24 January 2012

Highlights of Alt Summit


I learned so much at Alt Summit!  I thought I'd share with you some highlights that you might like:

1.  #1 tip for looking best on camera:  FAKE EYELASHES!  (Buy Modlash or Ardell from pharmacy.)
     (From Brooke White & Summer Bellessa of The Girls with Glasses Show)

2.  Know where you want to be in 2014, and think backwards to plan the building blocks.

3.  If I cram my life with things that I love, there's no room for things that I don't love. (Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project)

4.  Imitate your spiritual master.  (Gretchen Rubin)

5.  To regain some energy in the afternoon, jump up & down.  (Gretchen Rubin

6.  Stop talking about it and go do it!

7.  To be entertaining on camera, you need to overcome your fears. (Brooke White)

8.  Try something new and jump in with both feet.  Be ok with failing at it. (Liz Stanley)

9.  If you have a good idea, just do it.  Execute the bare minimum if needed.  If you wait, the ideas become less powerful.

10.  Happier people are more concerned with the problems of the world. (Gretchen Rubin)

11.  One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.  (Gretchen Rubin)

12.  The best way to make others happy is to be happier yourself. (Gretchen Rubin)


I hope I can be a good blogger for all of you!  I have lots of ideas for how I can make this blog an even better experience.  I promise to always provide content from my heart and I hope that it can somehow make a difference in your life.  I want to make this a place that is worth your time!  Cause every minute counts.  Know that I am always open to suggestions and feedback!  If you'd like to see more of something, let me know.  If you'd like a specific topic covered, let me know (I am still getting to a few suggestions that have come in already.)  For example, at Alt, so many people asked if I would post more about fashion & beauty.  What do you think?
Here's one of my outfits.  I added in a little HARVEY FAIRCLOTH & totally went for the double bright belts!  They were a big hit.
Two dear friends from Brooklyn:  Brooke & Merrilee.  Loved sitting by them at classes & lunch as old friends.
Two wonderful women (Jenny & Christina) whom I got to spend time with til the wee hours of the morning.   I adore them both.  Christina has a set of triplets AND twins!!  Yep, she does!
Here's one of my other outfits.  I figured a "tangerine tango" dress would be appropriate as it is Pantone's "Color of the Year".  And yes, that is my bedroom the night before leaving for Alt!  I was planning out my wardrobe and pulled out way too many things to try on.  EEK!
Another HARVEY FAIRCLOTH outfit.  This one was such a huge hit.  Many said it was their favorite outfit at the conference.  What?!?!  Wowzer.  I'm glad people liked it.
Another outfit with tons of color....bright pink tights!  Green sweater & gingham shirt.  And a navy high waisted skirt from HARVEY FAIRCLOTH.  I was feeling less brave in this one, but went for it anyway.  Someone asked if I was a model for J.Crew.  Well, nope.  Just a girl hoping she didn't look like a clown!  ha :)
Don't you just love their glittered glasses? They said they were quite uncomfortable to wear. 
You guys just wouldn't believe how kind these two women are.  They hosted my opening night dinner and they couldn't have been more warm, kind & genuine.  They were some of my favorite people I met.  Thanks Erica & Flora!!  (And don't you just want to name a daughter Flora?  I do.  I need to let Danny know it's on my list. :)
Some all time favorites:  Jenny & Jordan.  Can we all hang out again soon?
Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday morning
And add to that.... Stephanie.  LOVE her.  I want to be her neighbor.


And Jaimee is one of the most lovely women....and a writer for my home state newspaper in AZ!  And... her blog is awesome.
See below for more pictures of my favorites.....(Photos by the AMAZING Justin Hackworth & b.a.d photography.  I can't tell you how lovely these two photographers were.  It was awesome to meet themPlus Brooke Ashley Dennis had some of the coolest hair ever :)

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday


Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday Night Parties 

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday Night Parties

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday Night Parties

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday night

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday night

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday night


Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday morning


Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday morning


Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday morning



 

 






60 comments:

