I Love, Love, Love the Blogging Community

                                                                                                                (photo by Brooke Dennis)
I cannot even express how amazing Alt Summit was this year.  I mean, I actually teared up like 4 times just from the sheer beauty of this blogging community.  The support, encouragement, creativity, and sense of community that is among this group of people is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  I feel so, so fortunate to be a part of it – it truly has enriched my life so much.  

Loved seeing Jenny upon my arrival at the hotel!  I get to see her every week in Brooklyn, but there was something so nice about seeing friends from home at the conference.  And, do you like our nearly matching jackets?  So fun! 

[Also, turns out I had to work some polka dots in for the dinner the first night as the theme was polka dots.  Good thing I had one polka dot item in my stack of t-shirts.]
I was so happy to meet Amy Hackworth.  I’ve kind of been stalking her from afar as I knew she was Justin Hackworth’s wife + the co-author of Stephanie Nielsen’s book, Heaven is Here + she’s a new contributor on Design Mom.  See what I mean?  This is one talented woman.  And she could not be more delightful.  I just loved her and wish we could see each other often.
Having Danny at Alt Summit with me was my most favorite part.  🙂  This guy is such a joy to be with and travel with.  And – you can’t imagine how much he helped me with carrying bags, shoes, laptops, etc.  At times when we were just exhausted from the long days, it was the best thing in the world to sit next to him in one of the hotel lounges and – you know – just hold hands and rest and be together. 

It was so great to reconnect with Brooke White and Summer Bellessa, the amazing women behind The Girls With Glasses Show.  I met them last year at Alt, and I’m so happy that we’ve been able to stay in touch.  I like them both so much.

This is Brittany Watson Jepsen from The House That Lars Built.  I’ve admired this woman from afar and felt so grateful to meet her in person.  She is so lovely you can’t imagine.  And that dress!  Love it so much.  Actually, I loved every single thing she wore at the conference. 

This woman is Sheri Silver.  She is an amazing force of good with an awesome blog.  We’ve been on-line friends but have not yet met in person, so it was just wonderful to finally meet her.  She lives in New York so I can’t wait to meet up with her soon.  (She was actually born and raised in Brooklyn!)

I loved, loved, loved meeting so many of our dear readers.  That really was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience.  It was so nice of people to say hello and I’m so glad they did.  Thanks to all of you!!!  Here are two photos with two of them (above and below).  I so wish I had gotten more photos!

This is one of my favorite women in the world, Merrilee Liddiard, of Mer Mag.  I feel so lucky to say I go way back with Merrilee.  She used to live in Brooklyn and I got to have a close-up view of her amazing talents and love and generosity.  Seeing her at Alt is one my favorite things.

I hope many of you already know Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.  This woman is incredible.  I mean, one of the best you could find.  She is doing so much good in the world.  And it was so fun to hear that she knew about our blog!  🙂  🙂  Holy moly, I was so flattered.

And this one.  Oh, Koseli.  I love her so much.  She felt like home away from home as she also lives in Brooklyn (see her awesome new blog here).  We serve on the Relief Society presidency together and it’s a delight to work with her.  She’s also a contributor for Design Mom.  I must say, it’s so nice to have a blogging friend.  We love sharing blogging tips with each other and plan to start up a mini blogging group in Brooklyn ASAP.

These two were super awesome.  They’re some Irish wedding bloggers from One Fab Day and have made quite a name for themselves in Ireland, a place where wedding blogs are near non-existent.  I just LOVED seeing so many women out there using their talents to make a living and doing what they love.  SO INSPIRING!

Loved rocking Danny’s jeans (from Uniqlo, of course – his favorite store.)  The key was rolling them up at the bottom – and then not zipping them, but just folding over the front for a tighter fit before belting it all together.  Try it!

LOVED meeting the wonderful husband and wife behind Tiger in a Jar.  They are filmmakers and create so much breathtaking beauty.  Oh my. 

BRAIDS!  As you can imagine, lots of awesome braids at Alt this year.

Danny and I got to join Brooke & Summer for a late night dinner.  Loved getting to spend some more time with them.

Love this guy so much.

Anya!  She’s from The New Diplomat’s Wife and has become one of my dear blogging friends.  She is just wonderful and lovely in every way.

And yes – we all get so tired by the end that we just sit anywhere we can to rest.  Here’s Brittany Watson Jepsen and another creative I’ve admired for so long, Eva, from Sycamore Street Press.  I looove her taste and letter pressed designs.  I’m telling you, I was in heaven meeting all of these creatives whom I consider some of the best ever.

