Tag Archives: Altitude Design Summit

ALT SUMMIT // The Recap

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 EiffelNat 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….


photos via: alt flickr and cute and delicious

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!

ALT SUMMIT // You Should Read These Blogs


image

Just finished my panel here (along with my fabulous panelists Meg, Rachel and Natalie) at Alt Summit on the Best  in Up and Coming blogs. Some of these are true up and commers and some are people we just love and think you should have on your reader. Take a gander and see if you find some new inspiration! Feel free to leave some of YOUR favorite “Blogs We Might Not Have Heard About, But SHOULD!” in the comments.

ALIX FROM MODERN KIDDO PICKS {@galexina}

Draw! Pilgrim

Frecklewonder 

Honey Kennedy

Katie’s Pencil Box

Make Something Happy

Midcentury Living

Nubby Twiglet

Whorange

The Red Thread

RACHEL FROM BLACK EIFFEL PICKS {@blackeiffel}

Angela Hardison 

Jane Reaction

Note to Self 

Odessa May Society

Dandee Designs

The House that Lars Built 

Simple Village Girl

Cubicle Refugee

NAT FROM NAT THE FAT RAT PICKS {@natthefatrat}

Field Guided

Ruffling Feathers

A Merry Mishap

She Blogs She Blogs

An Apple A Day

The Homebook

Le Dans La

INSTAGRAM :: ink361.comweb.stagram.comlistagram.com

Posie Gets Cozy

Darling Dexter

MEG FROM MIMI + MEG PICKS {@meg_biram}

Art Hound

Life’s Little Jems

Kelly Market

Court & Hudson

Pattern Pulp

The Artful Desperado

My Vibe My Life

You’re Welcome

Alt Summit 2011 :: What We Learned.


image: okaygreat

So while we have regaled ya’ll with sassy stories from the Altitude Design Summit, we wanted to share a little bit of what we learned. For those of you who are bloggers I hope you’ll find this useful!

Faster, Smarter, Better Blogging
Here are some great tips and tricks for time management wrangling—thanks to: Not Martha, Design Blahg, House of Brinson

Erica (Design Blahg) had some fabulous quotes, my favorite being “Imagine water is your life….and blogging is the drain.” She was refreshingly frank about all the things we love about blogging but also all the things we hate. I loved having someone be so honest about the fact that yeah, sometimes blogging sucks! It takes up soo much of your life….to help out, here are some great tools to make you more efficient.

+ Evernote to create an excellent online “notebook” — allows you to save  images, links and more
+ Instapaper to save interesting blog posts to read for later
+ Pinterest as a fabulous (and fun!) visual bookmarking tool
+ Flavors to cCeate a simple “busines card-like” homepage
+ Zinio to turn magazines into a portable, digital format
+ Squarespace as a clean, simple, easy-to-use blogging platform
Mention Notifier to help you keep up with Twitter mentions—you get an email or text any time you (or a topic you like) are mentioned on Twitter.

Tips on Growing Your Community
Dottie went to this session and it sounded really great. The panel included  The Jealous Curator, A Practical wedding, Little Green Note Book and Babble. Here were some highlights:

+ Regular posting will give people something to come back for.
+ Learn to re-work what you have… instead of wasting time ALWAYS developing new content.
+ Find three points that resonate with your readers.
+ Be a part of the conversation: After you post, initiate discussion, ask questions, follow up on comments to connect to your readers.
+ Network. Find ways to network with other bloggers and collaborate. Be of value to them too.
+ Create original content. Have at least one really good post every week.
+ Look for inspiration and record it everywhere you go.
+ Splash in personal stories and content so that your readers connect with you personally.

Advertising Beyond the Banner

From the amazing trio of: Erin Loechner, Liz Gumbinner, and Maggie Mason

Again, one of my favorite panels—mostly because these ladies are all such entertaining speakers. Erin had a really brill idea to help you get ahead. Throw a Resource Party. “Zoinks! What the hell’s a resource party??” I’mma ’bout to tell ya! Get together with a group of friends and hand out index cards. Everyone writes down one or two things they would like to accomplish in the near future (“I want to get featured on Apartment Therapy” “I want to write an article for a magazine” “I want to redesign my blog”). Everyone reads their card aloud and anyone who can help out raises their hand. So say you are a graphic designer, you might be able to help advise in the site redesign, while someone might have a great contact at Apartment Therapy and can get you seen by their editors!

