Being a Haven Maven in the ATL

New month, new work blog conference. This time we were off to Atlanta to attend Haven and gather with some of the most notable DIY/Home bloggers in blogland.

This was IZEA’s first year at Haven so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve attended a plethora of blog conferences both at home in Australia and now here in the U.S. and they’re always very similar in their own respects.

Haven was different though, it was a creative group of like-minded, mostly female bloggers that think outside the box. These ladies are some of the best DIY/Home Decor influencers in the U.S., so the conference organizers had to keep an open mind when organizing not only the conference sessions, but also approaching the layout space in a creative and decorative manner.

Haven Conference 2013

PRE-HAVEN

A couple of days before flying out to Atlanta, a colleague (that may or may not be named Kate) walked into my office with a big smile on her face. “I hear you’re getting sick” she said. And it’s true, I had woken up with a scratchy throat and the sniffles that morning (and shared it with the world via Twitter), but I assured her it was nothing some NyQuil couldn’t fix.

The next thing I know, alleged Kate was throwing me under the bus over on Skype to my boss:

“I’m just going to throw this out there, so you know, I’ll have my bags packed and ready to go if you need back up” with a link to my tweet.

After this, I was concerned. Concerned that alleged Kate was ready to poison me at any given opportunity that came her way. Turns out alleged Kate is a super, insane, DIY/Craft blogger fan girl – who knew?

I’d been given some pretty serious requests from her:

1. Find Young House Love.
2. Get Young House Love’s autograph.
3. Take a photo with Young House Love holding alleged Kate’s name on a sign.
4. Take an instagram video with Young House Love acknowledging alleged Kate’sexistence.

It had taken me 14 months, but I had finally realized alleged Kate was crazy.

THE HOTEL

Haven was held at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead which is about a 20 minute drive north from downtown Atlanta. Unlike our last trip to Buckhead, we were unable to score mates-rates at the Ritz-Carlton so the Grand Hyatt was home for the next three days.

What I loved about the Grand Hyatt:

1. Grand Club Private Lounge: We’re not sure what we did to deserve this, but somehow we ended up being placed on the Grand Club floor with room key access to the private lounge! What did this mean? During certain hours of each day, we were able to take advantage of the private lounge which featured complimentary hors d’oeuvres, drinks and heavily discounted alcohol… there was even a Grand Club Concierge there that made sure I was never left without a drink in-hand!

2. Personalized TV Welcome Message: Upon entering our room, the TV was turned on with a personalized welcome message displaying Crystal’s name on the screen. I’ve seen this before at only one other hotel, so needless to say, we were both pretty amused.

3. Large Rooms: Even though we were in a regular room with two doubles, the room within itself was huge and bigger than most hotel rooms that I’ve stayed in. Even though we didn’t really make use of the extra space, it was nice throwing our suitcases, shoes and clothes onto the floor there.

 ….Welcome Message..Club Lounge

Remember Alleged Kate from earlier on in this post? One evening while Crystal and I were enjoying a drink in the Club Lounge, Alleged Kate decided she wanted in. This is the closest Kate got to Young House Love…

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 8.54.22 PM

THE CONFERENCE

Haven in itself was a huge success for us. We had an IZEA booth set up in the vendors section – we were right down the end, hustled away in a corner behind the big GMC truck, but this didn’t stop people from finding us! It was so lovely to put names to faces of influencers we have worked with on past campaigns and also introduce new faces to what we do and how we operate. At one point, I had a table of ladies gathered around me, mesmerized by my beautiful, Australian accent. I’m such a charmer sometimes.

Also, it turns out being hidden away in the corner had its advantages… at the end of Day 1, a temporary bar was set up for the evening function right by us that no one really seemed to notice because they were drinking over by the ones in the busy ‘Living Room’ area… it was like having our own personal bar tender serving us. Heaven.

DRINKS!

Our Director of Client Strategy and Operations, Crystal Duncan, joined the ‘Bloggers & Brands – BAM!’ panel to discuss exactly that, working with bloggers and brands. The session was run on both the Friday and Saturday to give those who attended simultaneously run sessions on the Friday a chance to join in the next day. I missed out on Crystal’s Friday panel because I was busy gracing Haven attendees with my adorable accent back at our IZEA table, but from the feedback we garnered throughout the rest of the conference and on twitter, the panel was extremely well received and many attendees found value in the knowledge that the three panelists had to discuss and share.

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 7.55.26 PM

Presentation Feedback

KEY LEARNINGS

What I learned from Haven?

Three things:

1. DIY/Craft/Home Decor bloggers LOVE everything and anything chevron.
2. They also love wearing super cute, brightly colored clothes!
3. They probably have the most adorable business cards I’ve ever seen.
.

FOX BROS. BAR-B-Q

We had some down time during one of the conference nights so on recommendation from a mate, we headed to Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. This joint is the #1 ranked BBQ place in Atlanta and it did not disappoint. I settled on the half rack of ribs, tater tots and fries and while the tots were delish, the ribs were even more amazing!

….Fox Bros Bar-B-Q..Fox Bros Bar-B-Q

.
THE FLIGHT HOME

The day before our flight back to Orlando, this happened…

Delta Upgrade

Business class back to Orlando – w00t w00t! Seat 1A and 1B, too – we were practically in the cockpit flying the plane. Yep, just call us experienced pilots. This was not only my first time being upgraded, but also my first time flying business. The early boarding plus unlimited, complimentary drinks definitely didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated!

Thanks, Delta!

.

.

?>