Pin Trading

NEW THIS YEAR: PIN TRADING!
We have lots of great announcements today for the upcoming conference. Let’s start with pin trading!

When you check in at the event registration desk, you’ll be given a name tag and a lanyard (of course!). Well, this year, consider your lanyard a blank slate. A blank slate you can fill with pins! Enamel pins, button pins, lapel pins, promotional pins — any pins you like! 

We’ll have an assortment on hand to get you started, and you’ll even find pins in your welcome box — a gift from Sherwin-Williams. Then, as you wander the conference, you’ll find bowls of pins at the sponsor tables, too. Stop by to pick one up and use the opportunity to make a new business contact.

We also encourage pin trading with other attendees! Offering up a pin from your own lanyard to trade is a great way to say hello. Which reminds us: feel free to bring your own favorite pins to trade, collect and spice up your lanyards. 

Fun, right?! Everybody can use more flair!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN DOWNTOWN PALM SPRINGS
On Wednesday evening, the night is yours to explore Palm Springs. Enjoy an exclusive ride in the Buzz Trolley, courtesy of the Convention Visitor’s Bureau, to the iconic downtown area — it will pick you up right at the Saguaro Hotel. You can join your new conference friends for networking and laughs over dinner!

Choose from amazing restaurants throughout the area, including six, who have offered discounts to Alt Attendees. Just show your conference badge when you dine!

KEYNOTE SERIES
We have a few more Keynote speakers to announce today:

Meg Keene
Meg Keene is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of A Practical Wedding, which started as a blogspot account on her kitchen table, and is now the top independently held wedding publication in the world. Meg has published two (creatively named) books: A Practical Wedding, and A Practical Wedding Planner, both top sellers on the wedding bookshelf. Meg's work has been referenced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR. It's also showed up on sites like Jezebel, Feministing, Refinery 29, and The Hairpin. In summer of 2017, she will be helming the launch of The Compact, a feminist lifestyle publication for women in their (gasp) 30s. She currently resides in the Oakland, CA with her family.

Alison Faulkner
Alison Faulkner of The Alison Show has made a career doing whatever she feels like doing. But it always involves finding ways to feel awesome and help others feel awesome too. Alison is a branding and events expert with a highly engaged online community. She hosts all-female dance parties, writes, speaks to large groups, and teaches workshops and online courses. Alison also runs a digital download and party swag shop called Party with Alison and hosts a podcast with her music producer hubby called Awesome with Alison. She believes in love, dancing inappropriately, and putting your own name in lights.

Susan Petersen
In 2009 Susan Petersen designed and sewed the first baby moccasins and put them on her blog and Etsy shop. From there the company took off. It is now a leading baby lifestyle company, with over 6,000 percent revenue growth over the past three years. In 2015, Freshly Picked became the first woman-owned company to be named the number one fastest growing company in Utah Valley. Susan has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur,  Bloomberg Business and on her favorite moms and dads at the park. The company was also recognized as having the highest revenue growth percentage to date. Leading in social engagement and community, Freshly Picked’s million social media followers love celebrating the shared experiences of parenthood with the brand. From the first step, to the next step, Freshly Picked aims to be there for every step.

That’s it for today, but watch for more exciting announcements this week! Woo hoo!

Love,
The Alt Team

Full Schedule!

We can hardly believe that one week from today, we'll be handing out name tags and welcome gifts on the first day of the upcoming Alt Summit conference. We still have lots of fun announcements to share with you as you prep and pack for the big event, so watch your inbox this week for multiple newsletters.

FULL SCHEDULE
Are you ready to start planning your Alt agenda? Check out the full schedule here, for all the details on who is speaking when and on what topic. For most of the conference, there will be 4 rooms of excellent content happening at once — workshops, panels, keynotes, roundtables, and classes, plus sponsors ready to connect with you all day long. The amazing program means you have some exciting schedule choices to make. Have fun as you start thinking about your options!

And for you Alt Summit first-timers: the workshops, panels, roundtables and keynotes are open to all attendees and don’t require any kind of sign-up beforehand. If you’re unsure which classes you might like best, feel free to ask your fellow attendees for advice in the Facebook group - email Kelly@altitudesummit.com if you need help getting into the group. 

