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A New Direction

I had planned to do a straightforward recap of the Alt Summit, 2012. I’ve tried to sit down and write it all down for you, but I’m struggling. It isn’t because Alt wasn’t amazing (it was), or because I had a bad time (I had fun and learned a few things). I’m struggling because of some news that awaiting me upon my return. My last seven days have felt something like this: nervous, eager, reaffirmed, happy, delayed, scared, and finally, hopeful.

Tuesday: Nervous

The usual thoughts ran through my head. Did I pack the right things? Was my panel prepared? Would my family fare well while I’m gone? Could I get through all of the work I needed to do, before I had to leave?

Wednesday: Eager

I had prepared as much as I was able, and it was time to go. I was on the very first panel at the first Alt Summit in 2010, and I watched the summit via twitter last year, sad to be missing out but too pregnant to travel. I was excited about going back again, and looking forward to it. This was going to be fun!

Thursday: Reaffirmed

Alt came this year, for me, at the tail end of a lot of work. I’ve been doing more than ever, trying to juggle my blogging commitments with my family life, taking on too much at times, and having to put my head down and work. Being surrounded by my peers though, so many passionate, hard-working, and successful bloggers, reaffirmed that I’m heading in the right direction. I’m fortunate to have a job, unconventional as it is, doing something I love. I want to see Making it Lovely grow, and realize all of its potential.

Friday: Happy

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday morning

Jordan, Kelly, me, and Maggie spoke about Growing a Readership. I’ve put together a recap of the Twitter conversations that happened throughout our panel, which was one of the most well-attended! My weepiest moment of the day came as Ben, the co-founder of Pinterest, gave a particularly inspiring keynote and received a standing ovation. His infographic feels especially relevant right now.

The entire conference was amazing; everything I’d hope it would be and more. Thank you to Gabby, Sarah, and Kate, and to all of the people who help make Alt the blogging event I most look forward to each year.

Saturday: Delayed

And homesick. De-icing the plane, flying against a strong headwind, and landing in an airport that was under construction all contributed to my plane landing two minutes after my connection left. I was placed on standby, with a confirmed seat on a plane for Monday afternoon. I spent the night in the hotel closest to the Pheonix airport.

Sunday: Scared

The next day, while other passengers lost their tempers and berated airline employees, I was able to get a confirmed seat on a plane home in the late morning (it’s always better to be nice). We were delayed though, and spent an hour sitting on the runway before takeoff due to weather conditions back home. We were finally given the OK to fly into Chicago, and I arrived home approximately 25 hours after first leaving the hotel in Salt Lake City. I then picked up the kids and immediately turned around to go to my mom’s house because we were supposed to be there for a birthday party.

All of that made for a very long day, but it wasn’t the reason I was scared.

Brandon lost his job. He had found out on Thursday, but he waited to tell me until I had finally arrived home with the kids late Sunday night, after we had put them to bed.

Monday: Hopeful

Our dream has been to reach the point at which Brandon could leave his job. While we had assumed it would be in a planned, responsible way, we will have to embrace our new circumstances.

Do we go all-in on the blog? I’m not making enough to solely support my family, but we have to look at the numbers and see if I could get it there. How long would it take if we were devoting all of our time and energy to it? (Six months? A year? Longer?) Should we do something a little crazy, like buy a store? It has never been a goal of ours, but if you’re one that believes things happen for a reason, the universe seems to be aligning in that way. Or does Brandon look for another steady, 9-5 job? He has been the rock that has made it possible for me to get to the point I’m at today. While the benefits and stability that come along with traditional employment are reassuring (especially with a family and a mortgage), I’d love for him to be as fulfilled in his work as I am. These are all things that will be weighing heavily on us, and we need to figure out our next direction.

I’m hopeful. But I’m still scared, too, to be honest.

Pink and Gold Business Cards

I have my new business cards, just in the nick of time for Alt Summit! My old cards were cute, but it was time for something new.


Shiny gold foil printing on thick pink card stock. I designed them, then redesigned them, then overdesigned them, and in the end I redid the whole thing and ended up with this simple layout. I had them printed by Eagle Printing, here in Chicago.

And that’s my new logo on the cards. I think it’s a nice update, and not a radical departure from the logo I’ve had for the first five years. The cards will match the blog once I launch the redesign next month.

p.s. I rounded up 10 of my favorite business card designs right over here.

A Sneak Peek at the Site Redesign!

I’m really excited about the upcoming redesign of Making it Lovely! I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek today (because it’s killing me to not just switch everything over immediately!). This is what last Friday’s Honor Roll post looked like and will look like:

Not every post will have that dark background, but one of the things I’m working on is giving different types of posts different layouts. I was inspired by print magazines and their regular column formats. Many posts will still have the standard white background, but the Honor Roll will get the charcoal gray you see above, other posts will get the palest of pinks, others still will get other colors, and maybe even some patterns thrown in for good measure.

I haven’t fully redesigned the site since 2009. I used to do it every year, or even more often than that! This feels really good.

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