Photo Booth

After ALT: The Value of Friends by Leslie Fandrich

Photo by Justin Hackworth

Photo by Justin Hackworth

I am one lucky girl. I have the most incredible friends. The gorgeous picture above of Jen Cooper, Jill Vaughn and myself was taken by Justin Hackworth. It is one of my most treasured take aways from ALT. These girls were my roommates and my goodness, I really do love them. I have lots to say about ALT, there were so many fabulous moments, new people to meet and incredible experiences to share, but what I want to say first is how much I love my ladies.

Just look at these guys:

Smilebooth photos from the Method/ Girls With Glasses  Friday night Mini-party.

Smilebooth photos from the Method/Girls With Glasses Friday night Mini-party.

These ladies are my brain trust. In the isolated world of writing, blogging and making art, you need a group that you can turn to for trusted advice and support. They have my back and they ensure that I am not letting self doubt, lack of confidence or naivety influence the decisions I make surrounding my business. In a traditional workplace, you have co-workers or a board of directors. I have a posse of fierce women who will mug with me in a photo booth at a Clue themed party. (I was Mr. Green in the Billards Room with the revolver.)

Photo by Brooke Dennis

Photo by Brooke Dennis

If you find yourself drawn to a few people, formalize your brain trust with a private Facebook group, weekly emails and video chats or a message board. Find or set up a photo booth and take awesome pictures! Stay in touch with each other and offer (and ask!) for support and encouragement whenever it's needed.

I feel very lucky to have had amazing groups of friends over the years. My college brain trust is in touch less frequently, but still a very important part of my life. See that tattoo on my wrist? That is for them. I am still in touch with the group of New York co-workers that I had ten years ago despite most of us relocating all over the country. I also joined a Mom's Group when I became a mother and currently have local Mom friends who I can turn to for advice and get togethers with the kids. And then there are my sisters, the ultimate in brain trusts, right?

Do you have a crew of people that you trust and enjoy working or spending time with? Cultivating those relationships while we work on what is important to us is just as critical to our success as the work that we are doing.  

Photo by Justin Hackworth

Photo by Justin Hackworth

Today, make a list of your brain trust people and send them a message to let them know you value their presence in your life. This crazy life is all the better for the fantastic people that we share it with.


Head Exploding in a Mighty Way by Leslie Fandrich

I'm back from Palm Springs and my second visit to Camp Mighty. (Here's the first) I decided to go back to keep up the momentum, continue my personal and creative growth and to see people who I know and love online but don't see in person very often. You just can't beat those face to face interactions and hugs. I also wanted to meet more amazing people and boy, did I. There is no shortage of amazing, fun, colorful and awesome people at this event.

Rocking the ACE sign, in the classic Camp Mighty portrait.

Rocking the ACE sign, in the classic Camp Mighty portrait.

This year had some significant changes that I thought made it more fun and informative. The afternoon sessions were more business oriented, focusing on creative projects, and the final dinner was family style, with everyone together in the same room at huge tables. There was the same amount of inspiration, teary moments and crazy space party shenanigans. The people that were presenting and attending were equally as amazing as last year, but this time I knew more of them before I arrived.

There were WAY less nerves and social anxiety for me and I felt so much more confident and relaxed. I also spent more time in the hot tub. It's really my favorite place at the Ace Hotel. It's always so good, warm and happy. On the final night, way past my bedtime, we saw shooting stars. It was a perfect way to end the weekend.

Smile Booth friends! Me with  Melanie ,  Jill , Elizabeth,  Sandra  and  Sheri . Here's  another one I love  .  (Also - Elizabeth? You need a blog! Your name is all naked and unlinked!)

Smile Booth friends! Me with Melanie, Jill, Elizabeth, Sandra and Sheri. Here's another one I love. (Also - Elizabeth? You need a blog! Your name is all naked and unlinked!)

I've got so much to share and I'm pretty sure I can't do it all at once or even all this week, but I promise to share the things that I learned and experienced with you soon. My first thing to tackle will be my pictures. I shot some good ones you guys. I'll be editing those and posting them on Flickr as soon as I can. And the learning, wow, we heard some good stuff. I'm going to figure out a cool way to share that too. 

Until then, have you started your life list yet? It's really time for you to do that. I'm telling you, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

If you were there, leave a comment below and tell me what you thought of the event! (Link to your blog if you've posted about it already.)

