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Emily Henderson

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by Brian Henderson
Emily's 40th

Hi there. You probably came to the blog today for a nice relaxing Labor Day post about “style,” or “design,” or “pillows,” or something (editor’s note from Arlyn: actually, we do The Link Up on Sundays…that’s still on the schedule, just for a little later this morning). Well, I’m sorry to say that I have officially hijacked Emily’s site today and am holding you all hostage to read the longest birthday card anyone has ever written. I hope you don’t mind.

Emily turns 40 years old today. That’s a big one. A lot of people wouldn’t like their age posted on social media, let alone a website for millions to see, but we all know that Emily is much too cool to care about stuff that. That’s a big part of why I love her. I think when someone is as open and transparent as Emily is on this blog, it inspires us to try to be more honest in our own lives. So that’s what I’m going to try to do here, for better or worse. I wasn’t quite sure if I should write this directly to Emily, like: “Hey, Emily, you thought your post about pillows was going up today, but here’s what I think about you…” But I know she doesn’t like being put on the spot, so I’m gonna talk about her like she’s not here. I was also thinking I’d do my own version of a “Round Up” post since people like those, but like an “Emily Round Up” about things I love about her, but it sounded too cutesy and to be honest kind of exhausting, I don’t know how she and her staff do it. Instead, I’m just going to take a lesson from Em and try to write as openly and honestly as I can about my beautiful birthday girl. Oh, and warning—I’m going to straight up brag about her here, sorry Em, you’re gonna have to deal with it. Okay, here goes:

As of today, I’ve been in love with Emily Henderson for pretty much half of her life (half of mine, too—I turned 40 last year), which is a rare thing I think. We met when were barely 21, up in the patchouli-soaked rain of Eugene, Oregon. Our mutual friend Ryan got hit by both sides from us asking “Who is that?” when we spotted each other at a cast party for a play I was in. He introduced us, and had to scramble to get out of our way. It was like we had waited our whole young lives to meet each other and had a lot of catching up to do. We shut the party down, stayed there all night into the dawn, and didn’t stop talking the whole time. Everything seemed to be moving in stop motion around us and we were too busy devouring each other’s discourse to notice that the sun had come up. And we didn’t even kiss! Barely even touched! As I dropped her off the next morning in my ‘93 Civic, I whispered to myself, “…sh*t.” Not because I didn’t attempt to kiss her that night, or because iPhones hadn’t been invented yet to get her number, but because I knew I was totally, and royally screwed.

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See, I had spent the previous year and a half working to get out of the friend-zone with a girl I had a huge crush on, and a week or so before that fateful party, I had finally bridged the unbridgeable gap and started dating said other girl. Let me repeat, A YEAR AND A HALF. But it was all moot because I knew that I had fallen instantly and irreversibly in love with Emily that night. I knew it. More than that, I knew I was meant to be with her, like in a way that I have trouble putting into words. I have never in my life felt such a pure certainty of connection with another person and never have since, except for when my kids were born. It was cosmic, if you believe in that. Or predetermined, if you believe in that. Or divine, or primordial, or historic. I’m a skeptic through and through, but I still marvel at the feeling I had the night I met Emily.


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I’ll save you the details, or you can go read Emily’s version, which is much funnier and better written, but suffice it to say within a couple weeks, Emily and I were together. And we’ve been together since. Well, except for that time I got all actor-y and dramatic and broke up with her because I wanted to be “free,” or that other time I got all actor-y and dramatic and we broke up to explore our youth in New York. But each time I came crawling back. One time, I came running back. Literally. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I once ran with scissors around her house until she took me back. I told you: actor-y and dramatic. But aside from those minor breaks, I think I can safely say that I’m the leading expert on the adult life of Emily Henderson, and that’s a pretty sweet field to be an expert in.

So, as the expert, here are a few things I’d like to share about Emily on her 40th birthday.

Em 4 Up

She’s been this way since I’ve known her.

