I’m back from the AMAZING Haven 2013 Conference in Atlanta, and I am SO energized, inspired and ready to roll! For me, I truly believe it was life changing (and I don’t toss that around lightly). I’ve been back for a few days now as I stayed in Atlanta to an extra day to
see the historic sites shop and rest. My mind was so full after all the informative sessions.
Many have asked me what exactly Haven was all about. It is a conference for like minded DIY’er Bloggers, talented people that love to create, paint, design, think outside the box, build, do! I call myself a doer and dreamer, and there were SO many doers and dreamers at Haven. There were sessions geared for us baby bloggers, and many for the advanced bloggers, there were sessions on advanced painting, and woodworking, and photography and and and! The organizers did an amazing job ensure that baby bloggers like me and pros were all interested in something. All the sessions I took were excellent, and all the speakers were so approachable after the fact.
There are some really great Haven recaps written, and I was intimidated to write my own, so I won’t try to compete, I will just tell you how my trip unfolded. Warning, I am not a good blogger – there are hardly any pictures, and the ones I have are bad iphone ones…I’ll work on that. Promise.
The FIRST amazing thing that happened to me (I’m choosing to forget about the getting up at 3am Atlanta time, travelling, almost missing my connecting flight, shitty customs experience, the exhaustion and stress that I felt before I even arrived, we will just jump to the fun part) was meeting some awesome women right off the bat! Lucky me, I got to meet Heather right off the same flight I was on, and Shannon in the airport. Yup, theses ladies (who coincidently happen to be Canadian as well!) were arriving at the same time and we had arranged via a Haven FaceBook group to meet up. Shannon arranged a STRETCH limo and we were all set. Atlanta airport is huge so we drove around for awhile until we could meet up with Kelly and Kristi, and then our AWESOME limo driver took us to Starbucks for a coffee – way fun!
These are some fun and talented girls! There are awesome pictures of us at Starbucks, but I don’t have them…so um, sorry! Trust me, it was fun!
After checking into the beautiful and SWANKY Hyatt Grand Buckhead, we went to register and thats when it hit me. Sarah from Thirfty Decor Chic was there casually checking me in, Miss Mustard Seed herself was just standing there chatting, and Karianne from Thistlewood Farms was standing in the lobby laughing away with Shawna from Perfectly Imperfect. WHAT? I’m standing here, chatting laughing with all these women who I spoke about in my first ever blog post. Holy. It was like I was at a rock concert. Backstage. With a VIP ticket. HOLY WOW!
After I regained my composure, I put on a brave face and introduced myself as a newbie. I left my “please like me I’m new” pin home, but I think it would totally have worked there. There were lots of newbies, and lots of people meeting up with old friends and new, the lobby of that hotel was LOUD! One very distinguished gentleman asked me if it was a reunion of sorts, and I guess, yes, it was. Everyone knows everyone online. So the high pitched squeals were common.
He also thought we were “loggers” not “bloggers” that took a minute to clarify.
That evening we had a beautiful pool side reception in the Atlanta heat sponsored by Homes.com and ForRents.com. It was lovely, loud, hot and fun. I felt fortunate to be hanging out with Heather and Shannon, they knew EVERYONE and were very kind to introduce me to all. I did introduce myself to some of my favourite bloggers, and they were so kind. (I probably should not have introduced myself as a stalker to Kim at Sand and Sisal, but she was very gracious, thank you Kim).
Friday started with light breakfast with new friends and then an inspiring opening session with key note speaker super talented Ana White. I LOVED her speech and Ana, I am working on “stocking my shelves” as Ana said I should!
I was fortunate to meet and have a nice long chat with Ana and her equally talented and super quiet hubby later that evening at Ryobi dinner and dance party.
I spent the morning taking advanced painting classes with the one and only Marian from Miss Mustard Seed and the other one and only Shawna West from Perfectly Imperfect. It was an excellent class and I could have gone home after this session, I felt the whole trip was worth just that one class! Marian is amazing and inspiring in so many ways.
I spent the afternoon taking a class with 3 more amazing women, and could not believe I was in the room with Karianne from Thistlewood Farms again. The class was called New Kids On The Block..yup..pretty approprite for this newbie, and it was SO WELL DONE. Thank you ladies. (and they even had a contest and a give away to boot – yippee).
I totally love this lady. LOVE. She is even MORE genuine and kind and smiley and funnier in real life if that is even possible, and she is extremely smart and savvy and encouraging too! She’s THE REAL DEAL folks, luvs her!
(And yes she does wear big earrings and red lipstick just like you thought!)
The last class of the day was on growing a creative business. I know…perfect right? I tell ya, this conference was custom designed for ME. (well, I’m pretty sure it was anyways)
The class was taught by 2 other women I have admired and followed their blogs for over a year. I don’t have any pictures (my iPhone was completely dead by then) but the class was awesome, educational and fun. I mean who doesn’t like to have chocolates thrown at them while learning cool things? Check out Gina and Jen’s blogs. They are FAB and inspiring!
We jumped right into a fun cocktail party hosted by Rust-Oleum and Home Depot – great food, live sax player and yummy cocktails!
We then went across the street for a dinner and dance party hosted by Ryobi tools. That was a blast, with great company, great food and lots of fun!
If you are still reading – wow – you are an awesome friend! Thank you
I think this will be the longest post I will ever write!
Saturday was full of tons of inspiration, a WONDERFUL class by the awesome Barb from Annie Sloan Unfolded, LOVED LOVED LOVED this class and was very happy to take it with my new BFF Heather. She rocks.
The other sessions I took on Saturday were SEO tips with Court Tuttle which was super awesome he is brilliant and has been very helpful post Haven (and I’m sorry Court, I’m failing at a lot of SEO stuff here I know), and Profitable Advertising, where I had a chance to chat with Sarah, the class was excellent as well. By the end of the day my head was swimming with all things creative and bloggy. We had an engaging speaker at the closing ceremonies and after some fun give aways (where I won a super Annie Sloan paint, wax and fabric package – thank you Lisa and the crew Annie Sloan Unfolded!) we headed out for cocktails and then dinner at the Cantina across the street which was super fun and one of the highlights of the trip for me. I was sitting with Heather, Danielle, Karianne and Jessica and a table full of so many other awesome ladies. All VERY talented, kind and inspiring women. I cannot say enough about them, their blogs are all super creative and fun and they were just so encouraging to me and my creative ambitions. They only laughed a little at me (kidding..kinda) After moving to the beautiful hotel lobby bar, a glass of wine, some teary goodbyes, the conference was over.
I stayed an extra day and found myself really enjoying Atlanta, the shopping, my first Pottery Barn and Anthropology (oh my word – love)
And in true fashion, the last night at the hotel, the only conference attendees left were…the Maritimers! Had a lovely last evening hanging with Carrie and Annette from Newfoundland.
I packed my bags Monday morning – VERY carefully – all that swag which included tools, paint, fabric, samples was tricky to pack. I did give a lot to my new friends and left lots for housekeeping.
Big shout out to the sponsors
Spent my trip home reflecting on the information I learned, the friends I met, the inspiration I felt, and pleasure I felt at stepping outside my box and trying something new, somewhat proud of myself.
Headed home with a head full of plans sparked by a great time at Haven!
Thanks for sticking around and reading this VERY long post – believe it or not this is the edited version! SO.MUCH.FUN.
Can’t wait for Haven 2014!
Thanks for stopping by,
ps..check out the links to my new friends blogs, you will LOVE them!