A Weekend of Awesomeness: Haven 2014

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Oh, friends. Please excuse me while I stray from my normal home decor and craft posts to gush all over this page about the most awesome weekend ever in life.

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Haven blogging conference in Atlanta, Georgia. On Thursday, my friend and fellow Pittsburgh blogger, Angelique from Where the Piggy Toes Go, met me at the airport and we prepared to make our way south to hang out with other bloggers, meet brands, and learn more about this business we love so much.

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Our trip started out smoothly. Our flight was on time, we navigated the giant Atlanta airport seamlessly, and we quickly found the train we needed to take from the airport to our hotel.

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

About 2/3 through our train ride, however, there was a problem. A train in front of ours had derailed and we were told to jump on a bus that would take us to the station where the train would have dropped us off, so that’s what we did. We rode and rode and rode. We stalked our route on our Google Maps app, and an hour later, we were still several miles from our hotel. It was starting to feel like we were never going to get there, so of course we took a selfie! 🙂

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

But eventually, after an hour and a half on the bus, we made it to the station where a shuttle was going to take us to the hotel. We walked up to the shuttle stop and who was standing there but Cassie from Hi Sugarplum!, Jen from I Heart Organizing, and Megan from Honey We’re Home, aka three of my most favorite bloggers ever! *squeal* They were so incredibly sweet and down to earth, and it was so fun to get to meet them after following them online for all this time.

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{This photo was taken later in the weekend. 😉 }

We finally made it to the hotel, and having completely missed the opening party, headed out with a bunch of our bloggy friends for dinner. Since our only real mode of transportation was the hotel shuttle, a bunch of us packed in there like sardines to make the three minute drive to our dinner spot.

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{From back left: Jamie from So Much Better with Age, Allison from Two Thirty-Five Designs, Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof, Allison from The Golden Sycamore, me, Melanie from Reasons to Skip the Housework, and Rachelle from Fingerprints on the Fridge}

I’m pretty sure our waiter at the restaurant loved us. Not only did we come in with a group of 20 people and request to sit at one table, but we also asked if they could bring two pieces of cake for our birthday girls, Chelesa from Making Home Base and Kadie from Seven Alive!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{Photo courtesy of Jamie of So Much Better with Age. I’m not even going to try to list everyone because that would get long. Can you spot any of your favorite bloggers?!}

The next day, Friday, it was time to head to some classes and mingle with brands. I got to check out the Waterpik shower with Lauren from The Thinking Closet

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

…talk projects and cleaning products at the Home Depot/ P&G booth with Sarah from Life on Virginia Street

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

…and get silly in the Moen kitchen with Chelsea from Making Home Base, Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof, and Sarah from Life on Virginia Street!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

One of the highlights of the weekend was participating in the Ballard coffee table styling challenge with my amazing team! We had ten minutes to collect supplies and style the coffee table we were assigned. Then the pictures of the coffee tables were put on the Haven Conference Facebook page, and people had to vote for their favorites. We were totally thrilled that we WON!! Thanks to all of you who voted for our coffee table!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles, Sonya from At Home with the Barkers, me, Ashley from Cherished Bliss, and Angela from Blue i Style}

It isn’t often in my “real life” that I get to get all dressed up and head out for a night of dancing. This weekend I got to do that more than once! It was so fun to put on a dress and hang out with all of my favorite girls!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

My favorite thing of all, though, was getting to actually meet and spend time with the ladies I’ve been friends with for so long online! These girls have not only been instrumental in helping me grow my blog, but they have had such a positive impact on my life as well. Each and every one of them is sweet, smart, talented, and just plain amazing. LOVE them so much!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{Krista from The Happy Housie, Christy from Confessions of a Serial Do It Yourselfer, Chelsea from Making Home Base, April from House by Hoff, Sarah from Life on Virginia Street, me, Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof, Jamie from So Much Better with Age, and Shayna from The Wood Grain Cottage}

Before I knew it, it was time to pack up and fly back home to Pittsburgh. Fortunately, the ride to catch our plane was totally drama-free, and we even pulled into Pittsburgh International Airport a little bit early. As much as I loved Haven, I was so glad to be back home with my sweet boys. I missed them a ton!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

They may have been a smidge excited to see me, but what they really wanted to do was to break into all of my swag and steal it for themselves! I don’t blame them– it was quite a haul!

Haven Recap at JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

All in all, it was an absolutely incredible weekend, and I can’t believe I have to wait another year to go back! Honestly, I was SO nervous going into it. This was my first blogging conference, and I was worried about meeting new people, talking to brands, wearing the right thing…

As soon as I arrived, though, all of my fears were put to rest and I was reminded of the reason that I love the blogging community. Everyone was so sweet and welcoming and it truly was just a huge group of friends getting together to celebrate one another and this amazing common interest that we share. If you didn’t make it to Haven this year, schedule it in for next July because you will not want to miss this!

See you at Haven 2015!

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  1. Emma Rushbrooke says:

    It sounds like a wonderful weekend Abby. I really enjoyed seeing all your instagram photos during the weekend. I think I’d feel a little star-struck with all you amazing bloggers! Glad you had such a great time 🙂

  2. Karen @ a house full of sunshine says:

    Oh, wow – how fun, Abby!!! I will admit it, I’m jealous! 🙂 When I saw that photo of you with Cassie, Jenn and Megan, my jaw just about hit the floor – those girls are amazing, and their blogs have been a huge inspiration to me! There are times I wish I didn’t live so very far away from all the cool bloggy goings-on such as amazing conferences like Haven. On the other hand, I think I’d be petrified at the prospect of talking with brands and being surrounded by such stylish and successful women – I’d always be worried that I was dressed all wrong and there might be spinach in my teeth or something. 😉 So glad you found it less daunting than you expected and instead, a whole lotta fun! So anyway, until someone can move Australia a bit closer to America, I’ll just live vicariously through you. 🙂 🙂

    1. Katie @ Little House of Four says:

      Karen, I know exactly what you mean. I would LOVE to go to Haven and have always enjoyed reading all the recaps over the past few years. I would totally be out of my comfort zone and worried I wouldn’t “fit in.” Maybe one year I finally make it to Atlanta for the conference.

