: But besides being a visual treat, let’s not forget there is a lot of substance to Alt. There are so many ways to learn and grow.
DOTTIE: If I could summarize Alt, I would say it all came down to the 3 P’s—The Panels, The People, and The Parties.
ALIX: That’s perfect! I couldn’t agree more.
DOTTIE: Shall we start with The Panels?
ALIX: Yes, lets!
photos via: alt flickr
ALIX: The panels are the heart of the ALT. They cover a wide range of topics, and you always have three different sessions to choose from. This is where you can delve a little deeper into the world of blogging. It’s so helpful to hear different blogger’s perspectives on challenges and triumphs. And hopefully you walk away with some new insights or inspirations.
DOTTIE: I appreciated hearing from well-known bloggers discussing not only their successes but the smart strategies and investments they made to take their blogs to another level. Great lessons that can be appreciated even outside of the design and fashion blog world.
ALIX: Yes! And interesting you mention fashion. This year marked a bit of a shift at ALT. It’s always been a very stylish conference, but typically it was very design-centric—with some craft and lifestyle bloggers in the mix. I have to say we saw SO many more fashion and style bloggers this year. It really upped the fashion quota!
DOTTIE: I’m tickled pink that we both had a chance to speak once again this year. Alix was part of the ever popular Up & Coming Blogs panel, with such lovely ladies as Rachel from Black Eiffel, Nat the Fat Rat and Meg from MIMI + MEG. You guys picked some really fantastic blogs, lady.
ALIX: Thank you! It was such a fun experience. And you seriously worked the room on that fantastic PR panel! It was filled with PR rock stars like Erin from Apartment 34, Jess Chamberlain from Sunset Magazine and super girl Miz Mayes from Blog Con Queso. I was really bummed our panels were at the same time, so I missed out. Friends, people were raving!
DOTTIE: And then there was the key note with Ben Silbermann, the mastermind behind Pinterest. He told his very heartfelt story behind launching Pinterest and it was incredibly fascinating.
ALIX: He was smart, honest and totally adorable. I think many a crush was born that day!
ALIX: This was one of my favorite slides of his, on starting his own business:
photos via alt flickr
DOTTIE: OK, it’s time to chat about….
DOTTIE: So here’s the thing. If you are new to blogging, you will walk away with SO MUCH excellent knowledge. But to be honest, if you’ve been blogging for a long time, you might not really learn anything earth shatteringly new. But that’s OK! The real reason you go to a blogger conference is for the people! Hearing their amazing “real life” experiences and tales from the trenches is worth the ticket alone.
ALIX: Oh, I couldn’t agree more! Having people you respect and admire tell you about their success AND failures was amazing. Jordan (oh happy day), Liz (say yes to hoboken), Nicole (making it lovely) and Kelly (designcrush) in particular shared really honest insights. I could have listened to their stories all day.
DOTTIE: Another terrific thing is that it was great to finally put faces to names. Meeting in person really solidifies all these friendships you’ve forged via twitter, Instagram and blog.
ALIX: There is just something about being surrounded by like-minded people who “get it”. Who love blogging as much as we do—and don’t think you’re weird for obsessively taking photos of your food or shoes!
ALIX: The other astounding thing is that Alt is 99% women. And such NICE women! It’s an amazingly positive environment. Not that it’s all about compliments, but I can’t tell you how nice it was to have so many people come up and say “You don’t know me, but i know YOU! And I what you do!” Note to newbie blog conference goers….that’s a terrific way to approach someone! Especially if your twitter handle is something like KatieLikesColor but your real name is Elizabeth.
DOTTIE: Seriously, those moments were SO special. Blogging can be such a solitary experience and we really appreciated all the people who told us they loved what we did.
ALIX: Pretty much everyone we met was fantastic…but there are a few stand out we have to name. These ladies were every bit as lovely in person as they are online! Let’s see, of course our favorite, ALT founder Gabrielle Blair—who rocked a sequin beret like she was 26, instead of the mother of 6!
DOTTIE: That woman has mad style. If I tried that, I’d look like Rerun from What’s Happening [Imagine Dottie doing Rerun dance moves...].
photos via: Alt Flickr
ALIX: Hahaha, totally. And her sister Jordan Ferney was sweet and stylish and someone I’d love to see more of when she gets back to San Francisco. Also gotta send some love to our faves, The Girls with Glasses (Summer and Brooke are kind of mind blowingly stunning in person), Erin Loechner (the bubbliest girl ever!) and my new favorite, the glamorous but totally down-to-earth Rachelle from Kenzipoo!
