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That time when New York taught me about my husband + Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker’s Party!

You know what they always say: You never really know someone until you take them to New York City!

(Do they say that? They should, guys. They really should.)
New York City trip
Last week Andy and I hit the Big Apple for the Better Homes & Gardens Blogger Workshop and annual Stylemaker’s party, and we made a long, kid-free weekend out of it. (In case there was any lingering suspense after this post, I’d like to put your mind at rest: I was able to show up to both events fully dressed. It looked iffy there for a bit.)

You guys. I wish I’d had a video camera on Andy the whole time. It was like being in the city erased all the layers and revealed The Introvert Beneath: a side of my husband I had only glimpsed. As we walked the streets of the city and hopped on and off the subway, we kept having conversations like this:

Me: “It’s amazing! We’re right in the middle of everything! Doesn’t it make you feel so energized?!”
Andy: “But WHY are all these DIFFERENT people doing so many DIFFERENT things?! WHAT ARE THEY ALL DOING HERE?!”

He could not comprehend the quantities of people, and how they were all attending to their own, unique schedules, even past midnight. (Me? I LOVED it. I’d totally live in the city.)

We had the best time seeing the sights and people-watching, and being shameless tourists in places like Times Square.
Touring times square
We saw Wicked on Broadway. (LOVED. IT. OMG.) –SO SORRY for these terrible phone pics I just grabbed from my instagram feed.
wicked on broadway
We spent a morning rowing boats in Central Park. If the infamous “duck face” is appropriate anywhere, it’s in the middle of a pond in the presence of actual ducks, amiright?
duck face on a pond
On second thought, maybe it’s not appropriate anywhere.

NYC also revealed just how out of touch Andy is with pop culture. Guys, he’s hopeless. This conversation happened as we were finishing up a fancy dinner at a restaurant on our first night:

Me: “Don’t you love how we’re kind of in the center of the world right now? Things are happening all around us! Just think of how many famous people are within like a mile of us.” (Side note: I realize how obnoxious I sound. I get really excited about being right where things are happening.)
Andy: “Yeah, I bet there are lots of big celebrities… like, probably Regis Philbin!”

REGIS PHILBIN. That is his best example of a random celebrity. I think my husband is secretly 80 years old.

Or this:

Me: “So what are you going to do with yourself while I’m at the BHG event all day Thursday?”
Andy: “Oh I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go on Oprah or Maury Povich!” (He was kidding, of course, but still.)

Couple problems with that, babe. Like 1. Oprah show no longer exists. 2. It was filmed in Chicago. 3. Is Maury Povich even on anymore? Isn’t that show all about who’s your baby daddy? I suggested he look into going on Ricki Lake or Sally Jesse Raphael.

I’ll get to the BHG event stuff in a sec, but first we have to have a heart-to-heart, you and I, about what you need to do if you ever go to NYC.
coffee shop bar: banana cream pie
You must – YOU MUST – march yourself right down to this place called the Coffee Shop Bar and order a banana cream pie. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Banana cream pie?! That’s a total D-list dessert that you only eat if all the chocolate desserts are all gone at a potluck. But listen to me. I never knew I could have such strong feelings for banana cream pie. I don’t know what was in it – MSG? Crack? Tiny slivers of heaven? – but it was basically lifechanging. I had to eat every bite with my eyes closed so I could soak it all into my soul and never forget it.

Okay, back to business. The morning of the BHG event, I met up for breakfast with some of my fave blogger buds.
Bloggers at the #bhgstyle event

L to R: Jessica from Four Generations One Roof, Jen from I Heart Organizing, Michael from Inspired by Charm, Laura from Finding Home, Kirsten from 6th Street Design School, Me, Stacy from Not Just a Housewife

The awesome editors of Better Homes & Gardens had put together a beautiful event for us to meet and learn from each other. The magazine has been around forever – wasn’t it on all our moms’ coffee tables? – but they’re still finding new ways to keep it fresh and young.

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to hear the amazing Eddie Ross give some of his best secrets about how he styles tables for publications. (I’ve admired his designs since he was a contestant on Design Star years ago, so I may have been a bit starstruck!)
He set up a table he’d styled three different ways, and showed us how they photograph each setting.
How to style a table
Here are a few solid-gold tips he shared to create a gorgeous table setting at your home:

  • Incorporate new, modern touches with antique plates and glasses to keep your table looking fresh.
  • Everything doesn’t have to match. Mix-and-match your grandmother’s antiques with your own new stuff or thrift store finds.
  • There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about what YOU like and what looks good to you! (Remember the 6 Decorating Rules to Live By? Holla!)
  • These wine glasses from Crate & Barrel are some of his favorite go-tos for all different types of table settings.

