Ohhhh Haven. You did it to me again. Left me feeling overwhelmed, inspired, educated, full of emotions and with a bunch of new friends and arms full of free swag. Needless to say, Haven Conference 2013 was a huge success. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Haven Conference is a Home & DIY blog conference here in Atlanta where bloggers can attend sessions to learn all sorts of things about decorating, DIY and the business side of blogging, plus network with each other and connect with brands. Oh, and there is swag. So…much….swag. (Excuse the grainy Instagram photos throughout this post.)
First of all, I want to thank the entire Haven team for their hard work putting this conference together. They did a fabulous job. I also want to give a big shout-out to the sponsors, especially my buddies at RYOBI for hosting an amazing party, (Sidenote: stay tuned for a fun RYOBI review and giveaway tomorrow!), and Rust-Oleum for putting together an awesome cocktail party. Also huge thanks to Home Depot for being the main sponsor and just being awesome in general.
I decided to stay in a nearby hotel with my friend Erica from Spoonful of Imagination rather than commuting across town this year. I’m so glad we did! We were so exhausted after each day, I don’t think we would have had the energy to fight Atlanta traffic. As you can see, by the second day, we were pretty tired. (Truth be told, I’m still hardly coherent as I write this.) Here’s me, Lisa (and her baby bump) and Erica in one of the sessions.
As for sessions, I attended a woodworking session all about casing doors and installing crown moulding which was awesome. I also went to the “Designing Out of the Box” session, and “Advanced Advertising” where I learned a ton. The second day, I attended classes about Google/SEO, Brand & Blogger Relationships, and Magazine Publishing. I’m still processing everything I learned, and it will take me a while to really start implementing everything. I feel like I still haven’t even gotten through my “to do” list from last year as far as the behind-the-scenes blog stuff goes!
It was so great to see so many familiar faces and to meet so many new people too. It’s such an amazing thing to connect with so many people who are passionate about the same things you are. We all love creating, sharing, attempting to inspire people, making our houses feel like home, and DIY.
Erica and I had lots of fun in the Porch.com photo booth!
Oh, and the closing ceremony. Oh gosh. It was so moving and brought tears to my eyes. A handful of my fellow bloggers partnered with GMC and Habitat for Humanity to travel the World’s Longest Yard Sale picking out items to revamp and repurpose, and decorated a home to surprise a family in need. This year, the family was from Atlanta and their lives were forever changed on Sunday. A mother of 4 who could hardly afford to get by despite working all the time, whose children didn’t even own beds (they shared mattresses on the floor) and who had never even owned a dining room table, received a brand new home which she now owns. Her children received their own beds for the first time ever. In the closing speech we were given the challenge as bloggers to use our influence to do good on a grand scale. I would absolutely love to accept this challenge, and somehow use my blogging reach and “influence” to give back and do something good. This family was given such a blessing and a gift and I would love to find a way to bless others in this way. I think every single person in that room was inspired, and hopefully together we can do something huge to really impact lives the way that Habitat and GMC are doing with the help of bloggers. (You can catch up with the GMC home reveal by following #GMCHTA on social media.)
So, we all left Haven full of all sorts of emotions and goals and inspiration.
But I have to say, as much fun as Haven was, it was really nice to come home and wake up to this. (I know it’s super grainy. It was dark in the room!) I totally got teary-eyed seeing my babies’ faces even though I had only been gone for 2 1/2 days! (It felt like much longer.)
I could go on and on forever about what a wonderful experience Haven was, but I’ll stop here. Suffice it to say that this little blog/business would not be what it is today (and what it will hopefully be in the future) without all I’ve learned the past two years at Haven.
If you were at Haven and we didn’t meet, please let me know so I can follow you! I hate that there were so many people I didn’t have the chance to talk to.
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