There was so much more, but I’m just givin’ ya a little taste of it. Beyond all the learning, I think the best part about ALT was the sense of community and positivity. I met SO MANY genius people….fun, sassy, cool, cute ladies (honestly there were like, FIVE guys there). I HIGHLY recommend you check it out!

Here are two other recaps that I think you might enjoy—both really funny:

8 Steps to Get Over Post ALT Summit Depression // Old Sweet Song

The Alt Design Summit: A Review // Design Blahg

Kiddo Road Trip ALT Design Summit 2011: Part 2

ALIX: Howdy howdy howdy, it’s us again!  Last we left, the Altitude Design Summit had rocked our world with awesome speakers, a fab party and MONDO from Project Runway! And that was just Thursday. We woke up bright and early Friday morning ready and rarin’ to go for our Roundtable Discussion.

DOTTIE: We were so thrilled to be speakers…and I must confess, we totally decided to semi-coordinate our outfits for our big day! The theme? Black, white and red!

ALIX: Miss Dottie was super sassy in her red tights and fishnets….

ALIX: And she kindly gave me a pass with my blue tights!

DOTTIE: Well, they were too fabulous to say no to!

DOTTIE:  The presentation itself went smashingly! I must say, Alix made sure we were ready with this adorable booklet that was chockablock with clever bits of marketing and PR goodness. And we had the most adorable Modern Kiddo pins too!

ALIX: I can’t lie, I had this brief moment of panic thinking, “What if no one shows up for our round table??” But we had a great turnout—we even had to add some chairs! Our group was fantastic and asked great questions. There we are below. I’m in the red cardy on the left, Dottie-kins is in the middle in black. I’m sure we’re being reeeeeeally entertaining, spewing pearls of wisdom!

DOTTIE: I swear, I’m not giving that girl the stink eye!

ALIX: LOL….sorry, that’s my awkward photo editing skillz. You know, I think you’re actually looking at ME in that photo! Hah! OK, so after our presentation, we were a little slap happy and zipped on out to the hallway where we finally ran into our best girl Allison (Petit Elefant).

DOTTIE: Oh yes, and as always she was an absolute delight!

ALIX: It was time to check out the rest of the day’s sessions.


ALIX: First up, The Art of the Pitch with Heather Armstrong (dooce) and Neil Chase (of Federated Media). These two were ace. Always so damn funny and entertaining, that Heather! Then it was time for lunch, with DJ Spooky doing the keynote. My my my….what a charmer!

DOTTIE: I was just bowled over by DJ Spooky.  This man is not only dreamy to look at but dreamy to listen to! He was insanely smart on so many different topics. During his keynote he discussed Melies films, Antarctica, the Black Panthers and DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Truly insane in the membrane.

ALIX: Lunch was grand—even though we got shushed by that guy at our table!

DOTTIE: Ooooh, the shush story! haha.

ALIX: We weren’t even really being that loud, but I guess Raina, Pilgrim, Dottie and I were whispering a little too boisterously for the tan, crabapple at our table…

DOTTIE: What was up with that guy? He totally snapped at us.

ALIX: Clearly he skipped the Ethics & Etiquette seminar. Harumph!

DOTTIE: No no… OK, so on to the next panel, The Best in Up & Coming Blogs!


ALIX: Oh this was such a goodie!  I found some GREAT new finds. I was so pleased to see my friend Teri of Giddy Giddy got a nod on Liz Stanley’s list ( Say YES to Hoboken). Liz had some really great recommendations and was cute as can be.

DOTTIE: It was one of my favorite panels. I definitely discovered some awesome new blogs to add to my reader! J’adore! Joselyn of Simply Lovely really is simply lovely and makes me want to move to Laurel Canyon and become one with boho chic glamour.  Oh and then there is Amy Turn Sharp, the mastermind behind those genius little wooden toys from Little Alouette (my favorite baby shower gift!). Brilliant, charming, devastatingly funny and whip smart and I can’t wait to see her again!

