Alt Summit: Winter 2015

I am still flying high from my first Alt Summit and wanted to recap and share more about my experience with you.

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If you’re unfamiliar, Alt Summit (short for Altitude Summit) is a blogger’s conference held twice a year in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is a great way to learn more about the blogging world, including helpful tips and techniques, and connect with other bloggers.  Most importantly, Alt Summit is meant to inspire through sharing.

I actually signed up for the 2014 winter Alt Summit, but chickened out at the last minute and ended up canceling my registration.  I don’t regret this action as it just wasn’t the right time for me to go, but I did make it a point to truly consider it for the next year.  I am so happy I decided to go.  The whole time I was at the conference I kept noticing how right it felt in terms of both my personal and public life.  I am on the verge of undertaking some big changes in how I present my content and went into Alt hoping for some guidance, reassurance, and inspiration for this new part of my online journey.  I came out with that much and more!

I’m going to break down this photo-heavy post by day and share the personal pics I snapped on my phone along the way, what classes and panels I attended, and lastly, a summary of my experience and where I stand now, post-Alt.  I hope this helps give you a sense of my Alt experience as a newbie.

Day #1 – January 21, 2015

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I didn’t have to travel far to attend Alt Summit this winter, as I had spent the previous three and a half weeks at our family vacation home about an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City.  I drove in on Wednesday afternoon to check into the beautiful Grand America Hotel, the only five star accommodation in the area.  I was stunned by the gorgeous suite I had the pleasure of staying in (especially that lovely deep tub, which I fully enjoyed after a long day of conferencing).  The view of Salt Lake City is spectacular!  Looking down into the courtyard in the evening is another beautiful scene.  I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in this beautiful hotel and was grateful to be on site for easy back and forth throughout the conference.

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After getting settled in my room, I popped downstairs to check into the conference where I was given the schedule, my badge, and a beautiful notebook.  I was fortunate to attend the conference with my friend, Kristina, another YouTuber/blogger, and a couple of her blogger friends.  It was really nice to be at my first conference with some friendly and familiar faces, although now that I’ve been, I know I would have managed just fine on my own.  Everyone I had the pleasure of meeting was very friendly and genuinely interested in swapping cards and sharing stories.  Also, Alt provides ways to get to know other attendees and make connections in advance with closed Facebook groups and Pinterest pages.

After grabbing a bite and discussing our Alt plane, the four of us headed to an early bird session with Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks, a professional photographer and blogger.  Karen’s talk was a great way to kick off the conference, as it presented me with a lot of questions that got me thinking about how I frame my content.  Karen encouraged us to consider our about page, include a mission statement, work on an elevator pitch, and create tag lines for our brands.  These are all things I’ve heard about but haven’t previously invested a lot of time and thought into.  Karen illuminated how focusing on these can allow you to communicate your message better with your audience.

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All attendees were given the opportunity to sign up for small group sponsor dinners held by different brands on Wednesday night.  I had the pleasure of attending Minted‘s dinner at Taqueria 27, a Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake.  Minted put out a beautiful spread with festive decorations and table settings, highlighting their new fabric line with the table linens and totes they provided as gifts.  They also gave each of us a framed print with our logos as a beautiful Alt memento.  It was nice to be able to meet some of the other Alt attendees in a more intimate setting and enjoy a tasty meal together.

Day #2 – January 22, 2015

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I woke up bright and early on Thursday so I could enjoy a leisurely paced morning without the need to rush.  Fortunately, I had taken the time to “curate” my Alt wardrobe before packing so I didn’t have to figure any of that out and could focus on my plan for the day and enjoy a nice breakfast.  Room service breakfast is always one of my favorite parts about being in a hotel.  The Grand’s continental spread did not disappoint!

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This collage is composed of photos I took of Lisa Congdon‘s slides during her keynote.

