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Happy New Year! What 2021 Has In Store – Both Personally And Here On This Blog…


I’m a big “goals” and “resolutions” person so typically this is my season, but this year I felt stumped until I started writing this. Of course, I’m going to do all the things to feel healthier after the unhealthy holiday binge stage (I’ll do ‘dry January’, workout to my favorite app, use my new sauna blanket, nourish my body through soup – JANSTEWARY IS ON, and maybe read something beyond addictive rom-com fiction). But those things feel silly and way too easy – it’s what I always do. I still want to “grow” and feel a sense of progress in a bigger way and that’s when I realized that 2020 shifted my perspective on “growth” – and this revelation has become the basis of my 2021 resolution. You see, I used to think growth meant doing more–more staff, more followers, higher numbers, more collaborations, more protocol, a big office, fancy monthly reports, more friend dates, more money, more social engagements, more “department heads” and me running around like a chicken with its head cut off doing 4-5 photoshoots a week, socializing too much only to mentally collapse twice a year (while trying to be a good partner and obsessively good parent). I was so proud of the business, of my ‘”success” and certainly I don’t regret the years of hard work that went into getting here, but what I’ve realized now is that there is truly a difference between being grateful for what you have, and being able to enjoy it.

The pandemic, quarantine, and the year of 2020 woke me up in a many ways – and I’m obviously not alone. It made me realize I had an addiction to being “busy” and being forced to stay home inadvertently saved me from myself, from what I call my “extrovert overextension disorder”. It also made me stop and be more thoughtful about the world, the planet, racial injustice, and my place in it all. OF COURSE, I wish this was not due to a world pandemic, but I have to, we all have to, respect what has happened enough to take a larger lesson from it and not just keep moving. First off, I had no idea how depleted I was until we moved up to the mountain house full time, and I was forced (and was lucky enough) to just stay home with my small family. It was a forced “busy detox”, where I learned that I don’t have to work 60 hours a week to “succeed” and “grow” and instead by slowing down I was able to see my impact on the world (both good and bad) and strengthen what matters to me–my marriage, my connection to my kids, and humanity. Like many of us, by slowing down I woke up. I know that even being able to make this shift, to slow down, comes from privilege, not to negate years of hard work and experience. I feel so grateful that I learned this in 2020 and not in another 10 years after checking myself into exhaustion rehab and missing being truly ‘present’ during my kids’ childhood. The best and most confusing part is that there was truly no way for me–for any of us–to learn these lessons without actually going through it. For me, business-wise I had to build it all up, sprint fast and crash for 10 + years just to learn that I want a different kind of growth. You think you know your capacities, boundaries, strengths, and weaknesses. Maybe you do want to grow an empire and become the next Martha Stewart, but also maybe you don’t. And that’s ok 🙂 Having a career you are proud of and you truly enjoy doesn’t mean you need to build a “big business”. In fact, often in creative fields they are actually at odds. There are a lot of different paths to and definitions of “success” so to each their own. And who knows how it will change as the years go on. I truly am not trying to predict it–just being present and staying awake through it. Like muscles, what I learned in 2020 business/career-wise is that healthy growth for me is to feel ‘lean’ and ‘strong’, not ‘bigger’ and ‘more’. Thanks, Universe. Much appreciated (and Brian, Charlie, and Elliot thank you too) :).

Additionally, my team and I are excited and committed to continue being a part of making the design and blog world more equitable for BIPOC. I’m proud of the shifts we made in 2020 and we have some very exciting things in the works for 2021. One of the best takeaways I learned personally (and professionally) is to think more critically about my impact on others and the planet in every single thing I do and say, not just my intent. My intentions have never been bad–most of ours aren’t, but my impact is a different story, but I just wasn’t able to see it. In 2021 we’ll have a lot of conversations about this, we will have contributors and continue waking up to the realities of the world and how we can change, prevent and protect it (as one of our favorite readers/commenters, Rusty, always reminds us–there is no “Planet B”). Being sustainable is going to be even more of a focus for me in 2021 as well as continuing to try hard to not let my fear of making mistakes publicly stop me from having hard conversations about race. Let us never forget or go back. Ever.

OK. Enough about my self-reflection – what is in store this year design-wise??? What’s happening on the blog???? IT’S VERY EXCITING.

