Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker 2017

Oct 12

Be prepared for a lot of photos!

Those moments when I’m invited to attend an incredibly special event such as this…these are the moments I say out loud, “what? how did this happen?!”. How did this little blogger come to be included as a Stylemaker? As you guys know, the “style” doesn’t come easy for this girl. I’ll organize the heck out of anything…and successfully…but don’t ask me to dress myself. Or anyone else. Oh…stay tuned below for a funny IG story video on that very topic. haha!

Last year I was included as a Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker and figured that would be my one and only chance. I soaked it in and completely enjoyed the experience. I also failed in sharing my recap…it’s never too late, right?! To be included again this year was a surprise and honor. This year the event was held at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. If you are ever in search of a unique and beautiful hotel – one that smells like Le Labo Santal 33 (yes, they said it was their signature scent…but I know better. It’s le labo and it’s intoxicating!) – and has the most breathtaking views and generous staff, please consider this location. Look at this view!…

Yes, from my room, people! I could take in that bridge span for days. So much history and it’s stunning.

Seriously, the location did not disappoint. It was also super easy to jet into the city…which I did almost every day. 🙂

Ok, but let’s rewind a second. Finding out I was attending the event meant I needed some serious help in the fashion dept. I usually attend 1 nice blogger event per year. Around that time is when I purchase a new dress and a couple new pairs of heels. I go for classics so they last a while, but it’s always fun to splurge and buy something to update my sad yet comfortable wardrobe of workout clothes and work attire…which is also, ummm…workout clothes! #luckyme Last year I received very very last minute help from my local Nordstrom. I vowed this year I would make an appointment early so I wasn’t sweating bullets the day before I was due to leave.

My new BFF Lisa at Nordstrom Walnut Creek helped me out and thank God for her!

** This is NOT a sponsored post! **

I’m sure you all know this is a FREE service Nordstrom offers. If you don’t know, now you know! I also communicated with the staff about whether or not I should be tipping Lisa…they answered with a very clear no. The help I received was worth money….but she was free! And amazing and went above and beyond. Grateful for her!

She called me before I came into the store and asked a lot of questions about me, my style and the event. Would you believe she is so great at what she does that both dresses I chose were in the dressing room when I arrived? Girl is good. I was skeptical how they would look on because I am not a short skirt typea gal. But she was so into my legs. In a non-creepy way. And insisted I should be wearing something above the knee…not below, as I had worn last year.

Here’s a few dressing room shots…

( dress | heels )

I wasn’t sold on this dress when it was hanging. I mean, even if you see it on the website – chances are you’ll click right past it because it doesn’t look flattering on the model. But once I had it on – it was immediate love! So pretty, light and the sleeve details are gorgeous. I didn’t wear it to the event, but did wear it to a show on Friday night. I received SO MANY compliments. It really is cute on!

( similar dress | heels )

Wasn’t totally sold on this one. I feel like with my long blonde hair it was screaming “summer barbie”. Fit beautifully though and did purchase it. I didn’t wear it at the event and am considering returning because I don’t ever see myself wearing it…it definitely makes a statement which is why I’m not sure I would wear it more than once or twice. You know?

( top | jeans | heels )

She nailed this one. This is SO me. I’m a jeans and off the shoulder girl. And the heels are beyond comfortable! I actually wore the heels the next day to a charity event and it didn’t feel like I was wearing  heels at all. I could wear these all day every day. Well, almost. Still love my tennis shoes. I’m also obsessed with these jeans. I wore them last night to a speaking engagement – they feel more like leggings to me. Soft and comfortable. I received a lot of compliments on these as well. You can dress them up or down, which I appreciate.

After 4 very LONG hours in this dressing room, trying on countless dresses, accessories and other items, I finally made my purchases and headed out. But the experience wouldn’t have been nearly as fun had I not been sharing with my IG community. This sort of escapade puts me in rare form. As you can see…

To close out the fashion portion of this post – ha! – for the event, I ended up in this beautiful and comfortable red Valentino dress…

( dress | heels | clutch )

With fashion out of the way, let’s talk about the trip!

Although the event wasn’t until Thursday, I arrived on Tuesday afternoon because a few friends were in town and invited me to dinner. They took me to the Bowery District…awesome! We met for drinks at The Wren and walked to dinner at The Bowery Meat Company. Both were incredible! After dinner we walked through SoHo and found a nice bar to have a couple (more) drinks.

On Wednesday I was up early to meet my speech writer. He lives just outside the city. We met halfway at The Bryant Park Cafe – great little spot! We had a couple hours of good conversation around the speech and other things. Since I was pretty deep into the city, after lunch I walked and walked until it was time to head back to Brooklyn.

My sweetheart of a roomie was Emily of Eleven Gables. I swear on everything good this woman is hysterical, wonderful, a sweetheart with a heart of gold and gives the best advice. I had an immediate connection with her when we met last year. If you aren’t familiar with her blog or IG, definitely check her out. She’s so talented. Her house is seriously gorgeous…

I love her chickens. They come running when she calls them – it’s one of the most precious things I’ve seen. Look at her chicken coop…

#obsessed I’d love to build one of those! In my “free time”, of course.

