Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.


Well how about that? My first winner’s email bounced back, so I had to pick a new one. Congrats to the new winner, Jessica!

I’m sure by now you’ve been reading post after post about the Haven Conference. You might be sick of it; you might be annoyed that you missed it and don’t want to hear any more about it. So, how about we talk about it again? Ha.

Only this time, instead of rolling your eyes and gagging over how much we lovey-dovey bloggers adored meeting one another (don’t get me wrong, we totally did), how about I give you the inside scoop on some of the more awkward encounters I had the pleasure of being in the middle the cause of? I’ll even give one lucky reader a special treat for getting all the way through it (there will be a quiz if you win, so don’t go skimming and ruining it for everyone. Pssssh.*)

I felt prior to the conference that I maybe wouldn’t be able to relate to many of the other bloggers for several reasons:  I live alone; most of them don’t. I am single; most of them are married. I have Charlie; they have children. I have a foul mouth and a sense of humor that includes a lot of Family Guy and South Park references. Put a beer in my hand, and my volume goes up to 11. They are also all polite enough to actually pay attention to each other’s blogs and projects; I have been in grad school and and haven’t had a full bathroom since March. Basically, I haven’t been a blogger who is good to other bloggers, and that makes me feel very impolite just standing there with nothing to start a conversation (“Hi, I loved your kitchen remodel, etc.”). That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of things that we all have in common – it’s why we were all at a conference in the first place (since we’re all DIY home improvement/design bloggers and readers). It’s just that… well, for more than one reason, some of the impressions I wanted to make on others (like trying to be funny) only left me feeling like I should just stuff my business cards in my mouth to prevent the next horrifying sentence from slipping out:

An awkward photo I sent to Allison from House of Hepworths during a morning session.

When someone finished telling me a funny story about her children:

“Um… my dog once climbed onto my roof.”

When someone spoke about their lawn or landscaping:

“…I didn’t even know my bonsai plant was living for four months.”

Upon introducing myself as “Sarah… from The Ugly Duckling House?”

… hearing “Oh, right! You’re the ugly girl!” on more. than. one. occasion. Um… not exactly…

When discussing which sessions to attend:

“Are you taking the furniture painting class?”
“Nope. I can’t even pee and shower in the same room. So, um, furniture isn’t a priority right now.”

When talking to the Roeshel about her gorgeous conference bag with her logo on it:

“Ooh, I love that bag. But I thought you had a red logo?”

Nope. She totally redesigned her blog and I forgot because I had been reading it through my phone app. Whoops.

I also completely blanked on Carmel from Our Fifth House. For someone who is bad with names, I found that it was even harder to try to remember both a person’s name and their blog name. And I friggin’ called her Carmen. She was very nice about it, but I felt like an ass.

Then, there were a few occasions where my awkwardness had nothing to do with what was coming out of my mouth. Since I live in the Atlanta area, I had no need for a hotel room. Which meant I was the girl in the lobby bathroom changing into a cocktail dress while everyone else did it in the privacy of an actual room where it would be appropriate. I just plopped my bag down and wriggled into a new dress like it was supposed to happen that way.

I had an opportunity to chat with several people at the cocktail party thrown for the Haven attendees. Only as this was happening, someone turned the room temperature up to 200 degrees and I kept fanning out the back of my dress because I knew that the alternative was to have a giant sweat streak down the back. I seemed to be the only one affected at the time. Explaining that I was strangely hot helped cool my embarrassment in front of those close enough to hear me, but for the ladies across the room, I basically (probably) just looked like I was fanning a fart.

I also volunteered to help in Ana White’s carpentry class on day two. I was so nervous standing in front of the group that I think the drill in my hand was shaking (I have a very hard time standing in front of a crowd. I only volunteered because I’m forcing myself to work on having more courage with public speaking).
See? Awkward. I wish this were out of the ordinary from my normal behavior. But no. The cause of the awkwardness was totally my fault, obviously. Every single person I encountered was sweet, funny, and fun-loving. I guess it’s just inevitable for there to be at least a little awkwardness when nearly 300 strangers from the internet meet in one building. Okay, a lot if you’re Chris Hansen (I was going to write “a lot if you got introduced via Craigslist” – but considering that’s how Kathleen and I met, I thought it would be better to change it).

Another awkward thing that happened is I won a giveaway for stopping by one of the vendor booths – a Kreg Jig.

The awkward part? I already have it. I love, love, LOVE this tool – but I don’t need two. See my post about my super easy DIY craft desk to learn more about how amazing a Kreg Jig really is. So, instead, I’m giving it away to one of my readers. Because you should benefit from my awkwardness, don’t you think? It was kind of the whole idea behind this blog when I started writing it. Learn from my mistakes.  And now we’ve come full circle, so I’m not sure where to go from here with the site. Awkward.