MORE SPONSORS!

We are thrilled to have FreshBooks as a sponsor this year! They are the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed specifically for small businesses, and a very popular service among successful bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, and content creators. In fact, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to send professional-looking invoices, organize expenses, and track their billable time. Want to check it out before Alt Summit starts? Go ahead and start a 30-day free trial today at freshbooks.com and discover the world of painless billing with FreshBooks.

Packlane is dedicated to helping creative entrepreneurs design brilliant custom packaging online, so they can continue to wow their customers offline. Using their simple design tools, you can add your logo, tagline, and images with ease – plus view it all instantly in 3D. The whole process is quick and painless (just what every busy entrepreneur needs!). If you’d like to see a sample of Packlane's work, you don’t have to look far - your Alt Summit welcome box should do the trick! (It was totally printed by Packlane!) Extra fun: Alt attendees get 10% off your first order – head to Packlane to unpack your creativity!

KEYNOTE SERIES
We have a few more Keynote speakers to announce today:

Jihan Zencirli 
Jihan Zencirli has one goal: to delight the world! As the the founder of the eponymous "Geronimo Balloon Troopers", she has found a way to be both the "queen of surprise" as well as secure her place as business influencer as she leads her world-recognized, trend-setting creative design atelier. Her distinctive style has been featured in countless magazines, lifestyle and fashion catalogues, websites, international advertising campaigns and commercials. Firm in the belief that true originality comes from indifference to trend, Jihan's characteristically quirky humor is married to her desire to create new ideas and ways of creative exploration. Jihan is based out of Los Angeles, and on any give day you might find her leading a troupe of guerrilla street artists or serving ice cream sundaes at her secret desert restaurant. 

Corrine Stokoe 
A Southern California resident, fashion, beauty and mommy blogger Corrine Stokoe is the “dealaholic” behind the blog Mint Arrow. Corrine's blog highlights the affordable side of fashion while prioritizing style and quality.  A powerhouse influencer in the fashion, beauty and baby space, Corrine's readers are addicted to her deals and recommendations, often selling out items immediately after they’re featured on her blog or social media. She's been recognized by both RewardStyle and Shopstyle as a top 10 performer within their affiliate networks. A couple of her "pinch me" blogging moments have included traveling to Rwanda with Kate Spade to bring awareness to their "on purpose" label, and being featured in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine as a "baby gear expert." Corrine lives in Southern California by the beach with her husband and two little girls.

Rachel Faucett
Rachel Faucett founded Handmade Charlotte alongside her husband and 5 incredible children. The self taught designer has launched collections with Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Plaid Enterprises, and Faber Castell. Handmade Charlotte's hundreds of craft supplies + kits can be found in Walmart, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Stores, AC Moore, Michaels Stores, and more. Their work has been featured in numerous print & online publications and recognized as leaders in the industry. The Handmade Charlotte Workshop has worked with the largest brands in the world to create inventive live events, highly engaged campaigns, and interactive video. Rachel absolutely loves Alt Summit! She looks forward to giving high fives and having a blast this year!

That's all for now. We'll be in touch later this week with more awesome stuff to tell you about!

Love,
The Alt Team

Tour the Town

Need a little something to look forward to as you head into the weekend? Well you're in luck, because we have some happy conference details to share with you.

MORE FABULOUS SPONSORS!

Come meet & greet some of your favorite creative influencers at the Mixbook cabana! You can stop by for fun freebies — personalized hand lettered name tags from Amy Tangerine, or Palm Springs inspired party packs by Amber of Dixie + Twine. You can get ready for the best Palm Springs photo ops — Andrea of The Salty Canary and Tom Windeknecht will be giving out their Instagram-worthy desert photo guides. And you can raise a glass with Mixbook and Laurel from A Bubbly Life, and toast to the weekend poolside!!

It's going to be a fun-filled lineup. Follow @Mixbook on social for all the fab details!Come meet & greet some of your favorite creative influencers at the Mixbook cabana! You can stop by for fun freebies — personalized hand lettered name tags from Amy Tangerine, or Palm Springs inspired party packs by Amber of Dixie + Twine. You can get ready for the best Palm Springs photo ops — Andrea of The Salty Canary and Tom Windeknecht will be giving out their Instagram-worthy desert photo guides. And you can raise a glass with Mixbook and Laurel from A Bubbly Life, and toast to the weekend poolside!!

It's going to be a fun-filled lineup. Follow @Mixbook on social for all the fab details!

New sponsor announcement! Woo hoo! HostGator believes everyone deserves a beautiful website. Bring your creations to life with their easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder and 100s of mobile-friendly templates. Visit hostgator.com/altsummit for 60% off. 

And here's something FANTASTIC: HostGator is giving away one FREE Alt Summit pass. Tag and follow @HostGator on Instagram with a picture of your latest creative project for your chance to win! 

Think of the last day of the conference (Friday) as choose your adventure. There are no classes, no speakers. Instead, it's all about hanging with new friends and exploring the local surroundings through small group tours. Our tour hosts have curated fun and quintessential Palm Springs experiences. Sign-ups will happen at the conference, so all you need to do now is start thinking about which tour you’ll want to join!

Palm Springs Modern Tours with Robert Imber
See hidden masterpieces, hear the stories about who lived where, and learn about the talented architects, designers and builders who contributed to the city's modernist legacy. You’ll have the chance to hop off the bus and take pictures of some of the most iconic homes in Palm Springs, such as the Kaufman Home where the famous Slim Aarons image “Poolside Gossip” was taken, the Elvis Presley Honeymoon home and the Dinah Shore Estate (now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio). Sponsored by the Palm Springs CVB

Instagram Photo Tour with Andrea Ament
Visit the most Instagram worthy spots in Palm Springs including gorgeous doors, mid century modern architecture, cacti, and palm trees, of course. Sponsored by Mixbook.

Foodie Tour with Caroline Drake
Hit the downtown area to experience the unique taste of Palm Springs. Walk the streets, enjoy coffee/hot cocoa, brunch, and dessert to complete your week at Alt.

Mid-Century Shopping Tour with Megan Bailey
Take a little bit of Palm Springs home with you as you hit local shops, boutiques, and hot spots.

Shop ‘Til You Drop Tour with Bethany Everett
You might need an extra suitcase after visiting these fantastic outlet stores!

Headshots with Becky Kimball
Stick around the Saguaro for professional headshots and Instagram tips from a pro.

Rest and Restore with Asia Rau
Start with yoga at the hotel, grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, and then put your feet up and enjoy a pedicure with friends.

Dinos and Donut Tour with Kat Molesworth and Nikki McWilliams
A mini road trip out to the iconic Palm Springs Dinosaurs for Instagram hijinks. We'll bring a tray of donuts for snacks and snaps before heading back to Palm Springs for a brunch date. 

Just a few more days!! We said it before and we'll say it again: We can't wait!!!

Ask An Expert!

There’s something new happening at the upcoming conference that we’re really excited about: Ask An Expert Tables. Happening during the third session of roundtables on Thursday of the event, this is your chance to have a one-on-one conversation with an industry expert on topics like blogging, site design, event planning, business legalities, and your brand. 

Much like the Help Desks of past conferences, but now more of them! Come prepared to get personalized advice from the best in the biz. 

MORE FABULOUS SPONSORS!

We’re delighted to welcome this brand new sponsor to Alt Summit! get.blog is a domain seller, serviced by WordPress.com, where you can register your .blog domain extension. .blog domain extensions were recently introduced, and have only been available to the public since November 21st, 2016. It is a standard and open domain extension, so .blog domains work just like any other domain, such as .com or .xyz. 

get.blog will be printing your Instagram and Twitter photos during Thursday night’s TASK party! Simply include #getdotblog on your Instagram or Twitter posts between 7-10pm on Thursday night. Your prints will be available within a minute at the get.blog table during the party. 

Every .blog is a story. Tell yours. 

Minted, the world’s most vibrant art marketplace, is excited to see you at Alt! We’re over the moon they’ll be joining us again. To see what makes Minted special, stop by their booth and explore the Minted Gallery, featuring limited edition art from the world’s best independent artists, styled uniquely for you. Whatever your style, they’ll bring it to life. 

Bring a picture of your room to receive a complimentary consultation with a Minted art stylist at their booth, and an at-home offer for free personalized wall art styling--a $79 value!