For a lot of people, to say that they haven’t changed as they’ve grown up could be seen as a negative thing. It implies that they haven’t learned or matured in a way. Not Emily. That girl has not only been more mature than me our whole lives, but she has had the same un-extinguishable brightness in her since day one. It’s like the Olympic torch. In the almost 20 years that I’ve known Emily, she’s been the same optimistic, fun-loving, thoughtful, caring person that she is today. All those posts that make you feel hopeful or optimistic? She’s been talking like that since she was wearing cowboy pants and cheesy vintage tees. Not that she doesn’t have lows, we all do, but I’m in constant shock at her ability to pivot to positivity, no matter how much pressure she’s under or how many people are depending on her. And it’s not fake, or put on, or done for a selfish self-help kind of thing. It’s genuine and it changes the energy of every room she’s in. She’s been called a “cosmic bunny” by spiritual guides and a “dolphin” by her staff, both of which have tons of bright energy and are always playful and positive (editor’s note: we went with dolphin also because they’re crazy smart, Brian!!). I think that’s apt. I’m not sure what my spirit animal is, or if I have one, but I’m so grateful to have that this dolphin-bunny in my life to pull me out of my dark moods, or to remind me how lucky I am in life. Which brings me to my second share:

Em And Brian

She saved my life.

I know, it’s a big statement, but it’s true, she did. She didn’t physically pull me off a cliff with her bulging biceps or anything, but she kinda did metaphorically. A few years after we moved to LA, I got very depressed. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t being creative, I wasn’t contributing, I felt stuck. More than stuck, I felt like the world owed me something and that it had reneged on a deal it wasn’t aware of. In New York, I had been riding high—great MFA program, great acting jobs, Broadway! But in LA, the big fish wasn’t so big and when things didn’t work out, I went dark. I was hard to be around; bitter, closed off, petty, and, worst of all, jealous. That’s what broke me. I was jealous of everyone else’s success, from my friends to strangers, and I hate to write this, but I was jealous of Emily.

Our professional tracts had taken polar opposite arcs in LA. Where mine was in a downward spiral, she had won Design Star, shot her own show, and was on a meteoric rise in her field. I should have been thrilled! I mean, what kind of a spouse isn’t over the moon for their partner in that scenario??? Ugh, I hate even thinking about that time in my life, the thick shadowy muck that kept me from being there for my wife. And even more gut-wrenching is to think of all the missed opportunities I had back then to say “Congratulations!” or “I’m so proud of you!” Instead, I would find little ways to be petty and pessimistic. I was the worst. I knew it, and Emily knew it.

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So one day she pretty much threw it down. She told me that I wasn’t the man that she had married and that I had to make a change. She didn’t put it as an ultimatum, but I felt like I was about to lose my marriage, which shook me. And she didn’t mean it in a holier-than-thou way, she just wanted so badly for me to be happy. Because she knew that that was the only way we could be happy together. So, she suggested I see a therapist, which was such a foreign idea for me that I think I might have laughed at first. But it wasn’t a joke. And long story short (I may write a therapy post here soon) I saw someone who helped pull me out of the dark and showed me how to re-engage with my life in a better way, but more importantly re-engage with Emily in the way that she deserved. The therapy she suggested changed everything. I’m still working on it, and I still screw up by not appreciating her enough, but having Emily shake me out of my dark time reshaped me forever. I’m so, so grateful to Emily for that.

Whew, sorry to bring it down on a birthday post, so let’s get to something lighter:

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Her roots are starting to show.

As many of you know, Emily was raised Mormon, in a small coastal town with open forest to roam in and family activities to come home to. A large family of 8, who would craft all day, cook family meals, and would even can their own tuna! I’ve never actually gotten the details of that, and now that I’m writing it, it sounds crazy. How does a family can tuna? Did they catch it themselves? They didn’t own a boat or a tuna farm as far as I know. Where did all the tuna come from?!? I’ll have to ask at the next Starke family dinner.

Anyway, in her 20s and 30s, I don’t think Emily could have told you what a spatula did. Which is totally fine! We lived in New York and ate out every meal, then in LA, we still ate out every meal. And I certainly didn’t care nor expected her to cook or be “domestic” in any way. Not my thing. Not her thing. Which is why the shift in the last year has been so fun to watch. It’s like the Mormon frontier woman got activated in her and started taking over her body. I’ve watched her go from almost slicing off her thumb every time she chopped veggies, to expertly concocting a delicious soup from scratch! With homemade bone broth! Like, she dissects a whole chicken and makes broth from its bones! Or she roasts a chicken with a bunch of delicious other stuff and we all sit down as a family for Sunday supper like we’re on the prairie! Who is this woman??

Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing, but I keep expecting to come home to a 6-foot tuna on our counter, a house full of jars, and Emily with a hatchet and a grin. She still almost cuts her thumb off while chopping, but it’s amazing how she can still find new things to become obsessed with. Oh, and did I mention she also fancies herself a vegetable farmer now, as well? Despite the fact that the only viable veggies to come out of our raised bed so far have been micro-carrots that resembled micro-something-elses, she will be the first to tell you that gardening is one of the more important things to her right now. Between that, the renewed interest in drying flowers, church, and nature hikes up in the mountains, I feel like the next chapter of Emily’s life may include a lot of prairie dresses and braids. And I’m not mad at that. Because:

She’s super hot.

Y’all, my wife does an excellent job at trying to hide it, or be super self-deprecating about it, but I am the luckiest husband on Earth, and I finally have a big ol’ megaphone to brag about it. She’s a straight up hottty! And no, you grammar freaks, that’s not a typo, I put an extra “t” on purpose! Screw it, I’ll put in four just to make the grammar police upset: She’s a hotttty! Sorry, I know it’s not great to objectify a woman, even your wife, so let me skip to the next one:

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No one moms harder.

My kids are OBSESSED with Emily. To watch her with them brings that cosmic thing into my stomach again. To know your spouse is the best parent in the world, that’s what true safety feels like. She is so patient, kind, and fun that I sometimes just watch my kids watching her. Their smiles crush me and they never smile more than when they’re with her. I dare you to try to come between Birdie and a hug with her mama, she’ll scratch your eyes out. And Em is a natural at it. It could be that she came from a big family with kids all around, or her parents taught her well, or maybe it’s those 29 parenting books that she’s read, but I think she’s just naturally talented as a mom.

Em And Kids

It’s like she’s able to slow down time when one of our kids is having a tantrum, or screaming at us like a dictator when one single fleck of pepper gets into their scrambled eggs— “I. SAID. NO. PEPPER!!!!”—and she somehow knows how to talk to them the way you’re supposed to. She’s constantly thinking about how we parent, not just how to get through the day. It’s super inspiring and makes me up my game on that front as well. Not that we don’t both have our breaking points or bad moments, we do. I’ve seen her get real scary. But after the kids are down and we’re having that post-bad-moment glass of wine, we talk about parenting and she is so thoughtful in trying to figure out what we can do better. I often wonder, how is there enough space up there in that brain of hers? She spends all day and late nights working on this blog, thinking of design, and style, and her business, and she has the space to be a good mom? I have a fraction of her workload, and I still have the urge to check out sometimes. I think she’s just one of those people who can appreciate things in real time and there’s nothing she appreciates more than our family, and we are ridiculously lucky to have that.

I warned you I was going to brag about her. Sorry. But here’s my last one, and kind of the thesis of this whole thing:

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My wife is the most extraordinary person I’ve ever met.

That one is not me being actor-y dramatic, it’s not hyperbole, it’s the honest truth. As honest as I know how to be. I truly have never encountered anyone else who has as much capacity for life as Emily Henderson. Through this blog, you guys get a glimpse of who she is, a pretty large glimpse actually, because she’s so transparent about her life and work on here. And maybe the thought has crossed your mind a few times that it’s BS. Fake Instagram smiles. That no one could possibly do all that she does and still find time, like actual meaningful time to be with her family. No one is that positive. No one is that generous. But the thing is, she kind of is. And those smiles? They’re the most genuine smiles on Earth, because as her family, we know what it’s like to have her around.

She is never down. Or as close to never as I’ve ever seen a human being get. I mean of course she gets down, she’s not a robot, and she’s also not like overly positive, like those people you want to slap and say, “Come on. Really?” But she always tries her hardest to focus on the positive, and that inspires us to do the same. She cherishes her time with her family, even though she should be falling into bed or demanding some quiet time after work. She busts her ass all day running an empire, no joke, she’s someone who never wanted to be an entrepreneur or a boss or business owner, and she is managing 12 employees and a global company. Last month, I got to see her with dozens of fans up at the mountain house, not just engaging with everyone and answering questions, but leading a full-on style diagnostic and teaching people about design. And she never trained for any of this!

She didn’t go to business school or design school, she learned on her feet, working, fighting her way up through the styling world for years. She was just a girl who started a blog called The Brass Petal because she loved design, and now she’s the one everyone looks up to. It’s amazing. She scrambles and struggles and frets over her work, constantly feeling out of her comfort zone, but never giving up, and when five o’clock hits, she somehow changes all those gears and is the most engaged wife and mom you’ve ever seen. She wants to know how our days were, she snuggles and dances and draws and sings goofy songs and then bathes and reads and puts down, and then talks and laughs and smiles and loves. It’s easy to forget that she woke up at 6am to write next week’s post and was a super engaged boss for 12 employees all day. I honestly don’t know how she does it. And I don’t acknowledge it enough. I’m not hardwired to verbalize my inner life and sometimes I assume that what I’m feeling is being understood, or just a “given,” and the moment slips by. I need to be better at that. Which is part of the reason I’m putting it down here today. Just so she hears it:

Emily, I’m not talking directly to you. I am so unbelievably proud of you, and am so grateful for everything that you do for me and our family. I don’t know what force intervened and brought you to see me do a shirtless, feminist version of Hamlet in that professor’s backyard almost 20 years ago, but I am so thankful that you didn’t walk out at intermission. You work so hard, and love so tirelessly, you inspire everyone around you, you blow my mind. Happy 40th birthday my love. No one deserves it more than you. I love you.

p.s. You may want to go look in the kids’ attic, up the ladder…

  1. So sweet, Happy Birthday Emily!

  2. Jaw droppingly beautiful post! If only we all had someone to talk about us this way, how beautiful our world would be. Happy Birthday Emily!

    1. Wonderful, wonderful. Happy birthday Emily. The most beautiful gift of all!! And Lindsey said it so well — how beautiful our world could be if we all cared for and appreciated each other like this.

      1. Brian you are a great writer! Also cool and hilarious hearing you on insta! Sounds weird but after seeing pictures for years, it’s cool to hear how someone sounds. Anyways, thank you for sharing Emily with us. And for sharing vulnerably today.

        I was cheering for Emily on design star as a teen and now as a single 27-year-old design professional not worrying about kids, I started to wonder why I read about home and kid stuff. You’ve reminded me that besides pretty design stuff, Emily’s heart also brings me here. She’s a role model; not for her picture perfectness, but her striving to figure out work, love, family, privilege, politics, serving others AND DOING WHAT SHE LOVES and even figuring out what that is. She asks questions and searches and tries. That’s inspiring. It’s her character and her search and her joy that bring me here. And the pretty spaces 🙂

        Happy birthday Emily Henderson! Thank you for being a role model.

        1. Ditto! Happy birthday Emily! Thank you for being you. You make the world a better place!

        2. Ditto. Thank you Brian for being so vulnerable. Great growing! Great writing! Happy Birthday Emily – I too love your energy, it comes off the page!

    2. Awwwww! And happy birthday, Emily!

  3. This is just so beautiful! Happy Birthday!

  4. Oh my word 😭…. beyond precious. What a treasure.

  5. Love it. Happy Bday from Norway, Emily! Thanks for a lovely, well written post, Brian.

  6. I loved reading this! I’ve watched you grow since Design Star. Happy 40th! I hope you’re able to celebrate with your family and friends.

  7. I started crying in the middle of this post. It made me think about what I can do to deserve a similar post from my husband in 2 years, when I turn 40. i better start doing something good right now!

    Thanks for the inspiration, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY EM!! Our readers love you more than you would know 🙂

  8. I’m sobbing. We love you Emily! <3

  9. Beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes to read about such great love. Happy 40th, Emily!

    1. Inspirational, both the love story and the force that is Emily. Thanks, Brian, for sharing, and helping to make her possible for us. Happy birthday, again, Emily!
      Do we get to find out what’s up the ladder??

  10. So beautiful! Love this! Happy birthday!!

  11. I have always perceived that EH is one of those special people who works hard at remaining fully aware of what she puts out into the world, intentionally choosing generosity, kindness, and good energy for all of their desirable mojo and power. That’s not easy to do day in and day out, professionally and personally. But receiving such a loving tribute like this one is just one of the rewarding boomerang effects that comes from living in that manner.

    1. That….ditto that comment.
      Happy Birthday Emily. You are blessed with a great husband and beautiful kids. Many many happy returns.

  12. That was the most moving birthday tribute. Happy Birthday Emily!

    1. Happy Birthday Emily!!
      What a beautiful birthday love letter!

  13. Happy 40th, Emily. That black and white picture of you and Brian gazing is fantastic! And this post is just lovely. Thanks for sharing it, Brian!

  14. So beautiful. Happy Birthday Emily

  15. Awwwwwww… ❤❤❤ Happy birthday beautiful, cool Emily!

  16. Bravo Brian! Well done! Thanks for showing us how you see and know Emily. Obviously, she’d never speak about herself this way, so this was a nice change in perspective! And thanks for the never-before-seen-on-this-blog pics!!! Happy birthday Emily!!!

