October 9, 2014

#designervaca 2014

#DesignerVaca Palm Springs 2014 at the Ace hotel | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Sun kissed and full of inspiration to just get shit done I am back from my second year attending DesignerVaca. For those of you unaware of what DesignerVaca is you can check it out here, but in short, it’s like a huge three day meet-up with a bunch of graphic designers all eager to get to know each other and share their knowledge. Plus, it’s hosted at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs which is a huge plus! Chill poolside vibes all around!

When I attend last year I was honestly a little overwhelmed. I am not the most social person and there was just a little too much going on for my little introverted self, however I left having made a few great new friends and a ton of new knowledge to apply to my new life as a fulltime freelancer. Attending deisgnervaca this year was less stressful; I had a better idea of what to expect and knew a few of the girls already. While I learned so much last year, this year it was more about making really amazing in-person connections. It’s so weird how you feel like you know someone online and then you meet them in person, sometimes even with a little bit of hesitation, and they turn out to be 100000 times more amazing when what you had ever anticipated.

I think my biggest takeaway from this year is that we are all in this together. I guess you could consider us all to be competitors but that isn’t the case or vibe at all. We each have our own unique backgrounds, expertise and experiences, which we are more then happy to share. If you’ve had a sticky client situation in the past or don’t know how to handle a certain part of your business there is a very good chance quite a few of the other girls have either gone through the same thing or are currently going through it too. The truly amazing part was that everybody was so open and willing to share everything. There was no such thing as secrets, everybody was super open to just laying it all out there and helping each other out. This transparency and honesty really energized me to go home and just get shit done. I have so many ideas and clarity on what I want to do with my business, where I want it to go, and most importantly, how I want to use it to also help fellow designers.

That pretty much sums up the magic of DesignerVaca. There seems to be no other event or conference or meet up out there that has this same vibe. If you are a freelance designer, whether you’ve been doing it for a few months or a few years, DesignerVaca is the place to be.

Everybody who attended DesignerVaca (see a full list here!!) is amazing and talented and although I didn’t meet everyone I did have a few really amazing in-depth conversations with a few ladies that I would like to highlight. First of all there was my three roommates, Becky Murphy, Kate Wong and Laina Miller, with which I discussed everything, including design processes, exercising and that awkward stage in your early 20ies when you are trying to figure out who you are. Then there was Jessa Stevens who I just feel like I connected with right away and who I would like to add to my BFF list, as well as Sian who I got to travel down with and who has an awesomely adventurous attitude towards life. I got to catch up with Shauna Haider, who after admiring for a long time I got to meet last year and am so happy to call a friend. I got to meet Anelise Salvo with whom I talked about surfing and traveling and raising a family while doing both! I got some quality poolside chats with Azalea, a fellow vancouverite who I am looking forward to hanging out with more often and Emily Leclerc who gave me a ton of healthy cooking ideas. The fan-girl highlight was meeting Jessica Hische again and getting to soak up plenty of her wisdom, in areas such as design, lettering, book deals, acupuncture and overall health issues/solutions, a very resourceful girl indeed! And lastly, there was Patti Murphy, with whom I had chatted online a few times and who, upon meeting, I realized I have so much more in common then I would have ever known. Unfortunately all these amazing ladies live all across North America, making it difficult to stay in touch. However, this does add about nine new cities to my list of places I want to visit at some point in the near future!

Below are a few images from the weekend, it wasn’t easy narrowing it down :p If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed that I took a day trip to salvation mountain. Since this post is getting lengthy and salvation mountain is a rather special place I will save that story for another post.

If you are curious about what my biggest takeaway from last year was click through to read this post.

Cactus Collection at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

My friend the shark Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Pretty Pixel Pushers at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Quiet morning at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Photobooth fun with new BFFs at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Salton Sea outside of Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

desert textures Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Photobooth Roomies Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Don't lose sight of Love, or your belongings. hanging out poolside at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs #designervaca  | www.alicia-carvalho.com/blog

Comments: 9

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It was so much fun spending Saturday together! Don’t forget to look for a place that delivers produce baskets cuz I am SURE that hippy Vancouver has a few options ;). And yes you must visit Montreal! (but come in summer – winter is never ending!)

Oh right!!! I totally forgot about the baskets, I will look that up, thanks for the reminder :)

Don’t worry, I don’t think I’d want to visit in the Winter anyway! haha

October 10, 2014


1. I love the ‘Palm Springs’ hand lettering! 2. Dammmn, I wish I’d gone this year! haha. Sounds like it was a really great time.

1. Thank you!! 2. You were missed <3 Let's skype soon!!!

These photos are stunning Alicia! This looks and sounds so super fun and inspiring

Thanks Sally :) Too bad you aren’t closer to join in!

Wow, I love your take on Designer Vaca, Alicia! I’ve been a freelance graphic designer for 6 months & it’s a dream of mine to attend some day. Freelance can be weird…while you get more freedom on a few fronts it sometimes feels like less because you’re not surrounded by other creatives as easily.

It sounds like DV is a great place to communicate with people who are like, “Yeah, I’ve been there!”

Ditto! You should try to go next year. I super highly recommend it.

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