Posts Archived From: 'March 2013'

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Awash in Colorful Yarn

Blog posts last week were light for two reasons. One, I wanted to focus your eyes on my first blog reader survey. The feedback I collected was thoughtful, honest, and detailed. Thanks to everyone who participated.


And a special congratulations to the winner of the $20 Starbucks gift card: Laura Shelton of The LBeau Room!


The other reason? In a word: knitting. Around the holidays I asked my mother-in-law to teach me the ins and outs of knitting. And since then, with plenty of practice, patience, and YouTube videos, I have mastered the basics! My first piece, a simple gray scarf, was quickly followed by scarves and coasters for family and friends.


The traditional knit stitch is what I now know best; however, the more intricate purl stitch is next on my list to tackle. Along with an eternity scarf and, if I’m lucky, a small throw.




I continue collecting and following knitting blogs, including The Purl BeeMaxwell HandmadeMadalynneCherry HeartCraftsy, and, of course, Ravelry. These varied blogs not only offer ideas and inspiration  but the motivation I need to knit every day, improving this little craft of mine that has evolved into quite the hobby.


What’s more: knitting is relaxing and creative. And as someone who loves showing my appreciation to others, it has become a very handmade effort for thanking (and surprising!) family and friends both near and far.

Editor’s note: Photo courtesy of Michael Connors.

Reader Survey: I’m All Ears

My blog, which launched in 2003, has lived a number of lives: various designs, templates, and color schemes too numerous to count. It boasts more than 1,500 blog posts on countless topics.


Not one of which, mind you, asked what you – the reader – want to see.


In the spirit of a new year and a renewed enthusiasm for blogging, may I present to you my first reader survey. As I continue writing on a variety of topics, telling numerous stories, and introducing you to others who inspire me, I want to hear from you.


What do you enjoy? What do you find dreadful? How often are you reading? And what keeps you coming back?




Please take a few moments today to answer my brief survey. I promise, five minutes is all I ask. Your input will help continually shape what will become.


Best of all, one survey participant will be chosen at random to receive a $20 Starbucks gift card. (Who couldn’t use more delicious beverages and tasty pastries in their life?)




Editor’s note: Photos courtesy of Penelope and Pip and Darren Hester.

Write Now: The Wrecking Ball

The Wrecking Ball | By Corey Morrow


The rain sloshed me from every direction. At times it felt like it was raining upwards from the sand below. This is crazy, who does this? I was soaked in spite of my oversized yellow raincoat. My sneakers squished as I trudged behind her.


“Cor, can you believe this? This is incredible!”


My mom was shouting to me from just a foot away, but the whipping wind turned her screams into a barely audible whisper.


“Yeah, Mom! This is so cool!” I tried to sound excited, put on my brave face and smile through the swirling rain. I wasn’t about to point out our irresponsible actions to her and give away my cautious side, and even as the storm loomed closer over the ocean, I kept my feet faithfully following hers when all they wanted to do was run in the opposite direction.


My watch said it was just after ten in the morning, but there was no sign of sunlight, or human life at all for that matter. US1, usually bustling in the sunlight, was void of the runners and surfboards that usually lined the dunes.


I looked out over the Atlantic Ocean at the latest threat to my security. The gray clouds of hurricane Floyd swirled above us, slowly etching a path closer and closer to shore. The water leapt and crashed in disjointed waves, ignoring the usual ebb and flow pattern. White foam covered the sandy beach and rain fell in constant sheets. Terror and adrenaline coursed through my veins and I struggled to keep the fear out of my eyes. One thing Mom never wanted to see.


“Can you see all of this through the camera?” She was shouting again from my left side, pointing at the act of God heading our way.


“Uhh, yeah…” I had completely forgotten about the camcorder in my left hand. It was still recording, keeping track of this scene that could very well be the last minutes of our lives. I lifted the camera and peeked through the eyehole at the storm. It was covered in rainwater and I was amazed it was still functioning. I wiped the lens with the end of my soggy sleeve. Effective plan, Cor.


I was used to finding myself in slightly dangerous situations with my mother, and I usually did my best to keep my fears to myself. Seeing my reserved side would remind her of my dad, and he was the last person she ever wanted me to be like. Today she was really pushing the limits. Standing on Juno beach and watching the category 4 hurricane that had just demolished the Bahamas roll in is terrifying, exhilarating, and adrenaline producing. All of Mom’s favorite things.


