The 17 most noteworthy things that happened this year (on this blog)

Adios, 2014. This year was crazy, nuts, stressful and pretty darn rewarding. I don’t know why I can’t just be a normal blogger that wraps up their year quickly in a cute post with some pics. When I began writing this post I was like, ‘Oh it will take a couple of hours, I’ll whip it right out’, but it kinda got out of control. You pretty much don’t need to read the blog anymore – just come here once a year for the roundup of all the highlights of the year and you’ll get the best information anyway. Kidding.

(P.S. at first it included a bunch of mommy post stuff, but I’ve decided to make that a separate post so it’s a little more focused). So these are the 17 most noteworthy things that happened this year, on the blog and in the business:

1. We bought a house, renovated it (kinda) and slowly decorated it. We aren’t done, but it’s coming along.

before-photos

Here’s the first intro post.  Man that was an exciting day. And then the makeovers began …

kitchen_emily-henderson-before-after

The kitchen makeover. For all the info click: The kitchen makeover, including the backsplash and the appliances. 

living-room-makeover

The living room makeover, including the bookcase, string art, blimp painting and tree. Sorry the angles aren’t the same … I need to take more big pulled back verticals of the room – they just tend to look so busy with all the ironwork, but we’ll do it.

The guest room:

(more…)

Happy Friday

I’ve been writing the ‘Charlie’s first birthday’ post for weeks and most of the time I just can’t get through it because it’s just so emotionally overwhelming. It’s difficult to properly encapsulate this last year, my first year of being a mom, without sounding like I’m an emotional mess that should probably be on some sort of mood stabilizer.

So I won’t yet, and instead just post a pic of this kid wishing you a lovely weekend.

CharlieHendersonDayintheLife-65

photo by Stephanie Todaro

Sometimes I forget that I’m allowed to write a short post; that not every post needs to be a massive, 10 page makeover narrative situation.

CharlieHendersonDayintheLife-27

photo by Stephanie Todaro

christmas pajamas

photo by Tessa Neustadt

Please note that kid’s head is practically the same size as mine. We cut his hair yesterday (check instagram for the cutest photo ever) and now he looks even more grown up and ‘executive’ – like.

Thank you so much for all 7,000 of you who took the survey (if you haven’t yet, you can any time – we are still reading the results). You have no idea how valuable it is. Nothing too shocking came out of it and no major changes are being made – just good tweaks and adjustments. I am in the process of rebranding and redesigning the website (offering more services for all budgets) and even an online vintage store – you heard me, so there are improvements happening that I’m very excited about.

Meanwhile all of you want more makeovers (we’re on it), you are split whether you like DIY (not surprising, although we only do one a month these days from the Redbook column) and you are split on whether you like the Craigslist posts (which shocked me, I thought those were super popular!).

You want more reader questions, which is great – I’m actually trying to do them but we need more answerable questions with better photos – it’s hard to post these tiny dark photos and have the question be about layout or something abstract because that’s really hard to answer unless you are in the space. But we’ll do our best and if you have questions just try to have the photos not be blurry, be more pulled back, multiple shots/angles of the room, brighter and with 1-2 very specific questions (it’s hard to answer a whole list).

You are open to having more content if we had the right contributors, which is exciting, but I’m still super hesitant about. Most of you ‘don’t mind’ our sponsored posts and many of you even like them. I was extra terrified about that question because frankly we need the sponsored posts to keep making daily original content so I am so glad that if we do them well, you guys are cool with it and a lot of you even said ‘I like them’ and ‘I find them useful’. Thank you. We try hard and we’ll continue to try even harder to come up with concepts that are valuable to you while still making sense for the client, and not doing so many that you guys are annoyed. I’m sure that you’ve noticed there are a lot more on the blogosphere right now because it’s December and every company is doing their last big sales push for the year, so January always slows down. Speaking of January we have 1 whole house to reveal plus lots of quick makeover projects to show you – some sponsored, some not. It’s a weird, weird world, isn’t it?