  1. 1. Your blog is fantastic and fresh and important. Don't overthink it; be true to your first voice and it will stay relevant.
    2. Don't approach this as a business plan or way to make $$ quick. The best and most lucrative blogs take years (and years) to cultivate. And most of them become less friendly and interesting in direction proportion to their increasing blogger fame. Not to mention that very few people ever support themselves from blogging. Consider it a hobby and let any incidental success come as a surprise.
    3. Fashion tips are always fabulous - and you look amazing in all these pics, so you clearly know your stuff. BUT -
    3a. Be careful with your blogging power and how you portray yourself. Readers expect you to put your best (and edited) self forward, but don't let blogging pressure you into looking perfect all the time, online or not. It may start as a motivating, inspiring goal to be your best self, but it can quickly degenerate into wanton materialism and will disenfranchise your readers. There's too much underlying materialism in blogging and it's not helping women; it's hurting them (and their self esteem)(and their pocket books). Your beautiful message seems the opposite of this, so keep your tips practical and unpretentious like you have, and we'll be flocking back for more.
    3b. Your Summit pics are both beautiful and sad to me at the same time. I love that there is this network of brilliant women with style out there. However, so much of blogging is about empowering women, and yet it seems like there is an unnatural emphasis on materialism here. I feel like there was a heightened pressure for attendants to look insanely hip; even those whose blogs aren't about fashion or design. That's a disservice to women and your readers, most of whom (like the bloggers you pictured) are stay-at-home Mormon moms. I'm not suggesting you should have donned a jean jumper, but please don't promote this passive-aggressive fashion show attitude that's begun to permeate the blogosphere and our culture. I'm not saying you can't be fashionable, even on a budget, but when we can't go to church without stressing about our outfits and bodies, something is wrong. When is looking good not good enough? How many pairs of bold tights and funky accessories are enough?
    3c. Sorry for the rant, but I pulled out of the blogging world because I felt like there was too much redundant information, distraction and pressure out there. The words are usually humorous and helpful, but the images can often be hollow. Some of the people I worry for the most are the people who seem to have it all online, because something has to be sacrificed in exchange. Is it time with their family, spiritual study or their budget? For me, it was a little of them all, not to mention the readers who lost precious minutes of their life each day to read a silly anecdote about a stranger. Good use of their time? Maybe, but not the better or best one.
    4. You can be a great force for good change. Stay positive, stay true and keep on posting.
    5. You are lovely.

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    1. The tangerine tango dress is fabulous. Please say it was a recent purchase and tell us where we can get one too! Also loved the floral blouse from day 1...

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    2. You guys are AWESOME...I'm kind of laughing at the great responses we've been receiving so far. Looking back at the original post, I can see there may have been some confusion.... (I'm replying at the top of this so more will see it, but I'm responding to all of you below too)

      I'd say 90% of the ideas Mara and I have for making this blog better and a more meaningful experience have to do with sticking to the core message we've already been writing about, and which you have, so far, all vocally supported (thank you by the way for your consistent voice on the matter, it means a lot to us both that you come here for the same reason we write). We wouldn't dream of changing the message of the blog, as this is what we care about most (and why we stay up til 2 sometimes trying to write posts and respond to emails of people asking for help)

      We're trying to figure out how we can improve your experience, your involvement, and the overall community voice. REST ASSURED...this blog will continue strong with that same message as it always has (see Mara's post on why she blogs from Friday)...but we're constantly looking to improve.

      Things like fashion, beauty, food, etc will continue mostly as part of our weekly off-topic posts about things we think you might enjoy. But for the most part those only happen weekly, and it will continue as such...no plans to change that.

      Thanks again for the wonderful comments and for your support, you really are wonderful people.

      If you have any suggestions for things we could improve upon (with our CORE message :) ) or post more regularly about, please let us know.

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    3. Anonymous- So glad you like the dress! It actually isn't mine. I borrowed it from one of my stylish friends in Brooklyn (the brand is "Plenty by Tracy Reese", made exclusively for Barneys). Actually lots of us here borrow each other's clothes & jewelry - especially if we have to dress up for special events. We're all for it. My friend will be coming over this week to raid my closet, too. :)

      And glad you like the painted blouse. That one is from Harvey Faircloth.

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  2. I agree with the above poster 100%!!!

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  3. I think your style is awesome and daring, but the reason why i find your blog so refreshing is that you focus on things that matter at a deeper level. Of course I will keep coming back no matter what, but I like the balance of content just the way it is!

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    1. Agreed. I actually do like the balance on this blog of advice and fun stuff (including your fun fashion). Don't stop posting about fashion (we obviously think your clothes are adorable!), but I think the point here is that everyone at Alt was obviously overdoing it and most people who posted about the upcoming Alt summit was stressed about having the hippest clothes. I think that's where it goes overboard.

