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This last weekend was the most fun I have had in probably, 22 years.  The only way it could have beat my cousin’s 6th birthday party was if there was a ball pit.  Maybe next year.

I spent the last four days at my very first blogging conference.  I know a lot of you all aren’t bloggers so let me give a wee bit of background.  Haven is an annual conference in Atlanta where bloggers who are in the DIY, crafting, painting, woodworking, decorating, and general awesomeness category get together.  We get to learn from the pros, network with brands, and meet people in real life that we have talked to online for ages.

There are lots of blogging conferences, but Haven is special.  This niche is incredibly supportive, and blow-your-mind talented. An obvious choice for my very first conference.

I am absolutely positive I could write a whole weeks worth of posts about what a great time I had, but instead I am just going to tell you why you should go next year.  Besides the fact that we could sit and drink lemonade and gossip together, that’s obvious.  Without further ado…

Wait, an ado, I didn’t take any photos (tisk, tisk for real) so I am relying on the #havenconf instagram feed to drive all my points home.  I have already decided my resolution next year is to have my camera surgically attached to my hand so I take more photos.  Bad blogger award 2013 goes to….me.  Shoot I didn’t write a speech.  End ado. haven-blog-gets-love Nothing puts a little fire under your rump like a blogging conference.  We got a whole new site design, pretty business cards, and made these cute little swedish fish favors that Jackie loved (yay).  Do you think any of that would have happened if I weren’t about to go talk to 400 fellow bloggers.  Absolutely not. haven-excuse-to-shop When you are going to hang out with a bunch of people you stalk on the daily you have to look good right?  This means you have a completely valid excuse to buy those cute flats, that new makeup, and an adorable camera bag.  Necessities ok.  How funny is it that Carrie and I ordered the exact same camera bag, great minds I tell ya. haven-so-much-learning The obvious reason for going to a conference is to learn.  I took sessions on everything from photography to SEO to social media advice to hands on design tips.  I am still trying to wrap my head around all this new knowledge.  The learning doesn’t stop with the sessions though, the chatter with fellow bloggers can be a wealth of information.  Isn’t that a lovely group Sarah captured?  So fashionable, I needed those tips. haven-screen-break If you are a blogger, you spend way too much time behind a computer screen.  This I know.  Sometimes it is nice to get out and smell the roses hydrangeas that Mrs. Hoff snapped a pic of.  This weekend I actually, sort of, kinda felt like I had a life….for a minute.  It felt like Christmas and my birthday made a baby and called it Haven. haven-inpiration-overload Do I even need to mention this?  Clearly when you get that many creative minds in one place you get on an inspiration high, which is the only kind of high to be.  Everywhere I looked there were beautiful things and brilliant ideas.  This map that Breida posted a photo of really got my proverbial juices flowing. haven-tasty-food Ok, if you come for nothing else please come for the cheese plates.  Kidding, sort of.  The food was amazing and I gotta send a standing ovation to the fine folks at Buckhead Grand Hyatt for the stellar service.  The second I set my fork down, someone was there swooping my dirty plate away so I could make room for dessert.  Now it’s time to buy a treadmill, Tiffany’s photo is making me hungry.  Seriously, get in my mouth cheese. haven-best-sponsors Haven’s sponsors were fantastic.  There were parties and swag, sure, but they were some of the nicest people I have ever met.  When I came home and Tim opened up my suitcase he thought it was his birthday.  I don’t think I have ever seen him so happy to see safety goggles.  I met a ton of amazing people on that couch up there from Ballard Designs that Jamie grabbed a photo of.  That rug and I have a real love affair going too. haven-what-a-workout To balance out all the tasty food, you gotta make sure you get out on the dance floor and bust a move.  I worked up quite a few sweats between dancing and walking to vendor booths.  Now some brave souls went hiking and running, but I think doing the robot on repeat burned just as many calories.  Holler.  Double holler to Ryobi Tools for throwing such an awesome party.  Good time had by all. haven-meeting-your-faves The whole way down to Atlanta I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t be starstruck.  Newsflash, I was a total creeper that stared just a little to long at the bloggers I have read for years.  It wore off after the first day, but it was so amazing to see all these ladies being so normal.  They had so many inspiring stories and endless knowledge, I just soaked it up like a sponge.  I loved Ana White’s keynote, and I am so happy Ashley got such a great photo of that little baby bump. haven-making-new-faves By far, hands down, without doubt, no competition the best part of this conference was meeting so many new friends.  I can’t say enough nice things about some of these girls.  I am so lucky to even have the opportunity to know most of them, and can’t wait to be reunited next year!  In fact, I am really bummed that I have to wait a whole year to see them again.  I’ve said it a million times but this weekend just instilled it in my brain that blogging is all about the community.  This community blows my socks off.  Thanks Megan for snapping this pic.