  17. Wow wow wow. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous love letter. Happy birthday Emily!

  18. Happy birthday Emily!!!

  19. What s beautiful post. And of course I am dying to know what is in the attic!!

  20. Happy Birthday, Emily!

  21. Happy Birthday, Emily!!! We don’t “know you” know you, but we feel like we do. You are our internet friend (and design guru). I even had a little tear at this beautiful post! Haha. May today be full of all the JOY of 40 years we’ll lived.

  22. Brian, I think you found a second career as a writer. I’m in tears and I don’t even know Emily. Also, I’m not a crier. Amazing post and Happy Birthday, Emily!

  23. Wow! In the best movie in the world, Practical Magic, Sally writes to her sister Gilly: “I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. ”
    This post made me think of that quote.
    Happy birthday, I have followed you in South Africa since the Brass Petal and wish you all the joy in the world!

  24. Happy Birthday Emily! 🙂

  25. Oh Brian, well done. I too have loved Emily since Design Star and was lucky enough to meet her way back when. I have always felt how genuine Emily is, the real deal, our friend.

    Happiest of birthdays Emily. I didn’t like turning 40, I hope you enjoy it 💋💋💋

  26. HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY! Brian…beautiful post!!

  27. Such a wonderful post. This was a previous glimpse into a beautiful family. Happiest of birthdays to you, Emily!

  28. What a beautiful tribute, both birthday and life. You are (both) adorable. Happy birthday, Emily! May all of you have a wonderful day together.

  29. Brian’s ode to Emily is such a shining example for a young groom to learn how important it is to express their feelings and appreciation for their bride. Not just in the beginning, but throughout their entire lives. Spouses need to treat each other like the single most important person in the whole world. For if we don’t, someone else may, and that’s when the cracks turn into chasms. My husband and I turned to World Wide Marriage Encounters when our resentments were causing major problems. It taught us to make communication a major priority or the mole hills will turn into mountains. There’s so many lessons to learn from Brian in this post!!! What a loving husband and father…

  30. Brian, you may not feel like you verbalize your feelings enough, but I think the way you look at her says it all! My friend and I both commented on it after seeing you at the Mountain House for the reader event. From being there filming and helping all day, to entertaining the kids at dinner so that Em could do what she needed to do, your pride and love for her were so evident! You guys are truly #couplegoals! Happy Birthday Emily!!! I hope you feel the love and appreciation that everyone has for you today!

  31. Happy Birthday!!! 40s great!! Fantastic post!!!!

  32. So inspiring! Love the honest, beautiful things Brian wrote! Happy 40th Emily!

  33. What a beautiful tribute! Happiest of birthdays, Emily!! 🥳🎉 It’s incredible to see you evolve but stay the same in all the ways that matter most!!

    Brian?! … You had me in tears of joy and then, that sentence about the 6 foot tuna on the counter? … pee-in-my-pants-funny tears of laughter!
    You two. Peas in a pod.
    Both your 85 tear old selves will look backxat this time and smile, with live, just like you do today.
    Beautiful. ♡♡

  35. What a wonderful gesture. Happy birthday, Emily.

  36. Brian Henderson just broke the internet AND Instagram. Well done! And HBD!

  37. I love that you did this, Brian. I don’t think there’s much wives appreciate more than words of love and praise from our husbands, especially in public.
    Happy birthday, Emily!

  38. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EMILY! What a gift to be so loved by so many. You are a jewel and we all benefit from your optimism, personal growth, and willingness to be real. Thank you, Brian, for shining the light on your beautiful life partner.

  39. Wonderful post. Happy birthday Emily!!!!

  40. Such a beautiful toast! Happy birthday Emily! I’ve been following since the beginning and you guys are such a great couple & family. ❤️

  41. Brian, you absolutely knocked this one out of the park! You captured the essence of our girl without bragging or being too sappy. And, what a good writer you are! English major Mama is very proud!
    Your dad & I are so grateful you found a girl who has become the daughter we never had. Happy birthday, Emily!!!

  42. Beautifully written, warmed my heart, made me happy to read about your ongoing love story:) happiest of of birthdays to your beautiful wife! Life is gooooood!!! (the “o’s” aren’t a typo😂)

  43. What a lovely post! Happy 40th Birthday, Emily!!!

  44. So special! 😭 Happy birthday,
    Emily! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us readers (for so long)!

