Everyone is Ravin’ about Haven

If you are into homey/crafty/DIY-ey stuff at all, you’ve likely seen all the buzz happening around the blogiverse this weekend about how much OVERWHELMING fun we all had at The Haven Conference.

Y’all. I seriously don’t even know where to begin with this post.

This was my very first conference, ever, and boy, did I hit the jackpot! It was SO perfect for me. There were about 270 people in attendance, plus vendors, so it was small and intimate enough that I felt comfortable for the entire weekend. There was such a warm and welcoming vibe from everyone that it made you feel like the whole building was alive with energy and happiness. Or maybe that was just the broken HVAC unit paired with the hot Atlanta sun. Whewwweeeee… There is a reason they call it Hotlanta. Either way, I was positively GLOWING with excitement all weekend long. Don’t let my shining face in any of these photos fool you. That is my conference glow, not sweat puddling down my face. 🙂

All kidding aside, if a little heat was the worst of a first time conference’s troubles, then that’s pretty doggone good, right?!

I’m telling y’all, it was just THE greatest thing I’ve experienced in a very long time. I’m so thankful to everyone who worked so hard to make this weekend happen for all of us. I know these ladies worked their little patooties off so that we could all sit back, relax and enjoy our turn at being newbie conference goers. That means so much, so a big THANK YOU to everyone involved!

First day begins!

I arrived the first day to pick up Dusty from All Things G&D, Aimee from Project: Aimee and Terri from Crafty Workin Mommy at the airport. When we arrived at the hotel, the mini-butterflies were stirring, but then I saw people that I recognized immediately like Debbie at Refresh Restyle…:

Haven 2012

… and Amanda from Serenity Now…

Haven 2012

And the awesome Ange of The Blooming Hydrangea) with the stunning Roeshel from The DIYShowoff.

Ange from the Blooming Hydrangea, Roeshel from DIYShowoff and Beth from UnskinnyBoppy

Ahhhhh…

And that’s all it took for everything to calm down quickly for me. Those ladies were so soothing and sweet that all the fear disappeared! We got checked in and found our room, then we channeled our inner Spring Breakers and smuggled in our cooler full of alcohol. Rhoda caught us as we were getting on the elevator and asked if we were partying yet. Soon, Rhoda. Soon. After getting settled I got a call from Debbie inviting us down to get checked in, grab our swag bags and join in the meet and greet in the lobby. It was so weird trying to place people’s faces that I recognize from one single head shot on their blog. And, as a side note, if you ever go to a conference please put your blog photo on your business card. It makes it so much easier to remember people! It is WAY hard to remember who everyone is when you get 50+ cards in a row. At the very least try to make a note about the people you meet so you have a mental nudge when you are sitting there racking your brain trying to remember who they were.

We got our swag bags and discovered that they were FULL of great loot. Among other things we got a Kreb drill kit, a new XL Purdy paint brush, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and a big roll of Frogtape! I also won a second pot of Annie Sloan chalk paint when I spun the wheel of fortune at their booth on the second day. I LOVED Janet of The Empty Nest at the ASCP booth. She made it so much fun and gave away a ton of paint. Thanks so much Janet and all the other great vendors. I truly appreciate all the goodies and plan to put them all to very good use soon.

There was a pre-conference cocktail party the first night sponsored by 3M and Oreck, We didn’t take a single photo of ourselves dressed up that night. Dangit, we were looking our BEST, too. I do have to say that it was super overwhelming to be at the party and not knowing many folks yet. I put my game face on, circled and mingled as best as I could and found a few familiar blog names. With about a hundred chatty women packed into a too-small room, I would have been very uncomfortable if I weren’t such an extrovert. It seriously was so loud I could barely hear anyone talk. I kept saying it reminded me of a henhouse. This is the only photo I have from that night:

Welcome speech at Haven 2012

That night is when I realized that bloggers are 1. extremely loud and 2. extremely beautiful. I was surrounded by gorgeous ladies everywhere I turned! After mingling for a while we headed back upstairs and got comfortable for the night. I had totally forgotten that we had told Erin at How to Nest For Less and Chelsea from Two Twenty One that they were invited to come back and drink with us. Bless their hearts, talk about a let down. They arrived and I had already taken off my bra and Dusty was taking off her makeup. We must have seemed like the boringest old ladies ever! Ha! Sorry for the Wah Wah Wahhhhhh kind of letdown, girls. I promise we got rowdier as the week went on, just not that night! At least I had cheese, right!? Here are those pretty girls!

