Alt Summit Report

January 31, 2012

My head is still buzzing with big ideas and small details from Alt Summit. (like the vintage light bulbs above that were part of the Friday Night Mini-Party decorations). I’ve actually made a little list so I can remember my favorite parts.

But before I get to the list, I want to share a quote from the Huff Post write up about the conference: “Whether you are a newbie or an old pro, the environment is supportive and encouraging; more about camaraderie and esprit de corps then competition (the message is clear: this new lifestyle community is no place for mean girls).”

That sums it up for me so well! If you attended, I hope you feel the same way.

Some of my favorite things about the Alt Summit 2012:

- It was wonderful to work with my family. Each year, my brothers and sisters and inlaws come together to put on the conference. They help out in a dozen different ways — running microphones, transporting gift boxes, driving attendees to the airport. I feel like my family especially shines when we’re working hard on a project.

- I loved getting to introduce the Keynote Panel featuring Pilar Guzman, Editor in Chief of Martha Stewart Living (and the founder of Cookie), Deborah Needleman, Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal Magazine (and the founder of Domino), and Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Editor in Chief of Apartment Therapy. I could have listened to them talk for hours — and I know attendees felt the same way.

- Diner en Blanc. Attendees were intimidated about what to wear to this dressed-in-white party, but I’m so glad people joined in. The effect was magical!

- Hearing Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, speak. The crowd got a bit emotional as we gave him a standing ovation. It was a remarkable talk.

- Hosting a Chinese New Year party with the Kirtsy Girls. I love any opportunity I get to be with Laurie, Laura and Sarah! Also, I love fortune cookies! And I was completely geeking out about the custom wallpaper from HP Wall Art. (I think I need to do a whole post on it, because it is awesome.)

- Meeting Anya, Project Runway Winner. Friends. She is gorgeous! And she couldn’t be more gracious — she even signed a photograph for my kids. I brought a suitcase full of Reeses and Sour Patch Kids back to France, but the kids were by far the most excited about Anya’s photo. Thank you for bringing Anya, HP!

- Getting to spend time with keynote speaker, Gretchen Rubin. I was really struck when she was talking about work life balance and said she had stopped trying to achieve it. Instead, she tries to think like this: “If I cram my life full of the things I love, there is no room for the things I don’t love.” Put that on a poster and I will buy it.

- This year, The Grand America left their holiday twinkle lights up and the grounds were stunning. Also, the food was amazing this year. High five to the Grand America cooking staff!

- We had 3 official photographers working the event this year, Brooke Dennis, Justin Hackworth and Moss & Isaac. Go take a look at the photos. They did an outstanding job. Plus, they’re really cool people and fun to hang out with! (The images on this post were shot by them at the conference.)

- Coming home with a stack of business cards. I met so many wonderful people! Old friends and new. At Alt Summit, I always wish there were 3 of me, so I could attend panels and have long conversations and handle attendee questions all at once. There are so many wonderful people to talk too!

- Most of all, it’s hugely satisfying to see the panels and programming I’ve been working on over the last year come to life.

Alt Summit is one of my happy places. Maybe I will see you there next year…

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris January 31, 2012 at 6:49 am

amazing, i am inspired just reading about it!


2 Damaris January 31, 2012 at 6:52 am

Any chance there is a transcript of Ben’s talk somewhere? I keep hearing amazing things and I would love to read it.


3 Design Mom January 31, 2012 at 6:59 am

Yes! All 3 keynotes were actually recorded as video. I think the links will be available today. I’ll share them here when they are live. You can also subscribe to the Alt Summit Newsletter if you don’t want to miss the links.


4 Damaris January 31, 2012 at 7:05 am

Thank you so much. I’ll sign up for the newsletter. I didn’t even know there was a newsletter, great news. If we’re back in the U.S this time next year I am going!


5 michelle a January 31, 2012 at 9:24 am

I had the same question!


6 Genevieve January 31, 2012 at 6:58 am

Looks so inspiring!


7 Tina Z January 31, 2012 at 7:29 am

Looks like a great conference, I’m jealous of the style and fun! While I’m at home at academic conferences, I wish they had more flair…


8 Amber January 31, 2012 at 9:24 am

I cannot imagine how awesome it would be to attend Alt Summit (but I think only like 3 people read my blog and one of them is my mom). It would be so inspiring to be surrounded by all of you creative people. And it looks like a fabulous time!


9 Sara January 31, 2012 at 9:45 am

On the top of my list of goals for my new business is earning enough so that I can afford to come next year! Each year sounds more incredible and amazing than the last. I so wish I could have been there this year, but your description is definitely motivating :)!!


10 Alyssa // welikewelove January 31, 2012 at 9:45 am

Gabriel– another amazing year at Alt. Thank you to you & your amazing team! It was another magical week // the best way to start my year.


11 Cathi January 31, 2012 at 10:51 am

Demaris asked exactly what I wanted know. I’m over the top excited about the transcripts being on the Alt website. I’m also going to put Alt Summit on the top of my list for next year. The Huff Post sold me with “this new lifestyle community is no place for mean girls”!


12 Julia January 31, 2012 at 11:52 am

I’m just getting into the blog scene and missed registration for Alt Summit by a hair. It sounds fantastic. Hope to make it next year!


13 Julia January 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm

i hope to go too. its incredibly intimidating (especially with all the fashion going on! flashbacks of sorority rush!) but i would really enjoy it.


14 Lee January 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Even though I have nothing to do with design blog world, I consider crashing every year.


15 Tan January 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm

So great!
You will most definitely see me there next year. I just can’t wait!


16 Ali February 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

This was my first year attending Alt and it was amazing. It far exceeded my expectations and I don’t think you could have done a better job. Thanks for all the hard work that went into planning the conference. Hoping to attend next year!


17 mom in mendon February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Love the family picture. You all look perfect. How do I get a copy?


18 Greta February 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

Oh how I hope I can come next year!
Love from,


19 julia g blair July 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

Such a special treat for me to attend this last “ALT.” Everything was CLASSY!
The attendees were friendly and helpful and eager to communicate.
Honored to be connected to all of you great “Alt” People.
Congratulations on a truly marvelous conference!


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