A recap of our trip to New York and the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

photo credit: David Keith Photography

I vividly remember the first conversation Brent and I had about starting a blog. We were in the garage working on a project for our home and I brought up the idea of documenting and sharing our DIY home renovation projects as a creative outlet for both of us. In November of 2014 we picked a name, Gray House Studio, bought the domain name and posted our first post, our reading nook with a wood plank wall.

Never in my wildest imagination did I think that Gray House Studio would bring Brent and I so many amazing and unique opportunities. We have been on live TV, in Better Homes & Gardens magazine twice, we have been able to collaborate with large brands, and probably the coolest is being invited to Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event this year in Brooklyn, New York.

We were invited to the Stylemaker Event last year but unfortunately had to miss it due to the fact that the event was ON MY DUE DATE. When we were invited this year we wanted to go but it would be the first time I left our son over night and it was two days before his big first birthday party we had been planning so I was a little nervous.

However, we knew opportunities like this don’t come around too often so we were going to make it work by flying in the afternoon before the event and flying out the night of the event. It was a quick turn around trip but definitely worth it.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

We got into New York Wednesday afternoon and since neither Brent or I had been to New York before we did the touristy things. We had our Uber driver drop us off at Grand Central Station and from there started walking. We passed through Time Square and walked around Central Park. I sat on the Met steps (big Gossip Girl fan in college over here).

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017
Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017
Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

We rode the subway and visited the 9/11 memorial. We took the ferry to Staten Island so we could pass by the Statue of Liberty at sunset then remembered our hotel was in Brooklyn not Staten Island so we took the ferry back across.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017
Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017
Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

Finally, we took the right ferry to Brooklyn and arrived at our hotel about 7:00pm that evening. We stayed at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge which is where the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event was being held the next day.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

photo credit: David Keith Photography

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017
Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017
Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge was AMAZING. The location of the hotel was perfect. When we got to our room and I opened the door I think my jaw hit the floor when I saw the view from our room. We love looking for inspiration for our home anywhere and everywhere and this hotel had plenty of it. The design of the room itself incorporated aesthetics that we like. We took lots of photos to add to our inspiration folder. I am now on board with concrete floors in the shower.

Thursday morning we checked out of our room and headed to the second floor for the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event. The day started with an instagram worthy welcome breakfast where there was the opportunity to mingle with the other stylemakers and BH&G editors.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

photo credit: David Keith Photography

It’s funny because I would say what Brent and I struggle with the most is “socializing” with other bloggers and makers on social media. These days were are doing good just to post something to our Instagram account. While our number one reason for attending this event was to learn and get our creative juices flowing again, it was nice to actually meet other bloggers, makers and artists face to face, learn what they do and how they do it. It inspired us to think about new areas we would like to cover as Gray House Studio evolves in the coming years.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

I have to give major props to Brent for being one of only two men attending the event. He represented for the dudes and held his own with all the ladies.

I really enjoyed the sessions. The first session was led by Editor in Chief, Stephen Orr. It was really fascinating to learn about the behind-the-scenes workings of such a large magazine. The second session was about defining your brand identity. The marketing nerd in me loved this session the most. It really got Brent and I’s wheels turning on a new direction for Gray House Studio that we are really excited about.

There were also sessions about photographing and styling food and learning to finger-knit with purlBKnit.

In between the sessions were food breaks and networking. I really enjoyed getting to talk with several of the editors who were all very friendly and you could tell loved working for the magazine.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

photo credit: David Keith Photography

They also had the opportunity to give a 90-second pitch to the editors. How often do you get the chance to pitch to Better Homes & Gardens magazine editors in person? The answer is not often.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

During one of our breaks they had a Torani Soda Bar set up. Italian Cream Sodas are my favorite so I was excited. We made our custom sodas and I was trying to be a good blogger so I took it outside on the balcony and set it on the railing to get this artsy shot. Right as I go to take the picture a gust of wind comes blowing my dress up and my papers everywhere.

I bent down to grab my papers before they all flew away and when I looked back up my drink was gone. My heart stopped. I just pictured my drink (whipped cream, sprinkles and all) falling from the second story landing on a hipster’s perfectly styled beard as he was passing by below. You can’t imagine the relief I felt when I turned and saw Brent had grabbed my cup. Mostly because I really wanted to drink it.

Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event 2017

photo credit: David Keith Photography

We had an hour break after the last session so we explored the Dumbo area and then headed back to end the night at the cocktail party. When we were leaving for the night we were given these really heavy swag bags filled with all sort of goodies. We didn’t know how we were going to get them back home with us since we both only brought small backpacks as our only luggage but dang it we were going to try.

After the event we headed to the airport to catch a flight back to Houston. Our flight got delayed so we ended up making it back home by 4am.

It was a full day but making the trip was well worth it. We took in a lot of useful information, connected with a lot of inspiring and creative individuals, and most of all we came away inspired and with new ideas for the future of Gray House Studio.

We worked extremely hard on Gray House Studio for two years straight. Just about any free time we had we were working on a DIY home renovation project, a YouTube video, or writing a blog post. And then we had a baby and majorly pumped the brakes on the blog in 2017.

Some couples can have a baby and keep on going and not miss a beat. I am impressed but that just wasn’t us. I shifted my entire focus to being fully present in taking care of my son in his first year. I just didn’t have the energy to do more than that one thing.

Our son is now a year old and while I’m sure I’ll still be dedicating most of my time to chasing after him, the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event couldn’t have come at a better time to give us a renewed interest in our passion. I am so proud of how far we have come and I am really excited about our plans for the future of this blog.