How To Grow Your Confidence In One Weekend.....

Well, I did it!!!  I went to Haven 2013 in Atlanta, GA and lived to tell talk about it!  Now that statement might make Haven sound like it was a bad thing, but on the contrary, it was amazing.  I went in scared to death...we're talking panic attack kinda scared.  I was lucky enough to get the chance to go so I was determined to be myself, smile a lot (my Mom always told me I look unhappy when I don't smile!) and put myself out there.  I'm pleased to report this was exactly what I did!  

On day 1 the Hubby and Hunter dropped me off at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead.  We had decided to spend a week in Atlanta as a family seeing the sites before the conference.   It was great having them with me so they could drop me off and be there to support me.   When they dropped me off at the hotel,  Hunter insisted on walking me into the lobby.  He walked me in, while pulling my way to heavy suitcase up the ramp to the lobby.  When he said "Goodbye Mommy" I got tears in my eyes and said, "Hunter I need a hug and a kiss...Mommy is really, really scared."  He gave me a big kiss and a hug and said, "It's going to be alright Mommy, but you're going to have fun!"  Then he turned around and ran down the ramp leaving me standing alone.  YIKES  I was alone and had to brave the gauntlet of strangers standing around chatting!

I was nervous because I didn't really know any of the other bloggers and that included my roommate!    I had met my roomie via Facebook and we set up a meet-up in the lobby.  When I met up with Jessica, from Gourley Girl & Guy, I was still a nervous wreck, but she did a good job of distracting me and making me feel like I'd known her for ages.  I had a nice $15 Pear Fizz and started to slowly relax.  I also met Heather and Tarah from Real Cheap Housewives of Texas (isn't their blog name great?!).  They were a complete riot and had me laughing and relaxed right away.  I was relieved I'd found some people who had a good sense of humor and liked to have fun!

The first night we had a meet and greet cocktail party outside at the Grand Hyatt.  It was sweat dripping down your back and legs kinda hot.  My hair looked great until we went outside and then POOF humidity took over!  I didn't know my hair could even do that!  This was my first opportunity to come in contact with my blog idol (for lack or a better word), Marian from Miss Mustardseed.  She was talking with a group of women and I waited patiently for my chance to swoop in and hug her.  This was my opportunity to meet the woman who inspired me,  almost two years ago, to start a blog.  She's been encouraging and inspiring me every week for the last 2 1/2 years with her amazing talent so I was nervous meeting her.  What if she thought I was a crazy stalker?  Or worse what if I made a fool of myself like I did with Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick (more on that later!).  When I met Marian, she was sweet, kind, humble and incredibly patient with my many questions.  We talked for a bit and she made me instantly feel comfortable.  This woman is talented, an author, high profile blogger and an entrepreneur (started her own line of milk paint!).  Yet Marian took the time to talk to me and many other bloggers at the conference who were also beyond thrilled to meet her.  I was so impressed with how genuine she was.

OK now for a quick recap of me checking in for the conference.  This is where I made a fool out of myself with Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick!  I was so nervous when I walked up to the registration desk I kind of blanked out a bit.  I couldn't see the name tags the women were wearing and wasn't sure who they were.  When I realized Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick was the person registering me I proceeded to say, "WOW you're so much prettier in person!"  Who says that anyway??  ME!  I have no filter and just say what's on my mind which can be a good or bad thing!  Then (no I wasn't done yet!) I said, "Oh you look a lot thinner must have lost weight!"  Well, I guess I didn't really want these stupid comments to be my first interaction with someone I consider a huge rock star blogger, but Sarah took it all in stride and actually was really happy I'd said those things!  PHEW!  