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  4. I LOVE all the pictures, but I had the same thoughts as the first commenter. No wonder you guys all felt completely anxious before going! I'd feel so frumpy in my regular clothes if I had gone to Alt. Don't get me wrong--I loved all the outfits posted, but it was almost overload. I'd be curious to know how much money people spent on average on clothes just for Alt (and how much money was spent on clothes that weren't even worn!). I love style as much as the next person, but I'm sure glad I wasn't at Alt for this reason alone!

    Only, I've noticed this trent of people being anonymous every time they want to express an alternate opinion. Of course we're going to have differing opinions on things. I think that's half the fun of blogging--to get these conversations out there. People--Don't be afraid to post as your real self! Be confident in your opinions! Unless, of course, you're anonymous every time you post, regardless of whether you're agreeing or not. Then at least you're being consistent. ;)

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    1. Speaking of owning our comments, I take half mine back. Because, you know, I can. Ha. Alt was a special event and people tend to get dressed up all special for special events. I think it's just the illusion that people dress that way every day that makes women doubt their own style, which is sad on the part of the people who think that way. But I think if people remember it's a special event, it makes more sense.

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    2. Hey Molly - thanks for chiming in. And I agree spending big money on clothes can get out of hand, which is why I decided to wear almost all of my own clothes instead of buying new stuff. I also borrowed a dress from a friend. And for another fancy evening event I wore a cream wrap that I wore to my own wedding instead of buying a new dress. Though I did buy some new taupe shoes from Target. They were on clearance for $7! Anyway, just want to openly support being frugal. thanks! :)

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  5. I agree with all those who've commented. Your blog is such a bright spot in my day because it's different from everything else out there. You have a rockin' sense of style, but there are plenty of other places to read about that. I think you've got something great going because it is so natural for you (or at least, it seems like it is =) ) love!

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  6. I choose to read his blog every day because it speaks to my soul. While I love a cute outfit, I find this blog refreshing because it isn't about fashion/lifestyle. It seems like so many blogs out there have some sort of fashion/lifestyle element, which is great and fun, but at the end of the day isn't going to bring anybody true joy and lasting peace! I have recommended this blog to others not because of your great hair or fashion sense (which I also love) but because of your amazing message!

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  7. I love your blog and I love your style. I agree completely with 'anonymous'. We need more blogs about how to live a more fulfilling life, making marriages stronger, and less about fashion. And trust me, I adore fashion and beauty as much as the next stylish housewife. In my opinion, I think you should keep your lovely blog as is, with the occasional fashion/beauty post, as you've done (although i understand the need to branch out and grow). I think it is just a beautiful thing you are doing and you've helped my husband and I, who have been happily married for almost 12 years, have an even happier relationship. Thank you so much. You are great. :)

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  8. I absolutely love your blog, and keep coming back almost everyday! Your messages are well thought and inspiring AND I love that it's different. You are without doubt gorgeous and have the cutest outfits, and they come through on your many photos, but it's not the main point. Personally, I wouldn't want to see your messages trivialized by too much of a focus on fashion and outfits. Alt Summit looks like it was a wonderful opportunity, but from the many posts out there that I've read about it, it seems like a bit of a popularity contest...to know the hottest bloggers, to wear the most fashionable clothes, (and then mention them all) etc. I think there's a tendency when you read a lot of blogs to compare yourself...and of course, you can feel like you easily fall short! Everyone's life is an edited version...they have the best, sweetest husbands, adorable, well behaved children, and are perfectly dressed all the time, high paying careers, right? Well....

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    1. Hi dear - I thought I'd just say Alt may seem like a popularity contest from the outside... BUT - from the second I arrived at the conference hotel, I knew it was not going to be like that one bit, and it wasn't. You see, every person was trying to be kind and warm and friendly to everyone. It was the most welcoming environment I've been in. It was like being amongst peers, not competitors. I never felt a shred of intimidation and it's because everyone was genuinely interested in what each other was working on in their blogs. It didn't matter if you were a brand new blogger or a blogger of nearly a decade, every person was their with the spirit of humbly learning and also sharing every drop of what they knew with others. I really can't say enough good about it...the extremely generous good will and kindness was overflowing from everyone I met. As a new blogger, I just couldn't believe the welcome I received. I really hope I get to attend next year!