The first official day of the conference kicked off with an opening keynote by Lisa Congdon, an amazingly talented woman who found her art groove in her thirties and went on to become a successful self-employed working artist with no scholastic training.  Her story is so inspiring!  Listening to her speak about her journey made me realize how similar much of the blogger experience is across the board, even between people from very different backgrounds with drastically different content.  The internet is such an amazing vehicle to share with the world, but it takes hard work, perseverance, dedication, sheer grit, and a whole lot of patience to make an imprint.  There are always going to be obstacles to overcome and people who do not understand or appreciate the very personal efforts that go into sharing online, but that’s all part of the journey.  I think this is well illustrated by a quote Lisa shared from Twitter Co-Founder, Biz Stone: “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”

Lisa provided four lessons that helped her in her journey that I wanted to share with you:

1. Own it and own all of it.
2. Give it everything you have.
3. Let go of the idea that it will all someday be perfect.
4. Be kind. Care. Stay humble.

When you think about it, these are really life lessons that could apply to most anyone in most any situation (if not all).  I felt so honored to be in that room absorbing this advice from such an amazing person.  What an incredibly powerful way to frame the beginning of the conference!

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This is a photo I took of one of Alison Faulkner‘s slides during her session.

After a short break, we headed to a session called “Awesome Tools for Building an Awesome Online Brand” with Alison Faulkner of The Alison Show.  Alison is an incredible lady with such joie de vivre that she brings to everything she does.  Her positive and upbeat energy is contagious and I felt buoyant in her presence.  Alison gave us a lot of useful tips for building your personal brand and why it’s important to invest time and resources into doing so.  This was especially beneficial for me as I’m contemplating how I present my content.  I loved her enthusiasm and honesty, which never faltered during her presentation.

Here are the tools that Alison suggested for building an awesome brand:

1. Define it
2. Consistency
3. Context
4. Know Your Audience
5. Let it go

The context and anecdotes Alison provided drove her point home in a personal and lasting way.  I look forward to following her journey as it unfolds online.

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BabyLit, a publishing company that provides classic literature in baby books, hosted lunch on Thursday, which was marked by cute as a button table decor and a nice buffet.  It was great to take a breather after an intense morning and meet other bloggers in a casual setting.

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After lunch, we sat in on a panel discussing Instagram and how to use it to build your business with Allison Silber of Engaged and Inspired, Pei Ketron of Pei Ketron, Andi Teggart of Piquora, and Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day.  I’ve never really considered my Instagram account as a business building tool before and was interested to hear how these ladies use their accounts in a very dedicated way.  I’ve never been about the numbers personally on any of my social media and other online platforms and am uncertain if I will take all of their advice to heart, but learning how other’s approach these sorts of things is always beneficial.  Sometimes knowing what someone else does and why allows you to examine better what you do and the reasonings behind it and either feel stronger about it or be inspired to make changes, even if they do not reflect the exact advice you were given.  My biggest takeaway from this session was this: “Be someone you would want to follow.”  I think this a great way to frame all online contributions and it is an excellent reminder to stay true and post only what you yourself would want to see.

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On a side note, there were quite a few sponsors at this event which camped out in different lounges with booths and activities.  I didn’t photograph most of these, although I do share them briefly in my coordinating video (see below).  One of my personal favorite sponsors was The Honest Company, which provides “unquestionably safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient, and affordable” household and personal products geared towards families.  I’d heard about this brand before but never used any of their products.  The Honest Company decked out the public restrooms with everything from soaps and room sprays to lotions and candles.  They put out jars of their chapsticks for attendees to take, which was the perfect gift in the dry Salt Lake climate.  I was impressed with their marketing and look forward to trying more of their products in the future.

After the Instagram breakout session, Alt offered even smaller setting choices, including design camps and roundtables.  I was keen on attending the Re-Branding Your Blog roundtable with PJ Feinstein of A Girl Named PJ.  PJ has just completed a major overhaul of her blog and branding and had lots of useful advice to give others considering it as well.  While it’s not as simple as just changing your name and your logo, PJ made it seem very attainable and more importantly, worthwhile if it feels essential to staying true to your message.

I filed so much useful and inspirational information, thoughts, and feelings away by the end of the day that my head was reeling!  I used the break between the last session and dinner to calm and quiet my mind with yoga.

