Fun Times at 2013 Haven Conference

Sweet Pea and Haven Conference 2013

This past weekend was the much talked about and anticipated Haven conference in Atlanta.  I purchased my ticket January 1 and have been looking forward to the conference since then.  Even though I was excited about the conference, I was a bit nervous, too.  If you aren’t a blogger and don’t know the purpose of Haven, it’s a conference for DIY and home bloggers.  When I arrived at Haven and started meeting old and new blogging friends, I relaxed and enjoyed every minute.  Imagine being surrounded by 350 women (and a few men) who share your passion for blogging and for DIY.  What a treat it was to spend three days with those who share my interests.

The conference started Thursday night with an outdoor cocktail party at the hotel.  It was exciting to meet bloggers that I’ve “known” for years but have never met face to face.  It was also fun to meet new-to-me bloggers.  I came home with a thick pile of business cards and look forward to connecting with everyone that I met.

Christy from Our Southern Home, Tricia from Simplicity in the South, Cindy from Dwellings – The Heart of Your Home and I had dinner after the cocktail party and then sat together for the conference’s opening.

Rhoda from Southern Hospitality welcomed us to the conference.

Ana White gave an inspiring speech and then the Haven girls taught us a fun DIY blogger dance.  If this isn’t already on YouTube, it soon will be!

Haven Girls Dancing

Haven had a wide variety of sponsors.  It took me two days to visit all of them and there were several that I never got to talk with because of time.  Haven Mavens didn’t go home empty handed.  As you can see, the sponsors were quite generous and I can’t wait to use what I received.

Haven offered more classes than one blogger could attend.  The classes were great, but the best part of Haven for me was forming relationships with other bloggers by interacting with them in person.


I took classes on SEO, advertising, social media, getting published, Annie Sloan chalk paint, and installing molding and trim.  I won’t describe these, but if you have a question about a specific class, I’d be happy to share what I learned.

Connecting with my long-time blogging friend, Richella of Imparting Grace, was a highlight of Haven.  Here you see Richella painting in an Annie Sloan class.


” Let’s Case This Joint”, a molding and trim class, was taught by Sandra of Sawdust Girl and Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl.  It was both fun and informative.


We learned hands-on style in this class.  That’s me on the ladder marking a piece of trim to be cut.


I loved using this light weight Ryobi nail gun.  It’s designed for smaller projects and doesn’t need a compressor.


Meeting Rhoda was a special thrill for me because I’ve followed her blog from its start.

Haven Conference Paula and Rhoda2

Cindy and I were both thrilled to meet Susan from Between Naps on the Porch .  Susan’s is another blog that I’ve enjoyed for years.

Haven was a 100% positive experience for me.  I enjoyed it so much and hope to attend next year.  If you are interested, Haven 2014 will be held in July.

On a side note, I go back to school today and am so sad that summer is now over for me.  I know that summer isn’t really over, but it feels that way when school starts.  This is year 23 of teaching for me and I’m hoping it will be a great year for both me and my new students.


  1. I’ve seen a few of my online friends talking about this conference. I think my schedule will be a little more free next year, so I just might consider going. Everything I’m hearing is so positive! I’d love to come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to write.

  2. Paula,

    Just wanted to tell you what a joy it was to meet you at the Haven conference! It was so much fun and my heart is full of joy right now…..just because of wonderful bloggers like you!

    Happy day!

  3. Paula, it was so nice meeting you (in real life) and meeting up with another Virginia Blogger! I completely agree that Richella is absolutely an amazing person! Hope you had a wonderful 1st day with your students!

    1. Jessica – It was great to meet you, too. I’m going to make sure that I follow your blog and FB page so that we stay in touch!

  4. Paula! I wish we could have connected more! I love your recap and your pictures! Your heart is so genuine and I know we would have had a blast getting to know each other better! Next year! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and being excited for my Home Depot prize pack 🙂 XO, Erica

    1. Me, too. I kept trying to find an opportunity to introduce your husband to mine but it didn’t work out.

  5. Paula, it was so nice to meet you and Cindy! Such a beautiful lady you are. You inspired me to take better care of myself. 23 years of teaching, I can still hardly believe it. Hope to see you again next year!!

  6. Hi Paula,
    This looks like so much fun– and the goody bags look great, too! I think I would have a hard time deciding which classes to take. The socializing would be interesting…. I like it, but I usually like one-on-one—- and tend to say stupid things in a group– so it’s better that I keep my mouth shut– which then defeats the purpose of socializing!!! ahhhh!

    Liberty @

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