L- Sarah: Thrifty Decor Chick. R- Sarah: Me!
Now let's be honest. Almost 4 days alone, in a 4-star hotel, with no kids? Seriously, the alone time in the air port and on the plane was enough for me, the conference was a bonus! So I was off! I arrived in Atlanta behind schedule because my flight was delayed and consequently had to dash though the humid streets
I ran to my room, already late for the welcome reception, and did my best to combat the "glow" my rushing in August in Atlanta had caused. (Yes, deodorant was reapplied in full force... on it!) From my room I could see the patio below full of Haven Mavens. I donned my cutest dress, re-shuuushed the hair, and grabbed a stack of business cards. Time to mingle.
As soon as I hit the reception, intimidation was gone! Everyone was extremely warm (literally and figuratively) and talkative. I even finally got to meet up with fellow Central Florida bloggers.
Photo credit: The Thinking Closet
After the initial reception, Haven was a whirlwind of information, inspiration, and connections. The opening keynote was given by Ana White. The main thing I took away from that: Be really good at something, be good enough at everything else. That hit me. As a busy, working, blogging, mom of two, I am in a constant state of flustered. I need to realize that it's going to kill me to try and be good at everything. Time to slow down, focus, and be really good at something... good enough at everything else.
SessionsThe first day I took a class taught by Brooke from All Things Thrifty and Court from The Blog Builders. This class taught a bunch about how blogs and search engines work behind the scenes, and what I need to do so you guys can find me! Loved it!
After that it was on to Bloggers and Brands with Ashley representing Shaw Floors, Crystal from Izea Media, and Allison representing Frog Tape. They gave us the lowdown on how bloggers and brands are brought together. After all, wouldn't you rather hear about a really cool product from a "real" person (aka, me, the blogger) than a commercial? I'm gonna tell you like it is! :)
I also took a couple sessions on advertising with Beckie Farrant, the goddess of ad networks. You guys, what struck me most about these women, was their business sense and knowledge. Incredibly impressed with what they know and what they've built for themselves and their families. You go girls. Official fan club member here... boy band style.
Here's when I got to learn how to install crown molding and trim with Sandra from Sawdust Girl and Tiffany from Pretty Handy Girl. (iPhone no flash fail) I cannot wait to get my hands on some more Ryobi tools! That cordless nailer of their's has my name written all over it. (I swear I've been good Santa!)
FunSo yes, the entire conference was fun (and exhausting... but in a good way) but I'm talking about silly fun... and a little crazy fun.
There's me snuggling the most perfect fabric in the world from Online Fabric Store. If I were to become a fabric, this is it. And of course Katie and I just hanging out in the Moen shower. AND, the DIY shuffle. Did I mention this conference is fun?
I also met some really great bloggers who turned out to be awesome people too! Love when that happens. Of course there are my Central Florida friends. But Ashley from Domestic Imperfection is pretty awesome (no pics... booo), Emily from Two Purple Couches was so nice, and Geralin can work a dance floor like nobody's business from Managing Modern Life (yes, that Geralin, from Hoarders... seriously, I'll have to tell you about my obsession one day... I might have been a little more excited than I should have been to meet Geralin). Then there's these two...
What will I be taking away from Haven? Well, swag of course. Seriously, these vendors were generous. Thank goodness Katie and Jon from Sew Woodsy drove it back for me! Delta would not have been excited to see a mitre saw in my carry-on. Also, empowerment. These are some kick-butt bloggers that know their stuff and stand their ground. And shoot, if they can do it, I can! Friendships. Can't wait to return next year to see these girls. Connections. Haven can open up doors like nothing else can! So until next year, I'll just sort my swag and build some stuff!