In the end….as with so many things around here….it all came back to the toes.


I was sitting in the front row of the auditorium at the end of Haven 2012 listening to the Q & A session.  Questions were flying fast and furious all around me as I sat calmly and contemplated my toes.  Well….actually, I contemplated my toes in my new Haven sandals.  I had bought them the night before I left for Haven and I remember sitting in the shoe department at Dillard’s….trying on sandals and shoes at a frenetic pace.  Boxes and boxes  stacked next to a harried sales clerk as I tried to decide which pair to buy.

As if somehow finding the perfect pair of footwear would remove all the anxiety and worry about going to Haven.

These are the thoughts that rushed through my mind as I sat there on the front row.  Maybe I should have been paying attention.  Maybe I missed a really good discussion about Haven 2013.  Maybe I should have been thinking about SEO or aperture or advertising or public relations or whether or not Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was going to be used on Mount Rushmore if George Washington needed a touch-up.

But I wasn’t.

I was thinking about how cute my feet looked in my new sandals.

And I was thinking about how I wasn’t nervous or worried anymore and that I had gone to a blog conference where I had never truly met anyone before…..except on their blogs.

And I was so happy.



Happy that I had met so many new friends.

Happy that I had learned so much.

Happy that my sparkly toed sandals and I had survived.

And the excitement and joy of the moment was too much to keep to myself.  I had to share.  I wanted someone else to understand.  To see.  To recognize that we had all been a part of something truly special and we were leaving this place changed in ways, that perhaps even we had not imagined.


Hey,” I whispered to the blogger sitting right next to me.  I kind of knew her…..I mean….we had been introduced once…..and after all…..she was a blogger.

And that was good enough for me.

Good enough to share the wonder and the excitement and the joy of this exact moment in this exact place with her.

Hey,” I whispered again.


She turned and stared at me blankly.  Maybe she didn’t recognize me.  Maybe she was really into the Q & A and was unaware of the complete and absolute epiphany that was happening just a seat away.


Undeterred….I gestured toward my shoes.  “Seriously.”  I whispered.  “Don’t you think these sandals are so cute?

She stared at my feet and my beaming face and took into consideration the earnestness with which I asked the question.

And quizzically looked at me.

And then she smiled.

And nodded.


And that my friends, is what Haven was about.  I mean SEO is wonderful and everyone wants to become an advertising guru and Annie Sloan paint truly is incredible.  But when all is said and done… the end….it’s really about blogging and relationships and two bloggers sitting in the midst of hundreds knowing that this moment was special and incredible and full of expectations for the future.

And  a pair of really cute shoes.


PS  Just to clear up any misperceptions.  Most of the time I wasn’t sitting calmly.  There was definite hand waving and plenty of exclamation points.


And a whole lot of absolute nonsense like this 🙂



  1. Image for NanaDoll NanaDoll

    After i broke my foot (actually broke it twice in 6 months), and had my own hardware installed, I had to give up cute shoes...mostly...BUT there is nothing like having an awesome pedicure to go along with my almost granny sandals...even THEY are a little more upbeat, but ahhh the pedicure, THAT is where it's at for me! So glad you got to go, and that it was GOOD for you. And the bag is ADORABLE! ;)

  2. Image for Peggy Peggy

    Oh your sandals are cute.... but then I would expect nothing less from you! And for the record your toes do not look all that long!! In fact I couldn't help but think that they look normal length. I am glad you were able to met so many "friends" in person. Have a wonderful day!

  3. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    I would not have given you a blank stare. And never ever would you just get a nod from me. I would have squealed and jumped and yelled and hand waved and called out to the entire conference room to come over and look and marvel and ooh and ahhh over your fabulous sandals encasing those perfectly pedicured toes ...! :) Linda

  4. Image for cassie cassie

    i noticed your feet right away but didn't want to creep you out by ogling them. :) it was seriously SO great to meet you! you are awesome- funny, adorable, sweet, warm... so much better than i ever could have imagined. here is to dreams coming true, friendship, and wine!

