Book Tour Stop One: Alt Summit!

Before I even dive into the story of my first stop on the month-on-the-road, Alt Summit, let’s talk about this info graphic by Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest. Because there could not be a more perfect visual representation of where I am right now. And while I can’t live in this place between terror and joy indefinitely (it’s exhausting, and I need some breaks for naps), it is the place I am happiest to be. It is so scary, but it is so rich with possibility, and so profoundly creative. And did I mention terrifying and full of awe?

But lets talk about Alt Summit, the design and lifestyle blogging conference in Salt Lake. Alt has quickly become my all-time favorite business and creative blogging conference. It’s so good (and so sparkly!). When I went last year, I was in my third week of working for myself, and it was my first time ever speaking at a conference. So this year became a real marker on the journey for me. It was a chance for me to evaluate where I was last year verses where I am now. And what a difference…

There is a George Clooney What I’ve Learned interview in Esquire this month (oh my God, Esquire, why are you consistently so good?) where he says, “You get better as an actor over time if you’re growing. Like singers. My aunt Rosemary, later in life, couldn’t hit a note and couldn’t hold a note. But she was a better singer –She said, ‘I don’t have to prove I can sing anymore.’ Just serving the music makes a huge difference.” And while I obviously (hopefully) have decades of creative work in front of me before I reach that level of ease, I felt touches of that at Alt Summit this week.

Let’s be frank. I worked my ass off at Alt this year, in a way I didn’t do last year. It didn’t feel at all like a vacation, and instead it felt like really hard work: speaking, networking, catching up with people, constantly moving. It was awesome work that I felt so blessed to be doing, but it was exhausting. But at the same time, there was a sense of ease that I didn’t have last year. I scribbled some notes down for my presentation, didn’t bother to get even vaguely nervous, and then spoke to a crowd of 200. Done. (I’m going to be really good at completely extemporaneous speaking by the time the month is out.)

But more than that, I got to spend time with deeply creative people and with people running their own businesses, and that is so necessary for me. I shared a room with Megan of Not Martha and Tabitha of Glitter & Ganache, who are both such good, creative, and flat-out interesting people (who inspire me to accessorize better). It reminded me of the importance of living in physical community, and how I really hope that the work we do here at APW, building virtual community, inspires all of us to get offline and build real-life communities. Communities that share joys and sorrows and births and deaths, that celebrate with us, and hold hand our hands through tough times. It reminds me that as I dive into building an honest-to-God business plan this year (yeah, I know, finally) that my real goal with APW is to help us all build better lives offline.

And then, there was the pure fun part. I’m working so hard this month, being on the road. And so much of the work is profoundly exciting, but it’s also a lot of (sometimes scary, often overwhelming) work. So it was pretty amazing to have something totally magical and fun play out at Alt… like a glittery thank you present floating down from the sky….

By which I mean to say, I got to meet, and sort of hang out with, Anya of Project Runway. The whole thing is a long story, but it starts with me being profoundly in love with Anya’s work on Project Runway this season. I mean, Project Runway is a big damn deal in our ex-theatre-professional household, but I can’t remember ever being quite this into a contestant. So, since HP brings the winner of the HP challenge to Alt every year, I literally kept yelling at the TV during the HP challenge this season and willing Anya to win. Which of course she did, and then went on to win the whole damn thing. So, I hadn’t been one of the bloggers invited to do an interview with Anya, but Kathleen let me crash her interview and try to talk myself in the door. The HP rep (who turned out to be a total doll) looked dubious, and I finally said, “But, I write A Practical Wedding!” and her face lit up and she let me right in. I mean, forget getting seats at fancy restaurants. If my job can get me an interview with Anya, I’m pretty much good. So I chatted her up during the interview about her creative process and working with patterns and how she never wants to sew again and made a lot of jokes. And then afterwards, I mentioned that I’m dear friends with this girl, and her face lit up and I was in. (And while we’re at it, her clothes are going on sale soon, and that is one on the ball creative business woman. Sign up at her website right now, and then we will all be rocking Anya creations all summer.) That was easily the highlight of the trip so far. Letting me talk creative process with a lady I admire? Heaven looks a lot like that, if you ask me.