 Every where I turned, Danny was having great conversations with everyone around him, which was so sweet to see.  It’s what he does best.  He seriously loved being there. (photo by Brooke Dennis)

These two are the brains behind A Practical Wedding and gave one of the best classes at Alt.  It was on Media Kits and the info. was sooo helpful.  Meg said she might put the info. on her blog, which would be worth checking out, for sure.  (photo by Justin Hackworth)


I have admired Whitney Johnson from afar for years.  She’s one of the most accomplished women ever (we’re talking co-founder of Clayton Christensen’s firm, Rose Park Advisors, a former highly ranked analyst on Wall Street, a contributor to the Harvard Review, and a TEDx speaker.)  It was such an honor to meet her and have a long chat.  She also has a new book I’d love to read, Dare to Dream(photo by Brooke Dennis)

These two made me tear up.  Gabrielle Blair and Sara Urquhart are sisters and the founders of Alt Summit.  They could not have more support and love for creatives, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and well- if I had to guess – I think they have a soft spot for supporting women to do great things.  They really are some of my heroes.  I’m so thankful for all they’ve done for me and the blogging community.  (photo by Karen Walrond)

 Here we are on our way out…feeling so grateful, inspired, exhausted, motivated, empowered, proud to be a part of this community, and ready for another great year!
Love, Mara
P.S.  Big shouts out to all the new people I met!  I can’t wait to check out all your blogs and hope we can stay in touch and find ways to collaborate together this year.  Wishing you all the best in your endeavors!
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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  1. Utah Girl Am I January 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    So fun! Remember how you and Danny were so wonderful with the DC 2nd Relief Society? Brittany Watson Jepsen used to be one of us. 🙂 Small world!

  2. Lauren January 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Man, it looks like you had so much fun! I love that Danny went too and can't wait to show my husband these pictures- we signed up for a conference that is next weekend and he is wondering if he'll be the only man there 🙂

  3. camillefatina January 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Such fabulous clothes all around… and talent. I would love to attend this event.. It sounds amazing from everything I hear about it. Loved your picture recap.

  4. Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    I know this may sound like a really obvious/dumb/unnecessary question/request. However, what I want to know is, how do you go to a conference like ALT Summit and socialize with so many people? It's seriously like "dating"; meeting a lot of people you may have never met before. How do you keep your cool? What do you use as conversation starters? How do you keep the conversation going? As one who is in the dating season of my life I could use a few pointers. (I feel like this could apply to more than just dating: networking, community gatherings, school PTA meetings, etc.) What do you do that works? How do you get past the introductions and past the surface level commonalities to have a REAL conversation with someone that you admire or would like to be friends with? Any ideas and pointers that you could give someone whom this does not come naturally? Please help! – Amy

    • mara January 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Such a good question to ask. Alt Summit is non-stop socializing. It sounds intimidating but each time I've been, it hasn't been intimidating at all. Here are 3 tips that I think could apply to any setting-and could get a good, connected conversation going:

      -Ask about people's lives & just start asking questions: i.e. Do you have a blog? What is it about? How long have you been blogging? Have you been to Alt Summit before? What class did you just attend? Where are you from?

      -Praise people: i.e. I'm so happy I got to meet you – I am such a huge fan. I've admired you from afar for so long. I just love your work, love what you're doing, etc. Find SOMETHING about them that is praiseworthy.

      -Say Thanks: i.e. Thanks so much for all you do. Thanks for saying hello, it means so much. Thanks for what you add to this community.

      I find that people are very open with us, because we have already been open with them on the blog. So we can get into deep conversations easily. So I guess the more you practice being vulnerable – by sharing your true self – the more connected you can feel with others. You could also check on my 3 posts about Vulnerability. XO

  5. Alyssa January 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    It's official-I could never attend this because everyone is so awesome and dresses so much better than I do! Sheesh!

    • mara January 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      You could fit right in, my dear! Everyone is welcome. And everyone has different tastes and different levels of interest in fashion. There were also many there who had not yet started a blog and were just starting from scratch and wanted to learn.

  6. agirlnamedgay January 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Mara! It was great meeting you and feeling of your sincerity! Good luck in all you have going on! xoxo gay

  7. The New Diplomats Wife January 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Aw! You guys are too sweet and I love love love getting to see you at Alt and otherwise! Welcome home!

  8. Linnea Castro January 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Mara, it was a JOY getting the chance to meet you and Danny last week, and thanks for posting a photo of us together (it made me feel special)!!! This is my very favorite ALT summit post :o)

    I hope your week is off to a bright start. xo

  9. Rachel // Pencil Shavings Studio January 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Thrilled to pieces that we got to chitchat!


  10. Melissa January 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    This looks so fun! I'm glad you had a lovely time at Alt. I hope to be able to attend one year. Until then, I fully support your idea to start a mini Brooklyn blogging group! I would join 🙂

  11. Dominique January 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    So fun to see your photos and it looked like you had a great time.

  12. The New Diplomats Wife January 29, 2013 at 2:59 am - Reply

    it looks like my original comment might have dropped off but you are too sweet! i always love seeing you both – i could have kept talking for hours more! always looking forward to seeing you guys, whether more in NYC or on adventures elsewhere! so much admiration for you both and the good work that you do here!

