Hi friends! Last weekend, I attended Haven, a DIY and decorating conference held in my hometown of Atlanta. I shared last week on my summer recap that this conference is one I’ve followed since it started five years ago. At that time, I wasn’t a blogger but I dreamed of attending one day and meeting some of my favorite DIY bloggers. Over nine years ago when my oldest daughter was born, I was introduced to the world of blogging and there I discovered my love for DIY and interior design. It was in those small moments of nursing, changing diapers and all of the daily mundane tasks, that God started to unleash this passion in my heart. I would see so much inspiration and I started to create within the boundaries of my own home. I wanted to start a blog years ago to keep a record of my projects and pass down recipes to my kids but life was so busy keeping up with 3 small kids. Finally, the time felt right when my youngest turned a year and half. When I heard Haven was selling tickets back in March, I literally jumped on them immediately for fear of them selling out. You can say I was a little more than excited.
The conference was held at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead and I decided to stay in the city because I wanted to maximize my time there. If you know anything about Atlanta you know that the traffic is just dreadful and you will try to avoid it all costs. #aintnobodygottimefodat Haven started early Friday morning but most of us came in on Thursday. I drove downtown on Thursday night after helping my husband tuck my kids to bed. They had just started their first day of school that same morning so I wanted to see how that went and we all went out to celebrate by getting some ice cream. I kissed everyone good bye and off I went!
I arrived at the hotel, checked in, passed by the lobby where I saw a ton of bloggers chatting it up and I freaked out and went upstairs to my room. I didn’t know a soul and even though I love meeting new people, it was all very overwhelming to me. I unpacked some of my things and texted my hubby saying, “I’m gonna do it! I’m going to go downstairs and meet people. Wish me luck!” He gave me a pep talk, encouraged me to go and so I sucked it up and headed back downstairs to the lobby with an anxious but expectant heart.
It totally reminded me of high school! I moved in the middle of my 9th grade year and it was horrible. I went from knowing a ton of people in my old high school to knowing absolutely no one. It brought me back to the first time I walked into the cafeteria and feeling super alone and anxious. If I could overcome it back then, I knew this was nothing! Luckily, I ran into Traci from Beneath My Heart, who also happens to be one of the planners for Haven. She was so warm and friendly and immediately put me at ease. I looked around the crowded room and saw another familiar face.
Amy from My Life From Home and Meg from Green with Decor helped pull up a chair for me and I spent the rest of the evening chatting up with these fabulous bloggers. It was cool to see a lot of us were in the same boat of not really knowing anyone. It was great getting to know some of these ladies that I teamed up with in the past to do blog hops.
I finally met my roomies later that evening and I was so happy to see them face to face! We all met each other through the Haven FB page and had been messaging for a while so we already felt like we knew each other. I’ll repeat my roomie, Amanda, when she stated this is the only time you should ever sleep with strangers! Ha! Here are my beautiful roomies.
Sweet Amanda gifted us each with a pretty journal and pillow band. So sweet! I’m so thankful we got along so well and were able to share one bathroom so easily!
I’m still in disbelief that someone built this beautiful United States wooden installation. Jaime from That’s my Letter created this beauty. She cut, painted and put together this incredible map and we all placed our business cards on our home state. The purpose was for us to connect with bloggers in our areas. Isn’t it just incredible? #DIY
It was so cool meeting my long time Instagram friends. I’ve been online friends with these ladies for over a year and now I can call them my real life friends! They were so sweet to always include me and I was so thankful for these kind souls. It’s truly a neat thing to create “friendships” on a social media platform and then have the opportunity to actually meet each other in person. What a gift.
I also had the chance to meet two other Instagram friends, Brooke and Courtney. I had a blast getting to know these precious girls and they are just as sweet and wonderful as I had imagined them to be. We laughed a ton and had so much fun just soaking everything in. Poor Brook was stuck in Atlanta an extra day when Delta had that major computer shutdown. Anyone else have to deal with that craziness?
When I saw two of my favorite bloggers, Bre and Liz, I went up to them and screamed, “I love you, guys!” They were extremely gracious and kind and weren’t turned off by my creepiness. Well, at least they seemed that way. 😀 I have no shame.
They could not be more down to earth and sweet!
Breakfast was served in the hotel and I loved this doughnut display with one of the sponsors. Fun right?
I had the absolute privilege of taking a workshop by Amy Howard. She is extremely talented and passionate about what she does. Her painting has been used as a medium for God to use her and I was blown away by all that she shared. I was fortunate to hear bits of her testimony and I left feeling inspired and encouraged to use the talents that God has given to me.
I had such a great time learning her painting techniques that I attended her booth workshop the next day.
The conference was packed with workshops and classes and I made sure to attend a good number of DIY workshops to balance out the business and technical classes. When it comes to blogging, I love the DIY portion and sharing that with you all. My least favorite part is dealing with and figuring out all of the technical parts behind the blog.
I had a blast creating different things using a variety of mediums like concrete show below.
Jodi and I made a jewelry display. I still need to paint and finish mine. Thanks for the pic, Amanda!
There were some beautiful furniture displays in the hotel put together by the Home Decorators Collection. I don’t know what I’m doing in that picture but I wish I took more photos of the displays.
For the last evening, Home Depot, Ryobi, Pure Bond, Crates and Palllet, 3M, Behr and Rust-Oleum threw a Soiree. They served food, had dancing and gave away swag bags for everyone.
We walked the red carpet and took some photos. We of course had to take some grainy selfies.
On the last day, I decided to finish off the conference with some of favorite bloggers/designers who were leading some DIY workshops.
Sweet Marian led a milk paint workshop and we painted some mason jars and pots. I was so happy to keep the apron and I made sure to buy a t-shirt too. She was incredibly sweet and it’s really amazing to see how much her blog and brand has expanded and grown.
I’ve long admired Lucy and her talents. She watercolors like a boss and her home is absolutely beautiful. The watercoloring class was the perfect way to end the conference. She taught us how to paint wreaths and it was so much fun see everyone’s interpretation.
The conference ended with Young House Love in the closing ceremony. All in all, it was an unforgettable experience. I met with a handful of different brands and sponsors, created new friendships and left with an excitement to see where God will lead my little platform.
Home Depot has been the platinum sponsor for the past five years and all of the sponsors were incredibly generous. I came home with tons and tons of swag. Thank you, sponsors!!
This was just some of the tools. I have a drawer full of paint and have some more things being sent to our home in the next few weeks. My hubby was quite happy to increase his tool collection!
Even JJ enjoyed some of the swag. When I came home, the kids attacked me with kisses and hugs. It was quite the welcome home.
I’m still processing all the great stuff I learned but my favorite part was the connections I made. I loved meeting like-minded friends and seeing how we all long to use our creativity. I’m already anticipating next year’s Haven. If you’re a blogger or lover of DIY, I highly encourage you to attend this conference.
The other night, instead of finishing my chores, I decided to finish painting my wreath and took out my watercolors. I didn’t intend for it to come out looking like a Christmas wreath! I see lots of watercoloring in my future and it will be such a great activity to do with my kids. Creativity truly feeds my soul.
If you made it to the end of this post, you’re a champ and deserve a medal! Thanks so much for reading along, friends and I’ll be back to blogging more regularly after my youngest starts preschool next Tuesday. I always have too much blog content but not enough time to share it all. The struggle is real, folks!
Have a great weekend!
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14