New Format….eh? eh?

What did you think about the new format? We were working through a few bumps during the first few episodes, but i actually liked it a lot and i felt like the pacing was so much better, and there was more information.  But clearly  its hard for me to be objective.  So you tell me.

Photography and styling by Teri Lyn Fisher. 

I mean, for the first time i don’t feel like i need to see it twice to ‘get it’ and see everything properly and i’m the one that did it, for gods sakes.  Let me know how you feel…i mean, be constructive, but I am very curious.


******This giveaway is now closed!*******

Alright so heres the deal:  i’ve gone through three ‘kit bags’, meaning the bag that i carry every where with me that house 3 paint decks, two tape measures, my computer, my ipad, a million fabric swatches, my 3m blue tape, 95 pens, extra chargers, you get the idea.  But all the bags either broke due to the weight, or were sooooo uncomfortable to carry and heavy that i often opted just to carry my computer in my arms instead.  Then this guy (above) came into my life.  Its crazy lightweight and indestructable.  Its cargo capacity (a phrase i’ve come to known as a first priority in all purcahses these days, cars included) is enormous for the size (you know those bags that look big, but surprisingly the way they are designed keeps them from really holding too much space? yeah, not this one).  And its adorable.  Mary Poppins eat your heart out.  OH also check out their navy metallic cosmetic bag, i own and adore as well. 



Giveaway Entry Info:

  • Prize: A Jetsetter Bag from Jane Marvel in Blue Medallion, MSRP $120.
  • How to Enter: Leave a comment and tell us where you would jet set to with your new bag
  • If you want to be fun: “Like me” on facebook and leave a comment there telling me you love Jane Marvel!
  • Giveaway Ends: Friday July 29th at 11:59pm EST
  • How Many Lucky Winners?!: One lucky one
  • Ships to: US Only
  • Also: Please be kind and only enter once (and if you do the extra entry, twice). I will select the winner using and will announce with winner on August 1st here on this very webpage, so check back to see if it’s you. 

Design Star, Episode 2. Recap

Oh man.  There are very few moments of my life that i wish i could do over and every time i think of them i feel ashamed.  One was sleepwalking in a hotel in Arizona.  (The embarrassing part was what i was or was not wearing – it’s a story you have to hear in person).  Although that one is such a funny story that at least when the ‘whats your most embarassing moment’ game comes up amongst friends i know i can kill it every time.  

BUT, the first day of designstar, the White Box challenge, was truly, truly, truly, memorable and to put it very lightly, not my best day.  I wish i could redo it but at the same time i’m not convinced I would win the challenge anyway.  Conceptual design isn’t my thing, really.  

Wait, why is this about me.  Sorry. I guess i still just feel the need to explain.  I know i won the show and i’m so proud of the glass house at the end, but this challenge, the white box was me at my lowest.  Ah, the adventures of a reality competition.  

So I feel for these guys.  I’m glad that they first of all have two days to complete it, and second it was made very clear that the box was conceptual and doesn’t have to be functional.  Even with a ton of resources and time it is a very very hard challenge and in general who seems to do well are the artists that think more conceptually.  Which i don’t think i do.

It’s super easy to tear these rooms apart, so i’m just going to post them all and then pick my top two. 


Brett.  This one actually photographed a lot better.  And i like the colors and the ‘bombs’.

J.  Not sure why she went home.  I’m assuming it is a personality/hosting thing because her room was not the losing room.  And that floor is totally pretty.  

Karl.  I’m still totally loving Karl.  Not this room, necessarily although i do love the Mondrian reference.  But that pendant he made was awesome.  

More of an art installation than a box which is why this is pretty successful.  the water bottle lounge was smart.  Still liking Tyler a lot. 


Yup.  The hands down clear winner.  It’s totally awesome.  Mark. It goes to show you that having an inspiration and concept behind a design can help. I think a lot of the designers didn’t so they just look like strange rooms, but this was a complete thought.

Mark’s white box might be one of the best ever. 

Meg.  I don’t know how to really analyze this one.  I just felt bad for her. Although if that is make-shift ball fringe on those pillows, then that makes me happy. You all know how i love me some ball fringe. 



Doug.  At least this room is exciting and you get the reference immediately. And at least he pulled from the graffiti aspect of the challenge.  

I don’t know.  I have a hard time with the challenge because i know how hard it is to be creative and conceptual so fast.  I’m just not. And I know they say over and over that you have to be able to really think on your feet when you have your own show, but you do get a week to plan and design and stay up late scouring blogs for inspiration before you begin actually installing.  Some people are just better at the white box challenge than others, but i don’t think it means they are better designers or will be better hosts.

 I need to be able to suss out ideas and get inspiration, then reinvent it, put my twist on it, decide its too cliche, then fix it.  If you don’t have a proper jumping off point (a phrase i’ve come to hate but it does get the point across) then you never really jump off.  And that’s what happened to me.  I didn’t know where it was going, so it didn’t go. And I didn’t want to do anything tacky or cheesy, so I just didn’t really do anything at all.  OK, fine, i’ll show it to you but you have to then promise that you’ll go through my portfolio above right after (which desperately needs to be updated).  