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On Thursday night, Alt threw a Downton Abbey themed party in the Grand Salon of the hotel, which was a stunning affair.  Having never seen the show, I decided to play it safe with a nice looking dress and simple accessories.  I’m certainly no fashionista, but I felt comfortable and put together in what I wore for this party, as well as all of the other events and sessions I attended.  I share in detail what I wore to the conference in this post if you’re interested.  I settled on a gorgeous lace overlay dress from Anthropologie, sparkly Tory Burch flats, and Kate Spade accessories.  I assumed the party would be a cocktail and appetizer kind of deal where you have to stand, which is why I wore flats instead of heels.  It ended up being something in between that and a sit down affair with some tables that were already full by the time we got there.  It was a beautiful event and I very much enjoyed seeing other people’s creativity with their Downton Abbey inspired outfits.

Day #3 – January 23, 2015

I was so wrapped up in the conference on Friday that I completely spaced on taking my own photos.  Fortunately, Alt had two professional photographers who covered the conference and provided access to their photos to all attendees.  All photos that are not originally mine are used with permission and credited below.

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Photos by Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

On Friday morning, we chose to sit in on a session about affiliate links run by Corrine Stokoe of Mint Arrow.  I’ve used affiliate links for a little while now as a means to monetize my content, although I haven’t really put a lot of thought or effort into the why and how.  It was so interesting to listen to Corrine share her tips and tricks, since it’s pretty new to me.  I especially enjoyed her views on affiliate guilt and her analogy of bloggers using affiliate links to servers in a restaurant (I recommend watching my video where I shared this part of her talk).  There’s no reason to feel guilty about earning a small commission when you provide a service that costs buyers absolutely nothing to use.  As Corrine said, “embrace who you are and what you rock at.”

After that session, we learned more about the business side of blogging with lawyer Amanda Schreyer of Prince Lobel.  This class was probably the most informative in terms of practical blogging guidance out of all I attended.  There is so much to learn about how to protect your content and stay within the legal limits according to the law and FTC policies.  I took a lot of notes!  Amanda helped me more seriously consider hiring a lawyer to help make sure that I am protected in sharing what I do online.

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Photos by Justin Hackworth (left) and Brooke Dennis (right) for Alt Summit

The lunch keynote was held by two powerhouse female CEOs: Jess Lee of Polyvore and Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked.  Talk about inspirational!  Hearing their amazing stories of success from small beginnings was definitely a high point of the conference.  Unfortunately, having them speak during lunch turned out to be quite distracting as there was a lot of noise from the food service as well as people talking.  My tip would be to try and sit at a table as close to the speakers as possible to be able to hear better.

The final breakout session of the conference was held after lunch.  We chose to attend a class on monetizing your business with Jessie Artigue of Style and Pepper and Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society.  These ladies had a lot of energy and started off the class with a dance party.  While I felt they spoke well and on point, they focused primarily on sharing how they monetize their style/fashion-related businesses and less on how this can apply to other fields.  I wish they had provided more tips and practical applications for bloggers in general.

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Dallas Clayton, a children’s book author and illustrator of the popular Awesome Book series, gave the closing keynote.  Dallas was incredible.  He went totally off book and flowed through a series of thoughts and ideas he shared outloud with us.  It was such a different way of speaking than any of the other amazing people we heard over the course of the conference and just what was needed in my opinion to bring to light the power of openly sharing creativity.  In particular, I felt like Dallas’s keynote was the perfect bookend and counterpoint to Lisa Congdon’s opening address.  Obviously, this was the Alt organizers intent with providing two extremely creative artists with very different ways of expressing themselves.  Dallas’s words were funny, uplifting, thoughtful, and profound all at the same time.  At the very end he read us a poem about creativity he had just written and it struck such a chord with me.  I can’t wait until he publishes it and shares it with the world!  Some of my takeaways from his keynote include “get out of your comfort zones,” “get lost,” “no rules,” “find your own Spin Doctors,” and “you can change at any point.”  In other words, do what you want and believe in yourself (I’ll come back to this in a moment).  I left the room feeling light as a feather and grinning from ear to ear.  I highly recommend following Dallas on Instagram for daily inspiration.

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The last official event of the conference were the mini parties in the hotel on Friday evening hosted by Jo-Ann Fabrics, Hive, Tiny Prints, and Lindt Chocolates (can you guess which one was my favorite?  I’ll give you a hint, they had chocolate 😉 ).  What fun!  The parties were set up round robin style in rooms next to each other with different themes and activities.  It was a great way to wrap up two very intense and jam-packed days and say goodbye to people we met along the way.