Okay, joking aside, here’s how you can enter this giveaway to win a Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System and Kreg KHC-PREMIUM Face Clamp:
  • I’m keeping things simple, so only one entry per person.
  • Be sure to include your contact info so I can email you if you win (if you don’t, I’ll just redraw for a new winner).
  • Giveaway ends next Thursday. I’ll announce the winner on Friday’s post.
  • I’m paying for shipping, so entries must be continental U.S. only, sorry.
Easy enough? Good luck!


*Totally kidding. No quiz. But aren’t you glad we got the chance to get to know each other better?

Disclaimer:  links to products contain affiliate links. I was not paid by Kreg tool company to promote this giveaway; they don’t even know I’m doing it. I truly enjoy using their product and I know you will too!

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  1. I wouldn't want to go to any of the blog conferences. I would stick my foot in my mouth the entire time or just be socially awkward, and people would be like “who's that beet red sweaty woman over there?”

    I'd love a Kreg jig! It's one of those things that's on my wish list, along with a nice big table saw, compound miter saw, router with a table and lots of bits, and a huge workshop to keep everything in. I assume my contact info is in my profile, but just in case my email is mustaddfabricsoftener at gmail dot com.

  2. Lol…. I have been dying to try out the keg jig
    My name is
    Brooke Gomhp
    Getouttamyheadplease@ yahoo

    Wish I could have went to haven.

  3. But part of why I love your blog is BECAUSE you aren't like the others! I love your silly dog and your plant-killer tendencies. It's great. And very educational, as I'm rather new to DIY myself. If I was still living alone with my little pomeranian, I would totally be like you. Except for the beer. Eww. Anyway, I DON'T have one of those Kreg Jigs but have been thinking about buying one, so this would be perfect!
    orangecowchick (at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. I read the whole thing and I have to say I would have been very nervous as well meeting all those people with their seemingly put-together lives. But the truth is we can all be a bit awkward at times and it's OK that your life doesn't revolve around blogs that you should know every person's details! This blpgging community is a funny yet awesome thing that connects perfect strangers with a common passion.

    Either way, I'd love to win the Kreg!

  5. I just wanted to say that, I'm glad someone else endured some totally awkward moments at Haven. We should have hung out more- I'm always up for a little Family Guy/South Park/potty humor. And for the record, you seemed totally normal and not-awkward when we were chatting! I thought you did great volunteering in Ana's class- so great that I shook my head in fear when you tried to coax me to go up next lol

  6. I love that I can totally relate to you and the awkwardness! Great posts as always and I would like to enter the drawing! My email is mcatlett@ gmail . com!

  7. I love reading everyones Haven recaps. I so wish I could have gone!


  8. I am at work trying to pretend I am working and not reading a blog but I am dying of laughter. I can't even count the number of times I think “maybe I shouldn't have said that…”

    Also, totally pumped for this giveaway! I've been eyeing it for awhile but haven't pulled the trigger on buying it yet.

    – Beth

  9. I was drooling all over this at Haven! That's so great that you won it! It was so great getting to meet you and promise there was nothing awkward about it at all!
    -Jacque (theDIYvillage)
    jacqueknowlton at gmail dot com

  10. Kreg Jigs Rock along with socially awkward people. Most think they are more awkward than they come across anyways. otter4044 at yahoo dot com

  11. I feel the same way in public. Telling myself to shut up!!!! Love your blog!Would love the jig!
    Molly mhrn97@yahoodotcom

  12. too funny! I am sure it wasen't nearly as bad as you think! I would love to win! We have been building furniture for our house and this would make things so much easier! stephlsampson@gmail.com

  13. The comment system is driving me nuts here since it wants to link to things I don't have accounts for! Let's try this for the THIRD time:

    1. I related. Single, living alone with a dog.
    2. Saw a kickass dresser tutorial on Pinterest that used a Kreg Jig. Have no tools. Need Kreg Jig.
    3. Email: jacksonmelissar at gmail dot com

  14. I would love the Kreg Jig! My husband is a carpenter and I have been trying to convince him how awesome it would be to have one!

  15. We are about to start work on an attic renovation with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. I can't even begin to tell you how useful this would be!

  16. I absolutely need a Kreg jig! I am beginning on the DIY journey and having this would help. ** Here's me crossing my fingers that I win.**

  17. I wish I could have gone to Haven, so sorry you felt out of place :(

    Thanks for thinking of us though!


