Altitude Design Summit 2011

{picture from the Alt Summit Flickr stream}

So, as you guys know, last week the whole APW team went to the Altitude Design Summit. It was my first official blogging conference (Mighty Summit was more of a retreat), and my first official business trip (when I worked in Theatre, I lived in New York. No one really traveled for work). Oh, and I did this important thing while I was there: I spoke on a panel.

I’m trying to figure how to sum up the whole experience for you, which lives in my mind as a flurry of glitter and balloons, business cards and not enough sleep. Here is my stab at it.

{Picture by APW Assistant Editor Lauren}

First, I spoke. I’m not big on making my life list and Mondo Beyondo goals public (practices I’ve been doing for the last five or six years), but at the end of Mighty Summit we all committed to try to make five things happen for ourselves this year. Oddly, for me the scariest thing was trying to speak at a conference. Working for myself managing a creative business full time? I figured I had that. But getting asked to speak at a conference? That seemed insurmountable.

Well. I got asked to speak at Alt on the subject of Growing Your Community. And if there is anything I know a little about, thanks to APW, it’s community. My slides were filled with so many pictures of you ladies grinning at the camera during book clubs and sisterhood of the traveling dress handoffs, that I had to explain that the pictures were not stock photos… they were my real readers who were really friends in real life. Suffice to say, you guys blew the crowd away.

{Picture by APW Assistant Editor Lauren}

So there I was, speaking at my first ever conference. And because the universe has a sense of humor, I somehow ended up being on the first panel on the first day. Well, actually, I was the first speaker on the first panel on the first day, but that is because I have an under-developed sense of fear, and volunteered to go first, before I really thought it through.

So I spoke. And people took notes like crazy, and didn’t laugh at all (which made me nervous, as someone used to doing comedy), and came up and complimented me on my talk afterward. Which made me feel useful and informative, which was lovely. But mostly? I checked that sucker off my life list. Rad.

{Picture by APW Assistant Editor Lauren}

But far more to the point, I met amazing people. I spoke with amazing people. And that, of course, was the whole point of the trip. I was blown away (again) by the generosity of the blogging community. As Lauren realized during Alt, blogging is a business, and it’s not all sunshine and roses. There are power dynamics and there is competition, and there is money to be made. But what I was struck by again on this trip is the fact that for every person that tries to tear you down, there are four other women ready to lift you up. And there are people (like my panel moderator, Sarah Bryden Brown, from Babble) who will see a spark in you, and invest time in showing you the ropes. And when that happens? That’s a pretty amazing gift (Thank you Sarah, I’ll remember that for a long time).

So what did I take away from Alt Summit?

  • Tina Roth Eisenberg, the Swiss Miss telling us that every time she had a child, she gave up on doing work she hated, and every time her business grew. Having children fueled her career, it didn’t drag it down.
  • Watching Lauren grapple with what she really wanted to do with her career, and at first wanting to take a nap and hide under the bed, and then later watching her delight in a new-found sense of possibility.
  • Meeting the excellent Kathleen, who’s writing about her trek to Everest Base Camp was some of the best writing of 2010 on the blog-o-sphere… and then finding out she’d been reading APW all along, in secret.
  • Sitting around the table with a group of bloggers I’ve respected for years, drinking bourbon and laughing.
  • Mondo (he of the amazing work on Project Runway last season), telling us that he created art with a sense of joy, to counteract a life that had been difficult.
  • Reminding myself again that being a good business woman is not me betraying my creative roots or my readers, it’s honoring those things, and allowing them the care and nurturing they need to grow.
  • Having brunch with long time readers Meghan and Ms. Loaf, and finally being able to give them hugs.
  • And laughing and posing with Maggie and Erin in short glittery dresses (because hey, lets prioritize the important stuff).

Oh, and  the Swiss Miss telling us that her first ever post was, “In all beginnings dwell a magic force.” – Hesse

{picture from the Alt Summit Flickr stream}

So from that swirl of balloons, glitter, and business cards, I emerge to ask you, what is your magic force today? Because it’s yours to grasp. I’ll be over here cheering you on. (And chatting with you up about it. Because that’s what I do best.)