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  9. Well I guess when you ask for feedback... :)

    Hear hear! I agree with all that was mentioned above. I recall that one of your New Year's wishes was to tackle your closet and minimize your belongings. We all recognize your amazing sense of fashion, and it's a great side note to the real message you are speaking. If you want to post about fashion that's great- but what I come hear to read about is love and I hope that the posts about love won't lose out.

    Also- I agree with Molly. In some intances being anonymous is necessary to protect sensitive information. But where possible- let's show our faces. Mara and Danny are not going to judge. :)

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  10. I'll add my voice to the chorus - there are a lot of other blogs out there that talk about fashion and beauty - but not as many that discuss the things that you and Danny write about most often. I wouldn't mind the occasional fashion/beauty post (hey, you're beautiful and have great taste in clothes) but please don't lose focus on what you set out to do here!

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  11. I agree with most of the comments as well. I read this blog because its different, focused on a subject that is real and important and find the fashion and style posts something I skim over to get to 'the good stuff'. To be honest, if it went that direction, I would probably lessen my reading. Its not that I'd think you were doing something bad, its just that I find myself staying away from more superficial blogs that don't focus on stuff that is helpful or productive.

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  12. I LOVE your style! Although, I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to wear outfits that are that creative - but I'd love to try.

    However, I came here because of the your honesty about marriage and relationships and would love to see that be the main focus of the blog - with some fashion "thrown in".

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  13. Hello! I'm a semi-new reader to your blog and I am absolutely smitten! I am a hopeless romantic and absolutely inspired by the amazing relationship that you and Danny share. I am so blessed to be in a wonderful relationship to an incredible man and I love reading about your adventures in love! I do, however, also enjoy seeing glimpses of your life - fashion included!

    While the first poster did start a huge conversation (and I think that's a good thing), I do not necessarily agree with everything she said 100%. First, I am not a Morman mother from Utah and I think many of blog readers likely hail from many different places - especially ones where fashion is a bigger deal than it is in other places - and so the fashion posts and insights are greatly appreciated. And second, I don't think that being fashionable (in general) implies materialism. Much of today's fashion stems from economical and frugal finds - searching for vintage or timeless pieces that can be worn over and over. I think the amazing style seen at ALT showcases both the creativity and style of the women at the event, and demonstrates that the event is in fact, a truly special event, as Molly mentioned in one of her notes above. I am a new-ish blogger and really hoping to grow my blog this year and go to ALT next year. I am looking forward to being a part of the big event and embracing everything, including the fabulous style, that comes with it!

    Thank you for sharing your story here and keep up the great work! I can't wait to read everything you have to share - about fashion, daily life, and especially - love!

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    1. Sara - I love what you wrote here. Thank you! I agree that being fashionable certainly doesn't always imply materialism. You learn that very quickly living in New York. Every dollar counts here yet there is still so much creativity and people most often times put together something interesting to wear with finds from thrift stores, off the street, ebay, stoop sales, cheap stores of any kind, or with things they made. For example, one of my favorite outfits at the White Ballroom Party at Alt was worn by Natalie Holbrook...she wore a baseball t-shirt from American Apparel with a tulle skirt and a leopard scarf that she made from upholstery fabric off her mom's couch. :) So cool & creative. And yes, Alt is a showcase of creativity more than anything - - it is a design blog conference so it is no doubt one of the most creative groups of people you could find. I hope next year you can go!

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  14. I realize the original post wasn't all about fashion or turning this blog into a style blog, but I think this is such a great subject to discuss... I love style and fashion as much as the next girl, but I always find that blogs too focused on fashion and appearance lose my interest/readership. They might start out with good intentions, but soon lack authenticity and sincerity.

    I love that your blog already has so much heart and sincerity, just as it is! I always notice your cute outfits and fashionable style--and I'm drawn to your blog all the more because it hasn't been the main focus! You are classy and beautiful! Your great style and your goodness shine through in every post. Your posts are relevant and real and they have been so helpful to me!! Thanks for sharing your true beauty with all of us readers!

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  15. I love the format that is already going, and I wouldn't change a thing! I understand where the others are coming from - because I too, tire of blogs that are and endless parade of unaffordable fashion, but you are so genuine and real, and I enjoy your honest enthusiasm for all things in life - including fashion.

    I, like others, was drawn to your blog because of your positive attitude in the face of trials, and I reread a lot of your posts on that topic. However, I like the other posts thrown in, because trials can be a really heavy topic (as much as I need the help). Your blog has a fantastic balance, please keep it up!

