Saturday, August 10, 2013

Haven Conference Wrap-Up and Post-It Note I.O.U.'s

Last weekend, Courtney and I attended Haven, the blogging conference here in Atlanta.  I knew it was something special but had no idea how big it really is. I first heard about Haven last year when Courtney told me she tried to buy a ticket for me but they were sold out.  So when I learned that this year's tickets would go on sale January 1st, I watched the clock and waited poised in front of my computer only to find out that the "early bird" tickets were already gone.

First Lesson Learned: Bloggers are f-a-s-t!

Oh, well, not to let a little thing like that stop me I did purchase my ticket within the first 30 minutes and began to pester Courtney about whether she'd bought hers. She left me hanging for several weeks. I'd slip in a comment about how many tickets were left during our conversations but I didn't push. Then one day I told her they were almost gone, to which she replied, "I know, that's why I bought mine a couple of weeks ago."   I was thrilled about going to Haven but.. going with my daughter was beyond anything imaginable!

We're baby newbie bloggers.  Courtney created our blog in February and was the driving force.  She later created another blog all her own, a personal blog you can see ... HERE ... While I've lived with computers for decades I had not embraced social media.  Didn't have to.  Especially when Courtney did it so well.  But after starting her personal blog, when I'd ask her how to do something she'd reply, "Google it."  Talk about kicking this fledgling out of the nest!  But she was right.  It was time.

During the week before Haven I joined Twitter and Instagram, tried to spruce up our blog and pretty much drove myself crazy cramming too much into too little time.  Then the big day arrived.  Thursday.  Welcome cocktail party.  Alone.  Courtney wouldn't arrive until later that night (with the business cards I might add), but I dressed and carted myself off to Buckhead.

Everyone was so nice my nerves calmed down inside of ten minutes.  I even came up with a DIY business card.  Yep.  I'm the woman who passed out the post-it notes.

It seems "Necessity is the mother of invention" AND an instant ice breaker!

Second Lesson Learned: Bloggers are very approachable!

The classes, smiling faces, sponsors and vendors -- oh my!  Did I say it was a big deal? Make that H-U-GE! Let me share a little secret.. come closer.. {gulp}.. I shook hands with celebrities!  Yep.  And I didn't even know!  They're r-e-a-l people.  Honest.  So when did I find out about their celebrity status?  Pretty much when they led a session I attended!  Or reminded me I "owed them a business card." 

Third Lesson Learned: Bloggers are incredibly nice human beings!

Or maybe my first inkling was when they introduced the "Haven" dance.. :-)

Fourth Lesson Learned: Bloggers are multitalented and f-u-n-n-y!

On Saturday morning I did the Ballard Design challenge with an incredible group of women.  We were Sarah's Team.  I still can't believe our "twist" was that we had to leave "our" bookcase and move onto someone else's to complete.

While this was about so much more than receiving giveaways, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the generosity of the sponsors.  Over-the-top giving.

I loved everything about the Conference from the Welcome by Ana White to the Closing by Bob Johnson.   And I was encouraged by the fact that I wasn't the only one who no longer looked like their picture.

I laughed until I cried, and cried when I was overwhelmed by emotion.  When Courtney and her brother were little they'd tell me their "heart hurt."  These people's hearts touched my heart.  Tenderly.

Fifth Lesson Learned: Bloggers have incredible hearts!

One of my goals this past month has been to become more social media savvy.  Thank you, Haven, for helping me to make great strides in achieving that goal. Haven was there just when I needed it.  Furniture painting and restoration are an integral part of me now.  You know how sometimes you just know?  Well, Haven reminded me that "Whether or not it's apparent to me, everything is as it should be."  I was meant to attend Haven.  And I was meant to be a recipient of all the unselfish sharing of information and expertise wrapped up in genuine caring.

Sixth Lesson Learned: It really is about "communities!"

So my wrap-up post is late.. life intruded some this week.  But that tardiness doesn't diminish my incredible appreciation for the Haven Team, Sponsors, and amazingly friendly women (and men) I had the absolute privilege of meeting.

Thank you.  From the bottom of my hurting heart..


  1. I wish that I'd met you at Haven but am so glad that we can connect through our blogs.

    I can see me in your video. I'm in the red shirt right in front of the stage! I can't stop thinking about that dance, it was so much fun.

    1. So glad you let me know that red shirt was you! Now whenever I watch that video (I think I'm addicted, BTW)I'll think of you. That's a good thing!

  2. I'm so sorry our paths didn't cross. Sounds like you took away the same inspiration as I did! It is great to connect with you online!

    1. And I'm still inspired, Wanda, I'm hoping this glow doesn't wear off. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

  3. I am sad I didn't get to meet you. It would have been fun to hang out with another mom & daughter duo!

    1. Oh, that would have been fun! Maybe next year... I'll certainly look for you! :-)

  4. Dianne! You have a gift! I loved this post!! It was beautifully written and a great recap! I too am so sad we didn't meet-next year!!! I'm so glad you attended Haven and had such a great experience! I am no social media expert, but if you ever need help with anything-shoot me an email and I'd love to help process it with you! XO, Erica

    1. That is undoubtedly one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. And then to offer assistance.. you are rare indeed, Erica. Thank you.. xo

  5. Dianne - I love your post... the end had me reliving Bob Johnson's speech. Yep, he had me crying and my heart hurt too. I look forward to spending time with you next year, Dianne. In the meantime let's stay connected with our blogs.

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