I also met another one of my blog idols, Roeshel from DIY Show Off and her beautiful daughter Bri.  If I hadn't seen a picture on Instagram of them on the plane together I would have thought they were sisters!  Roeshel is another mega blogger who've I've been following for awhile.  Her blog also inspired me to start a blog to document my projects.  I love her style!   She exudes style...for real!  She dresses great, is beautiful and has an incredible eye for design.  Her daughter came to Haven to learn because she too wants to start a blog.  Bri, was an absolute doll with a style all her own.  I enjoyed talking her ear off at the meet and greet party!   Roeshel was so gracious, kind and answered so many questions while listening to me babble on and on about how much I love her home.  It a real pleasure getting to know her and Bri!

The night was full of meeting new, talented and wonderful people.  It was fun making connections with so many of the bloggers I've been following on the web.  It was nice to put a real face with a blog name!

From left to right:  Sonya At Home With The Barkers, Beth Farm Fresh Vintage Finds, Me (and my horrible humidity hair!) and Becca Adventures In Decorating.

After our fun cocktail party,  I was invited by my roomie Jessica to attend a dinner with some of the sweetest women I've ever met!  We went to a local Mexican restaurant called Cantina.  It was nice to make connections with these talented women and get to know more about them.  I sat next to Julia from Southern Color and I have to say I just love her and her Sister Elizabeth.  They're adorable, talented and as friendly as I had expected a southern woman to be.  

The first night ended very late or very early the next morning depending on how you look at it.  Jessica and I had to get to know each other quickly since we were sharing a king size bed!  Jessica was heaven sent!  She did a lot to help me relax and just be myself.  Thanks Jessica!!  

From left to right Me, Julia Southern Color,  Michael and Anneke This That & Life,  Lindsay Life Of Splendor, Kristin Bliss At Home, Robin Angie's Roost, Trisha Black And White Obsession, Elizabeth Southern Color, Jesse Scout & Nimble, Brooke Designed By BH, Jessica Gourley Girl & Guy

The next morning started early....far too early for this night owl, but I was ready and excited to attend a paint workshop taught by Marian from Miss Mustardseed and Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect.  This was the highlight of Haven, and one of the big reasons I bought a ticket.  I wanted to learn from the best.  Marian and Shaunna taught us some paint techniques and we had a chance to work with products from Miss Mustardseed's Milk Paint line as well as Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.  I had used the milk paint before, but was iffy on whether I liked it or not.  This workshop made me fall in love with the milk paint.  It's always a good idea to learn from the person who created the paint line!  Not often do people have the luxury of doing learning from the person who created the line as well as the colors!  
Me with the lovely Marian, AKA Miss Mustardseed

Julia Southern Color, JannYvette I Heart Purdy Things and Elizabeth Southern Color

Playing with Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint and Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan. 

In between workshops we got to meet lots of vendors and sponsors.  One of my favorites was Ryobi!  I had never in my life used a nail gun, but got the chance to try using one of these babies at their booth.  This nail gun rocks!!  It's cordless and powerful!  I'm totally asking Santa for one...I've been good this year Santa I NEED one.  I have lots of projects I need to accomplish in my new home so it's a must have. 

Here's a picture of me trying out the Ryobi nail gun.  Yes....I'm such a girlie girl I closed my eyes when it went nailed!  

A few more workshops and then it was time for two more cocktail parties!  I was dead on my feet, but ready to party with some fun bloggers.  The first party was sponsored by Rustoleum and Home Depot. The second party, which was at the Intercontinental Hotel, was sponsored by Ryobi.  These parties were a lot of fun!  Claudia from Redone To Be Reloved and I went to the party together (thank you Claudia!).  We talked to lots of people, had a few drinks and maybe, just maybe I forgot to use my filter again and asked the cute Ryobi rep if he REALLY worked for Ryobi.  We had a bet at our table that he was probably a model hired by Ryobi to work a party full of women!  Turns out we were wrong.....blush.  

Claudia Redone To Be Reloved and Gina Charming Zebra at the Ryobi party.

By the last day of the conference I was beyond exhausted, but excited to attend some more workshops!

