Haven 2014 Recap

Haven Conference 2013

My Haven expericence started with a 6.5 hour drive from Memphis to Atlanta. Not a horrible drive, but totally boring since I was alone.

After 6 hours, my destination was in my sights!

And not three minutes after this photo was taken, I ran into total stand-still traffic. Apparently, there was a 6 car pile up that had completely blocked all four lanes. I said a prayer for those involved and quickly got off on the next available exit to try another route.

I made it to registration without further incident and collected my name badge and conference bag.

It was then a mad dash to my hotel to get changed and back in time for the 1st Timers Meet Up. I had gotten a text from my blog bestie, Shavonda of A Home Full of Color, to let me know that she and a few other girls were meeting up in her hotel room before heading down to the meet-up, so I headed straight there.

Upon arrival, I met Shavonda, Brandi of Don't Desturb this Groove, Darnetha of ChippaSunshine, and Katrina of Chic Little House. I have no photos of this portion of the story and for a few reasons: 1. It was my first time meeting everyone in person. 2. I was super nervous 3. After meeting everyone, the laughter and conversations totally took over so picking up my phone to take photos wasn't even thought about! 

After an hour of chatter, we realized that we were totally late (!) for the meet-up, but were making perfect timing for the opening mixer. We headed down to the lobby where we were then swimming in a sea of blogger excitement. To tell you the truth, it was incredibling over-whelming. To look around and see faces that you recognize of blog celebrities like Mandi of Vintage Revivals and Kirsten of 6th Street Design School was one thing, but to take in the sheer number of people that were there and then realize how many blogs are out in the web-i-verse that you don't even know about...totally mind blowing!

After calming down just a bit, my mind nearly exploded when up walks my favorite jewelry designer/blogger/daily inspiration, Lakeitha Duncan of Wrist Soiree! You've seen me sporting her pieces either here or on Instagram for a long time, now, and to see and meet her in person was nothing short of what I expected it to be. She's warm, down to earth and sweet and funny as hell! If we lived any closer, I swear we'd hang out every day! Our boys would be best friend and we'd have girls' night every Thursday. I kid you not, I love her that much! Not to mention, she had provided each person of the group a little arm candy to sport for the night.

Amelia Bracelets in Crystal & Black

The next morning, we started bright and early with breakfast and a little Chip Wade of HGTV's Elbow Room!

From left: Me, Talana, Katrina & Brandi

Me & Shavonda
And even more Wrist Soiree!

Emerald Leather Tassel Bracelet with Crystal Amelia Bracelet

My first session was with Ryobi Tools and Kreg. As a lover of both brands, I couldn't pass this one up. And I'm so glad I didn't because I walked away with one of Ryobi's Cordless Narrow Crown Stapler!

the look of a winner, no?
The rest of the morning was spent visiting various vendors, participating in giveaways and contests, and chatting with new people.

I was totally eyeing the Kreg Project Kit.

Home Depot's Bright Ideas DIY Booth
Photo by Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona

That afternoon, I made it to a session called High End DIY, taught by Kirsten of 6th Street Design School, Courtney of A Thoughtful Place, and Danielle of Danielle Oakey Interiors. The class was packed to copacity, but we all walked away with some great information.

Kirsten of 6th Street Design School
The next day included more sessions, more vendor visits & more chatting with fellow bloggers. This is also the day that I was without my charger and couldn't take any photos!!! I did get one of the girls to send me this shot that we took after the most awesome lunch together.

Thanks, Brandi, for this candid shot!
Top: Katrina, Brandi, Erin & Darnetha; Bottom: Me & Dayka Robinson (she deserves her own seperate post!)
That night, however, I got all dressed up with my phone fully charged, and headed to the closing cocktail party. There, I was able to leave with two of my favorite pics.

Me with Mandi (Vintage Revivals)
Me with Shavonda
I can't tell you how incredibly deeply these ladies have affected my and my decision to be a part of this blogging world. Mandi, with her sheer wealth of creativity and drive to be different every day is who reminds me to continue to dive deeply into what inspires me and in turn, create and share those the things that I concoct with all of you!

And Shavonda. Her sweet spirit was like that of a bumble bee that floated from flower to flower through the conference, depositing her incredible personality upon others, so they could never forget her. She reminds me that there is always a person behind the story, the tutorial, and the amazing pictures; and that it takes people to make them matter. The human element is what makes blogging the amazing thing that it is. I'll remember this forever as I continue and improve upon my little corner of the web-i-verse.

Haven was a God send. A get-away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A learning experience that, hopefully, all of my readers will be grateful for as my blog improves. And a cornerstone, forever marked in my heart, for it is where I met some of the most incredible people I've ever known. I know that I will have them in my lives forever. And for that, I'm forever grateful.