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Haven Conference Recap - 2017

Cristina Garay, Maison the Pax mentor group
Jennifer | me | SarahJodiLauraLindaRachel & baby | Laura CarrieJennie | WhitneyVanessa | Chelsea

Hi Friends,

This year I finally made the effort to attend the Haven Conference and all I can say is, why didn't I do this sooner!?

If you're not a blogger, you probably don't know what I'm talking about, so let me explain.

Haven is a DIY & decorating professional blogging conference which usually takes place in July. An event that gathers around 350 pro-bloggers under the same roof for three days.
Sessions focus on improving skills in blogging, decorating, home improvement, photography, writing, social media, brand relationships, book writing, and what I think is the best: connecting with other people that share the same passion for all things blog.

Saying it is easy, but it took me a couple of years to sign up and conquer those silly fears all of us introverts face when confronting an event that's gonna be packed with new faces. And well, that was perhaps, one of the first lessons I got from the conference, being myself and saying hi to most of the people I could say hi to was a really good starting point.

So, I'm here to tell you, it was lots of fun! That first picture was taken during the welcome reception co-hosted by Delta and The Home Depot, there, posing with our mentor Rachel from Maison the Pax and the other ladies in the group. I loved the idea of the mentor groups because it gave everyone the sense of being part of a group during the conference.

organizers and creators

After breakfast, the following morning, the program started with some key points from the talented ladies who created and organized the event, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Traci from Beneath My Heart, Chris from Just A Girl Blog, and Kristin.

The keynote speech was from Rachel Kate who shared her story and the importance of:
Developing a brand, being prepared, partnering with big brands, and being persistent.

lots of goodies in this navy blue and white swag bag

Oh, I almost forgot the pretty swag bag given to all attendees at registration. Lots of goodies. :)

Business cards for a bloggers conference

And hey, one week before heading to Atlanta I realized my previous business cards didn't have much info so, these last-minute cards did the trick.

Really good details on all of the booths. I love this one from Crates & Pallet.

Liberty Hardware booth was cute too and they had the ever-popular GOLD Man greeting everyone. I remember taking a picture with him but couldn't find it. Is it just me the one that forgets to take pics?!

But hey, I did find this one with Chip Wade, my oh my, that boy is cute! :D

Most of my classes that first day were about social media and boring blog-related stuff because I really suck at all those subjects, but I didn't want to miss this class with my talented friend Jocie from One Project Closer / The Other Half.  Ahhh, it was so good to do what I like to do the most, work with my hands to create something pretty! Her Hand lettering sign class was awesome, and if you want to give it a try follow the link, she has a fantastic online class you can sign up for right now!

Cristina Garay Abby Lawson, Cody Thompson

That evening I joined a fabulous group of bloggers for The Home Depot & Kwikset Haven Dinner.

There were so many gorgeous details! The tables were beautifully dressed in black, white, and gold. Those menus were set in marble and look at those cute name tags. :)
Great food, music, and conversation.

The classes and visiting the vendor's booths continued the following day, but without a doubt, the highlight of my day was sitting down for a Ryobi interview. Woohoo, I don't know why, but as soon as I have a camera in front of my face I kinda freeze!

Ryobi Nation interview during Haven 17 in Atlanta by Stephanie Thomas

I'm hoping that after they edit the files they can get at least thirty seconds of material. Oh my, I was so nervous. :/

Cristina Garay riding the Ryobi Electric lawn mower during Haven conference

Riding this awesome RYOBI Electric lawn Mower was a great way to relieve the stress.

The Closing speaker was KariAnn from Thistlewood Farms who never disappoints. And I leave you with her first message that evening: "Never apologize for where you are on the journey".  Words of wisdom, I know. :)

I came back home happy, with lots of info and a mile-long list of things I need to do. I gotta go one thing at a time, but it's so good to have different perspectives on how to work things, set new goals, and have people you can count on when having troubles along the way.

Sunday morning I unpacked all the loot and oh-my-goodness, that was a lot! Most of it was from the swag, some stuff given during the classes, and the visit to the vendor's booths.
(Affiliate links)
products given to Cristina Garay during Haven 2017

So, without a doubt, this was an eye-opening experience that I'm so glad I finally took. If you're a blogger or have considered starting a blog I totally recommend this conference to you. I can't wait for Haven 2018 which will take place in Charleston, Yaaay!

