I just got back from the Haven Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an incredible weekend for DIY/Home Decor bloggers. I wanted to share a bit about the weekend and decided to make my very own "Top Ten List" a la David Letterman. For those of you who didn't have a chance to attend this year, but are considering it for next year, here are my -
Top Ten Reasons to Attend Haven
10. Recharge Your Battery!
I don't know about you, but sometimes it's nice to just get away from it all - you know, the laundry, housework, cooking for the family, and yes - even the blog and DIY. I live with three boys and my husband, so a weekend with mostly women that I have a lot in common with was like a dream! It was a super busy weekend, but I came away recharged and ready to go!
9. The Swag!
I know you've read about it before, but the swag you receive from the sponsors is amazing. They are so very generous! Some of my favorites - the Ballard Designs tote bag that held all the swag, the mini Kreg Jig, the Online Fabric Store fabric (mine is so me and even matches my blog), and the chevron pattern Frog Tape!
8. The Community!
Approximately 300 DIY/Home Decor Bloggers all in one place - what more can I say!
7. Ana White - The Opening Speaker!
A few adjectives for Ana White - beautiful (inside and out), talented, REAL! Here are some notes I took from the opening that spoke to me:
In your posts, try to: educate, inspire, reward, entertain.
Stock your shelves - build content.
Social media is NOT your business
Create content that is read and then spread!
Focus on one thing and be good enough at everything else!
Skip the trends!
Matter to the people who read your blog.
Believe in yourself - Someday everyone else will have to!
These are just a few of many notes from the inspiration-packed presentation given by Ana! She's fabulous!
6. Meet the People Behind the Blogs You Love!
I had a list (just in my head) of who I wanted to meet at the conference. I didn't want to be a stalker, but I really did want to meet some of my favorite bloggers. It was funny how it worked out that I did eventually run into most of those that were on my list - Karianne of Thistlewood Farms (she was at the top of my list). The first evening, right after registration, I rounded the corner of the lounge and there she was! Hugs, sweet as pie, and plugging me to the other ladies she had been speaking to. What can I say, she's the real deal! I also got to meet Vanessa of At the Picket Fence at her sister's session. I so wanted to have a chance to meet Heather too - hopefully next year. They both exude love and joy - just like on their blog! I had a chance to spend some time with Kim of Savvy Southern Style. She is fun loving, sweet, and oozes Southern Charm - just like you would expect! One blogger that I really wanted to meet was a fellow PA blogger, Roeshel from DIY Showoff. Right before leaving the hotel, I stopped into the gift shop and there she was! Serindipity! She was sweet, lovely, and graceous - just like I expected! There are so many more that I could fill an entire blog post about, but take my word for it - your favorite bloggers are so eager to meet you, chat, and have a picture taken with you! That was worth the price of admission for me!
5. Connect with the Sponsors and Brands!
The sponsors were wonderful! They made each blogger feel valued and truly want to work with us! Each one took so much time making their booth fun and informative at the same time! The connections made at a blog conference like Haven are priceless to a blogger !
4. Learn from the Pros!
Learning paint techniques from Marian, Miss Mustard Seed, and Shauna West of Perfectly Imperfect - ahhhhh mazing! Getting practical tips on how to grow your blog from Karianne of Thistlewood Farms, Heather of At the Picket Fence, and Tauni of SNAP - I was taking notes like crazy! Kristen Duke taught us how to capture the best photos of our rooms and projects - I learned so much! There were so many awesome classes that I wish I could have been more than one person to be able to attend them all! Of the classes I did take, I came away with so much I want to implement on my blog and projects I want to try - I'm going to be very busy for quite a while!
3. Be Challenged!
The closing from Bob Johnson of Habitat for Humanity was unexpected, funny, heartwarming, challenging, and brought the room to tears! He was an incredible speaker and it was so special that he took the time to challenge each of us to make an impact in our own community! It will be exciting as time goes by to see what 300 bloggers can do to impact our world!
2. Make New Friends for Life!
This was something I had hoped for and I'm so happy to say that I met the most amazing ladies at Haven! It actually started with the sweet Janis of All Things Beautiful! She reached out to me way back in January and asked if I would like to hang out with this fun group of ladies that she had connected with last year! Then, Lori from The Stonybrook House arranged a pre-Haven get together for the Central PA bloggers! I was so surprised to find out that she was part of the group Janis had mentioned, and we were even on the same flight to Atlanta! Sending thanks to all the girls for welcoming me into their group - I had blast! Even if you don't have a group to hang out with, there were so many opportunities to meet and talk with other bloggers - meals, at the classes, and at the evening parties and everyone is sooo friendly! I think the Ryobi team deserves a special shout out for the dinner party they had for us! The DJ was incredible - even the more mature, sophisticated, and gentile ladies (just a little humor here) got down and boogied when the DJ started playing our favorites - Brick House and Dancing Queen! It was so much fun!
1. The Haven Team!
Rhoda, Kristin, Beth, Traci, Sarah, and Chris - these ladies Rock! I can't even imagine how much work it was to put this conference together. I just know, they put their heart into it and it showed! Everything was so well thought out and planned in such great detail so we would have a good time and grow from the experience! Mission accomplished, ladies! You all deserve a standing ovation! And, I don't think we will ever forget the DIY shuffle!
So that's my "Top Ten Reasons Why YOU Should Attend Haven Next Year"! I know I can't wait!
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