  13. Megan January 29, 2013 at 4:17 am - Reply

    I was so, so honored to meet you! Thank you for being so gracious and lovely to those of us who were geeking out at meeting you 😉 I hope we can stay in touch!

  14. Anonymous January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    So glad this year's post on Alt Summit focused less on what clothes everyone was wearing and more on people. Bravo!

  15. Gabrielle - Design Mom January 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    It was such a treat to see you and Danny at the conference together! You always bring smiles.

  16. Whitney Johnson January 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Mara — I loved meeting you as well! It was one of my special moments! So glad we are now connected.

  17. Tiffanie January 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I loved meeting you and talking to Danny, it was the perfect start to the conference for me! I wish I'd had a chance to talk to you longer, Mara! You grabbed one of my roundtable workshops because you were looking for some graphics….let me just tell you, Dutch Door Press is awesome and great to work with, so I'd be delighted if you gave Anna a call! Best to the both of you! xo

  18. Adina | Gluten Free Travelette January 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    I so wish I could have met you in person and we could have traded gluten free tips! I just spent a month living in Brooklyn and explored the scene there – I'm fantastically jealous of the amazing food you all have out there. Looking forward to following your blog and chatting on twitter! Also, I agree – Koseli is wonderful!

    • Original Kos January 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      Adina, you are so awesome. I'm just watching your blog blow up…it's magic.

  19. The House That Lars Built January 29, 2013 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    oh man! you are quite the complimenter. I'm blushing! What a joy it was to meet you and Danny. Pure power and kindess.

  20. Susan January 30, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Hi Mara!

    So lovely to meet you and Danny at Alt. We had a wonderful time at our first Alt Summit!

  21. Original Kos January 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Mara, once again you show what a genuine sweetheart you are. Thank you so much for the mention. I love that picture of us. It was like home to run into you and Danny over and over. I loved it so much. I love watching your blog grow and resonate with so many people. It's so exciting. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!

  22. HOLLEE THORNTON January 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Dear Mara and Danny, i have been reading your blog -taking lots of notes for my Relief Society lesson on Sunday. Per Danny's suggestion, I ordered a "a light in the wilderness". I was just viewing your post from this week and was shocked to find (the most unflattering photo ever ha ha) in your photo line up! What a suprise, actually i was lying here reading after"nap tme" and my 3 year old pointed to the photo scrolling up and asked if that was me. I hadn't even noticed it yet! What a fun suprise! And of course I hadn't seen a photo of us in the most intense cocktail party conversation ever (maybe for Danny its normal)?! Thanks for being your generous selfs, I love ya'll even more now that I read your blog!!! I can tell there are big things ahead for you both! AND ISN'T DESIGN MOM THE BEST MOST AMAZING WOMAN EVER?!?!?!

  23. Ben Blair January 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    I totally agree with Hollee about Design Mom!

    For sure one of my highlights at Alt was meeting you and Danny. In fact, if I hadn't been in a hurry to catch a plane, I would have said as much as I left the Tiger in a Jar workshop on Saturday. You two are the real thing–so generous and curious. Man, I wish we could have had a dinner with…And I am thrilled to be connected to Danny's sister! So thanks on a practical as well as an inspirational level.

  24. Laurie February 1, 2013 at 3:18 am - Reply

    AHH! Love that you came to visit our Nod Swan Soiree! (I took that pic of you two!) You both were so lovely, and it was so great to meet you!

  25. sheri February 3, 2013 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Mara! One of the highlights of Alt was meeting (and hugging!) you in person – finally! I hope we can get together soon and have a proper chat (and more hugs, of course!) xoxo

  26. tammie February 5, 2013 at 1:50 am - Reply

    oooh, just found your blog (how in the heck didn't i know about you before?!?!) and read like a million posts.
    if you do start a mini blogging group in brooklyn, i'd love to come. i'll bring gluten free and dairy free snacks!
    thank you for this blog and the fantastic message you and danny send out!

  27. Janssen February 5, 2013 at 3:38 am - Reply

    What a wonderful post! And I just heard of Whitney Johnson this week (there was a feature about her in the BYU Alumni magazine). I'm dying to read her book.

  28. Tamera Beardsley February 5, 2013 at 3:41 am - Reply

    One of the most delightful and comprehensive recaps I have read! You look adorable in each of your stylish outfits…but rockin your husbands jeans…off the charts cool!!

  29. vicky February 6, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

    very amazing.Its really giving a good sign of hope.

  30. sania khan February 18, 2013 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Its awesome gathering and nice dresses work everything is looking so cooL……….

  31. Priyanka Sharma February 23, 2013 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Nice post all about love i totally impress with your work nice collection.

    Love Specialist

  32. Arti Sharma February 27, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Love is unconditional its show in felling when i am reading your blog i am really impressed with your story nice work

    manglik dosha niwaran

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