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As I mentioned previously, I was fortunate to attend the conference with some familiar faces.  I am so honored I was able to share my first Alt Summit experience with these ladies!  My friend Kristina (to the left of me), from K Werner Design, introduced me to two of her close friends in the crafting blog world.  Kathy (on my right), is an amazing card maker who blogs at The Daily Marker.  Jennifer (next to Kathy), showcases her stamping skills on Jennifer McGuire Ink.  Kristina and Jennifer also offer card making classes through their business, Online Card Classes.  Please check out these amazingly talented women and show them some love!

Check out my vlog-style footage from the conference if you’re interested in seeing more:

My Thoughts

I left Alt Summit with a brain stuffed to the brim with new information from smart people who have been where I am now, a file filled with beautiful business cards from people I met and want to know better, and a heart filled with inspiration from the amazingly talented and creative people who shared their stories.  I cannot emphasize enough just how fulfilling my first Alt Summit and conference experience was.  I have never felt so validated as a blogger sharing with the world online.

I think blogging is still in its beginning stages where it’s not always recognized as not only a valid form of expression but a career path.  I still hesitate to call it a “job” or “work” for the negative reaction I am far too accustomed to receiving when I do.  The truth is that this is how I choose to spend the majority of my time and I invest quite a bit of myself and my resources into it.  When you google the definition of a career, you get this: “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.”  That sounds like a pretty accurate description of what I’ve been doing for the last chunk of my life, so why am I so afraid to own it?

While I had no aspirations of turning my online sharing into a job when I started my first YouTube channel over four and a half years ago, I am delighted by the journey it has taken me on.  Alt allowed me to see myself in the world of bloggers as a real blogger for the first time ever.  I wasn’t consciously aware that this was something I needed, but now that I’ve experienced it, I know I needed it more than anything.  I feel like I’m on the verge of taking my content to the next level.  I still plan on sharing in pretty much the same capacity, but I’ve felt a need for better framework for a long time now, something that flows better with my content.  That framework is my branding, to use the lingo of the blogging world.  I feel now that by taking the leap and investing in rebuilding my framework, my “brand,” that my content will more accurately reflect who I am and what I’m all about.  This is a leap of faith, since changing your branding when you’re already somewhat established can be tricky, but I know now, post-Alt, that I can’t not take that chance.

My main goal has always been to share what I am genuinely interested in sharing.  I wouldn’t be staying true to that goal if I left thing status quo.  Lisa Congdon encouraged “stretching” to expand your limits and discover new things about yourself, Jess Lee and Susan Petersen stressed the power of perseverance and staying true to your vision, and Dallas Clayton emphasized “no rules” and doing what you want.  These incredible people all have this in common: they know who they are, they persevere, and they take chances.

I am ready to really own what I do and what I’m all about.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thanks for sharing in my journey.  Let’s rock this year!

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* I am not affiliated with Altitude Summit.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are genuinely my own. *

56 comments

56 thoughts on “Alt Summit: Winter 2015”

  1. Jen – I’m so glad to see you kick your anxiety in the face and go to this conference! It looks like an amazing learning experience and i can’t wait to watch your video to see more of it.

    One thing that sticks out for me in this post is: ‘I still hesitate to call it a “job” or “work” for the negative reaction I am far to accustomed to receiving when I do.’

    I have seen the flak you get when you call what you do a job, but for me, it’s not so much that you call it a job. It is a job – you produce and publish a product and earn an income from it. Sometimes I feel like you want to have your cake and eat it too – you call it a job when talking about how much time it takes to produce the quality of content that you do – which is great! However, when it gets overwhelming or you receive a lot of negativity on a particular post or video, you fall back on ‘well this is only a hobby for me’ and take a week or two off to regroup.

    I don’t think it can be both. If you want to pursue this as a career, then own it. If you want to check in when you have time, own that too.

    Whichever you choose, I think we’ll follow your lead and go with you on your journey.

    1. I appreciate your insights. Thank you for sharing them with me. I am working this out as I go, and I always appreciate feedback like this.

