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A Blush and Blue Patio Holiday Party

In the midst of yet another natural disaster where people have lost their homes in one day. – this time within 20 miles of that patio you see in the pic above – please know that we are thinking, acting, preparing and most importantly seeking to help (via texting funds for now) those in need while creating beautiful escapist content for those in need of that – us included. Obviously, this was shot last week, pre-fire, as right now sitting outside is unadvisable. Praying that the fires stop. Again. And per usual we are looking for any ways to use this platform to help those affected. Now, for the happy distraction, if you are interested … 🙂

One of my favorite (if not THE favorite) rooms of our house is our patio – and you’ve told me frequently that you like it, too.  That tile sure is beautiful, photogenic and it’s “well-liked” (in your actual heart and on instagram and facebook). So why not dress her up for the holidays and show you how she can don a California winter party gown? In the name of content (and as an excuse to collaborate with a new friend) we threw a small ladies patio gathering last week and took some pretty photos to show you. Between the sponsored posts (that I’m VERY proud of which support the business year-round) and gift guides this month, we want to also create and share editorial stories just for inspiration and fun. Flexing that creative muscle when you are slammed can be hard but it’s necessary for your brain, like exercise is for your body (and brain). And despite how crazy busy I am, I like (and need) to work ‘it’ out year round.

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It’s LA …. in December – the month that I fall back in love with this city because the weather is amazing and the light is still beautiful. I made a couple of changes out there to make it feel different for you (some just for the shoot and some more permanent) but it’s mostly another layer of holiday decor. We temporarily swapped out the Target table for this vintage one I’ve been hoarding in my garage. This beauty isn’t an outdoor table so it will be stored quickly after next week’s shoot before it gets destroyed by the elements. Also typically we have the larger, far more comfortable club chairs around the dining table but these are more photogenic so I borrowed them back from my friend who is fostering them (and full disclosure they do leak a bit when they get wet so I can’t put them on my precious tile for fear of rust stains). Us Hendersons like comfort, to an annoying (and uncomfortable degree) but these chairs are so handsome.

I also moved around the marble table because the fig tree is losing its leaves so it kinda ruins that corner shot.

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I recently met Barrett from Valley Brink Road and loved her whole vibe (and personality). She is a chef and florist, with beautiful work (that tastes good, too) plus she lives nearby and our kids go to the same preschool. I reached out to see if she wanted to collaborate on the food/drink and flowers for our “party”. As the busiest time of both our year I knew that I couldn’t handle more optional work, but I really wanted to create this content and just decorating the patio with wreaths and garland wouldn’t be enough.

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Plus this was a good excuse to hang out with a few ladies (two of whom I know, and two I’m getting to know). Barrett suggested a fancy holiday toast, simple crudite and I requested a bourbon punch recipe because, well, I and my friends love a bourbon punch and I needed a new recipe for them.

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Everything that Barret created has a holiday bent to it and while I didn’t make it, it looked simple and easy to make… HA, but that’s the genius (and devil) of being good at something – the better you are at your craft, the easier it looks to everyone else, which often means the harder it is to justify your cost/worth. IT’S HILARIOUS. If I had a dollar for every time a client implied ‘Woah, it takes that much time to insert-your-job-here?’ I’d be a trillion-aire. When your overhead seems low and your job looks fun, it sure is easy to assume it’s easy and fast. Here is an example. A couple years ago I had a client who wanted to reduce our design time/billing because it seemed high to them, so I gave them a few suggestions on how we can get the time/cost down. I told them to create a pinboard with inspiration images (and they were Pinterest savvy so it wasn’t starting from nothing) and also to pin actual current home product they really loved. This would reduce our jumping off design/inspiration time and the back and forth time of us guessing what they liked, being wrong, tweaking, editing, proposing again, etc. A week later they emailed saying ‘Listen, I don’t have time, it’s taking WAY too long to find the perfect inspiration and pieces and I’m super busy right now so I can’t spend the time’.

Uh huh.

I responded “I totally understand. It takes time. It’s either my time or yours… your choice’. He chose for us to do it and I think had a much larger respect for the craft and creativity (and while it still took hours, it was far faster than if he had done it). This is why I think our budget posts are so valuable – we are doing days and days of design work with the hopes that you like it and can click and purchase a well-designed room.

Point is, I think the execution of this food might be simple, but the expertise behind it isn’t – so you guys benefit from Barret’s years of honing her craft and reducing complicated food, drink, and floral craft into simple recipes. Thank you, Barrett.

First up is the Burrata Toast with Pomegranates, Pear, Basil, & Aged White Balsamic.

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Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio Recipe Burrata Toast Recipe Card With Photo Name

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For the crudite, she included beautiful, farm fresh vegetables and a homemade dip that was delicious.

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Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio Recipe Beet Dip Recipe Card With Photo Name

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Lastly, for the drink, a DELICIOUS bourbon and ginger beer drink that you can make a large batch (like a punch) or individual cocktails.

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And yes, my tile is getting properly aged and I’m fine with it 🙂

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Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio Recipe Bourbon Ginger Lemon Punch Recipe Card With Photo Name

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Speaking of shots … you’ll never guess but those blooms in the climbing rose bush are FAKE. SILK. FRAUDS. HA.

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There are two real ones that are actually still blooming, but we put a few more in both climbing rose pots to fill it out for the shots and they look AMAZING. My gardener was over while we were prepping on the patio and he showed them to me all proudly, saying that he recently pruned them so they are growing/blooming more and I was like, ‘HA! HA! DANIEL THEY ARE FAKE!’ and it blew his mind. I’m keeping them in there until they look gross…

The two big blooms in here are fake, too (but there are some that are real) and the greenery that is climbing is all real – we just popped in some larger blooming roses.

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For a California winter party I got to throw some fur, blankets and indoor pillows outside. The tabletop is mostly stuff I already had mixed with some new pieces from the flower market and some Target.

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There is the lovely Barrett with her little baby bump …

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Happy Holidays, folks. If you are interested in anything we used, here you go!

A huge thanks to Barrett of Valley Brink Road for the food, drink, and flowers. Her company also sends out AMAZING high-end gift boxes so if you are in the market to shower someone with love, head on over to her site. She also creates and shoots her recipes on her site. It’s always so nice to meet someone that kinda does what we do, who is interested in making pretty content. Thank you, Barrett!


*** Photos by Tessa Neustadt


For those who asked for more readable recipe cards here you go!

Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio Recipe Bourbon Ginger Lemon Punch Recipe Card2

Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio Recipe Beet Dip Recipe Card 01

Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio Recipe Burrata Toast Recipe Card

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6 years ago

Everything about this is gorgeous! I love the serving boards particularly. I wish I lived somewhere where it was even remotely possible to sit outside at this time of year!

6 years ago

So beautiful and I love the story about the faux roses! Can’t wait to make all the recipes as well. Now, Miss Emily, that DRESS – we need to know about it! It’s the perfect hostess dress and you look amazing in it!

6 years ago

Does anyone have an idea where that pink ruffle sleeve sweater is from? It’s so pretty!

6 years ago
Reply to  Morgan

I love it too!!!

6 years ago

I want to make the recipies, but they are super hard to read when superimposed over the photograph!!!! Any way you can link to a readable copy?

6 years ago
Reply to  Ann

They’re down below in a readable version, the pink boxes.

6 years ago

I miss the big ol’ roundup-style board. The flip gallery is good, but I like seeing everything in one space collectively too. Also, I had a lot of trouble reading the toast recipe on my 20+ inch monitor (how are people on mobile seeing it?). If the font were bigger and the background box was a bit more opaque that would’ve made it easier for me to read (not sure about folks on mobile). The toast reciple is exactly the kind of recipe I appreciate because I’m not really a cook but I love to eat, and it looks simple enough that I could do it.

Julie P
6 years ago

The Bourbon punch sounds great!!! I can’t wait to take this to a party this weekend!

I really enjoy the Get the Look shot at the end of the post with links…. not so much the new scrolling through individual items – I don’t feel like I get the same clean overview and it’s annoying on the mobile version because you can’t see the whole pic etc.

6 years ago
Reply to  Julie P

Ok so good to know. we are just trying out different formats and the scroll thing gets more ‘clicks’ (aka good for businsss) and some people really like it, but I like the board, too but when I write too much about each thing its hard to read/focus. Is doing both redundant?? maybe, but if its making everyone happy maybe thats better?

6 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I think doing both would be better, I for one wouldn’t find it redundant at all!

6 years ago

Your blog is truly a daily gift to me. The unfailingly beautiful content is a respite, even if only for a few minutes. Here in Brooklyn thinking of all those affected by the fires. I hope you, your loved ones, and your home remain safe.

6 years ago
Reply to  Margo

thank you very very much. xx

6 years ago

Emily, I truly love you and check your posts every morning! But please, can we try another color combo? Blush+blue is getting a bit old… freshen it up maybe?
What I would love is perhaps taking the higher-end design you’re doing lately – like the french series – and making it more budget friendly? I LOVE THOSE POSTS.
thank you!

6 years ago
Reply to  NS

Ha. thanks, kinda. When its at my house we use my color palette because that’s what I have to work with and i’m not going to redesign everything every day. But at others, DEFINITELY.

