Haven 2012 recap – with not too many pictures!

I had absolutely no idea what to expect for my first (not last!) blogging and DIY conference when I signed up for it last August. Let’s be real, I know next to nothing about DIY or blogging, and I was going to throw myself into a hotel full of both? I guess I never really got nervous about going, and I’m going to blame my antibiotics on the issues that came up when we got to the hotel 🙂 Yes, I got a full blown sinus/upper respiratory infection less than a week before we left. I finished up my course of {very strong} antibiotics on day 2 of Haven, so obviously I wasn’t feeling my best but I tried to make the best of it. I had been waiting for this trip for almost a year, I wasn’t going to let a little mucus/wheezing/nasty cough stop me! It may have stopped others from talking to me, but hey, whatever. I went to Haven with five other girls – Tarah, Christie, my sister Whitney, Brittaney, and my Aunt Toni. I snored, I wheezed, I coughed, and they all made sure to give me crap about it. I would expect nothing less!

Brittaney and I arrived at the Atlanta airport around 12:00. The others wouldn’t be there until 2:00 or so. We had to throw down with the rental car guy (btw, there is no way that a TAHOE will hold 8 people + 5 bags. We had to demonstrate for him. Insane.) and ended up with a freaking minivan. I always make fun of minivan drivers, but damn, I kind of liked driving it. Is it weird that I have no kids but I kind of want a minivan? Anyway, after some raised voices, the rental car guy relented and we got the minivan without having to pay extra. Sheesh. Brittaney spotted a Dairy Queen, so of course after our fight with Advantage Rent A Car we needed a cool-down Blizzard. How fitting that our first stop in Atlanta is the Texas Stop Sign. We picked up the rest of the girls and headed for The Varsity near downtown! We are pretty sure we saw a group of Haven girls there at the same time because 1) they were dressed cute, and 2) there was a big group of them. We were too chicken to ask, so we ate our healthy food and left.

We headed to the hotel, checked in, and relaxed for a few minutes before checking in to the actual conference. We had two rooms that were adjoining (yay Crowne Plaza for getting it right!) so it was like one big hotel room with 4 beds and 2 bathrooms. It worked out well for us!

The party on the first night, sponsored by Frog Tape and Oreck, was decorated so nicely! It was very crowded, and I wasn’t feeling well, so we stayed for a short time and retired to the hotel room. I wish I had been feeling better so I could have been a little more social, but I just couldn’t handle it. From what I heard, it was a blast and lasted for quite a while! We ended up ordering a pizza and picking it up around 9:30.

The next morning was an early one! Breakfast started at 7:30 and the opening session was at 8:30, so we hauled butt downstairs and ate/got our seats. It was so crowded in that room! I get a little, shall we say, panicky when in tight quarters, so it was a challenge for me. John & Sherry of Young House Love did a GREAT job opening up the conference (fart, cheese pie) and got it off to a fun start. I would totally hang out with them. They’re my kind of people.

After that, I branched out alone and went to my first session – Beginning Paint & Stain. I have no illusions about my painting ability (or should I say DISability) but after that session, I felt like I could paint or stain anything and everything! It was led by Kate from Centsational Girl and Chris from Just A Girl. They were patient and didn’t make you feel dumb for asking questions, which was awesome. I took TONS of notes in that session!

Then it was lunchtime. I took a chance and sat at a table with a bunch of girls I had never met before. Turns out, 4 of them were from Texas. Go figure! One of them was Altar’d – I will have to look through the business cards I collected to see who the rest were. It was a little stressful at first, eating with a bunch of strangers, but it turned out to be really fun!

My second session (also alone) was Advanced Paint & Stain – you know, because I am so advanced now that I’ve taken the beginning paint class. It was led by Marion of Miss Mustard Seed. She focused mainly on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (I am in love) and Milk Paint (I will have to try it). I left that class wanting to paint everything in sight. My mind was racing with thoughts of painting furniture I already own! I also met Francine of SkyBluPink Creations – what an awesome lady! She lives in the D/FW metroplex, so I’m sure I will run into her again. I already have plans to check out her booths at the Frisco Mercantile – because guess what? She sells Annie Sloan paint!  She is going to get sick of me asking questions. I also met Beth of Unskinny Boppy and Dusty of All Things G&D. I wish I could have hung out with them, but it just wasn’t in the cards I guess.

The next session I went to (joined by everyone but Tarah) was the slipcovering and upholstery session. I learned a lot and had some good laughs with Angie, the Slipcover Diva (cha-ching!). I LOVELOVELOVED her. I wanted to take her home with me so we could hang out. For some reason, she just cracked me up. We may or may not have invited her to my aunt’s lakehouse near Dallas for a week of slipcovering lessons, eating, drinking, sleeping, whatever. She was down for whatever! The session went waaaaaaay over but it was totally worth it. This session is where I also met Traci from Beneath My Heart. What a sweet, sweet person. I loved her immediately. I told her about how my mom had passed (since hers has as well) and how I was close to my sister and aunt, and she just got tears in her eyes. It was so nice to meet her and give her a hug. The nicest person at the conference, for sure. Love you, Traci!