When she suggested it this morning, I was sure she was joking. But as I sleepily pulled myself out of bed and into the kitchen for breakfast, the evidence of our upcoming adventure was already laid out on the couch: Two raincoats, a camcorder, and Mom’s metal detector.


“Mom, you are not bringing the metal detector! We’ll hardly be able to stand, let alone dig for treasure.”


I kept my voice sarcastic, so I had the option to claim I was joking if she goaded me about my lack of adventurous spirit. I looked out the bay window at the leaning palm trees and fat rain drops staining the white driveway. The storm was closer than I thought.


“Corey, this could be the day! We could find a coin today!”


She was so elated that there was no reasoning with her. I hid my concerns about the close proximity of the storm and its threat to our safety. If the metal detector was already out, our fates had already been decided: we were going.


The rain stung my eyes as the wind picked up around us. Not even the Channel 25 news van hung around, which was not a good sign. If they quit braving the storm to report on the weather, it must be getting really close. Hurricane Floyd lingered hours, maybe minutes from breaking onto the South Florida coast, and I just might be here on the beach to greet it.


“Storm chaser” was only one of Mom’s aspirations in life. The list is long and ridiculous and includes most professions named by preschool students when asked what they want to be when they grow up. Astronaut, bull fighter, ballet dancer, fire breather, pirate or movie star; all sensible options. I tagged along, her secretly unwilling accomplice.


Danger never concerned Mom when an adventure sparked her interest, and things like taking toddlers horseback riding or swimming in a lagoon full of stingrays became ordinary activities. Everyone does those things. Right. When Dad learned of my “adventure” on the back of Mom’s horse at the age of two, he was less than pleased. “Blew a gasket,” is how Mom tells the story now in the mocking tone she reserves for stories about how uptight my dad is. The stingray episode happened in open waters off of the Caymen Islands the summer of 2008, and Mom assured me it would be totally safe.


“Like Seaworld,” she said, only closer. Seaworld, only closer, if anyone was wondering, means treading water until pure exhaustion while trying to avoid going out like the great Steve Irwin.


“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!” Mom shouted to me whenever she sensed a slip in my fearlessness. This phrase – which later would find a home as the name of her boat, wrapping the length of the twenty-two footer and permanently fixing itself into my memory as one of the funniest things I will ever see – often followed one of her infectious laughs and a cry of exuberance. I half smiled and always took my cue to “man up and have fun” in whatever situation she managed to land us. As a child “fun” and “mortal peril” were interchangeable, and I kept our many forays into danger hidden from my clearly more responsible father. My parents were at odds enough without him knowing about our stint as local fire truck chasers, for example, or the time we jumped the fence at the fancy Hilton hotel down the street so we could use their pool.


I let Mom and Dad have what they wanted and a different Corey with each parent meant that everyone was happy. They got the daughter they believed reflected their personality, and I received love from both parents which made me happy. It wasn’t until high school, that day in Mr. Feyk’s English class under the painfully bright overhead lights that I really began to see just how abnormal my life had become. Who was I? Did other people play roles like this in real life? Was I even a real person? The more I contemplated my polarized roles, the more I realized that my sense of identity, such as it was, had been split into two.


About Corey Morrow
Corey Morrow is a writer and a pug lover. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband and their smoochable pug, June. Corey recently completed her MA in Writing. (The Wrecking Ball is an excerpt from her creative thesis, a memoir, titled I Am the Tornado.) She spends her free time writing and creating for her blog, better with june. If she isn’t writing, she is undoubtedly burning herself with her glue gun or getting paint/glitter/washi-tape on everything in her house. Corey believes in ghosts, colors outside the lines, and feels that a good cupcake can solve any problem. Follow her (sometimes) witty comments on Twitter (@lovemyjune), see pictures of June on Instagram (betterwithjune), keep up with the pretty things she likes (and makes) on Pinterest (, and send funny jokes and stories about dinosaurs to


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Learn more about the Write Now project and how you can submit works for publication.

Pom Pom Wreath

My First DIY: Pom Pom Wreath

This is a story about Nebraska. And crafting. Yarn and DIY pom poms.


And the path of this story will surprise you. It certainly surprised me.


For the past month I have written at length about my experience at Alt Summit. It was my first time attending the blogging conference, and I was rather curious about what to expect. Harnessing the power of the web, I posted a question last fall in the Alt Summit online chatroom about Omaha-area attendees.


September 7, 2012

Two of my gal pals and I are eagerly making plans for the trek to Salt Lake City in January. We live in Omaha! Do you?