6 years ago

Love, absolutely love this whole party – the food, serving and decor. But, for me, it 100% does not read as holiday. If you took away the pomegranates, I wouldn’t notice anything holiday-ish at all. I had to go up and scroll for a 3rd time to even notice the ornaments. I’m sure I’m not chic enough, but I like my holiday parties to read holidays.

6 years ago
Reply to  jennifer

wreaths? garlands? ornaments? ha. I thought it was enough, but its also just a little gathering. wait til next week when we go super holiday (I think, but i’m sure some people will still think its not enough). xx

6 years ago


Wanted to share my two cents on the new image gallery format:

Feed readers make the individual images show up huge, which is helpful for the gift guide posts, but I don’t think it’s necessary for a post like this where you aren’t commenting specifically about each piece. I personally prefer seeing the moodboard (pinnable) style round-up at the end of posts like these.

Everyone’s a critic, I know. Loved the post!

6 years ago
Reply to  olivia

I agree with you totally. gift stuff – where i want to say something about each thing the gallery works great, but a mood board here would have been better. That was my call yesterday but so good to know!

6 years ago

Barrett’s website is SO beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

Christen Connell
6 years ago

Lovely. Really lovely. I like that you used a lot of your regular stuff and mixed in only a few new things. I always fall for a need for new everything! But now I regret not pulling the trigger on some of those outdoor lanterns at Target when I had the chance!

6 years ago

I’m going to make that Burrata toast. Beautiful!

6 years ago

Just beautiful! I really love your dress in the last photo. Who makes it?

Rebecca D.
6 years ago

Emily- Once again your compassion and empathy allow you to strike just the right tone. That these pictures were taken so soon before these horrific fires almost seems a commentary on how quickly life can change. Thank you.

6 years ago

This is just SO divine. Number one: Please please please spill the beans and tell us where you found your blue floral maxi dress. I’ve been admiring it from afar for what feels like years. Two: you are solely responsible for my growing Target addiction- such amazing pieces when you touch them with your magic styling wand. This is a problem as I live in New Zealand and am seriously thinking of shipping a lamp or two from the Boathouse makeover round the globe, not to mention that lovely table runner. As for blush and blue- I will never tire of these. Thank you for some of the best moments in my days, when I steal a few minutes just to gaze at all the beauty you create.

6 years ago
Reply to  Mon

AH, thank you 🙂 The dress is from last year by Thylo but I’ve NEVER been able to find it online. I recently bought this one and while its different its really flattering..

Natasha S
6 years ago

Hi Emily, where is the copper lantern from?

6 years ago
Reply to  Natasha S

Target 🙂

Anna Smith
6 years ago

I bought those Target outdoor dining chairs after seeing them on your patio but they have unfortunately ruined my deck/outdoor rug…if it rains, they leak rust water for days afterwards. I live in Denver so rain is pretty rare (though it’s not as dry as CA) but I’ve been wondering how you manage with that gorgeous tile. Do you put them away if it gets wet? I love all things Target but these were so disappointing 🙁

6 years ago
Reply to  Anna Smith

I’m so sorry about that! I addressed it in the post and mentioned they have that problem when it rains. We don’t sit on these (I gave them to my friend but borrowed then back for the shoot) because of that problem and because we like the Target upholstered club chairs to actually sit in because we hang out there ALL THE TIME.

6 years ago

I love that one of your guests very thoughtfully dressed to match the décor! And pretty food. Loved looking at it and trying to imagine being there (but I don’t really own much in the way of pale pink). Sigh.

Thanks for going the extra mile for pinterest worthy post content. Maybe we should just put you in charge of all pinterest content?

6 years ago
Reply to  Patricia

Ooh I’ll tell Pinterest that!!!!! 🙂 and thank you. xx

emily jane
6 years ago

Me too -pleeeease bring back the larger product ‘mood board’ at the end of your posts! I learn so much from seeing your choices all together. I don’t even need links to everything (if that’s why the format was changed..?). Your mood boards are an opportunity to explore how and why everything works together in the space featured in the post, but also allow me to see the pieces separately enough to know if they will work in my home. (I find the lack of the ‘visual conclusion’ portion of your posts so jarring that upon reading the first post using this newer format, I actually thought there had been a glitch that had cut the post off mid-way..!). On another note, you guys are absolutely killing it on the blog lately -THANK YOU!!! ps. Gosh, part of me feels like a jerk for asking for anything more than you already so generously & beautifully give..! For what it’s worth, my comment is intended as even-though-you-didn’t-ask-for-it, constructive feedback only… Happy holidays : )

6 years ago

Where is your red dress at the end from?

6 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Yes please, info on the red dress!

