This year’s Haven Conference was the second blog conference I’ve ever attended (Haven 2012 was my first). Since I’m an introvert, I felt that I missed out on so many opportunities to meet everyone last year. This year, I realized that others felt just as shy as I do so I made the effort to step out of my comfort zone and introduce myself first (although if I didn’t walk up and hug you…I still had a few moments of lack of self esteem and fear) and even now realize that there were a ton of blog friends I wanted to meet but never did. I didn’t even catch a glimpse of a lot of bloggers I wanted to meet the entire time I was there. I guess it’s bound to happen in a crowd that HUGE. Bummer. But like I’ve said before: “Meeting face to face in real life is awesome when there’s an opportunity but I’m just as blessed by my online all-day, all-year-long, anytime friendships too!”
What is Haven? Haven Conference is the place to celebrate that DIY spirit. It is where DIY lovers from all over will gather together to encourage and learn from one another.
First and foremost, I have to give a BIG thanks to Angelina from JoJo & Eloise and Sew Crafty Kids.
I was so excited that my daughter Bri decided to join me on the trip to Atlanta, content to just relax by the pool and have some stress free time away. She’s been wanting to start a blog for quite a while now and so when I tossed out a request for a last minute Haven Conference ticket as a surprise to Bri, Angelina couldn’t attend and generously donated her ticket. Got that? Donated. She wouldn’t take $. Angelina, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Bri came back feeling so inspired, so empowered and super motivated. She learned so much. I love seeing her excitement and her passion fired up.
Angelina’s kindness made all the difference in our amazing experience. I had her ship us some JoJo & Eloise and Sew Crafty Kids business cards for Bri to hand out to at least give Angelina a small presence there. So, if you’d visit her sites, it’d go a long way to contributing to a HUGE group hug for Angelina since she couldn’t be there in person.
The conference kicked off with the gorgeous Ana White telling her story. Let me take a moment to say…she is radiant! Getting to know her better through her keynote speech was a great way to start 3 days of awesomeness, encouragement to believe in ourselves.
You guys, I have NEVER talked so much in my entire life as I did these three days. I know I wasn’t the only hoarse voice but my days are spend talking to a dog and a cat and a few hours in the evening to my husband (when I can get a word in). I’m just not a “talker”. I sure wish I was…I’d have that low sexy voice all the time!
My shyness affects my ability to whip out my camera and ask for photos too. I didn’t take my Canon for that reason…I knew I wouldn’t pull it out of the bag. And you’ll notice it was mostly on the last day: one outfit…not the two cute dresses I wore. Bummed about that. It’s rare that I’m sporting anything other than paint splattered fashion after all! Poor lighting makes for blurry photos. Ugh. But I worked up the courage to get a few, however left without getting so many more than I wanted.
I managed to squeeze in a few classes between hugging and chatting with friends and sponsors: I couldn’t resist the opportunity to support my favorite brands and to understand sponsorship and advertising with blogs from a brand’s point of view. I admire the speakers for their bravery, the ability to be a natural at public speaking and for generously sharing their knowledge. Each class I was able to attend was SO fun! And definitely inspired me to remember to do what I love, not what others love. So many inspiring tips for decorating. If I wasn’t so tired, I’d be rearranging my book shelves right this minute or digging out my Kreg Jig to finally put it to good use.
I still missed out on so many amazing classes. I seriously wanted to attend them all! Why oh why can’t we all have clones?
- Spending some time with the brands I work with face-to-face again was another highlight of the event.
- The sponsors and vendors spoiled us big time! I had to check a bag on the way home as well as ship a package to my home. Thank you so much to all of the sponsors and vendors!
- The accommodations, food and service at the Grand Hyatt were AWESOME!
The dance parties were so much fun! Especially when you’ve learned the DIY/Haven shuffle (created and choreographed by Traci at Beneath My Heart).
The closing by Bob Johnson from Habitat for Humanity was not only funny, it was truly up-lifting and inspiring. The message: Do Good on a Grand Scale. Love that and definitely something at the top of my lift of things to do now.
Thank YOU for each visit, each comment, your support, your encouragement, your compliments, for sharing your projects as well as sharing mine through social media. Whether I’ve met you at Haven or online, I’m so glad we’re friends!
And last but not least, another group hug and HUGE thank you to the amazing Haven team for organizing an inspiring, fun and successful event. It’s everything I’d ever want in a dream conference and you pulled it off. THANK YOU, Rhoda, Kristin, Beth, Traci, Sarah & Chris!
Curious to see who else was there? Visit the Haven Link Up page.