blogging / personal

Haven Conference & More


haven conference

Okay I envisioned this post going something like this: me gushing my heart out about Haven and the wonderful experience I gained, where I’m going now and what I have to do to get there, BUT as of 5 minutes ago, I realized my debit card is lost, so I’m a bit frantic.  Hey, it happens to the best of us, right?!  Yet I’m still writing this post as my sweet husband sits on the phone with Bank of America.  Hehe..

Haven Conference 2013

So Haven was life-changing.  Really, it was.  It was so much more than what I expected.  For those of you not familiar, Haven Conference is a yearly conference that takes place in Atlanta for DIY and home bloggers.  That’s about all I knew before attending.  I had just heard wonderful things from fellow bloggers and had to see what it was all about!  The conference is hosted by big, known bloggers. (I call them celeb bloggers.)

We arrived in Atlanta on Thursday, mingled a lot that evening, attended great classes all day Friday, mingled more Friday evening, attended classes on Saturday and mingled again on Saturday evening.  What more could a girl want?!  Aside from the knowledge I gained about how to grow my blog, my favorite part of the weekend was the fabulous ladies I met.  It was so encouraging to be around people who do what you do.  We talked in “blog lingo” (which was as funny as it sounds), and all was good in blog land.  Meet my new blog friends!

haven conference

L-R: Wendy from Pretty Well Organized, Kim from O is for Organize, Amy from Eat. Sleep. Decorate., me

L-R: Paige from The Pink Clutch, Krystine from Krystine Edwards, Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles, Amanda from Dixie Delights, me, Angela from blue i style, Emily from Eleven Gables

During the break-out sessions I attended: Blogging Trade Secrets: What We Wish We Knew Then, How To Achieve High End DIY, Photography Styling: Creating Beautiful Shots, We Heart Brands: Building Meaningful Relationships With Companies, Making Money: Let’s Learn To Make It Repeatable,andBetter Photography Tips & Tricks.  

The classes were pretty self-explanatory; I learned a lot about the ins and outs of growing a blog.  There’s so, so much that goes into it!  The bloggers who taught the classes I attended have blogs that are so successful they earn enough money to pay the bills for their families.  I think it was every Haven attendees dream this weekend to grow their blog into something that big.  I told my friend, Wendy, this weekend that I hope to grow my blog through its content not necessarily from ad optimization and sponsor posts (although I do still want to do some of that).  It was overwhelming in the best possible way.  I left with my head spinning and a to-do list that will last me years!

Haven conference confirmed many things for me; one of them being my career path.  I came away so inspired and ready to make my dream career come true. (Yes, I said that, and yes, it’s true!!)  The past year has been extremely humbling as I seem to be one of the few people my age who doesn’t have their career path mapped out.  I’m not saying everyone has it figured out at age 24, but most of my friends are awesome and on top of the whole career thing.  I graduated college with a degree I love, but it’s not my passion.  Parker has been my #1 supporter through this journey and has encouraged me to pursue my dream even if it means a few years of “figuring it out”.  I’m so thankful for my degree in Education because I learned so much about working and interacting with children, and I know I’ll use this for the rest of my life.  I truly wouldn’t change what I studied in college; however, I do wish that I could add another degree to my toolkit. 😉  I would love nothing more than to go back to school and receive a degree in Interior Design, but it’s not an option right now for several reasons.  Instead, I’m “figuring it out” or “teaching myself” I guess you could say.

Through six months of blogging I’ve learned that I’m really not a DIYer.  Yes, I said it.  I have a DIY blog and I’m just not that great at it.  I’m honestly too impatient.  I end up ruining more projects than I blog about because I get too impatient and rush through it.  I have recently started to transition my blog to a design blog with DIY projects here and there. 🙂 That leads to the first item on my to-do list.

  • Rebrand.  Anyone still there?  I really don’t mean for this to be a novel, I just want to get it all out there.  After I figure out my “brand” (which is something I learned a lot about at Haven and basically means being true to yourself through your blog) I’d like to pursue strictly interiors and styling.
  • Educate myself in the design world.  I have taken the first couple of steps, but I have a long way to go.  And I mean a looooong way.  I recently started working part-time as an assistant to an interior designer here in Austin.  She is seriously wonderful, and I am so thankful for her.  She built her business from the ground up (no formal background in interior design like me) and is running a successful design business all thanks to her raw talent and dedication to growing her business.  She is basically taking me under her wing and teaching me everything she knows, which is a dream come true.  She started her business through real estate relationships.  She did a lot of stagings and recently (right before I started working for her) stopped doing stagings to focus more on designing.  She has passed her stagings onto me, and I am learning so much through it!  I am hoping to start doing stagings more full-time.  There are also a few more interior design workshops and conferences I am eyeing/dying to attend.  I hope to attend a few in the future and am also looking at an online design course.