  5. Image for Doreen Doreen

    karianne, Two things you can never have too much of -- good friends and good shoes! So glad you had an awesome time at Haven! Blessings to you, Doreen

  6. Image for Jean Jean

    You're a hoot! It would be nerve-wracking if you'd never been before. If shoes calm you down, so be it! But you could put an eye out with one of those sandals...seriously! lol!

  7. Image for Roeshel Roeshel

    Kari - Meeting you was a big highlight of my first conference experience. I loved getting the chance to see your happy face, to hear your laugh in real life, embrace your fun personality and hug ya! I wish we had more time together!

  8. Image for betty betty

    I would have been admiring my shoes too. And I would have liked yours....and I would have noticed every one else's shoes too.........and their eye brows. haha. You would have been the first one I would have found. I would have known you by your shoes, your eyebrows and your lipstick. lol ~betty

  9. Image for Debbie Debbie

    It was so great to finally meet Thistle, the lady that appeared out of nowhere back in December and had me drooling on my keyboard over such an awesome house and story about how you left the concrete jungle...but it does come back to the shoes and they were amazing, not as amazing as you though. So glad to meet you!

  10. Image for Bliss Bliss

    I never would of even noticed your cute sandals. My eyes would of been fixated on the amazing shape of your eyebrows and that would have left me feeling completely inferior. ~Bliss~

  11. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    I remember sitting next to you when you spotted that oh so cute bag from Whipper Berry...I swear you jumped 10 feet when you saw that bag....!!...You got up, hands waving, jumping up and down with total excitement...If they had a "Miss Totally Over The Top Excited Person" award at Haven, it would be you! I really want to bottle up your energy...I would make a fortune!! Great group at Pappasitos...and me, I was sandwiched between two legends...Susan from Between Naps on the Porch and Kim from Savvy Southern...Oh what a night!!..... Always love your sandals and "toes"...!

  12. Image for Vanessa Vanessa

    Reading this post I can actually hear your voice telling me this story a few days ago when we laughed till we cried over your unabashed, shameless love of your shoes!! I'm sure she just couldn't handle how fabulous they were and simply nodded because she didn't know how to process it, right? ;-) Vanessa P.S. The vendors told me to tell you how much they appreciated you thanking them in the Q & A session!

  13. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Ok, I admit, I'm a wee bit jealous of all you who went to Haven! I'm also jealous of all those who got to meet you! I hope I can get to Haven next year, and more importantly, I hope to give you a great big Canadian style hug!

  14. Image for Eliesa Eliesa

    You were one of the most memorable people at Haven because of your effervescent personality and your big smile! I watched you quite a bit, not because I was being stalky or weird, but because I was wishing that I had that much positive energy flowing out of me and to all the people that surrounded you! It's funny how you can affect people without even meaning to. Thanks for that! Oh, and I do love those sandals!

  15. Image for Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias

    I'm so glad you got to go to Haven! I have seen several pictures of you floating around. Looks like you had a blast! I was suppose to go. I had my ticket and my hotel reservation but then decided I wanted to put my extra money into my booth and going to Haven was going to cost me a lot. I can't go somewhere like that and not buy new outfits, shoes, cute camera strap, new handbag, business cards... I know that's not what's it's about but that's me and I can't help it. So I sold my ticket to an awesome girl and she is going to give me the low down on what went on. I am definitely going to make myself go next year no matter what!

  16. Image for Jillian Jillian

    The whole time I am wondering "WHAT IS HAVEN?" well, okay until I got to the part where you mentioned the BLOG CONFERENCE. Wow! How cool is that? Where is this held? When is it held? How did you decide to go? I'm obiously behind in your posts...I'm going to have to go read up now! Congrats to you for going somewhere new and meeting new people! Sounds like a lot of fun. And cute moments, too!