Anyway, could not have asked for a better roommate and as it turned out, Wednesday was her birthday! We had a drink at the hotel’s rooftop bar to kick off the night…

( Haneen of Haneen’s Haven )

Then we hopped into the hotel’s complimentary Tesla and headed to an Italian restaurant to celebrate her big day…

( me | Rebekah | Emily | Jessica )

Poor driver had no idea what he was in for when we hopped into the car. 4 bloggers in that tight of a space? Look out!

After dinner we walked back to the hotel. Love this view!…Those streets!…

Emily and I stayed up way too late chatting. That 6am alarm came far too early. But we were soon up, drinking a lot of coffee and getting ready for the long day ahead.

It was great running into old friends at the check-in area…and making new friends too!…

I found myself taking a lot of photos for everyone else…because you guys know I love to be behind the camera. Funny, the professional photographer at the event snapped a lot of shots where I can be seen taking photos of other people. Love it! He’s also amazing and needs a serious shout out. Thank you David Keith!…

This stunner in the navy dress is one of my new best blogger buds, Amy of Crazy Chic Design. Turns out my friend lives right here in the Bay Area! How did I not know? Took us flying across the country to meet one another! She’s a total sweetheart!

After check-in we grabbed coffee and breakfast, chatted with fellow attendees and took photos together…

And alone…wow, mama’s white legs show I was working all summer…

The day kicked off with a panel of editors / execs from the magazine; Stephen Orr – Editor in Chief, Oma Blaise Ford – Executive Director, and Nancy Hopkins – Food Editor…

They shared a behind the scenes look at the magazine – it was great!

I was really looking forward to the next session since I’ve been heavy into the branding topic for the last few months. I’m at the tail end of working with a brand strategist on a new business name, so this hit close to home. It was an incredible session given by Grant Schneider, author and founder of Fox Meadow Consulting…

After his session, we enjoyed lunch and more time to chat with attendees…

Oh, and more time to take photos for new friends…

After lunch, the focus was on learning the art of food and tabletop styling. It was awesome to hear a behind the scenes look at food styling from the 2 speakers, but do have to admit…I am not a food stylist. Or tabletop stylist. When the time came for our table to create a beautiful display of avocado toast, you can guess what I was doing….yep, taking the photos! haha!…

( Grace | Emily )

Our speakers for this session were Greg Luna – Senior Food Stylist for BH&G and Stephanie Hunter – Design Director for BH&G…

During the break that followed this session, I had an opportunity to pitch the magazine editors. Nope, wasn’t stressed about that at all. #insertsarcasmhere

Seriously though, it went well and already received an e-mail from an editor with the Secrets of Getting Organized publication. Excited to help them with an upcoming article!

Due to my pitch – I was one of the last to pitch – I missed the next session. Boo! But it was fine because it gave me an opportunity to take in the views and have a little more coffee…

The final session of the day was a hands-on getting crafty session and we learned about what’s hot in the market…

This was a panel discussion with Dayna Isom Johnson – Etsy Trend Expert and Brandi Harper of PURLBKNIT. Brandi is a total doll! Seriously an addictive positive ray of sunshine that I would love to have in my life every day.

The session portion of the event concluded at this point and we were asked to leave so they could set up the cocktail event. Many of us headed to the absolutely incredible rooftop bar. The views from up here….I mean, I can’t even describe it!…

It was pretty windy this evening, but we were determined to get some good photos together. Love this girl!…

( Jen of House of Wood )

Attending this event was an honor! I wish I had taken more photos with more blog friends, but to be honest – I wanted to put my phone down as much as possible to take it in. Maybe that was a bad idea because I should have been taking more photos…I mean, this is a blogger event where the social media posts are flying. But moments like these are to be treasured, not always experienced through the screen on my phone.

I am forever grateful to Karla Walsh and the entire team behind this beautiful event. The amount of effort, time, love and more that went into the planning – you could feel it. They worked very hard and couldn’t be more grateful to have been included. I’m secretly hoping to be invited back next year!

Hope you enjoyed this little recap! Thank you for letting me share all the details!

xoxo everyone!

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  1. Sam!!!!! What a wonderful recap. YOU are the sweetheart. I had the absolute best time with you. So so thankful that God placed you in my life. #roomiesforever I adore you and you are in my daily thoughts and prayers. Love you to NYC and back!!! xx, Emily

    • Samantha says:

      Awe, thank you! It was fun writing it / reliving that fun experience. Hope to be included again next year so we can room together…and maybe I’ll do the masks with you. haha!!!!

      Love you! xoxo,

  2. Oh my gosh, your IG stories were KILLING ME! I’m so sad we’ve still not yet had a chance to meet, but after reading this recap, I am CERTAIN we would get along famously. Your red Valentino did look stunning! White legs and all 😉 Hope we get to meet one of these days!

    • Samantha says:

      Awe!!! Hi Heather! I hope to meet you one day too – I am certain it will happen! Agreed – we are going to be best buds, I just know it! 🙂 Thank you so much for the sweet compliments…those white legs…yikes! What can you do?! haha! Thank you for the comment!


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