  45. Made me cry! Happy bday Emily!! Thank you for your inspiration and honesty

  46. <3 <3 <3!!!!!! I read at the end of a great little book that the #1 thing husbands wish their wives really understood was how very much they love them. You communicated it, Brian – what a beautiful thing here. Your partnership makes the world a better place! (PS the book is called For Women Only: What You Need To Know About The Inner Lives Of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn and I highly recommend it.)

  47. Happy Birthday! Beautiful post!

  48. awww, brian … so sweet. happy birthday, emily xo

  49. So beautiful Brian! Happy birthday Emily!

  50. Love love love love everything about this. Happy birthday Em!

  51. Lovely post Brian! Happy Birthday Emily and all the best for you and your amazing family always!!!

  52. Happy birthday, Emily! Thank you for sharing your life with us. And well done Mr Henderson!

  53. Brian, thank you for sharing. Beautifully said.

    Emily, I am happy to hear you are appreciated. I now imagine you like a couple of the true leaders I have met in my life, a strong inner core and a real joy in taking on the world. Happy birthday.

  54. I love this post. happy birthday, Emily. Welcome to club 40.

  55. Beautiful post.
    Happy Birthday Emily!

  56. So beautiful! ❤️. Happy birthday Emily! 🎂 🎉

  57. This is so beautifully written, it brought tears to my eyes. Well done, Brian. Happy birthday, Emily! All the best from a longtime reader in Germany😘

  58. Happy birthday to Emily, what a great 💝 gift

  59. Happy 40th, Emily! May you etch Brian’s loving tribute in your heart and carry it with you for the next 40 years. Well, that and some homemade canned tuna.

  60. Beautifully written. Happy Birthday, Emily!

  61. This was so beautiful! Bravo Brian and Happy Birthday to my design North start, Emily Henderson! ❤️🎉🎂

  62. Omg! What a beautiful tribute your husband wrote!! Not many women can say that their husband feels like that towards them!! You are s lucky woman and you sound like a great person!! Happy Birthday!!🎁🎉🎂

  63. Love love love.

  64. Beautiful. Happy Bday!.

  65. This was beautiful, inspiring, and it brought tears to my eyes. A good reminder that all of us have the capacity to be a little more positive, mindful and present. Thank you, Brian, for sharing this lovely birthday card!

  66. Lovely Brian! Happy Birthday Emily!!! ❤️🌹🎂🥂🍾❤️

  67. Happy 40th Birthday to my favorite interior designer!! You and Brian are so lucky to have found one another❤ This post too, omg.💕💕💕💕😍Sending love from Maryland!

  68. What a lovely post. You’re a great writer, Brian! Happy Birthday, Emily! 🙂 And many more. … Uh, Brian, you wouldn’t happen to have any eligible bachelor friends in the L.A. area who write moving tributes about their significant others like you did here and who are willing to put up with a woman whose spirit animal is, at times, a slug, would you?

  69. Brian and Emily – HAPPY DAY!! You guys are doing it right.

  70. I am crying. This is beyond sweet!

  71. This was such a BEAUTIFUL post! Thank you for sharing! Happy Birthday Emily!

  72. Ooooh Em, those tears we saw at the mountain house are nothing compared to the down pouring of tears I’m picturing you having after this amazing post. Happy birthday Em. Cheers to many more loving memories. xoxoxo

  73. Bravo Brian, so well said! This was amazing to read and digest. As a big fan of Emily’s over the years, I also would describe her positivity and authenticity as a major reason I enjoy this space. Happy Birthday Emily!!!

  74. I don’t believe I have ever commented before but how can I not. What a beautiful gift to share with us these words… I may be wrong but my gut says that sharing it with the world will make Emily happiest not because of any brag credit, but because you’ve simply just sparked joy and happiness in so many of us, and those things spread like a ripple in the ocean into bigger and bigger waves. Putting out joy and honesty and love – it’s big and meaningful, and it sounds like this is just one huge testimony to how Emily has changed you for the better. Thank you for being brave and doing this – your wifey made a great call in choosing you as well. Happy Birthday Emily!!

    1. Amen…..happy happy day, Emily.
      Your husband is a gem of the first water.

  75. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your Emily with us, Brian.

