How to stay mentally and physically healthy for Alt Summit

Here’s what I learned last year from Alt Summit.

If you are unaware, this Wednesday kicks off Alt Summit here in Salt Lake City. It is a blogging conference for design, fashion and lifestyle bloggers. I will be teaching a class during one of the Saturday sessions on Video Editing and iMovie for bloggers. I’ve convinced Jenner from Lumineux Films to come be a guest speaker. His work IS AMAZING and basically, my class is going to ROCK!

But let’s rewind about one year, shall we?

Last year I was REALLY nervous to attend Alt Summit. Like, I didn’t want to buy a ticket because it felt so exclusive and elite. And even though I LOVE chatting, I can only so do for small amounts of time. I also get a lot of anxiety and I need big breaks between large social events. Add that to the fact I HATE the idea of place where you are expected to “network” and I’m still not sure why I signed up! Ha. But I am so SO GLAD I did.

The week before Alt Summit I rebranded my website, I changed it from She Blogs She Blogs to The Alison Show, I made hundreds of bottles of nail polish with my name on them, got new business cards, and went shopping a whole bunch to have JUST the right outfits. Obviously I wasn’t sleeping.

And then I got REALLY sick.

When I get sick and stressed I almost ALWAYS lose my voice. I have vocal nodules (yes, like in Pitch Perfect!) and I’m super susceptible to my voice turning into one like the people on the anti-smoking ads.


So, on the first day of the conference, with anxiety mounting, and my ability to speak diminished, I started freaking out. And I knew I needed a game plan. So here it is:


Not because they are big bloggers, brands, or someone of importance. But because they are people.

I went back to the rules of etiquette my mama taught me. Ask others questions about themselves, take an interest in them, don’t talk about yourself too much, and don’t say negative things about other people (which is tempting in a big group of mostly women who all KIND of know each other, right?).

I decided it was a good thing I had lost my voice, because I tend to talk WAY too much when I feel anxious. I had a wonderful time, met wonderful people and I might have even, GASP, networked without realizing it.

Also, if you’re like me, allow yourself to take breaks! Some people can chat and chat and boogie ALL NIGHT! I know that in order to fall asleep I need about an hour of down time, no chatting, no socializing, before bed. It’s ok to miss things. I don’t mean you shouldn’t reach out of your comfort zone. You should! But if you HAVE to pop a drug to do so…reconsider?!

So that takes care of staying mentally healthy, let’s move on to how to stay healthy in what my girl Nat the Fat Rat has deemed the germiest state ever. She lives in New York BTW…but we’ll forgive her just this once, because it lends itself to my point!

Screen shot 2013-01-21 at 8.36.19 AM


Whatever it is you THINK you need to finish, 200 pom-poms, personalized carvings for influential bloggers, hand-stamped business cards even though you don’t have time, IT’S NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK IT IS. Trust me. I go over-the-top for EVERYTHING. But this year I am hosting a dinner, teaching a class, and I’m PREGNANT. Even if you are not doing those things, I know you are busy too. If you can fit in whatever it is and still get 6 hours of sleep, fine, do it. But if not, let it go.

I know, I KNOW. This from the girl who guzzles diet soda like she’s sponsored? But we have what we like to call “altitude” here at the Alt Summit and people do get altitude sickness. It is dry, even though it is snowing, and you need lots and lots of water. I know it’s annoying to have to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes, but one time I got to wash my hands next to Victoria from SF Girl by Bay…so, there’s ALWAYS THAT!

You’ll tell yourself to wash your hands a lot, but then you won’t want to once they have stared cracking a bleeding from dryness. I LOVE Bath and Body Work’s Moisturizing hand sanitizer, it’s a lotion and sanitizer IN ONE, but I’ve also seen them at CVS and Wal-Greens. If you don’t get one of these keep a small hand cream in your bag so that after washing your hands you can LUBE UP!

If you are SUPER susceptible to getting sick, my friend Susan says her and her family all snort ZICAM every night in the winter. She swears by it!

Reserve this for if you feel the infection coming in. My mom FORCED me to do this and now I still force myself and Eric to do it at the first sign of a cold. In a glass of warm water dissolve as much salt as you can. Like, 2-3 tablespoons. You want it to almost gag you. Then gargle the whole thing, DO NOT SWALLOW. This kills the infection pretty well and gives a swollen throat relief.

Ewww, Alison, you’re so gross. At Alt the food is YUMMY! Better than other conferences I’ve been to FOR SURE. But it is also hotel and conference food, so I suggest grabbing yourself some apples, or other fresh fruit and veggies to snack on in your hotel roo.

And there you have it! You’re going to have a FABULOUS time at Alt Summit and DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY with me! Right?!

And if you are NOT going, I hope these tips are useful for you in whatever endeavors you undertake!



  1. I’m definitely in the nervous category for Alt, so I’m really relieved to read about your experience 🙂 see you there!

  2. I’ma try that salt water gargle thing if I get sick this year! Also, I love Zicam and think it works really well, BUT don’t use the nasal spray one. The FDA says it can damage your nerves up in there and permanently affect your sense of smell! Yikes!

  3. I so loved this. Love your writing style. I am an Alt. newbie so loved all of the info. Thanks for the lotion tip. Let’s get this party started.

  4. Joy

    Yay! Thank you for the tips – I always need the reminder to step back, listen more, speak less, and enjoy. As for the germs, I’m a big believer in Coldcalm, which you can get at Whole Foods. It’s saved me from several colds and I just love it. Here’s to a happy and healthy conference!

  5. great post… this will be my 3rd time ALT and i swear i get a cold every.single.time. i’m feeling little tingles in my nose and getting super annoyed. so, i’ve been forcing myself to go to sleep early (despite all i think i need to get done), i’m taking the zicam and vitamins like crazay! (and ps- thanks for the salt water reminder). love that you posted on this! and hope to meet you this year!
    xo . trina

  6. these are great trips for travel, in general . . . i feel like airplanes and conference rooms practically breed sickness 😉

    alt summit seems so intimidating and AMAZING. i can’t wait to learn more about it when everyone gets back (because i feel like every blogger i read is going!)

  7. Oh yes, I needed this. I’m feeling mostly super duper excited, and then this knot in my stomach tells me I’m also pretty nervous. Preparing for Alt has felt like a total whirlwind, so I need to drink water, sleep and unwind before heading into the crazy awesomeness of the actual conference. Whew. Breathe.

    I hope to boogie next to your baby bump:) xoxo

  8. So, I’ve been hearing a lot about this big event. Mostly via instagram and blogging. Is this an annual event? I def can’t go this year but I may be interested in the future. Can you give me more details?

  9. I LOVE these comments and I can’t wait to meet you!! I’ve been popping extra vitamin C for weeks just to make sure I don’t get sick at the last minute and miss out 🙂 And I’m also hand-stamping my biz cards tonight heheheh but I won’t stay up too late:)

  10. Oh my, I’m SO glad you wrote this post. I have been thinking about going to ALT next year but was a little intimidated. And after seeing everyone’s photos on IG, I am seriously terrified. Everyone is so famous!! You’re right though, being nice seems like the only thing to do. And you seem like that would just come naturally for you!

  11. Hi Alison! Loved hanging with you tonight! I totally hear you on only being able to talk to people for short periods of time and then needing a break. I’m the same way when I’m around a lot of people. These are all great tips and I love your blog! Your new fan, Mindy G

    1. um, HUZZAH! I love you stopping by my blog! In a week, when we’ve both recovered let’s meet up! xo

  12. ady

    What background is that? Love it! Is it that fringe from Oriental?

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