7 Sure Fire Fails to Avoid Making at the Haven Conference

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Today I’m sharing my Haven Conference 2019 review.  Learn about 7 sure-fire fails to avoid making at the Haven Conference.  Ask me how I know… go ahead… ask.7 sure fire fails to avoid making at the haven conference hotel counter with decor items

Just like last year, the 2019 Haven Conference was amazing.

But with the amazing-ness came some “wish-I-could-do-over” moments.

You know what I mean, right?  Like, I hate to say it… but I had a few regrets!

But, you don’t have to have these ‘wish-I-coulds’, because I did them for you. And you’re gonna learn from my mistakes, amen?


Okay… let’s be honest here.  The fun and successes at the Haven Conference FAAARRRR outweighed the ‘man, I forgot to do that’ moments.  Seriously.

Oh, and fair warning… this is a long post today, but I hope you’ll stick with me until the end!

The Haven Conference has become a highlight of the year for this gal.  Why?

  1. Community… You get to see your best blogging buddies that are sprawled out across the country for this once a year ‘shot-in-the-arm’.
  2. Education… Learning in class from leaders in the industry regarding marketing, SEO, best business practices, photography, and more!
  3. Community… Yes, this is already #1, but this is part II! Meeting new bloggers and commiserating over the investment you put into your blog and the successes that come with it (and sometimes don’t) is like drinking from a cool water fountain.
  4. Brands… Introducing yourself and meeting with sponsors and brands is scary, but actually quite fun, and productive.
  5. Community… Do you see a trend here? Part III, this time I’m talking mentors. Being able to share with and ask for advice from successful bloggers is encouraging and so stinking helpful.
  6. Fun and relaxation… The Haven Conference is always held in a lovely hotel with yummy food, comfy beds, and beautiful surroundings. The perfect place to get-away to.

However, there were definitely some areas I plan to improve upon next year! So let’s take a look at the 7 sure-fire fails to avoid making at the Haven Conference (or any conference), starting with number seven.

7. Neglect Researching Local Restaurants

Now, you may not realize how important this is, but if you plan on visiting restaurants in the area that have been recommended by a well-known celebrity (we won’t mention any names), make sure you do your homework.  Find out what the current state of the restaurant is before you take 10-15 people with you, or you may get this…restaurant with counter tables and chairs

Mind you, the food was great, and so was the company (who were all wonderful ‘sports’)!7 sure fire fails to avoid making at the haven conference table with women

Jennifer from Celebrating Everyday Life, Nancy from Adams & Elm Home, Carrie from The French Blue Cottage, Suzy from Worthing Court, Yvonne from StoneGable, and Barbara from @gasthausonthemeadowtable with women

Carol from Bluesky at Home, Crissy from First Day of Home

And guess what… I made the same mistake… TWICE! Again, the food was great, but let’s just say the packed restaurant may not have seen a group of ‘young people’ (like us) in the place for a long time.  Seriously… one of the patrons came up and told us so.  He just said it in a much creepier way! LOL!women surrounding photo of celebrity

Sonya from SonyaBurgess.com, Jen from @JenBryantDesign, Me, Lynne from My Family Thyme, and Rebecca from Zucchini Sisters

6. Forget to Take Pictures

Y’all… I went in with EVERY intention of taking lots of photos.  Do you know that for each post here on My Wee Abode about 250-500 photos are taken?!  For just ONE post!

Guess how many I took at the five days in Atlanta (oh, did I mention that’s where Haven was held this year)?

Fifty-eight. Epic fail!

Here are a few photos you should not miss taking:

  1. You with your roommates
  2. You with your mentor (as in my blogging mentor, who also happened to be my Haven mentor, who also happens to be my dear friend!)
  3. Your tribe (blogging buddies that work together throughout the year)
  4. The brand booths and area
  5. And so many more that I can’t think of right now!

So here is a photo of part of the Haven mentor group I was in.  The only photo I have ‘with’ my mentor, Yvonne! (Photo credit goes to Kippi At Home… See I didn’t even take THIS one!).7 sure fire fails to avoid making at the haven conference sitting area with women

5. Believe You’re Too Small to Pitch

Introducing yourself to sponsors, brands, and companies can be intimidating.  Last year, I didn’t approach any brands… not one.

This year, I pitched FIVE companies, including Home Depot (their new online textile shop is AMAZING), Behr Paint (do you know that have a chalk paint line now?), Hunter Fans (a So Cal ‘must-have’), and several other rental-friendly companies (one of which I’m SO excited about… more about them soon… I hope!)

So, be sure to do your homework and research the brands before you arrive, follow all their social media, and start engaging with them! Then when you arrive at Haven, let them know the fantastic and unique ideas you have to feature them on your site!

4. Miss the Keynote Speakers

Just don’t.  Even if you have to sit in the aisle.  Which I should have.

Amy Howard is an amazing, godly speaker and happened to be our closing keynote at Haven this year. So many people raved about her speech and how affected them in a big way (she always bring much glory to God through her speeches).