ALIX: Oh, and Liz kindly listed all of the recommended blogs on her site. Check ’em out here!

DOTTIE:  Well, the conference ended with a bang thanks to the brilliant final keynote from Swiss Miss, who basically broke down the whole experience of making blogging her full time profession. And with two kids to boot, which makes me adore her even more.  Go Swiss Miss!!!


image: ALT Flickr

ALIX: So now it was close to evening and time for the final parties—held in several suites at the hotel. HGTV was hosting one and Kate Spade & The Girl’s With Glasses another. Word on the Alt Street was that Kate Spade was going to have a super cool giveaway for people that were there early. Innocently, we thought that getting there 10-15 minutes early would be early enough, right?

[Insert foghorn.]

DOTTIE: Um, not so much—I think there were prolly uh… seventy people ahead of us!!

ALIX: We were kind of stunned….people were camped out in front of the door like it was Woodstock or something!

DOTTIE: We waited….and waited….and waited….

ALIX:  I love this next picture of Dottie! Please note that she is still standing in the hallway….somehow she and Pilgrim managed to procure cocktails while waiting in line!!

DOTTIE: What can I say, it’s a talent of mine.  Booze just flies into my hands!

ALIX: Look, Pilgrim even found one to match her outfit. Now, THAT’s fashion at its best!

DOTTIE: So the longer the wait, the more then anticipation built. I felt a little badly because NO ONE was in the HGTV suite.

ALIX: We kept joking that we could probably sneak in and nab a TV show deal while all the Spade mongers were in the hall. FINALLY they cracked the door open and we were allowed inside. Was it all worth it?

ALIX + DOTTIE: OH. HELLS YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALIX: The decor in the room was spectacular! We were met by a sea of colorful balloons floating throughout the room. Dangling from each balloon were little paper eye glasses. SO CUTE! There were fellas walking around with trays of champagne. The whole scene was so whimsical and colorful, it felt like a Kate Spade ad brought to life.

DOTTIE: So true! The tables were decorated with beautiful peonies and lollipops and gumballs. Just adorable as can be. Oh, and tons of black eye glasses for people to wear.

ALIX: Ah, here is the goodie bag that caused a near riot! We didn’t get one, but I have it on good authority that they contained all kinds of fun stuff including a little purse size bottle of TWIRL perfume.

ALIX: That last picture up there cracks me up. My eyes are so wonky—I look like a Picasso painting!!

DOTTIE: Oh, and FIE that we didn’t win the dang Kate Spade Handbag giveaway! It was so stinkin’ cute.

ALIX: I know, the elusive typewriter bag!

ALIX: In addition to the fab decor, there was an adorable photobooth run by Angela Kohler, the girl behind those fantastic stop motion, Kindle commercials. There were all sorts of fun hats and props for you to dress up with!

DOTTIE: I didn’t know that! It makes me love my Kindle even more! Those commercials were the best ones of 2010!

DOTTIE:  This one is my favorites with Raina, Pilgrim and our new friend Pam from Retro Renovation, which just happens to be on of my favorite blogs of all time! She’s a font of awesome information and a great gal to boot.  We love ya something fierce, Miss Lady!

ALIX: So of course the other highlight was meeting The Girls with Glasses: Summer Bellessa and Brooke White. Summer is a model and the editor of Eliza magazine, Brooke is a singer/songwriter (and a finalist on American Idol). They are seriously the two CUTEST girls ever. (Check out The Girls with Glasses video if you haven’t! ) Miss Summer is expecting a little bebe and she was just a gorgeous mama-to-be!


ALIX: Here’s the super darlin’ Brooke. She was wearing the raddest little sailor pants and an awesome red cardigan.

DOTTIE: And here we are with the patron saint of craftiness—Marie from MakeandTakes.com.  Oh, if I could just put her in my back pocket and keep her with me always!

ALIX: Dottie, you look so awesome in this photo!! hee. I love it!  Of course we had to branch out and check out the other parties. The Wilson Art room had the best cocktails and the HGTV room had an awesome pair of chocolate fountains….

