I am officially a Haven Maven! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few of the things I was up to in Atlanta. So what is Haven, you may ask? It is a DIY and Design conference for bloggers where you can network, meet with brands, and choose from a plethora (yes, that's a word!) of blogger education sessions. I probably will not be able to adequately put in to words the amazing time I had, but here goes...
A few months ago when my friend Melanie asked if I wanted to go, I was interested, but hesitant. I had only been blogging for a few months, it was kind of expensive, and I am normally uncomfortable in social situations where I do not know anyone. Ultimately, I decided to go and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
|My Vanna White impression|
A few tips from a newbie:
Don't stress about what to wear. It is mostly casual for the daytime classes, but you will see people wearing everything from shorts to "church dresses." I wore jeans and a casual top each day with sandals or canvas sneaks.
Take business cards. So, I would have been clueless on this one if someone would not have mentioned it in the Haven Mavens Facebook group. I was able to customize my own with VistaPrint and got them in plenty of time for the conference. The cards were a great way to break the ice with other bloggers and get my name and face into the hands of brands I would love to work with.
Have an idea of what you want to get out of the classes. There were literally about 5 different classes during each time slot, ranging from blogger education to hands on DIY classes, which was overwhelming for my little brain. I printed out the schedule and highlighted the classes that seemed interesting to me. Melanie and I decided we mostly wanted to take the DIY classes and interact with the brands.
Be prepared to take home a TON of swag. I was not prepared for the amount of free stuff we accumulated! We were lucky enough to live close enough to drive, so we just put the seats down and piled the back of my SUV full! If you have to fly, I would suggest bringing an extra suitcase to pack the swag in, or you could box it up and ship it back. (which a lot of people did)
So on to the recap:
We drove down Thursday and arrived around 8 pm, since the conference did not start till Friday morning. After we checked in, we explored the hotel to see where the classes and other events were being held. The vendors were finishing setting up in the ballroom and conference rooms and I was initially blown away by all of the booths.
|One of Ryobi's booths|
I will not bore you with a play-by-play because it was a jam packed weekend, but I will share some of the session highlights.
Friday: My favorite class was the one hosted by Deco Art. I got to try my hand at stenciling, which I have been intimidated by. I need some practice, but I look forward to being able to show you some stenciling projects in the future. They were also extremely generous with paint samples, stencils, and wood cutouts that I am sure will show up in future posts.
|Deco Art Class|
Saturday: I honestly loved all the classes, but the one that was the most fun was the Cricut class. I had been looking forward to trying this machine out, since I have never used any type of cutting machine before. I had fun choosing a flower design and making a 3-D wall art using a shadowbox.
Sunday: I can't choose between the two classes I took. The Rust-Oleum session was fun because we got to try out the new RockSolid Garage floor (and I won the giveaway, so I will eventually be showing you a tutorial on that product!) The other class was Working with Brands (it was one of the 2 education classes I attended) and was hosted by three bloggers, one of which was Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl who I LOVE! (and got to meet!!) One of my goals is to monetize my blog by working with brands I love and already use, so this class gave me tons of info.
On Friday evening, we attended the Shindig which was a Southern themed party, featuring a fashion show, because you still have to look cute while getting your DIY on. Saturday evening was the Soiree, complete with food, dancing, and some more swag. Both of these events gave us a chance to dress up and mingle and was a fun way to make some new friends!
In addition to the educational sessions, all of the vendors and sponsors had great booths and many of them had hands on demos, freebies, and giveaways. Hands down, my favorite booth was Buddy Rhodes Artisan Concrete products. They displayed the most unique and colorful containers made of concrete! We also got to make one of our own; it was super easy and turned out beautifully.
|Buddy Rhodes Artisan Concrete|
I hope I have not overwhelmed you with all the details, but I feel like I could literally talk for days about the wonderful time I had. Overall, I gained confidence in myself and my blog (which sometimes I am embarrassed to tell people about) and I got to meet other bloggers that struggle with some of the same things I do. Also, I got to meet bloggers I have followed and look up to, as well as ones that I interact with on a regular basis. Speaking of...I got to meet and spend some time with Kirsten, who I felt like I already knew and I wish she lived closer cause we would be BFF's for sure!
|Handmade map to display business cards|
If you are a blogger and have been wondering if you should go, I am here to tell you YES, you should! I came back inspired, with a head full of ideas and a bag full of products to keep me busy for months, so stay tuned! Feel free to hit me up on social media or email me if you have any specific questions; I am happy to talk to ya!
Since I accumulated so many freebies, I filled up a canvas tote bag for one of my lucky readers! So, if you are a blogger that did not get to attend or just someone who could use some DIY related products, please enter below. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway