by Chris on June 26, 2012

Alright. I borrowed stole some pictures. I thought I might use this opportunity to give you some “behind the scenes” perspectives. It was very eye-opening to be on the other side of a conference, but it was also pretty. darn. awesome.

First things first—if I wasn’t madly in love with each of these ladies, there’s no way this could have been pulled off. Everyone of us helped see this to fruition. It’s no lie when I say these are some of my very best friends, and I’m thankful that this was able to bring us even closer together.

Secondly, I’m a bit shy. My friends might even call me a liar on this one, but I can get really intimidated in large groups of people. Small group? I’m a rock-your-socks-off conversationalist. Large group? Sweating. And wishing for my pajamas. At both of our social nights, I was scrambling to find Beth or Sarah to buddy up with me as I nervously walked the room. I know! A revelation, right? Why tell you this? ‘Cause it probably led to my only disappointment—I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I would have liked. Bummer.

Something I did not clue into is that when you run a conference, you are apparently not there to be a spectator. I taught four sessions, and I ran the presentation of another (notice me on the left side—hoping not to drop the computer…again). Sarah, Beckie, and Julia shared some outstanding information, and it’s all a blur. Pushing the arrow button on a computer is stressful!

Haven conference

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that we had the BEST sponsors for this conference. Some big names took a chance on us, and I’m hoping it paid off for them! They were all consummate professionals.  While I may have missed a lot of classes, I definitely learned a lot from these people.


I taught my beginning paint class with Bruce from Minwax. He’s a former high school English teacher, so it was meant to be. We went together like paint and polycrylic. Like wood and sandpaper? You get the idea.


Team member or attendee, the goal was the same—meeting up with friends and making new ones. Speaking of which, I met Dusty Dawn. ‘Nuff said.  :)


I wish I could hug Kristi right now for the ONE picture of me and my roomies. It was seriously a 4-day slumber party for us. Ever laugh so hard, you feel like you’re gonna throw up? That kind of sums up our stay.

As a team, we tried our best to mingle outside of our circle. That meant only one photo-op with us as a group, and this is what it looked like. I laugh every time I look at it. I also use it to remind my husband how cool I am I think I am.

Haven photo

And finally…I will  spend the rest of my life wondering what I thought was so funny and cracking up at my girls’ reactions. (Thank you, Christina!)

Thank you so much to our Flickr contributions for these pictures. Had you not posted your pictures, I would only have canvas bags and blue balls as my proof of the conference!



Vivienne @ The V Spot June 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

I would never have guessed you were shy in larger groups! Thanks for all of your hard work… loved every minute of the conference. :)

Chris June 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I know. It’s hard to explain. I’m an extremely social person! Those large groups just get me. Traci (Beneath My Heart) is an EXPERT at just walking up to people left and right, and the thought of it makes me break out into hives. :) I sure am glad we got to meet, however! Next year–we talk more!

Stephanie June 26, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thank you so much for your hard work! The conference was awesome and it really showed how much y’all cared about showing us ladies a good time :-)

Fresh Picked Vintage

Chris June 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I’m so thankful for that comment, Stephanie! It was a conversation that came up all the time with us–make sure our attendees feel welcome and loved! We tried hard, so I hope it paid off. I really hope we get to visit next year! I’ll make it a priority!

Erin @ How to Nest for Less June 26, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thanks again for everything. The conference was definitely more than I expected and all you ladies did a FABULOUS job!!

Chris June 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Oh. my. word. I feel so dumb, but I am JUST making the connection of you to your profile pic! I’m so bummed that I didn’t take the time to thank you for all your sweet comments on my blog! I didn’t realize until just now, and I’m a complete failure for not making that a point at Haven. You’ve always been such a great commenter with wonderful things to say. Thank you for being so supportive! Next year, I’ll tackle you with a BIG hug to show my gratitude. I’ll bet you can’t wait, eh? :) Again, I’m so sorry I didn’t make the connection, Erin. I TOTALLY know who you are!

Erin @ How to Nest for Less June 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm

HAHA! No big whoops. There’s no way you can recognize every person at the conference, right? Although I would think with my youthful good looks and midwestern charm, you would have tackled me this year… kidding! Would it make you feel any better that I just got my hair cut & highlighted so it’s a little different than my pic? Yeah, maybe not… Oh well, at least I got a pic of us together!

