I’ve been in Atlanta for the past 3 days for Haven, a DIY blogger conference. What happens at a DIY blogging conference you ask? It’s basically a whirlwind of networking with bloggers and brands, dancing, wine drinking and most importantly, LEARNING. So, SO much learning. It was 100% a blast. I loved it. I am so exhausted today but it was worth it. (If you’re really interested in the conference, here is the full schedule.)
I thought I would recap some fun / enlightening moments from the conference that I want to remember!
10. Meeting Mike Holmes. Last, but certainly not least, I met Mike Holmes! I haven’t seen his new show, Holmes Makes it Right, but I would binge-watch Holmes on Homes back in the day. “Everything must come down!” was basically his mantra. He laughed when I mentioned it and just overall, was a super nice and down to earth guy. And no, he was not wearing overalls.
9. Hustling Ballard Designs for Drink Tickets. Every night after the groups, there would be an event. Think themed decorations, special lighting, rows of food and lots of music. These events were sponsored and Friday night was the Ballard Designs party. They were SO great. They had a beautiful set-up in the “Living Room,” the main event area. There were 2 drink tickets per person, but we quickly learned that negotiating would get us more. Us bloggers are good at negotiating. My college tattoo story (name of a dead celebrity tattooed on me… long story) got me an extra ticket! It was super silly and all in good fun.
8. Bubbles! P&G and Home Depot put on a great luncheon complete with BUBBLES! Who doesn’t love walking into a space surrounded by bubbles. I tried to take a pic of myself in the bubble field but this was the best I could do.
7. Ads, Pinterest and Google+. These are the three areas I need to improve upon. Sitting through a couple of sessions on these topics made that super obvious. I’ve been doing it all wrong or just not enough. I found Andy Marzka’s (of AdThrive and the husband of the lovely Kelly of View Along the Way) class so helpful. He was such a great teacher and taught a very abstract, complicated thing (ad layering, among other things) in a very visual and simple way. Thank you Andy!
6. The Swag. The swag was pretty darn good. Paint, fabric, Kreg clamps, bags, dye, radios, rugs, shower heads. We were spoiled. I had to leave some in the room, left the bigger stuff with local bloggers and carried home double the luggage. If you saw me in the ATL airport, I was on the struggle bus with all of the extra weight. Thank you to the TSA guy who let me keep my Kreg clamp when I insisted it was for making bookshelves, not bodily harm. It was fun to share it all with Aaron, too. I think he started digging through my bag before I even got a hug.
5. Dressing Up! Bloggers know how to dress y’all. Every night after the sessions, everyone got all dressed up. Well everyone but me. I was running around like crazy and never had enough time to change my clothes after the sessions so I was on the dance floor in jeans. On the last night, I was dying to wear the only dressy I brought so I raced upstairs and got changed in about 10 minutes (including ironing!) flat. This skirt makes for really great dancing. I even got a Ryobi radio for my white girl moves lol.
Me with the lovely Maria!
4. The Busted Elevator. The hotel was packed… both with our conference and others so yea, the elevator had problems. But no fear… there were stairs! My calves are burning as I type this. It was actually kind of nice after days of sitting in classes so I have no complaints. But then again, I was only on the third floor. I’m guessing the people on the 10th floor have a different opinion! I will always remember us harried bloggers trudging up and down those stairs in unison.
3. The EasyClosets Ladies. The fine folks at EasyClosets took about 8 or 9 of us out for drinks and appetizers. I was nervous to go because I was worried it was going to be a sales pitch but it wasn’t. It was a super casual little meet and greet and I genuinely had a great time. We basically just chatting about our lives, our blogs, our pets and what we’d been up to at the conference. Dear J and C, thanks for being such great hosts!
2. The Photo Shoot with Katja. The lovely Katja of Shift Ctrl Art took a bunch of headshots for a bunch of us. Considering my current profile photo is an old grainy Instagram pic, I am way overdue. Picture a group of women in front of the hotel, leaning against posts with Katja up above us taking photos. I’m sure people thought we were crazy. Thanks Katja for the photos and dealing with my awkward self!
1. The People. I know, it’s corny, but it’s true. Everyone seemed so down to earth and genuine. Big bloggers, small bloggers… everyone pretty much mingled with each other. I learned as much from other bloggers as I did going to the sessions. And best of all, I got to actually MEET and spend time with some of the people who’ve been just Internet/blog friends before this weekend.
It’s Sunday night as I write this and I’m surrounded by suitcases, business cards and swag wrappers. I think it’s time to call it a night. I’m an introvert deep down so all of this is so exhausting. I need to retreat to my quiet, comfort zone and recharge. I’ll be back to regular programming on Wednesday!
Thanks to everyone I met and were so awesome to me!
And thanks to the readers who may not be interested in the whole Haven thing and are sticking with me as I transition back to regular topics! My blog and my Instagram will be much less Haven-y from now on.