  18. HA! i liked that totally kidding no quiz part. amazing.
    I love that i'm not the only awkward person in a group of people…i'm the kind of girl who laughs when it is completely inappropriate…geeze.
    a love blog 9 2 6 at gmail dot com [obviously the spaces are taken out ha!]

  19. You are the best – and I hope you know that your honesty with your feelings is probably what everyone else at the conference was feeling on the inside, too. Thanks for the great stories and making us all feel “normal” that we do the same things.

    Mamma wants/needs a kreg! Hook a sista' up, yo! edietrich “the number thirtyfour” at that nifty google mail. Or find me at http://www.denverdietrich.wordpress.com

  20. I would love to win a Kreg Jig! We are doing a lot around our house and that would be awesome!

    I'm sure the things you said and did were more awkward in your head…I'm sure everyone thought you were just as great as you thought they were!


  21. I would never be able to bring myself to go to a blogging conference. I know I would totally do the same things as you and then go die in a corner of embarrassment…

    It's great that your are giving away the Kreg Jig! My email is debbie@mylittlemess.net

  22. I've used a Kreg jig and loved it! I mean seriously wanted to take it home and introduce it to the family type of love! I'm planning on building my oldest DS a new bed from Ana's site this summer and this would be huge. sarahkrieser@gmail.com

  23. Thanks for the feedback. I got tired of spam so I restricted accounts. I think I'll switch it back if it's that difficult for you though!

  24. I'd be super awkward too don't feel bad! I fail at small talk.

    I've been building a lot more lately and I've been wanting one of these jigs, thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Sounds like fun! I'm sure tons of people have a hard time remembering names! Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. Hey Sarah! What a lucky win! I think it's a great tool especially handy since I have decided to build my own furniture. Thanks Anna! Haven was awesome and your recaps make me giggle. I did see a girl wiggle into a dress in the ladies room! lol
    If by some miracle I win, you can reach me at dsolzer at gmail dot com

  27. Oh! We just borrowed my dad's and have yet to return it. We love it, but yeah, happy Father's Day to him! sandymourasATgmailDOTcom

  28. Please put me in your drawing.

    Your faithful reader (I'm remodeling my bathroom right now!) :-)

  29. I had to look at the previous comment to remember your name….I know this is uglyducklinghouse, but who you are? Now I remember Sarah! You sound so much like me, except I have a male co-habitant(DH)

    I'd love that Kreg Jig. Linda B

    Linda58245 at gmail (.com, of course)

  30. That is an awesome giveaway! Glad that someone will benefit from your awkwardness. :) Email is geauxmrsg at gmail dot com.

  31. This post almost puts me at ease knowing there is someone else out there similar to me. I'm a new blogger myself and have been trying to catch up on all of the happenings at Haven (hopefully I can go next year!). My awkwardness can just be embarassign sometimes.


  32. i didnt even know what this tool was, but its turns out it would really be handy to have!

    thanks for stopping by my blog! i do want to do the thrifting outing with rhoda, but i have a baby shower that day and may need to help the hostess. i may be able to come for th morning. i live in grant park, which is not the closest to marietta…could be worth the rip. i love thrifting!
    hope we can meet!

  33. I have recently started diy projects around my condo and would love to win this. My email is vandycack at wi dot rr dot com


  34. Closing on my first house Monday – would love this to get some diy projects started!
    Paula (pallotta@u.northwestern.edu)

  35. Hi! I appreciate your honesty! Especially on the Carmel/Carmen incident…happens to me alot! We've just bought a home to remodel and I'm looking forward to learning from you. We could so use that Kreg jig!
    I'm catherine dot regen at gmail dot com!

    Thanks for the chance!

  36. I'm always amazed at the level of the projects you tackle! We would love this tool. Okay, my husband would love using it; I would love coming up with more projects for him to do…haha…since there aren't already enough… Mary
    mes_83 “at” hotmail “dot” com

  37. Okay, this is creepy that I'm commenting under “David and Mary Lou” because my parents are “David and Marilou.” And I would give my dad the Kreg Jig because I have one and he's a carpenter and doesn't have one.

    I keep getting weirded out in talking to you. Because I feel random tidbits you throw out about yourself are talking about me. STOP IT!

    Not awkward or sweaty. You could have crashed in our room to change. And I was gonna say it a few days ago, but now I know that you'll get it… I cherish our friendship.

  38. your too funny! love this post and enjoyed meeting you at Haven- hope it wasn't awkward.