  17. Image for Anna Anna

    Your toes did look fabulous. :) I'm so glad we met and I love that my life will be more hilarious and richer because we are friends now! :) Anna

  18. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Ya know. It's nice to see all that went on, so I can be prepared with cute shoes and business cards and T-shirts with Orange Daisies and a purse to match. I would have showed up in my Birkenstocks, empty handed, with a utter deer-in-headlights glazed look on my face. Think I'll start shoe shopping now so we can sit and nod at one another while every one else is absorbing all of that important information. Oh, and I guess I'll need to learn how to paint my toe nails, too. There is so much to do to get ready and only a year to get it done...

  19. Image for karen@somewhatquirky karen@somewhatquirky

    Kari, if/when we meet the first thing we will do is take off our shoes because I'm challenging you to a "long toe off" We will have to come up with some type of award for the winner. At that time I will also share with you some of the interesting movements my toes make when I walk.....Are you up to the challenge??

  20. Image for everton terrace everton terrace

    You know I'm not really checking blogs much this summer. I am on a sort of blog break, just popping in here and there but your blog feeds into my email so I get too tempted to stay away and I click :) Always glad I did! You make me smile. You are funny. I like funny people. It's kind of my favorite kind of people. Yes, shoes are cute and vital to the whole experience I think, quite.

  21. Image for Beth @ Unskinny Boppy Beth @ Unskinny Boppy

    I adore your writing style. But not as much as I adore YOU! Like so many have said, you were the highlight of my week. I just loved you and am so glad to be able to call you a friend after Haven. PS- CUTE SHOES! And toes! I have Fred Flintstone feet, so I'm jealous of cute toes.

  22. Image for Maury @ Life on Mars Maury @ Life on Mars

    Adorable (as always). I told everyone that you are exactly as fun and adorable that you appear to be. I just loved getting to know you (and I wish I we could have hung out more) but it was so great! Oh and I definitely bought 2 new outfits before Haven because I was so freaked out. Retail Therapy is a thing, ya know.

  23. Image for Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality

    Kari! so glad you had such a good time, along with everyone else. Yes, it's a Haven High! Next year, I'm going to hang out with more groups like yours & many others. I had too much to do & not enough time to just hang out and do lunch & dinner with all of you. Maybe we need an extra day!! So happy to meet you.

  24. Image for Dusty @All Things G&D Dusty @All Things G&D

    My daughter and I do this thing at bedtime where we tick off all the things we love about each other as I tuck her into bed. Ex: "I love your eyes...I love your cheeks...I love your elbows...I love your ears..." and I give each of her body parts a kiss after I say it. I don't know why, but our bedtime exchange is what instantly popped into my head when I finished reading this post of yours. So here you go, Karianne... I love your eyes. I love your smile. I love your instantly infectious and oh-so-positive personality. I love that you find joy in the moments. I love that I had the pleasure of meeting you at Haven. And, of course, I love your super cute sandals and toes. (Just don't expect me to kiss them now, mmkay?)

  25. Image for Chelsea @ two twenty one Chelsea @ two twenty one

    Oh how I love this post, KariAnne! How did I not know you before Haven!? You are an absolute delight and breath of fresh air. It was such a pleasure meeting and chatting with you throughout Haven. And I'm serious when I say that I'm going to stop by and say hi if I end up going to KY Lake this Labor Day. :)

  26. Image for Barbara F Barbara F

    Those sandals are a show stopper! So pretty!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time at Haven and nice that you could relax and enjoy the experience. :-)

  27. Image for anne anne

    How FUN.And YES those are cute sandals.So much so I am frantically looking for them on line LOL!!!!! Wish I could have been there.It must have been a ball! ((Hugs)) Anne

  28. Image for Sheila @SZInteriors Sheila @SZInteriors

    Love your toes, but without having a fetish ;-) I relate, seriously, I do! When my toes are painted, and they seldom are, I remind my family of how very pretty they are by telling them every chance I get that I have pretty toes! I can only imagine what they would do if I added my shoes, too :-)

  29. Image for aimee {sixteen fourteen} aimee {sixteen fourteen}

    What an awesome recap! I wish I would have been there, but I'm just not at that stage in blog fabulosity, quite yet. ;-) I've read several posts about Haven, and so many people have commented about how funny and great you if there was any doubt! Congratulations on the pretty feet (and brows), and also, getting through the anxiety of the unknown. I can't even imagine how tough and awkward that would be.