    2. Very well said Kristen. I was thinking the same but could not articulate it. This is your job Jen and the best part about working for yourself is having the ability to take time off whenever you want to. You should never apologise for looking after yourself or putting your family first. You should celebrate your ability to do that. If more people could or would do the same the world would be a much happier place 🙂 You always say you don’t care about the numbers, and as Kristen said those of us who truely like your work will follow you on the journey, no matter which path you take. Be brave girl and go you big red fire engine! 🙂

  2. I loved the recap of your conference! I am excited that you are excited about doing what you love to do. I hope that you do share anything and everything that you want to! I love watching all your You Tube videos and reading your blog so I thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi Jen,
    Thanks for this post.
    It is very inspiring for me.
    I want also to start blogging but I am so afraid of the judgment from people.
    And today you convince me to start…Yes I will start blogging!!!
    Thanks a lot.
    I am looking forward buying stuff from Jennifer Ross Brand!!! 🙂
    Cheers
    Pascale

  4. Awesome post and video. Hard to not catch energy and excitement from you with this post! Excited to follow this journey with you!!

  5. OMG, I can’t believe you met Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks. LOVE HER!!! Her pictures…oh my! Yeah…so happy you went and enjoyed yourself. Yeah You!!!

  6. Thanks so very much, Jen, for this thorough and heartful overview post-ALT. I’ve just recently ‘found’ you and through you found ALT. It looks amazing so I did not hesitate when ALT Summer was announced. I’m registered, hotel booked and flight is next from Calgary. I’m already inspired by your experience – imagine what it will be like when I arrive and feel it first-hand.

    Thank you again!
    Sheryl

  7. What a super experience! I always find conferences like this are very inspiring. Can wait to see where this takes you. Much love from Canada

  8. Jen-

    Thanks for the insight into the Alt Summit. I’m glad to see that you had such a great and inspirational time learning and growing. It sounds like the connections and networking you did was amazing, and the lessons you learned are invaluable. It makes me very excited and hopeful that attending that conference in the future (probably next January) will be worth every penny spent.

    I would love to get more information on what you carried around and about the outfits you wore. I love you mature, comfortable, and fashionable sense of style. Perfect for ladies our age.

    Thanks again for all you post and all you do.
    http://www.divaandthedivine.com

  9. Wow!! Amazing vlog, Thank you for sharing with us. I am sooo happy for you, your growth through this experience is visible and inspirational. Can’t wait to see the videos on what you wore and what was in your bad…..

  10. Well done Jen!….Your summary of the ALT conference was well written and helped me to consider stepping out of my comfort zone and to truly be authentic and confident in each thing that I pursue …..thanks for being you! Looking forward to another year of creative content and lots of fresh new ideas!

  11. We are all radically insecure, all 8 billion of us. We all crave the ultimate word of affirmation and praise. If we don’t get it, we despair. If we do get it, it doesn’t last. Once is never enough. We need to hear these words of our worthiness sung over us, over and over again.
    But whether this song of praise comes “from within” or from without, it eventually fades and we are left feeling strangely restless and dissatisfied. And then the desperate, elusive mission to save our fragile selves begins all over again.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s great to share our different perspectives. I personally don’t feel like we all have to despair as part of the human condition. In fact, I know from personal experience that I feel whole and satisfied when I am accepting of others and myself. I do not despair because I know the ups and downs of life are all part of the journey and I feel blessed to be able to experience my life in its entirety.

  12. How thrilling! My heart swells for you and this experience. I personally battle with Social Anxiety and it holds me back from so much, but seeing your experience and reading your thoughts are very inspiring. Thank you for being so brave and open with all of us. Your kindness touch more than those that are in your presence.

  13. HI Jen,
    I would love to see a video on what’s in your conference bag! I travel for work and really struggle with what to bring, it’s either to much or not enough and would really appreciate your advice. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, loved it!