Attendees can also learn more about Minted Commissioned Originals. You’ll get to work directly with one of Minted’s independent artists to create an original piece just for you! Start with a photo of a loved one, a favorite thing, or your room decor to receive a custom work of art as unique you are. Stop by the Minted booth to meet Minted artist, Jaime Derringer, and receive a complimentary original commissioned artwork. Jaime will be creating one-of-a-kind pieces for attendees on a first-come, first-served basis between 10:15am-12:15pm on Wednesday, February 1st and Thursday, February 2nd.

KEYNOTE SERIES
Announcing more fantastic humans we can’t wait to see on the keynote stage! 

Christiane Lemieux
Christiane is a design entrepreneur. She is Founder of the new lifestyle brand LEMIEUX et CIE and Co-Founder of Cloth and Company. Prior to starting her new company, Christiane was the Founder of DwellStudio which was purchased by Wayfair, the world’s largest online home furnishings retailer, in 2013. Christiane also served as Creative Director at Wayfair until late 2015 when she chose to exit to start her new brand. Lemieux authored her first book to critical acclaim in 2011, titled UNDECORATE. Random House/Clarkson Potter published Christiane’s second book titled THE FINER THINGS in September 2016. Recently, Christiane entered the television space as Co-Host and judge on “Ellen’s Design Challenge” - a furniture design competition show on HGTV. Lemieux was recently selected as one of Fortune’s 2012 'Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.’ Christiane is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and Queen’s University in Canada. Lemieux resides in New York City with her husband and two children.

Katie Hintz-Zambrano
Katie is the co-founder of Mother, a lifestyle site for modern moms. Immediately after having her first child, Katie noticed a gaping hole in the market for a full-service, style-centric parenting site, which lead to the birth of Mothermag.com in 2014. An S.F.-based journalist by way of NYC, her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Marie Claire, Vogue, Style.com, Elle, Nylon, i-D, New York Magazine, Details, and many others. In the fall of this year she will debut a smart + cool conference for mothers, based in the Bay Area.

Bonnie Tsang
Bonnie is a creative director and photographer with a focus on interiors, portraits, travel and food. With a keen eye for beautiful things, she is also a curator and visual social media consultant for which Time Magazine has named her as one of the "Top 30 Pinterest Curators to Follow". She has spoken at conferences such as SXSW and taught classes from her expertise in photography and social media. In 2015, she was invited to The White House by Michelle Obama to preview the state china and have a discussion on social media. 

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

TASK PARTY
Epic parties are a long-standing tradition at Alt Summit conferences. Our parties have included everything from a life-sized clue board to break dancing lessons, to gigantic bugs, to star-gazing. At our upcoming event, the epic-ness will continue with Thursday night’s party, and for the first time ever, we'll be suggesting that attendees dress down instead of up. 

It’s called a TASK party and it’s all about encouraging inspiration through creating, making, and socializing. Picture a vast room as a blank slate. Picture a giant stack of materials. Picture personal challenges submitted by partygoers for other partygoers. We're pretty sure this will be the most memorable Alt Summit party yet! 

The dress code is comfortable, and we’re not kidding. Think yoga pants, a comfortable pair of jeans, a worn t-shirt. Get ready to do something brave and amazing with all of your new best friends. Let the wild rumpus start!

And hey, speaking of parties, if you missed the newsletter about the Poolside Welcome Party happening Tuesday night, you can check it out here.

MORE FABULOUS SPONSORS!

We're over the moon Hayneedle will be joining us at the upcoming conference! Hayneedle knows that home is where you create, relax, work, live, and love – it's an expression of you. As one of the nation's leading online retailers of home furnishings and décor, hayneedle.com is your destination for continued inspiration, providing the perfect pieces to complement any style or space – both inside and out. 

They look forward to discussing potential partnerships for all things home, as well as sharing some exciting plans for 2017, which will be announced at this year’s Alt Summit! Start the conversation with them today on FacebookPinterestInstagram, and Twitter @hayneedle.

Alt couldn't be more excited to welcome Vitamix to our event for the first time! Real food sustains us, inspires us, and fuels us to be our best. For over 75 years, Vitamix has made eating for well-being faster, easier and a whole lot more delicious. Vitamix believes in experimenting with recipes and sharing ideas to create conversation and connections – that’s where you come in! 