(And PS, if you’re a blogger and you’re wondering if you should go to Alt next year, you totally should. I got to meet Michelle Edgemont, APW advertiser, planner of the Brooklyn party, and lady of awesome. My friend Liz met her, and apparently asked her if she knew me right away. When I met her, I totally got why in one second. We are alike, with our Brooklyn brashness and sense of humor. Anyway, I want to meet you next year. Hurrah.)

Pictures: Personal for A Practical Wedding

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  • One word: JEALOUS! :)

  • thank you for both working your ass off this year AND for sharing these peeks into your world!

  • I love the message in this post, but if I am to be frank, I am blindsided by the awesome outfits everyone is wearing too….

    • meg

      Hahahhaha. I’m always so underdressed at Alt. Everyone is a fashion plate there.

      • Ms. A

        no way. that polka dot dress you are sporting is a fashion _plate_. I love it!

        • pixie_moxie

          So Much So!

        • I want the polka dot dress. And the gumption to wear it!

  • I really, really want to attend Alt next year, and all these recaps I’m reading this AM are making me even more motivated. And, um, I LOVE YOUR GOLD POLKA DOT DRESS.

  • Nina


    (Seriously, I kind of want to wear it for my wedding).

    • meg

      Vintage store, Seattle. I’m blessed by being a perfect vintage size, so I snap up a lot of vintage.

      • kayakgirl73

        Does your sweater in the first pic has beading on it or is that a necklace? Either way I love it. Being Nosey, where’s it from?

        • meg

          I’m so useless today! It’s thrifted (though I don’t think it’s particularly old). It has matte sequins (which are totally the best) on the neckline. I totally don’t have enough places to wear it, though it might show up again on book tour :)

          • kayakgirl73

            Clearly I need to start thrifting, but I’m not sure I’ll have much luck at my current size.

  • I want every outfit you are wearing in these pictures.

  • Next year!!!!!

  • Emily

    What a great write-up, Meg! And that quote from Pinterest is helping sway me to them… I’ve been avoiding it because “I don’t need another website” but now? Maybe I do. Are you able to eat well on the road and on the train? Is there GF stuff available most places?

  • Lady, I am so with you next year. Also, should Anya ever venture into designing wedding dresses, you’ve got to get her as a sponsor for APW. That would certainly grow your Caribbean readership! ;)

  • KA

    First Mondo, now Anya?!

    You have the best luck at Alt.

    Next year!

  • This sounds like such an amazing conference. I would love to go next year! And I’m so jealous about your Anya meeting. She was my favorite from the very first episode.

  • What an incredible start to your month on the road! Cheers to more fabulous times~

  • Pingback: Lessons from ALT Summit » glitter & ganache()

    • Wait, Megan from Not Martha was there as well??? Damn.

  • Ake

    You look GORGEOUS in these pictures. Like actually sparkly.
    Wow, shine girl, shine.

  • I’ve been hearing such great stories of Alt… I’ll have to make it out next year! And way to rep Seattle with Megan as your roommate and your outstanding vintage dress! Woot!

  • Yeah, I also can’t get over how good you look in that dress! Can we, um, maybe, see more pictures of it?

    • meg

      I don’t think I have more pictures of it… from here. But it will be showing up in a shoot I did for the site in a bit :)

  • To add to the chorus, you look wonderful. The fourth picture down is perfect. I feel like it captures a moment (and your hair makes me jealous).

    • meg

      Oh, lets be real. My hair makes ME jealous. They had someone come in to do the speaker’s hair, and I was all up in that shit. I can’t do my own hair to save my life.

  • megsmom

    You crashed an interview with Anya of Project Runway??? My girl, you have ARRIVED!

  • Thanks for that sweet shoutout Meg! It’s refreshing to find another soul that appreciates my Brooklyn-influenced attitude.

  • Such a great write up! I get so much inspiration from APW and the idea of getting inspired and getting offline is one that really resonates with me. Can’t wait to see you in Boston TOMORROW!! I’m going to have to step up my wardrobe game if I plan on going to Alt next year :)

  • Everyone should come to alt. I’ll host a dinner next year!

  • I’m so jealous that you got to attend Alt AND especially that you got to meet Anya. When I saw that she was supposed to be there, right before the event, I was REALLY upset that I couldn’t make it in person. I sent in some stuff for some of the goodie bags, but hopefully next year I can find a way to make it out to Utah in person!