Photo by the inexhaustible Justin Hackworth.
I returned from Salt Lake City and the Altitude Design Summit Saturday and I am still without words. I am addled. I learned a lot, I challenged myself A LOT, and I met a lot of great people. I have so many different feelings about the whole experience and event that I can't even sort out right now. I should note, the importance of getting away without the kids outweighed the importance of anything that happened at the conference itself, and the deeply cold and icy weather trumped everything because it reminded me of home, old home.
That said, the one thing I came away with loud and clear is that most things that mattered to me at the conference were things I didn't expect. I didn't expect to start my first morning there chatting for the better part of an hour with Danny Kofoed of A Blog About Love (and my literally-and-figuratively-on-fire friend Danielle). I'd never met Danny before, but we had a conversation that felt real, and I have to recommend that to anyone going into something like this flying solo. A meaningful conversation is great for getting grounded.
Center of photo: Danny, Leslie Fandrich, Danielle, me.
Photo by the supertrooper, superpregnant photographer Brooke Dennis.
I didn't expect to see my donut marshmallows sitting in a bowl in the lounge next to vats of lavender hot chocolate, but there they were. And the next day my biscotti donuts. Crazy! Part of a "Bing it to Life" campaign by Bing, the conference sponsor. Thank you so much to whoever nominated them, and hats off to whoever made the marshmallow donuts, they're not the easiest thing in the world to make.
Chemistry was so important. I was drawn immediately to certain people and not others. I think we all were. To me at least it was pretty clear when things didn't click. That's a hard thing to navigate, when there are people you'd really like to meet for the first time and awkward introductions to be made. So I ended up feeling very close to a handful of women (and men!) that I hadn't expected to, and a little disappointed in some other connections that didn't work out.
I didn't expect my roundtable to fill up, but it did, and I was so grateful! I think it went well, I think the conversation was helpful. I got the feeling people were there to learn more about "growing" their blogs than "maintaining them with pride" (the two parts of my program), but we went a half hour over the time slot finishing sharing our stories of where we are and where we want to go, so I hope people feel like they didn't waste their morning. I got some good information out of it that I'll write about when my head is clearer. I want to share links to the blogs of all the attendees soon, too.
I didn't expect to feel so invigorated after listening to graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister speak on his work and his film The Happy Film. Forget the brilliance of his work, however controversial some of his moves have been, I am just so deprived of East Coast designer energy in my current life that listening to him talk was electrifying. And let's not forget the kiss (everyone got one).
Finally, I didn't expect to sit down and talk about art and bodies of work and burlesque dancing with an artist I admire so much and have been following for the last few years, but I found myself in the corner having a drink with Katie Sokoler Friday night. Katie is completely singular in her work and in every fiber of her being. She gave the final keynote Friday afternoon and I was thrilled to be able to talk to her at length that night at one of the mini-parties. We were surprised to learn that we both know burlesque superstar and body acceptance guru The World Famous *BOB*! I've kittened for her and Katie has shot many of her events in New York. It was such a treat for me. Now I don't just admire her, I adore her!
I'm going to write up some more thoughts about Alt when I get a chance this week. All in all, I'm glad I went. It was quite a scene!