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    1. Agreed! I don't want you to only post about the heavy topics. I like the balance. My comments were more aimed at the Alt pictures and not your style posts. Keep mixing it up on this blog! I'd get bored if you only posted about heavy topics. :)

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  16. I just thought I'd chime in as well and say that Alt wasn't what many people might think. There were certainly plenty of people that were wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Pigtails and chucks. Wigs and tattoos. Beehive hairdos or bedhead. Basically, people were wearing whatever was true to them. After living around so many creative people for so long here in Brooklyn, I think that is what creative people tend to do....they just wear whatever and they aren't trying to fit any mold. In fact, they prefer to not fit a mold and just be true to themselves...and they do it confidently. That is what defines fashion around here more than anything...and I got that same vibe at Alt. Also, I can't tell you how many times I heard people say, "Oh, I just got this at H&M or Forever 21 or from a thrift store or I made this." There was TONS of frugal fashion all over the place (including among the most successful bloggers). And, I might add that even some of the most successful/creative people there didn't necessarily have a fashion style that people would drool over. But I say who cares....there's something really great & authentic about that.

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  17. I'm enjoying the mix of fashion and other interest that you add in the mix along w/ all the wonderful and uplifting self-help posts. I think it's really nice to get to know other facets of a blogger's life- what makes them click, creative interests, etc... Especially love seeing all the clothing shots!

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  18. It was wonderful to see you again at ALT. You were seriously probably the best dressed attendee!

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    1. Dang, Rubi - coming from you...that means a lot. THANK YOU!

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  19. Wow!! What a great experience - thanks for sharing your tips.

    Sweeeeeet oufits, Mara, and yeah, I'd love to see you incorporate some stylin' posts into the mix... but you know, I'm into that sort of thing ;)

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  20. I'm glad everyone else already expressed my initial thought when you asked if you should blog more about fashion and beauty :) I just wanted to add, or I guess, reiterate, how much I appreciate your courage and honesty in your writing.

    When I first let the blog world devour me whole I was so enamoured and infatuated with all of the different fashion and design ideas that bloggers put out there. But after awhile it got redundant (there's a lot of reposting going on in the blog world). I find myself gravitating towards blogs with writing that is personal. I have yet to find a blog strike that balance between honest, useful sharing and over sharing as well as you two do. You've got a great thing going!

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  21. I think that there is merit in both viewpoints - I can see the original anon viewpoint because the pictures you have chosen to share most certainly show the trendier side of the event, and perhaps it would not have made the event seem quite so materialistic if the representation of those who attended in pigtails and jeans as much as it were those whose outfits were more cutting edge.

    However I can understand that as somebody who is visually creative and inspired, it's only natural that photographers are drawn to those who are more creatively and brightly dressed, and you as a blogger are more inclined to use those photos. I also agree that in most blogs I follow online, sourcing of vintage and thrift items seems to be a mainstay of those who include fashion/outfit posts rather than hugely expensive designer items. Money can't buy you style, and it just happens that no matter how much you spend, if you have the knack for putting a great and original outfit together from items you don't have to resort to expensive items to do it.

    and i am a catholic mother from ireland so we are not all mormons! :-)

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  22. Mara, I'm so excited to be on your list. You're a superstar, darling, and I'm lucky to have met you.

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  23. I'm author of the first anonymous comment. First, thanks so much for indulging my middle-of-the-night nursing rant, which came across more scathing than I intended. Second, I posted anonymously because I have personal and professional connections to some Alt bloggers, and didn't want that interpreted as a personal attack on any of them. I don't see this as an individual issue but as a collective problem inherit to all social media.

    Perhaps my reference to materialism was misleading, as my concern is not about money spent but desires increased and time wasted. From experience, I know most of those women are good, kind people, not to mention fashionable and creative by birth. Regardless, when everyone decides to share online, it doesn't just multiply ideas and perspectives (good); it multiplies expectations and pressure (bad), even if unintentional. The fact is more of anything can be a bad thing, and blogging creates MORE - more content, more opinions, more noise, more lust. And when blogs become brands and people become products, it only gets worse.