Haven 2012

Dusty and I stayed up until 2 am talking, of course, then had to get up at 6 am to get ready for 7 am breakfast. The keynote address from John and Sherry of Young House Love began at 8:30, and there was not a seat left open. Thanks goodness Debbie saved us seats! She is such a sweetheart! So, YHL is just as endearing and cute in person as they are on their blog. They worked that crowd with ease, giving a killer presentation, then fielding impromptu questions like all-stars. The fact that Sherry used the word “fart” approximately eight times in a two minute period made her even more endearing to me.

YHL Fart count

They were AWESOME. They were comfortable and funny and so great at engaging the audience. Like, really really wowing. When they finished everyone around me was buzzing in an “I liked them before but now I LOVE them!” kind of way.

Then the sessions began! I went to the “I Like Big Blogs” one first, but about 15 minutes in I decided to hop over to check out the beginning paint and stain class with Kate of Centsational Girl and Chris of JustaGirl (loved this girl!).

Here is my photo op with Kate!

Haven 2012

There was also a Minwax rep talking about stain, which was very good info. I just thought I knew how to paint already, but I took three pages of notes in that class! I was a note taking maniac! It was so informative and they were very easy and soothing to listen to. I was glad I hopped over. I will try my best to hit some of the highlights that they shared in another post. Trust me when I say Kate knows her stuff!

Haven 2012

Next came lunch, where a random chain of circumstance led me to sitting with Nester from Nesting Place and her friend Angela from Button Bird Designs. Dusty had saved me a seat a big table full of bloggers, but in the spirit of being inclusive I decided to go over and join a lady who was eating alone instead. I joined Deneen from Dreaming in Color and we enjoyed lunch. A few minutes later, I saw Nester and a friend wandering around looking for a place to eat. Deneen invited them to join us, and they did! I have to say that The Nester was so nice- very warm and personable and interested in what I had to say. Of all the people at the conference, she has been one of the ones who has had the most influence on my style since I moved into the new house.

I enjoyed my time with her so much that I wrote this long flowery love note on her facebook page, and I really meant every word. “It was really wonderful to have the opportunity to sit down and have a great conversation with you and Angela at lunch on Thursday. To discover what a truly genuine person you are inside and out was one of the highlights of the conference for me. It’s rare to discover someone so real and accessible and inspirational all in one completely beautiful person but you proved to me that it can be done! You’re a true gift to our home blogging community and I am so glad to have met you. Like I said, I’ve been a long time fan of yours, and now I’m an even BIGGER fan.”

I really meant that… I am not blowing sunshine up her ass here, because that’s not the way I roll.

And let me just say that it pays off to be inclusive! When I went to sit with the girl who was eating alone, I got to eat lunch with the Nester, and when I wrote on Nester’s facebook wall about how great it was to meet her, she friended me on facebook and within minutes pinned my Lazy Girl’s Guide to Painting Wall Stripes tutorial, and so far it’s gotten around 150 repins today so…

See?

It pays to be open and welcoming at a blog conference! You never know who might be the next person to drive a ton of traffic your way! No hoarding of Google Juice or other mystical equations required. This is how you win friends and influence people, y’all. Just be kind to one another. It really isn’t that hard.

After that fun lunch I visited the vendor booths and took a few pics like this one:

Purdy

And this one that I knew Garrett would love (and he did!):
Drilled!

I started out the next session in Miss Mustard Seed’s Advanced Painting class, where she gave out prizes for the best painting outfit. Congrats to Duane at Cottage in the Oaks for being braver than the rest of us and wearing her crotchless tie-dyed overalls for the win!!

Haven 2012

I quickly realized the painting class was going to be very full, so I hopped over to the Blogging PR class with Rhoda from Southern Hospitality and a few girls from PR agencies.

Haven 2012

That session made me realize just how powerful it is to be a blogger right now. Our voice and influence over buying purchases is a huge deal, and companies are scrambling to make us happy. I’m also EXTREMELY honored to be working with a prestigious brand like Mohawk Home. One of my tweets from the conference said: #Haven2012 PR Class in session now- “Once you get a brand into your environment never let them go. It can be a good relationship. ” So, let me say a huge thanks to my favorite brand, Mohawk Home for allowing me into their environment. I truly appreciate you guys allowing me to be a part of your team.

The next session was Photography and Photo Styling with Kevin and Layla of Shoot Fly Shoot and The Lettered Cottage. Check out the HUGE line that was waiting in the hallway for their session to begin!

CRAY CRAY.

Haven 2012

But it’s bedtime, so I’m gonna leave y’all hanging right there and wrap this gigantic post up for now!

To Be Continued…

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Comments

  1. Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    Beth, I really enjoyed reading your recap and seeing all your pics. I still haven’t come down from cloud 9.

  2. Karen At Home says:

    What a great recap Beth! I am do thrilled for you that you had such a great time. It sounds like you learned a wealth of information! Can’t wait to read more!

