Holy moly, what a weekend for the books! On Sunday, I came home from Haven. Haven is incredible conference specifically for DIY and home decor bloggers.
This was my second year at Haven. Admittedly, last year was pretty terrifying. I’m not an introvert per say, but I get easily intimidated by talented people who I envy. Not to mention I had just started blogging and everything was very overwhelming. I felt like I needed to put that out there since finding out that so many others felt that way last year. Welp, this year was a total 180, and in the best kind of way. And I am so grateful I gave it another go.
It was so good this year, that I hardly have any photos to show for it. No kidding, I was talking nonstop this year! I learned so much from the women I was with all weekend. A big difference between last year and this year was that I felt like I found my tribe. I connected with so many women this year. These ladies are smart, warm, funny, wicked talented, beautiful women.
One thing I did differently but didn’t plant to do, was fly in Wednesday night. Far and away, this was one of the best things I did! I had breakfast with Kristy and Corey (Robb Restyle), lunch with Angela (Blue i Style), and then had beers with Sarah (Life on Virginia Street), Trish (Surburban Bitches), Kristy and Corey, Kellie (Design Asylum) and Jenna (Rain on a Tin Roof). That day set my Haven 2.0 experience off on the perfect foot. We laughed, we drank, and welcomed each other like we had all gone to college together. At the welcome reception, we welcomed Brenna (Domestic Charm) and Melissa (A Prudent Life), and Erin (the other half of Suburban Bitches) to our dinner tribe. I mean, what an awesome start to Haven! TIP: Beers in the lounge at the Grand Hyatt are $8 each and you will spend more time in the lounge than you think, so budget accordingly! On that note, bring your own water bottle, and pack some snacks in your suitcase. I paid almost $7 for a bottle of water and mini box of Wheat-Thins in the hotel gift shop!
Going into the event, I took a different approach. For one, I chose my classes differently. Last year, I took classes that were over my head on the first day and took all hands on classes the second year. I regret my second day since those are were things I could learn at home. I more or less felt like I wasted a day. This year, I took classes based on my current knowledge base and areas I was ready to expand upon.
Classes I took this year: (…it was so hard to chose!!!!)
- An Inbox of Opportunity
- Top Tips for Better Building. 10 Things You Need to Know
- How to Make Money with Affiliates
- The Power & Profit of Moving from a Blog to a Brand
- How to Translate Your Project to Video
- From Project to Published Project: Surefire Strategies for Creating Compelling Content
- Changes in Ad Revenue: How to Make the Most Money off Your Ads and Mobile Site
- Understanding Google Analytics and Making it Work for You
Secondly, I packed differently. I actually tried the “Zip ‘n Ship” method where each outfit is packed (air tight sealed) in a big Ziplock baggie with all all of my jewelry and undergarments packed in a smaller ziplock baggie (also in the big Ziplock). I surprised myself and worked brilliantly! I didn’t bring any extra clothes which is a good thing since I was at 46 pounds when I checked my suitcase! I brought a big(her) tote bag, my laptop, a clutch that I could use for the evenings, and cuter clothes (including dresses for the evenings). TIP: Check your packing pride at the door and bring a suitcase inside a suitcase for all of the swag you will come home with. Trust me. You’re welcome.
Another thing I learned quickly: We all recognize each other from our Instagram handle. So as soon as I got home, I changed mine from @tylerstripes to @thestripedhouse. This year there was an IG Daily Photo Challenge the 10 days leading up to Haven. Check out #havenconf to see all the photos. I think last year, it was a month long challenge. One of my goals this year was to put myself out there to meet more bloggers. TIP: Like and comment on other bloggers IG photos. I wrote “Looking forward to meeting you” on a lot of profiles, but it was worth it. It made newbies feel welcome, it helped bridge the connection between us all before the conference, and we all got a IG boost in followers 😉
#BloggerFailMoment: I brought two portable phone chargers, and cords to charge those. I brought my iPad charger and plug (which I used nightly). But guess which ding dong forgot the actual cord needed to charge my phone? Yep, this girl. Thank God my roomie Sara (Major Takes a Wife) had an extra cord. Seriously, that’s ground for Sainthood in the blogger world.
BloggerFailMoment#2: Not booking my hotel room as soon as I bought my ticket for Haven. When I went to book it, all Hyatt had left were corner king suites and it would have been $900 for three nights. Oh hell, no. Book your room early kids.
TIP: Bring a laptop or keyboard with your iPad. I started out on my notebook and I quickly realized I was missing half the info. I can type faster than I write and without looking down. So I switched to my laptop for the second day.
Jon Acuff was our opening keynote speaker. He was so great! His books are on my Amazon Wish List.
A photo posted by Jen Tyler @ The Striped House (@thestripedhouse) on
I’m already excited for next year, and I hope to see you all there!