    I'm glad you had a wonderful time (really!). I presumed there was pressure to dress up (and quirky), because to me it looks like excess, especially if the goal was to unite bloggers with their readers. I have witnessed friends feel like failures because they aren't doing things - like labeling soda for parties or baking elaborate goodies or buying wooden toys exclusively. None of those things are bad, but the unspoken suggestion that they are better passes silent judgment. I've also seen friends go to great lengths to do those things, sacrificing sleep/savings/sanity in the name of style.

    Of course, the problem is mine. I'm the one who chooses to feel inadequate. (So get right on a post about helping me with that, please, Mara + Danny!) But I wish more social media participants would stop sharing so much. We used to share with our community - our real community, but now that's been misplaced by an online world where things aren't what they seem, leaving what's real behind for what's really pretty.

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    1. Pardon the typos - nursing and one-handed typing again. :)

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    2. Oh Anonymous! I wish we could be friends. I understand why you posted anonymously. I blog anonymously because my subject matter is extremely sensitive. But your words (both your original "rant" and your update) spoke to me. I loved how you said that your reference to materialism was about "desires increased and time wasted." There are so many many blogs where as a I read them I feel within me a desire to be something/someone more than I am. It isn't always materialism, but I confess that reading this post made me feel that I ought to be dressing better and attending exciting events. Usually it is things like "I wish I was a better cook/home decorator/writer or more fun mom/romantic wife." The list goes on and on. It doesn't take more than a blog or two before I can feel my self-esteem plummet and my priorities getting ALL mixed up.

      And just like you said- of course the problem is with me. I see that now, thankfully, and therefore can stop resenting the individual bloggers.

      So Danny & Mara I'm looking forward to that post about being my best me and letting go of those ugly feelings of inadequacy.

      And Anonymous- I see that your minutes are precious to you- but if you have a spare one I'd love to hear about what brought you the realizations you've mentioned, and do you still blog? I'm a sponge for guidance right now in my life.

      hisstrugglemystruggle at gmail dot com

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  24. I think you raise excellent points, Anonymous - at least from my place out here reading blogs (and, yes, I need to cut back for the very reason you cite in #3(c) your opening post). I'm frankly impressed you sound so articulate during a middle of the night nursing session. You sound like a seasoned attorney.

    I enjoyed looking at the clothes in these Alt pictures, but c'mon, some of these women are trying WAY too hard (no, poofy tulle and leopard print do not look good together, I'm sorry!). No wonder they were stressing out beforehand! I agree with Anonymous - this fashion/image pressure seems sorta sad because it undercuts so many positives about the blogging community, but maybe it's unavoidable with creative women (?), plus Nienie and others have mentioned the Mormon gloss. Like many things, Gabrielle of Design Mom gets it right - she is fashionable without seeming like she is obsessing about it or trying so hard to make a statement.

    Mara, none if this is directed at you (although I'm sure you set the fashion bar higher for others!). Fashion seems to come very naturally and organically to you.

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  25. Mara thanks for writing on my blog! I felt like a giddy teenager when I read that! You really are great, and thanks again for everything you share. Too bad you just left Utah, otherwise we really could have become friends! ha!

    (and by the way, that's not me in the post directly above. Kind of confused me at first... Camille isn't THAT common of a name..) :)

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  26. I'm Annon #2. The posters are providing healthy feedback (not directed at you) about how as women we sometimes put unnecessary pressure on each other. A friend of mine has the perfect house, kids, figure, entertains like Martha Stewart and I love her dearly, There are other women who find her intimidating and avoid her friendship. It's sad. I think this has just opened up more writing possibilities for you and Danny-you can expand to helping women love who they are and help them make their friendships with other women stronger and more meaningful. A huge thank you for all you do...keep up the great work!!

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    1. Hahaha, were you listening in on the conversation that Mara and I were having this evening? We already started outlining some of our thoughts on being your best you and being proud of it.

      You made me laugh, thanks for the great input :)

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  27. Hi Mara,

    Highlight #3 - love that thought. I apply it to changing my eating habits all the time.

    Great photos - especially seeing all the large frame glasses out there. I wish Chloe could have seen them before (purposefully?) loosing hers after a bunch of kids teased her. Adolescence. And, I happen to like the tulle with leopard print... who's to say? (I'm channeling Sandra Bernhard talking to Dan Zanes, here.)

    Here's my .02 - You've got such a fun, quirky style so it just seems like the whole you to add bits of it into your blog. Don't think I've ever seen you on a family vacation when I haven't asked about what your wearing. You must be the most resourceful fashionista out there, really. I enjoy that you add a little of that to lighten up the main focus of your writing.