DOTTIE: It’s true. That was just plain naughty. Dipping brownies in chocolate sauce?? Pure evil.

ALIX: We toured all the other rooms, but Kate Spade’s charming room kept calling us….as we walked back in Petula Clark’s “Downtown” was playing and I knew I had found my happy place!

DOTTIE: I couldn’t agree more! And you know, I think we can let these last photos speak for themselves:

ALIX: I would say Alt ended the weekend with a bang! We learned so much but the best part were all the wonderful people we met. SUCH a positive, cool crowd. I HIGHLY recommend you go next year if you can!

DOTTIE: The conference was over but we still had one more day of fun to look forward to—Saturday morning thrifting in Salt Lake City!

The Kiddo ALT Summit Recap: Part 1

ALIX & DOTTIE: We’re baaaack!

DOTTIE:  Hoo boy! The Altitude Design Summit was just bananas. What a blast! Great people, great panels and great fun! Soo many stories—where to start, hmmm?

ALIX: Well, last Wednesday we packed our bags and made our way to Salt Lake City. And what bags they were! Dottie busted out her trusty Houndstooth Hattie and I had my new Blue Monster.

DOTTIE: Oh yes, and let it be known that each bag was crammed full of colorful ensembles to wear throughout the weekend!

ALIX: And I think I had about ten pounds in paper for our presentation “leave-behind”.

ALIX: We had a smooth flight and arrived at the Grand America hotel ready to go! We stayed there last year when we attended ALT and I knew we’d have an amazing time.

DOTTIE: Oh, the rooms were just divine, weren’t they? The Grand America knows how to treat a lady right! I swear our room was bigger than many SF apartments I’ve lived in.

ALIX: Seriously, I kept expecting a tour guide to pop out from behind the couch to tell me that Abraham Lincoln had once slept in my bed.

DOTTIE: Of course then it was time for the costume parade—unpacking and sharing the outfits we ended up bringing!

ALIX: That’s half the fun. I’m pleased to report that we didn’t get too crazy with the shoes. Four pairs for four days, that’s not to bad right??? I was excited to see your turquoise Fleuvog’s made the cut! Those are the quintessential Dottie shoe if ever I saw ’em!

DOTTIE: Alix, those shoes you brought were just adorable! You inspire me to bring more color into my shoe collection, lady!

ALIX: Is it weird I brought three pairs of open-toed shoes in the deep of winter???

DOTTIE: Not at all. And you know, we never really left had to leave the luscious confines of the Grand America.

ALIX: After unpacking, I gave Dottie a couple of cute little necklaces I had picked up for her. She then pulled out a small, sweetly packed little prezzie for me and proceeded to blow my mind:

ALIX: Um, yeah. IT’S THE STARLETTE CROWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gersh, I was blown away. You have to understand I have been coveting this for EVER. My Devil-Ette name is The Starlet (and I love me some sparkles and stars) and this gorgeous thing was just calling “Buy me! Wear me! LOVE ME!” It was perfection and just the sweetest, bestest most perfect gift EVER.

DOTTIE: Oh stop….but I have to admit, I knew you would flip for it. Heh.

ALIX: Friend, let’s us be clear….when Dottie says “flip” she really means it. I literally BURST INTO TEARS when I opened it up. I’m not even joking. I have had a crazy couple of weeks (my father had a cancer scare and was hospitalized—he’s fine now, thank goodness—but I’ve been a tad stressed). I was just so overwhelmed by Dottie’s kindness and thoughtfulness.

DOTTIE: Well, I have to say that there was no doubt in my mind that you loved it!

ALIX: If the tears didn’t convince you, me sitting on my bed and petting it should have, eh? THANK YOU AGAIN lovely lady. It’s so, so good. *MWUAH!*

DOTTIE: OK, silly…let’s get back to ALT. So there was an amazing moment as we sat in our room when we realized we had NOTHING TO DO. It was heaven! Do you remember that?

ALIX: YES! We sort of looked at each other and realized there were no ALT events and work wasn’t calling us— we could just relax! And as incongruous as it sounds I love to relax with nice cuppa coffee.

DOTTIE: And to our delight we discovered they had recently opened up the cutest little cafe at the hotel.

