This past week I took my first business trip for work to the Better Homes and Gardens headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. I’ve been counting down the minutes until this trip, I was so excited to meet the folks from Better Homes and Gardens and other bloggers. I couldn’t find the charger to my camera before I left (that’s what I get for not putting it back where it belongs) and needed to shoot every one of these photos on my phone so some are blurry and didn’t do fabulously in low light but you’ll get the idea.
After some glorious time traveling by myself from Boston (uninterrupted hours to read on the plane! glorious!) we started the night at the Better Homes and Gardens test garden in the middle of the city with apps and drinks.
The next day we spent time touring the headquarters and seeing where the magic is made. We got to tour their prop area… it was really incredible!
It was so interesting to see where magazine and product photos are shot. The spaces you see in the magazine aren’t always actual houses. 🙂
The set was incredible. It was in a window-less warehouse-like room and none of the scenes had ceilings. Those were added in a photo editing program after (isn’t that crazy?). The outside that you see on the other side of the windows was created using a giant printer!
I loved this bedroom… it looked like the perfect beach cottage… and you know I love a good navy and white mixture. I thought it was so interesting that I believe I need the perfect light to shoot photos in my home but this photo and the one above just had incredible professional lighting on it to make it look like it was daylight. (Spoiler alert: I just ordered that bench for our guest room… more details at the beginning of August.)
The divided up the day into a few activities and for one of them I was paired with Beth from Home Stories A to Z and Taryn from Design, Dining + Diapers to create this centerpiece out of pieces we chose to use from this assortment of vases, flowers and fruit they gave us. I’m picky about my flowers and generally love the arrangements in our home to be completely monochromatic with just one color of flowers and specific kinds of flowers but we had to use what they had on hand.
Later that day we were challenged to come up with a little hostess gift to bring if you had only two hours to get ready for a Christmas party and make a little hostess gift… so after sitting at my table pretty clueless for a little bit I figured the best I could do, for something that would be used and not tacky, would be to use a paint pen and personalize one of Better Homes and Gardens ceramic plates. It took all of ten minutes so I’d say it was a success! They had this whole area staged as a Christmas scene for us complete with a professional photographer to take photos of our projects… it was incredible to watch how perfect his photos turned out.
After a full day at the Better Homes and Gardens headquarters we headed to West End Architectural Salvage. The owner, Don, has an HGTV show based off the shop and what they produce. It was pretty neat to talk to him for a while and hear about his business.
We were told to dress “cocktail chic” which I knew people would take to all different levels. I chose to wear one of my favorite dresses, which is seven years old and was $17 from Banana Republic. It’s one of those silhouettes that isn’t going out of style and has all sort of interesting details around the neck that you can’t see in this blurry photo.
Okay, so what does this trip mean for you?
It means that I’m a spokesperson for the Better Homes and Gardens line at Walmart. Six times a year I will create a post that fits with their post guidelines for that month. For example, the second week of August I have a post due where I need to show how I’ve brought “farmhouse chic” into our home. My style is “beachy chic” (less rustic and distressed than the farmhouse style) so when I picked out and ordered my products I specifically chose pieces that could work with either style so I could be true to us and to this blog while still competing in this challenge.
There’s a chance the specific challenge won’t work with our style in the the coming months so you may see me working on a family member or friend’s home which I think will be a fun addition to the blog.
Coming up later this week…
The design plan for our upstairs bathroom! (The new toilet is sitting in our dining room now… classy.)