Haven Bound

If you join this whole Bless’er House party mainly for the DIY projects, thrift furniture makeovers, and room reveals, this post might bore you to tears. Because I’m putting down the paint brush for a quick sec to chat all about about the beautiful mess of blogging. (Don’t believe what you see in blog land. The rest of the bloggers out there will tell you it really is messy.)

The 2018 Haven Mentor Blog Hop with essential blogger tips & why attending Haven Conference is the best decision you could make for your DIY / home blog.

It’s not a subject I talk about all that often, but I promise you if it weren’t for documenting all of our home improvement adventures on this little ol’ website, these adventures would have ended a loooooong time ago, and I’d probably still be pinning pretty images to my “Dream House” Pinterest board without any progress in our “Real House” at all.

But back when Robert and I moved into our first house in November 2013, I had this wild idea to start a blog as a fun little online journal with grainy, dark photos I shot using my decrepit old cell phone, writing posts only my mom would read on a website I designed using graphics from Microsoft Word.

It was snaaaaazzy. It was the MySpace of blogger websites. 😉

And then I “met” some blogger friends (a.k.a. stalked other bloggers virtually on social media), heard about this magical DIY bloggers’ conference called Haven, and forced myself out of my introvert shell long enough to trek it to my first one in July 2015. The skies opened up, angels sang, and my life as a blogger was never the same.

This year, I am so honored to be a mentor at this year’s Haven Conference in Charleston, SC next month.

2018 Haven Mentors

So this week, the 2018 Haven Mentors are having a blog hop to answer a few questions and share a little about our own blogging journeys in hopes that it’ll help you with your own:

Introduce yourself and show off your “haven”.

If you’re new here, Robert and I (along with Olivia, our 5 year-old) live in the suburbs of Charlotte, just below the state line in South Carolina.

It’s only been a bit over a year since moving into our brick colonial, and even though we still have lots of work ahead of us, it already looks so different from the day we moved in.

Limewashed white colonial house with black shutters

Here’s what the exterior looked like before we went all limewash crazy:

brick colonial house

And these were some of the first rooms we gave facelifts when we moved in.

Our foyer:

Classic neutral foyer entryway

foyer before

Our powder room:

Mint, black, and white powder room with floral wallpaper and aged brass

powder room before

Our laundry room:

Slate blue laundry room with peel and stick vinyl patterned floor

laundry room before

Our living room:

High contrast neutral living room

living room before

You can take the full tour of our house along with lists of sources here though.

What is your best advice for a blogger?

Always always always make it your number one goal to help others. Be a problem solver for others, not just a storyteller sharing “look what we did!” Well… that is if you don’t want a hobby blog (which is cool too).

People find value in what helps them and are only invested in bloggers’ lives if they feel cared for and respected by that blogger.

Don’t be afraid to share your heart, to share your struggles, to share your “real-ness”. Those moments are the ones where I’ve seen the most growth mentally, spiritually, and in my blog’s followers. Because perfect blogger robots are boring. 😉

Best DIY / home blogger advice

What is your best advice for a Haven Maven attendee?

If you’re a blogger too (or just love home decor and DIY), I could go on and on about why attending Haven is the best decision you could ever make, but that would make this the longest post in history.

I’ll just tell you I remember dreading the “small talk” because it’s one of my least favorite things when meeting new people. But the best part about being in a room full of people who have a hundred things in common with you is there is NO SMALL TALK! (Hallelujah!)

I remember walking the halls in the hotel of my first Haven Conference 3 years ago and nearly passing out from seeing so many of the “celebrity status” bloggers I’d admired for so long. And even better that they were all genuinely kind, welcoming people. Seriously, talk to them! They are not “above” you, and so many are excited to talk to you too.

Do you recognize some of these bloggers? I was so star struck and felt so silly asking to have my picture taken with them.

Miss Mustard Seed

Marian a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed

Thrifty Decor Chick

Sarah a.k.a. Thrifty Decor Chick

Young House Love

John and Sherry a.k.a. Young House Love along with Sarah She Holds Dearly and Laura The Turquoise Home

I remember being overwhelmed with information in sessions taught by experts on social media and photography and SEO and styling and branding. As I hung onto every single word and jotted down every little thing I possibly could in my flowery spiral notebook, I remember thinking, “I can do this. I’ll have to work my butt off, but I’m going to make this my job doing what I love.” And I never looked back.

Authentic bloggers are ones that aren't afraid to show their "true" side.

Mandi a.k.a. Vintage Revivals

The sessions are so valuable, but the most valuable part of all is the people you meet who will open more doors for you than you could ever imagine.

Who are YOU most excited to see/meet at Haven this year?

I met people who “got” me at my very first Haven, who made me belly laugh and ugly cry and taught me more in 3 days than I’d learned in 4 years of college and beyond. Those people are now some of the best friends I could ever ask for, and what’s better is best friends keep being added every year with every new crop of Haven attendees.

If you see me there, PLEASE come interrupt my chatterbox self and say hi. I would love to meet you!

Even if there weren’t sessions packed with information or brand booths packed with opportunities, just being surrounded by people who have the same passion as I do is fulfilling enough.

Haven Conference

Jamie (So Much Better With Age) | Abby (Just a Girl and Her Blog) | Chelsea (Making Home Base) | Rachel (Maison de Pax) | Sarah (Life on Virginia Street) | April (House by Hoff) | Nina (Nina Hendrick Design Co.) | Laura (The Turquoise Home) | Me

If you want more info about attending, you can visit the Haven Conference site here.

And you can “meet” the rest of this year’s Haven mentors below:


Southern Hospitality
At Charlotte’s House
Sheila- Maison De Clinq
Liz Marie Blog
Place of My Taste


Just a Girl
Haneen’s Haven
The Handmade Home


Beneath My Heart
Erin Spain
French Country Cottage

All Things Thrifty


Duke Manor Farm
Thrifty Decor Chick
Not Just A Housewife


Pretty Handy Girl
In My Own Style
Home Stories A to Z
Bless’er House
Bower Power

If you’re planning on attending the conference, let me know in the comments! And tell me about your blog too!

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  1. I wanted to go so badly! Then I realized it was on the day of my sister-in-law’s wedding… so hopefully next year 🙂

  2. Lauren,
    This sounds like so much! Timing doesn’t work this year! I love reading your blog! I find it so inspiring as I have just started one as we moved into our second home. I would love to go next year!

  3. I’m hoping to go next year!! I’m an introvert too who dreads the small talk… glad to hear your experience has been so positive… that encourages me!! I’m so excited for your success and blogging journey!! Have a great time!

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