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  • So inspiring :)

  • A-L

    Congratulations on being asked to speak at a conference and knocking off one of the things on your lifelist! Makes me wonder what I should have on mine…

  • That list is beautiful and overwhelming and I can’t believe you got to do/witness/exist in all of those things.

    … but most of all? You met MONDO?!

    • PS You guys look gorgeous in that first picture, except that Alyssa is apparently hiding behind a plant? Still. Gorgey-gorge.

      • Alyssa

        That plant jumped right in front of me. It’s a camera hog.

    • KA

      “… but most of all? You met MONDO?!”

      YES!! Lots of wisdom as always, and this is what I take away from it, hahaha. Love Mondo, LOVE.

    • peanut

      I LOVE Mondo!!!

    • meg

      Yup, I even had a little chat with Mondo in the lobby. He’s the sweetest.

  • I love this! LOVE it.

  • Zan

    Meg I hope you did a happy dance in that sparkly dress of yours, congrats!

    I hope my magical force is something like … finally figuring out how to own what it is that makes me happy and going for it without being my own harshest critic. That’s probably a tall order for a Wednesday, so I’ll just start with a shower and some clothes that make me feel like a competent kick-ass lady. But one day…

    But a good omen if there ever was one: it is snowing (I love snow!) seeing the flakes fall always makes me feel like there is a higher concentration of possibility in the air.

  • ok I keep hearing about these pictures of the glittery dresses, where are they already?

    but seriously. thanks for sharing a little more about alt, following you guys on twitter was fun but this post and Lauren’s was really great to read this morning. I think my magic force today is just you guys, I’m getting caught up in your currents. and I’m buzzing on the sisterhood being famous now.

    I’m not kidding though. glittery dress photos? I would like to officially request that next time you are all going to some big thing like this together, you take along a personal photographer (or, you know, me). I can’t believe I haven’t seen a zillion self-portrait group photos of you three getting tipsy in networking receptions and whatnot. that one with Alyssa half hidden by a plant just doesn’t cut it!

    • meg

      Well, I did include TWO glittery dress photos! Maggie took a bunch, but she doesn’t have them up yet. So I suspect they will show up on Mighty Girl.

      • ok yeah after I posted that I realized DUH that last picture does show the glitter a bit. but I’m talking about these ones with Maggie, looking forward to seeing those! I’ll keep an eye on Mighty Girl.

        • I echo this interest in the glittery dress photos. Everyone at Alt looks so fancy in their pictures!

    • Yet again I regret the eyes closed photo.

      But did we mention, sisterhood has gone the extra mile of helping me workout to fit into the dress? Hell yes. I cannot wait to rock this dress.

  • Oh God, I love these post-Summit posts. They leave me with such a feeling of “can-do” attitude, I think I’m going to explode.

    I don’t know if you know it, but your post on money and self-worth was basically the catalyst for me getting up the courage to pursue Hart + Sol as a business and not something I did for fun on the weekends and basically gave away for free. (Literally a week after that post went up I started looking for jobs closer to home so that I could spend more time making it into a business rather than a hobby).

    As a result of these conversations I’ve now had the courage to put myself out there to people I admire (you, to other photographers) and say “I want to go to there. Can you help me?” And unanimously, the answer has been yes. Never has it been assumed that if I succeed, there wouldn’t be enough room for everybody (not yet at least). And to me that is the magic of the internet. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s being your own boss? Maybe it’s the creative liberty to forge your own path? Whatever it is, the smart-minded women who I now count as my mentors (but who I mostly have never met) have been way more supportive in this venture than anybody I’ve ever worked with in real life.

    That shit’s some Harry Potter magic.*

    Also, Lauren, you are awesome. The end.

    *I’m clearly mid-sip in the Kool-Aid right now.

    • This is an awesome comment.