Stop by to say hi, join Vitamix as they host morning yoga, grab a smoothie and chat with their team about becoming a part of the Vitamix blogger community. And if you plan on participating in yoga, let us know so Vitamix can offer you the most rejuvenating experience possible!

Over and over again, we hear that authenticity is the key to successful blogging. But each blog or brand has the flexibility to interpret their own authentic voice. So what does this really mean? We asked three Alt Alums to explain how they have been able to maintain an authentic voice while representing their brand. 

Alexandra Evjen – Ave Styles
I make sure to say what I mean and mean what I say. I really listen to my gut, and I only share things that I feel compelled to share. I "check myself" before I post anything, make anything, or accept any partnerships. And, sometimes that means saying "no" to great opportunities because my integrity and my voice matters the most. If I lose that I don't have a business anymore because people will start to lose trust in me (brands and my readers).

Dawn Smith – Revel and Glitter  
After 8 years, I've finally rebranded from Not Just A Mommy to Revel and Glitter, plus a whole new look, to finally reflect who I became as a business. When I first started, I had no idea my blog would grow into the entity that it is. It took me a couple of years to find my voice and learn to say no to partnerships and brands that didn't fit into what I was trying to say. Brand integrity was something I didn't realize was so important to building my credibility and being respectful of my readers' time. They came to my blog for a purpose and when I went outside of that, it felt inauthentic and fake. I'm always learning and growing but when I keep that goal in mind, I feel I maintain an authentic voice. 

Andrea Williams – Tubby Todd  
For every joyful moment as a mom there are just as many that are lonely and exhausting, and I've found some days it takes a village to get through it! I just want to shout from the Tubby Todd rooftops that #youvegotthismama and give everyone a fist bump, haha! As a brand we share personal experiences with motherhood (like how frustrating it was when nothing seemed to work for my son's eczema!), and other mom's voices as well. Hopefully these collaborative experiences help women to feel connected and empowered as moms, and realize they're doing better than they think they are.

Keynote Series

ALT SUMMIT KEYNOTE SERIES
If you’ve been to Alt Summit before, you already know that we offer tons of different learning opportunities. From panels, to Q&A, to roundtables, to hands-on workshops (more on that later), to photo tours, to one of our community favorites: keynotes. Think TED-talk-style presentations, and fascinating interviews, from speakers who have smart, inspiring, practical, useful, and often funny things to share with you. 

With our fresh location and new conference space, we realized we had an opportunity to give you even more of what you love. So we're dedicating one whole ballroom at the Saguaro Hotel to keynotes and only keynotes!!

We're calling it the Alt Summit Keynote Series. And here's what you can expect: All day long on Wednesday and Thursday, you'll have access to keynote talks and interviews. We’re talking the best and the brightest, the funnest and most engaging. Some you already know and love, and some will be new to you, but all are powerhouses. Get ready for an amazing range of topics from internet trolls to building a business (or 3!), to the evolution of blogging, to making sure you’re having fun as you achieve your goals. 

Here are just a few names we’re so excited to introduce on the keynote stage — and we'll share the rest in upcoming newsletters.

Luvvie Ajayi is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and activism. A 13-year blogging veteran, she covers all things pop culture on her blog Awesomely Luvvie. Her first book I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual was released in September 2016, and was an instant best-seller. Luvvie is also the Executive Director of The Red Pump Project, a national nonprofit that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, using red shoes as a symbol of empowerment. She’s also an avid traveler and her love language is shoes.

Sherry and John Petersik are the married duo who chronicle their DIY and home improvement adventures on their blog Young House Love, which spawned two New York Times Best Selling books (Young House Love and Lovable Livable Home) as well as product lines sold by Target, Home Depot, and more. They live in Richmond, Virginia, with their two young children and a feisty Chihuahua named Burger.

Author, illustrator, professional memory-keeper and confetti connoisseur, Darcy Miller is a leading celebrations expert, founder of Darcy Miller Designs and editor-at-large at Martha Stewart Weddings. She is the author and illustrator of CELEBRATE EVERYTHING!, in which she shares her tips, inspirations and favorite parties, and OUR WEDDING SCRAPBOOK. Known for her creativity, and distinctive drawings, Darcy is committed to making life a celebration. Though she’s worked on parties in every size, style and budget, her favorite fêtes are the ones she’s hosted for her husband and three daughters at home in New York City.