ALIX: That little place was like a Willie Wonka set! I loved it! The cake boxes especially were so damn adorable.

DOTTIE: The BOXES? How about the amazing collection of sweets! Cupcakes! Macarons! Gelato! Oh, here I am with one of their gigantic lollipops! Step aside Shirley Temple, I’m boarding the Good Ship Lollipop with this giant yellow one!


DOTTIE: OK, I admit…..the box is pretty adorable. But my s’mores cake was delectable and that sauvignon blanc gelato you got was soooo tasty!

ALIX: Mmmmm……cappuccino.

DAY 1.

ALIX: Whoo hoo! It’s time! All dressed up and ready to go!

DOTTIE: The goodie bags this year were clever as can be—just check out the sweet little lunch pails! The ALT logo was a magnet. So smart.


image: ALT Flickr

ALIX: Oh yeeeeeah. We neglected to mention the other fun surprise…our sweet pal Pilgrim Lee met us there, all the way from Melbourne, Australia! I had met Pilgrim in person last year, so I already knew how brilliant she was, but this was the first time she and Dottie actually met!

DOTTIE: Oh Miss Pilgrim, how we love you! She was so colorful and sassy….it was like seeing one of her drawings come to life!

ALIX: Speaking of sassy, Dottie’s shoes were a huge hit! We kept getting stopped by people asking about them! I think she should be getting some kick backs from John Fleuvog!

DOTTIE: OK, but seriously….the real reason we were there wasn’t to show off our shoes (well, maybe just a little bit!). It was to hear all these amazing bloggers speak. ALT is a veritable “Who’s Who” of Design bloggers and you end up learning so much.

ALIX: Agreed! There were soo many fantastic sessions. Pilgrim and I hit the “Faster, Smarter, Better Blogging” panel first, with the awesome Erica (Design Blahg), Megan (Not Martha) and Susan (House of Brinson).

ALIX: Pilgrim is such a rockstar, she had heard of most of the recos before—and even tipped me to a few extras. She spent most of the session playing with my handbag. Hee. I, however, was tipped to lots of new cool apps and sites and I’m going to type up my notes and I’ll post ’em here tomorrow.

DOTTIE: I was at the “Growing Your Community” session with Danielle, Jenny Komenda, Meg Keene, and Sarah Bryden Brown and it was crammed full of amazing info.

ALIX: Next we all met up  for one of our favorite sessions: “Advertising Beyond the Banner”. The speakers were the always amazing Maggie (Mighty Girl), the super adorable Erin (Design for Mankind), and one of my new favorites, the smart and hilarious Liz (of Cool Mom Picks and Mom 101). These ladies are sharp as tacks, engaging and pretty damn funny!


image: ALT Flickr

DOTTIE: Maggie really is one of the best speakers around. I’m always inspired by that girl!

ALIX: Then it was time for lunch! With special Key Note guests, Project Runway winner Seth Aaron and Runway Favorite (and SHOULDA been the winner) Mondo Guerra!


ALIX: Can we discuss the LETTER PRESS menus? Way to step it up ladies of ALT! And the miso, chicken noodle soup was delish! Speaking of, here is the lovely lady behind the ALTITUDE Design Summit, Gabrielle (Design Mom), with her Kirtsy partners in crime, Laurie and  Laura (Blog Con Queso).


image: ALT Flickr

DOTTIE: Our friend Raina nabbed Mondo’s autograph for her girls. I know her girls are going to think she is the COOLEST MOM EVER for this! I love how they look like they are just having a little chat over here. Mondo looked adorable as can be and I was loving his shoes….

DOTTIE: And then WE got to meet him! Whoo hoo!

ALIX: This is officially one of THEE worst photos of me ever, but I will include it here just so you can see we really met our boy Mondo! haha. I will say I nearly passed out when he looked at my outfit and said, “Oooh girl you look FABULOUS! Love the shoes!”

DOTTIE: You still look adorable to me. I look like I’m in the process of screaming, I’m so excited. But wait—did I scream? I can’t remember, I was so excited!

ALIX: And just in case you were wondering, I was wearing some ticky tacky fun silver metallic socks and a pair of green vintage sandals. Mondo-approved!

