WARNING: The quality of the photos below do NOT reflect the photos generally posted on this blog – they better not or I’m in trouble. My crazy expensive camera stayed home and given my flying woes, thank God it did! Oh, and if you see a very happy girl with glasses in the pictures below, don’t be alarmed, that’s just me. I was very tired and giddy 😉
Have you heard of Haven? It’s a blogger conference held in Atlanta every summer for the last 6 years and it’s organized by these lovely ladies:
Last year was my first Haven and I went when my blog was only 4 days old – I think other bloggers thought I was nuts! But I never once regretted going being so new to the game. I learned an incredible amount and built wonderful relationships so with that, I didn’t hesitate to buy a ticket to this year’s conference!
But it was thisclose to being a bust for me. Between being bumped off flights, getting a flight but then arriving at 3 am the day the conference started, having my luggage delayed until Saturday (almost the end of the conference itself!), I felt defeated. But once that luggage made its way to my door (thank you Grand Hyatt!), my experience turned around!
The keynote speaker was Rachel Kate and she gave the exact motivational speech I needed to hear. She described her career-finding journey and how it’s not always easy to come by. Her hard work paid off! Go check her out – she has crazy good design skills.
Now if you’re a newish blogger like myself and worried about how you’re going to be received, don’t be. Everyone is friendly. Yes there are stories of the occasional blogger snub for not being well-known enough but who cares?! There are plenty of others who are welcoming and downright nice. Take Katie Bower from BowerPower blog:
(Lord, can you tell I was nervous to say hello? I was also so very tired…)
I’ve followed her blog for years and she is just as genuine and lovely as you hoped she would be. And after having 4 boys, she’s having a girl!! If you don’t already read her blog, go read it. Now. (I’ll wait right here).
Doesn’t it look like I know what I’m doing?!
I got to see my girl Wanda who was the very first blogger I met, EVER! She blogs at “From House to Home” and she is so bubbly and sweet:
Another perk was that this year I got to meet up with some Canadian bloggers I had been wanting to meet and they didn’t disappoint! Casey from “House by the Bay Design” is simply awesome, I adored her:
Lindi from “Love Create Celebrate” taught a course on how to work with brands when you don’t have huge social numbers which was, without a doubt, one of the best classes there. I found a kindred spirit in this talented girl:
Ok so socializing is a big part of this thing and there were so many other bloggers I got to mingle with which wonderful. But there were classes to take too and brands to say hello to!
Kirstin from Sweet Tea LLC was such a cool chick and her class on content strategies didn’t disappoint. I’d hang out with her in a second. One cool fact about her: she has a 15 year old. Meeting her in person I thought she was in her 20s – she looked flawless and oh so young! (I look 65 and I have a 3 year old…something tells me I need to change something in my daily routine…)
Oops, I went back to mingling – did I mention the classes?! Most of them were targeted towards improving your social media numbers, how to organize your blog so you don’t go crazy (Abby Lawson of “Just a Girl and Her Blog” did a great job teaching this course and I loved her idea of setting out goals for the week and being held accountable to them), and courses that help teach the new wave of blogging like how to shoot better YouTube videos (since I like to stay behind the camera, this new genre is a tough one for me).
Socializing with brands is another big aspect of the conference. If you’re new to the blogging realm, this can seem quite daunting but don’t be shy. They’re generous, open to all sorts of ideas and they genuinely want to work with you! But make sure to have your printed materials in order like calling cards and media kits (i.e., don’t put them in your checked luggage like I did – ha!). It’s great to introduce yourself but you want to be able to leave them with something for them to remember you by!
The closing speaker was KariAnne Wood. She blogs at Thistlewood Farms and she is the most adorable, sincere, helpful, adorable (did I say that already?) blogger ever. I could listen to her talk endlessly. She brought us to tears, to belly laughs and finally to our feet. In fact I’m giving her a standing ovation right now.
If you’re a home DIY-er/design blogger who has never been to Haven, go! Next year it will be in Charleston, SC and I can already feel the sand between my toes!