ALASKA AIRLINES
Here's some big news you're going to LOVE. We are beyond thrilled to have Alaska Airlines joining us this year! In the middle of some major growth, Alaska Air is looking to you to help promote all the cool things happening this year. 

One upcoming perk we know you’ll be excited about: Alaska will be the first airline to offer free inflight messaging! As you fly through the clouds, continue conversations via Imessage, Facebook Messenger or What's App while sipping a glass of sparkling wine. If you are flying Alaska Air to Alt Summit, share your flight number here. And if you are flying directly into the Palm Springs airport (on any airline), let us know!

Unfolding

As 2017 dawns, we can’t stop thinking about the concept of unfolding. Like many of you, we’re anxious to see how the year evolves, but we also can't wait to see how this time unfolds for each of you, both professionally and personally. We can tell you without any reservation that Alt Summit is unfolding like the most perfect gift reveal. Truly, we’re giddy with all the surprises we have in store for you. Keep your eye out for newsletters!

First, we want to introduce you to more amazing sponsors!
 

THE HOME DEPOT
The Home Depot is a resource for all things DIY, but did you know they sell beautiful home decor too? They are excited to connect and share all of the great partnership opportunities they have for talented creators and makers at Alt Summit. See what they’re up to by following them @homedepot on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter.

MUNCHKIN
We love Munchkin for continually developing innovative, modern, and credible products for babies and children. They are experts in making parents’ lives easier and more enjoyable by thinking of "the little things." From feeding to bath time, Munchkin is powered by a NEVER-ENDING PASSION to find relevant, functional, and clever solutions for living a carefree and happy life. Check out their latest innovations on FacebookInstagramPinterestYouTube, and Twitter.

WORKMAN AND FLOW
Have you heard of Flow? The gorgeous Dutch magazine that celebrates creativity, imperfection and taking time for life’s little pleasures? It's a new Alt Team obsession. And we're so excited that they have partnered with Workman Publishing to produce, publish, and distribute a range of books and calendars. The first products are scheduled to release in 2017 and are being introduced for the first time(!) at ALT 2017.

Workman and Flow would like to team up with members of the Alt community to announce this amazing partnership.  If you’re interested (whether you’re attending Alt or not), reach out to Selina Meere.  And there’s more! The founders and creative directors of Flow, Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst will be at Alt! This is your chance to pitch your work in person - illustrations, articles, paper based activities, mindful art and other ideas. Meetings will happen during the conference at the Saguaro Thursday, Feb. 2 and can be scheduled by emailing Selina Meere. 

Second, we want to leave you with another inspiring Alt Chatter to think on. 

This week’s topic? Unfolding and evolving. We asked three Alt Alum, “How do you think you have evolved as a blogger and a business person?”

Julia Fain, Tag & Tibby
I started out writing a casual blog with an emphasis on my vintage etsy shop. Since then, I’ve closed shop and integrated vintage touches into my Tag & Tibby brand. Most of my friends comment that my photography has improved - mostly from trial and error! I try to see each blog post as a magazine article. I’m picky about quality and, to be honest, shiver a bit at blog posts from 2+ years ago. I should probably reshoot those!

Nanette Wong
Looking back at the five years I've been blogging, I've become a lot better at saying no and giving myself value. I think a lot of bloggers say yes to everything, especially when you first start off and that can lead to compromising yourself or your authenticity or lead to burn out. Cheesy as it may sound, it's important to always stay true to your goals and know your worth. I did a lot for free or very low pay in the beginning and it was harmful for all parties involved. For me, I was overworked. Because of that, I couldn't deliver my best and that wasn't great for the people I worked with. Fortunately, nothing happened that was too devastating, but I definitely had a come-to-Jesus moment where I had to reevaluate everything I was doing and learn to say no to certain things!

Mallory Whitfield, Miss Malaprop
I started my first creative business in 2004 and launched Miss Malaprop in 2006. I’ve changed a ton over the last 12 years, as anyone would in that much time. My knowledge and personal brand have both evolved, but my core mission of supporting independent artists and makers who want to make the world a better place remains the same. I’m lucky that I had the foresight to choose a brand name that would allow me to shift and evolve over time.