-Wendy Townley


January 16, 2013

Hi Wendy,


I currently live in Chicago, but grew up in Grand Island, NE and I’m always excited to meet fellow Nebraskans! I don’t know of many Nebraska-based design bloggers, so I’m looking forward to checking out your blogs. See you next week!


-Haeley Giambalvo


When Haeley’s reply arrived in my inbox, I smiled and made a mental note to connect with her at Alt. I did not, however, take the time to track down Haeley online. Her blog, her Twitter account, her Facebook page, her overall appearance were all completely foreign to me.


Alt arrived.


I landed in Salt Lake City on a cold and foggy evening. The next morning, the first day of the conference, I spotted this sweet, petite young woman across the room. Her outfit matches mine!, I thought. Not knowing who she was or making any sort of introduction, I sheepishly asked to snap and share a photo on Instagram. She kindly agreed.




Following the Alt tradition, she and I swapped business cards. In the flurry of the conference, I didn’t read her business card before tossing it in my bag.


Later that day, at lunch around noon and in a room of 600-plus attendees, we sat at the same table. She had since looked at my business card a bit more closely and said, “I think we know each other. I think we talked online. I’m from Grand Island!”




Once Haeley Giambalvo identified herself, mentioning our online exchange just a few days prior, I was speechless. Speechless! What are the odds that in a conference of hundreds of women, I approached one of the very few whom I chatted with online? The experience, it seemed, was a bit more than just coincidence.


Which does, in fact, lead to my first DIY: a Valentine’s Day pom pom wreath originally featured on Haeley’s blog, Design Improvised. After (slowly) learning how to knit, my interest in crafting and DIY-ing has started to grow.


Haeley was certainly an inspiration. Her pom pom project was cute and easy. And with the extra yarn I purchased for knitting, the wreath was just asking to be made.


I spent about a week following Haeley’s tutorial.


I practiced peak patience with each pom pom.


At 34, I purchased my first glue gun.


Seven days later, I had this to show for it, on display in my living room.








Aside from contracting the crafting bug, and my dining room table being covered in scraps of colorful yarn, I have a new friend. Her name is Haeley. She is from Nebraska, lives in Chicago, and is one of those girls you know from the start is as sweet as can be.


Classic, Whimsy Meet at Hello Holiday

Pinterest has become a grown-up girl’s playground. We spend our waking hours pining for and pinning the prettiest of pieces. We covet colors, prints, and patterns. In between checking email and browsing the web, dazzling shoes and glittering accessories continuously catch our eye.


So we pin our favorites and further investigate the potential of ownership. Could I pull off that dress? Where would I wear it? More importantly, could I even afford it?


Reality sets in as we start clicking away, realizing that so many of these pieces are just beyond our pocketbook. What’s a budget-conscious girl (with style to spare) to do?


Enter Hello Holiday, a new online fashion retailer that is as cute as it is affordable. Ladies who seek a unique, fun wardrobe chock full of color can now not only wish for those special pieces, but thanks to Hello Holiday, they can own them and enjoy them, with money left over for, say, a proper holiday.


Hello Holiday isn’t just about pretty things, however; a big part of this small business is spotlighting emerging fashion designers.


COOP recently visited with Megan Hunt, one of Hello Holiday’s co-founders, about the history, the inventory, the variety, and even her beauty favorites.


>> Continue reading my latest essay “Classic and Whimsy Meet at Hello Holiday” at COOP, an online lifestyle publication produced by Birdhouse Interior Design (@BirdhouseID).


Editor’s note: Photo of Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik, left, and Megan Hunt by Hooton Images.

Day Designer Creator: Whitney English

My affinity for paper knows no bounds. Likely a result from my newspaper background, I develop an emotional reaction when beholding paper that is simply beautiful: note cards, letterhead, envelopes, tablets, books, magazines, even basic birthday greetings. Despite the growing hours I spend each week working, living, and playing in the digital world, I am still continuously pulled back in a space of paper. And I love it.


While attending an Alt Summit session last month about organizing my online life, our presenter, Erin Loechner, mentioned a very analog method to manage blog posts: through paper! Yes, paper. It is a spiral-bound day planner that has quickly become a favorite of bloggers everywhere. When Erin mentioned The Day Designer and its creator, Whitney English, who was in the audience, I made a mental note to investigate.



After connecting with Whitney online and learning more about her business, her philosophy, and The Day Designer, I collected my notes (paper and electronic alike) to share with you.