I have two new major design projects to document: our new/old home we just closed on in Portland AND my first new build for my brother’s family (on a river, also in Portland). Both of which I’m so excited about that I worked on them a ton over the break (hence why this post is on Jan 4th and not Jan 1st) and I can’t WAIT to show you. And even more exciting is I’m going about them VERY differently than the last two major projects. Again, I learned some lessons that I’m not letting myself forget no matter how much “fun” it seems to do it all. Being a very high-energy (enneagram 7) with a propensity to work myself to exhaustion, makes it difficult to know my own boundaries and capabilities. With the right teams in place, I’m hoping to manage it better and get a better result, actually. Maybe even less mistakes? Wouldn’t that be nice!! I can’t WAIT to introduce you to the creative professionals that are helping me execute these projects, so I can continue to run the blog, write a lot, and parent my two favorite small humans without falling back into my old patterns. I will not go back. I will not go back.

We also have so many design projects from our team of contributors that will be revealed, a few MOTOs (Makeover Takeovers) in the works, in addition to the relatable and helpful content and articles that we all grew to love in 2020 (again, thanks to my wonderful team). 2020 taught us that you guys love personal, relatable blog posts (us, too) so in addition to these huge renovations that I’ll be doing, we’ll continue talking about things like where to put your litter box and how to buy a super comfortable sofa online (both surprise blog hits!).

ALSO, THE BOOK. Oof. The manuscript is due in 10 days and comes out in November and while I’m not the best at self-promotion, this book will have been 3 years of my life and I’m already SO PROUD OF IT I WANT TO SCREAM. Of course, I couldn’t have done it with all these talented people: Velinda, Sara, Jessica, Angelina, Julie, Emily Bowser, Grace, Veronica, and Erik – it’s epic and was a huge team effort). I find this book so useful and beautiful and regardless of any future “success”, I’m so proud of it and will use it over and over for every design project in my future. If you liked Styled and are ever considering doing even more to your home beyond styling shelves and pillows, I hope you’ll love the information (and photography) in this book. November 9th, set your alarms 🙂

So, BUH-BYE 2020. I know we still have a long road ahead (pleeease continue to be safe) but I can’t wait for the world to open up, for the kids to go back to school, and even have new Portland neighborhood friends. I can’t wait for us to be able to do more in-person feel good makeovers and service projects, to see and hug my team, have some happy hours and fun in-person shoot days, for Brian and I to go to an indoor restaurant on a proper date where I might even wear an underwire bra, skinny jeans, and heels. Maybe. I can’t wait for us to be able to gather with friends without awkward conversations beforehand about who else they’ve seen or when’s the last time they’ve been tested – pod drama is a real thing and I’m over it. And I can’t wait for all healthcare workers, essential workers, and teachers to have a bit of a break, to do their already hard jobs with less fear, and hopefully they will feel the appreciation, respect, and love that they deserve – FOREVER.

I suppose the real 2021 resolution could be to collectively take the lessons of 2020 and use them to make the world better. Seems more important than a juice fast or reading more non-YA novels. 🙂

Again I can’t tell you how much YOU, this community of lovely people, means to us. Your daily reading, supporting, and commenting brought us through 2020 and gave us a lot of light and love in a challenging year. May it be a happy, nay happier, New Year. Cheers to 2021, where growth might look and feel different for all of us, and hopefully the universal perspective shift will continue to help us make the world a bit better. xx

(P.S. I’d love to hear any goals or resolutions in the comments if you feel like sharing–or even how 2020 shifted your perspective of ‘growth’ like it did me).

Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Mountain House Reveal: Our Calm Scandinavian Master Bedroom

Fin Mark


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Happy new year!! Our resulation is to focus on what matters. And to think hard about what really matters. eg – for what will you be grateful at the end? how should loved ones remember you?
One question: how is the EHD community actually doing? Are you satisfied with the out-coming? Does it bring the stable income with less sponsors and ads? I mean the economics, not the personal stories you share and gain. Thas is wonderful for sure.

Yes! Due to the 2020 slow down, the dust settled and I could see things clearly again. It was crazy but much appreciated. I am so excited about the new book and your new projects. Happy New Year!


I have my second coming in April and will spend the remainder of the year on mat leave (Canadian), so my only goal this year is to survive and thrive with two little ones (toddler and newborn), and adjust to that lifestyle. Being easy on myself this year. Enjoy the firsts and lasts, as we plan for this to be our last child. No big goals, but once baby arrives I’d like to take care of myself better than I did after my first child. Introduce a bottle earlier so I can get a break, take long walks, spend time in nature, and carve out alone time by leaning more on my family for support (assuming it’s safe to do so given the pandemic).


