What I learned at Haven

Recently, I attended my first Haven conference, which began last year by my rock star friend Rhoda.  And I mean rock. star. bad. ass. I made it down for one glorious, super informative day and it was a happy place.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this conference, here’s a quick summary….

“Haven is the place to celebrate the DIY spirit. It is where DIY lovers from all over will gather togethere to encourage and learn from one another. You will find hands-on sessions. For those of you desiring to learn more about blogging, there will be sessions on topics that include social media and how to monetize your blog. Perhaps most importantly, Haven will be a place for encouragement. There will be time set aside just to mingle with one another and share DIY stories. The DIY/Home blogging community is special, and we encourage you to form connections with those in it! You are guaranteed to walk away from Haven refreshed and inspired!” 

Mission accomplished. Refreshed. Inspired. And of course ready to share with the team what I learned…

First stop, photography session on shooting interiors, where I got a much needed refresher on ISO, f-stop, shutter speed and white balance and learned that I can purchase an external flash for a song HERE.

I also learned about a light scoop, to bounce the light around the room, instead of right at your object. Cannot wait to try. Had no idea such a thing existed.

I learned from these very funny ladies about all things BLOGGING.

Katie Bower from Bower Power and Sherry Petersik from Young House Love

Here are just a few… as a blogger, you should always leave comments under tag name “jennifer@vreelandroad” and if ever wanting to publish a book, HIRE AN AGENT! And if you are a give-a-way type of blog, Rafflecopter is a great service to use, and it went on and on from there with lots of q. and a. on traffic, advertising, comments, etiquette, etc. No wonder they have a best-selling book…

Then it was on to one of my favorite classes with the fabulous Emily A. Clark, Kristen Jackson of The Hunted Interior and Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod. Kristen and I met through Room Service Atlanta last Spring and have become fast friends but I had never met Emily, who writes an amazing blog and lives an amazing life and I was super excited to meet Sarah, being a fellow Michigander and blogger, there is always lots to talk about when it comes to both.

I learned from Emily that too much of one thing on a bookshelf isn’t always a bad thing if you spray all like items the same color and create some consistency. Great idea for all those mis-matched cast offs laying around…spray em all one lovely color, like emerald green perhaps?

  Emily’s first home via her very inspiring blog

Sarah taught us the recipe for styling the perfect bed and I so appreciated it. This is an area I can sometimes struggle with…the right pillow combination, euro, bolster, sham, the quilt, the coverlet, the duvet, it can all be very daunting. But she broke it down for us step by step and I have to say its working for me. My favorite tip, was casually place a throw at the end of the bed for those days you need a nap and don’t want to mess up your pretty bed. And I thought oh how nice, a day with a nap. Maybe if I lay a throw at the end of my bed, I’ll get a chance to take one?

Then it was Kristen’s turn to teach us the designing of luscious vignettes. She uses her life long dance advice as a guide.

“The best choreography uses all of the floor in different levels. The same applies to styling. Fill your spaces and vary your height.” 
-Kristen Jackson, The Hunted Interior

And can this girl choreograph a table top (and a beautiful home)!


Kristen Jackson’s beautiful home. Prepare to be amazed and inspired. 

We also learned from Kristen, that Michaels sells the best looking and most affordable faux orchids. Thank God because my foray into orchids has not been a successful one. One ice cube a week my ass Pinterest…

The perfect day was capped off with an amazing cocktail party hosted by all the big name sponsors with tons and tons of these gorgeous pink flowers, food and drink…champagne!


Its here where I learned about Rust Oleum’s new “mirror” finish spray paint. All those beautiful pink hydrangeas, daisies and roses were inside glass vases that looked like a nice matte mercury glass, that you can kinda sorta see above, but its spray paint! Think of the possibilities?

Betcha can’t guess what I’ve been doing all week…collecting every interesting knick knack, chotskie, bowl and vase with good lines and in true DIY/Haven fashion, preparing to paint them all in this mirror finish to style my more modern client’s bookcases. Another adventure that might sound good in the mad science lab but will keep ya posted. I hope its out in stores???

Of course the last part of the day, was the best part of the day, hanging with my designer friends, VIP’s and meeting killer new ones (Haven also taught me that meeting your instagram friends in person, for the first time, is A RIOT). Good times.

Yep, drove all the way home with a big fat smile on my face.

Highly recommend Haven. Good work Rhoda girl (and team). I am inspired and again, truly grateful to be part of such a loving community, this blog land gig.

Peace out lovers,
Happy Jen


  1. I have been following those bloggers for a long time. I also love House of Smith. That conference sounds like fun!!!


  2. So glad I got to see you again, Jennifer. We only were in one session together but I feel as if I was right there with you in the others. The added benefit was seeing it through yours eyes. Nicely done!

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