5 The Haven Experience Part 1

Since *Haven was probably the blogging highlight of my summer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell y’all about the actual experience. Get ready because I’m going to chat your ear off about all the Haven side stories: the experience, some awkward videos, and the FUUUUN. So grab a cup of coffee/tea/ice cream and relax because you’re in for a two part post. It goes without saying: #WarningItsLong

*Haven is a weekend event sort of like Comic-Con but for bloggers.

This girl is a bargain hunter for life and as such, scored a deal on a flight which brought me to the ATL early and left later than everyone else. As in I arrived Wednesday Morning and left Monday Morning (the conference was Thursday evening-Saturday). It was a blessing in disguise as I had enough time to get my bearings around town and the conference center while leaving enough time to relax before getting back to work.

On Wednesday, after picking up the rental car (remember, wish I would have known about the MARTA) and GPS’ing it to the hotel, it was time to drive around the hotel to get my bearings. Somewhere in the mix, I scored a super secret FREE parking place within walking distance. There was even serious investigating and triple checking going on around the building to ensure the rental wouldn’t get towed (that would be a bummer on a trip now wouldn’t it?).


It was then high time to explore The Grand Hyatt which was simply gorgeous. This place was SWANKY, yeah being totally spoiled all weekend didn’t bother me one bit. The charming lady at the concierge was kind enough to give me a map to check out all the conference rooms. Of course I looked out of place in my travel clothes and wet hair (it was pouring when I arrived). Either way, scoping out the place was my jam because I know panic can set in with 200+ people everywhere finding their way around.
  
Since I wasn’t a super genius to make plans with GA bloggers (like Dusty and her Celeb blogger friends), it was time to head out and explore the city a bit. With no direction in mind, besides finding the nearest Target to pick up the essentials I forgot, I stumbled across this cute store called The Dump, and of course it piqued my interest:

Of course it was weird to see an empty parking lot on a weekday. After peering in the dark windows, I assumed the Dump was one of those stores that's so awesome that you make a weekend trip out of it. Being the dork that I am, every time I met local bloggers I HAD to ask what the store was all about. Boy were they helpful!  From what I gathered, it’s a store between the high end retailers and TJ Maxx. I’m sure I would have gotten lost in ideas; I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in town.

I digress, the next day was conference day (Thursday) and boy were the butterflies a flyin’. I was meeting my first roomie (of three) early-ish in the morning and I couldn’t wait. After chatting over the last month, we were all finally going to meet in person.

We were all glammed up for the RYOBI party.

Let me tell ya, it was worth the wait. We had a blast and these girls were so amazing. Serena from Thrift Diving was sort of the ‘mommy’ pulling us all together, dishing out fabulous advice and even better blogging ideas. She’s super tall and I even had high heels on in this shot!

Then there was my girl Jodi from The Glittered Barn. Let me tell you, that girl is just the sweetest girl!! We were the first to meet each other and we hit it off right away. We navigated our way together and were exit buddies throughout the whole weekend.

Last but not least, Scottie from Saved by Scottie really saved me (har har) when we found out we both had late departures. We bummed around the city, took a few shots photos, and even found some neat back to school stuff:

Spot the desperate mime. Ok I have a cruel sense of humor.

Of course I failed to actually get Scottie in a photo. 

Anyway, back to the first day. While Jodi and I were waiting to check in, low and behold a celeb blogger was in our presence. Jodi was completely star-struck. As in she froze and didn’t know how to approach her favorite blogger which happened to be Mandi from Vintage Revivals. Seeing those puppy eyes telling me ever so subtly that she wanted to talk to her, like real bad, I knew I had to do something. For real, no exchange of words people, just eye contact.

So what’s a girl to do? Slap on my big girl pants and march on over to introduce us.  Admittedly I’m horrible at faces and names to the blogs (sometimes I read so many blogs they all blur together) so I let Jodi do all the talking. Guess the girl just needed a boost. It took me a bit but I finally recognized her posts like her Herringbone Ceiling and PVC Pipe Dresser Overhaul. What I got out of the whole conversation is that Mandi is ridiculously sweet AND kind hearted AND very down to earth. She even hugged Jodi! Yeah, the hugging-strangers kinda blog superstar! Oh and she’s tall, like super model tall for those of you wondering. More on Mandi in a in the next post, I promise there’s a good story during the RYOBI dance party so stay tuned…

That evening there was opening ceremony/social and boy was it packed. Here’s just a small peek at how many ladies were there and how loud we were OUTSIDE.



I’m so glad to have girls that are just as geeky as I; I mean c’mon who else would think purple tongues from purple carrots are fun?!



Right after those carrots I went through the secret garden and got to chill with my favorite blogging buddies Sherry and Katie (I wish they were my BFFs). Sherry was doorwoman and I was trying to play cool by showing her my purple tongue to pass (awkward much?). I think I even muttered that it was nice to see another shorty blogger, meanwhile observing how tall Katie is. For some reason I could tell there was something different about Katie (granted this was the first time I ‘met’ her) but couldn’t put my finger on it. Low and behold she made the announcement that following Monday. Duh, it was that preggers glow!! Of course you NEVER ask a woman if she's got a bun cooking not even if they have a beach ball tummy, for real.

Anywho, that conversation was where my star-struck kicked in so there’s not photographic evidence and I kinda took the back burner to another blogger, who had way more to say than the Chattiest Cathy.




Oh and I met this amazing mother daughter blogging duo from Arkansas (maybe?). I have to say they were also very sweet (sensing a theme here?). More importantly, they flattered me beyond belief because they knew oodles about Wisconsin and maybe more about my little town than I. I was so hooked on conversation I was ready to think we cruised past speed dating and should have called it an actual date.

Since I’m already blabbering on and it’s only the second day of Haven, please follow through to The Haven Experience Part 2. It’s worth it PROMISE!!

Do you over-prepare by arriving early to scope out the place? Do you clam up/get awkward when meeting your idols? Isn’t it weird when you meet someone they’re not exactly how you pictured?



P.S. I was not paid or perked from any of these vendors; they just happen to be some of the coolest sponsors AND happen to support one of the best blogging events.
Preparing for a blog conference or event of your own? Be sure not miss:
Prequel: get your cords organized and label your stuff because your new bff roomies won’t want to fork out money to ship it to you.
4- What I learned from all those Classes at Haven (Part 1 & Part 2)
6- THE Haven Experience (Part 1, you are here & Part 2)

Check out more blog event tips from my experience at the Maiedae Mixer

5 comments:

  1. This sounds like an amazing experience. Airline deals. Networking. Sherry and Katie. I'm gonna call this one a big WIN.

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    1. Yep total WIN! Fav celeb blogs, learning a bunch of blogging crap, man I couldn't have asked for more! Hope to see ya there next year. Maybe I can drive to your place and we can make the rest of the trip together?

      Much Love,
      Trisha D.

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  2. Trisha this is awesome! You had me LOL'ing. One thing if I ever go to one of these I so need a new wardrobe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll help your wardrobe if you help with my fall decor dilemmas.

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