  14. Hi Jen!
    First of all, I wanted to wish you a very Happy 32nd Birthday! I hope that this year is a great year for you… Second of all, I wanted to say “Thank you” for sharing about your most-recent experience at Alt Summit with us, I personally, loved it and found very useful and packed full of advice for a beginner blogger, such as myself, as I’m very much a newbie with all of this, but so far, I’m enjoying it and loving every minute of it! On a side note, how do you deal with the pressure and negative feedback that you receive from people? My parents and brothers and sisters aren’t supportive and understanding of what I love to do, however, the rest of my family, boyfriend, and friends are and they all support and encourage me 110% and they think that it’s pretty cool of what I’ve chosen to do. On another side note, how do you deal with writer’s block? I’ve been lacking on a little bit of inspiration for my blog lately, and I can’t seem to think of anything to write about… I was also wondering if you would be willing to visit my blog (http://www.klsmgypsytraveller.weebly.com) and make a comment! I was also wondering if you will be doing a “Birthday Haul” this year, like the previous years, I found it very fun and entertaining to watch. I can only hope that when I get married one day, that my husband will treat me with the same love and respect, like how Don treats you. I was also wondering if maybe you could do a video/blog post on either OLJ and/or MHWL about how your online journey over the last four-and-a-half years, and maybe a section filled with as many tips and tricks, as possible. I emailed this blog post to my cousin-in-law, today, and showed her about your experience at Alt Summit, in hope that this will encourage her to maybe branch out with her own experience there, back in the summer of 2014. I hope that you had a wonderful vacation in Utah, this year and that it was enjoyable! Take care and Happy Birthday. Love Katherine M.

    1. It can be tough to deal with people, especially those in your inner circle, who are not supportive of your choices. Listening to their side and showing them that you understand their concerns are just out of love for you can help bridge communication. Ultimately, however, you need to do what feels right for you and explain that to your loved ones in a calm and thoughtful way. If you are passionate about blogging, by all means, be a blogger, but make sure you understand what your loved ones concerns are and if they hold any truth to them. They are, most likely, just being protective of you and it would be wise to really think on why they have concerns. As for writer’s block, I recommend taking some time away from the blog and focusing on non-blogging things you enjoy doing. Sometimes a little space is all you need to get the creative juices flowing once again! Good luck 🙂

  15. Jen I’m glad you had a great time at the Alt Summit. I could feel your anxiety at the start of the events, but you seemed so much more calm as you attended more events. I’m glad you were able to go with Kristina. I have been following her for years and she is how I found you. You did a planner video with her and I’ve been a fan of yours since. I also follow Jennifer McQuire so I am envious of who you got to spend your time with.

  16. Hi Jen –
    I thoroughly enjoyed your recap from the Alt Summit and it’s obvious that you gleaned a ton of useful information! I just want to applaud you on your honesty about your journey and tell you, as one of your longtime viewers and readers, that it chaps my hide how much you have to defend your choices. And the unending argument that “you chose to be under the microscope the minute you recorded your first video” holds no water for me. You chose to share a passion and others have chosen to judge you and your life up one side and down the other. Their choice. Not yours. So keep being true to yourself and inspiring those of us who watch and read you for the true purpose of your brand. 🙂
    Mindy
    http://www.thesuburbanlife.com

  17. Hi Jen

    Thanks for sharing your trip…I love all your travel vlogs. Looks like you had an amazing time and have learnt a lot. Hopefully you will relish putting these into practice.

    The only thing I am disappointed in you is…you haven’t watched Downton Abbey!!! Seriously!!?? You don’t know what you are missing!! We have just finished Season 5 here in the UK & Ireland and it will be a long 9 months until it is back for Season 6 in September!!! I throughly recommend you watch the box sets. 🙂

    Looking forward to your vlogs coming back again…Tuesdays haven’t been the same!!

    Love

    Clodagh, in a snowy Belfast N.Ireland.

  18. Looks like a lot of fun as well as informational. I look forward to seeing the fruit of all you gleaned!

    And I do have to say one thing. You MUST watch Downton Abbey. My husband is a Dr. Who fan like Don, and he LOVES Downton Abbey as well. 🙂

  19. Even though I totally enjoy your blogs the way they are, I am looking forward to following your new journey. I took a break from blogging after I unexpectedly lost my husband 3 years ago, but I would like to get it going again, because I find it is a great creative release for me whether anyone reads it or not! Best wishes on your new adventure!

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. Blogging can be therapeutic for sure, at least in my experience. If you feel motivated, you should pick back up with yours. Please send a link if you do. ((HUGS))

  20. Jen you should be proud of yourself, you’ve achieved a lot and you’re so professional and lovely to watch, and it’s obvious that what you’re doing is so important to you, and it’s inspiring. But I can’t believe you’ve never watched Downton Abbey…but then I’m English!

