It’s been a while! I’ve got to admit, summer has taken over my days over here, and I’ve missed blogging! So happy to be back from Atlanta with a renewed passion for it! If you weren’t aware, I traveled to Atlanta this past week for the Haven Conference- a four day gathering of hundreds of bloggers to meet, mingle, and LEARN! Yes, it was non-stop classes all day and non-stop fun all night. If you want to hear all about it, keep reading!
This is where everyone hung their business cards! How great is that? Fab way to find local bloggers!
I love traveling, and there’s something about traveling alone that makes me giddy. Maybe it’s the mama of 4 in me. I love my alone time:) Perhaps something is a bit fearless about navigating through an airport by myself that’s part of it, I suppose. When I told my driver from the airport to the hotel that I was going to the Hyatt in Buckhead, he said, “Oh, you’re going to the Beverly Hills of Atlanta!” Lol! He was right! I walked into that hotel and thought, “Woah, this is SO lovely!”
It’s a funny thing, showing up to something by yourself when you really don’t know anyone. I’m not shy at all. I love meeting new people and being in social situations. But I walked in and saw a swarm of bloggers hanging in the lobby/bar area of this hotel and immediately thought, “Holy crap, I need/want my friends!” Lol. It was weird! Especially because by friends I mean fellow bloggers who I’ve grown close to over the past year, but still hadn’t met in person. So, really, what if we didn’t connect in person? How overwhelming would this weekend be if I felt alone? Such a silly thought. And it’s a thought that quickly disappeared when I met Shauna from The House of Silver Lining. After I checked in, I sat on a bench texting my pals while waiting for my room to be ready. Suddenly, I looked up and saw this petite blonde from behind; stylish and beautiful. As soon as she turned around I yelled, “Shauna!” and we laughed and hugged. From that moment on she joked about how much shorter I was than she expected. Apparently I look taller in my Instagram photos? Lol. Newsflash folks, I’m a whopping 5’3″! So after that it was up to our rooms (ten of us requested to be on the same floor) where we waited for the rest of the gang to show up. Brittany from Addison’s Wonderland was my roomie, and I was so thankful for her sweetness! This girl is everything I thought she would be: poised, classy, kind, and fun!
That night we went to dinner at Chops Lobster Bar. It was DELICIOUS! Here’s a pic on the way there and a pic outside of the restaurant. Not everyone is in the group shot because they were in a different uber car;)
Friday was the official start of the conference. We gathered in the large ballroom and listened to Marian Parsons of Miss Mustard Seed and Shaunna West of Perfectly Imperfect as opening speakers. They were fantastic! After, I walked around to all of the different vendors/sponsors. Check out the swag bag!
What an awesome amount of goodies! Getting it home was quite a task! My suitcase weighed 62 lbs! I had to sit and take stuff out to lighten it up. Which was tricky because the heavy stuff was tools that could be perceived as weapons in a carry on, or paint that was over 3 oz! Lol. I managed.
So anyway, to make a long story short, the next three days were filled with class after class with awesome information to improve our blogs. Many classes overlapped, so unfortunately I couldn’t go to everything I would’ve liked. Topics ranged from Photography, Photo Staging, SEO, Marketing/Affiliate Links, Social Media, Working With Brands, etc. It was a fantastic amount of information. Really fueled the fire for coming home and improving areas of my blog that I’ve been neglecting.
My favorite part of the whole weekend was connecting with fellow bloggers. Not only my main peeps, but an extended group of talented people I met. There’s something so freeing about being surrounded by people who do what you do. I’m drawn to creative people like magnets. I just wanted to soak in every ounce of everyone’s energy and knowledge! It was overwhelming! And let’s be honest, mama needed some time away! I was due for putting on something “cute” and enjoying a glass of wine or three with some music and dancing. I wouldn’t call myself a “party girl” by any means. My ideal night is watching Office reruns with my hubby (love me some Jim Halpert!) But I crave getting fancy from time to time and chatting up a storm.
Here are pix from Friday’s shenanigans. We had dinner at Cheesecake Factory and popped into Anthropologie while we waited for our table. Do you know how surreal it is to step into your favorite store with other friends just as obsessed? So fun!
Here’s pix from Saturday. So fun to meet Young House Love!
And Saturday night pix…
How stylish are my friends? Babes!
Me and Kelley Nan
Me and Erin from Sunny Side Up
And at the soiree…
Brittany and I with the ladies of DIY Playbook
Me and Rhoda from Southern Hospitality
Me with Bower Power. How cute are they?
Another highlight? Meeting the awesome people behind Home Depot. These two sweet gals had an image of my painted thrifted dresser on their aprons! You can find that tutorial HERE.
Ah! I’m struggling with how to wrap this up! I’m just so thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this adventure, and appreciative for all the work that went into putting it together. And thankful to everyone back home who pitched in with watching my kiddos and made sure to follow through with potty training my son since I had only started the week before! And to Kelley for these adorable gifts she gave the ten of us! I mean, seriously, how thoughtful and cute is this??
My heart is very full. And my brain is too for that matter. I’m just hoping I can implement everything I learned and improve my blog for you all. Is there anything you find hard to navigate on my site that you’d like to have me fix? Anything you want me to add or see more/less of? I’d love to hear your input! In the meantime, please visit the blogs of my closest blogging buddies pictured in this post. They’re all extraordinary! And if you’re a new blogger and contemplating going to this conference in the future, do it!