6 years ago

Yes to the recipes! I’d like to see more of these. I’m especially excited to try the bourbon lemon ginger punch. Love Moscow Mules and love bourbon (but not a fan of Kentucky Mules…maybe the lemon will mellow out the bourbon). I love to cook and am always looking for new ideas, but I don’t have enough spare time to get into food blogs along with décor blogs (unless they’re a food blog that incorporates décor…like the faux Martha…LOVE her style).
Anyhow, beautiful as always! Thanks for always providing us with such great content on such a frequent basis!!!

Tina, NYC
6 years ago

Hi Emily and team, Beautiful post but can you just let us know you and yours are safe in these wild fires. I don’t know geography of your area of Cali but praying for all of your safety in these scary times.

6 years ago

The blush accessories on the table like the linen towel and the dip bowl seem to match and the throw over the chair blends beautifully. Where can I find those please?
Also every time I see your cement flamingo with the champagne coup in its mouth I want it! Have you mentioned where you found it? I’d love one!
Lastly there’s an oversized champagne colored ball ornament next to the copper lantern on the beverage table…….could you please share where you found it?

6 years ago

Lovely as always. The food looks delish and I will definitely try them.
As others have said, my heart and positive juju ate with everyone in Southern California.

6 years ago
Reply to  Deirdre

I have those Target patio chairs for *inside* and I love them just as they are (I love the firm support), but open to suggestions if anyone knows of seat cushions that will fit! The sheepskin thing I’ve tried and really all they do is warm, not cushion enough to make any difference for the rest of the family.

6 years ago

So up here in cold frosty Canada, where the only thing I do outdoors is run to my car, I was reading this and looking at the photos and feeling sad and sorry for myself that we don’t have a beautiful outdoor environment in the winter… but then I realized… it is about CREATING the right environment with what you have. I may not have a temperate, leafy outdoor environment, but I can try to create a cozy, warm environment indoors here for an upcoming soiree… Unfortunately we don’t have Target (anymore, so sad!), but we have some other pretty damn great places to source amazing stuff. So, in a nutshell, thanks for the inspiration! I am feeling a little less… sad… and a little more hygge…..!

6 years ago

The setting, the decor and the food look lovely, as usual (I also love the outfits!). BUT why on earth do you have a bottle of Miraval rosé on the table when you live in a state that produces such fabulous wines?! Just some food/drink for thought…

Rebecca (longtime reader and wife of a Paso Robles winemaker)

6 years ago

Oh wow, so soo beautiful! Such gorgeous styling! I was also admiring the lush garden in the background, and that golden glow of twilight – perfectly cosy and set off the soft pinks and little dazzles of ornaments. If only I could set up something similar without my puppy jumping up and pulling everything off the table haha!

6 years ago

Good post. It is really help to us. Its give us lots of interest and pleasure. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. Its really a good article. It gives me lots of pleasure and interest!

6 years ago

Love you guys, but have to say I was expecting a bit more commentary about these devastating fires from Emily seeing as they’re so close to home…esp on IG stories where you’re normally a lot more open and unfiltered. Would love to see you sharing actionable ways to help and places to donate to victims. This fire hasn’t let up once and is only getting bigger.

6 years ago

I thought you were a vegan?

6 years ago

That crudités plate looks very Annie Campbell…

6 years ago

Very good brief and this post helped me a lot. Say thank you I searching for your facts. Continuous it..

بیوگرافی گلاب آدینه
6 years ago

fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new information in yourweb site.

بیوگرافی گلاب آدینه
6 years ago

fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new information in yourweb site.

6 years ago

At first I’m like “recipes? On emhendo? Nah.”. And then proceeded to pin every recipe, including the punch, to my party Pinterest board. So yeah, bring it!

6 years ago

Everything looks amazing!

6 years ago

Hi Emily 😉
Love, love, love your patio!
It’d be great if you could do the expert yards and find some faux sheepskin that doesn’t involve the killing of an actualy sheep to have the nice fluffy sit-on element. I have looked and searched for a couple of years and have not found anything ‘real-ish’ feeling. As a committed vegetarian (as opposed to a faddish or part-time one), I simply cannot let my desire for the look or feel allow me to cause the death of an animal.
Do you have any suggestions of suppliers/products that might fill the void??
I’m pretty sure there are others that would appreciate your input on this too.

6 years ago

Its really a good Post. It gives me lots of pleasure and interest..!!

6 years ago

OK, love that you fixed fake roses to the climbing roses! I’m a big rose fan so I immediately honed in on those pictures and was oogling the blooms and laughed when I read that. If you hadn’t mentioned it I wouldn’t have suspected it. Your gardener probably already knows this but you should consider training your climbing roses so that the branches/canes lay horizontally and kind of cross them up the wall. With how they are now I think most climbing roses will just produce one rose (or a cluster) at the end of each cane. If you train the branches to lay horizontally they will produce lots of roses along the canes not just one on the very end. You’ll get a lot more roses this way.