  30. Image for Susan Susan

    They are SERIOUSLY cute sandals and the darling pink toes just add so much to the picture! I'm glad you had a great time and made connections. I need to check the sandals at Dillard's. =)

  31. Image for Michelle Michelle

    So wishing that I wrote a blog. I would of loved to gone to Haven. Sounds and looks like you had a great time. Yep I'm sure I would have been doing the same thing. Nothing is better than a cute pair of shoes and a good pedi. Love reading your Blog. I use to start my day with your post but since I'm off all summer I like staying up late and finishing my day with your blog.

  32. Image for Kelly Kelly

    It looks like you had the best time at Haven! I'm so glad that I had the chance to meet you, though ever so briefly. You are so full of energy and bubbly. I believe that you are the bell of the ball! Loved looking at your pics. Thanks for sharing them.

  33. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    Such a pretty husband like most men do not understand my desire to buy shoes when in fact I only own a 3 or 4 pairs fo shoes and will wear them till the are holey and falling

  34. Image for Alice Alice

    Love the sandals and the bag!!!!!! Oops.... and the toes. So glad you had such an awesome time. You deserved a break. Now back to slaving away with the camera, computer, paint brush etc

  35. Image for HRH Sarah HRH Sarah

    Great shoes and pretty toes can change everything. I bet the blogger sitting next to you was like, "wow, people here are SO friendly!" I used to be in the knitting business, and I loved going to the trade shows and meeting the "celebrities" and just being with hundreds of people who were just as crazy as I was. SO much fun!

  36. Image for Kimberly from Serendipity. Kimberly from Serendipity.

    Ahem!!!! The eyebrows just called me and asked me remind you that they weren't mentioned in this post. So, here I am, doing my part because, well, eyebrows can be pretty intimidating sometimes, ya know?! The sandals, for the record, are DELIGHTED with the post and don't see why the eyebrows are making such a fuss. I, on the other hand, am STILL throwing myself a little pity party over not having been able to attend. I'm pretty sure that I have enough glitter and confetti for one or two more days. xo

  37. Image for kara @ june & bear kara @ june & bear

    you always make me smile. i'm so glad that you enjoyed haven so much. i told cassie that i probably would have stood dumbfounded in a corner somewhere. that much greatness per square foot would have rendered me speechless.

  38. Image for Deb @Lake Girl Paints Deb @Lake Girl Paints

    Awww, that makes me want to go even more. Thanks for the reality check. Loved it. Your writing, your I WAS there . Laughter and admiration of your cute toes and shoes, Deb@LakeGirlPaints

  39. Image for Heather @At The Picket Fence Heather @At The Picket Fence

    love your toes. love your shoes. love your heart my friend. Spending almost every waking second with you at Haven was a highlight of my LIFE!! I seriously came home 5 lbs lighter from laughing so hard! Let's just take a moment and remember the day ;) ....the day we all became sister bloggers...but not in a weird creepy way like sister wives....haha...but friends for life! Love you Kari!! Heather

  40. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Your sandals are rad and so are you. I will think about those sandals whenever I read your blog from now on. No really, you summed up my feelings about the conference so beautifully. :)

  41. Image for Erin @ His & Hers Erin @ His & Hers

    I hope the eyebrows held up, too? :) I think my favorite part would have been meeting people, too. Friendship and girl time beats paint and fancy blog terms every time, all the time. Glad you had a good time!

  42. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Kari, I chuckled through this whole post! I can totally relate to the focus on your new sandals. They made you happy and did help to contain any anxiety. They ARE really cute sandals! I would have loved to go to Haven. I would have been so nervous meeting all of the really popular bloggers! It would have been fun meeting the bloggers that I got to know online. To finally meet them in person would be so.....much fun! I adore your blog and love your honest, funny writing style!

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