Lessons in Happiness: Alt Design Summit 2013 Report

This was my third year attending Alt Design Summit.  Each one just keeps getting better.  As I prepared for Alt this year, I went with a different attitude than previous years, and I think that made all the difference.

Each year has been fabulous and I’ve come away having learned a lot.  But this year was different for me.  I decided not to focus on what to wear or allow myself to feel badly because I am not stylish and cute and all of that.  (I don’t even wear makeup most of the time.)  Instead I went deciding that I would be totally myself and just enjoy meeting new people and making new connections.  Of course it helped that I had my dear friend, Carrian, with me.  It’s always nice to have a buddy at conferences.

The past few years have been incredibly financially challenging for us.  I’ve struggled much more than usual with depression.  I don’t really write about it because I try to keep my blog a happy place for me.  You might notice I disappear for long periods of time, and that’s a good indication that I’m either really busy or battling my demons.  This year my biggest goal is to finally find a way to have lasting happiness despite having some circumstances out of my control that make me really unhappy most of the time.  (If that makes sense.)

So armed with a determination to think less about myself and my shortcomings and hardships, I headed up to Salt Lake City for Alt hoping to come away feeling inspired and renewed.  And it worked!

It was life-changing for me.  Not worrying about how I was dressed or any of the other silly things I worry about, freed up my brain to absorb ideas and advice from the sessions I attended.  It let me loosen up and step out of my comfort zone to meet new people and listen to their stories and learn about what they do and who they are.  It was so liberating.

The best part for me (and I think for almost everyone there) was to listen to Stefan Sagmeister talk about happiness.  It was just the talk I needed to hear. More about that in another post, because it definitely deserves much more than a few vague sentences to cover the awesomeness of it.

Speaking of awesomeness, here are some quick snapshots into my time at Alt.

First a trip to the MSN Awesometown Fiesta, the fabulous dinner held at (my new favorite restaurant) Frida Bistro.

Upper left to right:  Me, Nathan from Cricut, Alisa from Modern Palm. Front left to right:  Caroline from Armelle Blog, Katie from Artifact Uprising, and Tanya from MSN.
The decorations were so fun!  The party was styled by Chelsea Costa and her husband, Ryan Foy.
The food was great.  I loved the salmon ceviche, strawberry salad, and chipotle shrimp.  Everything was delicious and I will definitely eat at Frida Bistro again and again.  I wish I had a picture of the Pineapple Jalapeno (Virgin) Mojito I had.  (Watch for my recreation of it coming as soon as possible.)

The little dulce de leche gelatin/custard with coarse pink sea salt was out-of-this-world.  (I didn’t try the chocolate cake, but I heard it was dark and delicious as well..)

one of the fantastic sessions I attended about monetization
vegan sushi rolls at lunch
In the swanky Grand America bathroom getting ready for the Clue Party.

On Saturday, I hosted a photo tour around Downtown Salt Lake City with my friend, and knowledgeable photographer, master of the portrait, Shannon (a.k.a. Lucky Red Hen.)  We had a few brave souls join us for a cold, drizzly, foggy stroll through Historic Temple Square and a few other places.

Lucky and me
The gorgeous Gay from A Girl Named Gay
waterfall at Temple Square
Frozen waterfall outside the Grand America; left to right:  me, Dannielle Cresp (all the way from Australia!), Brittany Sage (Lipstick and Leopard Print, my friend from Alt 2012), Mindy from Budget Fairy Tale, and Jacqueline from The Hourglass Files.  Shannon is behind the camera.
The doors of the Assembly Hall
The spires of the Assembly Hall
In front of the Tabernacle
The Salt Lake City Temple

It felt good to go and be inspired and if you have a chance, I totally recommend going to Alt.  Big news!  They announced dates for Alt San Francisco and Alt New York.  I am trying to figure out a way to get to both…anyone have some frequent flyer miles they want to give me and an empty couch?

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  1. I know how you feel, I am trying to be better about being happy despite life. It isn’t easy and I go through my moments too!! I want to go to Alt, it looks like so much fun. Maybe next year. And I totally would have braved the cold with you and Shannon!!

  2. You are great… this was a super fun post for me to live through you and you could have fooled me when it comes to trendy and cute. You rock that short hair lady and everytime I see it I want to chop mine off. Good job keeping it real, it was fun to read.

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