  3. Ahhhh man…uh “woman” – i just now found your blog and learned of the Haven Conference “that I missed”….darn!!!

    But…I have found you now – I haven’t even had time to read much of your blog, but….

    I love it already…you are now my favorite “curl up in the window seat with my precious Buddy (the feline of the house), don’t bother me…can’t you see I’m reading look.

    Oh….and I don’t usually comment on anything – guess you really hit something with me 🙂

    God Bless

  4. DianeTaylor says:

    Wow….just wow. Lord knows I have no blogging skills but a conference like this? Oh yeah…..I truly believe in the power of blogging!! And you know that Ive adored your blog and of course Dusty and Mandy too. Girl power!

  5. Yep, you are a way better blogger than me with all these photos and detailed recaps! Loved it! Let’s do haven 2013 in July. Of 2012. 🙂

  6. thistlewoodfarm says:

    Hey my funny awesome friend! I am so glad you went into that PR class because that’s where I met you! And that’s when the fun started. I am still on cloud Haven today 🙂

    Thanks for being authentic and genuine and generally wonderful!
    karianne

    PS I google + you. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do when you are a fan 🙂

  7. Deneen@dreaming-n-color says:

    You are so funny! Can’t believe you remembered all of that! Loving this whole blog thing!

  8. reFresh reStyle says:

    I hope you write an e-book, because I would totally buy it. I mean with crotchless, fart and ass all in the same post, you are awesome! I started reading this before I went to lunch and I had to stop, go to the bathroom and head out. Just to come back home reread and laugh all over again. You’re going to have to stalk the Nester with me, because I think we feel the same way about her. In fact I think she tried to hide from me a couple of times at Haven 😉 You did a great job winning friends and influencing people!
    Love always,
    Debbie

  9. Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia says:

    Sounds like a blast! Wish I could have been there.
    XO
    Kristin

  10. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Great recap, Beth! I wish I could have jumped from table to table & hung out with more of you. Next year, I’m not gonna do as much. You’re so funny & I’m happy you had a good time. We were blown away by how great it turned out too. See you soon!

  11. Candice says:

    What a great recap- so funny! I’m bummed I didn’t get to talk to you much but at least I did meet you and get your card. 🙂 I’ll just have to read your blog all the time now!

  12. Cindy Miller@http://www.LivingontheBliss.com says:

    Great post Beth. Nice to stay in touch! I subscribed to your blog, can’t wait to read it all the time! @Rhoda I love the way you wrote above “next year, I’m not…” We’re all counting on a next year now!!

  13. leanncox says:

    Ooooo! Didn’t know I missed a PAR-TAY! Will be joining you guys next year in the party room for sure!! Hee-Hee!!!
    LeAnn

  14. The Bold Abode says:

    OH, my word! I will be there next time with my own cooler and we will party!

    I will not, however, be wearing crotch-less anything…anywhere…anytime…

    in public.

    ha!

  15. Chelsea @ two twenty one says:

    Wonderful recap! I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you! You cracked me up with that cheese and fruit tray. And seriously, I don’t think it’s an official after party unless someone takes off their bra. So thanks for making it official. 🙂

  16. Heidi @ Decor & More says:

    It was such fun meeting you, Beth! Love this clever recap ~ it was a blast, wasn’t it?? Looking forward to next year already!
    xo Heidi

  17. Christine @ First Home...Love Life says:

    Oh how I love this! I can’t wait until next year! I will be one of the first to buy up a ticket! So happy you had a great time<3

  18. Button Bird Designs says:

    Hi Beth!!
    I sooooooooo enjoyed having lunch with you guys as well!! It was so nice to meet you and I am loving your blog!
    lots of love
    Angela
    Button Bird Designs

  19. Shannon at Fox Hollow Cottage says:

    Look how pretty you are! All posey with your blogger buds. So glad you had a great time =) Be back to read more later.

  20. OMG this post was awesome. It makes me all the more excited about Haven!!!! Your rogue references are always my fave…..how to win friends and influence people. Ha!! Love! But mostly, this post solidified that you will be a blast to meet!!!!! Can I stash some Boone’s Farm in your cooler? Kidding….I’ll splurge for some Woodbridge! 🙂

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Ravin’ Pt. 2 June 29, 2012 By Beth at Unskinny Boppy 24 Comments TweetMy first Haven post had a little cliffhanger of an ending, and I’m sure only about .001 percent of you actually […]

  2. […] in the home blogging world knows and admires Rhoda. She is also one of the major founders of the Haven Conference, which I will be headed back to again in just two short weeks.  I can honestly say that Haven was […]

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