Wednesday, January 30, 2013

alt summit: my five favorites

well, friends, i made it to the frozen tundra and back and man have i got good stories to tell! alt summit (super mega awesome blogger conference in salt lake city, utah. look it up. its amazing.) was everything i had imagined it would be and more. and utah, believe it or not, is colder in real life than it is in my imagination. funny, huh? anyways, i want to tell you guys all about my many adventures throughout my time in salt lake, but for now (since my brain is still mush and i still haven't slept since getting home) i am just going to give you my five favorites from the trip.

1. the people. i cannot tell you how many amazing, creative, fantastic, outgoing and friendly people i met at alt. have you ever been sitting in the car and then all of the sudden a song that you loved in middle school comes on, and you know all the words and crank the volume up and realize that this song is exactly what you wanted to hear without knowing it ahead of time? that's how i feel about the wonderful people i met at alt. i'll admit i was nervous - will they like me? will i be cool/funny/hip/witty enough? and that feeling was gone almost immediately. i knew that they were my crowd - like, these are my people! yes! they were funny and interesting and creative and so so so kind. i was worried, going into a conference dominated by women, that there would be jealousy, or judgement, and i should have known better. my people wouldn't be like that. i'm not like that and i was so so happy to find that in this room of magnificent women, each of them was more supportive than the last. everyone is rooting for everyone. it's an amazing dynamic, and i am so lucky to have found alt.

2. the information. i mean, brain overload in the best most inspiring way. i have goose bumps just thinking about it now. my notebook is full of brilliant ideas and thoughts and words of encouragement. everyone is so generous with their advice and the classes and panels are top notch. literally everything you can think of that is related to the expansive world of blogging is talked about. and not just the flowery, awesome, lets all rule the world together kind of stuff. the real stuff too. how hard it is. how much work it is. the information was real, nitty gritty, details about the business of blogging. yes, business. the info is invaluable actually and i am so thankful to have had the opportunity/blessing/gift from who knows where/chance to go.

3. the business cards. ok, if you know anything at all about alt, you know that business cards are traded like they are high valued rookie baseball cards. they are gold and everyone brings it hard when it comes to designing them. we are not talking about your average joe "i'm a plumber" business cards. we are talking "i am going to put this on my fridge because it is fine art" business cards. they are amazing. i promise i will do a whole post on some of the jaw-droppers i received. seriously, they were all amazing. more on that later...

the windows at joujou are where dreams come true.
4. the hotel. alt summit is held at the grand america in downtown salt lake city and holy moly is it gorgeous! i am talking sweeping foyers, ballroom after beautiful ballroom, architectural details, fountain filled courtyards and even a personal crystal chandelier in every bathroom stall (your OWN chandelier!) honestly. i almost took a picture, but then didnt want to be that girl. sorry. i should have done it. next year! anyways, it was the most beautiful hotel i've ever seen. better than the breakers in palm beach, and all of the "over the tops" of las vegas. i don't even know that hotel is the right word because it was so much more than that. resort maybe? out of body fantastical temporary living facility? it's incredible. my favorite part was the toy store (yes, stop judging!) it is called joujou and is whimsical and magical and made for the kid in all of us! think monsters and fairies and robots and candy - and you are only two steps in the doorway. i'm serious, go there now. my second favorite part was the pastry shop called la bonne vie - obviously french for "you are about to gain 20 pounds" because it is full of the most dreamy and delicious pastries, excuse me, confections. i had my first ever macaron there :) YUM!

5. the motivation/opportunity/new fresh outlook. all of the magical pieces of alt summit lead to one thing -motivation. the great sponsors they invite are all excited to work with new people. the people who attend are excited to meet you and hear all about you. the speakers on the panels are eager to tell you all their secrets and are cheering for you. the keynotes are telling you amazing stories that make you believe that literally anything is possible. and it is, isn't it? i say yes. it is all possible because of alt. honestly, i feel like a kid who wants to be an astronaut and i'm currently so convinced that i can do it that i can taste the freeze dried ice cream. screw nasa and their downsizing, i'm doing it! ok, but on a real note. i'm inspired. i'm moved. i'm excited! how many people say they are excited about their job? not many. and while blogging isn't my job, yet, i still feel like i can take this baby to the moon! or at least to your living room in the wee hours of the night when you can't sleep and need a laugh. or when you are stressed about that party you have to throw and need inspiration. or when you are really excited about the new project you just finished and you pop over here to brag to me about it. i want that. all of it and i hope that you want it too. i'm totally excited about this next year and it is all because of alt. get ready folks, it's about to get real up in here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

newbieNEWS: eyelash extensions

ok folks, time to get a little brave. (not a lot brave, let's be real here) i'm going to try something new. not just this month, but every month this year. i feel a little too comfortable these days and it's high time to shake things up! i won't lie.. i'm a tiny bit afraid of where this could take me. but the scary things usually turn out to be the most amazing... like the time i was in switzerland and ran off the side of a perfectly good mountain. (i was coerced) it was terrifying. it took all i had to convince my feet that this was a good idea and start moving fast enough to open my parachute behind me. but once i got in the air it was the most amazing few minutes i can remember ever being a part of.

