Equal Parts Inspiration and Fun


I feel like all I’ve talked about for the last 3 months is Alt Summit. It really is the best blogging conference for design-minded social media-ites, and so worth every minute of preparation and stress. I don’t feel like I can move forward with what I learned from the conference without touching on it here. I’ve collected a few of my thoughts that I feel work generally in life as well as in blogging. After-all this isn’t a blog about blogging, it’s a blog about creativity.


The keynotes this year were wonderful. Stefan Sagmeister said something that of course struck a note. How sound-bite worthy is the above quote? Something that I can live by. He’s author of The Happy Film. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m looking forward to taking some time to watch it.


Erin Loechner spoke about managing her online time, and I thought this quote she shared with us was so perfect. She talked about planning out time, your golden hours, and saving that time for the big stuff. This really hit home as I have no idea what fills those dedicated work hours sometimes. I’m going to work on being a) more focused during the work hours and b) more present in the family hours.

Striking a healthy work and home balance has been really hard for me these last few years. I feel like I’ve made great improvements, but I still have a long way to go.

Alt Design Summit 2013 photographed by Justin Hackworth

My co-panelists. See link list below. Photo by Justin Hackworth.

I spoke on effective DIYs and Pinterest with Chris, Chelsea, Jenny and Jill. I feel like each of us could have touched on meaty information had we taken the whole day to do it. We had 40 slides of juicy information (available here) to pack into 50 minutes. We sorta did it, I kind of ran over.


One of the key points that I touched on was the above: “We are creatives, we can think outside the box.” Nothing is original anymore, but we can think outside our own personal scopes and come up with unique ideas. And we should.

This, of course, was not coming from a place of perfection. They’re my thoughts about my own personal work. All too often I get in creative ruts.


Lastly, One of the many themes of the conference was transparency. Showing readers your best and ugliest self, being upfront about expectations from brands and how to approach contributors or collaborators. Communicating clearly to one another, readers and sponsors is incredibly important!

On a personal note, I don’t think I really learned how to communicate until I got married. Chris taught me a lot about bucking up and saying the things I might not feel comfortable saying. I try to be as transparent (I’m really the same person online and off) as possible, but I could benefit from thinking on this more often.


I feel like I went to this conference with a better vision of what I wanted and who I am. I feel like I planned my presence well (making sure I had handmade, vintage and thrifted items on my person, creating pretty business cards and showing up prepared with a printed media kit in case an opportunity cropped up), but I may not have scheduled my time as flawlessly as I had imagined.

I did miss out on half the classes that I had planned on taking, and mostly that was because of lack of focus. I really should have geared up for the conference with more sleep than I had. That week I was working on something like 15-20 hours of sleep in 7 days. NOT SMART.


Stacy, me, Tiffany

I did take advantage of all of the photo booths. I didn’t take a single photobooth pic last year, I had to fix that. It’s really a fun way to break the ice with others. I’ve got some awesome goof-ball shots from it, too.


Miranda, me


Chelsea, Dayna, Miranda, me


Photo by Michael Rowley

I also took time out to do a creative project: chalkboard lettering for one of the mini parties. It was a great little creative escape in the middle of the conference and fun to get to know a few of the awesome people behind Hayneedle.com. They were a real pleasure to work with.


Diana, me, Miranda, Alycia

This year was the second in a row that I stayed at a hotel and not at home. I knew I would get distracted by my adorable kiddos and sweet husband, that I decided to just act as if the conference were out of state. It was basically like an extended sleepover, minus the high school drama and double the fun. It was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to find accommodations so close to the conference since everything was completely booked solid. I thank my lucky stars for that. Next year I’ll book my hotel before I buy my ticket.

I had an absolutely wonderful time (not sure how this conference gets better every year, but it does!) and I’m looking forward to going through my giant stacks of pretty business cards this next week.

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  1. Sharon Hatfield says:

    I love all your quotes in this blog! I teach elementary school and they are soooo appropriate for my classroom! Is ther anyway I can download them and print them.

  2. Alycia says:

    You are just so talented Melissa it blows me away! LOVED this post :) Thanks for being the best roommate ever!

  3. tiffany han says:

    Melissa! It was SUCH a treat getting to meet you and be photobooth goofballs together!!

  4. *holly. says:

    “Sometimes you just need to start doing.” Love this, and I just signed up for your online calligraphy course because its the thing I’ve been wanting to start since the new year. Can’t wait…thanks for the inspiration, Melissa. Love your blog!

  5. kelsey bang says:

    ok how did I miss you speak and your cool time you took at the mini parties! I am so sad I missed them! you are amazing!

  6. Stacy says:

    You did amazing on your panel! Loved spending some quality time with you in the photobooth!

  7. Ilana says:

    I love everything about this.
    You NEED to sell those pants in your shop! I’m kind of obsessed!

  8. […] asked to do some chalk art for the entry way for admission and pricing, much like the one I did for Alt Summit. I didn’t have much time to do the lettering and unfortunately for me, it was a retro […]

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