DOTTIE: Just you wait folks, little did we know there was more Mondo goodness yet to come! Poor Seth Aaron. He was so cool and friendly, but really….we were all there for The Mondo.

ALIX: I know! He was rockin’ a new hair do that was suspiciously Kate Gosselin Goes Goth. But he really was a cool dude.

DOTTIE: We ran into our friend Rachel (Today’s Mama) who organized the brilliant EVO conference. She is like sunshine on a stick, that lady. Then it was back to the sessions!

image: ALT Flickr

ALIX: After another round of fabulous speakers, there was a little “happy hour” party in the Alt Lounge. Even the coca-cola bottles were cute! There was wine flowing and lots of nibblies too.

DOTTIE: Now, we don’t have any photos of what happened next, but let’s just say Alix was having a very good day. I’ll pass the mike on over… I know you’re dying to tell this story. Take it away!

ALIX: OMG, I’m still reeeeeling! [imagine my hands flailing around as I gesture wildly during the retelling of this] We were all chit chatting around when I noticed that Mondo and Seth Aaron had arrived. Since we already had our awesome moment with him, I didn’t want to be greedy and fawn all over him again. But as luck would have it, he strolled on over next to me. After taking a photo with another woman he looked at me and said, “Ooh it’s Fabulous again. How you doing girl?” Like a clod I simultaneously said, “Hi I’m Alix!” It sounded like I was correcting him and he laughed and said, “Well duh, it’s not like i REALLY thought your name was Fabulous!” and I giggled like an idiot….but it was a good ice breaker. He then proceeded to rock my world by saying, “You’ll think I’m joking but I’m SO TOTALLY basing my next collection around this” [waving his hands around my tights/socks/shoes combo]. “I’m serious! It’s so good! It’s….and I mean this in the best way….so awesomely tacky fab!” And I shrieked (in an embarrassing way I’m sure) and said, “YES! It’s what I call muh Granny Chic look!” “Love it!!” and we cracked up. I was officially in love and floatin’ on a cloud. He was SO KIND and SO GENEROUS with his time. His boyfriend Ben came over (who is a big cuddly sweetie) and we suddenly found ourselves in a really serious chat about the show, what it was like telling his parents he was HIV positive and how difficult it is for him that Ben’s parents aren’t very accepting of their relationship. I loved him before but suffice to say I’m a major fan now. And not just because of the compliment. He is tops!

DOTTIE: Let it be known that Alix was completely in “the zone”. I tried to tap her on the shoulder at one point to let her know I was leaving and she didn’t even hear me. In fact, I think Pilgrim and I could have left on a dancing polar bear and she wouldn’t have noticed.

ALIX: It’s true….and I’m officially framing THE SHOES!

ALIX: After my MondoLoveFest 2010, it was almost time for dinner and we quickly got gussied up.

DOTTIE: Pilgrim looked fetching as can be in this AMAZING pink and purple dress! And yes, I did change eyeglasses to match my silver outfit.

ALIX: You can’t see Dottie’s dress but it was this FABULOUS light blue and silver metallic dress that I was soooo coveting. And yeah, that Pilgrim. CRAZY cute.

ALIX: Pilgrim was hilarious….she was soooo wanting to see snow. Alas, all we found was a teensy patch of grey ice. She was still thrilled!

DOTTIE: I was pleased to see Alix rockin’ the Starlette Crown I gave her….

ALIX: Thereby cementing your title as Supreme Gift Giver of the Universe! Oh, and I trotted out the same outfit I had on for New Year’s Eve. If you reeeeally wanna see, you can look here.



DOTTIE: The Thursday party was at the Lamb Grill (Salt Lake’s oldest restaurant) and again it was so fun seeing so many fabulous ladies. Shout out to the Clever Girls Collective!

ALIX: We ended the night exhausted—but knew we had to sparkle up for our 9am speaking date!

OMG, did you make it to the end?? I’m exhausted just writing this….we’ll be posting Part 2 tomorrow, which I promise is much shorter but definitely action packed! Let’s just say Kate Spade hosted one of the parties…

Stay tuned sweeties!