Alt Summit 2019

The final week of March was a whirlwind as I spent it in gorgeous Palm Springs at a conference with around 2,000 women. Since returning home my mind has been swirling around so many new experiences, knowledge, ideas, and connections. 

Alt Summit is an annual conference for creative entrepreneurs, influencers, and people who work on the internet. It’s filled with so much information, inspiring and aspirational people, and the chance to get outside your comfort zone and grow! It was five days of magic located in the sunny Palm Springs, and took place between four beautiful venues, The Riviera, Ace Hotel, The Parker, and Saguaro. I spent the most time at the Ace and the Parker. Each hotel brought a design and flair to the conference. It was really neat to experience so many locations in such a short time, and be surrounded by countless palm trees, color, and the desert. Seeing cacti, succulents, and wildflowers everywhere made me swoon. The city is filled with mid century gems, colorful doors, and so much sunshine. My skin feels warm just thinking about it.

My role with Alt was on the volunteer team, led by the amazing Nicole Breanne, to photograph events, speakers, and sponsors. I booked mini sessions as well, and tried to make it to all the locations and events! A lot went on each day, but I’m so grateful for the experience and photos I got to take. Let’s be real, it was really hard to sit and focus during talks, but I took notes when I got the chance and had the opportunity to connect with so many. I have so much to share about this experience, but here’s a glimpse of what went on each day and my favorite photos! 

I arrived in town on Sunday afternoon, having driven from my parent’s house in Orange County. It’s only about 2 hours away from them, so it was nice to see family and relax before a busy week. Alt Summit check in took place at the All Modern party at the Riviera hotel. There was infused water, great decor, and lots of pool floats. I registered, checked into my hotel, and drove around PS for a bit looking and photographing plants.

Monday morning began with a shuttle ride to the Riviera hotel for Joanna Gaines opening keynote. It was a q&a between her and Gabrielle Blair, founder of Design Mom blog and Alt Summit. It was such a positive way to start the morning. My favorite take aways from their conversation were “focus on what you feel called to do”, “enjoy what’s in front of you right now”, and the one that hit the most “look at success and failure the same way. stay grounded. don’t lose yourself in either”.  The day continued with a couple mini sessions, listening to some speakers, gushing over the Parker Hotel and the Novogratz for the first time, trying to edit photos from said mini sessions, and then back to the Parker for the beautiful Alaska Airlines Sponsor dinner at the Gene Autry house at the Parker. This day really set the tone for the entire week. 

Tuesday started similarly. I was the first and only person on the first shuttle on Monday and Tuesday, and got to know the driver a bit, Hector. We chatted about all the hotels, the busy season in Palm Springs, and Desert X, a temporary art installation across the desert that runs through mid-April. It was fun to get insight from a local. Round Table sessions took place at the Riviera this morning. Each table covered a different topic with a different speaker. The room was buzzing, it was great to capture it. Tuesday continued with mini sessions and more event coverage. I was so thankful to have my lovely friend, Kachet, at the conference. We took some portraits at the Parker and talked about our intentions for the week. So nice to have a friend to go explore and take pictures with. We met back up at the Alaska Air happy hour, which I took photos of as well. It was nice to see a bunch of faces I had met and captured the evening before. Enjoyed small bites and conversation at the beautiful outdoor space at the Gene Autry House.

I should really set the scene of the Gene Autry house and the Parker Hotel. Gene Autry bought this place to house his baseball team many years ago. It’s a midcentury dream, filled with artifacts and colorful decor. From what I heard, the Parker hotel built their property around this property, and now it’s just a treasure that’s apart of it. the Parker is a lush dream. You walk through it’s tall and gorgeous orange front doors into a lobby that is so eclectic and well designed, it feels like a museum. Walk out the doors and find yourself lost on it’s garden paths. Tall shrubs line the walkways. Walk to your left and find yourself at the lemonade stand, to your right, and behind a gate and you’ll find the Gene Autry house. Should you find yourself here, please stop or indulge in a stay if you’re inclined as my words can’t do it justice. All I can say is that I loved spending time here, exploring the grounds and feeling like I was in a secret garden.

Wednesday started slower, with visits to the Ace hotel to capture some creativity in their maker space, followed by a visit to the most colorful Saguaro hotel. Kachet and I drove through a few Palm Springs neighborhoods, passed the infamous Pink Door House, and drove onto see a piece of Desert X. We ate at the cutest hotel downtown and called it an early night. It was a beautiful and sunny day.

I got up early the next day with a buzz of energy knowing that it was the last full day of the conference. I photographed the last of my photo sessions that day, and made time to visit Moorten’s cactus sanctuary with Kachet. I attended one of my favorite sessions, Goal Mapping, and soaked up the sun during a stroll through the Parker one last time. The closing keynote with Jessica Hische was back at the hotel where it all started, the Riviera. Jessica is a lettering artist with a very beautiful and impressive portfolio. She’s designed for Starbucks and did the lettering for the Moonrise Kingdom cover (one of my favorite movies). 

It’s so hard to put into words all of the details and moments from this conference. I’m so glad I went, happy to have connected with so many lovely humans, and take so many beautiful photos. My camera and heart are happy, I’m just working on putting some new practices into place and incorporating what I learned into my life and biz. It was definitely overwhelming in the best way. I recommend going if you are a creative business or blogger and want to learn more, meet people, and spend time in the fabulous Palm Springs. 

A piece of advice to myself would be to slow down just a bit, but now that I know what to expect and how it goes, I doubt I’d do that anyway!

To all the people I photographed, the photographers I met, the sponsors, the swag, the knowledge, the creativity. Everything was so wonderful. Can’t wait until next year! Cheers to Alt Summit and all of you. These are some of my favorite photos, to see the full gallery, head here.

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