    • Wow. In the January of my first official year as a we, my first time throwing myself into the world as a full-time business owner, and being a little scared of what that might (or might not) bring, this is exactly what I needed to hear.

  • What is my magic force? Seeing the nods of recognition and understanding in my students. Trying to verbalize just why “Civil Disobedience” is so important to us, regardless of our political persuasions, because it asks us to question what our principles are, and how we are going to act on them. Watching your blog grow has made me jealous, but in a good way! Let me explain: Reading this blog not only introduces me to ways that women and men are choosing to express their relationships. It also introduces me to women who are refusing to let conventions and conformity restrict their goals and dreams. Watching your blog grow, and you grow up as a blogger, and the envy I feel for having such an awesome job forces me to evaluate what I am doing in life and what I want to be doing. I love teaching. But it only reflects one aspect of me. I also want to write and that is a dream I’ve been putting off for too long. Your blog, and the women (and men) in it, who are doing awesome things inspire me to tackle my own dreams. Thank you.

    • Watching your blog grow, and you grow up as a blogger, and the envy I feel for having such an awesome job forces me to evaluate what I am doing in life and what I want to be doing. I love teaching. But it only reflects one aspect of me. I also want to write and that is a dream I’ve been putting off for too long. Your blog, and the women (and men) in it, who are doing awesome things inspire me to tackle my own dreams.

      YES. YES YES YES. I am so jealous of you, Meg, because you are chasing down your dreams. You’re living Meg’s New Life ™ with San Francisco winters and weekends off and evenings filled with cocktails and insightful comments from a brilliant community that you have cultivated. My envy is tempered with joy for you and pride for all of us. And that envy-joy-pride mix gives me a giant kick in the ass. It’s helped me kickstart my own introspection and my career, and I’ve applied to graduate school. It’s inspiration.

      • YES. YES. YES.

        You think to yourself – I know these people are working their asses off. But they’re working their asses of with *reward*. And that there is the motivation of a lifetime.

    • Class of 1980

      MEREDYTHBYRD SAID: “What is my magic force? Seeing the nods of recognition and understanding in my students. Trying to verbalize just why “Civil Disobedience” is so important to us, regardless of our political persuasions, because it asks us to question what our principles are, and how we are going to act on them.”

      We really need far more civil disobedience right now.

      The basic study of government and citizens rights has been neglected for decades by the schools. And it shows.

      You are aces in my book, Meredythbyrd.

      • i just want to echo the “i’m jealous but not in the destructive way that women after can be” sentiment. i think a little bit of envy is a good thing. it means you’re acknowledging that you want something, which is the first step to making it happen.

        also, ironically, meredythbyrd’s comment is the most recent in a series of signs from the universe that i need to be a teacher. so it’s my magic force today, along with the president’s words about teaching and education during the state of the union last night.

        • Aw, thank you! And thanks to all the others who said such great things. Sandy– teaching is one of the most affirming things I’ve ever done. It’s challenging everyday, but everyday I walk away feeling like I DID something, a feeling I never got while sitting at my old desk job. I also feel like a real adult now, because I’m contributing to society, something that again, I didn’t feel at my old job. Good luck in your pursuit!

          And Class of 1980- I agree. I’m starting to question why I don’t do more of it.

    • AMEN, Merdythbyrd! Just taught CD a few months ago…so apt right now. Some of my students–for the first time ever–HATED Thoreau. Which I secretly loved. At least they were thinking, right?

      As a result of watching Meg and APW grow, and seeing so many women take control of their own lives and work and passions, I made a bold move yesterday on my blog. Something that made all the air in the room leave for a second or two. And today–phew! Harry Potter magic shit (as someone said earlier.) I just feel movement, direction, one fraction of a millimeter closer to my goal. And that’s better than yesterday, so–

  • Brilliant, Meg. Brilliant. I alsways so admire the people who speak first. Lucky for your audience to hear some of your wisdom. Perhaps (perhaps?) you could let us into what you said?

