Chatting with Rhoda Montgomery, Southern Hospitality blog, about Nate Day and other bloggy fun

Yes, we're back! We didn't really go anywhere and very much appreciate the emails asking what was up. It's been a very busy time Chez Linda for the last several weeks what with one thing and another so between that and a couple of guest scheduling snafu's, we took an unexpected break. But, it was just a break, not a break up and we're back with a great lineup of guests and topics. Coming soon we have interior designer David Easton, Haskell Harris of Garden & Gun Magazine, designer/author Kathryn Ireland and more, so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, this week, we invited Rhoda Montgomery of the blog Southern Hospitality to join us.  As many of you will have heard, a couple of weeks ago, over 80 design bloggers were invited to attend a taping of the Nate Berkus show in NYC. This was a followup to this group all showing their support and admiration of Nate Berkus' work on the launch of his new talk show by doing posts and tweets all on the same day - aka "Nate Day".  Great idea, spearheaded by The Moggit Girls and Create Girl. So, as you may have heard, there was a significant level of discontent about how the day unfolded at the taping of Nate's show. Lot's of angry posts and tweets ensued. But also some very supportive ones as well. To us at SRT, it just seemed like a big PR nightmare for Nate's show and one that could have been avoided if they'd understood the true power of the blogosphere. Anyway, since we weren't there, we wanted to get the inside scoop from Rhoda, who was one of the more measured reporters from the day.  

We also chat with Rhoda about her blog and two of her most popular DIY projects: the beadboard wallpaper and her stairs.

If you participated in Nate Day - we'd love to hear from you. In the end - was the trip worth it? If you did not participate, we'd love to hear your impressions of the day as well.

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Hi! I was one of the bloggers who was invited and attended the taping! I totally get where everyone was coming from who were disappointed with how Nate's staff handled everything. But, I think it was just as much of "our" fault for assuming (without being told) that the show was going to reference bloggers or even mention that the audience was full of bloggers. I won't lie and say that I was shocked when I realized that he didn't mention it on air, but I'm also not going to say I was upset or disappointed. Yeah, we all came together for the taping of the show, but the biggest highlight for me was that we all came together! I actually had the chance to meet Rhoda and many of the other bloggers that I enjoy communicating with daily via our blogs and twitter! I say for those that only dwell on what didn't happen missed the gift of what did happen!

Rhoda is so sweet and genuine in person, I'm glad I had the chance to meet her in NYC! And I look forward to seeing her again in Nashville at Blissdom!
Have a great day!
Amy Chalmers said…
I enjoyed listening to Rhoda talk about the Nate experience. I was invited to Nate day as well, and I got my invite from having tweeted a picture of his book and a chandelier sconce that I had lying on a table in my workroom and I said something like "I like these things: Nate and crystal and iron sconces." I then asked Moggit Girls to add me to a list they were making. I never wrote a blog post about Nate. My impression of the trip was just surprise that he didn't mention us on air and remarked to my hubby just that as soon as taping was finished. My Nateday post was a bit tongue in cheek. I did think he was very gracious and he did talk to us and thank us for coming. He also at one point went over and hugged Joy and Janet. Julieann from Create Girl did not get a shout out from Nate till about a few days later when he thanked her on twitter for her positive support. It seemed clear he was just trying to get in the swing of running a new show, so the producers can be held 'accountable' if there is any accounting to be held for not taking advantage and tailoring the show to Nates greater advantage. By the sheer fact of all us design bloggers being in NYC we got invited to HGTV lunch and the RUE launch. Both of these events to me were more important to me as a designer who has a blog, than being in Nates audience. I don't feel bitter or negative about any of it! I had fun and it was great to meet my fellow bloggers in person. Also so exciting to have discussions with the HGTV folks about programming. Lastly to meet the superstar Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar and have a long interesting talk with them at RUE was just fabulous for me. At the end of the day I kind of felt like Joni when she said she would have felt like the old hag at RUE with all the young bloggers. It is true, not too many of us over 45 years old in the room. In closing just wanted to add that I have enjoyed tweeting with Linda,(she turned me onto the beadboard wallpaper which is fab) and I would be stalking Joni if I was a Texas girl!! I love Cote de Texas Joni!!
What a joy it was listening to Rhoda. She is so sweet, the kind of person you instantly love. xo Lidy
It was such a pleasure to meet Rhoda in NYC and hang out with her and a group of other delightful bloggers well into the night. I myself had a wonderful time, I truly believe in life you make your own experiences. It was empowering and exciting to finally meet so many of the bloggers I have come to know through comments and emails, and to put a face with these ladies was an experience that nothing can take away from. I think the show missed a huge opportunity, but I don't agree with all the bashing that then ensued...