  21. I’m a little confused that you think that blogging is in its infancy. I am a professional blogger and have been for more than a decade (in that I use my blog to drive traffic to sell my courses), and many of my peers blog and teach blogging.

    If you are serious about this as a career, I would highly recommend leaving behind some of the “lighter” messages of Alt Summit, and take a look at problogger.com which is exactly what it sounds like, and sarkemedia.com
    Both of these can tell you everything you need to know about blogging as a career; and the latter is run by a dear friend of mine, but neither of these am I affiliated to.

    Blogging is a rewarding career, it’s as valid as any other and being apologetic for it damages your credibility.

  22. Great blog and blog post of the Alt conference, it’s not one I’ve heard of before and WOW do they go all out! It looked like such a blast, super inspirational and, being a BIG Downton fan myself I’d have been all over that party in a flapper dress and pearls hehe!

    Just reading your post and watching the video gives me a blogging boost. My blog is barely out of nappies, but I’m loving every minute I spend working on it, the content, brain storming ideas, learning new coding or practicing some photography tips, and in essence that’s what blogging is all about. As you grow and change as a person so does your blog and you have to keep moving the blog forward just as much as yourself. I’ve been following you online now for sometime and you’ve changed so much, you’ve grown and become such a strong and confident person! I can’t wait to see what changes you have in mind for the blog and your brand and where it takes you next!

    Keep it up and enjoy it 🙂

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland

  23. Amazing! Going to a large conference can be incredibly intimidating and so many people would have been unwilling to take on that challenge. Good for you to start 2015 being brave and going outside your comfort zone. Keep up the positive work and thank you for giving us the chance to cheer you on. I always giggle at your puns!

  24. You know Kristina Werner? You call her Kris? You hung out with Jennifer Maguire? I LOVE them! I’m a paper crafter and I knew them before I knew about you! Everyone in paper crafting uses Jennifer’s storage for stamps and dies! You were with royalty lady! And so were they! Your summary was outstanding! I’m glad that you felt affirmed and encouraged and that you’re going to keep going. I love your blogs and vlogs and I plan to watch the video soon.

  25. Hey Jen,

    Wow….this looks wonderful!! Years ago I was invited to a blogging conference. I have been so busy with family needs and I am blessed to be able to help, I myself need a recharge in my blogs and small at home businesses. You have really peaked my interest and appreciate all your wonderfully detailed info!! You are a master at sharing your experiences!! Thank you so much!!

    Keep on bloggin’ and have a great day,
    k

  26. This post is so inspiring. I’ve been contemplating on whether to start a blog or not and I think you have helped make that decision for me. Thank you so much for posting about your experience. I love your blog and of course your videos. 🙂

    Looking forward to the better you this year. I’m excited for you!

    Jessica

  27. Hi Jen,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. The photos and mini outlines made it really fun. I always appreciate how super informative, thoughtful, and genuine you are in your posts and videos. Keep it up!

    I’ve been following your Organized Like Jen channel on YouTube for years now, as well as watching some of your other videos on your other channels every now and then. I only recently came across your very first video where you mentioned the anxiety. I have seen some of the negative comments you’ve received in the past and they can be heartbreaking. I also deal with anxiety, as well as occasional panic attacks, so I think I can imagine some of the struggles you may have had to deal with while carving your path for yourself.

    The fact that you decided to attend this conference and have the desire to keep stepping up your game clearly proves that you already “own it and own all of it.” In the end, the label doesn’t even matter, because if you’re doing what you love and you love what you do, it’s simply a part of who you are – you already own it!

    “You are already as awesome as you need to be” is right! I want you to know that you are one of the strongest women out there on YouTube and that what you do matters. The knowledge and experiences you share are invaluable. You are a constant source of helpfulness, inspiration, and courage for so many. Because of you and people like you, I’m more motivated and able to improve my own life and less afraid to be myself, take chances, and carve my own path, too. So, thank you for that!

    The most important thing I hope you always remember is that you make a POSITIVE difference, just by being yourself. You have no reason to be afraid of anything 🙂

    All the best,
    Mary

  28. Fantastic ost and event!
    Thak you for sharing these beautiful photos!
    I d love to watch the video,but I can t becausehthe sound is out of order.
    But,promess,I will do it!

