Haven is a DIY blogging conference that happens in Atlanta every summer, and this year I finally went. I’ve read countless blog post about the Haven experience and can’t recall one negative thing ever said about it. In fact, the general consensus is, ‘It’s sunshine and happiness, rainbows, and hugs all around, everyone is super nice and friendly, you’ll learn so much and you’ll love it!’ I thought about going the last two summers but never made it happen. So this year I did! I was sure to buy my ticket early because it always sells out, you had no idea, I know. But it never sold out this year. I think attendance was down from 500 to 400 or so. Maybe because people heard I was going. I don’t know.
Why did I decide to go to Haven? Well I’ve been in a blogging slump of sorts. I get so mad at myself for spending countless hours “wasting time” writing and editing pictures and so on just for a hobby. It started to feel like a chore. An obligation. Something to avoid. Blogging was bringing me down man.
Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t give up blogging cold turkey. And I’m never going to stop tearing apart and redoing my house. So why did it feel like such an obligation? It isn’t a “job” because I don’t make any money from blogging. And look… there goes more hours of my life wasted debating with myself whether I should try to make blogging a “job” or not. If my mom were reading this she would definitely be rolling her eyes. Good thing she’s only read my blog a handful of times. My dad has never been to my blog. But they would both agree that blogging is not a job. And my brother too.
Now let me pause to tell you – if you don’t already know – that I’ve never been one to listen to my parents. “Or anyone” I can just hear some of you saying. But I am a little sensitive when it comes to the subject of employment. I used to be a teacher. I worked in 4 school districts in 6 years and was non-renewed from the last one while I was on maternity leave. And even though I know ‘it wasn’t my fault’ I was bounced around so much that it certainly knocked my self-esteem down a few notches.
Long story short, I just haven’t written anything on my blog for over a month. Not that I don’t have TONS to say, and a million projects to share, but because I was starting to feel like a loser for blogging for spending so much time away from my kids for a hobby. I went to the Haven Conference because I saw it as a turning point. It was going to help me make a decision one way or the other – to either focus more on blogging or really push it to the back burner.
Besides, I hadn’t been to Atlanta since 1996 for the Summer Olympics. I was on the US Water Polo team. No. I wasn’t. I’ve never played water polo. But I was a volunteer, I worked at the rowing venue on Lake Lanier. Good times. Moving on.
Disclaimer: You may want to visit my About Me page before proceeding. Let me also apologize for my inability to be brief. I’m sorry.
My Haven Experience
I was planning to drive to Atlanta, but when I realized I wasn’t taking a family of 5, just little old me, I decided to fly. My first time on Spirit Airlines and I neglected to pay the extra money to pick my seat. So of course I got a middle seat… between a couple. A married couple. For real – the husband sat in the aisle seat and the wife in the window seat. They talked over me the entire flight. I closed my eyes before we took off and kept them closed until the pilot said it was time to land. Atlanta airport is like a small city, but that’s okay I made my way to baggage claim and checked Facebook while I waited for my giant duffel bag to appear. Where in the world were the rolling suitcases we own??? No idea! Anyway, on FB some other bloggers said they were meeting up like right then and were going to take the MARTA (that’s Atlanta for subway) to the hotel together. I’ve never been on MARTA so I commented on the post that I was at baggage claim too and was also looking to meet up. I even private messaged the last chick who posted who said she was in the airport. And guess what? I never heard boo back from anyone which made me feel pretty damn stupid. Whatever, I’m a smart girl 😉 I got on MARTA and made it to the hotel, but my dreams of sunshine and happy were already fading away.
Hubby booked me a room around the corner with his frequency flier points, so I walked over to the Hyatt to register, excited to meet MY PEOPLE! I walked through the lobby, randomly wandered downstairs, gave my name to a nice woman who handed me a swag bag and name tag, stood awkwardly around for half a second then wandered back through the hotel, out the door and back to my hotel. Rainbows where were you!?!
Things got infinitely better at the newbie mixer that evening when I met Deb, who lives in NEW JERSEY! She blogs at Seeking Lavender Lane and you should go check her out because she’s like my new best friend. Even though she’s 11 years younger than me, I’ll let that slide. It was at the meet and greet that I saw my first glimpse of a rainbow… and at the end was a pot of gold named Sharon Williams! I found Sharon’s blog a few months back and we had connected online a few times before Haven, so meeting her in person was super cool. It was love at first sight. 😉 She blogs at Pretty Practical Home. (For those of you who live in my neighborhood – Sharon is like my blogging Dina! Sister loves me for keeping it real.)
But… even though it was actually about 95 degrees, and my legs were dripping sweat even though I was wearing a short strapless dress, there was a definite chill out on that terrace. Like I was on the set of Mean Girls or something. It was AKWARD!!! I was so glad I hooked up with Sharon and Deb because they’re basically the only people I talked to the whole party. I’ll give you one example of the nonsense a brew at that firs event. A not famous, but attitude-filled blogger approached one of my friends and the first thing she asked was, “How many Instagram followers do you have?” Seriously? You can’t decide if you want to waste your time talking to a person until you know if they can help your status. That’s messed up.
Now I’m not going to dwell on the negative because I’m such a positive uplifting person I don’t want you to hate me, so I’m going to tell you what was good.
- The very first friend I made was Samantha from Simply Organized. Love her even though she’s a little too pretty. She’s a professional organizer so of course we had tons to talk about. (I had a professional organizing business when my kids were younger.)
- The food was awesome! Lots of choices for non-meat-eating me. One of my new friends was also vegetarian. Jennifer from The Life of Jennifer Dawn. What a sweetheart. But naturally sweet, you know, not I wanted to strangle her after 5-minutes sweet.
- I have a new blogger friend from Nova Scotia, Mina from The Handy Homemaker. I told her all about my trip there two years ago. (You can read about it here and here)
- The Rockler reps were super cool, we talked to them for a long time. I told them all about my spindle woes.
- After Sharon and Deb left I met up with another group of women who were also new to Haven. Theywere filled with sunshine and happiness, and they forced me to go out to dinner with them… and I’m so glad they did because now they are my blogging peeps! We hung out together for the rest of the weekend!
So I guess the first night of the Haven Conference ended on a good note. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear the rest of my saga… Because I’m going to bed!
Be sure to check out more posts about our family life below!