Worth Every Bit of Effort: Alt, Part III

So I’ve told you all about getting to the conference, the days packed with meeting people and learning lots and a few nuggets of silliness here. There’re a few things left to say about Saturday and Sunday. Here goes.

Saturday’s schedule was an add-on. Friday’s closing keynote and mini-parties had wrapped things up officially. On Saturday there are a lot of options available for takers if you signed up before they reached capacity. There was a photo tour, thrift store tour, design camps and each and every participant got a free ski lift pass in their box of swag. Originally I’d signed up for Dana’s sewing camp, not so much to make a tote bag and pillow as to meet her, ’cause I figured that’d be fun. At some point in the planning process I’d looked at the conference site and it looked like Dana had dropped. I just figured she decided she was too close to delivery for travel and decided to stay home. So I dropped my registration and planned to go skiing instead. I’ve never been skiing anywhere as lovely as the conditions should be in Utah, so I wasn’t disappointed at the thought.

But when I met Dana on Friday– duh, there she was. Her class was still on. And Natasha had plead her way into an already-full video blogging class on Saturday morning. I hadn’t met anyone else who was going skiing and going solo didn’t sound fun. (Mental image of myself, sprawled out alone in some sort of ravine, waiting for the ski patrol to find me, night falling, freezing to death… yeah, not interested in going alone. My ski skills have improved, but I did once have to be rescued by the ski patrol. No need to repeat that without a friend to notice that I was missing.) And now it was Saturday morning and I hadn’t actually left the hotel since Wednesday. I was enjoying the fancy incubation I was doing.

Since Natasha had already begged her way in to Erin‘s HGTV Video bloggingclass, I did too.

There were a bunch of us that ended up on the floor taking notes. My only thoughts on video blogging prior to this had been that it’s not for me– you saw the awkward photo booth photos, right? But I’m so glad I went. They had so many tips on how it works and I realized that I already have most of what I’d need to do it. My DSLR does video, I’ve just not tried it. I had no idea that a DSLR would be the recommended camera over a dedicated video camera. I could pretty easily use it to demonstrate assembly for a tutorial that would take 45 still images to illustrate. A really well put-together and helpful presentation. (I was also sort of distracted by Erin and her husband in that they don’t have kids, and they seem like people who would rock at it. So when I got home I was happy to see this.)

Dana’s session was next. On Friday night we had talked about her session and helpers. I asked whether she had anyone to take pictures of the class. Since she didn’t, I was happy to come and be her paparazzi.

SO weird to use hair dryers, Exacto knives, sewing machines and acrylic paint in a ballroom.

Attending her session was super fun even though I wasn’t making anything. Relaxed and easy. What I didn’t expect was to have so much fun meeting her helpers. She had Cheri, of I am Momma Hear Me Roar, who did not even mention to me that she’d just been on Martha. (SAY WHAT?!?!) I met Christie of Lemon Squeezy Home and Nikki of The Salty Pineapple. Real people who were lots of fun to talk to. More photos of the session in Dana’s post.

Next, and last as far as conference activities, I was excited to go hang out with Mike and Alma of Ollibird and do some Photoshopping. I begged my way into that one, too. Being the last class of the whole shebang conference, what was supposed to be a full room wasn’t. Thankfully. I sprinted to my room to grab my computer so that I could follow along with the tutorials hands-on. I learned Photoshop and Illustrator in school, many years ago, and while the fundamentals haven’t changed, my past professional life didn’t involve them much, and I know I could use some help getting up to speed with the updated tools related to my new business. I was struggling, energy-wise, but the session was great. I’ve since signed up for four of their online classes. They make everything so simple and digestible.

Mike (and Alma’s awesome boots) via

When all of the conference activity fiiiinally wrapped, I went back to the room to drag Natasha out to dinner. Dinner itself isn’t worth commenting on– it should’ve been better for what it cost, but getting out of the hotel for the first time in days was good, even if it meant tromping through slushy snow utterly exhausted.

There was some debate about whether to try to get on an earlier flight since ours didn’t leave until 4:30 on Sunday afternoon and Natasha was in full-strength kid withdrawal, but in the end the stay-and-relax plan was most affordable and practical.

On Sunday morning we went to the Grand America’s Sunday Brunch. Worth going just for the spectacle of it. The live three-piece band played Cee Lo. The kids food was at coffee table height so that little ones could help themselves. There was a sushi chef in action. A guy making delish danish pancakes. Prime rib, jumbo cocktail shrimp, 47 different desserts including the signature bread pudding with a rum sauce, and of course, a chocolate fountain.

I tried only a fraction of what was available. I know my limits, at least where buffets are concerned. We both enjoyed that the few squawks we heard from kids were not squawks we ourselves had to attend to. Even though we were both missing our munchkins and were ready to travel home that evening to peek in on sleeping kids, there were plenty of sparkly distractions.

Okay, so, I’m at the end of Sunday, but I skipped my favorite thing about the hotel. It’ll make it’s own separate post since this one’s not suffering for length. Tomorrow…

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