    • Rebecca

      Meg, I’ll second this call – wisdom on community-building, if you’d be willing to share it, is something I’d suck up like a sponge. In a world increasingly full of challenges and where it seems like everyone is out for themselves, I’m thinking more and more about what role strong communities might have and how you might go about building one (in blog-land or in your physical community). A big challenge for an introvert like myself…

      Also? You guys are inspiring, as always!

  • Meg, It was fantastic meeting you and giving you that hug too.
    You too, Lauren and Alyssa.

    Here’s to looking your goals right in the eye and saying hello.

    • Heather G

      It was very nice to meet all of you. I like being able to picture some of the faces of the APW community now as I absorb the posts and comments.

      • Alyssa

        I had the best time with y’all, I just wish it had been longer and with us a little less tired!

  • SOunds to me like a lot of people went back to their hotels with cold feet …CAUSE you knocked their socks off. Thanks for the inspiration, from a girl who freezes up at times ( should I say girl? I am nearly sixty) when I think of starting my new business. I must be crazy. WAIT …I am already crazy.

    Anyway I need to write on my blog. LOL and look forward to reading more of yours

  • Oh Meg. I love this blog so much for both the content and the community, and it makes me so happy to see you expanding and growing it into a full fledged business. We need you, we need APW, and we need each other. So thank you, times a million.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want my side project to be. I think I’ll probably be doing my “main” job forever and I’m happy about that, but I know that there’s other things I want to do as well. Right now I’m just trying to figure out how to make it happen, and what the elusive “it” is. I figure if my husband-elect can be a professional brewer, a rockstar (with CDs and everything), the captain and MVP of his soccer team and my own personal on-demand carpenter, surely I can be a kick-ass CPA and a bunch of other things on the side too.

    I read this blog first thing in the morning because I pretty much always finish ready to seize the day.

    • Shotgun Shirley

      I love my professional gig, and I love starting my day with APW, and dammit these post-Summit posts are inspiring like nothing else. On to the next milestone!

    • ” figure if my husband-elect can be a professional brewer, a rockstar (with CDs and everything), the captain and MVP of his soccer team and my own personal on-demand carpenter’

      OMG I’m tired just reading this list, I may need to go back to bed!

      When you say husband-elect…..just who elected him? Was there a priamry/

      Ok Ok I thought this blog was for practical women with attitude.Ask my mom how practical I am and you can see the attitude.

      But great pic, if your elected hubby to be is so talented you surely will never be bored and yes you can kick ass too! Have fun doing so. Does CPA stand for creative, pretty and amorous?

  • This post – and all the comments – make my heart feel like exploding. Is that weird? I just have a lot of love for this place.

    Way to rock it at Alt, Meg! You continue to be such an inspiration.

  • I loved meeting the whole APW crew!

    It’s great to read the energy of this post. I have a big conference coming up for school/work (same thing for me!) and this buoys me up to remember to claim the magic.

    Love love love reading this post. Other women going after what they want always inspires me to do the same.

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  • Meg, I am so excited and proud of you! I’ve watched APW grow from a small personal blog that was mainly for you into a huge community that nurtures personal choice and being true to yourself.

    And I know I already said it, but I am so proud of you. You are an amazing person and deserve all the goodness that is coming your way! I’m so excited to see where life takes you. (and as always, if I can ever help you with something, just let me know.)

  • Sarah

    You and Lauren are both just ON today. I love that I could read your feeds and now your recaps and realizations, and just soak up all the wisdom.

    Not to mention live vicariously with the photos of fantastic-ness.

    I’m with DDay though … the sisterhood being known outside of APW gives me the shivers. In a good way. Who’d have thought a couple photos, showing proof of your generous readers/lucky winners/the rest of us tag alongs would the spark that helped push it forward? I love it.

    Also … more glittery dress, please. =)

  • Class of 1980

    MEG SAID: “Reminding myself again that being a good business woman is not me betraying my creative roots or my readers, it’s honoring those things, and allowing them the care and nurturing they need to grow.”