>> Also! Whitney was kind enough to include a Day Designer giveaway as part of her Q&A. To win your very own Day Designer, simply comment below. Share your goals for organization, online or elsewhere. One winner will be selected at random and contacted via email. The Day Designer giveaway closes on Wednesday, March 6. Good luck!


WT: Let’s start with your background. Provide an overview of where you grew up, what you studied in school, any activities or memories that you fondly recall.

WE: I was born in Texas but grew up in Oklahoma City. I went to a small private high school, then graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Facilities Management (which is basically interior design with business courses). I completed an internship with designer Charles Faudree in Tulsa, and later did some graduate work in Design and Management at Parsons in New York City. All through high school and college, I worked for various entrepreneurs in creative fields, and loved every experience I had in the creative/entrepreneurial arena.


Clearly you have an affinity for paper and the like. Share with me your initial thoughts as you began spending more time communicating online. Did your letter-writing drop off due to email?

Sadly, my letter-writing has suffered lately, but I would say that it’s due in part to being busy with kids, not because I communicate and connect mostly online. It’s definitely a personal mission to work towards connecting with loved ones more via the hand-written note, and my kids will definitely be learning how to write thank-you notes at an early age!




Much like you, I live for the handwritten word. What are your thoughts about so much of our personal communication moving to digital platforms?

Social media has been a fascinating journey into the science of human connection. As humans, we’re hard-wired to want to make that connection and engage with others. As creative entrepreneurs, we find social media is an excellent canvas with which to share our ideas with the rest of the world. As digital communications have become a commodity, I believe it’s actually driven up the value of the hand-written word. Sure, we can send a tweet, or leave a message on a Facebook wall, but it’s never going to mean the same as a hand-written note. Digital communications make the hand-written word worth more – not less.


Let’s transition to your professional world. What prompted you to launch your website?

I launched my website back in late 2002 or early 2003 whenever I started a wholesale, imprintable stationery company. Over the years, the website was used to showcase my imprintable designs, but I’ve been slowly transitioning it into a more personal platform and blog.


Tell me more about the line of products you design and sell.

For over a decade, I designed imprintable invitations and note cards and sold them wholesale to stores all over the world. At one time, our products were in almost 3,000 stores worldwide. With the success of the imprintable line came forays into personalized stationery and gift products. Some of my more popular products were a line of note sheets on a clear acrylic clipboard – we called them ClipSheets – and a line of eco-friendly, reusable shopping bags called Trend-E-Totes. As the imprintable industry declined, however, I found it necessary to close the wholesale business. I learned a lot from that decade in business. If anyone asked me if I would do it all over again, I definitely would! I’m glad I have some experience under my belt now, and I’m definitely going to apply those lessons to future ventures.


Let’s talk the Day Designer. This little beauty seems to have taken the blogging world by storm. Tell me first about your inspiration to create it.

Last year I started a new venture with a product called the Day Designer. It’s a yearly strategic planner and daily agenda for the creative entrepreneur. I created the Day Designer because after years of sitting through strategic planning meetings and brand strategy sessions, I realized that I had done very little to internalize my values and execute living them through my brand. I also needed a product that would help me organize my appointments and schedule as a creative entrepreneur, and not just as a mom. I’ve been a creative entrepreneur for a lot longer than I’ve been a mother, and I always felt like there was a void in the marketplace when it came to agendas for female entrepreneurs. I have a few other product ideas up my sleeve, so who knows where the coming years will take me!




Why design something so “analog” as paper, especially when your primary audience for this project is primarily online?

I believe in writing things down. I believe that the lists and notes and ideas that we scrawl across bits of paper are incredibly powerful, and I don’t think the truly digital folks give writing much credit. I think our brains process what we write differently than we process what we type. The process of writing, literally, by hand, helps get ideas and thoughts and novelties out of our heads and into our hearts. When ideas live in our hearts, we find the energy to act on them. Heart-action produces much more powerful results than head-action. Heart-action can change the world, right? That’s why I believe in paper, and the process of writing things down.


Tell me how you, personally, use the Day Designer to manage your work and your life.

My Day Designer sits on my nightstand most of the time. I partially fill in future events – my husband’s work schedule, important events like kid’s programs and school parties, travel schedules. I use my Mac calendar to keep track of client appointments, because I make the appointments via email. At the beginning of each week, usually on Sunday afternoon when my kids are napping, I sit down and fill in that week’s events, and do some meal planning. Each daily page has a spot for the Top Three most important things to do that day – and I try to leave this as empty as possible until the day-of. When I was on maternity leave, every day literally had “make milk” in every day’s Top Three. The Top Three is so important because it helps you prioritize your day, and it also serves as a reflection tool. Writing down “make milk” every day brought the realization to the front of my mind that my kids are the most important thing in my life right now.