  76. Beautiful written, happy Birthday , Emily!❤️🎂 Greetings from Germany!🤗

  77. What a remarkable gift this is. Happy Birthday Emily! You are an inspiration to us all💕

  78. So beautifully said it brought tears. It seems you two people deserve each other. Much love on 40 years!!!!!

  79. Lovely!! Happy Birthday Emily, and wishing you many, many more. May you continue to savor every moment in this precious life you have worked so diligently for. Your authenticity is inspiring.

  80. Such a sweet, beautiful post! YOu are definitely a lucky husband to have such a pure, soulful wife/person in your life!
    HaPpy Birthday Emily!

  81. So beautiful!!! He is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have him!!!
    Such a beatiful couple and family!!!💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

  82. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Emily!!!😁 enjoy!!!😘

  83. What a beautiful birthday card to your amazing wife! And you are pretty amazing too, we hear!

  84. Happy, happy Birthday, Emily! Trust me, 40 is when it starts getting really good!
    You truly are a force for good in this world and that is an amazing thing! I feel fortunate that I have some pictures of you with my daughter when she went to one of your garage sales and I always think of you as a friend when I look at the beautiful little blue glass vases she bought for me.
    I know you are searching for your spiritual haven right now and I hope you might think it worthwhile to revisit the roots you grew up with. Setting aside judgements or prior opinions of individuals and read deeply of the basics. Bless you in your life and your efforts in all things. You are a most loved child of your Father in Heaven.
    I hope this is not inappropriate , but it is your birthday and I wish you the most happy and gracious life!

  85. I’m not crying, you’re crying!! This is lovely. Happy birthday Emily!

  86. Wow, just wow. You both are so inspiring and real. Keep being you (two) and thank you for sharing your talents, kindness & love of all things beautiful with the world! Xx

  87. What an amazing post Brian! So refreshingly honest and poignant. Happy Birthday to Wonder Woman! 🦸🏼‍♀️

  88. Happy Birthday Emily!!! I am so thankful for the light you share with us! Hope this next year is even better. You are amazing.

    And you gotta tell us what was up the ladder!


  89. Quelle superbe déclaration, quelle belle histoire d’amour que la vôtre et quelle superbe famille vous êtes! Joyeux anniversaire de France!

  90. What a beautiful ode to your spouse! Thank you for this honesty, Brian.
    Happy birthday, Emily 😘😘😘

  91. great, charming post and Happy Birthday!!!


  92. I remember the blue sofa in the window room in the park, something like that, when she win design star. I was blown away by that room and I’ve been a fan ever since! Happy birthday Emily! You don’t know me but I feel like I know you alot better after that beautiful birthday card!

  93. aaawww there is not greater feeling than someone having your back and loving you (almost) unconditionally. You’re both very lucky to have found each other and yes, it’s hard work – nothing
    comes from nothing, but you both restore faith in the rest of us. :-).

  94. This sweetest, most beautiful post of ALL TIME! Seriously brought tears to my eyes. You two are so lucky to have one another. Happy birthday Em! Cheers to 40 and welcome to the club. It’s a pretty cool club and I’m sure you will love this new decade!

  95. Very touching post! Happy Birthday….I think your wishes all came true!

  96. Happy birthday Emily. What a beautiful, beautiful letter/post <3

    I do want to say this: a lot of online influencers that I do like, feel like people who wouldn't be able to be good friends because their focus is mostly internal. Emily is someone who feels like can shine in her own space and also let you shine alongside her. Hope you are around the internet forever.

  97. Crying
    Happy birthday !

  98. Wow 💖, well done Brian! And Emily happy Birthday! At milestone birthdays I look back at what I have done and what’s important to me, I can fairly safely say when you do that , you can be pretty proud happy about the impact of your 40 years on earth – and hopefully it will just keep getting better- thanks for sharing so much of your life with us all. 🎉🎂🍾🌟 ps please do tell what was in the attic!!

    1. That my dear Emily, has got to be the best Birthday gift ever~❤️

  99. This though! Amazing tribute. Happy birthday Emily from Trinidad and Tobago! #whoscryingimnotcrying

  100. Beautiful and well deserved.

  101. Happy birthday, Emily! You deserve all the digital love letters/birthday cards/declarations of love that are coming to you today. And please tell us what’s up with the attic. 🙂

  102. So sweet. What an enormous way to show your heart and soul.

  103. I adored her in Design Star and she has continued to be amazing!

  104. Now I want to know what was up the ladder in the kids attic!

  105. I know she will treasure these words and the thought and feeling behind them forever. Happy Birthday Emily!

  106. True love! Beautifully written!!! Happy 40th birthday!!! 🎊🎉🎂🌈🍾💕

  107. Oh goodness. I started tearing up in paragraph two! Such love. Happy birthday! (And I totally believe she’s really this awesome.)

