In the day to day existence of a mother who blogs from home, life can often feel downright thankless.
When most days consist of dry shampoo, yoga pants and an endless supply of sh*t diapers- an opportunity to mingle with celebrity chefs and magazine editors can be a bit out of one’s comfort zone.
Nonetheless, when Better Homes and freakin’ Gardens invites you to party with them, you brush aside your social anxiety and introvert tendencies to experience the opportunity -not to mention the honor– of a lifetime.
For those of you out of the loop, BHG Stylemaker is an annual, invitation-only, celebration hosted by Better Homes and Gardens. Considered a major milestone in the home/gardening/food community, Stylemaker is not only a celebration….it is a highly coveted title (major bragging rights for designers, bloggers and influencers alike).
If you have been with me for a while, you might recall I attended the event for the first time last year. And while it should have been a magical experience the first time around, it started off with a whole lotta drama ( think multiple trips to the ER) which you can read about here. By the time I actually arrived to last year’s event, I was completely frazzled and deflated.
As for this year’s experience….
Well….it was pretty damn incredible.
Held in the Bowery of Manhattan at Ian Schrager’s (co-founder of Studio 54) latest boutique hotel, PUBLIC Hotel set the scene for a design-forward gathering.
What I found particularly impressive about the aesthetic of this venue was the exciting juxtaposition.
While many of the common areas have a neon design component reminiscent of a flashy night-club, the rooms possessed an earthy, Scandinavian vibe.
And while I somehow deleted the photos of my room, here is a shot of the trippy escalator to the lobby..
Of course the first thing I had to do upon arrival was meet up with my Canadian bestie, Leslie, from The Leslie Style.
Given it had been a year since our last encounter, we had tons of catching up to do. I seriously love this woman like crazy (and she totally gets my socially awkward ways)!
As soon as we entered for breakfast, I ran into my girl Jen from City Farmhouse. I gave her a big, ol’ hug and thanked her for recently featuring my blog (which totally made my summer). Gah…I wish we could have gotten more photos together. She was one of the first bloggers I began following way back when.
And here was my stunning view at breakfast…
After breakfast, we all had the chance to sit in on some educational panels.
Below, BH&G’s Beauty and Fashion Editor, Erica Metzger, discusses photography strategies with the magazine’s lifestyle photographer, Annie Schlechter…
While all of the panels were inspiring, my favorite was a hands-on workshop led by Marie Viljoen, author of Forage, Harvest, Feast.
You see… anything involving vodka gets me excited (especially Tito’s vodka). So when she showed us how to make a fancy shmancy Yuzu Sumac cocktail, I was super pumped.
Tito’s for the win!!
All of these ladies have a design aesthetic that deeply resonates with me, but mostly we just chatted about motherhood…
Wrapping up a delicious lunch, I had the honor of meeting celebrity chef, Maneet Chauhan, who gave us a little education about Basmati rice. There was such a warmth about her presence.
Wrapping up the panels for the day, was the keynote session.
It was pretty surreal being in the presence of Carla Hall, celebrity chef and television personality, and Stephen Orr, Better Homes and Gardens Editor in Chief. (I was secretly trying to soak in all of their high-vibe energy…hoping it may somehow boost my own energy.)
One of the most inspiring revelations about Carla’s career, for me at least, was that she didn’t even attend culinary school until she was in her thirties- proving it’s never too late to pursue your passion.
And before the cocktail party began, I had to strike a pose with Leslie and Chloe from Boxwood Avenue. Chloe has such an interesting story (city girl turned farm dweller) and beautiful home.
Much to my delight, Tito’s was gracious enough to sponsor the party (hell yeah!)…
Check out this view of the party…..
I was so happy to catch up with some more friends from last year…
And after some liquid courage (Tito’s courage), I actually got the chance to chat a little with Carla.
I’m kicking myself in the rear for playing it cool, and not getting a photo with her. (I told you I am socially awkward).
But I did get a little late-night selfie with the insanely talented Aniko from Place of My Taste and Jessica of Jessica Brigham. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with these ladies in the past, and find them incredibly inspiring.
As the party came to an end, we were all treated to these epic gift bags (I swear they probably weighed 50lbs).
I could’t think of a better way to end such a whirlwind of awesomeness…
The next day, sleep-deprived and high from all of the incredible energy of the previous day, I decided to stroll the streets of SOHo and the East Village with my husband- taking in all of the sights and consuming a bit too much food and drink.
As we toured the local bars and restaurants, I was basically walking on clouds thinking to myself just how incredibly blessed I am- not only have I managed to turn my passion into a legitimate career in the course of three years, I also get to be recognized as a freakin’ Stylemaker by one of the best known publications in the world.
Thanks for the much-needed morale boost, Better Homes and Gardens. My heart is truly full of gratitude.
And just a little note to all of my fellow introverts- and I think we stay-at-home-mothers are particularly vulnerable to this…
No matter how nerve-wracking it may seem, please don’t let amazing opportunities pass you by in an effort to avoid the discomfort of intimidating social situations. Breathe into it, embrace the discomfort and know there’s truly nothing to be anxious about- celebrity chef or not, we are all imperfect human beings doing our best to overcome various insecurities and shortcomings.
Get out of your comfort zone, and do something that intimidates you. You will be glad you did…I promise!
Now get out there and design some good vibes!