This weekend, I went to Haven, a conference for home and DIY bloggers, and it was amazing. I was so excited to get to go this year. Last year, when they had the conference, I didn’t have a blog yet but read all about it from all of the bloggers I follow and couldn’t wait to go this year. And it did not disappoint. So, here it goes, my Haven 2013 recap…
I arrived at the hotel just after check-in started since I was only coming from across town, and I’m not going to lie, my arrival was pretty terrifying. By the time I got there, the lobby bar was already hopping with people mingling and getting to know one another. But, I arrived alone and from where I
stood stumbled, it looked like they all already knew each other. (Gulp.) So, I checked into the hotel, headed up to my room, put my bags away, and headed down to the Haven check-in to get my conference badge and swag bag.
I went back up and enjoyed the sweet swag (literally) for moment before heading back down.
That cookie didn’t stand a chance. And like any
good blogger, I realized one bite in that I better take a picture of it before there was nothing left but crumbs on my ever-growing baby bump.
Then, it was time to face the music, so I hit the lobby bar armed with my drink of choice (don’t worry, it was only an orange LaCroix) and my networking cards.
Luckily, I had gone to the pre-Haven Atlanta meet-up a few weeks before, so I had met a handful of other Atlanta bloggers. And thank goodness one of them was JannYvette (I Heart Purdy Things). She saw me and waved me over to her group, and my heart smiled. Seriously, that one action kept me from having some kind of panic attack/awkward encounter with some unsuspecting blogger right there in the lobby bar in front of everyone. And gave me back the confidence to start introducing myself to others.
It was great to hang out with the Atlanta bloggers I had already met (JannYvette at I Heart Purdy Things, Julia at Southern Color, Emily at A Tossed Salad Life, Brooke at Designed by BH, and Jill at Weathered Pieces) and to meet lots of other awesome folks (Elizabeth at Southern Color, Anne at Because Home Should Be Great, Jessica at Gourley Girl & Guy, Katie at One Paisley Bird, Megan at Rappsody in Rooms and a million other seriously amazing people I’m forgetting to link here). And, it blew my mind every time someone said they had heard of my little blog. I wish I had taken pictures with all those folks, but I was too busy hanging out with them. Oops.
All of the sessions I attended were awesome. And led by rockstar bloggers. All of whom were so helpful, encouraging, and eager to teach us what they knew. I added a million tasks to my to-do list and got my hands on some tools I hadn’t used before.
I got to see so many of my blogging idols. And meet a few. I’ve
said written this before, but it is really weird (at least to me) meeting people whose blogs you read all the time. You feel like you know them. And that you are really friends. (And even mention them in conversations to your husband like they are folks you chat on the phone with.) Or at least I do. Anyway, when you see them in person, you realize when there is no twinge of recognition in their glance that they don’t, in fact, know you from Adam. And then, you start to know how awkward this is going to be. You know soooo much about them. They know less than nothing about you. And there you go. That is my starting point for this next part. And, to top it all off, I acknowledge about myself that I am not cool. Never been cool. And totally ok with it. Until I really want to meet someone and know I’m going to be totally awkward and can’t stop it from happening…. And now, cut to me seeing all these big-time bloggers and trying to play it cool.
Here is a stalkerazzi picture I took of Sherry (Young House Love), Emily A Clark, and Katie (Bower Power). Technically, it’s not a stalker picture since I’ve met Sherry and Katie, so it’s more like a candid picture of a couple of my friends :) Right?
Did I speak to any of them at the conference? Nope. Why not? Well, I couldn’t use the ‘I just wanted to say hi and that I’m a huge fan of your blog’ angle since I’d met each of them before. So, I was trying to find another good line and never came up with one. So, this stalker picture is as close as I got.
Unfortunatey, Beckie (Infarrantly Creative, Roadkill Rescue, Knock Off Decor) was not lucky enough to avoid me. She sat down at our table at lunch, and I tried so hard to play it cool. According to the others at my table, my face was not playing it cool – they said they weren’t sure if I loved her or disliked her but that it was obvious I knew who she was as she approached. Man, I am so cool… Well, to dispell any confusion, I think Beckie is a rock star. And she was so nice. So down to earth. So inspiring to talk to. I am really glad she sat down with us — she may not feel the same way :)
Then, to top it off, Whitney and Ashley (Shanty 2 Chic) came and sat next to Beckie. And it’s a good thing that I was done eating at that point or I could have turned into a hot choking-on-my-food or spilling-things-everywhere mess. Good thing I had inhaled my lunch – for once, eating like a piranha paid off!
I met Sandra (Sawdust Girl) and was so excited I started stumbling over my words and acting like a total freak. Seriously, probably the pinnacle of my awkwardness for the weekend. Poor Sandra, I was trying to be cool but she took the brunt of my awkward-ity. She was so cool, though. Wish I’d taken a picture with her.
I also got to meet Ginny (Organizing Homelife), and she was as sweet as I expected from reading her blog. And then some. Seriously, she made my day every time I saw her.
So, there you have it, good or bad, I left my mark on Haven 2013. Or at least the big chalkboard everyone signed.
And I came home with so much great swag. The sponsors were insanely generous. I am looking forward to trying all these new products out!
I can’t wait for Haven 2014 — I’ve already penciled it on my calendar for sometime next July. Woohoo.