My ‘Style’ journal

My 23 year old style journal

They say you can’t learn style – that you either have it or you don’t. To me ‘they’ sound like people who think ‘they’ have VERY good style. The problem with that theory is that it doesn’t factor in exposure (or lack thereof), and passion – a genuine love/obsession for style. I think there is something to be said for some people having more of a knack for it and I certainly know of some people with decades of experience in the business with just terrible taste and style, and it can be baffling. But I’ve found that most people can have good really good style if they have the exposure, experience and some good old fashion passion. Let’s use me as an example …

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How To Create A Design Plan

Epson_Emily Henderson_How to pull together a design plan_Header

Running a small business as a creative person is like a baby giraffe walking across a log, over the rapids, in heels – it’s unnatural, precarious, immensely comical, yet totally possible. Figuring out how to pay yourself and others to do something we would normally do for free is so challenging, and the learning curve is high. 

But, one thing we do know over here is how pull together a design plan – for your home, office, studio, conference room, store, dressing room, etc, no matter what your project or business is. Trying to get employees to be excited, to work hard, to come up with new ideas, and the biggest ‘get’ of all, TO CARE in a really stale and uninspiring office space is extremely difficult. I should know, we used to work in one. 

So, today we are going to walk you through our design process; how we go from the blank (or uninspiring) ‘before’ space, to a real design plan for that space. We partnered with Epson to create a video about the process, and just telling you the steps seemed boring, so we instead made it a one day challenge. It’s like an episode of 24 over here. We all know that each design plan takes days, if not weeks (or months) to produce, but that would be a very long blog post. So watch the video to see what happens then keep on scrolling:

For this project we’ll use our client, we’ll call her Kate, because that is her real name. Here’s her space before we got there:

Epson_Emily Henderson_before

First we take measurements, ask lots of style and color questions, then (once the contracts are signed) we get on it and the fun begins.

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Friday ramblings … and happy V-day

kitchen - navy and white

We recently had a little lunch in the kitchen while we were shooting something at the house, and while it wasn’t necessarily for a blog post, Tessa was here so I was like ‘Maybe you could just… you know …’  and I did the universal clicking the camera sign with my finger, eyes and tongue. She is a good sport so she did and they turned out pretty enough to post.

Ok, fine. We added the blue glasses to add color for the shot. We were mainly drinking pink lemonade, not anything that needed to be in those glasses (champagne?).

pretty-lunch

FiNE and ALSO we added the wood bowls  on the plates because we thought it would look prettier. Once a camera is pointed on something I can’t just leave it be.

But those sandwiches? Those are real and really what we put in our mouth-hole. I’m not much of a food maker/person/blogger as you know, but for parties this is what I do:

1 french baguette, halved the long way, with unsalted fancy butter (lots of it, butter is back!) ham and provolone. Mustard and pickles on the side. If you serve them relatively fresh you can add thin tomato and arugula, but if you want to prep hours out for a party like we do, then trust me these are cheap, easy and a total crowd pleaser. I made them for this party, too. I know I basically just described a ham sandwich, but the butter/ham/cheese/baguette combo is really all you need. It’s French. We’re Fancy.

salad0hand

And this was Tessa just showing off her beautiful hand, just rubbing it in my face, while that big dahlia just laid there, rejecting the smaller dahlia which i’ll assume is its girlfriend and not its child. It is Valentines day weekend, as you know, and they say that more breakups happen on that night than any other. And it’s the same for the flower community.

Meanwhile, did you guys know the Thursday night before V-day is ‘mistress night’? When I was waitressing in New York, that Thursday night was always the gross cheating men appeasing their mistresses with a fancy meal. This mainly happens at big expensive restaurants with rich old fat men and younger/hotter women. It’s just painfully obvious. Typically I don’t get too judgmental over here, but I’m pretty anti the ‘leading a-double-life’ and ‘lying on the daily’ kinda cheating. Thank god for them I was never anyone who would spit in food. Man did they tip well because they knew we knew and we knew that they knew that we knew, and so I didn’t want their stupid 25% tip, but I had to take it because I had maybe $230 in my bank account. Friday digressions. Still here?