  108. So sweet and super thoughtful! Happy Birthday Emily!💗

  109. Your post was beautiful and heart warming. It is wonderful that you are so supportive and encouraging. Thanks for being such a great man

  110. Well done Brian! Such a great post. Truly enjoyable to read. Happy birthday Emily!

  111. Brian Henderson, you are a treasure, just like your lovely and talented wife. Happy Birthday, Emily! Msny Happy Returns!

  112. omg, I want more Brian on this blog and insta stories and I think he needs to be on tv or something so we get to see him more!

  113. I am definitely allergic to feelings, why are my eyes watering??

  114. am not crying. you’re cryinggggggg!!! 😭😭😭😭

    happy birthday, beautiful Emily ❤️

  115. Happy Birthday Emily!!! May God continue to bless you and your family!!! Such beautiful words from a wonderful husband who obviously adores the ground you walk!!❤️

  116. Beautiful words by a man who loves and appreciates the person who loves him more. Happy birthday Emily. You are blessed and a blessing 🎂🍷

  117. This is so wonderful! I had a smile on my face the whole time! I don’t know if we all have an “Emily” in our lives, but I probably don’t express my appreciation enough. That will change! Thanks for this wonderful share and here’s to many more years for you all! Happy Birthday, Emily!

  118. So sweet! Thank you for sharing. That’s got to be the greatest birthday present in itself!

  119. Good god, I didn’t think I would actually cry over Emily’s birthday post, but alas, my teary eyes are the surprising proof. You sure are an incredibly lucky man, Brian. And, I think we’re all incredibly lucky too – that Emily has decided to share this brightness with the world. It takes such tireless courage to do that, day in & out.

    You hinted at what her wider audience might think sometimes, “How can this be real? Is this enthusiastic, optimistic, bright shining woman actually someone that walks around in real life?” But this birthday note for her – this beautiful ode – draws such an incredibly real picture of a rare humanbeing. Thank you for sharing, Brian. And Happy Birthday to you, Emily! You are a total inspiration to me and I’m shifting the way I think about my days ahead now (in particular today, so thank you).

  120. I’m inspired! Seriously…this inspires me to be a better wife, mother, friend. Thanks for sharing this, Brian. You are blessed and she is blessed by you.

  121. Welcome to your 40s, Emily! I think you’ll love this decade. Thank you, Hendersons, for sharing your world with us — not just your style/design tips. It is not easy to be in the public eye. Thank you for having the courage to do so. Our home / style is better because of you and so are our soups. : )

    ps — I, too, remember cheering on Emily on Design Star (I had friends from Coos Bay who knew you and your family and LOVE all of you!) and have been a fan of your style ever since.

  122. Such a gorgeous post – Happy Birthday Emily!

  123. I will blame my tears on pregnancy, but the truth is your post is just adorable!!
    Happy birthday Emily from the other side of the world!

  124. I didn’t have the right moment to read this over the weekend so I made a mental note to come back this morning when I was back in the office. I’m so glad I did. I’ve been following this blog since Design Star and I have enjoyed it so much. This is the sweetest birthday card of all time. It’s funny and genuine and transparent just like Emily. (You two are such a great match.) Happy Birthday, Emily!

  125. Happy belated Emily. You deserve all the happiness in this world! Thanks for sharing this space with us.

  126. Happy birthday! Such a lovely and honest post! Thank you!

    Mariya | https://www.brunetteondemand.com/gigi-bella-hadid-outfits-vmas/

  127. Omg this made me cry and so so happy. Happy Birthday Emily!!! You two are wonderful people!!

  128. Wow! What a lovely post. I would die in the best possible way if my husband ever wrote something like this about me. I so enjoyed your honest reflections on marriage and co-navigating this crazy world we live in. Happy birthday, Emily!! I hope you had a wonderful day full of all your favorite things.

    PS–I also want to know what was up the ladder…and also know the answers about the canned tuna! LOL.

  129. That was such a beautifully, honest birthday tribute!!!Happy Birthday Emily! I’ve been quietly following your blog for many years and have learned so much. Keep shining your light!

  130. Such a beautiful read. Thank you for sharing this and your lives with us through this blog. It truly brings positivity and light to the world.

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