In addition to interior design, I’d also like to get into styling.

  • Get styling experience.  The world of styling has really taken off.  There are a couple of directions you can go with styling. (I love them all.)  The first is styling items as a form of advertisement for a company (extreme case: styling a party using Pottery Barn merchandise for them to feature in their catalog).  Styling for Pottery Barn is obviously not an everyday task and requires serious talent, but there are smaller companies out there (that I hope to find) that need their items styled in a pretty way in order to sell them.  The second styling path is styling events and “styled shoots”.  Styling an event is pretty self-explanatory, and I hope to take a course over event styling/planning, although I want no part in planning the event, only styling it.  A “styled shoot” is basically a fake party that a photographer/event planner shoots in hopes of being featured on a big blog for more exposure.  The “fake” party comes complete with a lovely table setting, models (usually a bride and groom), an invitation and a dessert.  Fun, huh?!  That’s what I’m sayin’.  I’m styling my first shoot with a fabulous photographer friend, Jenna.  She’s a pro now, so I’m super thankful she’s trusting me with the shoot ;).  The last styling option is interior styling, also known as interior decorating.  Interior decorating is all the fun stuff (in my opinion) and dips into interior design a bit, but design covers more than decorating.
  • Make it happen.  Easier said than done. Or maybe I’m afraid and making excuses.  Yes, that’s definitely true.  I’ve realized that interiors and styling is my passion, and now I hope to make it my career as an interior designer/stylist.  It will be a journey, but I plan to do everything I can to make it happen.  I get giddy just thinking about it.  I’ve never been this passionate about pursuing anything and I just want it all to happen so badly!!!  I never in a million years pictured myself as a small business owner – WHAT?! (and who knows if it will actually happen, but that’s the dream).  Honey Haven isn’t going anywhere for now. (All three of you can exhale!) Hehe… Hopefully Honey Haven will turn into something else one day.  We shall see.  If you’re still reading, thank you so much for sticking with me.  I truly appreciate it!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Mine should be pretty exciting.  Details to come next week ;).



featured // sherry hart designs
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13 comments on “Haven Conference & More”

  1. There is nothing wrong with not having your career mapped out at 24. There are many people who even change careers more than once in their lifetime. But what is so important for everyone is finding their passion, finding what makes them get up in the morning and be excited about work, finding what makes you look at your life and feel content and happy with what you do. And frankly, 24 is a perfect age to find your passion. 🙂 And it's YOUNG to find your passion. You are lucky to have found it now! Consider it early and run with it as far as you want to 🙂

  2. So exciting! You're taking some bold and courageous moves. Not having a career path at 24 is totally normal. Even more normal is thinking you have one, then changing your mind 3 years later. Many of my friends from law school were headed one direction and have switched (carrying some hefty student loans with them).

  3. I saw your post on IG this morning and had to come over and read the full thing! And then after reading, I just had to leave you a comment 🙂 It's 100% normal to not have everything figured out at 24. I turned 30 last month, and while I've had a fantastic job (in the branding industry… funny that you mentioned the branding conversations at Haven!), I've always known it wouldn't be my career. In the past few months, I've taken some steps toward pursuing what I really love – writing and blogging. I can feel the passion and excitement in your words as you write about interior design and styling. And it's wonderful that you're taking steps towards pursuing what you love! Congrats!!

  4. We are so proud of your courageous desire to reflect on what truly matters and that's being happy with your career!! You have a great eye for design and detail and we have no doubt you will be successful!! Can't wait to see your styling project! Love you very much!
    Mom and Dad

  5. I'm so excited for you sweet lady! If I could start my career all over again I would do the same thing! I think it's absolutely wonderful you are following your dreams. xoxo, Wendy

  6. Sarah!!! So great to hear from you! Thanks so much for your support! Hope you and your family are doing well!

  7. Hi Emily! Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate your support and wish you all the best as you pursue writing and blogging! XO

  8. Wow, Claire! Your last set of personal goals and reflection spoke directly to my heart. I am with you, girl. Same set of hopes and dreams! It’s nice to follow along with others who share the same interests.

    I wish you all the best in this journey!


  9. Claire, I’m finally sitting down and able to write a few quick notes on here. I’ve been a fan ever since ORC last spring! As wedding/event planner and designer I’ve had a blog but only recently started concentrating on it and monetizing it through sponsored posts and content. I had planned on going to Haven then tickets were sold out. Then found out through some of ORC friends that there was an extra ticket the week of Haven only to be disappointed that I couldn’t get daycare lined up for my 2 girls. I’ve decided to go to TSC this year as a blogger/entrepreneur/event designer/stylist rather than Haven, which seems more DIY. However, I would love to get your perspective on if you plan on attending again now that you’ve rebranded. Sarah

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