I also had an additional experience that did make the trip more than worth it for me, as I was asked to tape a segment with Nate on the earlier show that day, showcasing one of my designs and two of the DIY projects that went into the room. I had an excellent experience with all of the producers and staff, who were extremely considerate, were open to my suggestions, showed appreciation of my effort, and lastly Nate was very kind to me and also expressed his appreciation to me after the taping when he passed me in the hall. No cameras there to capture that moment, and was not required of him, he simply chose to be kind and express appreciation. So, there is my perspective!

Great chat. I had the pleasure of meeting Rhoda in NY and she is just as lovely in person as she is on her blog and via emails. She came right up to me and gave me a big hug and started formally introducing me to all her Southern pals that I love!

I attended the Nate Show taping. I'm not certain how tickets were sent to people, but I did post about Nate on Nate day and then I remember their being a tweet from Nate's Show telling you to email them if you wanted to be part of a blogger audience. That's what I did as well and I got the invite like many others. I was able to get many more people invited to the taping just by emailing and asking. Everyone found out about the taping via twitter so if you are not on twitter you wouldn't have known about it. I put it out there on my blog and I was able to get others into the show.

No one was told that the show was going to be about bloggers, but when we got confirmation that we were going to the show they asked us to send projects/pictures etc to two people on the Nate Show staff. I think that made it feel like it would be a show about bloggers tips, etc.

It would have been nice for Nate to mention that there were an audience full of design bloggers, but in the end it didn't ruin my experience. I got to meet a big amount of my blog friends and just chat non stop with them. I had never been to a show taping so that experience while long was also enjoyable.

Since I was one of the few NY bloggers attending the show I took it upon myself to plan a little after party. I thought it would be a good idea to get some to sponsor the event so I emailed an editor at the nest and the following day I was on the phone with the pr director.

The nest totally understood what an impact it would make to get to meet a large group of design bloggers. Very quickly we had a photographer and event all set to go and I got to bring the nest home editor with me as a guest to the show.

Plus they used pictures from the event on their site and made a story of it!

Over all it was just a blast and I wish these ladies had stayed in town longer.

Yvonne Blacker said…
I loved this very relevant conversation with Rhoda! I actually sat behind her and Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chic while waiting to be let into the studio at the Nate Show taping in NY. We only briefly spoke, but I do remember her Southern charm! The entire room was filled with people I had heard of or had connected with online. Being able to connect face-to-face and have real-live conversations was definitely the best part of the whole experience. Meeting other people who take the business of blogging seriously, who share what they know, who encourage and support made it well worth the effort to drop everything -- not just for Nate but for ourselves.

While the producers of the show did not capitalize on the collective content of the audience members, I believe they are tuned in to what all design bloggers have to offer and probably have a decent amount of research and development gems from the info that they received from us and that they find online. Even though it was a short notice trip, I am so glad I was able to make it happen from my end. I would do it again (but a limo ride and extended stay like you enjoyed, Linda, would have been preferred over my one-day visit by bus ; )

A few FYIs: Susan Brinson who was mentioned on the show is a NY based blogger and her website is House of Brinson. Julieann Covino of Jace Interiors and the Boston-based design blog CreateGirl, came up with the initial idea to blog about Nate back in June, then the MoggitGirls, Janet and Joy, worked their magic to get the producers to notice our online tributes to Nate/invite us to be in the audience. Also in the audience was Leslie Carothers who is a social media whiz and Nicole Nachazel of BiOH which produces a soy-based foam product for sustainable design. Check out what they have been doing on twitter and facebook to promote #ProjectUDesign which will result in the first crowd-sourced furnishing to be produced by Century Furniture, a perfect example of how social media is definitely the new way to do business and keep up with what is new in the field of design. I would love to hear you all address this topic more in future podcasts along with ways to generate revenue or increase opportunity through blogging (I loved that you shared some of that figuring-it-all-out info in this podcast).

