Last weekend, Jon and I drove up to Atlanta to attend the second year of the Haven Conference. Haven is a conference geared toward DIY bloggers. Imagine going to summer camp and being reunited with all your friends. That is exactly what its like. Accept its like 99% women (no biggie to me and by now Jon has gotten use to it)! This was my sixth conference of the year (between food & DIY/craft). And one thing I’ve learned is to stop bringing my DSLR. There is no point. It just sits in the room or I lug it around and don’t use it at all. So, with that being said all my photos today were taken on my iPhone and most were shared via Instagram.
The drive to Atlanta is 7.5 hours but after bathroom breaks and lunch it’s definitely over an 8 hour drive. Passing the Georgia boarder is the half way point of the trip, which always make me so happy to see that sign!
Haven was at a new conference venue this year, it was held at the Hyatt Grand Regency in Buckhead. It was a beautiful hotel that was super personalized and had a great conference space for us. When we got in our room they even personalized the tv just for us! I thought that was super cool!
We had just enough time to take a short nap before the Homes.com / ForRent.com opening party! By now everyone knows that we are video content brand ambassadors for them. We love working with them. Pictured above is us with 2 of the amazing team members; Leslie & Gillian.
Photo from Lauren of The Thinking Closet
In the recent months we’ve learned that we have quite a few Central Florida DIY bloggers. We wanted to meet up with as many as possible . Pictured Left to Right: Sarah from While They Snooze, Rachel from Lines Across, Lauren from The Thinking Closet, and me!
During the entire two hours, we chatted with all of our friends. We had a few friends missing. One friend was Erin from How to Nest for Less. Chelsea from Two Twenty One brought a mini Erin she would hold up everywhere. I loved it and made me miss Erin that much more!
The next day, we kicked off the second annual Haven Conference. Pictured above from left to right are the amazing organizers who make this conference happen. Chris from Just a Girl Blog, Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick, Beth from Home Stories A to Z, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Traci from Beneath My Heart, and Kristin the most amazing event planner ever! This team went above and beyond from last year to this year and made for an amazing conference!
After the team welcomed everyone, my friend Ana White took the stage to deliver the keynote. I feel like it was just yesterday we were sitting at SNAP! chatting about what she would talk about at Haven. She knocked it out of the park–talking about how you need to run your blog like a business. Think about it as a coffee shop and treat your customers, i.e., your readers like they are customers. Give them the very best content you possibly can! It’s so incredibly true and because of that Jon is now focusing on building even more now…
In between the keynote and sessions Sarah and I had a chance to get in the Moen shower and snap a few pics! 🙂
And then we were off to Brooke & Court class on Google Juice… all sorts of nerdy SEO stuff that non-bloggers would never care about learning. But we love this stuff…
During the next break I caught Jon over at the 3M booth trying out their new Clean Sand System. He’s laughing because he was sanding and he stopped when I took the photo and I yelled “keep sanding I want to take a photo of you” and EVERYONE around him started dieing laughing. And then Jon (the funny guy he is) decided to say “we aren’t at home you can’t talk to me like that here“. Followed by more laughter.
We both decided to skip the next session and made coasters with The Home Depot instead!
Then it was time for Becky’s Advanced Advertising class. She is a genius and I always love learning from her! Cassity from Remodelaholic, & Rhoda from Southern Hospitality also taught portions of the class.
After the Rust-Oleum / Home Depot party it was time to head on over to our private dinner with 3M DIY sponsored by Command Brand! We dined at Southern Art & Burbon Bar. This is Chef Art Smith’s restaurant, for those of you non-foodies let me tell you a little bit about him… he was the chef to Oprah for 10+ years and he was recently on Top Chef Masters… he is the bees knees in the food world. And the food… oh boy! Let me just tell you it was amazing! We had warm rosemary cheddar biscuits, fried chicken with whipped potatoes and collard greens, and a dessert platter that we all picked from! Of course, our company was just as amazing. There were 4 tables in the private room and our table consisted of The DIY Village, PB & J Stories, one of our reps from 3M, Eva, and Jenn & Paul from 3M Auto. We met them last year while we were at the Headquarters!
Once we got back to our room, we emptied our bags and I snapped this photo… Jon and I took a photo in the Porch photo booth earlier that day… I just loved how this looked… I didn’t place it all there purposefully this is exactly how it looked and I just snapped the photo!
The next morning, I was up earlier than I would have liked and I competed with 4 other fabulous ladies in the Ballard Designs bookcase challenge. Our team leader was Sarah from Thifty Decor Chick! This was not our original bookcase. It was the team next to ours… half way through Ballard Designs told us to switch and we had to run with what they already had done.
After the challenge, I headed over to my friend Stacy’s (Not Just a Housewife) and Wendy from The Shabby Nest session about design dilemmas. It was wonderful and really helped me wrap my head around a lot of design elements I struggle with!
We ran into Ana and Jacob after our morning sessions and chatted with them for a while. It was great seeing both of them again.
I headed to the Brands & Blogger Relationships session with The Home Depot & Rust-Oleum. It was a great open session with a lot of feedback–back and forth between the brands and bloggers!
After that it was time for the last session of the day. I watched the Shanty-2-Chic sisters build a spice rack. That is one thing about Haven Conference, I always get inspired to tackle new projects. Sine we will be working on our kitchen soon, I’m really inspired to make an extended spice rack like they made.
After our last sessions we had a little bit of time to chat and then it was time to say our goodbyes. I had the chance to take a few photos with some of my favorite bloggers like Diane from In My Own Style, Sarah from While They Snooze, Gail from My Repurposed Life, and Stacy from Not Just a Housewife.
Our closing keynote session was a talk from Bob Johnson with Habitat for Humanity! He inspired us to use our skills and give back to others and our local communities. He also encouraged us to create a Haven Conference house for next year. I volunteered multiple times for Habitat for Humanity when I was in college and enjoyed it a lot.
Overall, we had another great conference. Learning, meeting brand reps in person that we’ve worked with over the past few years and most importantly getting to see all of our blog friends in real life! If you’re a DIY blogger, mark your calendar. Haven 2014 will be next July back in Atlanta. Exact date and location to be announced.