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  28. To anonymous #1... now I want to hear your experiences like Jane said. Would you ever e-mail me, too? creolewisdom@gmail.com

    There's something about Alt that makes me squirm. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I find is troubling on a basic level.

    So many people out there are getting back to basics with blogging, including myself. I see people turning off comments, ceasing monetizing and focusing on writing for themselves and the greater good (like you and Danny do!) I certainly believe fashion, pretty labeled party drink bottles and baby nurseries in closets can be good. As a fellow Mormon (recently reactivated, ugh, every time I say that I think it sounds like I'm a credit card, haha!) I get and love the blogging mantra of 'looking after anything praiseworthy...' BUT- I'm concerned on many levels-

    I know firsthand that there were speakers at Alt, big time bloggers if you will who have: blatantly stolen work from other individuals, posted and quoted terribly things and have had public snafus. We are all human, I get it, and I love it. When it comes down to it I think Alt appears to be a giant popularity party, which is fine. I don't think I'd ever attend, just not my scene, and from the sound of it it seems like it was a wonderful experience, but from the outside it looks odd.

    I personally find myself drawn to beautiful, but humble life style blogs. I certainly am not interested in seeing a party from a website re-posted on a blog. I prefer to see real people doing real things and sharing their lives. That's why the direction of some blogs has gotten so frustrating and tired to me.

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  29. Yes, yes, yes.
    I was starting to feel like the only blog reader who doesn't understand why all these attendee's must publish photo's and recaps.
    Here's the thing, most readers don't go to Alt because they aren't trying to make money blogging. So...why would we care for all the re-caps? I mean, my boss goes to conventions all the time. Do I ask for a full report, with pictures of him posing with all the top CEO's? Nope.
    Say it isn't a popularity contest all you want, but the only bloggers you've mentioned here were "top tier" bloggers. What about the willy-nillys you met, who none of us have heard of? Why not link them up and blast their photo's?

    I'm disappointed because I felt like this blog was different. I love your message about becoming a better person. I just don't care about being one of the most popular girls in class, or I would have attended Alt myself.

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    1. Hi Stefanie, I actually met TONS of new bloggers and women that don't necessarily blog for a living. I loved everyone I met. I have a huge pile of business cards that I need to tackle and plan to share fun posts from some of these women as I'm the biggest fan of anyone trying to do something good. (I just haven't yet had the time to sort my cards & look everyone up again. But I can't wait to do so.) Some of the women I listed were popular bloggers, yes, but they were also the ones I was lucky enough to spend the most time with. It turns out we know a lot of the same people through our connections in New York. And I also "knew" some of them online as well due to email, etc. And so it was just wonderful to meet them in person. I just felt lucky to be welcomed by such a gracious group of kind & generous women. They really do reach out to everyone. But I realize how lucky I am to have been in their path.

      And also, I think a lot of bloggers write about the details at the blogging conference just because they love what they do, they put a lot of heart & soul into what they do, and it's an inspiring/fun event for them. They can't help but share (myself included! :)

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  30. Fun! I found you through Christina over at Full House. So jealous of you ladies going to alt. I'm there next year for sure and hope to meet you then. In the meantime I'm glad I found your blog.

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  31. You look amazing! I personally would love to see more fashion related post but I love your blog either way!

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  32. 1. This blog is tremendous.
    2. My most favorite thing about this blog is the power you have from the responsibility/generosity with which you have imbued your lives.
    3. When you posted about clothes for your conference, I was inspired by your message of, "No butterflies, okay?" and tips about how to make others feel welcome. So while I'm not a fashion enthusiast, I welcome your fashion posts (should you choose to write them) because I trust that you'll take care of hearts and esteem.
    4. You are both so kind to your readership. You think of people you don't know before you think of yourselves. That does not go unnoticed.
    5. I wish you all the best for this blog. It is such a treat to have.

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    1. How can I not reply? THANK YOU for your thoughtful note. So kind.

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  33. I too love reading your blog. It's so thoughtful. And, like I've mentioned before, as a single LDS woman, I find it really hopeful. I love getting Danny's perspective as well--so insightful and refreshing. Thank you both for being so open with your thoughts, feelings, emotions, hopes, pains, etc. That's something I find hard to do.