Have an excellent weekend. I have intentions of going through my 19 ‘junk’ drawers because I can’t find ANYTHING these days, plus going to a couple of holiday parties but this ‘storm’ in LA is making me want to curl up in my flannel pajamas and listen to Serial. Any of you addicted as well?

xx

E

2014 Reader Survey; Help. I need your honesty!

I’ve been writing and running this blog now for almost 5 years. Five. That’s almost as old as Justin Bieber’s tattoos. Don’t worry, I’ll be properly celebrating our anniversary (to you) soon, but I since January is around the corner I would love some info from you now so I can start the year with a clear direction of improvements.

I’m constantly wondering what you guys like and what I’m wasting my time on. And while there are a ton of comments daily, I know there are a lot of you out there, many long time readers that don’t feel like commenting (which I understand).

Mid Century Modern Desk Hague Blue Brass Wall Pockets copy1

Photo by Tessa Neustadt

But i’m hoping you’ll take a second to fill out this totally anonymous  survey to help curate the content you like (no registering/logging in or anything). If you don’t want to answer a question just click ‘other’ and put a period or something to leave it blank.

What you need to remember is that this blog is about you, for you (ok, sure AND me) and you are the judge, jury and executioner. That’s a lot of power, folks. But, it does no good if I don’t know how you are feeling.

Maybe you think its unprofessional that I admit my mistakes and maybe you’d rather never see another picture of Charlie on this blog again. Maybe you click away the second you see a sponsor and maybe you prefer anything that has to do with moms and babies. This is your chance to anonymously tell me what you want more of and what makes you click away with disgust.

And please, you long time readers/fans PLEASE join in the survey, too. Maybe you’ve commented 100 times so you don’t think I need you, but I do. You are who I need the most. I know these things tend to bring out the negative (“Finally,” she maniacally laughs, “its my anonymous chance!!!”) but don’t worry, no matter what, I’m not going down the YHL road (RIP). But its actually important to know what is successful in addition to what is annoying or just generally failing.

So, please, take 3 minutes and give me your feedback – I promise that no matter what it will be valuable and the blog will be a better place because of it.

Thank you very, very, very much.

xx

Emily

12 days of instagram with target

The other day my friend Target called. I answered, ‘Oh hey, Targe’, and after a few pleasantries and maybe even some internet gossip we came up with a good idea for a new collaboration.

We decided to shoot a bunch of sneak peeks of my house for the holidays and to leak it slowly all over the internet – not celebrity nude photo style, nay, but on my own Instagram. Totally legal, just way more beautiful than my usual Instagrams. Win, win for everyone.

emily henderson christmas

I’m writing this as I’m watching “Peter Pan” live on TV and I now realize how ahead of the trend we were two weeks ago coming up with this idea. Next year, Targe. I’m open to either The Little Mermaid or Sound of Music. No need to rehearse either, I know every word by heart, folks. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.

christmas nutcracker

So welcome to a few instagram outtakes (and some repeats) of a shoot we had a couple of weeks ago at our house. We actually finished REALLY decorating (and shooting) for the holidays yesterday so I’ll have those for you soon, but this is more ‘little ideas’ and ‘visual fun’.

flannel pajamas | gold tinseljoy pillow | snowflake pillow | gold foil pillow | monogram mug letter E | gift wrap from target check local store for different patterns

polar bear ornament | nutcracker lumberjack | festive clochebottle brush trees

white christmas tree

I went for a bright, happy, young, modern, holiday c/o Los Angeles. Shocking, I know. For this shoot we brought in a lot of pink which makes me so happy – although you might be surprised to see next week that there is very little color in my holiday house – in fact there is brown … BROWN!!!! ON PURPOSE!!!

similar christmas tree | joy pillowgold foil pillow | gift wrap from target check local store for different patterns | vintage hot pink balls | glitter star ornaments | large gold ball ornaments | small gold ball ornaments | animal ornaments | zebra – gifted | pink pillow custom made with vintage velvet | large gold bow | pink bow

charlie henderson

Without flooding you with cliches, i’ll just say this: Children make everything way more work and yet WILDY more fun. He loves the tree, the ornaments, the glitter, the sequins, and the garland. He squeals every morning when he sees the sparkles and every night when he sees the lights.