After a day of workshop sessions and networking, we met up again that night for the Stylemaker’s party. I was so excited to meet and chat with Gayle Butler, BHG’s editor-in-chief!
Gayle Butler, editor-in-chief better homes and gardens
Gayle and her whole team were so down-to-earth, friendly and fun. And I always love letting loose with my fellow bloggers!
20130919_212616 (Custom)

Jen at I Heart Organizing, Chelsey at The Paper Mama, Michael at Inspired by Charm, Kirsten of Simply Grove, Me, Kirsten at 6th Street Design School, Joni at Lay Baby Lay.

Such a fun weekend taking in the sights, making new friends and seeing some of my old favorites again, but after a few days away, I was so ready to get back home and see my kiddos again.

Do big cities energize or overwhelm you? Do you ever learn anything new about your spouse anymore? Any big Maury Povich fans in the house? 🙂

Let's connect


  1. In theory, I would love to visit New York one day. In reality, I will NEVER go to New York because I get nervous even hearing/reading about the crowds! I have come to terms with the fact that I am a chicken. I still get lost in my hometown, which is the size of Mayberry.
    And: I am totally afraid of running into Elvira with a book on her head at Times Square like you guys did. (For real, I see her in your picture! Haha)

  2. Looks so fun – I love NYC!

  3. looks like you had SOO much fun! what a neat event to get to go to. And LOL at Andy, at least he is cute right?

  4. Omigosh, just when I didn’t think it was possible to love Andy any MORE, I do. Looks like you had a blast!

  5. Looks like you had an awesome time!!! Eddie Ross…yep, I’d freak out. 😉

  6. So fun! (I’m kind of with Andy again–just like with the ouchy rug–I did live in the city (Boston, not New York), and I learned that I am a nice place to visit kind of person when it comes to cities)

  7. I {heart} you! It was so fun seeing you again! And your husband cracks me up 🙂

  8. Looks like such a fun trip!! I’m so glad you rowed a boat in Central Park!! That was my favorite part when I went! Did you eat or have drinks at The Boathouse restaurant too?? And the blog social looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great week! 🙂

  9. OMG, girl…………you made me laugh til tears came out. I’m married to an “old man” so you’re understood but some how or other we seem to have a marvelous time and soak up the environment where ever we are and ENJOY it all. Our hubs just enjoy it differently………….like we want to take a road trip for our anniversary next year and he’d rather take a cruise up and down the coast. No I say……………………you might miss something on the road.
    Looks like you all had the best time in the Big Apple and that you hooked up with some friends. Our hubs had a good time too just not as crazily as us.
    Aloha from the islands

  10. what an amazing time! so glad you and andy got to have so much fun, and you got to hang out with amazing people like yourself!

  11. I wish I’d ended up at that coffee shop eating banana cream pie instead of eating chicken feet in China town.

    And what’s this about Oprah? She’s not on anymore?

    You’re a star. A total rock star, baby.

  12. Julia @Cuckoo4Design says:

    Haha, you guys sound like me and the hubby in NYC. We only live an hour away and we love to go, especially for our anniversary. We are always on the lookout for celebs. It’s so stupid but fun. Last time I ran into Nicky Hilton. And I get so excited for not reason.
    You look like you had an amazing time and you rocked every outfit.

  13. So this one time we went to Paris and went to see the Eiffel Tower and there were tons and tons of people and they crammed all around us in the elevator and it was the worst day ever except for the fact we were in Paris. I think I cried later that day.

    So yeah…I don’t really do big cities…actually I don’t do crowds. Which are pretty much what big cities are…But I do like to people watch. 🙂 And I loved the day where we started at the Palais Garnier and walked all the way back to where we were staying down at the very southern part of the city, because really, it couldn’t be that far, right? (It was.)

    So…no to big cities? Yes? I don’t know.

    Loved following your NYC adventure via instagram!

  14. I’m with you, I HEART NY!!! I love the energy and the people and all the stuff to do there. We saw Wicked while there too, it was amazing. You look beautiful, you and Andy are adorable (despite his old man tendencies, hahaha!), and the BHG looks like a dream come true place to be. I will make an exception to rolling my eyes at this duck lips photo since it’s adorable and hilarious since you were among (amongst? whatever) the ducks. We’re going to be in NYC in November, I’m going to have to check me out some banana cream pie!

  15. I can’t even take how cute you guys are in every single picture! Kelly – your outfits are perfect and you look amazing!!!

  16. i’m glad you had a great time. usually, i feel terribly for people visiting nyc. i feel like you can’t really love it like you would if you grew up in it or near it, if you haven’t lived in it. it’s marvelous and exciting and full of wild extremes and any sort of food or electronic you wish at 2am! and just about my favorite place on this planet. please visit longer and fall in love.