Seriously, you girls did an awesome job. Can’t wait til next year!

Chris June 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm

This just made me laugh out loud. Alone on my couch. :) Thank you for understanding! Next year it is!

Taryn @ Design, Dining + Diapers June 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Thanks for sharing your recap! The conference looks amazing, I really hope to go next year!

Erin @ DIY On the Cheap June 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Thanks again for all of your hard work! It was a wonderful experience. Next time I will hunt you down so that we can actually talk more! (I’m the same way in large groups sometimes.) Can’t wait until next year! It was an amazing experience.

Chris June 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

YES!!! Please hunt me down! I tend to do well with stalkers, so I would appreciate it. :) Seriously–I think we missed out on some good conversation. Next time for sure!

Kim @ Sand & Sisal June 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Haha! I love the bloggy-paparazzi pic! You -a- supa-star!! It’s always great seeing you again Chris! You were one of my first ever blogs that I had ever discovered and to this day I still love following along and I’m glad to call you Friend also!! You did a wonderful job!

Chris June 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Oh, Kim. You are so sweet. I am thoroughly disappointed that I didn’t just sit down with you and talk more! A couple of minutes here and there is just not enough, is it? :( Thank you, my friend!! I look forward to the next time we can see each other!

kristin June 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Looks like you had a blast!!!! Thanks for sharing all the fun pictures :)

Beth @ Free Stylin' June 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Thank you so much for such a wonderful conference. I remember sitting in a session feeling SO grateful that I was in that chair, learning about what I love. There wasn’t one moment that I wanted to go up to my hotel room and hide out because I was bored or lonely or wishing it was over. I loved every minute. Thank you so much for answering my questions, chatting with me, and making me feel special. I am thrilled to learn from Kate and you how to fix my painted TV dresser once and for all (third time’s a charm, right?)!! Thank you, Chris!! I’m already looking forward to next year!

Chris June 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

This is such a fantastic comment, Beth! I’m so thankful that you felt that way. Mission accomplished, for sure. I pray that we’re able to give that kind of result at every conference. For now, we’re still riding on 2012 high. :) Thanks again!

Kristi @ Creative Kristi June 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

A) I would take that hug now that I’m not sick ;) no germ sharing! B) I at least made sure you met Sherry of YHL ;) C) I’m sorry I missed out on the slumber party but so glad to get to know you in person better. And even though it sounds like a backhanded compliment I assure you it. is. not.: I like you so much better now that I’ve met you ;) Can’t wait to start planning 2013!

Chris June 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Ha! I love it, Kristi. SO bummed that you got sick, but I am thankful you waited until you forced me to meet Sherry. :) And yes…computer relationships just can’t replace the real thing, ya know? I like YOU much better in person too. ;) Haven 2013 it is!

Katherines Corner June 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

Thank you for sharing your happy memory making xo

Kim @ Plumberry Pie June 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

I think it’s so cool how you’ve made such true and wonderful friends through the blogging world and I am absolutely amazed by all that you ladies do. So inspiring! Hoping that maybe next year I can join the fun at Haven!! Until then, maybe I’ll run into you while I’m on vacation on the beaches of Lake Michigan;). Hope you have a chance to breath and relax a bit now that you’ve gotten through Haven and the end of the school year! Seriously don’t know how you do it.

Chris June 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm

You’re the sweetest, Kim. You MUST go to Haven next year. It would be a highlight for me to finally meet you. And yes…I am definitely just relaxing now! It’s almost 3:00, and I’m still in my pajamas. :)

Beth at Unskinny Boppy June 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I love that you stole my picture that I took of you and Dusty Dawn! Ha!

Chris, you were one of my very favorite presenters. Shhh. Don’t tell the others! Thanks for working SO hard to make this happen for all of us. Y’all made it seem effortless.

Chris June 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Yes! Best compliment EVER, Beth. :) Thank you!! I was worried that my class(es) wouldn’t be something people would attend, so I love the words of praise. And thank you (!!!!) for the picture. I seriously have one or two of me with some attendees. It was exciting to see!

Erin @ Two Story Cottage June 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I do NOT know how you did it with the school-year wrapping up right beforehand?! Crazy impressive. And I am shy in large groups. But I wouldn’t say I’m a shy person. I totally get that.

There are so many people that I never even talked to that were there. Everything went so fast! There is always next year….