He can’t wait to rip apart my hours of finger bleeding styling. In fact yesterday I thought we had gotten rid of all the glass balls so I gave him a ball to play with while he sat on my lap and he smashed it (and shattered it) on his head. We were both startled and then he started crying because he was scared, meanwhile Ginny, Brady, Shauna and I picked glass out of his neck and pajamas. Don’t worry no cuts, but a good lesson that A. that baby is THE HULK, and B. it’s just easier to childproof with a one year old then it is to protect them (and to protect my vintage glass ornaments). Charlie 1, Holiday decoration 0.

Also please note the large gap between Charlie’s top teeth – I don’t know if it will stay but it’s possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

santa suit | copper ornaments

white christmas tree

deer ornament

christmas pillow

joy pillow | snowflake pillow | furry throw |

christmas presents

Because we weren’t ready to actually decorate for the holidays we set up little sweet scenarios like this that look like my style, yet with all Target product. Boom. We hadn’t yet figured out what style we wanted to do this year – and NO, you don’t have to change styles every year but its my duty as a stylist/blogger to do something different. At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it. It’s like a celebrity wearing the same dress at The Oscars and The Golden Globes – she wouldn’t get arrested, but its kinda part of the job to don something different.

faux fur stool 

elf

Speaking of red carpet … that is my little elf looking 100% innocent  – although he’s not these days, folks. He looks me in the eye, smiles and then throws his spoon after I’ve asked him and scolded him 3 times in a row not to. But in this photo, he is the poster child of innocence.

elf suit | glasses

christmas pillows

The ‘Red and Green’ combo is always in fashion during the holidays. If you feel like doing something different, do it, but if you want to stay classic, then STAY CLASSIC. It’s a ‘never fail’. Especially with these extremely adorable and dare I say ‘hipster’ accessories. That van/tree in the dome is just so cute.

festive cloche | monogram mug letter B | knit pillow | holiday scooter pillow | fur throw

christmas dome

festive cloche | small gold ball ornaments | small red ball ornaments

charlie henderson

That belly is on sale starting never and there are approximately zero in stock. Keep walking, folks, that little ball of white belly is ours.

christmas stockings

Here’s the biggest holiday stylist secret  – wrapped presents are the best for creating different levels, adding color/texture/reflection/pattern and come in a million different sizes. Obviously wrapping fake/empty presents doesn’t make sense (although I have done it for YEARS and YEARS whilst styling for the holiday in August), but just think about buying a few presents really early that you can use to decorate because they really help with the decor.

Those stockings are beautiful, by the way. It’s hard to tell in the photos but they are metallic champagne color and so simple, classic-shaped and yes, on trend. Win, win, win. We are using them, with the champagne glitter stocking holders and we love them.

ball garland | stockings | stocking holder 

emily henderson christmas

Here’s where I gave Charlie my ‘We are all unique snowflake monologue’. He agreed and we both cried poignant tears.

gold nutcracker

This is one of my favorite vignettes in the house. I love the colors, the tones, the way a glass dome quickly elevates ANYTHING.

robin | nutcracker | white bottle brush tree | gold bottle brush tree | gold tinsel | (blush ornaments are all vintage glass and now in boxes :(

christmas garland

Our chandelier is really simple which lends itself perfectly to being adorned by a garland. And I LOVE this garland. Its organic (burlap and metallic) and modern (just balls) at the same time. It works so well on all my shelves, credenza and yes, chandeliers. If you have a more ornate chandelier then think about getting something even simpler or going balls out and dripping it with decor – just keep it in your color palette so the whole space works together.

ball garland | chandelier

noel sign

This drink container is ridiculous. Its glass and its beautiful (plus it as a no-drip faucet). I just realized that you have to put it on the edge of the table to pour. But between that and the simple ‘NOEL’ and some amazing vintage brass mugs this shot makes me want to get my figgy pudding on.

noel sign | drinks dispenser | wallpaper

christmas candles

Silver dollar eucalyptus, white pillar candle holders and some baubles = the easiest tablescape.

pillar candlestick | gold votive candle holder | white candle holder

christmas joy

Kitchens are people, too. Don’t neglect the potential merriment of your kitchen windowsill. Let it be full of, yes, joy.

