How to throw a stress free (well almost) outdoor party


There is good stress (like worrying about what you are wearing to the Bachelorette premiere party) and bad stress (like worrying that Britt will beat out Katilyn, ugh). Throwing a party should be good stress – full of excitement and maybe some last-minute panic, but ultimately fun. I think what stresses me out about parties is a. managing guest expectations and b. making sure there is just enough for everyone, and that people can serve themselves, so that once the party starts my job is over. I was a waitress/bartender for years and those days are over if you know what I mean.

Let’s talk about the expectation thing – I think since I’m a stylist/designer person, I get it in my head that people expect it to look totally curated, pulled together, a la Martha (and they do). And unless it’s for a big shoot, it very rarely is. So what I ALWAYS do is frame it as a ‘casual backyard affair’ with comfort food and lots of options and then people don’t have high expectations (and are easily impressed). Have you ever been to a wedding where the venue is really luxurious and its black tie dress but everything else is super not and then its kinda jarring? Well, that’s because your expectations were high, based on the high-end location – so sadly the rest of the party kinda should match that in style. So if you just send out the ‘its a casual bbq’ vibe then people have pretty low expectations and then you can wow them. ‘Social Manipulation’ by Emily Henderson – the name of my next book.

This party was set up with Target, and I had loads of help so no, it wasn’t just ‘thrown together’. But the principles of how we set it up are easy, and things that I actually do (or ideas that I will start doing immediately).

Click through to see all the steps, tips, photos and resources:


Take it outside – Target patio makeover


The next Target video is up, folks and we are taking it outside. This one is more about ideas on how to make your outdoor space/furniture more fun and inviting. The basics are kinda easy, it’s that final layer that you want/need for entertaining and once it’s done everybody can enjoy it.

This is why I schedule photo shoots or parties – I need the deadline, the kick in the maternity pants to pull things together or they will simply stay mediocre forever. The earlier you do this in the season (like now) the longer you can enjoy it.

Click through to see the full makeover.


Target Chapter 9: Bohemian Bathroom

Bathrooms are people, too and deserve time, consideration and some styling. So we treated this bathroom like the princess it is and styled the heck out of it.

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For this video we took on the personality of a 20 something bohemian city girl. Her apartment is small (even though this bathroom is twice the size of my bathrooms in New York) but she still wants to bring in a lot of style and storage through accessories.

Vanity | Blue Ottoman | Brass and Silver Table Lamp |Metal Hanging Basket | Blue Shower Curtain | Graphic Print Shower Curtain | White Shower Curtain | Metal Hanging Baskets | White Wall Ledge | Grey Floor Mat | Plant Hanger 

Target_Emily Henderson_Bathroom_Blue White Green Eclectic Bohemian_before and after

This bathroom is a set – totally fake. The production designer, Meg, basically designed it to be an urban bathroom, with pretty new finishes – subway tile, penny tile and a clawfoot tub and a traditional sink. You might wonder where the toilet is? And I’d say, don’t be disgusting, she would never own a toilet. Actually, we made the decision to not have one because we needed the space to tell the story and also who really likes to look at a toilet, real or fake? No one.

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Look how satisfied I am with that bathroom styling. I have to say that for a bathroom there is a lot of style up in there.

Click through to see the rest of the space.


Target Chapter 7; Navy blue Accent Wall Bedroom Makeover

The 90’s ruined ‘the accent wall’. It just got too wacky and people were putting them everywhere and not following the rules. In fact, maybe there were no ‘accent wall’ rules so people were just running around their house, carrying 4 different paint colors, screaming ‘Paint that wall coral! Paint that wall chocolate-brown! Paint that wall sage!!!’ It  became a wacky gimmick instead of an appropriate design decision. But lately it has made a small comeback. A careful, well-thought out, small comeback.

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For this Target video we transformed this bedroom (below) in one afternoon, mainly by adding an accent wall. And I’m pretty into it.

Target Emily Henderson_bedroom_white blue orange casual calm bedroom

Click through for the whole post.


Target Styling Video Chapter #8: Into the bedroom

The Target videos are back! Like the rest of the world we took a break during the holidays but now its time to go into the bedroom and style it out – just like we are doing below. This video is all about bed styling and mixing textiles, but I know that there are also a lot of pretty darn wonderful Target pieces in there for the rest of the room, too, and all the resources are near the end.

Target Emily Henderson_bedroom_whiteblue orange casual calm styling

When we started this room it was completely white – a totally blank space. It was our goal to make it look layered and interesting, full of vintage and Target, with lots of textures, pops of color and personality.

Target Emily Henderson_bedroom_white blue orange casual calm bedroom

That blue stripe rug is ridiculously cute, and yes, layering it is never a bad idea. That macrame wall hanging is Target and if you are interested in it I’d suggest you just buy it right now. It’s the ‘brass ball lamp’ of this season, meaning that its going to sell out very fast and then make a lot of people sad. It’s totally impressive. And that pouf is part of Nate’s collection which should be out any day. Salmon is big this season as you all know, so we brought it into the space isn the most non-90’s way possible and I think it worked.