      Abby, I loved your recap and it looks like you had so much fun! Congratulations on winning the Ballard coffee table styling challenge! That’s awesome! It’s nice to know that you were also nervous, but everything worked out. You’re right, the blogging community is so wonderful and helpful and I’m so glad you had a great time!

      1. justagirlabby says:

        Girl! You are so sweet and would be totally fine. Everyone would love you. You need to come so we can meet in person!

        ~Abby =)

      2. Karen @ a house full of sunshine says:

        We’ll just have to make sure we have our Haven debut the same year then Katie, so we can be insecure and petrified together! Haha 😉 Luckily things are never usually as scary as they appear. (We hope.) 😉 And Abby’s right, you’d be welcomed in with open arms. 🙂

    2. justagirlabby says:

      Oh, girl! You would be amazing at a conference. You are the sweetest and everyone would love you. Now we just need to set up a fundraising campaign to get you here. Kickstarter? Gofundme? I’d donate in a second. 😉 Hope you guys are doing well! <3

      ~Abby =)

      1. Karen @ a house full of sunshine says:

        LOL – now THERE’S an idea I can get excited about! Haha! 😀

  3. Sonya~At Home with The Barkers says:

    I was so happy to finally meet you in real life, you are a sweetheart! AND we rocked that Ballard Designs challenge! Have a great week ~Sonya

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay for the best styling team ever! So great to meet you, sweet friend!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Thanks so much for sharing about your weekend, it looked like SO much fun! I loved following along with everyone on social media. I’m definitely in for next year!

  5. It looks an absolute blast! I have to admit that it’s all a bit intimidating, but it’s comforting to know that even you were nervous 😉 I’ve had SO much fun following along with everyone’s Haven adventures, that I’m seriously thinking about finding a way to get my butt all the way down to Atlanta for it next year (I live in BC – pretty much as far away as you can get)!

    Thank you so much for sharing Abby!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! Come! You need to talk to Krista from The Happy Housie, Jamie from So Much Better with Age, and Tara from Suburble– they’re all from BC! I would love to meet you!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Lauren @ Mom Home Guide says:

    Hi, Abby! Fun Haven recap! I am really glad that we got to meet at Haven! That’s awesome that you won the coffee table challenge — congrats!

  7. Jen @ Migonis Home says:

    CANNOT WAIIIIIT to go next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved the recap!!!! And I will be positively SICK with nerves next year… especially since you and the girls already know each other!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! You must go next year! And no reason for nerves! Everyone is amazing, including YOU!

      ~Abby =)

  8. For the millionth time, I am SUPER jealous I missed Haven this year! I am making a date with you next July though! I am happy you had such a fun time- what an awesome experience!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! Next year for sure! I’ve been stalking you to see if that baby is here yet. Can’t wait to see him!!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Kendra @ www.joyinourhome.com says:

    Sounds like such a fun 3 days, chock full of lots to learn! As I saw all the IG updates, I kept wishing I could be there, but hopefully next year! Thanks for sharing, Abby!

  10. Kayla @ Home Coming says:

    This sounds like so much fun! I love all the photos you shared. I’m definitely going to need to make it one of these years!

  11. This looks SO FUN! I can’t wait to get my blog up and running very soon, so I can start going to these awesome conferences!! Do many West-coasters go?? 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! People come from all over the US and Canada. You should SO come next year– I would love to meet you!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Karen Ploransky @ The Decorated Nest says:

    What an amazing weekend and fun time! Someday . . .

  13. So glad you enjoyed it! I didn’t get to Haven, even though I live in Atlanta, but I did meet up with several of my bloggy friends for dinner Saturday night (including Lauren from The Thinking Closet and Kadie from Seven Alive)! I wish I would have run into you! Maybe next year 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Kirsten! Forgive me for being SO incredibly behind the times, but I am SO thrilled that you’re blogging again! I didn’t realize you had rebranded! So excited to start following you again, and YES, let’s run into each other next year! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Oh my gosh, that sounds like so much fun!! Hopefully I will be there next year!! I am so excited to be a part of the blogging community. It seems like such a fun group of people 🙂

    Thanks again for mentioning me on your blog – I’ve received emails from a bunch of people who found me because of it. Woohoo!

  15. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    What a crazy whirlwind it was!! So great to meet you in ‘real’ life and so little time to actually hang out…but what an experience!!

  16. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet says:

    Yay! I’m so glad we got to finally meet face to face (although Face-Time was pretty gosh darned close!) and that we got to do our Waterpik shower shot together. You are such a gem, dear Abby. If only we could take goofy photos together everyday. (Then again, we’d SO not be productive, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise we live so far apart.) HUGS!

  17. Abby, what a beautiful girl you are and your boys-just gorgeous.
    Good luck to you, I don’t know you personally, but wish you a speedy recovery,
    you look like a very positive personality, I feel that helps with recovery—
    Much luck and lots of love—- Haydee

  18. Had such a great time with you in Haven! Too bad it didn’t last longer!!
    Hugs, Jamie

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