Sometimes things happen because of this blog and it makes me realize….I won the lottery. This ‘job’ has the world’s best perks. Let me explain. A couple of weeks ago, something amazing happened. We were invited by Home Depot to an event completely dedicated to all things tools and it was pretty much a dream come true. As you probably already know, we are self-proclaimed tool junkies. My dad was into gadgets, my mom was into making things beautiful….I got the passion of both of them and found the perfect outlet – DIY projects. So tools are like my best friend. Ten years ago, we took any and all hand-me-down tools to tackle our first house. It was a learning process…what tools did what, what worked, what didn’t, what the dangers were and what we could actually DO when we were doing it ourselves. Jeremy and I both got hooked.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when we got to attend this tool event with some other bloggers and members of the press and basically we feel like we MADE it. We are after all just a very average boring couple who watches a lot of reality tv and have lots of little boys and a house that’s about 50% done. We aren’t tool experts. We aren’t experts at anything really…well maybe changing diapers 🙂 We are just like a lot of you….we have a passion and a space that we are trying to make beautiful. So that is why I am sharing this….to document a really cool thing that happened us and also to tell you what we found out…because tools are cool y’all.
The event was called The ProSpective and Home Depot hosted it here in Atlanta, Georgia. The entire thing was a three day experience with a tour of the Home Depot headquarters and then we had a day full of tool interactions and then the third day was working with the Home Depot Foundation….which is something close to my heart (and my home!) and they provide SO MUCH for families of veterans and people in need. Here is my official recap!
DAY 1 – HEADQUARTERS TOUR
(highlights – watching stuff break, Ryobi dinner & watching Jeremy dance on the sidewalk)
When we arrived at headquarters, we got a big welcome by the team who organized the event. The building is HUGE and we did expect it to be completely orange on the outside….it’s not by the way….don’t drive the streets of Atlanta looking for an orange building.
Once the introductions were over, we got a tour of the Home Depot museum….yes, they have a museum. This tidbit was especially funny to me….I have no idea why 🙂
Also I found an old friend in there…
My favorite part of the tour was the hallway that had a bunch of products on the walls and ceiling. It looked like an art exhibit where the point was just home improvement.
The company building has pretty much EVERYTHING. Like if you work there, you are golden. They have a gym and a restaurant and a childcare facility. They even have their own Starbucks. Seriously. GOLDEN.
An especially interesting part of the building was the Laboratory. You need to say that with an accent straight out of Frankenstein.
In this section, we learned about how each tool that is carried in their stores has to go through rigorous performance testing and quality control. It was fascinating and very complicated stuff. My favorite part was the way they tested the boxes that items were shipped in. It was crazy.
No big deal. Just a Husky bag doing some CrossFit 🙂
And this is the part that you might never know about any kind of blogger event….everyone has a phone out at all times 🙂
Here was some erosion testing….
Submersion tanks filled with salt water for tool testing. Those screw drivers on the table? Yup…that’s AFTER being submerged!
And testing of the air compressors (it was very loud!)….
At the end of day we were invited to a dinner with the fine folks at Ryobi. Everyone got gussied up….I put on flats because my dogs were barking! Basically this whole event, I dressed wrong. It’s a Katie thing. I never know what to wear 🙂
It was fun to see all the Ryobi people again since we did an interview at their facility a few months ago. When we went up there, we learned all about Ryobi as a brand and fell in love with the people over there. They are super sweet! If you want to see the Facebook Live we did with them, here is the interview…
The restaurant was a short walk from our hotel and the weather that night was great. Is it weird that I wanted to take a ton of photos because I could? I didn’t need to hold any toddlers hand to cross the street or worry about someone using my shirt as a tissue or demand a sippy cup/bouncy ball/new pair of pants. It was really nice to just walk. Just walk down the street like a real human. A normal human who knew that her little humans were safe and sound with Pappap and Nana at home!
Dinner was amazing. They had lots of great seafood and drinks and I got to meet a bunch of other bloggers and talk about blogging….which yes, when I say that out loud, it sounds boring and ridiculous….but in my world, it’s a rare gem that is welcomed.
DAY 2 – TOOL EVENT
(highlights – all the new tools!, the coolest view of Atlanta and setting up some giveaways for you guys!!!)
The next day we made our way to the exhibit hall that was set up with TONS of booths – all hosted by different brands of tools available at The Home Depot.
One of our favorite displays was the Husky brand tools booth. It was a big display of LOTS of their hand tools…some of which we had never seen at our local HD. We have Husky storage units in our garage (see them here) and I can testify…they.are.amazing. Oh and here is a fun fact….we didn’t know all the Husky hand tools have a lifetime warranty….we kept saying that we thought Ridgid and Craftsman was the only brand that did that….but apparently Husky does it too. If you ever break a tool or it fails in any way, take it back to your local Home Depot and they will replace it. Pretty sweet huh?!
As far as new tools, they came out with some amazing new work gloves (I’m begging them to come out with kid versions!) and their new flashlights are THE BOMB. They work underwater, are pretty much indestructible and they had a ton of different sizes. These will definitely be in stockings this Christmas!