I attended a workshop in the morning held by 3M to demo their new Clean Sand System.  Basically this is a sander that connects via a hose to any vacuum or shop vac.  I was mesmerized!  I loved this sander and the lack of dust!  I told the 3M representative how they'd basically made this sander for me....yes it sounds like I was sucking up, but I was serious!  Sanding is dusty business and moving my workshop into the walkout basement of our new home had me worried (the hubby has some allergies and asthma).  This sanding system was exactly I needed since I would be sanding in the house from now on.  The 3M rep was such a nice guy he gave me one to take home!!!  I was so excited!

Here's my cool new sander!  I can't wait to give it a try once we are moved and settled in to the new house!

There were LOTS of workshops I should have taken, but I really got caught up talking to the vendors and the other bloggers.  It was my goal to meet as many people as I could.  This goes outside my normal comfort zone so I was really proud of myself for putting myself out there (yes, I'm patting myself on the shoulder...I don't do that enough!).  I'm an outgoing person and can talk to anyone, but when I'm on my own in a room of 350 bloggers and vendors it can be intimidating.  

One of the vendors/sponsors was GMC.  They had an Acadia Denali on display at the conference.  Let me say this SUV rocks!!  I sat in it and gawked at it and basically wanted to hug it.  Thankfully I refrained from any PDA with the SUV, that might have raised some eyebrows!  I love my current SUV, but this Acadia is a lot bigger than my current vehicle and seats 7!  I entered a contest for a chance to win a 1 week lease of this SUV, but unfortunately I never win anything!   It Would've been nice to try the Acadia for a week to see if I really loved it enough to trade in my 2 year old SUV!  :-)

After lunch I decided I had slacked off enough and took another workshop.  Did I take a class that would help me learn about social media, how to grow my blog or help me take better pictures?  That would be a big NOPE!  I attended another paint workshop instead.  That's kinda what I do so why not learn all I can from the best in the biz?

I had a chance to attend a workshop taught by Barbara Skivington and Debbie Hayes from Annie Sloan Unfolded.  I've been using Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan for almost 2 years.  I have taken an Annie Sloan paint workshop before, but I knew I could learn a lot from these two talented women.  I was right! I learned some great tips and some important information, like don't put waxed furniture in the sun.  Don't tell anyone, but I've already done that a lot and haven't had any problems.  However, I won't do that anymore! I had a couple of my painting buddies with me from the previous days paint workshop so we had a lot of fun painting together again.

Debbie from Annie Sloan Unfolded and me.  You need to look on the Annie Sloan Unfolded Blog and see some of Debbie's work.  She has an amazing eye for color and has tons of talent!  She's an extremely talented artist.

Another painting buddy!  Bee from Windgate Lane.  

After the paint workshop I took a design dilemma workshop taught by Emily A. Clark and 2 other talented bloggers (I also took this workshop the day before as well.  I went the second time to pick up a prize and go with my friend Bee).

The last even was the Haven closing remarks.  This included tons of giveaways (I didn't win anything!) and one of the most inspiring speeches I've ever sat through.  The speech was given by Bob Johnson the Director of Development  at Habitat for Humanity in the south.   The main idea  Bob wanted us to take away from Haven was the concept of doing something back by using our talents to help people in need.  He told us to "Do something good on a grand scale".  Giving back to my community is something I've been wanting to do more of, but Bob's idea of doing this on a grand scale encouraged me.  Instead of doing something on a small scale I want to do something really big!  I have lots of ideas and I'm going to get in touch with the director of Habitat for Humanity in CT.   

After the speeches were done and the prizes were given away it was time to say goodbye!  One of the bloggers I really connected with was Claudia from Redone To Be Reloved.  I was really sad to say goodbye to her and her sweet hubby, but I know we'll be back next year for Haven 2014!