    Can I get a “Hell Yeah!” in here?

    • Murdock

      Hell yeah!

      • Class of 1980


  • Sooz

    I’m not sure about magic – I don’t feel like I have any at the moment. But your post did encourage me to finally get around to writing up a Life List – it had about 60 things on it in a very short space of time, some of which were quite surprising!

    I’d have laughed at you four years ago if you’d told me that my life list would someday include things like learning to make scenery for my beloved’s N-gauge model railway obsession!!!


  • Kathryn

    Congratulations Meg! So, um, can we maybe see your slides? Or better yet is there a video of your panel?

    • meg

      No video, but I could share the slides if you guys really want it. I never know if the business of blogging is SUPER BORING to the non-professional blogger though.

      • No, I’m super interested! Share, share, share.

        Or, at least the highlights and nice parts about our community. =)

  • I had a nerdgasm when I saw you and Kathleen exchanging on Twitter. She designed my wedding invitations. She is pure genius and a lovely lady to boot!

    • xoxo, Kim!

      • meg

        Kathleen, you need a gravitar, lady! So we all know who you are!

        • Zan

          I was actually just wondering — how do you get a fancy photo gravitar? (When the likely-obvious-and-easy answer comes through I am probably going to feel exactly like the technology fool that I am…)

          • meg


          • Zan

            At first I thought you were trying to punk me Meg, then I realized you must’ve meant, not gravitar :) Google to the rescue!

  • Awesome awesome awesome. Makes me want to go out there and kick some ass too.

    Damn you ladies rock.

  • april

    Oh, THANK YOU! This is just fabulous – and super inspiring.

    I’ve been feeling a bit gloomy the past few weeks, rushing around without any sense or purpose, working too hard, crying too much and wondering what the hell am I doing and what do I *NEED* to be doing… so, reading this bit about the conference and your experience is inspiring for me. Often when I read of other’s success(es) I feel so down-trodden, thinking “Oh, heavens – would that were me, I’m a lump right now!” But instead I really want to focus on finding work that creates happiness for me instead of stress.

    Thank you.

    And BTW, Meg – LOVE your sparkly frock! :-) XO

  • peanut

    Our high school water polo and swim coach passed away this past weekend at the age of 52. I say “our” because in addition to coaching me and my brother, he was an integral part of the high school and aquatics program in our community. He was a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend to literally thousands of people throughout the years, and truly affected the lives of so many in a positive way. He didn’t have biological children; instead he provided guidance and belonging to the youth and young adults in our community. These days, my “magic force” is to try and step outside myself and my everyday cocoon and make some effort to improve everyone’s world, not just my own, just as Coach did.

    Thanks Meg for your inspiration :)

  • Shotgun Shirley

    I suppose my magic force is the little baby rockin out inside me… she always seems to be most active during the 3pm coma part of the day, and it helps me get past that hump.

    My goals outside work are simple – starting a garden, getting back into sewing and swimming – and HUGE – having as natural a birth as possible, being a good mom. When I type it out, it seems like not too long a list.


    Also, this reminds me of how awesome the Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress is, and that I should probably donate mine (which is not maternity, just a few sizes to big for me):

    • One of the MOST magic of all forces.

  • KA

    My magic force today is all the “exactlys” all over this page. Warm fuzzies in the midst of yet another snowstorm. :-D

  • Jessica

    Congrats on being asked to speak and on doing a spectacular job! Looking forward to seeing how the experience fuels you and this site in the coming year.

  • Sounds incredible. Congratulations on getting to do a panel, and cross something off your life list!

  • suzanna

    Congratulations, Meg! That is some good stuff indeed.

    And MONDO! He Who Should Have Won! Love.

    My magical beginning? Got engaged over the weekend. (so many inner and outer smiles happening right now.) I couldn’t help but pick up a wedding magazine (is that like a rite of passage or something?), and I would like to thank APW for helping to prepare me to completely ignore 95% of what was in there (they’re not kidding when they say most bridesmaids’ dresses are hideous), and enjoy the rest.