  39. I'd love to win that! I've seen John from YoungHouseLove use it many times. It looks great.

    hippieitch {at} gmail.com

  40. Ahhhhhh!!!!! We need a Kreg Jig. We have about 40 (not kidding) projects for the next 8 weeks and I've thought a million times about how much easier _________ would be if we only had a Kreg Jig.


    Also, did you watch YHL's blogiversary video? The one where they said their weirdest fan encounter was John and a fan talking about peeing their pants in the HomeGoods? Yeah. That was me. Worse? I wrote a blogpost about it…they commented (so flattered!!!) and my friend called me when she viewed the video to say, “hey, weren't you the pants-pee-er?”

    Classy. :) And I sweat TONS. Don't be alarmed or alone.


  41. You are AMAZING! I'd love to meet you! :) I would probably win the awkward award :) I'd LOVE to win the kreg jig, I borrowed my neighbors for my last project. Thanks for sharing the love.

  42. I want it for the mess of a short sale we just bought. There are a gazillion projects in our future!

    kristinleanne at gmail dot com

  43. We should be best friends. KThxBai.

    carrie @ brick city love
    {brickcitylove at gmail dot com}

  44. I would love to win the Kreg Jig! I just starting reading your blog and I love it!

    erinmakayla (at) hotmail (dot) com

  45. I've been reading your blog for about a year now and have never left a comment, but I love your posts!! Thank you for the opportunity to enter a giveaway. :)
    Contact: joylynm@gmail.com

  46. Wow, guys, this is a HUGE turnout for this giveaway. I take it that you either A) Really want a Kreg Jig or B) Really love this blog or C) Both (and secretly hoard free things). At any rate, thanks so much for the turnout! There are still a few more days to enter!

  47. It sounds like you had so much fun at the blog conference! I hope to be able to attend one one day!

    And what a cute blog you have! I just discovered it and am a new follower of your blog!

    And of course I am really hoping to win the Kreg Jig! I have been wanting it for months and am dying to get my hands on one! Thanks so much for being so generous enough to give away the one you won!!


  48. Hey, i LOVE kreg and I TOTALLY am lusting after that tool! You were adorable at Haven, i don't know WHAT you are talking about!!! I'm emailing you a secret email. Stay tuned.

  49. @simplydesigning.blogspot.com Welcome to the site, Ashley! So glad you like it. And sorry to everyone who is NOT Ashley and I'm neglecting to respond to individually – you guys are amazing and I can hardly keep up with all of the entries! Giveaway is still open until Thursday night.

  50. @angie in the thick of it Hmm, secret email, eh? Do I need my special Haven 2012 decoder ring to read it? (If you went to Haven and you didn't find a ring in your swag bag, feel free to make your own. I'm totally making this shit up).

  51. Love reading your blog!!! Would love to play around with the Kreg jig. I have had my eye on it for quite some time!!


    Barthel_28 at yahoo dot com.

  52. Love your blog and this post had me laughing out loud! Especially the dress fanning visual…too funny! This tool is totally on my wish list. I'd love to make some book ledges/toy shelves for my nieces bedroom.

  53. Your blog is very helpful. I'd love the Kreg to start building furniture.

    Tim dot McElrath at gmail dot com

  54. Oh I totally would have been right there with you sticking my foot in my mouth. Most of the time it seems to be the one thing I'm good at!

    slowdotsandfastcars at gmail dot com

  55. Some months ago, my husband borrowed his father's Kreg jig and was so enamored, he wanted to buy one for himself. I told him that was a silly idea – he could borrow his father's any time he wanted it. Now, after reading your blog and several similar ones, I have so many great project that I want to do that I've been trying to justify buying my own Kreg jig. But if I won one, I wouldn't have to figure out how to hide it from my husband…
    Sarah S.

  56. Your blog is fantastic! I'm a single gal too and I love seeing projects you can do without a spouse! :)

    I'm slowly acquiring tools and would love the Kreg Jig!! My email is schmem.em@gmail.com.


  57. ***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*** Thanks for the great turnout – winner will be announced Friday afternoon!

  58. Aw man I missed the giveaway but you had me at foul mouth. Yep, I totally relate to that and awkwardness. ha!

  59. Hmm, so now it seems I had a no-show on my first winner. Second winner has been picked and I sent out an email!

  60. seeing as how this could so easily be me, i loved reading this post. i want to go to a blogging convention this next year and you nailed it.

    ill be the awkward girl in the corner, all alone, muttering curse words to myself.

  61. I feel like you just read my fortune for my first Haven!!!! Note to self….bring one of those little plastic fans (you know the one with the propellers that got stuck in your hair as a kid) because I am sure to be sweaty!!!!