Thanks for all your hard work! :)

Daune | Cottage in the Oaks June 28, 2012 at 9:43 am


Thank you for all of your hard work….I thoroughly enjoyed it! :)


Chris June 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Thank you, Daune!!! I had a great time, too!

Dusty (Dawn!) @All Things G&D June 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

You are just the sweetest, prettiest thing! Can’t believe you gave me a shout-out in your post, thank you so much. Now I really AM going to stalk you – you know that right? Next year I will pull you into a small group setting (dress code: elastic only) and we will chat the night away! It was so nice meeting another fellow Midwesterner at Haven, and even nicer that that someone was YOU! Thank you for all of the hard work you and the rest of the Haven Team put into organizing this event. It was absolutely unforgettable!

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries June 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

This looks like SO.MUCH.FUN! (and a lot of work!) I will see you there next year for SURE my friend! I am loving that picture of the paparazzi…all that color coordination and DSLR action going on…too funny. See? You ARE Oprah!! I knew it! -G

Barbara Grooms June 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Wonderfull pictures Chris. I really enjoyed looking at them. Looks like all your inspiring work turned into a true and happy Haven confrence! You are my daughter and I have seen your smile all my life, but your wonderful smile and laugh (from your toes up) never ceases to amaze me. What great friends you have made and how much inspiration crosses over to each other. Can’t ask for anything better. Love you! Mom

Dusty (Dawn) @All Things G&D June 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

It appears the internet ate my comment. I believe I was on here last night (or what it the night before?? Damn Chardonnay) and left quite possibly the greatest blog comment ever. Had you gotten it I’m quite certain you would’ve agreed. Now you’ll just have to settle for this mediocre comment as I’m quite certain all my wit has been used up for the day since I texted Katie Bower: “I miss you like Tom Cruise misses his beard.”

But I digress.

OH! I know what I wrote! Something along the lines of how at Haven 2013 I will be certain to pull you into a small group discussion (dress code: elastic only) so we can have rock-your-socks-off conversations and take our “connection” to the next level.

I also wrote something about how wonderful it was to meet another Midwestern girl at the conference – especially considering that girl was YOU! You are just the sweetest, cutest thing and it’s such an honor to be mentioned on your fabulous blog – thank you so much! It was truly a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to the next time our paths cross!

Chris June 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Ha! It didn’t eat it. Looks like I just had to approve it. However, I sure like getting TWO comments from you! You’re FUNNY. I like my friends to be funny, so that works out well for us. :) I do well with sassy, too, but Beth (HomeStories…) already has that position filled. Oh how I wish we lived closer! Did Tom Cruise have a beard? Perhaps you miss her like he misses his marriage. Ouch. Too mean, too soon? Perhaps. HUGE Tom Cruise fan. Really. No offense, Tom.

Ok…now I digress. You said I’m cute, so we’re destined to be in love forever! And I think you’re cute. :)

I can’t WAIT to see how weird this friendship gets!! Miss you already, Dusty Dawn!

Heather (lazy wife) July 1, 2012 at 3:28 am

Chris, your beginning paint session was my first one at Haven, and can I just say that it was my favorite?! Between you and Kate, I learned so much and now I am home, wanting to paint everything in sight.
Thank you (and the other organizers!) for putting Haven together. It was my first blog conference, but it definitely won’t be my last, thanks to y’all.

Chris July 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

Thank you, Heather! I just left a lengthy comment on your blog, but it wouldn’t let me log in? Regardless, I just wanted to say thank you for your Haven recap and for being SO nice! I wish you would have been feeling better, but I am glad you had a good time! AND you got to do some shopping! Lucky girl. :) Thanks again! I’m glad you enjoyed the class!

Christina @ The Frugal Homemaker July 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I loved that photo of you, Chris, so you are welcome!! I have no idea what was so funny either. I was just trying to get in the mob of people and try to get a picture of the whole Haven team. And that was pretty much the only shot I got that turned out – lol!

Loved your sessions, loved meeting you, and loved every minute of Haven! Can’t wait for next year! :)

Chris July 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Your photo wins for my favorite! I love it when a picture can capture a moment. Good girl! And yes…I want to make it a point to be able to talk more next year. Meeting you was not enough. We need to visit! Thanks again! :)

Previous post:

Next post: