Why I Loved Meeting BHG At Alt

BHG Alt Summit Dinner 2013 www.bunnyanddolly.com

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Meeting the team from Better Homes and Gardens was a highlight of my Alt Summit experience — and not just because they gifted their Wednesday night dinner guests with fabulous goodie bags!

As a teenager, I dreamed of a career in magazines. Unfortunately, I let my journalism advisor at Boston University frightened me into believing I’d spend years as a struggling writer in New York City. She explained that editorial positions at the types of magazine where I wanted to work were just too hard to come by. Afraid of being poor and desolate after graduation, I decided to switch majors — first to advertising, then to public relations — so I’d have an easier chance at finding work.

I’ve held various public relations and publicity position over the years but always regretted turning my back on magazine journalism. I guess it makes sense that now I’m a blogger. I love to write and share information with others, and I’ve always been interested in fashion, design, and self-improvement. Since the opportunity to work my way up the editorial totem pole never presented itself, writing Bunny & Dolly and contributing to sites like Lifetime Moms lets me live out my dream of being a magazine editor. Well, a version of my dream, at least.

Alt Summit 2013 Grand America Hotel Lobby www.bunnyanddolly.com
With Emily of peck life after the BHG dinner

Back to Alt Summit. Having wanted to be part of magazine’s editorial team for so long, I was eager to attend the Wednesday night dinner sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens. I didn’t expect they would offer me a staff position on the spot, but I was curious to learn how I could get involved with their brand as a blogger.

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about being one of BHG’s 50 dinner guests; I’m not an interior design blogger, I don’t cook, and I have a serious brown thumb. But then Kaelin Zawilinski, the editorial manager of BHG.com, said something that resonated with me. She explained that the magazine is no longer “your mother’s Better Homes and Gardens.” If the new BHG is for my generation, my point of view as a young(ish) mother interested in organization, family-friendly design, simple recipes, and easy, sophisticated style would be relevant to their readers–other women like me.

At the dinner, Art Director Kylee Krizmanic complimented my metallic-accented pants, and we bonded over the challenges of new motherhood and living in the Midwest. (Did you know that BHG is based in Des Moines?) The next day, feeling especially motivated, I showed her an inspiration board on my iPad that I had created for a home makeover project I’m currently working on. She remarked that she could definitely see the project as an online feature, if not in the magazine. Then she said something that gave me a boost of confidence to which I clung for the rest of the conference: She thought I’d be perfect as one of their Style Spotters bloggers.

Granted, Kylee is not the social media editor, and there are probably dozens of hoops to jump through before even being considered to join the BHG blogging team, but her comment encouraged me to not give up on this opportunity like I did back in college. So maybe nothing will come of it. But at least this time, I can say I tried.

BHG Alt Summit Swag Bag www.bunnyanddolly.com

BHG Alt Summit Swag Bag www.bunnyanddolly.com

Now for the fun stuff! Here are the goodies BGH gave out at dinner (clockwise from top left): New Decorating Book, Better Homes and Gardens plastic storage box, the February issue of Better Homes and Gardens, Baggu tote bag, Paper Source 2013 Mini Desk Calendar, Hedgehog Valentine Card Kit, MollaSpace Lollipop Speaker, Wicked Audio In-Ear Mojo Earbuds, and Caldrea lotion.

Let’s Discuss

  1. Ali

    I subscribe to House Beautiful but I’ve never picked up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens – because (as their editorial manager alluded to) I think of it as sort of outdated and not my style and not my mother’s style either but now I’m wondering if it might not be a good resource for me for my home projects. (Um, also, PJ – please email me your inspiration board or at least tell me about your project, I am very curious). Anyway, I am now going to check them out. And since they’re gaining another pair of eyes from your post – I think they should definitely hire you as a Style Spotter blogger.

  2. sheri

    Great post PJ – I, too, was SO impressed by the sponsor dinner, and the willingness BHG showed in having “real” conversations about partnering with bloggers. God luck! 🙂

    • PJ

      Thanks, Sheri! The dinner was terrific, and Joanna and Kaelin lead an online Alt class tonight that was equally as informative and enjoyable.

  3. Emily @ Peck Life

    A great post and I agree! I’ve actually been a BHG subscriber and fan since I was a teenager but fell out of it in my early 20’s when it felt a little old for me. Now that I’m 30, I feel like it’s so hip and current {or i’m just getting old, haha}. Being involved with them would be a dream! I’m totally in love with the tupperware containers we got – I want to buy the entire set!

  4. Monica Lee

    It was such a lovely dinner and they are do down to earth! I think the magazine is doing a fab job picking up where other magazines have disappeared. As a BIG magazine reader, I have loved watching them up their game!

  5. Shanna Mallon

    So you’re the PJ from the ALT chat tonight, I take it!? : ) I resonated with this post so much — 1) I was told similar things about writing (too hard, too much competition, you’ll never make it) and 2) I just got really surprised by Better Homes & Gardens. I LOVE Joanna like oh my word, but I honestly didn’t know all the new ways the mag is trying to reach out to bloggers, and I love it. It makes me so excited when I see publications valuing bloggers and the work they do.

    Also, PS, your site is beautiful!

    • PJ

      Yes, I’m “the PJ” from the ALT class! Haha! I’m glad that you were able to relate to my story. I still regret taking that advisor’s advice and not getting that degree in magazine journalism. Luckily, there are outlets for writers like you and me to have our voices heard.

      Wishing you lots of luck with your writing!



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