I hope to see you there!



*This post contains affiliate links*

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  1. Cristina, I'm so glad you got to go! Isn't it just the coolest experience? Jemma and I went last year and we loved it. It's so neat how everyone there is a little bit scared but connects immediately. I felt nothing but welcome and appreciated. We weren't able to go this year but it's definitely on the list for next year. :)

    1. Stacey, I remember those pictures of you and Jemma last year. It was right there and then that I decided to make plans to attend this year! That's so right, it's so easy to feel at home when you're surrounded by like-minded people. I'm already making plans for next year, I hope to see you girls right there!

  2. Cristina, First of you- You are just BEAUTIFUL and I LOVE the outfit you are wearing in that first picture. I am so glad you went and that you enjoyed it. I have thought about going and thought I might go last year but hubby's cancer took precedence over my life for the last couple of years. I hope to be able to go in the future.
    Did they recommend any cameras for blogging? I REALLY need a decent camera! lol xo Diana

    1. haha thanks Diana, that poofy skirt is hard to ignore and I love it. One of the acquisitions during my trip to Colombia last month :D
      You should attend next year, a bit closer to us in beautiful Charleston, it's gonna be great! :)
      I didn't attend any photography class this time, I went to the geeky stuff: SEO, ads and social media. But, you should get a DSLR camera Cannon / Nikon, and practice, practice and practice.

  3. I love reading recaps from the Haven Conference, especially since I couldn't go this year. It looks like you had a wonderful time and I love your outfit in the first photo! Last year was my first year attending and I can't wait to do another - especially since it's being held in Charleston next year. Love that city! Maybe I will see you next year!

    1. Thanks Shelley! Yes, it was lots of fun. Let's make Charleston our next place to visit. Hey wait, yeah, I saw your Instagram pic, well, that's even better if you already know the city and it's your second time! :D

  4. Cristina it was such a extra special gift that I met you. You are truly a lovely person inside and out! I learned so much at the conference and can't wait to implement all the great information.

    1. Laura, the gift was mine, you're a royal! It was nice seeing you and your daughter. Next time we have to sit down to have some tea! :)

  5. Love this post! It's such a great summary of a fun week-end. But I am totally disappointed that I didn't get to meet you! Sending digital hugs! XO ....Susie from The Chelsea Project

    1. Oh, I'm so sad I didn't get to meet you this time, Susie! It's like there were a hundred things going on at the exact same time. I missed so many classes I wanted to take, forgot to take more pictures, and the worst, missed so many friends I wanted to connect in real life! :/

  6. Darn it we kept seeing each other in passing, so wonderful to hear you had a great time. Such a nice recap too.

    1. Oh Jaime, I should've gone to Haven years ago when you first recommended it to me! Well, better late than never, and yes, it was lots of fun. ;)

  7. Glad you had a great time Cristina!! I have never been but maybe next year......only if you are going again! :)

    1. Hey, it's gotta be a promise Lisa! I know you're gonna have a really good time!

  8. You are so beautiful and kind Christina, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you this year!!! So glad you came and that you had a great time!!! I am horrible at getting pictures too!!! Lol!! I got home and had a few with Clint and that was pretty much it!!! 😂 Can't wait to see you next year in Charleston!!!😁

    1. Hehe we were so busy with the classes and chatting that our phones didn't get much use! I think it was better that way. ;) It was so nice meeting you, I love your contagious energy! Oh yes, I'm so looking forward to Charleston next year!

  9. Love your recap perspective, Cristina! Always love reading all the afterglow Haven Conference recaps. Rekindles all the fun I had at the two that I've gone to so far! So glad you had such a wonderful experience & time there for your first! Thanks so much for sharing and it motivates me to attend again next year (*fingers crossed*). ��

    1. Oh no, it's precisely the one you missed! :/ yeah, it was such a wonderful experience and I'm so looking forward for next year's at Charleston. I hope to see you there Anastasia!

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