so, in the spirit of the new year, and feeling a little stuck in my ways - i bring you "newbieNEWS". i'm going to try something new - something REALLY new - not like, there's a new cheeseburger at chili's new. this is legit. i want to do things that people have heard of, and maybe tried, but it inst the ordinary-every-day-ho-hum stuff. think: taking a trapeze class at the circus (personal dream - in spite of my infant like upper body strength) or trying the newest fitness craze (laughter yoga, anyone?).

ok, so i'm easing into this a bit - i can't try deep sea diving or wrestle an alligator the first month, ok!? i'm sometimes a wuss. but i am doing something i have ALWAYS wanted to! eyelash extensions!  i am so excited to do it (thanks groupon!) and this is a good starting point for me. granted, it isn't dangerous or completely unheard of, but i think it is still rare that people do it, and i thought it would be fun before i head to salt lake for alt summit! (omg,wait. i leave tomorrow morning! hooray!)

before: no make-up lashes
so i got my groupon online and called to make my appointment. i had them done at salon mikimoto in palm beach gardens. abby, the salon owner, is also the lash expert and was so friendly. i'll be honest, i was a little nervous - i mean, i need my eyes so if something went wrong... my brain was only thinking of the worst possible things.

when i first laid down to get started, abby said she had to cover my lower lashes so that my new long awesome lashes didn't get glued to them and so my eyes wouldn't be glued shut. cue panic attack. haha she went to put this sticker-type doo-dad over my bottom lashes and i was apparently thrashing about and she had to tell me to calm down at least three times. i told you i had to ease into this whole "new fun stuff" process. anyways. a few deep breaths later and i let her place the sticker over my lashes. it was easy peasy once i realized what she was doing. my brain just heard "eyes glued shut" and went blank haha.

once we got started, it was great! it was very spa-like and it only took an hour and voila! my lashes are so super fun and fancy. full time fancy.
after: lash extensions. no make-up.
each lash is glued separately to your own lash, so the look is completely flawless. and, bonus, you don't have to wear mascara! you can, but you don't really need to. so far i am a big fan of them! if you are going to be in salt lake city for alt summit this week, come find me and check out my totally rad lashes! and if not, here are some make-up free before and after shots :) stop looking at the dark circles and focus on my awesome-sauce lashes.
i mean, someone take me out. these bad boys are for real!
heellooooo lashes!
what new things are you planning on trying in 2013? any great ideas you want me to try on here? leave some love in the comments and stay tuned for my next newbieNEWS.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

super serious countdown!

and of course, by super serious, i mean dance party happy awesome super excited countdown. altitude summit is upon us and i am simultaneously excited and terrified all at once! __insert party poppers and fireworks (and a little nail biting)___

one minute i'm going through my checklists and feeling confident and prepared, and the next i'm a little kid before their first day of school just hoping that i'm not dressed like a nerd and that my ninja turtles lunchbox is still considered cool.  its a rollercoaster of emotion.

alt summit is but a few days away! (gahhhh!!) my business cards are perfecto, i have notebooks, pens, bandaids, chapstick and those little hand warmer things you put in your coat pocket so you dont get frostbite. alt is starting to sound like wilderness survival camp where everyone dresses cute and is super isnt like that! i mean, not the wilderness survival part..i dont think...
sneaky peak at some of my business card components

everyone's life is getting better with june-ified
ashlee and i spent wayyyy too much time planning our wardrobes, but the good news is we will both look fantastic! we will both likely freeze, but we will be cute until the very end! i figure a few layers and a constant cup of hot tea will get me through. i'm likely being super naive about how cold 20 degrees actually is, but instead of panicking about my floridian wardrobe, i'm going to psyche myself up and do a lot of jogging in place while i'm in salt lake. it'll be good. if you wanna hang, i'll be the cute popsicle attempting to forget how cold utah is!

