I’m grateful for any excuse to get my hair blown out.
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Or solid rationale which forces me into taking a shower. And putting on shoes that aren’t my grubby orthopedic looking slippers with velcro. True story. I’ll show you guys one of these days. Maybe even a couple paragraphs down, if you make it that far.
So when Better Homes and Gardens again named me one of this year’s “Stylemakers” and invited me to Brooklyn, I did several things, and in this order:
1.) I booked my blow out immediately.
2.) I booked my train ticket.
3.) I decided I should probably let Dave know that I’d be rolling out for a couple of days and he’d have to keep our children fed and alive solo. Luckily, he likes me. So he said, “sure, have fun.” Just one more reason why I’m so lucky to have him. Truth be told, had he been going to Brooklyn without me, you can be sure there would be a fair amount of pouting around here. And with three kids at home, there’s too much of that already.
4.) Upon some self reflection, I began to feel that something was amiss. I saw the list of invitees. It included several prominent and talented food bloggers. I have trouble cooking rice. Until a ridiculously recent date, I did not realize brownies could be made without a Duncan Hines box.
There were gardening bloggers on the list. I’ve killed several “un-killable” plants. And I’m currently halfway into a little involuntary…then again kinda maybe sorta voluntary manslaughter project I’m working on with a fake fiddle leaf fig. I want to see how many pounds of dust it can stand up to before it keels over.
Many notable fashion bloggers made the list. People who I personally LOVE and follow. Collectively, these stylish women account for I’d say 37% of my current credit card debt. Yet despite this climbing credit crisis, I still open all of their newsletters and buy whatever it is they’ve got to show me (Brittany of Addison’s Wonderland and Cassie of hi sugarplum, I’m talking at you ?). Meanwhile, I am wearing the same outfit right now that I’ve worn for the past two days. Ok, make it 3. But in my defense, I own three pair of these sweats.
I’m going to do my best impression of a fashion blogger and give you guys a “flat lay” of my #OOTD or outfit du-jour, and yester-jour and tomorrow and the day-after-that-jour…
Did you catch the slippers with the holes in my apparently super aggressive big toes? What’s up with that?
I drafted an email to Better Homes and Gardens inquiring as to whether my invitation had been mis-directed. I provided a short list of several blogs and bloggers with names similar to my own that were perhaps the intended recipients. I proofread for mistakes (that’s a lie…are bloggers supposed to do that?). Then I hit…
Screw it! An invite’s an invite. I dusted off my heels and weeded through my makeup drawer to find some products that appeared to have been purchased within the current decade, and hopped on a train.
I was grateful for the three hours of solitude on the train that Wednesday afternoon in September as I made the trek up to New York. And as soon as my Uber dropped me off in front of the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn, I didn’t care anymore that my feet were rebelling against being shoved into heels. This amazing hotel left me speechless and numb to any pain. The photos below are the lobby.
Have you ever seen a hotel lobby like this? If so, please let me know where that would be, because I will add it to my bucket list.
At this point, I was angry at myself for having made the decision to leave my “real” camera home. I didn’t want to be weighted down hauling a ton of stuff around the city, but having seen this place, I was wishing for that extra 2 pounds. I could have gotten some amazing pics to share with you.
The coffee shop above.
The room below.
My iPhone wasn’t loving the lighting situation in this room. But can you make out a bit of the view outside those huge sliding glass doors?
The Brooklyn Bridge. How amazing is that view?!
I spent the first afternoon alone in the city. I know many people would not relish the idea of doing that, but honestly, I ADORE alone time. And I was soooo excited because I was headed to see a Broadway show that I had wanted to see for AGES…
I cannot describe in words how incredible Hamilton was. If you haven’t seen it, please try to. It is unquestionably the BEST play I’ve EVER seen, Broadway or elsewhere.
YES, it beats Les Mis, Phantom, The Lion King, ALL of them. I’ve been playing the soundtrack to this play non-stop in the car for the kids, and they are obsessed with it now as well. Profound piece of art. Absolutely beautiful.
After the play, I headed back to Brooklyn and hung out on the roof deck of the 1 Hotel. This is the view. Stunning, right?
Bright and early the next morning, the BHG event began. We were met with coffee. They put the coffee in a spot that was reachable even before you had to say “good morning,” to anyone. Well played. Mama needs her java STAT.
