Another amazing Haven Conference has come and gone. If you’re paying attention to dates… yes, the 2017 Haven Conference was nearly a month ago and I am just getting around to sharing my recap. But, better late than never, right?
As always, Haven did not disappoint. The weekend was full of great informational sessions, fun crafts and hands-on activities, catching up with my best blogging buddies, and a quick meet-and-greet with Clint Harp! Yes, that Clint Harp!
This was my 4th year attending the conference (you can read about my past trips here, here and here) and each year I swear it gets better and better. It’s also fun to look back at my previous recaps and notes and see just how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown over my blogging journey. The first year I was a total ball of nerves, but each year gets easier and instead of anxious butterflies, I am filled with excitement.
This year I was once again traveling and rooming with my good friend Amy from My Life from Home. All of our “tribe” from last year was attending Haven again and we were beyond excited to reunite and spend the weekend together. There may have been a fair amount of shrieking and hugging.
We also added some new faces to our group this year – Vicki and Jenn from 2 Bees in a Pod, Amanda from Old House to New Home, Kati from Houseful of Handmade, Lydi from Lydi Out Loud, and Nicole from Madness and Method.
There were so many amazing sponsors again this year who help make Haven possible. From The Home Depot to Wagner to DecoArt, Behr, BLANCO, Aspect Tile and so many more. I always enjoy stopping the booths to get a peek at new products or do a fun make-and-take.
There was lots of excitement this year over a special guest that Dremel was bringing – the one and only Clint Harp of Fixer Upper fame! He spent some time greeting and taking photos and also hosted a session with Dremel. I didn’t attend the session but heard it was fantastic. He is seriously the nicest person, taking a few minutes to chat with each of us, ask us where we’re from, etc. I really hope I make it to Waco one of these days so I can check out his shop in person!
I was also thrilled to finally meet Amy of One Artsy Mama in real life. I’ve been following her arts, crafts and hand-lettering tutorials for years. I was so stoked that my copy of her new book arrived just days before Haven so I could take it along with me. I will never pass up the opportunity to have a book signed!
Of course, as in years’ past, I came away from Haven with tons of new information and a head brimming with ideas. But as I’ve been digesting what I learned and filtering back through my notes, I realized that there is a greater message I left with this year. My biggest takeaway isn’t necessarily blogging-related. Conferences, like many other things in life, have a way of making you feel like you need to do all the things, and change everything about the way you do them. While I definitely came home with a notebook full of fantastic information, part of my process while going back through my notes is deciding what will work best for me.
There is always going to be an overload of information, and there will always be many different opinions on how you (should) do things. The more time I spend crafting and running my own business, the more I realize that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Frankly, you shouldn’t. Your business, your blog, your life, is your own, and it’s unique to you. I am feeling less and less pressure to do what everyone else is doing. Instead, I’m taking a step back to think about my life, my business and my personal goals. Then I can take the information I’ve learned and figure out the best way to apply it to me. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. By nature, I am a “set it and forget it” kind of person, but I am slowly accepting that I need to be more flexible. There’s a lot of trial and error that goes into blogging (and life, too!), and I am learning more and more to be okay with that.
I’m already looking forward to what Haven 2018 will bring. One of the big announcements at the end of the conference is that they are moving to Charleston, South Carolina next year! Charleston is an amazing city, and I’d love to be able to plan to spend a few extra days exploring (and eating) my way around town.