Brian and I accidentally made no plans at all. I guess that means Thai take out and a marathon (tv, not running ….please). Although if ’50 shades’ was on demand I would pay for that for sure (especially after reading this review). I can’t bring myself to see it in the theater (yet) but if we could just pay $20 to have it in our new cozy den, then I’d be fine with that. Uh Oh … uh oh .. uh oh ..uh oh …..

Happy Friday, folks.

Photos by Tessa Neustadt. In case you are new to the blog and want to see more of it or the full makeover, go here. 

We’re hiring – designers, photo assistants, admin, writers …

We're Hiring_square

Its time again, folks. We need more help in a few different categories and we are looking for the right people, with the right chemistry to have fun with Ginny, Brady and me. Know anyone?

1. Design writers/contributors. I’m looking for people who know design/style obviously, but who can write about it in a really engaging, fun and just edgy voice. This is EXTREMELY hard to find (online, in general) and who knows, we might not find the right people, but if we could then that would be amazing. So I figured why not try. You’d have a column – and I’m open to anything that is fun to read about. It could be  tech, interviews, trends, moodboards of personalities, home tours, etc. It just needs to be in the design/style category and engaging and funny. Allowing someone else to write here has been a super hard decision to make, so I’m going to be CRAZY picky to make sure its the right fit. Orlando, is a good example of good and he is coming back more often! The pay depends on what the post is and how much experience you have. If you think you fit these qualifications please send a sample post to us. This is something we’ll always be looking for so if you are just stumbling upon this post don’t think that its been filled. This can be done remotely.

2. Admin/photo assistant. Skills needed are basic admin/organization, adobe suite, and basic photo skills. We have a good camera, so don’t worry about that. Just looking for the right person with the right chemistry to help us run our vintage e-commerce site that will be launching soon and help with admin/emails/blog content, etc. This is entry-level, pay based on experience, and could be part-time (but every part-time job turns into full-time over here).

3. Assistant, junior and senior designers. As soon as the rebrand is launched we will have design services for all budgets and we need more designers to help with the needs. You could work remotely on our new E-design packages, or if you are in LA then you would be in on the LA design projects. This is freelance and project based for now. We need all levels – assistants, juniors (project managers) and senior designers (who have worked at a firm or for themselves and can run the whole project).

We’ll start taking applications and set up interviews in a couple of weeks. Or if you know anyone who fits any of these qualifications please forward them this post. Email: jobs@emilyhendersondesign.com

photo by Stephanie Todaro

Happy New Year

happy-new-years

Remember last year when I had all these insane resolutions? I clearly was either smoking something or I was high on newborn hormones (probably the latter), but I truly thought these were ambitious yet doable goals. Well, last year was an exceptional year, for sure and I accomplished a lot but I’d say that within weeks, if not days I had failed at a lot of the specific resolutions. Wait, I just reread it and I didn’t fail at everything. I definitely gave myself a week to decide on things where my instincts were unsure (it worked wonders). Also I feel like I definitely engaged more with you – I certainly can’t read every comment but I try to read and respond to the first few days worth of every post and without sounding too creepy, I do feel closer to you guys. I feel like my marriage has been strengthened, but we certainly didn’t have weekly date nights where we cooked delicious recipes together. I didn’t post 7 times a week and I think I called maybe 1/2 of the people I love on their birthdays. But don’t worry I did get my spray tan once a month. (I HIGHLY suggest ‘Versa Spa, level 1′ spray tan for anybody who wants a normal, light natural looking tan).

ANYWAY, the point is that I was ambitious and didn’t exactly stick to them but they were a good guide, and throughout the year I would think, ah we haven’t made dinner together in weeks, and then we would. So there was progress, for sure.

yellow-toy-child

So for this year I want to keep it simple (ish) but more personal. I keep thinking about the two things that are a daily humming stress in my life – things that I can control but just haven’t due to a myriad of excuses that you’ll read below. Sometimes your resolutions are more lofty, sometimes more about other people, but these two are just about things that I need to improve upon to make every single day slightly less stressful and therefore. Here goes:

1. Get and stay organized at our home. Every day my house looks like its been robbed, all cupboards open, clothes all over the floor, piles of (important) paperwork everywhere, and it has slowly driven me INSANE this year and caused a lot of anxiety. Brian and I are busy, messy people and neither of us are OCD (there is a case for marrying someone OCD for sure). When we first moved in to this house we had a newborn and not very much furniture so we never really dictated where things should go and because of that every drawer and cupboard just became a receptacle for anything near it that looked messy so everything was a ‘junk drawer’. I couldn’t find ANYTHING and it became absolutely MADDENING.