And lastly, even though the youngsters seem to have endless energy to do all this online marketing in their sleep, I think we all have something to offer through our haved-lived-to-tell-about-it experiences! That is what is great about blogging -- we all have a voice and the audience is out there.
Thanks, Joni, Megan & Linda for inviting me to be on the Skirted Roundtable. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you girls and what an honor to get the invitation to talk about my experience at the Nate Show. So glad that many others have chimed in & left comments too about their thoughts about it all. I think for the most part, we were all just thrilled to be there & enjoyed SO much the time we got to interact and spend together. Blogging does bring us all together.
Splendid Sass said…
I wasn't there, but the fact that he didn't acknowledge a room full of bloggers; dumb! I would have love to have met all of the other bloggers, but I would have been furious with him over the blogger issue.
Love this post by the way! I am headed over.
Have a great day.
The more I read about the Nate Show day, the more I realize how many beautiful bloggers I missed meeting! I had mostly the same experience: sheer joy at meeting my fellow bloggers, surprise at the lack of mention of the design blog audience but yet so happy it was the catalyst to get us all together. I hope it's not the last time. I loved listening to the great interview and will have to listen to more, actually! Thank you! [BTW, sorry if this posts twice, had a comp glitch and rewrote it :) ]
Anonymous said…
I've really enjoyed your interviews and love each of your blogs although I rarely post. I do have to say I am very sorry to see Rhoda given such attention. After her post in 2009 on her local tea party- and her husband's racist, disrespectful t- shirt and attitude I completely stopped frequenting her site and am disappointed in anything that would bring her web traffic even if she has edited her web site to take down the most offensive stuff.

I am very sorry to post like this but my conscience just won't let me not. I look forward to your next interviews.
Jenny said…
The fact that "annonymous" is annonymous pretty much says it all. I remember Rhoda's tea party post and there was nothing racist or offensive about it. Typical of the left, anyone who doesn't see things their way is racist, offensive, homophobe, etc. Disgusting but oh-so-typical!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
I find it surprising that so many Bloggers were upset that they were not more "announced" than they were on Nate's show!
I think you assumed he would make more of an issue of you being there. But I think you need to re-think your position and lack of understanding. WHY would a show that is about ideas in decorating give more merit to Blogs that do the same thing, to millions of HIS VIEWERS!? After all ISN'T THAT EXACTLY WHAT HIS SHOW IS ABOUT! ? Seriously saying more than he did would of been like professional suicide! JUST THINK ABOUT IT and as the kids today say "Get Real".
YOU all EXPECTED "free advertising" and he did even more than some would have.
If your that upset don't go to tapings or wear billboards or give me your ticket! Geeeesh!
You should of enjoyed it for what it was, NOT what you expected.
One word comes to my mind, Ungrateful.

I am a blogger so I am NOT signing this for obvious reasons but it should not make my comment less important. Unless you "Assume" things that are not true about me.
Anonymous said…
Re: Annon above Jenny.

I feel the exact same way. I will never forget her DH's "Pool little Boy looking for some change." shirt, depicting OUR PRESIDENT looking almost bumish. So I and several others now avoid her blog too, as she was actually PROUD and announced it was her DH in that disgraceful shirt! I also wonder how she got the name Southern Hospitality when she NEVER showed "hospitality" or even had company. I also find her decorating "overboard and way overdone!" A good decorator know when to stop. IMHO
So, IMHO Many others should of gotten more attention.
Linda Merrill said…
To the Anon's (including "Jenny" whose name links nowhere) who want to talk politics - please don't. I think I can speak for Joni and Megan when I say that the three of us respect anyone's first amendment right to speak their own mind, or express their own opinions, on their own blog. We also respect the readers right not to read a blog, or blogger, they find offensive.

Rhoda is a respected member of the blogging community and we invited her on here to chat about something she had first hand knowledge of. This is not a political blog or post and I request that all comments related to the post and subject at hand and not to any other topic.

Thank you.
I had the pleasure of going to NYC and attending the Nate Show. Sure I think he {his show} missed a huge oppty to leverage the bloggers {100+} in the audience. But the highlight of the trip for me was meeting all of the lovely people behind the blogs.

Anonymous said…
Linda, Sorry to disagree and I will not post again on this topic. But I, too, saw the shirt and it was very offensive and I defend our President regardless of his views or his race and feel ALL AMERICAN'S should do so as well and should certainly not post such a racial slur and above all dishonor to the US on their BLOG! It was shameful and to say the least and spoke volumes about her. She was also using her Blog for the wrong reasons!!

cotedetexas said…
ok - no one is a bigger Obama supporter than me. And I read that post and didn't even remember it until you brought it up. Who cares? Her husband doesn't like Obama. Neither does mine!! Yet, I'm still married to him. Rhoda is the most unpolitical blogger out there. And I really could care less whether her husband or she for that matter supports O or not. 1/2 the country doesn't support him, nor voted for him. can't we all just get along???
Anonymous said…
Good morning. I posted the first anon post on Rhoda's tea party coverage and racism. My point was, and remains, that I am disappointed that you all would use your venue to promote someone who posted racist, hateful things.