joy sign | white bottle brush tree | tree garland

christmas garland

I worry that one stores holiday decor will never match my personality as much as this years does at Target. The animals, the gold/white trees, the geometric garland. Sure, I work with Target, but I didn’t design these pieces. It’s like I’m Patrick Swayze and the Threshold designers are Demi Moore and we are turning a pot together – only I’m not really there. I like to think I have something to do with it, but I don’t, its just a good fit. Thank god.

mini gold christmas tree | large white christmas tree | small white christmas tree | sitting deer figurine | standing deer figurine | rabbit figurine | geo garland from target – check store

festive sheets

So, thats the end of the sneak peek at the Henderson Holiday Compound. Charlie looks like a doll in that photo (literally) and I look like a woman who JUST discovered flannel pajama sets (because thats true). You guys, They are WONDERFUL. So comfortable and cozy. Plus you can answer the door in them without being embarrassed. Look, we have a lot of early morning callers so that is kinda important and jumping for my robe isn’t nearly as sexy as it is in the movies. Going to bed fully clothed is wonderful in all ways (except one).

And naturally we posted a video about it so you can see how much of a crazy snow show it is at our house when we shoot there. Warning – the first half of the video i’m makeup-less (makeup video soon, i’m so excited) but the second half of the video I look like a human being.

Enjoy.

Happy Friday (and holidays) folks. May this month bring you an incredible amount of happiness and joy.

flannel pajamas | charlie’s pajamas | snowflake sheets | fur pillow

All photos by Tessa Neustadt. Video by Scrunch Media Hair/Makeup by Danielle Walch

Happy November

Charlie had a very good first Halloween last weekend.

We believe in giving our child the autonomy, joy and responsibility of deciding on what he wants to be for Halloween. So we gave him two choices: former Toronto mayor Rob Ford or Mario Batali. Brian was opting for Rob Ford, because its, well, hilarious and the resemblance is uncanny, but It was a bit dark for me (what with the ‘crack’ thing and all), so we settled on Mario Batali – an equally fleshy, pale skinned, happy guy who can somehow wear a scrunchie without being publicly shamed on the daily.

mario-batali-baby-boy

He loved it!!!

At first he wasn’t terribly excited. Probably because I was pinning a recently painted wig on his big little head. But then he realized that its hilarious and he played along. Also I know that every mom thinks that their kid is the cutest person ever, but it doesn’t matter if he is dressed as Mario or not, I’m obsessed with that kid.

Mario-Batali-Baby

Meanwhile I was a ‘prairie girl’ which meant that I went into my closet and put on an outfit made of my own wardrobe. My friends said it perfectly, ‘Once again, you dressed as a female person‘. Last year I was a 1970’s female reporter (reporting live from T.W.A.T. TV), the year before I was Judith Light (obviously), the year before that I was Dolly Parton – you get it. I just go in my closet and put on clothes and then make my hair big. My lack of planning and creativity is extremely disappointing and yet consistent.

Meanwhile Brian Henderson was the villain from Kindergarten cop – you know, this guy:

IMG_0496

It was hilarious. In fact the comedien Aziz Ansari came up to him and called him out on how good his costume was and then he tweeted about it:

aziz ansari

 

I know its pretty douchey to write about that but its not everyday that a huge comedian gives your husband props for being funny – which he is. Very funny.

mr crisp

We went trick or treating in a beautiful suburban LA neighborhood (not ours) and then went out while a sitter took care of Charlie and our best friends kids. He stayed up til 10pm – (and then woke up at 5! yeah!!) but it was so fun and made me even more excited for the holidays. I now get it – you get to relive everything again and all of a sudden creating traditions means creating memories which means creating a bond through extra-ordinary (and ordinary) experiences and traditions.

As a kid I don’t remember the mundane, more every day stuff. It takes either consistency or something special to really pierce the brain and make a dent in the memory forever. Not that I want to go all out every day or every holiday, but it’s motivating to make things feeling special, and create traditions that are unique to our family. Mario Batali would agree.

Anyway, hopefully next year he’ll ‘choose’ something equally as entertaining to look at – because staring at his scrunchie all night made us extremely happy:

mario-batali-scrunchie

Back later with a proper post. Meanwhile happy November, folks.