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What Haven Means to ME! (Haven Part 2)

I wrote yesterday all about what I learned at Haven and how that it will impact my blog going forward. But there was a whole other aspect to Haven that I didn't even touch.  The interpersonal relationships.

I met (or just saw from across the room) so many amazing bloggers and it felt so empowering to be in a room full of other people who love the same things that I do, who understand what a "blog" is and why you would even want to write one.
Haven Conference 2013 

My whole adventure began at the airport, where I was flying cross country alone with the kids.  We were actually spending 3 weeks at my parent's house in addition to the conference and so we didn't pack light! 

I was really happy with how great the kids were and what big helpers my older girls were.  I ended up leaving the girls with my parents and drove the 7.5 hours down to Atlanta with just the baby.  Once again I was so impressed with how well he handled the drive but it was a huge relief to see the signs for Atlanta!
I was really lucky that my husband had flown directly into Atlanta for the weekend and watched the baby in the hotel room while I was at the conference.  I never would have been able to go without him. 

The opening night of the conference they held a cocktail party/mixer.   I hadn't really been nervous about meeting new people up until the point I walked onto the patio, into a sea of women.  I was really lucky to meet two super sweet bloggers right away and they became sorta my bloggy BFFs for the remainder of the conference.
Leslie of Puddy's House and Amy from AlwaysNeverDone were by far my FAVORITE girls from the entire weekend.  They are brand new baby bloggers who attended Haven last year and started up their own blogs recently. 

I was really shy that night and didn't have the nerve to approach too many other people, although I did get to talk to Trish from UncommonDesigns.  I have been linking to her and Bonnie's Monday Funday linky party for a long time, and seeing the 'real deal' was super cool.  I also met Laura of FindingHome.  She had the most adorable oval business cards!  One of my favorite of the conference.

The next morning the conference began "for realz!" I knew I wasn't dreaming when I sat down for breakfast with Emily Clark, Cyndy (The Creativity Exchange) Jessica from Stay At Homeista (one of the only other bloggers from the west coast,) Suzanne of The Blue Building and Amanda Carol.  

Later in the day, during one of the classes I was finally able to meet Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick.  It was sorta like meeting a rock star! 

And someone I never expected to meet (and was super super excited since she is a real celebrity with me and all my reality TV junkie friends!) Geralin Thomas, who is a professional organizer on the show Hoarders!  It was like my worlds were colliding! To be fair.. she does have a blog, but I will always think of her surrounded by piles of other people's trash (but in a good way I swear!)

I also sat through a class taught by Katie (of Bower Power) and Sherry (of the world famous Young House Love) but I didn't get up the nerve to ask for a photo.  This was one of my favorite sessions, even I didn't learn much I didn't already know. The banter between those two ladies just drew me in, and they seemed so genuine, which is the advice you always hear when it comes to blogging.  If you just be yourself, people will like you.  People will always know if you are faking it. 
Since the session was all about making friends with other bloggers (and your readers), of course I took the time to meet the other girls at my table: Ashley from Sweetpea Lifestyle and Emily from Two Purple Couches, who I swear is my alter-ego and does, in fact, own 2 purple couches

The first day wrapped up with a couple of parties thrown by the sponsors.  You know you are at a Home Improvement/DIY blog conference when you are being offered a signature drink named after The Home Depot:

It also was a great time to test out our dancing skills with the Haven inspired "DIY Shuffle."  I've included some still shots of it, but you really must check out the video Tricia posted.
courtesy of Ballard Designs

The last day of the conference was when I got to meet a few more great bloggers: Sabrina of Urban Swerve, Duane of Cottage in the Oaks, Lindsay of A Design Story, Allison of Refunk my Junk, Hayden of Haven by Hayden, Mary of At Home on the Bay, Eliesa of PinterestAddict and Christina of Homemade Ocean (who gave away Swedish Fish with her business card.. Oh how I love Swedish fish!)  I really enjoyed meeting Sara from Major Hoff Takes a Wife. I realized that I am ALWAYS pinning her projects to Pinterest but I wasn't reading her blog regularly.  I'm not going to do that anymore!

This was also my last chance to meet my favorite blogger of all times! Brittany, of Pretty Handy Girl, was the one person who inspired me to pick up some power tools and start renovating my money pit.. all by myself, way back in 2008.

I LOVE HER! (Not in that crazy psycho serial killer way..)

Check me out.. rocking the safety glasses!  Yikes.

By the end of the third day I was WIPED OUT.   It was a wonderful experience, and I would go again in a heartbeat.  I learned so much, met so many wonderful people and really hope that at this time next year, I will writing another recap post, about my SECOND year at Haven.

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