Pretty breakfast display.
I must not have had quite enough caffeine yet in the shot below. Somehow, un-surprisingly, I didn’t get the memo that one is supposed to look and smile when a camera is aimed in their direction. With: Jen (The House of Wood), Jamie (So Much Better with Age), Heather (Southern State of Mind), and Rachael (This is our Bliss).
After breakfast, sessions began. This one, about storytelling, and the way Better Homes and Gardens approaches it’s creative process in putting together each issue of their magazine. Seen below is Stephen Orr (Editor in Chief), Oma Blaise Ford (Executive Editor), and Nancy Hopkins (Food Editor).
Directly behind their seats was this view of the Manhattan skyline. Gorgeous.
Between sessions, it was so great having the opportunity to talk with all these creative friends, both old and new.
Lots of pictures…
I got to chat with Jessica from Four Generations One Roof, who I felt like I had already known for a long time, but never had met face to face.
And there was a LOT of this going on between sessions…
The cell phones were working hard that day. As they always do when there’s a group of bloggers together. Below: Charlotte (At Charlotte’s House)…likely doing an Instagram story, and Sarah (Life on Virginia Street).
The displays BHG set up were so picturesque, it was hard not to flood your phone storage with shots of anything and everything. Several of the corporate sponsors included Torani
and FTD. Isn’t that little succulent planter the cutest?
Another morning session included a fantastic talk on branding, led by Grant Schneider…who was SO engaging and hilarious. I wanted to ask if he would be ok with me calling him “Uncle Grant”. But I decided against it.
Below is Karla Walsh, the BHG Associate Digital Food Editor, and one of the main forces behind getting this event together. She and her team really knocked it out of the park this year.
These tiny chocolate cakes were filled with caramel. I die. I can still remember biting into that little beauty weeks later.
We took a bit of a stroll outside the hotel.
Weather was gorgeous, as was the architecture of this hotel.
Awesome kitchen garden that doubled as an art installation.
Highlights of the afternoon were this fantastic presentation by Etsy. Including Brandi Harper of @purlbknit on Instagram teaching us how to “finger knit”. She was the coolest.
And although most of the group took to finger knitting like they’d learned it in kindergarten….the picture above pretty much sums up my experience. That’s Rachel (Pencil Shavings Studio) next to me. It wasn’t going so smoothly for us. I can say I tried my best. But in the end, no dice. Guess no one should expect nice hats and scarves from me under the tree this year.
Greg Luna, BHG senior food stylist, gave a fantastic presentation about food styling. It was incredible to see how his team preps for shoots. Then we had the opportunity and challenge to style our own dish. Avocado toast. It was hilarious. Although our group had several people who dabble in food, not one of us was a serious food blogger, so we were already a lil pack of underdogs…
Some stylistic differences emerged ?. We all had a serious laugh when we saw this shot. We had NO idea we were taking it this seriously.
Haven’t been to a cocktail party in a while that had such a stunning view.
Who am I kidding? I hadn’t been to a cocktail party in a while. Period.
Met this lovely and talented couple, Courtney and Brent, from Gray House Studios.
And took many silly selfies and fun photos with a big troop of creatives that I’m so privileged to know.
Above Left to Right: Yours Truly, Chelsea (Two Twenty One), Charlotte (At Charlotte’s House), Heather (Southern State of Mind), Rebekah (A Blissful Nest), Jessica (Four Generations One Roof), Rachael (This is our Bliss), Jen (House of Wood), Haneen (Haneen’s Haven), Sarah (Life on Virginia Street), Amy (Crazy Chic Design)
Beyond these lovely kindred spirits pictured above, who are mostly interiors bloggers, but also a couple fashion gals, some crafty women, and a few serious DIY’ers, there were many, many others there that I met, or despite being in the same room for this event, never managed to have the opportunity to meet. People whose work I have admired for years, and others I have just recently become acquainted with. There was such a joyful creative energy hanging in that space in Brooklyn.
BHG did such a wonderful job hosting this event, and making it something that all of us could learn from and and use in order to better what we do in our own little corners of the internet. I was humbled and honored to have been a part of it. A truly wonderful event top to bottom. But I can say without hesitation, I am now happy to be home amongst my sweatpants and fuzzy socks.
P.S. If you want to see last year’s recap post, head HERE.