    • Sarah

      Hooray for you!! Congratulations!!!

      • suzanna

        Thank you! I don’t comment often here, but I’ have been reading APW for years. As everyone here knows, just the fact that there’s a thoughtful place where we can talk/read about roles, expectations, traditions, meaning, relationships, pretty things, etc. etc. etc. is such a blessing.

  • Getting in some good quality time and forging a friendship with you, Meg, was one of my Alt highlights!

  • Wench

    Yay! Thank you Meg for such an inspiring post
    Due in no small part to apw and being shown by such a fabulous community that you really can grow up and do what you want I have recently decided to start my own business. On the bus home from the day job today I read this post which made me feel like it might even succeed and then on my doorstep when I got home was my first piece of business post! Eek
    magic day all round
    thank you

  • This post feels a little bit like magic to me. Looking at your pictures I see a fuzzy picture of me being sassy on one of your slides from the Denver meetup and, okay, it’s weird, but I feel like in another dimension I’m already doing exciting, fun, challenging, creative things like going to Alt was for you– those things I revealed to myself on my Mondo Beyondo list but had been too afraid to say before. Because, you know, I saw myself there. Literally.

  • hearty congrats on the pro ass-kicking, meg – and good on you for the sparkles. according to ancient calendars, 2011 is the Year of the Jazz Hands; true story. (what? i like sequins.)

    • meg

      Year of the jazz hands, WHAT.

      • Yes! Jazz hands. I’m over here doing mine, FYI. Get ’em up, girlfriends!

  • Murdock

    Ditto, ditto ditto to all that was said above and an AMEN for the creation and evolution of APW. Where would we all be without it? Congrats to all of you, and all of everyone else out in the blogosphere that makes this blog so freakin’ rocking’! I read it now first thing in the AM….habitually, like I have a cup of tea when I get to work. :)

    As for my magic….this post made me realize that the blog I am about to start for our upcoming trip needs to be thought of in a much larger scale. And since the hubby to be and I are quitting our jobs to go travel in SE Asia for 6 months…..maybe this isn’t something for the here and now. I need to THINK BIG….how to we want to communicate our travels? What kind of resources should I look at to make sure its read? How can I possibly propel this into something lucrative upon our return from traveling? Since we are also getting married upon our return, do we meld the two or just keep in travel? How can I make this blog have a magical beginning with a fabulous future?

    Thanks Meg. I did tear up a bit with inspiration and a warmed heart from this post. United and supported, we can all do so much more. :)

  • Amazing! Rock on, Meg and Team Practical!

    My magic force today is deciding that in the next year, my closest women friends and I are finally going to take the trip together that we’ve been dreaming about for so long. We’re going to make it happen.

    • Murdock

      YES!!! “don’t let your dreams be your dreams!”-Jack Johnson

      As someone who is doing a big trip…go for it! So glad to hear this Sharon.
      p.s. where you ladies headed?

      • Thanks, Murdock!

      • Thanks, Murdock!

        We’re all scattered throughout the US at the moment, so thinking somewhere central. (One of the girls has an uncle who might be willing to lend us a Colorado cabin for a week.) A weeklong retreat in the States probably seems ridiculously feasible to others, but we’ve been putting it off for years because of weddings, paying off student loans, un(der)employment, family obligations, etc. And then we finally looked at each other and said, “We need to speak this into being or else it’s never going to happen.” I couldn’t be more thrilled.

        • Murdock

          Sharon….life is just so darn busy I hear ya! But good on all of you for finally just saying “gosh darnit, we gotta make this work!”. BTW, if the Colorado cabin doesn’t pan out, check out for some great deals on house rentals.

          • Love this. Part of my magic force is knowing that I will see my 3 best friends in 3 weeks. For the last three years, we’ve made it a priority to get together once a year for a long weekend–no partners, no kids, no special events.

