UncategorizedHow Haven Changed it All July 9, 2014 I’m headed off to Haven 2014 tomorrow and can’t believe a year has passed since I was last there. I just had to take a minute and reflect on Haven 2013 and what it’s done for me this year because it really did change it all. I remember about a year and a half ago doing research on blog growth and the business of blogging and I kept finding that when you can, you should really go to a conference. I signed up for Haven 2013 through a major God thing, which you can read about here. But I went into it having no clue what to expect. I did a recap of what it meant to me and what I learned right after I got home. I talked about the amazing bloggers I met and connected with. I left that week feeling so inspired and ready to tackle this thing. What’s really amazing, though, is to look back one year later and really see how things have changed in my blogging world and how it all started with Haven. In that recap post, I already knew that Haven had been huge for me. But I didn’t know the half of it. Just to give you an idea, when I attended Haven last year, I was Lindsay from Life of Splendor, a personal blog that I started and was considering taking to a more professional level. I had this dream for a styling blog and brand called The White Buffalo. I went into Haven with that vague dream, having no clue what that would really look like. At Haven, I connected with so many bloggers, but a few stand out in particular when it comes to my brand. Lindsay from Makely Home had been through a similar brand change, which I didn’t even know about when I approached her at the first night meet-and-greet. Quickly, I spilled out my dreams to her and her reaction blew me away. She fell in love with my ideas and my new name, was so supportive, and told me to do it now. I had several other interactions like that with Ashley of The Handmade Home, Jesse of Scout & Nimble, and Anneke of This, That, & Life. They all were so supportive and said DO IT. I came home determined to define this dream and nail down my brand (which I’m still figuring out, by the way). Less than two months later, The White Buffalo was born and I published my first post in my new online home. From there, it was a whirlwind. I became a contributor on The Handmade Home and Makely Home, which started with connecting with them at Haven. From connections I made, Blogger Stylin’ Home Tours took off for fall and blew up even more at Christmas! I still can’t get over what this series did for my blog and connections with others and it will be coming back, by the way! I first connected with The Home Depot at Haven, which led to me participating in this year’s Patio Style Challenge! I had the best time working with them and am thrilled to be working with them more in the future. I learned how to blog for business, which has led to me staying at home and blogging full-time beginning this summer. I still can’t believe I can type those words! I met and grew quickly close to so many amazing ladies that I now talk to nearly every day. I’ve learned so much from them and love having a circle who understands what I do every day. We can bounce ideas off of each other, commiserate over the unfortunate things in blogging and life, and just be there for one another. What a year. When I went into Haven last year, I was terrified. I knew one person who I had only met online. I was scared to talk to “big bloggers” and brands. Haven showed me that I mattered. It showed me that I am talented in my own way and that I can do this. I learned that success comes from laying a brick every single day, not from one big break. Thank you for that, Ana White. I learned that as a believer, my only goal with the blog should be to glorify God. After a great talk with Emily A. Clark, I began praying the prayer she told me she’d prayed so many times, “Bless it or take it away.” I’ve prayed that so often this year. It’s told me what opportunities to take and when I need to let go of something. Having that perspective finally gave me the freedom to be me because I realized I’m not doing this for anyone but God and myself. If we’re proud of what I’m doing, then that’s success. Haven really did change it all. As I’m going into Haven this year, I know more of what to expect. I know how the conference will run. I’m looking forward to meeting and reconnecting with many online friends. And I’m going in with more confidence. I know a bit more about blogging, but more importantly, a bit more about who I am and what I want my blog to be. But there’s still a sense of the unexpected. I could never have imagined what Haven would do last year and I know there will be things learned this year that will lead me in places I can’t imagine right now. It’s so exciting, even though the unknown can be a bit scary. I’m ready to go, though. Bring it on, Haven! I hope to meet many of you there! Follow along on Instagram for conference updates and I’ll be sharing about my experience when I return!