I could have gone on forever about Haven and the experiences I had while attending my first blog conference by myself.  I could have broken this down into many different posts, but I thought it was best kept short and sweet...I know this is not my normal style!  Yes, this was a remarkable experience and I highly recommend it if you're considering attending a blog conference.  However, the biggest thing I took away from this experience was not the fact I met Miss Mustardseed, Roeshel from DIY Showoff , or got tons of great swag from all of the vendors and sponsors (I'm talking I needed another suitcase there was so much great stuff!).  The biggest thing that I took away from the Haven conference, that will forever affect my life, is what Bob Johnson said, "Do something good on a grand scale."

 Sometimes I get excited about an idea or a project and then when the excitement fades away the idea gets push aside.  This idea of doing something good on a grand scale is my new goal for the next 12 months.  I want to give back to my community....this is my newest passion.  I don't know exactly what I'm going to do or how I will do it, but I will make it happen!  It only takes one idea to bring about change, but I know I won't be able to make this happen alone.   I'm going to need help...lots of help!  I hope when the time comes,  some of you will feel compelled to jump in and help me "do something good on a grand scale."

Thank you for reading and for your comments and emails.  I love hearing from you so please keep them coming!



  1. WOW! This sounds like a really awesome experience! I'm a DIY blogger but not a big name by far, and I've never heard of Haven until your posts. I think I need to go next year!! Thanks for your very detailed wonderful post!

  2. Haven was such a great conference and it was WONDERFUL meeting YOU!

  3. Awww, glad we could be your welcoming committee! Miss you! Give Hunter a hug :)

  4. So happy to meet you in person - I'm still recuperating!!!

  5. Hi, Melody, I didn't get to meet you at Haven, but I'm so happy to read your sweet recap of your experience. I'm so glad you got over your nerves and jumped right in and you had such a great time. That's exactly what we hoped would happen for all of you newbies. Can't wait for next year!

  6. It was so nice meeting you! Haven was way more fun than I had ever imagined! You paint the best furniture so I'm looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve. See you at Haven 2014. ~Sonya

  7. I love your recap! And I'm so glad we were able to connect in the FB group and then in person! Best of luck with your move!!! :)

  8. So great and how funny that our paths never crossed, I was supposed to sit at your table at dinner that first night but there were too many people so we sat at another table. I was also in the Annie Sloan Chalk paint class with you! The funniest think about this is you were saying it was so hot and sweaty and all of us from Atlanta were saying we could not believe how great and cool it was LOL. Hope to meet you next year!

  9. Great recap - I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to keeping in touch!! Hope everything goes smoothly with you move!

  10. Um. I love you. I would share a king-sized bed with you ANY day. Thanks for all of the shout-outs. God gave us to each other because I NEVER would've made it through it without you, either! :) Can't wait to see you again next year! Good luck with the move. :)

  11. Melody- Wow - That was quite a post. I hope your move goes smooth and that you will be able to put to use all that you learned at Haven. Blessings- xo Diana

  12. It was SO great meeting you at Haven. You are just as sweet in person as you are on Twitter ;) Lots of luck with the move, and I hope I see you again next year!

  13. Glad you had a good time at Haven! Enjoyed reliving some of it through your post!

  14. Hoping to go next year...great reading so many fun stories!

  15. So great to meet you at Haven :) Such a great recap! xo Kristin

  16. It was a fantastic weekend. I can't wait til next year!! Great to meet you Melody!

  17. I'm so glad I got to meet you at Haven!! I love all of your painted furniture and you definitely inspired me to start using chalk paint!

  18. Melody! Thank you so much for your kind words! ::blushing:: Mega?! lol I felt just like you walking in there. Bri and I both love you! Your happiness and smile are contagious. I loved meeting you and having a few moments to chat. I wish we had more time but I am SO glad that you stepped outside of your comfort zone and introduced yourself!

  19. It was so much fun meeting you there!!! I felt the same exact way and I am so glad that we all opened up and stepped out of our comfort zones! The alcohol on the first night definitely helped! ;) Cannot wait for next year!