Blogfest 2011 at the Hearst Tower in NYC

Today was the opening day of BLOGFEST2011 in NYC – a three-day design event for home and lifestyle bloggers from across the United States hosted by Kravet and Hearst Publishing.  The purpose of the event is to celebrate the changing landscape of digital and print media, as we know it, and to bring together  a group of about 100 of the nation’s top tastemakers and trendsetters in blogging. I was excited to participate and to meet so many other bloggers whose names I’ve come to recognize from the world of blogging.  When I started this blog as an offshoot of my retail website, The Well Appointed House, I never imagined it would become the community of names and faces that it has evolved to be.  As Beth Green, Vice President of Marketing and Communications of Kravet put it, “The group gathered here represents the brightest stars and the best of the best in the design blogging world.”  I was excited to have been included in this group, which as they said, is destined to usher the design industry into a new era.

We started the afternoon with a kickoff lunch hosted by House Beautiful Magazine on the 44th floor of the gorgeous Hearst Tower.  It sure has changed since I was employed there back in 1997!   After opening remarks by Kate Kelly-Smith, Vice President and Publisher of House Beautiful, we were greeted warmly by the President of Kravet, Cary Kravet and Beth Greene.

We were introduced to Michael Clinton (President, Marketing and Publishing Director of Hearst Magazines), who reopened my eyes to the world of Hearst and all that they do in print, online and televised media.  The legacy of William Randolph Hearst is truly amazing and unmatched.

If you’ve ever wondered how Hearst has grown into what it is now – and you weren’t able to participate in Blogfest, here’s a good synopsis of some of the corporate history that was touched upon by Kate Kelly-Smith and Michael Clinton:
They are a big sponsor of Blogfest and our meetings today were all held in the legendary Hearst Tower, originally built in 1928 and revamped and reopened in 2006 and considered the “greenest building” in NYC. It was the first building to receive a Gold LEED certified rating for core and shell interiors in NYC.  How’s that for an appropriate spot for top design bloggers convening?!  The building is truly spectacular and if you are a “design junkie” as Newell Turner kept calling all of us uber-bloggers, it’s worth knowing about.  The New Yorker called it, “The most beautiful skyscraper to go up in New York since 1967.”  Time Magazine said, “The storied New York City skyline gets a surge of exhiliration with the first worthy addition of the century.”  There couldn’t have been a more apropos spot for this meeting of the minds, and next on the agenda were three evocative panel discussions.  The first was “The Importance of Blogs to the Print Magazine Industry Today” which included Dara Caponigro, Newell Turner and Mark Rozzo of Town & Country.  Then we got to hear from Dara and her crew of top editors from Veranda.  
I was thrilled to see my good friend, the always elegant Catherine Davis, up on the stage (she’s the Style Editor at Veranda and we’ve known each other for 8 years out of the realm of work) complete with a video interview giving us an inside look at her styling the gorgeous spread of exquisite pearl earrings at a photo shoot for the latest issue of the magazine.
You can see Catherine taking us from concept to the pages of Veranda here:

This was all followed with another fabulous panel consisting of the editorial team at House Beautiful, and as if it could all get any more interesting, we were ushered back up to the 44th floor for a champagne reception hosted by Town & Country.  The day couldn’t have been better – I think it surpassed expectations — and while the rest of the bloggers left via bus transport to go see the ELLE DECOR Modern Life Concept House and party,  I had to turn in for the evening.  I am sure there will be a lot of buzz about the rest of the evening from my fellow design bloggers, so stay tuned!

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