UncategorizedHaven Conference 2013, Brick by Brick August 6, 2013Haven Conference 2013…what can we say about you? Wow. Awesome. Revolutionary. Heavens to Betsy, Lord help us (please tell me y’all have heard that saying). Y’all seriously, Haven has changed everything about how I see blogs and this community I’ve been so blessed to be a part of. I could write y’all a ten page monologue of everything I learned, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and hit some highlights. First of all, I was so amazed, inspired, and encouraged by so many amazing women. I got to meet some bloggers that I’ve have read and loved for so long. Ana White from Knock off Wood was one of the first blogs that I found. My husband built our dining table using plans from her site and gave it to me for our first Christmas. That project is really what inspired Chris’ love for building furniture that has become such a passion of his. I so admire Emily A. Clark not only for her design style, but for how she stands up for what she believes on her blog. What an inspiration she’s been to me over these last few years. We had the most amazing conversation about blogging, faith, and what’s really important in life…intense stuff for a first meeting. I’ll never forget the first day that I found Mandi’s blog, Vintage Revivals. Her style is awesome, fearless, crazy in a good way, and mind blowing. To meet and chat with her in person was surreal. Not only is she talented, but she’s warm, hilarious, and crazy fun in person. Speaking of Mandi, I went to a session that she, Lindsay, and Ashley did called Designing out of the Box. All three of them have such amazing style that is so unique. Their session was about overcoming the fear that we all feel when decorating our homes and do something that scares us. Take risks….a.k.a designing outside our little box. I got to meet Angie from Angie’s Roost for the first time too. She and I have been blog buddies for a while now and it was so great to finally meet in person! I got to meet many, many new blogging friends too. I met and became blog besties with these three ladies: Anneke of This, That, & Life, Jessie of Scout & Nimble, and Kristin from Bliss at Home. Here we are at the Ryobi event with “Power Tool” Kelly. Y’all, that girl is hilarious and so much fun! And get this, she lives in Anderson, SC! That’s like in my backyard. I’m going to visit soon! I learned so much at this conference about blogging. I learned about SEO, social media promotion, working with brands, the list goes on and on. And all of that is really useful and I absolutely can’t wait to put it into practice. But most of all, I made some amazing friends and am so grateful. On the last night, I stayed up talking into the night with these two lovely ladies about our blogs, families, faith, and life stories. I was sitting there listening to them talk and it hit me that this is what blogging is about. I love the DIY projects and home renovations and I know y’all do too. But blogging, at its base level, is about connecting. Usually that’s through a screen and words written by virtual friends, but the conference gave me the opportunity to actually meet face-to-face and connect. The last thing I want to share is probably the simplest, but most profound blogging advice I received at the conference. Ana White started off the conference with an awesome key note speech. She told her blog story and it was so inspiring. For those of you who blog, you know how much work it is and that you can never do enough. You hear terms like SEO and worry about advertising, all of which could become a full-time job in itself. Ana White’s speech was so refreshing because she reminded us that it really is just about your content and putting out something that you love. She encouraged us to not get overwhelmed by all there is to do or by the desire for growth or advertising. Instead, she encouraged us to take it brick by brick. I made this little graphic and am printing it to hang over my desk because this simple advice was revolutionary to me. She said that we needed to lay one brick on our blog every day by putting out the best piece of content we could. Then the next day, lay another brick. Then another, and another, and before you knew it, a beautiful house would be built. I, like many other bloggers I think, get so overwhelmed with the big picture and all the extras I could be doing and I sometimes forget to do this. I forget to lay a brick each day and build over time. I’m so thankful and blessed to have been at Haven. And now that I’m home, I’m ready to hit the ground running and apply all of this knowledge toward making this little DIY corner of the blogosphere the best it can be! I did a lot of blog dreaming while I was there and have some big things and some changes in the works. I’m so grateful to all of you lovely readers who are following along on this DIY journey with me! I know it’ll be a wild, but exciting ride.