ALT gets an A+

And now I present you with my mega post about my ALT experience.  Thanks to my iphone + Instagram magic, all sorts of details including a salad, sweets, snapshots with friends, Ben from Pinterest, and of course some swag were captured.  Speaking of which, ALT didn't mess around in the swag department - I needed an extra bag just to get all of my loot home!  No complaints here.

Now on to the wrap up...


+ listening to the keynote speakers, the best in my book being Ben Silbermann (creator of Pinterest).  Loved his story, loved how he received a standing O, loved how it made me almost start to cry.

+ Jasmine Star was also a phenomenal speaker.  I've had the privilege of hearing her speak a few times now and as always, she rocked the house.  She is a marketing genius (among other things).

+ I highly enjoyed these panels:
Work Life Balance
Building A Personal Brand
and the round table discussion led by Becca from Cake

+ mini parties!!!  Because why go to 1 when you can go to 8?!  Mini foods, delicious drinks, photo booths (and plenty of props to go around), more swag, more sparkle and more new friends to mix and mingle with made them simply smashing!  The Girls With Glasses Parisian themed fete certainly stole the show.  They had me at mini waffle cones filled with gelato.  Hello delicious!

+ seeing snow!  Like I mentioned before, I'm from Vegas.

+ hanging out during most of the conference with my friend Jessie of Shop Sweet Lulu (we're pictured above on the right).

+ hanging out during most of my non-conference hours with one of my dearest friends in the entire universe Kareen (she and I are pictured on the left).  There's nothing like dining at all her favorite spots, shopping excursions, recipe sharing, secret sharing, and singing our hearts while traveling to and fro.  Only a bestie will surprise you with a playlist of "our favorite songs,"  place a little welcome gift at the foot of your bed + and do everything on earth to ensure your trip is memorable and special.  I have the greatest friend in the world! 

+ and quite possibly the most wonderful, icing on the cake type moment was getting to enjoy an evening with Marta!  I have been reading her blog for years now and finally overtime (well really since last year) have had the privilege to connect with her on a more personal level through our many email exchanges.  We scheduled a sort of but not really blind friend date night and she took me to a cozy little place called Cucina.  The food was fantastic, but the company was even better.  She is the real deal, just as I knew she would be: charming, bubbly, witty, smart, petite (I never find anyone as tall short as I am) and as sweet as they come.  I will remember our night and topics of convo forever and am so thankful she and I are now more than just pen pals.

OH YES!!!  And I did learn a thing or two!

So in true Suzanne fashion, here is my top 10 list of things that I took away from ALT (in no particular order):

01. Define what the goal of your blog is and make it happen.
* Do you want a large readership?  Numerous comments?  A way to promote your shop or your business?  Make sure that vision is clear.  
{ FINALLY I figured that one out while there.  That was worth it's weight in gold if you ask me. }

02. Readers want to know that there's a human being behind your blog.
* Don't be afraid to share pieces of you, your life, your personality, etc.
 { I struggle with this at times, but have an idea brewing that might help me do a better job in this department. }

03. Be consistent with your online presence.
* Make sure your bio photo, business info + overall "voice" is the same on all other social media outlets.  Everything you put out there is an extension of your brand/business.

04. Don't indulge in guilt that is nonproductive.
* If it won't change something for the better, let it go.

05. Being too plugged in can impede one's creativity.
* Amen to that.  By having extremely limited time on Pinterest (though I do LOVE it) + other social media sites, along with breaking up with most of my Google Reader subscriptions last month (with the exception of a select few) I have significantly decreased feelings of jealousy and inadequacy that I would sometimes experience.  I now have more space in my soul for inspired design.

06. Never re-brand without knowing why.
* If you feel that how YOU view your brand/business is not how the rest of the world views it, then it's a process to consider.  In the end, a re-brand should be a better reflection of who you truly are.

07. Be proactive, not reactive in reference to responding to all the noise on social media.
* Like I mentioned above, putting limitations on myself in this arena has been a good decision for me.

08. Do what you do best, and let others do the rest.
* Don't enjoy book keeping?  Don't love running around to pick up supplies?  Hire someone to assist in these areas so that you can focus on your passion.  I am speaking from experience here!

09. If blogging isn't your business, you don't have to blog everyday.
* Can I get an Amen Hallelujah on that?  Although I know that running a small graphic design studio is my business, for a brief stint last year, I somehow blurred the lines in thinking that blogging daily was a necessity to growing my business.  I had to adjust because I just couldn't keep up with the demands of working, running the business, the blog, the babies, the list goes on...but it was reassuring to hear this statement from the pros.  I have officially released all "I haven't blogged in X amount of days" guilt.  I decided last year to blog when I truly feel inspired and of course when I have time and that was the best decision yet as my business seemed to have grown even more.  It's amazing what happens when you can focus more of your efforts on what you enjoy doing most: in my case it's designing!  Okay, personal commentary now over. ;)

10. Personalize your brand by who you are and not what you do.
* And by golly, what better vehicle to be able to do this than on your blog!

And finally, a few little gems of wisdom that I'll always remember:

"Make one thing perfect." - Ben Silbermann

"If you don't have copycats, you're not doing it right." - Jasmine Star

"Pinterest is the most beautiful place to discover things you love.  Discovering things about the world helps you discover things about yourself." - Ben Silbermann

And it's a wrap!  Anyone want to go with me next year?


Jeanna Hayes said...

Me, me, me!!! I want to go with you next year! Love you and so happy that you had a great time. You inspire me, so whatever inspires YOU gets an A+ in my book too :).

Tommy said...

Gosh. I'd love to! :) Excellent post. I'm totally on board with the idea of blogging only when inspired and not to meet some silly self- or sponsor-induced quota.

I say to do it until you don't love it anymore. And if all the social media is just too much (as I find it being for myself), I think that your suggestion is on point. I need to unplug a bit myself.

B said...

YES! how do I find out about it BEFORE it happens??? I'm reading about it in all my favorite blogs! (yours included!) <3

marta said...

thanks for your little ALT wrap up. i loved hearing about it and seeing your cute shots. and most of all, meeting you was like meeting a long lost pal. i'm so happy we got to dine and chat and get all our thoughts and more out on the table. you're such a darling. and you DO have copycats, so you're definitely doing it right. keep up the great work.

Rachael McMahon said...

Ah your review was amazing, I would LOVE to come with you to ALT next year... I'm seriously thinking of starting saving now! x

Miranda said...

This is a FANTASTIC wrap up! Way to highlight some truly helpful and inspirational posts. I got caught in the "must blog every day" thing too a while back which basically ended in a terribly long hiatus. Thanks again for the great post!

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