It’s easy to see that I have a lot of nice things to say about Haven.  I had such a great time and feel so blessed to have been able to experience all the awesomeness.  Let the countdown to 2014 begin.

Have you been to Haven?
What’s your favorite part of conferences?
Are you craving a cheese plate now?


Written by Christina and Tim

I have a lot of respect for anyone that blogs.  Especially if you blog with any sort of regularity…and those of you posting multiple times a day, well, I tip my sombrero atcha.

If you don’t have a blog, and don’t care about all the little, lovely details that tag along with blogging then watch this video.  Sing along if you like.

If you are a blogger or at the very least like reading about the act of blogging as a verb, read on.

Blogging is a whole other world, one that most people don’t understand.  Brainstorming sessions over bottles of wine, buying supplies, making said supplies look Pinterest worthy, taking a million photos to pretend that your house is not covered in a laundry bomb, and then writing-rewriting-proofreading-spellchecking-publishing-hoping for comments.  We have enough to do just creating content, but then we are supposed to promote and engage too?  Say what?  I barely have time to microwave dinner my friends.

Let alone save my pennies to advertise on other awesome blogs, then join this network and that page.  Sometimes I feel like I just can’t keep up, oh you get it….you feel me?

Well, as a salute to you my fellow blogger I want to give you a gift.  Well, me and a few other fun-loving bloggers.  We want to give you the chance at loads of free advertising, cute stuff, and even some gift cards.  You know, to make your life a little easier so you can go outside and enjoy a lemonade and a cabana boy.  Then send that cabana boy my way and tell him don’t forget the fabric softener.

It’s easy….just enter below.  I’m rooting for you.

17 Bloggers, 19 Prizes and 1 lucky winner.


Last weekend was exciting.  I talked my friend Trisha into taking a 16 hour road trip to Georgia with me to attend the Maiedae Mixer.  There were laughs, there were cracked windshields, there were up-all-night conversations, and there were cupcakes.  I couldn’t have asked for a better trip (well minus that whole windshield thing) and I learned so much.

I got so wrapped up in all the fun that I barely took any photos.  I have about fifteen on my memory card and every single one of them is a blurry mess of giggles and dancing.  So instead I am relying on the #hashtagged photos that other people posted, thanks for saving my hiney once again Instagram. output_CMUltX And thanks to these girls for taking awesome photos.  Hi Jenny!  Hi Savannah!  Hi Amber!  Hi Anna!  Hi Hillery!  Hi Jana!  Hi Stephanie!  Hi Meghan!  Hi Holly!  Hi Natalie!

On top of being a completely gorgeous event, the hosts won me over with adorable goodie bags. the goodies I couldn’t even tell you what I am most excited for because it would be too hard to pick a favorite, I love it all.

They also knew the way to my heart….with a photobooth. smilebooth photos group shot I just can’t get enough. throwin gang signs This little shindig wasn’t all about coffee, cupcakes, and conversation though.  I wanted to learn.  I wanted a crash course on blogger meetups and boy did I get one.

Here are the five things no one warned me about. eat dinner before you go Trisha and I planned on eating, I promise.  But it wasn’t until we arrived at the Mixer that we realized we hadn’t ate in 10 hours.  In all honesty, I am not sure I could have eaten anything that would have calmed those figgity butterflies down but at least I could have had a base coat for all the sugar I was about to ingest.  I ended up getting a little tummy ache after I came down from the sugar high, so maybe next time some Saltines will hang around in my purse just in case. or you will struggle You may notice that in the last Smilebooth photo up there, my hands were quite full…the hand not throwing the gang signs.  All night I seriously struggled to hold onto business cards, my phone, a camera, drinks, and my overall sanity.  Everyone says to bring along a business card holder, but I am warning you to bring a functional one.  I dropped mine on two different occasions, and opening it was a joke.  This could be the reason for my lack of photos as well.  Next time I am bringing pockets and a wristlet to tame all my important bidness. so talk to people It took me a good hour before I was ready to approach anyone new.  In my head everyone already knew each other and no one wanted to talk to little ole Missourian me.  I think everyone goes through this at some point, and I can usually tell myself “these people will never see you again” but in this context where it is very possible I will go home and stalk them….that mantra was useless.  After Meghan was brave enough to come up and chit chat, I realized that’s what we were there for.  To meet people, to connect, to step out of our comfort zone.  Next time, I hope to walk in with a better attitude. shine bright like a diamond Not much to say here, just wish I had those handy wipes that tame the whole “shine bright like a diamond” thing I had going on my face.  Never makes for cute pictures, and probably doesn’t make you any more approachable.  Should have brought gum too, one macaron in and I was paranoid-breath-checker-girl. practice your moves Not sure why this surprised me.  Bloggers have style, bloggers have grace….and bloggers can wobble.  Be prepared and practice your moves before hand so that you can hang with the Beyonces.  I did not, so I just snapped pictures like the paparazzi and called it a night.  Next time I will have the moves like Jagger.