Elevator Pitch

THE PITCH
Raise your hand if you're ready to put your computer down for the next week and relax with family and friends, face-to-face. Yeah, we are, too! But before you do that, we wanted to remind you that now is the perfect time to practice your elevator pitch - two to three short sentences that describe who you are, what you create, write about, or sell, and what keeps you driven.

The idea behind the name "elevator pitch" is that sometimes you only have a few seconds to make a lasting impression. When that opportunity strikes, whether in an elevator with the CEO of a company you adore, or bumping into someone you have been dying to work with, you want to have a confident pitch.

Family gatherings are the perfect time to practice and learn from your mistakes. How do you explain what you do to your great-aunt who has never read a blog? So, start with her, listen to her questions, refine your answers, and know that it will only get easier from there.

Practicing your pitch will relieve stress and breed confidence at the same time. The typical pitch includes these three elements:

  1. Your blog or business name
  2. What your focus or main objective is (DIY, lifestyle, design, photography, food, etc.)
  3. A tag line or unique trait that sets you apart

For this week's Alt Chatter, we asked four Alt Alums to share their elevator pitch with us!

Melissa Bahen - Lulu the Baker
I write about simple recipes and projects, and modern country life at my blog Lulu the Baker. I am also an author, conference organizer, and contributor for Better Homes and Gardens and Julep.

Olivia Omega - Laugh Live Love
I help creative women entrepreneurs develop the tools needed to grow their business through online and offline personal branding, social media, and marketing strategy. And my husband and I are a yin/yang, tag team marketing duo that creates powerful visual branding as well as scalable sales strategies. We are specifically looking to partner with established health, wellness, and nutrition focused entrepreneurs who have grown their business as far as they can on their own and who need help increasing reach and more importantly revenue.

Amanda Gentis - Alamo City Moms
Alamo City Moms is San Antonio's largest parent-centric website and a go-to resource for San Antonio families. Backed by a dynamic team of moms who span the age and stage-of-life gamut, and who mirror our readership, we provide an on-line tribe, reliable information, and city goings-on as well as off-line connections through mom and family centric events.

Kelly Smith - Cloudy Day Gray
We all have cloudy days, but I believe it is what you do with those cloudy days that defines who you are. I do my best to give, live, and love while celebrating everyday as a content creator, author, and donate life advocate at Cloudy Day Gray.

Why Do You Blog?

Whether you're coming to Alt this year or next ;) we know you'll want to meet our amazing sponsors. These are companies who value what you do online and want to collaborate, cooperate and communicate with you! Watch for introductions all month long.

SAY HELLO TO MIXBOOK!
How do you express yourself? Sometimes not having a way to tell your story can keep you silent. Mixbook’s goal is to give you the tools you need to tell your story. They believe that inside every person is a natural-born storyteller just waiting to be released. MIxbook allows you to design beautiful, custom photo products like books, cards and invitations, and wall art (we’re especially in love with the acrylic and metallic prints). The Mixbook editor is fully customizable with hundreds of unique designs, so you can created to truly reflect your personal style, without being constrained to set templates and layouts. 
 
Mixbook loves working with bloggers, designers, and creative storytellers. If you’re passionate about design, photography, travel, home décor, or capturing life’s special moments with family and friends, you’ll definitely want to check out Mixbook. Alt attendees, plan to stop by the Mixbook photo booth for a chance to win $250 in Mixbook products! Find them on IG, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter @Mixbook

CALLING ALL ARTISTS!
Submit your original artwork or photography or ephemera for a display at Simply Framed's Alt Summit booth. And great news: the call for submissions is open to the entire Alt community, not just conference attendees! This is your opportunity to showcase your artwork (with credit, of course) during Alt Summit in one of Simply Framed's timeless frame styles—plus, take your new framed piece home following the event!

This theme for the booth is "THE BLUES." Simply Framed and ALT Summit are accepting submissions for any and all art in any shade of blue. Think oceans, Frank Sinatra eyes, indigo, the sky, sapphires, birds, bruises...you name it. What we'd love to see: original artwork and insanely cool ephemera. Think outside the box! Simply Framed can frame painting, textiles, illustrations, collages, or prints. Photography submission are also accepted - Simply Framed will even print them for you.