More soon. xo

Photographed at ALT Summit & Roundup of Links by Leslie

Jill and I at the "Dinner en Blanc" party. It was magical to see a sea of light colors floating around the room. © Moss & Isaac

My trip to Salt Lake City to attend ALT Summit was amazing and overwhelming. There were lots of wonderful people, lots of fantastic information and I'll be posting over the next few weeks about what I learned, what I saw and most importantly what I experienced as a first time attendee. If you are a creative person, you HAVE to come with me next year. I am certainly going back. The conference is not just for bloggers, although that is the primary focus, anyone who is involved in a creative field can find something to learn.

Very briefly, one of my top moments was being photographed by Karen of Chookooloonks. I have more to say about it, but it really was a magical moment for me. I also loved the photo walk that I took with Tracey Clark from Shutter Sisters, I met some wonderful people and really enjoyed hearing about Tracey's approach to shooting and teaching photography. More about that too, including the pictures that I shot on the walk. It's no surprise that the photography moments resonated with me the most and I had my eye on the event photographers the entire time. I enjoyed meeting William and Susan Brinson and I scored a beta test invitation for Squarespace 6. Sweet! I also collected 80 business cards and I can't wait to show you the trends that I saw. Almost every card at ALT is amazing.

My top priority over the last few days has been my family, who missed me very much, especially my three year old. It's been three days of emotional turmoil from him and I hope tomorrow will bring calmer seas and more time for me to write and process photographs. In the meantime, these are the event photographs that I appeared in and down at the bottom of the post you will find links to a few recaps that have already been posted. Stayed tuned for more!

Dinner at J. Wongs with Juli Alderson (Inspiration Bug), me, Jill Vaughn (Terra Savvy), Jordan Ferney (Oh Happy Day), Alix Bannon (Cute and Delicious), Lisa Congdon (Lisa Congdon Art & Illustration), Dottie van Every and Alix Tyler (Modern Kiddo). © Brooke Ashley Dennis

Jenny Mitchell (Frecklewonder), Danielle Krysa (The Jealous Curator), Tracy Benjamin (Shutterbean), Dottie and Alix (Modern Kiddo), Victoria Smith (SF Girl by Bay), Rena Tom (Rena Tom), Kelly Beall (DesignCrush). Juli and I are peeking out from behind Jenny on the left. © Brooke Ashley Dennis

The keynote talk from Ben Silbermann, the creator of Pinterest was inspiring, moving and excellent. Game changing inventions are still happening on the internet. Success and innovation are possible. He got a standing ovation from a room full of people who adore him and what he stands for. (I'm sitting directly to the left of him.) © Justin Hackworth
Sitting in on Melisa Russo's (Lil Bee) roundtable discussion about how to "Bridge the Design/Lifestyle/Mommy Blogger Gap." © Justin Hackworth

Cutting paper in Allison Chapman's class about bookbinding. She's a fabulous teacher and runs Igloo Press in Ohio. © Brooke Ashley Dennis

Jill and I posing for photographer Justin Hackworth at the Ru La La Friday night Mini party. © Justin Hackworth

At the Ru La La photo booth with Melanie Biehle (Inward Facing Girl), Jill Vaughn (Terra Savvy), Megan Reardon (Not Martha) and Brianne (The Ravenna Girls).

Photographers: Moss & Isaac, Justin Hackworth Photography and B.A.D. Photography.

Sarah Bryden Brown at BlogStar: 38 Things I learnt at ALT Summit 2012

Amy Ferguson at Old Sweet Song: Eight (More) Steps to Get Over Post-Alt Summit Depression

The Secret Society of Enterprise: Top Tips from Alt Summit

A Blog About Love: Highlights of Alt Summit

Growing a Readership panel, Storified by Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely.

From Blog to Book, Storified by Kate Woodrow of Chronicle Books

Illustrator Tammie Bennett: Alt Summit and Me

Laurie Smithwick at Kirtsy: The Business Cards of ALT

Chrysula Winegar: Finding Work Life Balance When the Muse Calls

Melanie of Inward Facing Girl is rounding up her favs on Pinterest.

Victoria at SF Girl by Bay: So... What's ALT Summit Really Like?

Danielle from The Jealous Curator: Alt Summit 2012

Anne Sage at The City Sage: The Rundown: Alt Summit 2012

Bri at Design Love Fest: Alt Summit Highlights

Alix and Dottie at Modern Kiddo: Alt Summit // You Should Read These Blogs

Rena Tom: Weeknotes 2012/4

Susan at The Working Closet: It Must Be the Altitude

Additional links can be found on the Alt Summit Blog: Recaps Galore, More Alt Love

And ALL the photos can be found on the ALT Summit Flickr stream.

(I'll be adding to list as I find more posts!)