Monday, August 15, 2016

Haven 2016 - My First Blogger Conference




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.

Cricut class

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.

Rust-Oleum class

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!

Southern Shindig

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


81 comments:

  1. So great to read another recap from a fellow newbie. I couldn't agree more with your tips! I brought way too many outfits - and I had to fly there! How great that you could pile all your stuff in the back of the car. I had a hard time deciding between sessions since there were so many I wanted at the same time. I wish I took more creative ones because I think I got overloaded with information from the more technical ones. Luckily I took a couple photography ones that saved me! Glad you enjoyed your time at Haven!
    Shelley

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    1. I loved your recap too! I am so thankful I could drive because we had so much stuff! I am glad I stuck to more creative ones, because I was overwhelmed enough without trying to take in a ton of technical stuff! I hope we can meet up next year!

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  2. I love love love to read the recaps of all conferences despite my break! I am so glad you had fun and it seems right up your alley :)

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    1. It was so amazing! I am glad you enjoyed reading about it!

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  3. I love reading your recap, Mary. This was first first Haven, also, and I can't wait to go again next year! Your lucky you lived closer. I packed an extra bag and filled it completely full, plus my large suitcase I checked; and I still had to ship a box home. I told my husband that maybe I should drive next time, but it's a 2 day drive from where I live :(

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    1. Carol, I believe it! I felt so bad for the people who flew because of all the stuff. I am glad you had a good time and I look forward to seeing you next year!

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  4. How fun! I hope I will be able to go to a blogging conference at some point! I love that this one was DIY focused! My favorite DIY is our kitchen table I just refinished! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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    1. Jill, You should def go if you get the chance! It was so worth it! I would love to see your table and good luck on the giveaway!

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  5. I have seen others taking about this conference. How fun. My Blended Blog sisters and I may be hosting one in Chicago 2018 and you will be on the invite list for sure!!

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    1. That would be awesome! I would love to visit Chicago one day!

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  6. I am so jealous! I would love to attend a blog conference! That 3D wall art is amazing!

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    1. You should attend one if you get the chance, Laura! I know, I need to make a couple more!

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  7. I haven't done many DIY projects but of the few, my favorite is a remake of an old wooden kitchen cabinet. It needed a new look and coral paint with black hardware makes it the star of my kitchen.

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    1. Oh that sounds really pretty! I love coral.

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  8. I would have loved to go to Haven and I was looking at it, but it was too close to when my kids were going to school. Oh my gosh, I can't believe how much swag you received and how exciting you are giving some of it away!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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    1. Carrie, I hope you can go next year; it was so fun!

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  9. Oh, and one of my favorite DIY projects is a monogrammed flower pot that I covered in fabric with mod podge this summer.

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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    1. That sounds fun! There is some Mod Podge in the gift bag, so good luck!

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  10. my favorite diy project was when I redid my kitchen table from hideous green to modern white and espresso!

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    1. Oh, that sounds amazing Hannah! Good luck!

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  11. Oh my goodness! This looked like SO much fun!! I can't believe all the stuff you brought back, WOW.

    So I guess my fave DIY would be one that I'm actually working on right now. I rescued some succulents from my grandmother's house so I'm making some planters for them (I raided the dollar tree for all the rocks and sand to go in them). After seeing the designs from Buddy Rhodes, I might have to try that style as well!

    PS - there is no way you would have been a bore with a play by play, I would have read every bit of it!

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    1. Erin, I know right! It was amazing and I could talk for days about it!!! I cannot wait to see your planters! I hope you show them off on your blog or social media...if not, send me a pic! Yes, those little concrete containers are perfect for succulents! Good luck!

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  12. My favorite is a wreath I made for the front door.

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    1. I love wreaths and wish I was creative enough to make my own.

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  13. I love to DIY! My favorite project lately has been a Michigan plaque made from wood, nails and string. It took a little help and a lot of persistence because I was too cheap to buy bigger nails. ;)

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  14. My favorite that I completed recently is a floral wall hanging made from toilet paper and paper towel tubes, and spray-painted black.It looks like iron, people can't believe its made from cardboard. So cool!

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    1. Oh that sounds awesome and unique! I have seen similar things on Pinterest and would love to try that...plus it is cheap!

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  15. This looks like so much fun, something id enjoy attending one day!

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  16. We just redid our bathroom with a Totoro theme. It turned out super cute!

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  17. We just finished taking up the carpeting in our bedrooms and painted the walls today.

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    1. We need to do that in our basement living room!

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  18. I bought a $4 side table, repainted it & we've loved it for years!

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  19. We painted and put new carpet in our daughters rooms a few years ago.

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  20. My husband and I worked with the kids to build a "Kid Cave" fort in our backyard. They spend time playing in it every day.

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    1. What a fun DIY project, especially involving the kids.

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  21. I never did a diy project.but after reading this you inspired by me to do a diy project

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  22. My favorite DIY project was refinishing an old dresser and turning it into a TV stand. It had horrible cream colored enamel paint I sanded for days to get it to the wood.

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  23. My favorite DIY project is redoing a very old dresser. It turned out beautifully!

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  24. I got to as many library craft events as I can, so I make a lot of fun DIY things there. I need to share more on my blog. A recent one I made was a purse/bag made from an actual book.

    -Lauren

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    1. Oh that sounds like fun and I would love to see that purse!

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  25. I completed a log cabin quilt which contains over 1000 piece of fabric in a American flag pattern.

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    1. That sounds gorgeous! I am amazed by people who quilt.

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  26. I made all of the decor for my wedding! Including a chandelier wreath

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  27. I love making mosquito repellant candles for my family.

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  28. I made my mailbox post and numbers out of a tree branch it ended up so much better than I thought it would

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  29. Made my own chalkboard to hang in dining room out of huge old picture frame- painted the glass with chalkboard paint and distressed the frame after painting it with antique white colored paint- turned out pretty.

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  30. I made colored marveled swirled coasters! So pretty!

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  31. abeer -
    I made a crochet cap for my cousins son

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  32. One of my favorite DIY is my baby clothes quilt that I made for my daughter! :)

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  33. I did a pretty good gallery wall in my living room. I need to learn more DIY skills.

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    1. I love looking at gallery walls on Pinterest.

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  34. My favorite DIY that I have completed was a plastic bag holder made out of plarn (yarn made of plastic bags, also a DIY). It's really neat and we use it all the time. I also refinished a plaque for my dad to give my uncle, and that was really cool. I'm currently trying to refinish a wooden rocking chair from my childhood, and my husband and I are planning to do some reno on our new house ourselves! I can't wait to get that started!

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    1. Wow! You sound like a skilled DIY'er! I have never heard of the plarn...that sounds interesting!

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  35. My favorite DIY project that I've made was the paper wreath
    Thank You

    Fiona N

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