Last Saturday my friend Emily and I trekked down to Seattle to hear Ms. Dunham read from the book she received a scandalous $3.6 million book advance to write.
I've attended a few book readings in my time, but this was the first with not one but TWO opening acts. I could have done with more Lena and less pre Lena, but that's just me. Because clearly there's never enough Lena to satiate me. She predictably read from a few essays and conducted her own Q+A with pre-submitted questions from the audience. She was everything you'd imagine and more. Despite the event going by far too quickly, was it well worth the $77 I paid on Stubhub for my ticket? Well yes, because after I devour the book I'm going to put the autographed copy up for sale on eBay. The book, along with the party favor condoms I received from Planned Parenthood (a sponsor of the evening), should bring in a pretty penny, no?
While island hopping through the San Juan Islands, jewelry designer, Maya Brenner, decided to make a brief visit to the island on which I reside. She was sweet as could be and completely surprised that I recognized her. Adorned in the daintiest of jewels from her fingers to her ears, her summer travel baubles were as lovely as they were subtle.
Among the pieces I most covet of Maya Brenner's designs are the obvious state and initial necklaces she's most renowned for. Though at the tippy top of my wish list is her blinged out shark tooth.
Mere days before leaving for LA I made a point of scheduling a day trip to Seattle to coincide with Sarah Jessica Parker's appearance and the downtown Nordstrom. Apparently the ultimate head count for the event was in the hundreds. Obviously what kept many as just sideline gawkers and not those graced with a tete-a-tete with SJP was the strict rules that Nordstrom enforced for the event. One was only allowed the privilege of standing in line to possibly meet SJP (she was only guaranteed to put in an appearance for an hour) by purchasing a pair of her steeply priced shoes. I arrived 1 1/2 hours before the 3pm event start time and had to wait almost 3 hours to make my way to the front of the line. Though I heard that die hard fans had been standing in line since the store opened, which ultimately proved unnecessary. SJP, aside from being so teeny-tiny, was absolutely lovely and approachable. She took a fair amount of time to chat up those ushered before her. What a moment.
So I bit the bullet and purchased one of the pairs I'd been coveting, The Pola(“Named for the great Polish stage and film actress Pola Negri. Crazy beautiful. One of the most popular and beloved actresses in silent movies. Enormously influential in fashion as well as being a celebrated actress in both film and theatre."). "A bit of delicate grosgrain ribbon trim pays tribute to Sarah Jessica Parker's favorite childhood adornment while providing a signature finishing touch to each shoe."
Well it has finally come to fruition, Sarah Jessica Parker has launched her own shoe line. Collective squeal, right? SJP collaborated with Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus on the collection, which will officially debut at Nordstrom on February 28th.
Color figures quite prominently into the collection, with tones ranging from coral, mint, teal and pink to purple, red and navy. The collection features 25 shoes of varying styles, all made in Italy. The styles range from stilettos and t-bars T-bars to flip-flops and espadrille wedges, with prices starting at $195.
"I've taken inspiration from things in my life such as the grosgrain ribbons I tied in my hair as a girl, to the flower accents from the Sex and the City wardrobe, to references to classic styles from the late Seventies and early Eighties," said Parker. "I'm a firm believer in quality and timelessness and have created this collection with the hopes that women will love wearing it for years to come."
Though SJP does claim colors to be the new neutral, both pairs of heels I'm most drawn to are in black. The Mary Jane style reminds me of the pair of Manolo's Carrie unearthed in the Vogue closet on SATC, though with a twist.
SJP is making the rounds to various Nordstroms across the country holding appearances to promote the line. How lucky are we PNWers that she deemed Seattle a worthwhile locale for a visit. If you're in the area, she'll be at the flagship Nordstrom on March 5th.
I'm now a week and a few days out from the whirlwind that was Alt Summit. To state that I'm still digesting all the information and takeaways from the conference is an understatement. My priority since Alt has been to diligently visit the blogs and social media of the owner of every wonderful business card I was gifted. What a vast array of inspiring ladies I was lucky enough to rub shoulders with.
The highlight, by far, of the conference was the connections made. Again I'll reiterate how putting a goal out into the "universe" really does seem to help with its manifestation. Not to get all gushy, but the girls I connected with are an inspirational uber talented group. I don't know how I got lucky enough to discover such gems at a conference of 700.
Here is a round up of some of the wonderful ladies that made Alt beyond memorable.
Located in Seattle, Washington, Kathy (aka Krafty Kath) is a designer at Microsoft by day, and a crafter by night…and on the weekends too!
Sparrow Soirees, was founded on the belief a fantastic and well executed event partnered with solid marketing creates an incredible experience for all involved. Asia, Owner & Creative Director, has 17 years of event planning and management experience.
Amy, of Commona My House, uses her blog to provide savvy, chic, and timeless inspiration from her house to your house.
Ali believes that chic is forever and inspiration is everywhere. Following in the footsteps of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, women can be stylish, worldly, and fascinating all the days of their lives. With an eye toward design, fashion, food, music, pop culture, and so many other things, In Jackie's Shoes is about cultivating a beautiful life.
Rosa Beltran Design is a small design firm in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles where Rosa designs locally-made, affordable custom furniture; because she doesn't believe good design should be out of reach. She has a penchant for combining old with new, high-end with thrifted, vintage objects with modern finds to create a juxtaposition that is all about contrast.