            It is so rejuvenating; I always leave feeling like I could do anything. I once drunkenly coined the four of us “a powerhouse of wit and beauty.” Mostly because of the joy we feel together.

  • My “magic force” today? That’s definitely a question I need to consider this week with everything that’s happening around me, not least is the hard drive crash on my lap top (it feels like I’m missing an arm right now).

    I don’t know that I want to put details here, but thank you for posing the question and making me pause and think and recognize what I do have in my life that is supporting me.

    I need more places to wear sparkly dresses to.

    • meg

      Hugs to you lady, and lots of love from here.

      • You have a new photo up there at the top! Made me do a double-take just now. I like!

  • Glitter and rawness and empowerment, yes!

    Thanks for sharing with us Meg and Lauren!

  • Hooray for life lists! And in case anyone hasn’t said it yet, I’ll bet that for as many people you met at Alt who inspired you, you probably inspired many, many more people yourself. You’re a FORCE, Meg. Congratulations.

  • ML

    another morning of APW-inspired inside-glowiness. thank you, meg, for having such strong aspirations and for sharing the journey with us. you’ve clearly inspired a lot of us to go big, too.

    my magic force is a decision to trust myself – i’ve been smart and articulate in the intelligence-sense for a long time but i’ve never let it carry over to my emotional self (confidence? how?). it’s time to say f-that-shizz. so i’m starting a business and a freelance writing career (starting out as an unpaid intern – my offer to the company i’m working with was way inspired by lauren’s offer to you), and i can’t wait to put everything i’ve got into these two long-time goals.

  • Alyssa

    Meg is completely right on all accounts. Alt was amazing, but not in a shrieky “OMG!!!” amazing, but a “Yeah…that was good” amazing that marinates and gets better as all the fantastic people and great ideas sink in. (I wrote two ATP’s, begin 4 more, outlined my blog and wrote out nearly all of my life list that I’ve been putting off. All on the plane rides home. I’m NEVER that productive…)

    My highlights:

    -Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind. She’s adorable and amazing. And go in the archives and read what Meg wrote about her resource party at Mighty Summit. We did a mini-one and it’s the best thing ever.

    –Meeting Megan of Not Martha while mostly drunk and not knowing who she was. (Had I known who she was, I would have jumped on her and begged her to come home with me and be my bestest friend.)

    -Crazy interesting panels

    -Not being star-struck (because I had no idea who Mondo or Dooce was) and therefore looking cooler than I am.

    -Maggie Mason’s hair.

    -Non-Skype planning sessions, which leaves more time for gossip and cocktails.

    -Being able to hand out business cards because Meg had them made for us! (we’re so professional, y’all don’t even KNOW.)

    -Free stuff. I ain’t even gonna lie.

    And finally meeting Meg and Lauren in real life, even though NEITHER of them counts that as a highlight of theirs, which is fine…no, it’s cool…I don’t mind….*sniff*

    The best about going to Alt, is how y’all are gonna benefit from Meg’s (and Lauren and I’s) new knowledge. This year is gonna rawk so hard….

    • meg

      Oh, that’s because we already thought we knew you in real life, silly. We Skype with you every other week :)

      • Alyssa

        This is true. It was like we were just meeting up for a girls’ weekend, not meeting for the first time.
        But then again I’m not inspiring like you and Lauren today. Tell people I’m fun. And pretty.

        • meg

          She’s fun and pretty, ladies ;)

          Get a BLOG already Alyssa. Do it.

    • Paranoid Libra

      I am a little strange. I like looking at logos and I am just curious as to what the APW business card looked like. Everyone else can want to look at glittery dresses. I am the nutcase that wants to see business cards lol…and more pictures of you Alyssa cuz half hiding behind a plant doesn’t really count.

      • Alyssa

        The business cards are SO pretty, they’re just like the logo up top but in black and white. They’re my first business cards, I probably handed them out to people that didn’t even want them.

        And here’s some pics of Lauren and I in the Kate Spade room! Meg was off being amazing, otherwise we would have dragged her in them too!