Throughout the day, I use the checklist section on the right side of each page to make notes of things I tell people I’m going to do. When I sit at my desk, I flip back to previous lists in my Day Designer and make sure I’ve done everything I’ve said I’m going to do. If I complete a task, I mark it off with a check. If the task has become obsolete, I mark through the entire line, crossing it off. I’ll also use this column in my Day Designer to make notes if I’m on a conference call. The idea is to get as much writing off of little lists that float around my desk, and into the Day Designer. I love that I can look back and celebrate accomplishments that might otherwise go unnoticed in my life!




What has launching your website and following your passions taught you about yourself?

Actually, I think I’ve learned more from NOT following my passions than I have from following them. I’ve learned that money is not a motivator and that profit is not a purpose. About five years into my wholesale business, I started chasing the dollar signs, instead of my passions. Nothing but heartache came out of that. I also think that as a creative entrepreneur, our passions can change, and wax and wane, and we have to be cautious but defined about consistency. It’s important when building a team. I’ve learned that it’s important not to rush, and I’ve learned to never sacrifice the luxury of creative self-expression. That’s fuel for us creatives. The moment we stop creating, we’re headed to scary purpose-less burnout zone.


What motivates you to continually create beautiful things?

At the end of 2011, I was incredibly burned out. I stepped back, evaluated what needed to change, analyzed some actions, and then intentionally made some decisions that others would probably have defined as selfish. To a certain extent, the decisions were painful in the short term. However, they were the beginning of creative liberation. I started finding myself again, and the ideas started flowing again. So, I guess you could say that I create in order to preserve my sanity, to make my home a better place for my family, and to make the world a better place while I’m in it.




I noticed that you live in Oklahoma City. (Yay for the Midwest! I’m in Omaha.) What do you enjoy most about living in this part of the country?

Oklahoma City, is, for the most part, a small town, and I think that anyone who lives in a small town would tell you that it has it’s pros and cons. My favorite thing about Oklahoma City, though, is my family, and the network of friends who continues to support me without hesitation, and embrace my wild-fangled entrepreneurial ideas with so much unconditional love. I’m truly blessed.


Anything else I didn’t ask about? 

I talk about purpose a lot, and people often ask me what my WHY statement is, so I thought I’d share it: Glorify God authentically, exemplify the power of choices and change, and love with gratitude and creativity. I try to practice the discipline of using that framework to make every decision.


And now … a few fun questions!


Describe your perfect meal.

Some kind of champagne cocktail, for starters. Then tuna tartare, followed by beef wellington, and if there is still room, some kind of extraordinarily exotic ice creams: think basil, honey, lavender flavors.


What’s your best-kept beauty secret?

Newly discovered Got2B Dry Shampoo. Secret revealed to me by my dear friend and Alt Summit roommate Amber Housley.


When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to combat such feelings?

A couple of things. I’m pretty good at pep-talking myself, so I tell myself that feelings aren’t facts, they’re just emotions trying to get me off course. I go back to my WHY statement and see if it’s in alignment with my actions. I love inspirational quotes, and my faith sustains me through Bible verses I’ve memorized over the years. If that’s not cutting it, I ask my husband or one of my best friends to listen to me. I’m not against resorting to therapy if I just can’t shake it.


What book changed your life?

Hands down, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Start With Why by Simon Sinek was a more recent eye-opening read, and I also really enjoyed the paradigm shift provided by Daring Greatly by Brene Brown recently. Bottom line, I love books.


Editor’s note: Whitney English photos courtesy of Shannon Ho Photography.


Notes from Alt: Social Media 101

This recap rounds out my Alt Summit experience quite nicely, and bookends the other recaps I’ve posted on my blog during the past few weeks. What follows is an overview of my most beloved social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


Although the Alt Summit session was titled Following the Conversation: Social Media 101, I still learned a thing or two from our four panelists: Erin Souder of House of Earnest, Allison Silber of Engaged & Inspired, Kelly Beall of Design Crush, and Meg Biram of Meg Biram – The Edit.


• For example, did you know it’s best for your Twitter and Instagram usernames to be identical?


• Do you use Pinterest to promote your own work?


• Have you considered creating a Twitter list of people with whom you wish to continually network?