The good news: over the break I organized the LIFE out of the house, dumping out every single drawer and organizing them. I found 7 jump drives, 12 pairs of headphones,  27 pairs of scissors, 4 boxes of safety pins, countless 1/2 empty checkbooks, 5-6 different gift cards or store credits, countless duplicate vitamins and so many chords that went to random electronics, etc, etc. Its true that not being organized actually costs you money because you are constantly re-buying what you can’t find. It took me 18 – 20 hours (roughly three full days) to finish this project and it felt sooooo good. Brian watched Charlie while I listened to Serial and many other podcasts and filed, purged, and organized our home. I was dripping with sweat going up and down the stairs constantly putting things away all over the house. Ask me where the checkbooks are, I dare you … I know where EVERYTHING is now.

So now that its organized, and will soon be all labeled by drawer, I’m going to really try to put things away in the right place. It’s amazing how many hours can be spent just ‘putting things away’ – it’s so unsatisfying and yet so necessary. And when you are busy, it’s the first thing that we sacrifice (because it’s so annoying) and it’s the first thing that drives me INSANE. So, I am going to try really hard to do it ourselves and if we fail than I’m going to try to find someone to help 5 hours a week. Its kinda a BS resolution, right? If I can’t do it myself I’ll hire someone? Totally. If I don’t accomplish this one then I really am a piece of work.

emily-excercizing

Sorry, its the only photo I could find of me exercising – with my friend Jenny – when I was 5 months pregnant.

2. Get healthy, namely by EXERCISING (again), A LOT. You probably just fell asleep. SO BORING AND OBVIOUS. My clothes can hide a lot and certainly in photos you can pose to look skinnier than you are so many of you may not have noticed the weight that I haven’t lost since having Charlie. But this ‘mom body’ has got to go. It’s because I’ve stopped working out so the last 8 pounds are just clinging to my body. I stare longingly at my jean collection that just don’t fit into and instead reach for the oversized asymmetrical dress that makes me look like I’m in my first trimester.

Here’s a secret to all future moms out there – ‘mom body’ (that offensive term that we all understand) isn’t from giving birth, it’s from mothering a child. You can lose most of the birth weight without working too hard, but that doesn’t mean that you are toning muscle and therefore getting your body back. First off you most likely stopped working out when you were 6-7 months pregnant (walking at best) and then you really aren’t allowed to do anything strenuous for the first 2-3 months after birth. So you just get out of the habit of exercising. T hen the real excuses (and reasons) begin: its extremely hard to prioritize the gym at 7am when that’s when you’re smiling (and often nursing) child wakes up and is in the most adorable mood ever. And then if you work outside of the home or for your family, the rest of the day just goes so fast and all of a sudden its 6pm, when you feed them dinner and then 8pm when they are finally down to sleep. And that’s when I write the blog.

emily-charlie-henderson

So its been hard to work out and therefore to eat healthy (for me, they are really interlinked). At least those are my excuses. And I’ve talked to so many of my friends that have kids and they feel the exact same way.  I know that a lot of you are going to say ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ and the thing is that I know I can do it, and I know I’m happier when I do so trust me that I need to do this.

Here’s the deal: if I’m out of shape I want it to be because of my metabolism, age, or genetics not because I’m just not trying. Even if I worked out and didn’t lose some weight I’d at least know that I tried hard for a year and then, well, its time for new wardrobe. Besides, how else am I going to reach my 2016’s resolution of being a Playboy Centerfold model? Putting pieces in place, folks and planning ahead …

That’s where we are leaving it – my personal and kinda superficial resolutions for 2015. I have a lot of other stresses and a ton of business goals, don’t worry, but these are two actual problems that are just mine to solve, issues that only I can take ownership of, so I’m challenging myself to fix them.

By 2016 you aren’t even going to recognize me. I’m going to look like Brandy from RHOBH and my house will look like Jeff Lewis’ brain – so organized and compartmentalized that I may actually lose friends from it.

If any y’all have any extra tips for either of these goals please leave them in the comments. Happy 2015, folks. Its going to be a very busy year, indeed.

* photos of Charlie and I by Stephanie Todaro.