I still like everything in the room, but yeah, it blows.  Not exactly a huge mural of my grandfathers military symbol.  You can relive it through my blog post, here. 

Anyway. I know that it is a lot of viewers favorite challenge to watch, but it makes me nervous.  

Oh and you want to hear something funny? When I was up there at elimination in front of the judges with the other 5 that were in the bottom, Vern asked everybody individually, in front of everybody, who they thought should go home.   At this point we had only been there for a day and no one knew each other, so it really wasn’t personal. (also it was before we saw anyone on camera).  

Guess what happened:

Trent:  ‘Emlly’

Julie:  ‘Emily’

Tom:  ‘Emily’

Courtland: ‘Emily’

Alex:  ‘Emily’

I ordered every single cell in my body to help my eyes hold back the tears.  I knew that if i started crying it would be super ugly.  I wanted to disappear.  And then go home. Luckily my camera challenge saved me because i now have a seriously insanely awesome dream job that i almost didn’t get due to the white box challenge.  

So that’s why that day is hard for me to relive.  In fact recently i was in New York at a press event in the same room and I’m not kidding you, just stepping foot in the room made me anxious.  

Now, of course its such a great story because i ended up winning, but i’m telling you, that white box challenge is super super super super super super challenging.  You sit and watch and think ‘omg, they are terrible’ as i used to, but now I just focus on all the standout people (Mark and Tyler) and the rest i am just waiting til next week to see how they are because for some people its just really, really not their thing (or mine) to design like this.  And that’s ok.   It’s still super fun for us to watch, eh?

And that folks, is why they call it a challenge.  I can’t wait til next week.  

Did you agree with the judges?

I got some sleep!!! YES!!

So all it took to get rid of my anxiety was a good nights sleep and 93 comments full of amazing suggestions. No, seriously i feel like i’m cheating.  I’m going into the holiday thing as if it was my dream holiday decorating and living out every holiday decorating fantasy (woah) that i’ve ever had.  Move over Martha, well, don’t really move, just a little scoot, because Emily is armed with 93 suggestions that will blow this christmas up.  

Long story short, thank you so much for all the kind words and super helpful suggestions.:

Also, don’t forget to enter the LampsPlus giveaway here  because its an awesome lamp that deserves an awesome home.

Lets get to the Design Star recap.

Except i have a conference call right now….So it’s coming in 2 hours.  I promise.

Thanks for everything.  Seriously.  I wrote down every suggestion and had a meeting with my assistants yesterday where we flushed out ideas for like 3 hours based on all of them.  And then we went mad craft store shopping

Monday Stomach. Nothing like waking up with anxiety.

Ladies and Gentlemen i’ve had the extreme fortune to be blessed with anxiety the last couple days.  I know, what a gift! I used to hear about anxiety and it never made sense to me, i remember thinking, ‘you know everything is going to be ok, so why stress so unneccessarily? Just relax!’  And then one day, 8 years ago, the day before my first huge catalog job (that i was frankly not ready for in many ways) i woke up with it and was all, ‘sh*t, are you kidding me?’ my stomach was just turning and turning and my skin felt like it was crawling.  I felt overwhelmingly unprepared and like i couldn’t even think.  It’s really hard to rationalize and it truly doesn’t make sense, but it exists, oh yes it does. 

Anyway, Secrets is almost done shooting. I have one more episode next week and then we go straight into the 10 day holiday special in which the house is dauntingly large, and we are  re-doing it per usual, but then adding a ton of holiday decorating styling tips.  And i’m having serious stylist block.  It’s happened a couple times before with the clients whose styles or houses are tricky – its just harder to ‘see’ how it should come together.  But its never happened this bad, where i’m just trolling for inspiration online and coming up empty and then panicking.  I can’t seem to find that jumping off point – sometimes its a picture, sometimes a wallpaper or an amazing piece of furniture, but right now we are two weeks away and i haven’t purchased one thing for this huge house.  Trouble. 

i had it last week for two days but i thought it was because we had shot 10 days in a row, so i made myself take the weekend off and now i feel even more behind and my stomach won’t shut up.  I just want to go to bed and hope that tomorrow i wake up normal.  SOOOO annoying.  

SO, i need holiday tip suggestions.  Or holiday style suggestions.  What would you guys love to see from a secrets holiday special?  Mantles, trees, tabletop, gift wrapping….something more sophisticated or something more fun? 

Meanwhile i’m obsessed with this wallpaper.  My parents had something similar to this when i was little. And with that leather headboard? ridic.  From the latest (and great) Lonny Mag

That wood wall is helping a bit.  Also from Lonny.  

Leave comments please! I know its hard to think about the holidays right now, trust me, but my little brain is coming up dry.  Oh and if you have any anti-anxiety home remedies, do share. 

Luckily the bachelorette and Design Star are both on tonight, so if i can make it through the day i have a good night to look forward to.