    That said, I always appreciate a style tip or two. And music. And misc tips like the headphone and spice recommendations. : )

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  34. One more thing...you should be in J.Crew! Both of you! So rad they featured your wedding pics. Love them!

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  35. You are all so adorable! It looks like an amazing time:)

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  36. The biggest thank you to everyone who has commented so far! We appreciate every one of these comments. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Overall, I think we'll just be carrying on as we have. The main focus of our blog will never change. What we care about the most is helping others to be happy & at peace in their lives. But we'll still throw in a few fun things here & there. But only ones that we really love. For example, I spotted THE BEST boots today on a neighbor. I just have to show you. You can get them from e-bay.

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  37. Chiming in late here. I too am completely tickled pink by your blog about love, just the way it is. I don't want to see a single thing change. In fact, when you touched on the idea of writing more about fashion and beauty, I let out a tiny gasp. Your blog, as it is, ALREADY weaves fun and joy into substantive issues. It truly feeds me. I really don't care what you wear - and I mean that as a complement! You could wear a burlap sack everyday, and I'd still stop by your blog everyday because your WORDS put that extra little spark in my step, not your outfits, however stylish they may be. Thank you for all that you do.

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    1. and surely she'd make a burlap sack look awesome!

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  38. A blog about love shouldn't be about self indulgent fashion unless it's related to finding or maintaining the love you've found. Keeping a journal would be great to house all the topics that not true to your mission. Stay on target or you risk alienating followers.

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  39. I really appreciate the comments left by the first poster, as well as her clarification.

    Personally, I wish to see more posts about imperfections not prettiness. Sometimes it can seem that all of your marital struggles were with your exes and everything is perfect now. Is that true? perhaps it is :-)

    I have been married just a little bit longer than you two... My husband is not the man of my dreams... but he is the perfect man for me! I love to examine the gap between fantasy and reality. My brain manufactures fantasy; God creates what is real. I wish there was more writing (in general) about choosing reality over fantasy in our relationships, and adjusting our expectations so we can embrace God's gifts. Fantasies can ruin even the best realities.

    I am comforted when people speak of the complexities and imperfections in their lives because that is most real and the place for most growth... and because most of my days, in my marriage and in life in general, I am facing imperfection and complexity not prettiness :-)

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    1. That's a very interesting question and request and will require some consideration to see if we can include that in a healthy way.

      Is everything perfect now? No, and yes. No - things go wrong all the time in our lives, and there is plenty of potential room for disappointment, and occasionally we disagree with each other. Yes - we are committed to the same path, to the same way of responding to disappointments and wrong turns, and when we disagree we do so without taking it personally and without negative energy - so even though things go wrong, they still go perfectly. I probably could be more clear...I hope that is understandable.

      I hope that what we're writing about doesn't seem like fantasy (I don't necessarily think that was what you're saying), it certainly doesn't feel that way to us. We write what we write because it is what we've lived, learned, and currently practice. I try to live by the idea that circumstance is irrelevant, the only thing that matters is how I respond and the state of being I cultivate and entertain. That frees me from worrying about much of the gaps between fantasies and reality - because when circumstance is not the focus of my life...there's way less fantasy to worry about or compare myself to.

      I'm particularly drawn to this statement you made "I wish there was more writing about choosing reality over fantasy". I understand that it might not seem this way to others, but I actually thought that's what most of our posts were about. Mara's posts on infertility are about choosing reality (that she may never be able to get pregnant) over fantasy...and the freedom that comes from accepting and embracing a trial and choosing how you will react to it instead of fighting and resisting a trial. Same goes for posts about marriage - we're trying to suggest that you strip yourself of fantasies so that you can work with what is in the best way possible.

      Anyway, I hope this doesn't sound defensive. I actually like much of what you're suggesting, but also kind of feel like that's what we're doing. Though...if that's not obvious maybe that means we need to adjust. Thanks for the comment

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  40. Mara, I loved meeting you at Alt. Lucky for me my friend introduced us. You were warm and lovely in every way and I think I have a new blog to follow:-) When I come to NY next I am hoping we can meet up for coffee or a drink. Have a great night and I love the heart you put into your words here.

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  41. Hi Mara,
    Some really great recaps from ALT. It was a lot to take in especially for a first timer like myself.
    I love your blog and the idea behind sharing stories based on love.
    What could be better??
    It was wonderful meeting you and hope to see you again soon.
    Jen from @decaporter

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