It is not about politics, or President Obama (except that that was who the t-shirt had on it) and some of the other signs she posted originally with amusement and tacit agreement.

Free speech is a protected right for us all. She should be able to post such things (or alter them later as she did) and the SRT is free to publicize her web site.

However, if I were someone like Ms. Moss, Mr. McAlpine, Mr Wolf, etc. I certainly would not appreciate being lumped in with someone known to publish racist material, regardless of her politics.
And because you all chose to promote Rhoda on SRT it reflects on your integrity too.
###### said…
I am not sure how to get in on this.
Anonymous said…
Fantastic....great interview. I love this gal, I found her via Kim/Daisy Cottage. Back then I had no idea what blogging was all about, we have a private family blog that came to be because we were planning a surprise b'day party for my MIL with family from all over the country.

I just fell into it and have met all you wonderful lucky day I feel, I get great ideas, recipes etc. and some I even consider friends, most have been wonderful to little ole Annon me...

And Amen Joni....this country is polarized enough without it spilling into Blogland...

Love your accent girlfriend and keep up the good your blog and your heart.

All the best from your Yankee friend...

xo Kathy :)
72 and sunny said…
oh gaaaawd. *rolling the eyes* COME. ON. really? Do we need to start putting disclaimers that the views of our guests are their own and don't necessarily reflect those of the show?

You've missed the point entirely. Let's keep politics and religion out of this.

Rhoda was a lovely guest and brought a great point of view to the discussion.
Anonymous said…
Great interview for the most part and I really enjoyed it. But do feel it was not a "round" table, it appeared to be one sided and unfairly so.
But none-the-less I enjoyed it.
Regarding the other issue at hand. (obviously)
This was VERY WELL STATED: However, if I were someone like Ms. Moss, Mr. McAlpine, Mr Wolf, etc. I certainly would not appreciate being lumped in with someone known to publish racist material, regardless of her politics.
And because you all chose to promote Rhoda on SRT it reflects on your integrity too.
RE: "THE SHIRT" . It was extremely racist and demeaning and she herself even made a joke that "OH LOOK" it was HER OWN DEAR HUBBY wearing it, as though she were proud! :( She got a lot of grief about it so THEN she deleted it (she told me so herself).
I do not believe in FREEDOM OF SPEECH when it is So INTENTIONALLY degrading and demeaning and hurtful to anyone.
"I" do feel she "says" what-ever is needed ( & is quite good at it) but quite obviously FEELS entirely different or she would not even have posted that picture to begin with, she's not dumb! There are too many other blogs out there to frequent one with those views.
AND for the record if my DH even brought a shirt like that home (which he would not) It would of been in the trash immediatly or I would of stayed home before I'd of even been seen with him wearing it! Knowning it would also reflect on me! In my opinion It says a lot about a person. Sadly.
**AND for the record this is not against her it is my questioning her views, morals and etchic's! She has choices and has clearly stated them in my opinion.

So Now that you know where she obviously stands, If she is SO Respected By You, then that is YOUR CHOICE. Just like being seen with her DH in that shirt and THEN having the audacity to post it, was hers.
I guess "I" agree with what my parents always said, You are associated with the company you keep!

I made my choice and you make yours, then live by them.

THIS COMMENT is intended as MY opinion. After all, Freedom of Speech works both ways" right??
Dianne said…
What a lovely guest Rhoda was. I really enjoyed this. Boy did Nate's staff miss a golden opportunity. Too bad!
Anonymous said…
Good Show, I think. But pretty lopsided and I am still asking myself why. It was disappointing as it was not warranted.

I think Nate's staff did not miss an opportunity, sorry Dianne. It was a pre-made "BUSINESS DECISION" 'I'm sure.
Lets face it fellow bloggers, If you had a decor show with a million viewers would you mention decorating blogs? I think not.
As for the issue of Rhoda, I think many missed the point. It's not about his or her Political Views at all and if the photo was on her Blog as stated, She must feel the same. If you do not agree with some-one's you surely do not post such an abhorrent photo! Plain and Simple, Husband's or NOT by posting it, it reflects on her.
Each person must make their own choices.
They (her and her Dh) made theirs very clear with out saying A WORD.