  29. Hello Jen –

    I am truly excited to hear about your experience at the Alt Summit. I just want to encourage you to “keep swimming” to live and share in a manner that feels right for you. I have been a loyal subscriber for sometime now and I appreciate the content you put out on all social media platforms from YT, Twitter,FB, to Instagram. Although, I do miss you on certain mediums at certain times I first understand that you are a woman, wife, daughter, friend and all those things demand our attention at different times and to different degrees of focus.

    Continue to let the “trolls” remain where they are in an unhappy place and you keep moving forward. I love that your job to invite and share your life, content, and Winne with all of us. As you said in the blog post, stretching is a part of everyone’s journey and if we allow the process to happen we are often better at the end. So be brave, persevere, determine who Jen wants to be and your true subscriber friends to stay the course with you. You are truly an inspiration.

  30. I loved watching this video and reading about the Summit! I’m heading into my second year as a blogger and haven’t attended any conferences yet because I have a little guy at home who isn’t ready for me to be away that long, but after seeing your footage I will definitely be attending Alt when he’s older!

    As far as considering blogging and making YouTube videos to be a career, YES! It is a career. Actually two very time-consuming careers and both have a steep learning curve. Anyone who has ever attempted either knows that. I hope you don’t put up with any more comments that belittle what you do. It’s work, you do it well and you deserve respect for it.

    I really look forward to seeing how your content evolves!

  31. Totally unrelated but I saw a tragic picture of Micky’s sorcerer hat at hollywood studios half torn down!! What in the world is happening! (Back to your actual post: congrats on your first conference! it seemed really intimate which to me is really intimidating)

  32. So many things I want to say.

    First, and foremost, it is so great how you controlled your anxiety and attended the conference. It seems like you’re making leaps and bounds with your anxiety which is amazing! I also suffer from social anxiety, of course we all have different levels of anxiety and different triggers, and so I know on some level just how hard that could very well have been.

    Secondly, I love how the conference seemed to rejuvenate you and only further your passion for blogging. You seem to have come away so inspired and I can’t wait to see where you and your online platforms go this year; I see nothing but good things!

    Lastly, not only did you radiate a happiness in the video and images you shared, but I loved all the outfits you wore! You can definitely see a shift in your wardrobe since your purging and it truly suits you.
    🙂

  33. Thank you so much for the alt recap Jen! I have been wanting to attend alt ever since hearing about it several years ago, and it was so nice to get an insider’s look at the conference! It’s on my list for 2016 🙂 I wanted to start a blog for so long and finding you several years ago was the inspiration I needed to believe I could do it. I love following your content and can’t wait to see what else you have in store for the world!

  34. So VERY VERY jealous you are friends with Kris and got to meet Jennifer. I’m a paper crafter and they are two of my crafty favorites. Glad you have a wonderful time

  35. Okay, Jen. This definitely sounds like something I should make as a future goal to attend! It not only sounds like fun, but it seems like there is a lot of useful information given as well.

  36. Ok Jen, you totally convinced me on your closing remarks. Thanks so much for mentioning the summer conference dates in the video – today is the last day for early bird and you sold me! I was thinking I would have to wait again until next January to go. Even though it is a week before my wedding, I just couldn’t pass it up. Already excited. hope to see you there 🙂 oh and so looking forward to the conference prep video!

  37. Jen I like how energized you are by this conference and it show in the you-tube video. A good conference can do wonders for your mind set. You have an authenticity that is difficult to find and it reflects in your blog and you-tube channel. Congratulations of knowing you needed this pick me up and over coming your fears about attending. Cheers, Vicki

  38. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for this blog post and video. I have a question for you about this conference. Is this conference open to any type of blogger?
    My sorority sister started a food blog about a year ago. I would love to share information with her about this conference.

    Do you think this conference would help her?
    Any feedback you are willing to share would be great.
    Thanks,
    Mary Jo

    1. Alt Summit is open to all bloggers, even those who haven;’t started blogging yet! Space is limited so the only restriction is purchasing registration before it’s sold out. I personally found Alt to be extremely helpful to me as a blogger trying to find my ground. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more to take their blogging to the next level and be inspired by so many amazing people!

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