BHG Takes Brooklyn: Our Recap of Stylemaker 2017!

Hosted every fall in New York by Better Homes & Gardens, the Stylemaker conference brings together lifestyle bloggers, Instagrammers, photographers, writers, consultants and other creative types from around the world. True to form, it was a day packed with illuminating talks and crowd-pleasing dishes. And design eye candy in every direction!

We also rolled up our sleeves. Demos included a speed-baking challenge led by Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker and a finger knitting tutorial by Brandi Harper of PurlBKnit. We made new friends while styling and photographing avocado toast.

But let’s back up a bit. For the second year in a row, I flew in from my place in LA and Ryan flew in from his place in La Jolla. The day of the conference was early-fall-in-NY perfection: light jackets and cobalt sky, with a slightly pushy breeze. There was an abundance of plants inside (fern wall!) and outside (blooming pollinator favorites) the venue, the stunning 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, which opened earlier this year.

The event venue, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, was steps away from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by David Keith.

As you’ll see in a minute, the textures within the hotel do justice to the surrounding architecture. Photo by David Keith.

Dig the lobby decor! A floor-to-ceiling fern wall.

Ryan hanging with the autumn bloomers in the hotel’s fresh-air entryway.

Me posing as the wind kicked up. This Brooklyn breeze will turn into a stiff winter gale in no time. Fun fact, this spot is less than a mile away from the Windiest Corner in NYC.

Attendees mingled with the BHG editors, who were the embodiment of creative hospitality. The brand’s staffers shared their wisdom during sessions on magazine storytelling and food styling. Legendary garden blogger Amanda Thomsen of Kiss My Aster was among the guests (check out our Q&A with her from, whew, 2013!) and I fan-girled to an extreme degree. Alongside the lovely Stephanie Rose of Garden Therapy, the four of us made up the garden blogging contingent. Ah, the magic of meeting offline!

Thank you to the team at BHG for including us in last month’s very fun event, made of equal parts heart, style, and valuable takeaways. Check out our Brooklyn BHG blogger bonanza recap…below!

And thanks to David Keith Photography for brilliantly capturing the day’s best moments.

—TH

Hobnobbing with the BHG editors, including the EIC Stephen Orr and Executive Director of Content Operations & Strategy Melissa Inman. Photo by David Keith.

Feelin’ the love! BHG used one of our photos from last year on the social media table tents.

Garden bloggers unite! On the right, Amanda Thomsen of Kiss My Aster lit up the room. (That’s me gazing adoringly.) Photo by David Keith.

Amanda’s amazing succulent necklace and other bewitching flair.

A look behind the scenes. From left: Editor in Chief Stephen Orr, Executive Editor Oma Blaise Ford and Senior Deputy Food and Entertaining Editor Nancy Wall Hopkins. Photo by David Keith.

We were captivated. Photo by David Keith.

Karla Walsh, Associate Digital Food Editor, is a key figure behind Stylemakers’ flawless execution. Photo by David Keith.

Grant Schneider, author and founder of Fox Meadow Consulting, showed us strategies for connecting with the true mission of our brands. Photo by David Keith.

In his talk, “Brand New Brand: Defining Your Brand Identity,” Grant showed how he even helped BHG refresh its look and feel. Photo by David Keith.

Greg Luna, Senior Food Stylist, and Stephanie Hunter, Design Director, er, *dished* some of their feast photography secrets before setting us loose on an avocado toast styling challenge. Photo by David Keith.

Photo by David Keith.

Challenge accepted. And that’s our handy DIY garden tripod making a time-lapse video for our Instagram story. Photo by David Keith.

Slicing and dicing with Amanda Thomsen and Krystal Mack, chef and owner of BLK//MKT and BLK//SUGAR. Photo by David Keith.

Our avocado toast styling challenge submission 🥑🍞 Made in 20 minutes #bhgstylemaker #avocadotoast

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At lunch we refueled with savory Bertolli dishes and came back for seconds. Photos by David Keith.

Photo by David Keith.

Joy Wilson, author and founder of Joy the Baker, led us on an eye-opening fig cake journey. Photo by David Keith.

We had 12 minutes to mix and put it in the oven—batter, figs, cardamom, pistachios and all. Baking is apparently not Ryan’s cup of tea. Photo by David Keith.

And what an awesome convection oven it was. The Smart Oven Air by Breville bakes, broils, air fries, dehydrates, reheats, slow cooks and more. (Oh, and I won one in the day’s giveaway! Thanks, Breville and BHG!) Photo by David Keith.

Ryan chats with Breville’s Benjamin Schmerler about ways to bring more Breville into his life and garden. Photo by David Keith.

I think we were talking about espresso makers or maybe this Smoking Gun. Photo by David Keith.

Joy’s cake was perfect, of course! Photo by David Keith.

The final discussion and demo of the day featured editor Katy Kiick Condon chatting with Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy Trend Expert, and Brandi Harper of PurlBKnit. Some of the top trends on Etsy this past spring were planters and small outdoor patio design! Right up our alley! Photo by David Keith.

Brandi, a ray of sunshine and beacon of patience, taught us how to finger knit. Follow her on IG! Photo by David Keith.

Photo by David Keith.

I struggled with it, but in the end made a necklace I love.

As the sun set, we made a beeline for the bar. Photo by David Keith.

Photo by David Keith.

It was a very happy happy hour in Brooklyn. Photo by David Keith.

Photo by David Keith.

Double photo bomb, courtesy of Amanda. Photo by David Keith.

The swag bag weighed a good 50 pounds and was brimming with goodies! Many of which will be put to use in the garden and throughout our homes.