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The Inside Scoop on the 2018 Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event

By Amy Palanjian

This fall, Better Homes and Gardens welcomed over 80 top influencers and tastemakers to the Public Hotel in New York City for their eighth annual Stylemaker event. It was a day of workshops, panels, networking, learning, and delicious food to celebrate the creative minds in attendance—and the Stylemaker issue of the magazine. We caught up with a few of the attendees for a behind-the-scenes look at the event.

The Event

The goal of the annual event is to give influencers from across style categories—including home design, gardening, fashion, and beauty—the chance to network with each other, see friends from past events, and to learn new skills to take back to their own work.

And, a highlight of each event is the chance for the attendees to network with BH&G editors in person. There is plenty of casual time for chatting and more formal pitch sessions to talk through story ideas. It's a way to bring the pages of the magazine to life—and give everyone the chance to have fun while doing it!

"I love being able to spend an entire day with likeminded creative people. The vibe is so great, and I feel energized and ready to tackle another year of blogging when I return home. As a stay-at-home mom/business owner, I don't get many of these opportunities so close to home." —Julia Konya, Cuckoo4Design

After a behind the scenes look at how ideas come to life in the pages of the magazine, the day included workshops and panels with a range of speakers and topics. The editors aim to include a mix of interactive, informative, engaging, and fun topics and speakers. From the feedback of those who attended, we'd say this year's event was a big success!

BHG Insider: Why do you attend the Stylemaker Event?
Jen: This was my 5th time attending the BHG Stylemaker event. I am always so grateful to be invited, so I always make it a priority.

Session 1: Success Stories

Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita and interior designer Amanda Reynal, who were both featured in the September issue of the magazine, were on hand to discuss how they've made their own brands a success. They talk about how they balance their personal lives with their growing brands—because the nuances of knowing what to share from "real" life can be a challenge for those who spend so much of their time online.

Also included in the session were Grace Mitchell, of A Storied Style, and Ryan Benoit, from The Horticult. They talked through how they've successfully launched brand extensions and new products that have taken their once blog-based businesses to a whole new level.

Session 2: Grow On

Associate Food Editor Karla Walsh talked with Heather Champion, a Meredith Technical SEO Lead, and Melissa Chavez, the Social Media Manager of Parents magazine for tips on how to stay true to your band—while hitting all the best practices for search engine optimization. This was one of the most informative sessions of the day and was packed with practical tips that the attendees could put into action to grow their own businesses once back at home.

"We do have tons of fun, and I think that's clear from the photos, but we are all quite serious about creating incredible content so there's a lot of learning, growing, and sharing happening too." Liz Lidgett, Adore Your Walls and

Lunch Break

Chef and Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan teamed up with the Public Kitchen to present a delicious assortment of lunch options for everyone at the event. She spoke with Food Editor Nancy Hopkins about the dishes featuring Royal Basmati rice, one of the event's sponsors, and her approach to food.

Session 3: Dress Up Your Drink

Maggie Glisan, Senior Food Editor chatted with Marie Viljoen, Author of Forage, Harvest, Feast, about her book, cocktail trends, and how to balance trends with evergreen favorites. Each table of attendees had a chance to make a Yuzu Sumac Cocktail—or a mocktail version—and learned how to make their drinks Instagram-worthy with decorative rims and syrups.

P.S. If you'd like to try these delicious drinks at home, here are the recipes!

Yuzu Sumac Cocktail
• 1 lemon
• Thai Lime Leaf Sugar (see recipe below)
• 2 ounces Tito's vodka
• 1 1⁄2 ounces Yuzu Luxe Sour
• 1 ounce Sumac-ade (see recipe below) • 1⁄2 ounce elderberry juice concentrate

Squeeze lemon juice into a small saucer. Dip rim of a 6-ounce tumbler into lemon juice, then dip in Thai Lime Leaf Sugar. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka, yuzu, Sumac-ade, and elderberry. Stir to combine. Makes 1 cocktail.

Yuzu Sumac Mocktail
1 lemon
• Thai Lime Leaf Sugar (see recipe below)
• 2 1⁄2 ounces Yuzu Luxe Sour
• 2 ounces Sumac-ade (see recipe below)
• 1⁄2 ounce elderberry juice concentrate

Squeeze lemon juice into a small saucer. Dip rim of a 6-ounce tumbler into lemon juice, then dip in Thai Lime Leaf Sugar. Add yuzu, Sumac-ade, and elderberry. Stir to combine. Makes 1 mocktail.

3 1⁄2 ounces ground sumac
750 milliliters water

In a large pitcher stir together sumac and 3 cups water. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a glass measuring cup. Makes about 2 2/3 cups.

Thai Lime Sugar
9 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped Thai lime leaves

On a small plate or saucer, mix together sugar and lime leaves. Makes about 2/3 cup (enough for 9 cocktails).

Session 4: Get the Shot

For many style influencers and bloggers, knowing how to take beautiful and clear photos of themselves and other people is a key to their business success. This panel featured Kachet Jackson-Henderson, Founder of The Kachet Life Blog and longtime contributor and friend of BH&G. She spoke with Beauty and Fashion editor Erica Metzger, photographer Annie Schlechter, and Sarah Mendelsohn, Manager of Social and Digital Content for Maybelline, about tips for taking better photographs of people. They also discussed tips for posing, loosening up when in front of the camera, and makeup tips.

Maybelline then hosted a makeup bar where everyone had a chance to try out new lipstick colors, and to freshen up before the next event.

"I think so many of us, me included, take some of our 'talents' for granted, and don't realize how much we can help someone else who may not be as comfortable or strong in an area. And I loved the impromptu posing practice. People really got into it!" —Kachet Jackson-Henderson, The Kachet Life Blog

Session 5: Flavor Profile

To round out the day's sessions, Chef, TV personality, and cookbook author Carla Hall spoke with Editor in Chief of BH&G, Stephen Orr, about her career path. Carla shared that she's always reinventing herself, how her recent focus is on self-acceptance, and she dished about her new cookbook, Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, which just came out this fall.

"I love hearing personal stories of the creative journey one takes on their intended path and the growth that occurs with failure and success. She was such an inspiration!" - 5-time attendee, Jane O'Brien, City Farmhouse

Cocktail Party

To finish out the day—and after a short break to recharge, refresh, and change outfits if desired!—everyone gathered for small bites and a signature drink on the terrace of the hotel. The stunning views of the city skyline made the perfect backdrop for photos, and for ending the day with old and new friends.

All photography by David Keith Photography.