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Haven Conference & a little about blogging

It is hard to believe that coming up in just a couple of months 
is another Haven Conference.
Haven is a blogging conference about home and diy and the community of those diyers getting together and sharing knowledge, encouraging each other and doing a lot of laughing.

This year in summer, I will be heading to Atlanta to join the conference as a mentor- 
along with a fantastic group of mentors who are friends. 

If you are coming over from Just a Girl- welcome!! And this week, we are all joining in a blog hop to introduce ourselves a bit. 

1. How many years have you been blogging?

I started blogging regularly in the summer of 2010- and started really blogging consistently
(more than once a month haha) that fall. 

Blogging was not something I started to doing to have a career or make money or anything like that.
It was something that I started doing when I was searching. 
I had been a stay at home mom with my 3 kids since I was 20, and when my youngest baby went to kindergarten- so did I. I was THAT mom. 
And when they got a bit older, they needed a bit of independence and to go on a couple of field trips on their own... 
or just have a day at school on their own.

Around that same time, my grandmother started to have more issues from dementia. 
She and I were incredibly incredibly close and I had been helping to care for her and my grandfather..

I honestly wasn't sure just who I would be when the kids grew up and those life changes happened
and I needed a place that was somewhere I could go and find myself a bit or
just play for a bit and chat about things like decorating, French antiques and this and that.

A quiet conversation by the fire with my younger sister about Perez Hilton, decorating and writing led to my blog- and after taking her advice and stepping out of the forest-
it was like I found my groove.  
 I met friends and I found my voice and a place to immerse myself.

This blog has brought travel opportunities, speaking engagements, contributes to our family income and has brought a lot of freelance work on the side.
And there are some exciting things coming that I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined  that have come from starting and writing this blog that I haven't shared yet.

It has truly been a huge blessing for me personally and for my family.
And if you are looking for a spot or have big dreams- the sky is the limit with blogging.
You can blog and work towards those things too.

You can read more in my  post Stepping Out of The Forest .

2. What is your favorite DIY project that you have completed?

There have been so many! 
I am not sure I could choose just one... but probably several of our renovations. 

The kitchen and the bathroom.

 I think because when we first looked at the house- those rooms looked nothing like what they do now- and these projects and really the whole house renovation has all been done on a budget. 

3. What is something useful you have learned from a blog conference?

I have learned so much from blogging conferences. 
But honestly, it isn't the classes or things like that that I feel have been the best thing
 that comes from them.

It is having that time to connect and chat with your peers and people you look up to-
 it is incredible. 

And that so many of those people that you admire and look up to and quite literally 
'shake' when you meet  (yes, I have done it) 
Some of those people are the kindest, most supportive people out there and might become some of your best friends. 
I have a few blog friends that I talk with on the phone on a regular sometimes weekly basis- 
and I would tell you that they are some of my closest friends in the world.
  One of them I met through work with a favorite brand- 
and the other in blogland via comments and then in person my first time at 
Haven a couple of years ago.
 I treasure both of them dearly right along with a friend who I met in blogland 
but have never met in person.
Conferences are a wonderful way to create new friendships and connections and strengthen others.

4. What is something you love about blogging and what is something you wish you could change?

I love blogging. Love it. 
I honestly don't know what I would be doing if I hadn't found blogging. 
It is an amazing job and I think one of my favorite things about it is that blogging opens up a whole world of possibilities for you. It allows you to meet people you might never have otherwise
and it brings so many amazing opportunities along with it.
It is something I am so incredibly grateful to be doing and though some days definitely do feel a bit like work- I love it.

Something I wish I could change... 
the feeling of less authenticity that has cropped up recently.

5. What is one piece of advice you would offer a blogger--new or otherwise-
-who is going to Haven?

I would say 'step out of the forest'. 
Just know that everyone there is there for the same reasons. Community. Growth. Friendship- and they likely are feeling as nervous as you. 
And yes, I feel nervous every time even now.
Don't be afraid to walk up and say hello. 
 We live in a world that spends a lot of time behind a computer-
and a conference is a perfect time to step out and let yourself be you. 
Join in and meet some other bloggers. 
 You might find your next bff right there. 
Don't forget to pack your party shoes and get ready for a fun, friendship building time. 
And most importantly,  
be you and be genuine 
and kick off those dancing shoes and have an amazing time.
And please come say hello if you are going to be there- I would love to meet you!

Up next- click on over to Maison de Pax 

Happy Tuesday everyone.


  1. This is a great Q&A. I agree about authenticity. Too many people are doing it to make money. Good for them if they succeed, but there are just too many shopping lists and wish lists, often of the same things by the same retailers. I sometimes appreciate finding out about new things (though I never buy them), but I'd like more meaning in between the sales pitches.

  2. Courtney, so loved reading this and reading your decisions to start your blog. LOVED the pic of your kids and your grandmother. Your kitchen is my absolute favorite in the whole world. So excited to give you a big hug at Haven. xx

  3. Oh my gosh! Courtney, your photography is just breathtaking! It is always so inspiring! Thank you so much for agreeing to be a mentor this year and sharing your talents with our attendees. I can't wait to see you again!

  4. Love reading your post today!! The photo's are great...Your Story is so inspiring.

  5. You took all the words from my heart. I first started blogging because of all the bloggers I followed and admired. This looked fun and well, I needed an outlet too. ALL of my children are now grown and gone. Our son is getting married in June! I had been a stay-at-home mom that home schooled. Imagine now most of my time is on my own. Our home and our garden has always been a passion, now it is my creative palate. I sort of met you a couple Haven conferences back. You were in the hallway and I was leaving a class with Yvonne from Stone Gable. She started talking to you and I was shy ;). My impression was that you're just as lovely in person and taller than I thought :) Most people are taller than I thought (I'm just over 5 ft). This year I'm bringing my daughter (2015 Dearest came with me!) I look forward to meeting you for sure this time!

  6. You have me curious with your less authenticity comment. Wondering if you could find some time in the future to expound on it. I too have that feeling, usually when I read a blog that has gotten so commercialized that I can't even see the pictures for the ads popping in and out in front of the pictures. I like blogs like yours that keep the ads to the side and bottom. Thanks in advance for considering this topic more in the future.

  7. Loved reading your story Courtney! Haven is certainly a wonderful place to be!!!

  8. Hi Courtney. French Country Cottage was one of the first blogs I ever followed back when I started my first blog Stylish Settings in 2011. I still remember you itching and sneezing your way through sewing the ruffled burlap tablecloth.
    I am so excited that I am attending my first ever Haven conference this year. It's a LONG way to come from Australia, but this is the year to make the trip. I really hope that I get to meet you and don't get star struck and freeze. I just have to remember to 'step out of the forest'. Thanks Kylie