I choose to associate with people who stand by their convictions not change them when it gets a little heated! i.e. deleting the photo. Too say it was in poor taste is like saying the titanic was a boat.
After looking at her blog (again) and after looking at her office she clearly knows the power and meaning behind a picture, even if they are about herself.

As A picture is worth a thousand words.
I wish her well but am quite frankly appalled and disappointed.
PC said…
Wow, talk about knocking somebody off their pedestal. I'm not a blogger but I do enjoy several blogs in blogland. Free speech should always be honest, but respectful. Is that too much to ask for? SMH
Lovely interview! I checked out Rhoda's stairs and they were beautiful! Great transformation! (I'm a wood putty fan, too.)

The Nate Show sounded nice - but the after parties even better. How can you go wrong with designers taking on NYC? -Loretta
Anonymous said…
I have to agree, For the LAST time it is NOT About Politics Nor Religion!

"PO Little Boy still lookin for some change" with the President on it looking like a bum and a cigarette hanging out or his mouth was incredibly distasteful and said a whole lot more Racially than Politically or Religiously, how you got either of those is beyond me. It said a lot about not only the person wearing it but their spouse. Especially since THE SPOUSE, chose to post the shirt alone and then the next photo said OH LOOK IT's MY Dh in that shirt! (or very similar!!) as though she were PROUD!

Freedom of speech OH PLEASE, NOT when it is racial and degrading.

Trust me, Anyone that it offended and thought it was VERY WRONG remembers it and should.

Make Your own assessments. I've made mine and I also know

She says and acts one way but THAT POST said more than any Blog she ever has or ever will have.
I agree, it was Disgraceful and she realized it and deleted it. TOO LATE.

She Must Live by Her Convictions,that, that they are.

No More about her stand on Race nor to question her Morals. It obviously never bothered her.

"I" just believe "what you see is NOT what you get" and that was made pretty clear, to any-one with their eyes half open.

I'm done too.

Anonymous said…
BTW- Some-One needs to tell Rhoda this is not 1950 and tell her DH too.
That THAT type of thing is no longer acceptable, any-where, ever!
Pam said…
I remember Rhoda from the decorator site Great Impressions on MSN. Always got some good ideas from her and others. There were some at GI that had BIG egos and mouths. But, Rhoda seemed to be very nice and was never labeled a troublemaker. That being said and being a person of color, if how she is being portrayed here is true, I'm glad I know. Nothing in the dark stays there. It is always revealed in the light.

Clutter is clutter no matter how pretty you try to make it. - Author unknown
cotedetexas said…
y'all, please stop, ok? we got your point, ok? you didn't like the tshirt. but think about this = rhoda actually removed that picture the next day because she chose to keep politics out of her blog. please respect that decision. she could have kept it up there, but she didn't want to - once she realized that some people were offended by it = it was gone. that probably was a hard decision to make because it was her husband. i would defend my husband too. enough. ok? i really think these comments should be turned off now. linda? agree? enough is enough. rhoda has only ever acted with grace and she has only ever been the nicest and sweetest person to me - knowing that I am huge O fan, even!!! so enough. I vote to end the commenting.
Anonymous said…
As a design blog reader, I must apologize to Rhoda for the unwarranted and baseless attacks leveled at her and the SRT today. It's so sad when people can't enjoy a great interview without letting their myopic view of the world get in their way.
Anonymous said…
Sorry for the double post, but I just went back and read a post from March on Rhoda's blog. It was about finding our own style. This post says a lot about the woman Rhoda is, her sense of self, her outlook and appreciation for her home and talents and her self confidence. I would recommend this post to anyone who loves to read design blogs but feels the frustration of keeping up with trends. Rhoda has a great perspective and outlook on the subject.
Unknown said…
Hi, I'm new to this blog. I stumbled upon it on a Sunday afternoon when I was so completely wiped out by the prior week's schedule that it was all I could do to get out of bed all day long! I think I might add this button to my own blog. I'm a bit nervous about that after reading the previous comments, but I love the list of designers and the idea of this blog and think I need to branch out of my comfort zone a bit in my own blog (and my life where lately I spend entirely too much time in my workroom and not enough time designing and gaining inspiration in this beautiful land where I live)... so would like to get inspiration here. Thanks for listening.
Michelle Jamiesoon
Michelle Jamieson Interiors
Concrete Jungle said…
Catching up on all the casts when I was away...
love it all...southern charm will take you far!
You ALL are informative and interesting.
Many thanks.