Do you have any tips to add to my list?
Have you ever dropped a stack of business cards in a dress that’s too short?
Any recommendations for some no-shine goop?

Written by Christina and Tim

Most days we have a few searches that leave us thinking, “what the what”.
Like can someone please tell me what the “gracie and mommy show” is.

It always amazes me how many different ways you can search our blog name.  You guys are impressive.

We shouldn’t get all the fun of decoding search terms…you should join in. google it So how did you find this little ol’ blog?

Written by Christina and Tim

Are you a Google Reader gangster?
Do you want to be? I have to openly admit that I was late to this party.
Only about a month ago did I take the plunge into GR addiction.

I am obviously not an expert, but it has changed my life and I feel like you should be in on this.  For the first time in my life I can call myself efficient.
I am a blog reading boss. Getting started is super easy, especially if you have a Google account.
GR is a browser based application, so there is no need to download software.
Just go to Google.com/reader and sign in using your Google account or you can create a new account.

Then you need to find some good reads.

If you are totally new to this scene then I want to take a second to warn you….blogs will become an addiction and will suck all of your time up like a vacuum.  I felt that I should at least give you fair warning, your welcome.

To find blogs to read you can click on “Browse for stuff” or even choose “Staff Picks” for a little taste of what you are in for.  You can also enter keywords into the search and browse field at the bottom of the page.  That is a really good way to find articles and posts that will be common to your interests.

If you are a veteran at this whole blog reading thing then you probably already have a few favorites.  I have found the simplest way to add them is to enter the name or URL into the “Add Subscription” field and usually the very first entry to come up is your bingo. You can also almost always find an “RSS feed” or subscribe button on blogs, it is super easy to click that button and have it added automatically to your feed after a few prompts. Now you are reading to get sucked in for hours upon hours….think of Google Reader as a big fat newspaper, and each blog as individual articles. It is just so easy…now you aren’t going to every blogs page and getting disappointed when they haven’t posted.  Even better, now your favorite bloggers can’t sneak a post past you.  You are like a spy.  Congratulations.

GR will also stalk your life and give you trends on your reading habits.  Kinda neat, until you realize how much time you have spent reading other people’s blogs instead of working on your own…panic attack ensues…yada yada yada.

You can also save, star, and share your articles so you aren’t searching the whole world wide web to try and find that article you once read on how to eat as much chocolate as you want without gaining any weight.  If you find that article, will you let me know….mmkay thanks.

You can also create folders to organize the blogs once you start amassing quite a collection.  You know….food blogs, gardening blogs, DIY blogs, fashion blogs and they all have their own little folder.

If you are pro-status then check out Extensions.  Genius. Now here is the real juicy good stuff you have been waiting for.

There are tons of hot keys…you can basically get around the whole dang place without a mouse.  Google is good like that.

You are now ready to rock it.

Since I am still a newbie here….fill me in on some more tips and tricks.

Written by Christina and Tim

Not only are these Rocketrictic prints pretty, they aren’t cliché over worked quotes.  Which makes me love them more.

Here is the best of my blogosphere this week.
Sure to rock your socks right off your feet.


The best non-traditional tablesetting for the holidays that I have seen.

Ever wonder what to do with leftover corn husk…decorate with them.

This makes me want to have a wine tasting.

I want this kids playroom…especially the little loft playhouse, tim can organization and animal jars.  Super cute.

Chalk is all the rage, here is what you need to know.

Mamas have more in common with turkeys than you thought.


What did I miss?  Shoot me some good links!

Written by Christina and Tim