Last Thursday, as many of you know since I hardly kept it a secret (sorry for all of the Instagrams!), I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker Workshop and Party. Held in New York City, myself and 49 other bloggers from across the country gathered at the Eventi Hotel to soak up an incredible amount of knowledge, inspiration and creativity. To say that I had the time of my life would be a major understatement. It was a dream.
The day actually began right beside the hotel at a pop up restaurant space called the Brighton. Inside, we were greeted by a table set with tons of fun swag and folio materials for note taking – not to mention a team of the sweetest, most lovely BHG editors and team members! Cups of coffee in hand, we all headed to the conference section and got right down to business, learning from the editors themselves on how to properly pitch ideas to a magazine, and about the Better Homes brand in general.
^^^BHG Editor in Chief Gayle Butler (!!)
At lunch, more than a couple of excited squeals greeted the announcement that we got to pick out a Towne & Reece necklace. No surprise here, but I chose the strand of beads in mint. During that hour, I managed to scarf down a quick burger and snap some shots of the event space, plus catch up with Caitlin – My editor at Glitter Guide and blogger behind Style Within Reach. Having communicated back and forth for over a year via email, it was SUCH a treat to finally meet in person.
After that, we were broken up into several smaller groups based on niche (fashion, DIY, design, entertaining) and enjoyed round table, interactive discussions with each respective editor. From digital, to print, to affiliate, it was beyond thrilling to learn all of the ways we could get involved with the magazine. In addition, we also had the most FABULOUS 20 minutes with BHG East Coast Home Editor Eddie Ross, who taught us the ins and outs of styling table tops for the camera. That small chunk of time may just take the cake for best moment of the day.
With the conclusion of the workshop mid-afternoon, we were left to our own devises until the Stylemaker party kick off at 6:00 p.m. To pass the time, Caitlin and I wondered through the garment district, picking up bits and baubles from a couple of trim shops, before heading back to the hotel lobby for some good old fashioned gabbing. When the time came, we made our way upstairs and were sufficiently blown away. The space, party, food and drinks were a fabulous end to the most fabulous of days. A lively panel interview, featuring some of today’s most influential creative minds, capped off the night to perfection.
^^^me, Hitha Palepu of Hitha on the Go, designer Kayce Hughes, BHG Digital Editorial
Manager Kaelin Zawilinski, Caitlin and Quinn Cooper of Quinn Cooper Style
Since my smattering of iPhone photos hardly does the event justice, I grabbed a couple of the professional shots taken by Avi Gerver. To see the rest, click through to the Flickr album right here.
^^^shopBHG Editor Alexa Fornoff, Associate Social Media Editor Liz Frantz,
Assistant Digital Home Editor Allison Maze
^^^me, Jessie of Style and Pepper and Caitlin
^^^Panelists: Maxwell Ryan of Apartment Therapy, designer Kayce Hughes,
BHG East Coast Home Editor Eddie Ross and entertaining expert Annette Joseph
^^^Mindy Cone of Creative Juice
(still time to win an e-book copy of her cookbook here, by the way!)
After a lightening speed taxi ride home, I. passed. out. But I was up bright and early the next day for a quick tour of the Meredith Corp. NYC headquarters. We saw the Better TV studios, control room and green room, then the test kitchen, dining room, photo studios and, finally, the editor’s office floor – including the corner of Ellen Miller, BHG Beauty and Fashion Director, complete with piles of products for review. This was definitely another major highlight of the trip, and I was glad to have one more hour with a couple of the ladies I had met the previous day.
BHG Senior Deputy Food and Entertaining Editor Nancy Wall Hopkins,
Ladies’ Home Journal Food and Entertaining Editor Tara Bench
Before I call this long-winded recap done, I can’t leave out one laaaasssssttttttt “THANK YOU!!!” to all of the incredible sponsors for the event. I am thanking my lucky stars that I took the pre-event advice of the editors and packed an extra bag for all of the swag we were slated to receive. There’s no way I could have gotten all of these lovely, generous gifts home without the extra luggage space.
That pile of colorful new business cards above represents an incredible network of new blogging connections that I am so fortunate to have forged. I have always said that the absolute best part about blogging is the community, and this past week in NYC proved that each and every moment – no matter how overwhelming – is worth it.
Thank you so much, Better Homes and Gardens. Not a single minute will be forgotten. Not one.