  17. For the love of all things holy – I am cracking up over here. I need a little comment section under each paragraph because I forget everything I want to say by the time I get to the end of your hilarity. Here’s what I remember – 1. You and Andy are adorable. 2. Love the dress you wore to Wicked. 3. I LOVE WICKED TOO!! Like, a lot. 4. Please pack me in your purse for the BHG event next year. 5. I love you.

  18. Ha ha. Those exchanges with Andy are priceless! I’m glad you have them documented for all eternity here on this blog. And though I’m an introvert, I think I become an extrovert when I’m in the city; it makes me feel like I can conquer the world! I do miss being a New Yorker sometimes…especially when reading posts like these. I have never been to the Coffee Shop Bar before, so that’s going on the NYC bucket list now! And I LOVE that you got to spend time with like minded bloggers and so many inspirational folk from the BH&G team. Thanks for sharing some of the nuggets of wisdom you picked up “along the way.” I just might need to get out my grandmother’s china from the back of our cabinets and start incorporating them into our dinner parties more!

  19. Oh Andy! I’m glad y’all had a nice getaway! New York is a great place for parents to escape! 😉

  20. What an amazing trip! That is so awesome you were invited!! I would be pinching myself all the time to make sure it was real. I love that you and Andy are opposites 😉 xo Kristin

  21. I actually totally get what Andy was talking about. It really is staggering, how many people are in NYC, all living their own lives and doing their own thing. The first time I was there, I felt so… anonymous! Not good or bad, just different.

  22. Love it! Maybe country bumpkin Andy should start with a few trips into downtown Atlanta. 🙂

  23. The on-the-airplane pic? I thought for a sec you were married to your brother. Eddie Ross, not so much. No resemblance there. So glad you had so much fun, at any rate. (:

  24. I laughed while reading this the whole time! I’m so glad you and Andy had such a good time! The city is definitely energized. But you never told us what Andy wound up doing while you were busy with BHG! 😀 I’m still chuckling just thinking about this! Thank you for making my Tuesday!

  25. I’m a city girl all the way. In fact, I’m not close enough and I actually live in the city. I would put my house on the market and move to a condo downtown in a heartbeat. Only problem: the hubs. “Too many people down here” was what he said the last time we ate downtown along the river and I suggested this idea … sigh … not the learning moment I wanted from him!

    Congrats on the BH&G event! Looked like a fun time!

    🙂 Linda

  26. Ha! I totally thought you were going to be all “Andy just came alive in the big city and it was so inspiring and we fell in love all over again and blah blah blah.” Chris was in NYC a few weeks ago and after hearing about it, I totally wanted to go back with him next time, but he was like “Honestly, if we’re going to go somewhere, I wouldn’t go there. It wasn’t so great. Too many people.” So thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!

  27. Regis Philbin?! He is 80!

  28. Well even though I grew up in Los Angeles, when I take Brawn out of the country and into anything with a population over 10,000, it is like Ma & Pa Kettle go to town. It’s bad. And I just have to say I think you need another brunette or two in your repertoire. One maybe old enough to BE the mom with the BHG on the coffee table.

  29. Tammy Berry says:

    “The magazine has been around forever – wasn’t it on all our moms’ coffee tables?” — I’m about to be 30, and the only two magazines I still subscribe to are Real Simple and BH&G….I just realized this, and now _I_ feel like I’m secretly 80 years old!! 😀

  30. Ohmygosh, you were living my dream. I have wanted to go to New York City my whole life! I love this post so much 🙂

  31. So glad to see you at least had a good time, even if he was a bit overwhelmed. I love those wine glasses, and feel I might replace my entire “won at events” or “somehow acquired” collection. Your dress looks totally FAB!!! And my MIL LOVES (L-O-VE-S) Maury…I enjoy watching it with her and guessing who the baby daddy is or isn’t! haha

  32. I lived in NYC for about a year during and after college. LOVED it at the time but when i left i realized just how much it drained me. All that energy is great for a few days but it can be exhausting long term. That said, I took my hubs there a few years ago and he was just as overwhelmed as Andy. LOL..It’s endearing isn’t it? You look FAB in all the pics and the BHG event looks so awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  33. That looks like such a fun event. Love the table styling tips and you and Andy are one stylish couple 🙂

  34. This is just too cool! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful time and had the opportunity to get away with your husband.

    And now I really want to know what he did do while you were busy with your peeps at BH&G? Maury? Ricki?

    • haha! He walked wall street, went to rockefeller center and did the whole touristy thing. I still think he should’ve tried to get on The Today Show at LEAST.