Andrea, of Legal Miss Sunshine, uses her blog to inspire people to find some fun things to do in and around Los Angeles. Think of her blog as a travelogue, even if she's not traveling very far away from home. The definition of travel is “to go on or as if on a trip or tour.” Plus, she throws in some good DIYs, recipes, and miscellaneous fun stuffs just because. Andrea also has a wonderfully curated shop on Etsy called, naturally, Legal Miss Sunshine.
My roommate was Audrey, the supremely talented designer of French Knot Studios, who I met years ago in Savannah. With a background in design for the theater and an MFA in Fibers, she excels at working with a variety of materials and designing new event details. Her love of all things wedding and event (graphic design, floral design, space planning, music, lighting, menu selection, et cetera) offers a unique opportunity to work on every detail for an event that is truly special and reflects the couple's love story through both its design and her impeccable styling aesthetic. French Knot Studios is also Audrey's lovely shop on Etsy.
Then there were the panels, the round tables, the keynote speakers, the parties, and the hosted dinner the first night.
Highlights for me, aside from the connections, were:
While in Salt Lake City for Alt Summit I did start and end my trip in Utah with time spent in Park City for Sundance. Picture this; the glamour, the glitz, the snow, the layers, and the lines. Park City is at its core an adorable ski town (you can catch a ride on a ski lift right off maint street), that just happens to host a film festival every January. The celebs roll into town to promote their latest projects and roll right out just as quickly.
When I knew I'd be in Salt Lake City for Alt Summit during Sundance, I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to attend the festival. After frequenting the Savannah Film Festival for the past, oh, 4 or 5 years, I thought why not give Sundance a turn.
My traveling companion, Melissa, flew in from Savannah to do Salt Lake City and Park City with me. While I was at Alt Summit she skied Alta. The perfect traveling companion scenario.
We used a car service to trek the 30 or so miles back and forth between Salt Lake City (our home-base) and Park City. If you've never used a car service, which I had not, I highly recommend it. We had to pay a pretty penny for this luxury, but it took so much of the hassle out of navigating unknown roads in the middle of a dark and snowy wonderland. Plus, there's no public transportation between Salt Lake City and Park City, so we really had no other option. At least that's how I justify the expense.
I had the foresight to purchases passes well in advance of Sundance, so we had all our movie tickets in hand. The pass purchasing along with the movie selecting is all very time consuming. You have to pre register for a time slot to purchase your pass and then do the same for the movie selection. There are a LOT of hoops to jump through. Then ultimately several of the movies I wanted to see; jOBS, Before Midnight, and Austenland, were sold out or playing at theaters in other cities. Yes, Sundance doesn't only take place in Park City, it's spread out over a number of cities surrounding Park City.
Then there's the part of Sundance that was a bit surprising. Only one of the numerous "theaters" in Park City during Sundance are actual theaters. The rest are a school theater, a racquet club, and various makeshift screening rooms. The only real theater, I believe, is the Egyptian Theater on main street. A petite theater, which took the Egyptian theme and ran with it. It's an adorable venue, reminiscent of my local art house/indie/foreign (what have you) theater. There were a number of free shuttles to transport you from one venue to another, a lifesaver in the chilly temperatures.
Our passes not only gained us entree into the closing night party but also into various sponsored "houses", co-ops, venues, and cafes. These were all rather lackluster except for the venue which had a space sponsored by Loreal Paris (hello free merchandise in exchange for a makeover) and featured a "Sundance" themed photo-booth.
Main street itself had an equal mix of shops filled to the brim with touristy trinkets along with a fair mix of more appealing shops with an array of native, western, and cold weather accessories for ones person and home. I just couldn't leave town without a pair of earrings from Davies Reid. They're silver and I'm never usually drawn to silver, but apparently I am when in Park City. Main street also had a variety of options for a bite. We did the one meal per day in Park City, as that was really all that time allowed for. We had BBQ at Bandits which was drop dead delicious and Mexican at Blue Iguana, which offered not only delicious fare but also some local color.
We had tickets to five films each of the days spent at Sundace, but ended up selling off two each day. Three movies a day ended up being more our speed. The first day was Lovelace, Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, and Touchy Feely. The second day was: In a World..., Muscle Shoals, and Two Mothers. They all ran the gamut of themes, but interestingly enough, all, except for Muscle Shoals (a documentary about the music coming out of a small town in Alabama), had strong female leads. Several were very intense to sit through, Lovelace and Emauel and the Truth About Fishes specifically. My top three picks would have to be: Lovelace, In a World..., and Muscle Shoals. All but two of the films had representation for the Q+A after the screening. Aside from getting to see films far in advance of their national release, the perk of a festival screenings is without a doubt the dialog during the Q+A. The festival, for us, started on a high note with
Amanda Seyfriend and Peter Skarsgaard being present at the 9am screening of Lovelace. At the world premier (yes, WORLD premier) of Muscle Shoals, they had great representation from many of the gentleman featured in the documentary. Representation for the other films was in the way of writers, directors, and producers.
The pinnacle of Sundance was supposed to be the Awards Night Party. There was a DJ, appetizers, an open bar, a photo booth!!! (of which we took more than our alloted turns), and the presence Ed Burns and Lake Bell. Both of whom my friend spoke to, I just don't do things like that, so I held back. The party was a good time, but not that good of a time.
The people we encoutered in line, or on the shuttle, or just walking about Park City were one of the highlights. Everyone seemed to be from elsewhere and they really made the experience; offering recommendations, tips, and just good conversation.
Scheduling of a return visit for next year is already in the works.