on a less freezing note, i recently teamed up with a fantastic vintage boutique just around the corner in tequesta, fl and am ecstatic to report that i will be rocking some of their most eclectic and unique accessories throughout alt! the shop is called snooty hooty's resale therapy (i know, amazing! right!?) and they boast "strange cargo - collectibles and everything in between". honestly its like my dream closet exploded in their store. i had a blast playing dress up with the store's owner, deb, and she was so helpful and hilarious! i found so many treasures to show off at alt; its seriously giddy-girly-make-the-fashion-world-go-round stuff. stay tuned for all my fabulous fashion finds and a full scale post on all of snooty hooty's vintage awesomeness!

so here's hoping for a suitcase that actually closes, on-time airlines, tons of new friends and not-below-zero temps in salt lake. get ready, alt! we're coming for ya!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

christmas! in march? quilting: part two

so,the saga (yes, saga.. buckle in for the long haul kids) continues with finding fabric. after i figured out the basics for sewing, i started the fabric search. i knew i wanted to do a christmas themed quilt, because my bestie, haley, loves christmas. we're talking slightly unnatural love here - in june she can be found jamming out to holiday tunes and christmas movies are often in her rotation year round. she just loves that time of year, so there was no question of theme. it was christmas from the start.

if you have ever tried to find christmas things in the middle of march, then you know the struggle i was facing. no easy task. i looked everywhere! i can honestly say i've been to nearly every fabric store in south east florida on my hunt and slowly but surely my collection of cheerful holiday fabric grew. shoutout to joann's fabric for being so helpful in the early stages of this journey!

 i wanted to have a good stash before deciding on the pattern and layout of my quilt, since once i started cutting there would be no going back. stay tuned as i take the plunge, cut my fabrics and get to sewing! eek!

have you ever taken on a big project you were unsure of? leave some love in the comments and tell me about your slightly scary plunge-head-first project!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

happy happy and hello 2013!

whew. what a whirlwind of awesome this holiday season was! i hope yours was as fun and yummy as mine was! as stressful and crazy (mmhmm for real crazy) the holidays can get, i can honestly say i wasn't stressed. i can see matt in my head now giving me a look. haha, ok i was a little stressed, but mostly because there are so many fun things to do and cook and eat and see and i had to work thru a lot of it. booo work. yay christmas!

this year most of my family came to my house on christmas day (with the exception of my dad's side of the family who have a strict pajamas-only-don't-leave-the-house-let's-just-eat-all-day policy on chirstmas, which is amazing! but we missed them..) obviously, we still had plenty of silly yummy we-act-like-we're-five christmas fun
happy christmas from the morrows!
after a fantastic and delicious christmas eve with my dad, sister, brother and step-mom, i was ready to get up and do it all over again with round 2 at our house. i made breakfast foods, while everyone else brought the other meals for the day and the coveted delicious cupcakes for dessert! and my how the people showed up! it was great!

here are the highlights:

1. fun decor - i really had too much fun decorating this year, and the cheer was in full force when everyone came over!! 

2. delicious food! i made 2 breakfast casseroles - a potato/bacon/egg/cheese concoction and french toast casserole which was maybe one of the best things i've ever tasted. my mom brought her famous scalloped potatoes, my uncle marc brought a ham (omg honeybaked. yes!) and matt's mom brought the essential-for-the-holidays green bean casserole complete with melted cheese on top. yum! ashlee topped it all off with 2 quiches (she's fancy), eggnog cupcakes and salted caramel cupcakes (find recipes and yummy pictures at her blog, wondering about wandering) 
liam's face says it all. full of yummy and totally sleepy. 
3. good times! the frenzy that ensues while opening presents is always a high point for me! this year was great, and all of the presents were top notch. seeing liam (my nephew who is 3) open box after box of trains was amazing! each one was more exciting than the last and soon our living room was grand central station. it was perfect! i also had some fun kids crafts on hand, which haley and ashlee (not kids) opened and played with long before liam took notice. eventually he got sticker happy and had some fun with his grandma.

all in all it was a fantastic christmas! for new years, matt and i had takeout from the cheesecake factory with our friends chris and elisa (its become a thing on new years for us..i don't really know) we watched the avengers (so many attractive men in that - if you haven't seen it yet, why are you still reading this!? go now!)and i was asleep by 10:30. matt woke me up at midnight just to kiss me and it was the perfect night.

i am so excited for this year and there are fantastic things ahead! stay tuned as i count down to ALT SUMMIT! yes, caps are needed. and all the other fun projects ahead! hellloooo 2013! let's do this.