The specs: Artwork should be 2-D and no thicker than 1/2". It needs to fit in a 6" x 8" frame. Simply Framed can float and mount pieces that are 4" x 6" and smaller—so think of 4" x 6"  as the max! All submissions are due by 12/27.

How to submit? Simply share your original artwork or ephemera or photographs on Instagram with the hashtag #SimplyALTArt. If your account is not public, you can email your submission to greta@simplyframed.com with the subject line #SimplyALTArt.

Simply Framed will let you know if your piece is something they can frame, and send you a free shipping label or confirm they are printing your photo. The next time you see your artwork, it will be framed on display at Alt Summit, looking mighty fine! One more reminder: This call for submissions is open to the entire Alt community. If you aren't attending Alt Summit, Simply Framed will ship you your custom framed piece of art immediately following the event.

ALT CHATTER
One thing that we love about the Alt Summit community is the fact that we all come from different walks of life, we all started blogs for different reasons, and we all really respect each other's hard work and determination. When you come to an Alt Summit event, you could be sitting next to someone who is just thinking about blogging or a ten-year veteran. Everyone is welcome!

We asked three Alt Alums: What lead you to the blogging/online business world? 
Each of their responses made us smile!

Megan Flynn Peterson - Freckled Italian
I was an English major in college, and I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life other than write. I was working at a coffee shop one winter while home for the holidays, and a local writer asked me if I had started a blog yet. She encouraged me and without even knowing it, she really changed my life, because I went back to school and started my blog right away!
 
Michelle Petersen - The Mumsy Blog
Starting a blog was sort of a natural life transition for me. Just a year and a half prior to starting The Mumsy Blog, I had stepped away from a career of elementary teaching to raise my then two children (I currently have 4!). During that time I found that the skills I had been using as a teacher and the person that I used to be were starting to get lost in the day to day monotony that can come with raising babies. So, after giving it some thought and talking to other moms who were experiencing the same things I was, I became inspired to start a motherhood lifestyle website that provided an honest place for what motherhood is really like, encouragement to find happiness in those not so fun aspects of motherhood, and rejuvenation for the women we used to be before having kids. And what a journey it has been!

Maya Elious - Maya Elious
I started out in 2008 creating custom Myspace pages helping models, reality TV stars, and music artists grow their online brand. I eventually took my passion for design and serving to become a web and graphic designer and then eventually a branding strategist. My goal has always been to help people succeed in their talents. I started blogging to teach my audience about my experience with making money online and how they could build visibility online.

Time, Time, Time

ALT CHATTER
This time of year often has us feeling overwhelmed with extra projects both at work and home. Three Alt Alums share their best advice for tackling time management in this week's Alt Chatter.

Becky Simpson of Chipper Things
Pick one thing. Set aside 2-3 hours first thing in the day and turn off all distractions. Go all in on that, and everything else you accomplish is a bonus. It's hard to let go of the other 10 things I think I need to do, but when I actually do this, the day always ends with a victory.

Melissa Hagen of Melissa Fancy
Be realistic. Don't over commit yourself, and don't forget to set aside 1 hour a day for yourself. It's so easy to get so caught up in work, that you forget to take care of yourself. But taking care of you should come first, so that you can be your best for your clients AND your family.

Bruno Bornsztein of Curbly
I've tried just about every time management and productivity hack you can name, and none of them have stuck. The most effective thing I've found is to start the day by making a simple list (preferably on paper) of 4-5 things you want to accomplish that day. Then do them. Once you're done with the list, you're done with the day!

Another piece of advice that's really important for bloggers: leave your computer at the office (if you have one), or turn it off (if you don't). Blogging is inherently a job that mixes work and home time, and if you're not careful, it can become all consuming. Checking your Google Analytics stats after dinner? Responding to a reader comment while the kids are getting ready for bed? They are not good habits, and they're hard to break if you let them form. The best way to avoid that stuff is to keep the laptop out of that environment. I'll admit, I'm not always good about this, but sometimes giving advice is the best way of reminding yourself what you should be doing. 

Wishing you a perfectly productive week.