  35. Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to begin! Ha! SO glad you had fun, and seriously…..#rocktheduckface. 😉

  36. Wicked is the best. Did you know the music going into it? Also the best.

    Maybe Regis Philbin could someday star in Wicked? I mean, weirder things have happened. Like Nick Jonas as Marius/Les Mis. (GAG.) Then Andy would be totally relevant again. Glad you guys had a good time 🙂

  37. Love, love, LOVE NYC! My BFF lives there so I get to go up 3 or 4 times a year… it never gets old to me. 🙂 Glad you had fun!
    xo Heidi

  38. What a FUN weekend! So awesome! I’ve been to NYC a few times, and while I LOVE visiting, I think the busy-ness would be a little overwhelming if I lived there. But it is truly an amazing city. Congrats on the BHG gig– so many awesome bloggers all in one place! Glad you and hubby got to experience NYC together (and see different sides of one another too, lol)!

    ~Abby =)

  39. Looks like you had a fabulous trip, and little getaway with Andy!! My daughter just visited our family in the city this past weekend and went on one of those boats in Central Park…….crazy…I feel like I just found out we’re related 🙂 Ps I gotta look you up on IG.

  40. My husband grew up in the Hudson Valley, so we’ve visited the city quite a bit. We both love it. Times Square is actually one of the last places we like to spend too much time in, although, it’s unavoidable if you want to go to the theater. Which we always do!

    The only times I’ve ever been there with people who were overwhelmed or felt like fish-out-of-water was when I was in college (30 years ago) and with a group of AAA employees. Amazingly enough, the AAA people were so used to the Ohio vibe that they couldn’t relax and enjoy NYC. Their loss!

  41. Eeeeeeeek!!! SO. MUCH. FUN. Ridiculous. Just ridiculous. I love being a fly on your wall. I have no words. Well okay, sure…I have a few. Here goes. Wicked is amazing, right?! Saw it on my 24th bday when Jesse took me to NYC. That feels like 14 years and 14 children ago. Wait. Also, I am Andy in NYC. You are Jesse. Just so you know. Also, I miss Oprah so much that I can’t even speak about the loss yet. Too soon. xo

  42. My ‘old man’ hubster is taking notes on the nanner cream pie! It’s his favorite, so he was interested in making a mental note…. He is a big city humbugger, but I’ll give it to him since he grew up in Isle Aux Morte, Newfoundland (Canadian Island) and moved here to marry me from Toronto, Canada. Cities don’t come much larger than that. I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for a while and loved it, but must admit that I’m a small town/country girl at heart. The idea of acres of land with horses, dogs and chickens makes my heart go pitter patter!
    Glad to hear yall had a great time, know I think you look fabulous in the pics, and am pretty certain you smelled good too….. Nice to know the pressure of smelling good didn’t throw you ovah da edge!

  43. It’s funny, because I work in Times Square every day. There is definitely an “energy” that you take with you, but just the other day at home (outside of NYC), my Husband and I went for a walk in our neighborhood and I learned that I don’t know how to “stroll.” I power walk… all. the. time. I know it’s because of how much time I spend walking around NYC. I’m always on the go, getting to an appointment, trying to make a train, etc. I often wonder how it might feel to be a tourist in NYC with nowhere really to be and to just enjoy it.

  44. Um I totally saw Regis Philbin walking across the street to work (back when it was KATHY. NOT KELLY.). And I was completely dumbfounded. I wouldn’t have said no if he asked to kiss me. Just sayin.

  45. When I was on maternity leave I think we watched Maury daily. Love it.
    Looks like you guys had a great trip!! What an awesome blogger event =)

  46. What a fun post! There are so many great things to do in New York. I often traveled there for work and have always wanted to know what my husband would be like in New York City… I imagine Dan would be much like Andy, haha! He prefers wide open spaces with more cows than people! It could get interesting. It looks like you and Andy had an amazing time! P.S. Never apologize for the cell phone Instagram shots… I enjoy those the most 🙂

  47. You were in my city! And I totally missed this post until now! I’m so glad you guys had a blast and got to do all the fun touristy things. I love this post, because I can totally relate to both of you. I’ll have lived in New York City for 9 years as of this Thanksgiving. It was really really exciting and energizing for me for the first 7 years or so. But sometimes now I’m like “It never ennnds! They just keep going!” (curled up in fetal position on the couch). The hubster and I keep saying one more year, so we’ll see how many more years that actually turns into. 😉

  48. In the case of 3 month old baby Julian, Eric you are NOT the father!!! Oh Maury what happened to you?! Anyway enough about him…YOU looked amazing and Im uber jealous bc Ive always wanted to go to NYC. Im a total city girl and NYC is on my “must visit one day” list. Andy is so adorbs though and Im so glad you got to experience that with him. Make sure you leave room for me in your bag next to Jen bc Im totes coming with too! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome time with us:)

  49. DO. NOT. let me forget to tell you about when I “met” Maury Povich and Connie Chung at the Newark airport. Very killer awesome story.

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