DOTTIE: Let me add to that spectacular list, Rachel from Handmade Charlotte (who is a hoot and a half), our vintage sistah, Pam from Retro Renovation and the divine hot pink tressed Gala Darling. Oh, and the Jealous Curator was charming as all get out!
ALIX: And of course we can’t forget our sassy little roomie, frecklewonder. Jenny is pretty much my oldest and dearest blog friend and we hadn’t seen each other in SEVEN years! So it was a super exciting reunion.
DOTTIE: You know I love that girl somethin’ fierce! I had heard you talk about her forever and now I see what all the fuss was about! I don’t think we’ve ever laughed that much in such a short period of time! Peeing in pants may or may not have happened…
ALIX: Our late night slumber party recaps were the best! I was SO excited to get to spend a little time with her, but I have to say there was so much going on, I feel like we barely got to scratch the surface. I think I need to lure her out west again.
ALIX: Oh, and how fabulous to finally spend quality time with some other local Cali ladies: Tracy/shutterbean, Lisa Congdon, Rena Tom, the “other” Miss Alix/cute and delicious and the fabulous Victoria/sfgirlbybay!
DOTTIE: I confess I was a little sad not to be able to get more of our old Alt pals like Marie (Makes and Takes), Amy Turn Sharp (of the amazing wooden toy shop, Little Alouette) and the always awesome Alison (Petit Elefant). I love you girls!
ALIX: Seriously, I think I had a smile hangover by the time the whole thing was done!
DOTTIE: Which leads us to….
photos via: Alt Flickr
ALIX: Let it be known that the party started in our room! Girlfriend brought an entire bar with her—limes included! Dottie was the Isaac on this Bloggin’ Love Boat!
DOTTIE: What can I say? I travel in style. Heh. So I think it’s safe to say that at Alt people work very hard, but they also know how to unwind. Not to say it’s crazy partying or anything. We’re classy ladies, friends.
ALIX: Absolutely. But you really do need that down time to decompress and process all the lovely people you’ve met and all the info flooding your brain.
DOTTIE: This is where I think Alt truly separates themselves from the rest. This ain’t no sheet cake and soda party. These ladies do a party up right. They manage to get great sponsors like Method, WilsonArt, Kirtsy and HP who created clever and fun themed rooms.
ALIX: This is the perfect time to introduce yourself to people, pass out business cards and unwind. I found it hilarious (and AWESOME) that pretty much every room had a photobooth—including SMILEBOOTH in the Method room! Shout out to bleubird‘s hubby Aubrey! It was so great to see him there….
DOTTIE: Can we talk for a moment about the Winter Wonderland Party? AKA Dinner en Blanc. They asked everyone to dress in shades of white and initially it was the source of much stress and chatter online.
ALIX: Ah yes, the infamous “white party!” I must confess, my initial reaction was, “Is P.Diddy sponsoring this thang?” But I have to give a huge tip of the hat to the ladies because that party was STUNNING. Snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, tasty food, an alpine-themed photo booth AND snow cones served in little silver cups. Brilliant!
photo via moss + isaac
DOTTIE: I know so many people were nervous about what to wear. We pushed the rules a little with some vintage silvery blue numbers. I loved that Kate Spade cardigan you got from your mama.
ALIX: It was kind of perfect for the night! And you debuted those new snazzy vintage specks! They were so pretty! I think I want you to have an enormous collection of them. Or should I say, an even more enormous collection.
DOTTIE: The quality of sponsors is so impressive and shows that Madison Avenue is taking the powerful influence of bloggers very seriously. I especially appreciated the Rue LaLa champagne room. I could have stayed there all night! A girl can never get enough champagne!
ALIX: I think our overall takeaway is that ALT is smart, stylish and supportive—just like your best girl friend.
DOTTIE: I couldn’t have said it better myself. Alright lady, shall we bring this recap to an end?
ALIX: Absolutely! In fact, I think our ALT experience can best be summed up like this:
THANK YOU FOR A FABULOUS TIME, ALT! Friends, will we be seeing you there next year?? We sure hope so!