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.

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!


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 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.

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.

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

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.

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

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, 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 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.

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

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.