I’m baaack! You may or may not be surprised that I have been a little MIA the last month. July and early August has been a whirlwind on a whole ‘nother level. After visiting with the grandparents for two whole weeks in my old stomping grounds of countryville, USA, I drove back overnight and hopped on a plane set for my first ever blogging conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is known as Haven and is specifically for us DIY guys and gals.
I’m not even sure where to start with this conference that had me laughing, crying, crafting, astonished, and fulfilled. It is a ton of stuff and it takes some time to process afterward. I learned so much that was actionable and I am still gathering myself to make those changes happen. If you are not familiar with Haven, it is a conference for DIYers and home decoratoring bloggers. It is a huge deal, ya’ll. There were social events and classes galore during the three days and it was so hard choosing. There were fun DIY classes like Advanced Painting Techniques, product demonstrations from the sponsors, and blogging classes. In addition, it is a networking dream where you can meet with other bloggers, idols, and brands.
Sounds dreamy, right? However, this was so far outside my comfort zone that in the whole month prior, I was mentally prepping myself for the event. You see, I’m the wallflower. The art of meeting people and chit chat completely eludes me and I have no idea why. I married my polar opposite. A man who can walk into a room full of people and 30 minutes later, every single person is paying attention. It’s magic, I tell you! There are no other words. Even meeting one person can overwhelm me as I constantly process through the list of every social rule I have ever heard. It isn’t that I care what people think, it’s that I quite honestly can’t think on my feet and my mind goes completely blank into the vortex of the unknown as I tell myself normal people do this all the time. It’s exhausting!
So that’s the backdrop of the whole event. I saved all of my pennies and nickles to attend and was genuinely excited to go. Shortly after I started blogging, I started making friends with other bloggers friends via Facebook groups. If you’re not a blogger, that probably sounds odd but it’s just how it works. One of the Facebook groups had made plans to meet that evening and as I packed my bags, I gave myself a pep talk that everything would be fine. Even though I entirely forgot to take pictures, I met some of the most wonderful, genuine, beautiful women I have ever met. I was so elated that I forgot to get anyone’s phone number the first night, lol. Oops. It’s ok though, because as I saw them later and admitted my mistake. They were so welcoming and anytime I was with them, I felt my fears and anxieties melt away. Did I also mention they are super talented?! I can’t wait to peruse some of their blogs and homes to share and maybe borrow some inspiration.
The conference was truly inspirational. From the classes to the booths, there was so much DIY eye candy. This media center caught my eye since hubby and I will be building one very soon.
As I said, there was some serious bloggy star power at the event. The closing ceremony even featured John and Sherry from Young House Love. Even though they quit blogging just about the time that I started, their influence on this community is undeniable. They talked about balance and why they quit, which was inspirational actually. With any creative endevor, burn-out happens but it isn’t the end of the world. I got some serious fan-girl energy seeing a few of my DIY idols. Did I work up the nerve to say hi? Of course not, because I would look over and they would be chatting with ANOTHER idol. Suddenly, my ability to form the most elementary sentence left me into that great big vortex of the unknown. It makes sense that long-time bloggers would know each other but it was certainly intimidating for lil’ me.
I will definitely be attending again next year and bringing hubby along. Not only to counteract my wallflower-ish-ness (definitely not a word, don’t judge), but there were so many aspects of Haven that I knew he would have enjoyed. Although the conference is geared towards bloggers, I did not expect how much actual DIY and project ideas to learn and test. From woodturning with Rockler to painting with Amy Howard, it really is such a hands-on event.
And, of course, there was the swag. I promise this isn’t bragging; this is something an attendee needs to be prepared for. I was told beforehand to take a large empty suitcase just for the samples and such to take home. I seriously googled it and so glad I listened! This is only about 70% of it and I am pretty excited to start using some of these fabulous items. My favorite was that I scored a really cool doorlock from Kwikset. Getting that through TSA was kind of a challenge though. I got some rather puzzled looks and I frantically worried they would not let it through. All was well, and when I arrived home, hubby opened my bag and exclaimed, “It’s like Christmas!”
No, it was better.