These three tips alone were enough to get me thinking about my social media activity, and how it can always be improved – regardless of the platform or purpose.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


>> What social media platform do you prefer? Got any tips or tricks to share? Comment below!

Notes from Alt: Online Organization

Not long after I starting spending significant time online exploring email, social media, and other websites, I discovered a problem: I was quickly growing overwhelmed.


So much great content! So little time! 


It appeared I was wading my way through countless levels of communication and the like while missing some of my most beloved blogs, my most enjoyable emails. And while I have since learned how to navigate my online experience, I’m always open to new methods of productivity.


That’s largely why Erin Loechner’s Alt Summit presentation last month on organizing one’s online life piqued my interested. Erin, of the popular blog Design for Mankind and an impassioned advocate of the slow blogging movement, provided suggestions on staying organized and maximizing efficiency while working, living, and playing online.


One of Erin’s key points, which is outlined in my Haiku Deck below, is this wonderful idea of Golden Hours. Erin suggests tackling your biggest, most creative, most ambitious projects during your Golden Hours: the time of the day you work best.


Anyone who follows me on social knows that my Golden Hours are between 5 and 10 a.m. My creativity is at its sharpest while rising with the sun each morning. In college, I was a night owl. But today? I’m an early bird through and through.


During your Golden Hours, click through my notes recapping Erin’s presentation and ask yourself: How can you make time to dive into your projects that matter most?


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


>> Have a favorite app to stay organized online? Share it!


>> A more detailed recap of Erin’s January 25 Alt Summit presentation is available at Design for Mankind.

Notes from Alt: Personal Branding

Personal branding is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Unexpectedly, following the 2010 publication of Nerdy Thirty, my first book, my idea of personal branding took on a life of its own. Without knowing it, my book and my work promoting its pages culminated into who I was as a writer and (if I’m honest: a nerdy!) woman.


Countless organizations have asked me to write about and discuss this idea of personal branding. (A secret? It’s much more than simply social media.) So when I discovered a personal branding session last month at Alt Summit, I was curious to hear another woman’s perspective.


The energy, expertise, humor, approachability, honesty, and passion put forth from the podium by our speaker, wedding photographer Jasmine Star, made me a personal brand believer yet again.


Jasmine articulated what it means to build one’s brand, how to maintain its momentum, and the easiest way to identify your audience. And trust me when I say that Jasmine’s Alt Summit remarks were about far, far more than photography. (Although her presentation slides were pretty as a … well … picture.)


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


What have you done today to enhance your personal brand? What has worked for you in the past? What are your personal branding goals? Share your thoughts below!

Notes from Alt: Sponsor Collaborations

Last month marked my first Alt Summit, a three-day conference designed to inspire and motivate (primarily female) bloggers of all backgrounds. Alt Summit’s goal is simple: show (and tell) bloggers how to transform their hobbies into paying businesses.


The sessions – much like the impromptu fashion shows made possible by the attendees’ ensembles – were colorful, diverse, and, at times, made for great photography.


The journalist in me cannot thwart the ongoing urge to take notes nearly all of the time. I planned for this, of course, relying exclusively on Evernote and my iPad for each session. (An aside: I first discovered this effective and easy-to-use note-taking app from my good friend, Andy Peters, at BarCamp Omaha a few years ago. When I learned that Evernote could be accessed on a variety of platforms, I fell hard and quickly became a user for life.)


Each Alt Summit session gave me something to consider for this very website. My first on Thursday morning, Collaborations With Sponsors, got my head spinning in the best way possible. Today’s bloggers can build successful relationships with brands of all sizes, yielding increased traffic, sponsored content, and user engagement like never before.


Our panelists included Camille Styles of Camille Styles, Merrilee Liddiard of Merg Mag, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook, and Mitra Morgan of Joss & Main.


In the spirit of sharing my Alt Summit notes with you, I opted to take a different route for each session. Below you will see a nifty online presentation built using Haiku Deck. This free iPad app truly puts PowerPoint to shame, with a seemingly limitless image library to accompany each slide. (Best of all? Haiku Deck slides can be shared effortlessly and saved forever.)


But enough about the tools I used! Let’s talk brand collaboration by way of Camille, Merrilee, Jenny, and Mitra.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


Successful blogger/brand relationships that were also mentioned included The Girls with Glasses Show and kate spade, and Erin Gates and Joss & Main. What collaborations have caught your attention? Have a success story to share? We’d love to hear the details!



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