I don’t even know where to start. No seriously. I’m staring at my computer screen and I have so many thoughts racing through my head, but I literally don’t know where to begin. I’m still processing everything that I learned and experienced at the Haven Conference. Hmm, I guess I’ll start at the beginning? (Ingenious, I know!)
Let me start by saying when I purchased my Haven ticket several months ago, I really didn’t know what it was other than a conference for bloggers. I had literally started blogging just weeks earlier and came across a “tweet” about the conference stating that there would be a Twitter chat starting in five minutes. I thought it sounded interesting so I attended part of the chat. (It was lucky that I had signed onto Twitter right at that moment!) During the chat, I found out that the conference was here in Atlanta. I felt that it was meant to be and might be a fun experience, so I bought my ticket then and there, not knowing much about it at all and never having even heard of a “bloggers conference.” I found out much more about it as the months went by, and as it turned out, I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect conference to attend.
|Advanced Painting Session|
This was the very first year of Haven, and it was specifically geared toward Home/DIY bloggers like myself. It was as “hands-on” as these types of events can be, and there were several reasons I wanted to attend: to learn, to network with other bloggers and brands, to be inspired, and to figure out what on earth I am doing with this whole hobby-turned-sorta-business thing. To say that this conference exceeded my expectations would be a major understatement. I learned, I networked, I was inspired, and I figured out what I need to do (for the time being) on the business side of things. I even made lots of friends, many of whom I considered friends before we even met “in person.”
Blogging is a very interesting “profession??” “hobby?” “job?” – I don’t know what you want to call it. I guess all of the above. But it is very community-oriented. There is so much support and such a bond between fellow bloggers. We all do this because we love it, and many of us consider it to be our job – whether very, very part-time, or totally full-time. I think what’s really unique about this is that although you can make a career out of it (and many people don’t realize that – I certainly didn’t when I started), that is usually never the reason people get into it. Most people fall into it by accident because it starts as a hobby. Because we all love what we do so much, there is an instant bond among all of us. So when we attend a conference, it’s kinda like summer camp. We don’t hold hands and sing Kumbaya (Hey! Maybe we should? Write that down, conference organizers.), but we certainly feel a sense of camaraderie and instant friendships form from the moment we meet. We all try our best to help each other out rather than compete with each other, whether it be through promoting each other’s blogs or businesses, or just bouncing ideas off of each other and sharing advice and/or experiences with one another. We interact with each other constantly online, so conferences are the perfect place to come together and hang out and have a great time, while learning and connecting with brands at the same time.
|Cute spray-painted chandeliers in Rust-Oleum vendor booth.|
Now, onto the specifics of Haven. I learned so much! I attended the following sessions: How to Grow your Blog; Advanced Painting; Photography/Photo Styling; Thrifting 101; Carpentry; and Advertising. In order to prevent this post from being a mile long (it kind of already is, no?) I’ll have to break this up into separate posts and focus more on the specific sessions I attended. But please know that each and every speaker did a fabulous job and shared so much wisdom. I also attended two cocktail parties which were so much fun! Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures at all. I know, shame on me! But I was so immersed in the whole experience it rarely occurred to me to take out my camera and snap some pics. I did get a few though.
Check out these adorable spray-painted centerpieces at the Rust-Oleum Cocktail party:
I even got to bring one home with me!:
Oh – and who could forget, the LOOT! Oh, the loot… Wow. First of all, the swag bags were AWESOME! And I won So. Much. STUFF!!! I actually started to feel guilty about the amount of stuff I won. I was totally on a roll! They were all random drawings, with the exception of one prize which I entered by “tweeting” to the company. I won the following items: a cubby organizer from PureBond (designed by Ana White), a Ryobi paint sprayer, an Annie Sloan stencil, a Cutter gift set full of all kinds of bug repellent products, a DIY Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing Kit from Rust-Oleum. Oh, and I won the Haven Twitter Chat giveaway from Homes.com a few weeks ago and received an Amazon gift card! I know! “WINNING!!!” I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Chris (my hubs) said I should hop a flight to Vegas before I headed home. I don’t know what was up with my luck, but it was seriously embarrassing. I am so sorry Haven ladies. I feel like I should give some of it away. I am so thankful though and really appreciate all of it. It’s a good thing I am local or I would have spent a not-so-small fortune shipping everything home.
|Haven Swag Bag|
|Ana White Cubby Organizer from PureBond|
Overall, I can’t say enough great things about Haven. Thank you so much to all of the ladies who worked so hard to put together the event and make it a success. You did an amazing job! And thank you to all of the inspiring bloggers/DIY-ers that I met. You are all so wonderful and I hope to keep in touch with every single one of you.
I’ll be writing more about Haven soon, so stay tuned! (I know, this is already long, but I have a lot to say about it!)
Did you attend Haven? What was your favorite part? If you weren’t there, what do you think about the whole idea of blog conferences?
I am linking this post to:
Southern Hospitality Blog