        • meg

          We should use these on the site!!

  • Paranoid Libra

    My force today is totally you Meg! I may be newer to the APW community, but dang has it helped me. I love reading it as it does make me feel so empowered and so I can do anything! Somehow reading this blog has helped me to realize I don’t like my day job one bit. I am miserable trying to drag myself in every morning even though I have an easy job that sounds all uber important, but it’s not. It’s an easy and good job, something many people would be satisfied with but I’m not. I enjoy my paycheck and thankful for what it has done for me, but I need more in my life.

    I need to go explore things. One thing I am working on doing is trying to get a job in what I actually went to school for (Public Relations). I went through taking a bunch of job assessment tests and well every last one of them said I should be doing PR work. Well I’m not doing that right now so maybe that might help me feel better about myself.

    I also have some creative jobs I would like to try out such as jewelery making. Looking at rings just made me want to make my own so I am going to look into taking some classes in it. The local community college sent out a booklet with their classes in it and I just found it the other day and sure enough there is some that pertains to it. So I get a chance to channel that creative energy somewhere and see if it does stick.

    So thank you Meg and APW for helping me realize I don’t just want more, but need more in my life and I deserve it cuz I put a lot out there.

  • This post is a great birthday present (it’s my birthday yay!). Especially since I have just today solidified my Master Plan to quit my job, move to Miami, and be a massage therapist/healer full time. So thanks for the continued inspiration to get out there and ask the Universe for the abundance I need to chase my crazy dreams. And I am very much looking forward to what you ladies dream up.

    This year is my jam, yo. (Corny? Yes. True? Hell yes.)

    • Zan

      Happy Birthday! Jam on Addie!!

    • ML

      happy birthday addie! and go for your Master Plan.. my spiritual healer has helped me change my life (and massages are the best gift one could ever give themselves).. you’re going to be an amazing force in your clients’ lives!

  • Magic of the day… I need to think of that more often. I’ve been a bit pessimistic lately and could integrate some magic into a new mantra to turn that thinking around. I love reading all of the ALT recounting to glean from what everyone learned.

  • Melissa


  • Every time I read a post like this, it convinces me that someday I will be brave enough to take the plunge, and exchange my job for something that inspires me.

    Someday sooner and sooner, all the time.

  • Kristen

    I was really excited to see you and Jenny from Little Green Notebook sitting next to each other. It’s like my blogging worlds have collided.

  • This is basically my ideal post. Giant leaps, dreams pursued, blossoming friendship, a glittery cocktail dress. Perfection.

    I think that the APW community might be my magic force today. I have been feeling somewhat incompetent at life this week, from f*cking up at a job I’m not sure I even want anymore, to nearly getting myself killed by a cyclist (I think he was more frightened than me though), to not finding time to call my mum, even though she’s sick. It’s been a worse-than-average week.

    But reading not only this post but also these amazing comments makes me see that I am not the only one who is still figuring this life thing out. I’ve got time, I’ve got options, those big scary insurmountable things are maybe not so big and scary and insurmountable after all.

    I was right back at the beginning of the APW archives today, because I thought I’d have a go at my own wee blog and I was interested to see how APW started out. Right from day one it’s smart, sassy Meg – no doubt about that – but it’s pretty inspiring to see how far the awesome Ms Meg Keene (!!) has brought APW in such a short time, and I am so excited to see where it goes from here.

    Contratulations on building such an amazing community here – it’s an honour to be a small part of it.

    Also, I am now hankering after a glittery cocktail dress but have nowhere to wear one – do you think anyone would mind if I just wore it to work instead of a suit…?

  • “Tina Roth Eisenberg, the Swiss Miss telling us that every time she had a child, she gave up on doing work she hated, and every time her business grew. Having children fueled her career, it didn’t drag it down.”

    I agree so much with this. In fact it is my life plan of the last few and next few years. Believe this. The way kids make parents reassess their priorities can be so good for their careers if they stop and listen to themselves.