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Traveling Utah: Alt Summit & Sundance

Hi friends… how are you?  Before whisking away to Utah last week, I scheduled everything ahead of time and I didn’t get much of a chance to check-in while I was away. I’ve missed you all.

Now that I’m back, I thought I’d provide a glimpse of the whirlwind that was Alt Summit and Sundance.  If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen the majority of these photos (and may very well be very sick of #altsummit at this point – so sorry for that, more variety to come, I promise).  Nevertheless, I did predict that it could be “the most fabulous long weekend I’ve had in YEARS”. So I thought I should follow up with a few more details.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are my five days in Utah….

  1. TRAVEL left: Wednesday morning started off early – me in my bathroom at home getting ready to embark, armed with a cozy down vest and lots of anticipation. right: Arrived at the Grand America Hotel around 3pm – me in our suite’s bathroom (a definite upgrade).  In fact, the suite was amazing (check out Instagram for more photos).  It was so spacious – a vestibule, sitting area, huge bathroom… it even had a door bell.  My husband and I actually decided it was bigger than our first house – which we bought as grad students in Nashville.
  2. ACCOMMODATIONS left: The Grand American hotel – grand is definitely the word. right: The ballroom in which all Alt Summit lunches and keynote speeches (there were three) were held.  Those letters on stage were huge and 3D. I had no idea there would be such intense set design.
  3. DAY WEAR left: Fashion at Alt Summit is no joke.  Which can be intimidating but also a great excuse to get to dress up for a change.  I opted for bold, bright colors done comfy. Also, I wasn’t about to break the bank on stuff I can’t use during my day job with the kiddos – 95% of my wardrobe was provided by Nordstrom Rack and J.Crew Factory Store (the other 5% was on clearance at the regular J.Crew). right: My outfit the day I spoke at Alt. That knit skirt was really fun but also super comfortable – I felt fantastic in it.
  4. PARTY WEAR left: Cocktail attire for the mini-parties on Friday night, in which the conference took over the entire 3rd floor of the hotel and each sponsor hosted a party in a separate room. There was lots of fun swag to be had, including some pretty purple and pink bottles of OPI nail polish – perfect for the next time I’m feeling the need to get so girly (probably in about a year when it’s time to go to Alt again!). right: Wednesday night was the Clue party – I was Miss Peacock (see Instagram for a blurry photo of my head plumage).

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  5. SOCIALIZING left: Of course, Alt wasn’t ALL about fashion and parties.  I was also there to teach and to learn.  Here’s a shot of my lovely co-presenters and I (Mara, Erin, and Kirsten) a few minutes before we went live.  I felt really good about it when it was all said and done.  We had a lovely, engaged audience and I was happy that we were able to share a lot of great info. right: This shot from the mini-parties, where photo booths were quite ubiquitous, is intentionally ridiculous (the last minute decision to do “model face” translated to zoolander for all of us except Carly – who apparently knows some very mean models in NYC).  But it also captures my favorite part about the conference – all the new friends I made!  I met all of these fine ladies at my welcome dinner Wednesday night put on by Windows. We had the best time hanging out together. Carly and Justine are two super fun and funny girls currently taking NYC by storm (they’re both so young yet are already kicking ass at Random House and Martha Stewart).  Also, if you haven’t yet, you really should check out Kendra’s blog Piece of Cake // Peace of Mind as well as Jordan’s wedding planning site. Finally, I also got the chance to finally have a face to face chat with some of my best blogging friends and mentors – Dana of MADE was especially sweet, I could have chatted with her for days!
  6. STAYING WARM left: Those who know me, and what an incredible wimp I am in the cold, were more than a little concerned I might die in SLC.  Fortunately, I got lots of warm swag at the conference including a hand-knit monkey cap and these rad mittens. right: Of course, I also came prepared with my trusty sweater tights.
  7. PARK CITY left: After 3 long days of learning, teaching, and networking it felt like my brain just couldn’t take in any more info.  Which made it the perfect time to head to Park City to take in a show instead.  right: We were pleasantly surprised to find the Marriot we were staying at was actually the official headquarters of the festival.
  8. SUNDANCE left: After dinner with some very gracious friends who live in Park City (and a whole crew of their lovely friends) we headed off to the showing of the festival’s Grand Jury Prize winning film: Fruitvale.  right: The film, a drama based on the real-life story of a young man shot to death by a transit police officer at an Oakland BART station, was both incredibly well done and devastating (as you might expect from a Sundance winner).  Getting to hear the director (who’s only 26) talk about his experience and motivation for making the film was truly a unique experience.

And then we flew home and hugged our munchkins for about an hour straight.  It really was a packed couple of days but it all wildly exceeded my expectations.  It’s a trip I’ll always want to remember so thanks so much for letting me share a little of it here with you.

 

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