Unfortunately, I was too late arriving and there was less than standing room only.  Next time, I’ll stand in the aisles.

Be sure you don’t miss keynote speakers.  I didn’t miss this one!  My sweet friend KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms.two women on stage one with a microphone

She made me cry, and laugh, like she always does on her blog and in her books!

3. Be Fearful of “Celebrities”

People… those big, successful bloggers are just like you and me!  They have good days and bad days. They need encouragement when they are down. Some get smudges of red lipstick on their teeth (no, KariAnne, you didn’t… I would have told you!).

And they are some of the sweetest people you will ever know!7 sure fire fails to avoid making at the haven conference two women hugging

The Penn and Kim Holderness were also speakers at Haven.  Though I didn’t meet them, Penn wrote a song about Haven in 5 minutes, using shout-outs from the audience about Haven happenings.  He used my restaurant mishaps as part of the song!penn and kim holderness sitting on stage

2. Miss the Community

What a surprise, right? Don’t miss spending lots of time with blogging ‘family’ and meeting/helping new members in the community.  I always feel like I could do WAY better in this area.

Owning a social media company (aka ‘blogging’) can be hard for many to understand. But, during the Haven Conference, take plenty of time to relax, share, and commiserate with your blogging buddies! It will refresh you!

Suzy is one of the bloggers that inspired me to start My Wee Abode.  We finally met face-to-face and found each other to be kindred spirits.  We were blessed to be able to spend lots of time together in Atlanta! (Only photo I had of us together. Yikes!)photo of two women

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to members of the community.  Amy from @thefetchingfarmhouse was a sweetheart when I explained that our dear friend Rita from Harbour Breeze Home wasn’t able to make it to Haven, and was struggling with illness. She even did an IG story with me to wish Rita well! Be sure to visit Amy and give her a follow! photo of two women

And quick intros/photos from last year’s Haven resulted in sweet reunions this year with so many (but, I didn’t get nearly enough pics!)photo of two women

Me and Katie from Bower Power

1. Forget Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing

Now, this can be different for all of us.  Don’t forget the reasons why you are blogging and the reasons you go to Haven.

Let me share with you my Ultimate Reason… maybe it will help you find a reason, too.

The Sunday before I left for Haven, during our praise and prayer time at church, I asked my church family to pray that I would bring much glory to the Lord during my time at Haven.  That I would have lots of opportunities to share the love of Jesus and make it clear that He is my life, and therefore the main reason I blog.

By God’s amazing grace, there were so many times that Jesus was shared… by me AND by my sweet blogging community:

  1. Breakfast with KariAnne where she asked if she could pray before we ate… and what a God-glorifying prayer it was!
  2. Talking with my roomies about the Lord each morning/night… sharing our weaknesses and how we desire to trust the Lord to change us.
  3. One-on-one conversations with dear friends about the conference truly being a bigger picture of what the Lord is doing… sanctifying us, even through our blogging journey.
  4. Thanking the Lord with each other and for each other.

And so much more!

Haven Conference reminded me that I blog because the Lord is calling me to blog, for HIS glory!  I’m far from perfect in this… I never will be perfect (until I’m Home with Him).  But, my heart’s desire is to know Jesus in a bigger way, through the blog, and that others might know Him, too!

Now It’s Your Turn

How ’bout you? Have you ever thought of attending Haven?  What conferences have you gone to?  What’s your favorite conference memory? Please leave a comment, and let me know… and feel free to ask questions, too!





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  1. I followed several of my favorite bloggers at Haven this year. There were some pictures of a few younger bloggers who looked if they had partied a little too much. I was disappointed to see that. I guess they don’t get away from their little ones often enough and felt like they had to party.
    Haven always looks like a fabulous conference. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip.

    1. Yes, I had a wonderful time, Nancy, thank you! Haven has been a wonderful conference to attend the last two years! 😉

  2. Hi Julie, I was at Haven two years ago or was it three? I met Karianne and stay in touch. I hope to get this on the schedule for next year. Recognize so many faces in your photos! Laura from Everyday Edits (previously blogged under Not a Trophy Wife) ;0) Rebranded after Haven! It took me a few years! ha! laura

    1. So happy to have you at the party, Laura… and I hope we can meet at Haven next year! It’s quite an amazing experience, right? 😉

  3. Every year it makes me sad that I am unable to attend and meet fellow bloggers. I always have wished I could meet blog mentors and new blogs I follow such as yours.

    Me having MS I unfortunately can’t travel alone. I’m getting more and more mobility with new medication. I’m still not able to travel alone.

    I always dream about being able to learn and be able to get my blog going stronger. Then, my health is the intruder. Hard to get guidance and mentoring if attending isn’t possible. Often seems it’s looked upon as I don’t really want this or to put in the effort. To me not fair because untrue. Health is a hindrance.


    1. Well, I’m praying now that the Lord would send you a helper that can come with you so you can attend, Cindy! You keep doing what you’re doing, and trust Him for the best in your life! Hugs!

