While it has already been three weeks since the BHG Stylemaker celebration, I am just now getting the chance to re-live the event with you guys today (and boy, were the days leading up to the event quite dramatic).
For those of you unfamiliar with the event, BHG Stylemaker is an annual celebration hosted by Better Homes and Gardens in New York City. Considered a major milestone in the blogging community, only 75 bloggers and social influencers are invited, and I just so happened to be one of them. As a relatively new blogger, I did a happy dance as soon as I received my invitation… it was completely surreal.
While the days leading up to the event should have been glamorous- consisting of wardrobe hunting , grooming, and a little self-acknowledgement – in true Erica fashion, a massive sh*t storm unleashed (you see…I tend to completely blow “big moments” ).
The misfortune began when my air unit died, in ninety degree weather, two days prior to the event. Then, while I was in the salon primping for the event (and trying to escape my sweat lodge of a home), the babysitter calls to tell me that she believes my three-year-old has broken his arm on the Chick-Fil-A playground. Rushing out of the salon in a panic,so begins my two-day stint in the ER.
My poor baby had, in fact, fractured his arm. Unfortunately, this was not the conclusion of my sh*t storm. You see, the next day (the night before the actual Stylemaker event) while preparing a very classy dinner, I cut my finger on a freaking can of green beans and had to return to the ER (when I should have been packing) to receive stitches. To top it off, while returning home, I notice smoke rising from the hood of my car and my engine goes kaput. You really cannot make this stuff up!
Miraculously enough, I made it to New York in once piece- albeit frazzled, sleep-deprived and with an eyesore of a bandage on my index finger.
After a little self-pep talk , which may have went something like this, “B*tch, pull yourself together and make the best of this incredible moment!”, I had my husband snap a photo of me before heading into the event.
I wish I could have spent a little more time preparing my wardrobe selection (suppose that is what I get for procrastinating), but given all the unforeseen emergencies, I was forced to work with what I had. I will say, at least I was super comfortable in my lack-luster attire.
This year, BHG Stylemaker was held at the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn, and let me just tell you….the venue did not disappoint. Not only was the interior designed to perfection, the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan were absolutely stunning.
There I am walking into the event, with my goofy finger, mingling with the incredible bloggers behind Hey There Home, Cuckoo 4 Design, Alice and Lois and Four Generations One Roof (just to name a few).
Sponsored by Bertolli, the food was plentiful, delicious and beautifully styled.
I had the pleasure of sitting with the lovely Kris of Driven By Decor during breakfast. It was so comical how our introduction began. It was something like ..
Me: You look so familiar. What’s the name of your blog?
Kris: Driven By Decor
Me: OMG! I am so obsessed with your family room transformation. That gallery wall, though!
Only bloggers would begin a conversation on such strange terms.
And then…I met my soul sister, Leslie, from The Leslie Style. Somehow I was not familiar with her blog at the time (now I am obsessed), but I think it made for such an organic friendship….we hit it off immediately. We were both “newbies”, mothers to young children, and in very similar stages of life. We pretty much couldn’t shut up and were inseparable the remainder of the event. Plus…we even introduced our hubbies to one another and they kept each other company while we spent the day in Stylemaker. I adore you, Leslie!
Following breakfast, we had a session with Stephen Orr, Editor in Chief of Better Homes and Gardens, along with Executive Editor Oma Ford and Food Editor Nancy Hopkins. It was so interesting getting a behind-the-scenes perspective of the magazine. Much of what they discussed was applicable to blog content as well.
While I may look pissed (I really need to work on my resting b*tch face), I was actually super enthralled -absorbing all of the information
During a delicious lunch, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my blogging idols, Jen, from City Farmhouse. For such a wildly talented and successful blogger, she was super humble and kind.
After lunch, we had an interactive session conducted by Greg Luna, Food Stylist for Better Homes and Gardens, and Design Director, Stephanie Hunter. We got some great pointers on food styling and then were given a food styling challenge where we got to team up with other Stylemakers.
After some snacks and mingling, I attended an interior design session with Lee Mayer, Ceo and Co-Founder of the online design service Havenly. She is the definition of girl boss…super inspiring.
Our last session was led by two design entrepreneurs. These women had the most amazing presence…they filled the room with a beautiful energy.
And I even got to try my injured, index finger at finger knitting (which I miserably failed at, by the way).
And what better way to end such an incredible day than with a cocktail party.
Not only were the cocktails delicious, the conversations were insightful and the views of Manhattan were incredible.
So glad I finally got to meet the super fabulous Rachael from This is Our Bliss.
There I go again with the resting b*tch face…gah! Actually though, that was just my contemplative face as Leslie and I were discussing blogging technicalities with one of my favorites, Ashley, of Bigger Than the Three of Us.
The perfect ending to a fabulous event?…..these gigantic gift bags. No joke, ya’ll…..these bags probably weighed more than both of my toddlers combined and were chock-full of goodies. You truly know how to throw a party, Better Homes and Gardens!
The day following the Stylemaker event, I got to tour Brooklyn and a small portion of Manhattan with my husband. DUMBO and the East Village really captured my heart…I truly could have stayed there for days.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and just like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, I had to trade-in my glamorous episode in New York for the not-so-glamorous realities of being a work-from-home mother (complete with my sweat lodge of a home , an engine-less car, and a stack of bills from our two-day, ER stint).
I must admit, I have faced a great deal of setbacks this year (and I know this is going to sound super cheesy), but to a great degree, Better Homes and Gardens has given me the confidence to push past my doubts. With the feature I received in the June 2017 issue of the magazine and the honor of being recognized as a “Stylemaker”, I am starting to feel like I may have found what my favorite, self-help guru, Jen Sincero, describes as my “unstoppable freight train of f**k-yeah”. Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens!
Now get out there and design some good vibes!