The WD-40 booth had a lot of new products but the one that we were most interested in was the can with the flex-head. Instead of a straw, it has a flexible hose that you can curl, twist and turn in different positions so that you can get pretty much any angle. The guy actually gave us a sample can (he must know my love language is gift giving) and we used it this past week and it was amazing. My deck umbrella base has a tightening screw that would not for-the-life-of-me twist. I pulled out this can, bent the head in a U shape and Jeremy gave it a couple hits with the hammer and it twisted for our new shade!
DeWALT had a couple big tools that were new but we were most interested in this knife. I know….I know….who likes box cutting knives?! We are the weirdos who gives a little knife all the heart eyes.
The thing that won us over was that this little dude has a quick release for the blade (I’ve cut myself before and had to get a tetnus shot so that all by itself made this interesting!) and the new blade just pops back in and you can hear a click to make sure it’s secure. The extra blades are all safe and sound and can be stored in the handle…how smart is that!?
They also had this mini tape measure….it’s a tiny 9′ which is perfect for you decorators out there and it’s magnetic so it can stick to your fridge or toss it in your purse! Pretty sure my kids would love this!
Another interesting tool that I never would have been interested in before was this Dremel Pet Nail Grooming Kit! It’s for gently filing down the pet nails at home….which any dog owner knows is terrifying and necessary. It’s a new tool and I would be interested in anyone’s personal experience with it….anyone try it yet?
Dremel also came out with a new Micro wireless tool that has 18 accessories. The one on display was equipped with an attachment that you can use to make little leather tags. Seriously crafters, how sweet is this. It took me maybe 30 seconds and I was able to make this “B” tag that would be perfect for luggage. If y’all are interested, I will post a tutorial…let me know in the comments!
One of Jeremy’s favorite brands of tools is Ridgid and seriously guys….they came out with a compact air compressor that I CAN LIFT. This doesn’t translate in this photo but this guy is only 1 GALLON. And it’s battery operated….so it can literally go anywhere for your pneumatic tools! It’s like the Littlest Petshop version of an air compressor but it still packs a punch!
The other Ridgid item that I loved was this new vacuum. I’m such a mom. I know. But seriously…they made it battery operated, has different nozzles and insisted that since we were local that we take it with us. I may or may not have vacuumed the hotel room. And now this thing was confiscated from our garage and I put the little ones to work cleaning all my baseboards.
One of the things that got a ton of attention by other bloggers was this SandNet by Diablo and I have to admit…it really is gonna change the way people look at sandpaper. It’s brand spankin’ new and it can sand all your wood projects just like a regular piece of sandpaper BUT IT LASTS 10x LONGER. So that means less money on sandpaper which is amazing. You can rinse it, vacuum it, clean it off and it sticks right back to your orbital sander and keeps on trucking. It is such a trivial thing…sandpaper…but I love how they improved it and in the end, we are gonna benefit.
Milwaukee was one of the last booths we checked out and the thing that stuck out the most was this new little tool tracker. It’s called a Tick and you stick it or screw it to your tools and sync it to your device so that if you leave stuff outside or at a work site (like if we wanted to leave some tools at our Monroe House) then we could find them if they were stolen or if we just misplaced them. Pretty smart huh?!
Last but certainly not least was the Ryobi booth. We spent the majority of time in there because we were interested in what was coming next and DUDE….it’s so good!
These are our two favorites that are fresher than grandma’s biscuits…..first this 18V wireless speaker set. Each speaker can run off a battery or plug in, you can link up to four additional speakers and it’s all bluetooth so you can set up surround sound IN YOUR YARD. Also…you can change the volume of each speaker independently so you can have a louder speaker in the back where the kids are playing four square and turn it down in conversation areas. So smart!
The other new tool is the 18v Palm Router….and guys….I am hooked on this bad boy. Seriously…I have a plunge router that requires a pretty substantial amount of core strength (which I am sorely lacking!) and this little dude is SO easy and you can do SO many projects with it. If you don’t have a router yet, I can not shout it loud enough at your face….this is the one for you! Far and away, this was my favorite tool of all the new things out at Home Depot.
And speaking of favorite things….we met Chip Wade!!! He was behind us at the Husky booth and I was fan girling so hard. At one point he was standing directly behind us and I was so acutely aware of his location that when he turned to move, I literally JUMPED out of the way and had this look on my face…part rabid dog and part hysterical clown. I told Jeremy that it was gonna be very awkward because I was gonna ask for a photo and turns out….he’s just a super nice guy who has the funniest stories and his grandma lives in our town. Also…I told my mom that we went to the tool event and she was completely zoned out until I said we met Chip and then she acted like we did something substantial. Haha!
We were the very last people to leave the tool event (what can I say?! You will have to kick me out!) and we were loaded down with new samples to try and we ran back to the hotel to change really quickly because our dinner that night was in the best location EVER. Home Depot hosted everyone at the Skyline Park! If you have never heard of this – it’s an Atlanta hot spot. It is a rooftop that has been converted to a mini amusement park and has games, putt putt, a slide, the whole shebang!
