Once a year a magical event takes place in the deep south of Atlanta, Georgia…. some people call it a blogging conference but most of us just call it
Heaven Haven. If you’ve never heard of Haven before it’s a conference specific to bloggers in the Home Decor and DIY portion of the Internet… y’all these are my people.
For three days I spent time learning how to drill pocket holes, find inspiration in everyday places (thanks Home Decorators Collection!) and best of all I met the most amazing people from all over the US (and Canada!). Just look at this amazing map! All of the business cards represent one of the 400+ bloggers in attendance… if you look real closely at Alabama you might even see little old me!
Being a naturally shy person means meeting new people (especially in large groups!) can be a little daunting… but I managed to brave the mass crowds to meet a couple new faces! The sweet little faces on the top left belong to Elaine from House of Hargrove and her sweet littles! I actually met Elaine at a conference in Chicago so it was amazing to see a familiar face on the first day.
On the other hand Nancy from Antiques and Gardens is a new friend! She is just starting her blog (she might have even changed her blog name last night!) and I’m so excited to see where her blogging journey takes her.
Steph and Vicki blog together Mother Daughter Projects and they are the sweetest gals you’ve ever met! I ran into them quite a few times over the weekend and felt an instant connection to them, I think we have a lot in common!
Now these ladies have been mentioned here a time or two… starting, of course, with Marion from Miss Mustard Seed! I have mentioned her a time or two but y’all this time she actually recognized me… it was a glorious moment!
Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect actually lives about an hour away from me so I’ve been known to frequent her store in Troy, AL (she’s the closest retailer of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!) of course I’ve followed her blog for years so when I got her for a blog mentor this year I was ecstatic!
Evey from Evey’s Creations was also in my mentor group and y’all she’s one of the creators of the Fab Flip Contest! It was so much fun to meet her in person!
Now here’s the best part of the entire conference… I was able to meet the adorable Crystal from What Treasures Await! She’s one of my co-hosts for Welcome Home Wednesdays so I work with her every single week and it was fabulous to finally meet this sweet lady in person. I knew she was going to the conference but she found me almost immediately (at breakfast the first day), blogging conferences are the best for meeting people who already feel like friends!
(ps if you’re one of my awesome new friends I didn’t mention please don’t think I hate you… it’s just that my brain is still not functioning properly from all the sleep deprivation that is Haven and I keep remembering new people that I met all weekend! Then once I do remember them it’s another whole project to pull their name out of my brain or find their card… I think I also made an awesome friend name Linda? Does that sound familiar? I know I met a really shy girl in a teal sweater at the newbie meeting but I have no idea what her name is… I need at least another week of detox before I can be expected to know these things!. pps if you’re Linda or the mystery teal sweater girl message me!).
Y’all I don’t even know how to describe Haven to you… I learned all about styling decor specifically for photos, affiliate marketing (I actually got to talk to Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body!), Email Marketing… but the craziest part was the sponsors booths! I mean there were sponsors stationed all the way around the ballroom as well as the lower level of the hotel… it was absolutely insane… but don’t take my word for it take a look for yourself!
I want that nailgun… I mean how amazing does that thing look? I definitely need it! Next year that’s my mission… learn how to use the nail gun.
Y’all don’t be confused by the next picture… this flooring is waterproof. If I didn’t live in a rental I would already be installing it!
Marion and Shaunna delivered the opening speech and it was amazing to hear them sit down and talk about blogging. They really treated it just like a great big girls night out and instead of talking at us they talked with us. They’ve been exactly where we are now and it was amazing to hear them talk about leaving the hamster wheel of blogging behind and focusing on what made you start blogging in the first place.
Decorating, making a space beautiful, having fun, experimenting, spending time with your family… maybe a little bit of all of the above!
I’ve been so focused on keeping to a set schedule lately so this talk was especially liberating for me… it made me step back and realize that when you try so hard at everything, every single thing suffers. So I’m going to be changing it up a little bit around here. I’ve worked out a new schedule with posts on Mondays and Fridays, Welcome Home Wednesdays on Wednesdays (imagine that!) and Fantastic Finds Saturdays… on Saturdays!
The newsletter of fantastic original content should arrive in your inbox every other Thursday around 1pm… and if you want to sign up for this there is a sign up box for a free paint planner at the very bottom of this post! Grab your free paint planner and score a subscription to the newsletter at the same time!
That should give us a good bit of posts and newsletter content… as well as ebook launch time…. since I’m launching an ebook!
The entire conference was amazing: learning new things, meeting new people, completely fan girling over John and Sherry from Young House Love (they were the closing speech y’all!!!!). The best part?
At one point I had a gal come up beside me and say “you’re Happily Ever After, Etc. aren’t you?”. Y’all she recognized me… and I didn’t even introduce myself! To little old me that’s absolutely insane… sometimes it’s hard to understand that people are actually out there reading this. It still feels like it’s just me sitting at my computer tip tapping away at the keys with maybe my Mom for a reader. I am so grateful for each and every person that takes the time to stop by my little site, you make my heart happy.
Of course one of the most surprising parts of the entire conference was all of the swag!
I mean honestly y’all can you believe all of the things on this couch!?
When I registered the first day they handed me a name tag, a program and a red husky tool bag full of swag… most of the things on the couch before y’all were stuffed inside that bag!
Can you even imagine the generosity of these sponsors?
Or the million ideas for projects that are twirling through my head?! The best part is this isn’t even all the swag… there’s still a gift card for the Home Decorators collection, Peel and Stick backsplash, cabinet hardware… I’m halfway through with planning the most amazing kitchen re-do ever!
I’m so excited!!!
I mean look at this y’all… a Dremel! I have my very own Dremel!! Not to mention a Ryobi powerdrill… a cordless Ryobi powerdrill!
I can’t wait for all of the projects I will do with you little powerdrill… starting with new hardware for the kitchen cabinets! *smooch*
On a side note the hubby keeps calling the little powerdrill “his” although he did not attend Haven nor receive this amazing powerdrill (from Linda the amazing mystery lady who’s last name and blog name still escapes me… although I do remember she’s from Lancaster, PA… details are not helpful brain I need cold hard facts). Obviously he needs a brain adjustment ;).
Well if you’ve made it this far I salute you… it’s not easy to make it through the random maze that is my brain! This post was definitely a bit more un-organized than most… but that’s the magic of Haven! I have so many projects rolling around in my head… we are going to have so much fun y’all.
That’s definitely my favorite part of Haven… the rejuvenated creativity!
Ann Smith says
I love it!!
Betsy, I’m just getting around to catching up and reading posts! I feel like my head is swimming since Haven. It was so awesome to meet you in person! Bloggers have got to be the coolest people on earth! 🙂 The whole thing was just AMAZING!! Thanks for the sweet words…