  4. It was another amazing year at Haven, only wish I got to spend more time with you and hug your neck goodbye. Love your takeaways from this year Julie and hope to see you again soon.

    1. So many stinking regrets! Next year, let’s pray we can room together again! I wish we could have had time to have coffee together. Sigh.

  5. I was at Haven thanks to you! Thank you for pushing me to go.

    I loved reading your blog post. I feel some responsibility for #7. I hope you will update our DD&D document so next year the two places that you tried won’t be revisited. I know you must have been so uncomfortable when you arrived with a large group and the place was truly a dive, even with good food. I like hole in the wall and dive places, so I’m sure I would have liked it a lot!

    I was an epic fail also (#6). I took two pictures and none with fellow bloggers. That makes me really sad!

    I loved Amy’s final speech. I hope I get to hear her speak again in the future. It made me sad to miss hearing KariAnne speak at lunch Saturday but I had to use that time to visit the sponsors.

    Haven was so much fun and I hope, hope that next summer I will be able to attend.

    1. LOL! I was really sharing the restaurant situation mostly as a joke. However, I think we both may have liked visiting something not quite so dive-y. But the food was really good! I wish we could have visited one of them together. Womp, womp!

      I hope we get to see each other at Haven next year, too, my friend. I’ll be praying for that!

  6. Ohh, I was so excited when I saw the title of this post and I read every word and enjoyed it and nodded my head in agreement. Even though I didn’t go to Haven this year, I love reading your experience and what you wished you had done different. I don’t think I would have had the problem with not taking enough photos, tho! LOL!!! But, I get it. Sometimes you get so into it and you’re having so much fun that you forget to take photos! I had to laugh about the restaurants, that so would have been my luck! I regret not going to any of my mentor meeting last year, I was so tired and went back to my room to rest. But, I regretted it!


    1. Yes… I missed my mentor meetings last year, too! So this year, I didn’t miss any of them, and I’m so glad I didn’t. That was the regret last year that I made good on this year! You were missed, Carrie! Hope we both can attend next year!

  7. It was a delight to have met you and so many blogger friends. I cannot wait for next to go again. I needed another day there!!!!
    Have a blessed week,

    1. I agree, Kippi! I would have loved another day or two… then I would have been ready to go home! 😉 So glad we got to spend some time together!

  8. This is a great post Julie! I so wanted to go to Haven this year, but next year I will for sure! I’m so happy to read about all the tips – I’ll be so prepared when I finally get there! 🙂 Thanks so much for all the wonderful info – I can’t wait! 💗

    1. I pray I will be able to go again next year, Barbara! Would love to meet you! I hope I’m better prepared next year, too! LOL!

  9. Julie, I loved this post! In all of the years I have been blogging, I have never been able to go to Haven. It has usually been a scheduling thing. But, I so want to go! Thank you for all of the great tips! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  10. Julie,

    All of these are amazing tips! I agree with you on everything—especially the pictures! Thanks for the shout out! It was wonderful to see you!

    Happy day!

    1. Part of the excitement of Haven is getting to see and talk with you, my friend! Hope we are able to make it an annual ‘thing’. 😉

  11. Hi Julie! Loved your post, and your words are so true. I have to defend your choice in restaurants, though. I’ve eaten at plenty of “fine dining” culinary establishments, but it’s not every day that I get to try a dive! I loved my food and the company even better. 🙂

    I’m so glad we met at Haven last year while discussing our excitement over winning free sinks. Ha! Our friendship is truly a blessing. xoxo

    1. I agree… the dives were fun, but I think I would have liked to visit at least one that wasn’t a ‘dive’. LOL!

      I, too, am so thankful to the Lord for bringing us our friendship! You are a bright spot in many of my days! 😉

  12. What a great post of so many ideas that sum up the Haven experience. Yes, Amy Howard shared such a wonderful story. I am sorry you missed it. It was so inspirational. It was wonderful to connect with you in person!!! HUGS!

  13. Julie, this is a great post – so much info about Haven that I didn’t know. I love all the insight you took the time to share. I have taken notes so I can go to the next Haven better prepared.

    Thanks again for sending out this post.

    Hugs to you,

  14. I happened to get an email for Haven today. Clicked around on the website and found everyone’s posts from Haven 2019. Love your post and hope to go this year since I missed last year. I was so bummed! Hope to meet you in person and we’ll make sure and take a photo together, pray and talk about our loving Jesus all day as we are glorifying Him wherever we go. People will probably stare. Hope they ask why! 😉

    1. I SO hope to be able to go to Haven again this year. But, unless the Lord provides a means, I may need to miss it (I’m SO praying He will provide!) I would love to sit and visit and share the Lord together! He is the reason for everything, right?! Year before last, Yvonne and I were sitting in the restaurant, crying together over our testimonies. I don’t even remember (or care) if people were staring… I WISH they had asked why. 😉 Hugs, dear friend! Let’s pray it happens!

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