Alt Summit: What Now?

It’s been two weeks since Alt Summit and I finally find myself back on level ground after flying high from all the info, socializing, and brainstorming. It’s a rocky re-entry after such an amazing trip. I have a billion ideas, and now the hard part is harnessing all that energy to accomplish something awesome.

Here’s what I’m percolating on two weeks later:

Building Relationships

Going to Alt reminded me that I love meeting new people. I was on such a socializing high for about a week after that for awhile there I was handing out my business card to complete & utter strangers. I tapped into the socializing side of myself that I had kinda, well, forgotten.

I also realized that I love the relationships I’ve been growing through blogging, especially our Oklahoma City group of bloggers. That’s why I really wanted to pursue fun events like Bloggers Night Out (tonight!) and my upcoming Oscar party. It’s about connecting – it’s a word I hear time & time again. I’m amazed how often it pops up in conversation at church (“I came to this church because I really connected with the people”) and amongst friends (“I loved Alt because I was finally connecting with people that were like me!”). Connecting is a more meaningful word to me than networking. Connecting makes me think of  warmth & life-affirming relationships while networking often feels cold and superficial, as if you’re only talking to people to see what it is you can get out of them.

Knowing My Brand

I’ve really been focusing on what my brand is. That’s a confusing term to people who aren’t necessarily in the design world, so let’s use a different word for it in the context of visual images & graphic design: identity.  What’s my identity? Who am I? And how does that relate to me as a blogger, a writer, and a designer?  I felt like Alt helped gel into place all the ideas that I’ve had floating around about who I am and what is my visual identity.

Pencil Shavings Studio is heading in really amazing directions and the opportunities are coming out of nowhere. I’m amazed at the things that are popping up, and it encourages me to keep on designing gorgeous, useful things.

Creating Awesome Content

The #1 most-harped-on topic at Alt was creating original content. That’s the clincher. So I’ve been strategizing about how to make better content by doing these two things:

  1. Brainstorming about what it is I’d like to read about
  2. Creating an editorial calendar based on those topics.
I’ve been brainstorming how to better my brand – my visual identity – by focusing on writing about things that pertain to that identity: color, pattern, beauty, fashion, interiors.


One of the best things I wrote down from the Pinterest keynote was how the founder sought to hire people who were better & smarter than him. That really stuck out to me in one area: my blog design. A designer’s worst challenge is to create their own designs, whether it be their own personal brand, blog, etc. Plus there are so many things I’d like to do with this blog, but frankly, I don’t have the know-how to do the coding. So I’m bringing in the big guns and hiring a design firm to do it for me. They’re better at it than me and I can’t wait to see where they’ll take me.

Another way I’m wanting to improve is with my photography. Simply put, I love taking pictures. And I’m always looking for ways to improve my photos, so I’ve signed up for one of Nicole Gerulat’s online classes in March.


At the heart of it all, I love communicating and I love blogging. Alt Summit was the big reinforcer to me of both of these things.  I love inspiring other people through beauty. At the heart of it, I want women to feel empowered and inspired to create beauty in their everyday lives. It doesn’t have to be through stuff, although there are definitely lots of pretty things to choose from; maybe it’s in creating a beautiful experience for your kiddos or your husband. Or maybe you create beauty in your everyday life by painting every room a different color to lift the spirits of those who live within those walls. Regardless, I appreciate everyone that comes along with me on this journey.

It’s about being humbly secure in knowing who you are and what your purpose is.

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