The view is SPECTACULAR and Home Depot went all out in branding the whole space with their signage.
If you are ever in the Atlanta area and can make it up there, you definitely should spoil yourself! It’s ridiculous!
I dressed completely wrong….I wore a dress and heels and should have worn pants and sneakers because it is HARD to shoot with a skirt flying up!
I met a couple of new friends and this girl has my heart! She is Irina and her instagram is @the.minimal.nest and she is just one of the sweetest and funnest gals! She has two little boys and of course, we bonded over that, beating grown men at upper body strength competitions and of course, home decor!
Also I would like to take a moment and tell everyone that helped me win all these little prizes that my children love you. When we got home, we handed out stickers and dust masks (my kids think they are amazing), safety glasses and stuffed animals and you would have thought it was Christmas….they even asked us when we were going back because they loved them so much! Thanks kids….I missed you too 🙂
See that view!? Ridiculous!
Home Depot really spoiled us….they had the event catered and I was hooked on the shrimp and avocado toast and at the end, we finished it off with cotton candy which I don’t generally like….but I ate two. It was coconut and raspberry. I literally just drooled on my computer typing that.
Jeremy got to hang with some of his buds too….Jamison of course is his bromance (after John Petersik of course!) and we missed having Jamie there (his wife) so hopefully at Haven this year we will get to see them again!
The whole night was pretty epic. Like we felt kinda unqualified to be among these amazing craftsmen and woodworkers but so grateful that we were included. It was kinda like that feeling in high school when the cool crowd invites you to a party. I don’t have any real knowledge of what that feels like because I was homeschooled in high school….and the cool kid was my older brother who didn’t ever let me in his room….but teen movies of the 90’s have taught me that feeling 🙂 And we finished the whole thing off with hanging out in the hotel and ordering a 1am pizza delivery (yes with cheese sticks!) and talking about how just dang lucky we were!
DAY 3 – THE HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION VOLUNTEER DAY
(highlights – building, cleaning and planting for a local community center, furniture bank and veterans, and of course squeezing my sweet babies when we got home!)
We started off the day with a super early breakfast and were completely surprised that someone knew us! Hi Matt! He said his wife follows Bower Power and literally…that carried me through the rest of the day. It was so sweet!
We ended up at an Atlanta youth community center where the Home Depot team introduced us to representatives for all different organizations…including their own The Home Depot Foundation. This group actually assists veterans in their own homes (building ramps, handrails, etc.) and others in need by donating all the materials and manpower needed to give back. Isn’t that awesome?
The community center had this amazing wall of artwork that was covered with inspirational sayings and we all snagged photos (hi Mandi!) before heading to do our jobs.
(Mandi & me)
Inside, we were put into smaller groups and we got to see a video about how these furniture pieces affected real people. The furniture we were building was going to a local furniture bank where folks who literally had nothing could come get a bed, a table and a dresser. It was such a humbling moment…and yes, I cried when a mom of four little ones showed up on the screen.
The goal was to build as much as we possibly could in a short amount of time…so we all were going as fast as we could.
(Jamison, Jeremy and me)
The other thing they encouraged us to do was to sign the inside or back of each piece we assembled.
Most of these guys assemble their furniture with power tools so we did have a stray nail or two 🙂
Also we joked that most of them never assembled pre-packed furniture before because they are a lot of furniture builders….they design, cut and build their own pieces…so we felt like we had an advantage. Ha!
After all the furniture was assembled, we headed outside to lend a hand with the other teams. They were assigned planter making.
The muscle carrying them to their location….
(Alex & Jeremy)
and then there were other teams that were in charge of planter-planting. It was so cool to see what a difference it made!
After that we did more cleaning (we even pulled a mattress out of the woods!) and raking and picture taking. It was seriously one of the most fun days and I told Jeremy that I hope that we schedule more of that this year. I mean…cleaning your own yard is fun…but doing it for a good cause is on a different level.
We ended up taking a big group photo and I’m so proud of each one of these people and honored to be included. It just proves to me that whatever you are….a stay-at-home mom or a professional woodworker or whatever….that you can take a day and be completely qualified to give back. It took no money from us and I am pregnant….so if we can do it, ANYONE can.
If you would like to get involved more, here is the link to the website.
AND in case you wanted to see links to all the tools that we featured in this post….here they are!
- Husky unbreakable flashlight
- WD-40 EZ Reach
- DeWalt retractable knife
- DeWalt mini magnetic tape measure
- Dremel MICRO
- Dremel Pet nail kit
- Ridgid 1 gallon compressor
- Ridgid 18V vacuum
- Diablo SandNet
- Milwaukee Tick
- Ryobi SCORE speaker set
- Ryobi Palm router
OH and then there is a video. I’ll post that probably later today! And thanks again to the Home Depot….we loved it!!! Can’t wait to tackle some projects with these new tools!