That night, we went to Figo Pasta in Alpharetta. Why so far? Because I got free meals for all 6 of us due to a grand re-opening that just happened to coincide with one of the nights we needed dinner. Once we got the food, it was to die for. I wish we had Figo in Texas! We did have to wait over an hour for our food, which was annoying, but I think our ticket got “lost”. We didn’t get an apology from the manager or the waiter, which I thought was a little strange, but it was okay. Can’t complain too much for free food! I had the chicken marsala and mushroom ravioli with mushroom sauce. Holy crap, that was good.

This was the “loser” room at 11:00. Our room? We stayed up until FOUR A.M. We could not go to sleep no matter what. It was like high school again.

The next day we didn’t have to start quite so early. We missed breakfast (big mistake, I was starving) and went straight to our sessions. I did the Power Tools with Ryobi session. I built a freaking wine rack! I had never used a drill before (told you I had no business being at a DIY conference) but now I’ve got the itch. I want to build stuff. I wanted to win one of the tools so dang bad, but it wasn’t in the cards. Hey, Ryobi, if you’re listening – I’d be happy to take some of those tools off your hands! Particularly the drill, the saw, and the paint sprayer! Thanks!

Then I took the Carpentry class with Ana White (and Christie). She is so cute and little and compact, but damn it if that woman can’t build anything! They were building a locker/cubby/mudroom thing made out of Purebond. They were in the finishing stages (I guess they built the majority of it the day before in the session) so we got to play with power tools. I used a miter saw! What! I also met The Bearded Iris, who provided me with the highlight of the whole conference. I love that woman. I had no shame at this conference and it paid off big time. Christie would KILL me if I posted about what happened, but I will just say that I apparently grew a big set of balls on this trip and was not afraid to talk to anyone about anything!Ask me in private and I’ll give you the scoop. THANK YOU, Leslie, for providing us with tears of laughter for years to come. Christie is just now climbing up from sinking in to the floor.

Three of us were bad and skipped the last session to go drive around and look at big houses in Buckhead. So worth it!

The cocktail party that night was also crowded, and I feel bad saying that we skipped it, but I just wasn’t feeling great and the girls I was with decided we’d just forgo it. I hope that next year I’m feeling better and can take full advantage of the parties – yes, I said next year. I am SO going back.

We ate at Greenwood’s in Roswell. I think it was my favorite meal of the whole trip! It was in a cute old house with a HUGE flower garden. The food was excellent and everyone was so nice there! I will definitely go back next year when I come back for Haven. The pie = heaven. The fried chicken = heaven. Ahhhhhh.

Then we headed to Value Village. Apparently Mr. Goodwill Hunting sang praises about VV, so we had to go. The employees said that due to this conference, their sales were up 50% for the day! Holy crap. We were about 20 minutes from the hotel, and I’m guessing there are more Value Villages around there, so people were driving and shopping, apparently!

Once we got back to the hotel, we crashed. The closing session was awesome, except for one girl who kept criticizing (not constructive, mind you) the conference. I kind of wanted to pop her in the face, but I refrained. The organizers did a WONDERFUL job, and I cannot even begin to imagine how much work went into this conference! I can’t wait for next year.

Oh yeah, I won a bunch of stuff. Along with the bag o’ swag from Haven,  I won some Annie Sloan paintbrushes, a Moen Twist showerhead, Annie Sloan wax, Annie Sloan apron… it was insane. I had to mail a 26 pound box home of stuff from Haven. THAT was awesome. I more than made back the price of the ticket to the conference, which was a huge bonus.

In short (ha), I had a blast at Haven. I loved every minute of it, and the only thing I would change about it? Make it longer. I could have stayed for a week. 🙂 LOVE to the organizers.

I keep forgetting things! Being at Haven inspired us to start a group blog – even the ones who had never blogged before. We’ve purchased a domain name already, and are working out schedules/design/etc. Watch for it! It’s going to be fun 🙂


4 Comments on “Haven 2012 recap – with not too many pictures!”

  1. Miss Kitty says:

    Hi Heather! I really enjoyed reading your recap of the Haven conference. You are a fun person…I had a great time but I didn’t do all the stuff you did. My husband wanted to come with me so that cut down on fun girl time at the conference. Hey, I did a bloggy no-no…I stole that picture of you with your wine rack and put it in my blog post about power tools at Haven. I didn’t get mine finished (and still have not) so I didn’t have a photo to show what we made at the
    Ryobi seminar. I credited the photo to you and added a link to this blog post but if you want me to take it down, I will. Let’s meet up next year at Haven…I need some of your luck to rub off on me…I didn’t win anything!

    • lazyheather says:

      Oh, I don’t mind that you stole a picture at all! That is perfectly fine. What is the link to your blog? I haven’t made time to go through all of my business cards yet! I hope to be at next year’s Haven!

  2. Hi, Heather! I wish I would have met you, you are so much fun.Thanks for such a great recap, it’s fun to see Haven through all of your eyes. Ya’ll had some fun in your rooms, I can tell. And Figo, oh yeah, I love that place! There are several around ATL.

    • lazyheather says:

      Hi, Rhoda! I’m the one who asked you in the lunch line where to drive to see the pretty houses in ATL. We did exactly as you said and were blown away 🙂 Can’t wait to see you next year!!

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