2020 my New Years resolution list was centered around ‘more’. 2021 will be centered around ‘less’. Clearly we are on the same celestial plane here.

The more list was an attempt to steer clear of restrictions, instead of saying drink less alcohol before bed, I wanted to focus on more in bed reading time. Instead of saying less judgement, more gratitude and celebration. Etc.

But I agree less needs to be the focus this year. Before the holidays I got caught up in planning a winter family get away, and yesterday my husband and I looked at each other and admitted that it was actually stressing us out more than exciting us. So we canceled our family trip. Less stress in our lives, fewer commitments because we are carrying out something we think we should be doing rather than what serves us.

Oh and yes, January will be (mostly) dry, and filled with a 30 day yoga challenge and vegetable filled soups. But alas, those are not resolutions just my (nearing) 40 year old attempts to be balanced and sensible. I am still a work in progress as one too many December hangovers demonstrated!


“think more critically about my impact on others and the planet in every single thing I do and say, not just my intent. My intentions have never been bad”

Wow. Life lesson for me right there Emily, thank you. My intentions have never been bad, but, yeah. That’s not enough. It was never enough. I will try to do better! And thank you for sharing this update. Happy 2021!


Ahh I’m so happy for the shout out to Rusty! After every post I always scroll down to see his comment! My dream post is an EHD team/Rusty in person collaborative project. Is that weird?!


K… I leapt off my bed (late night time here in Aussie) and ran to the bathroom for tissues, wiyh tears rolling down my cheeks reading Em’s mention of me (not feelin’ much lurve here today) and now your comment lit my heart up!

Thank you. Really. It means so much! 🥰 xx

I’m starting a total small house revamp on a shoestring this year and I’m so excited (bloomin’ mood boards galore!) so there’s loads of creativity vibing. 😊

Oh, and, um, actually, I’m 100% woman! Hahaha 😂
My nickname is a story in itself (got it from an Indigenous man in the centre of the city years ago). I know it’s muchly a guy’s name in the US, so no prob’s. xx


🤦sorry about that Rusty! Good reminder for me not to make gender assumptions in general! Have a beautiful day ❤️


No probs… hahaha 🤣 Really. It’s nothing at all. x




This also brought warmth to my heart. I just recently started noticing Rusty’s comments and how great they always were. Please include Rusty’s home on the blog! I just love the idea of a longtime reader getting to work with/collaborate on something with you guys, even if it is from afar.


Happy New Year! If you do want to be more sustainable you should probably focus more on sustainable clothing brands… slow fashion. Not buying the newest latest greatest clothing trends.


Or just buy used. It’s always so weird to me how bloggers can always link to the exact thing they’re wearing. It’s like, don’t you have a pair of jeans from ten years ago and a sundress you bought at a thrift store?

Seriously EHD readers: do some research on how much environmental waste goes into producing clothes and how many clothes end up in landfills. Shop at your local goodwill/thrift store /vintage boutique /online used clothing site. It’s not hard, you won’t have to sacrifice anything. This is doable.

Also, for the love of God people, hang your clothes to dry. Not every day but at least once a week. There are indoor racks as well. This is totally doable. Most of the world does this and they’re no less busy than you.


Kiana… Yessss!
In fact, another great thing about thrifting from goodwill stores is that the clothes are cleaned first aaaand, you don’t generally see otger people wearing what you have on!
My best friend and I are planni g thrift store outings for when I’m ‘free’ and it’ll be so fun! Plus, I won’t have a lot of money, so it’s practical too…. just not shoes. Other people’s worn shoes aren’t good for our feet. Good news is a LOT of stuff jn these stores is new, with tags on, even!🤙


Be careful about who you’re buying the thrift cloths from. Just as a note, some of these companies have and continue to do quite a bit of harm to the people they’re supposed to serve 🙁

Erin Dae

Love the comment on hang-drying clothes. I do this for almost everything – makes clothing last so much longer! I only use my dryer for socks & cotton undies, towels, and sheets. And I have found by using wool dryer balls my drying cycle for those items is greatly reduced! I have other areas where I want to be more sustainable (paper towels) but the laundry bit is under control here – and we are a family of 5!


ONLY hang dry here in Aussie.
It’s the right climate.
I get the trickiness associated with really cold climates though.


Most people air-dry here in Ireland too, where it’s mostly not the right climate for it! Domestic tumble dryers here are not very good and are expensive to run, so air drying it is, outdoors when possible, but indoors if not.


Family of 5?
Easy thing to add is reusable sandwich bags instead of ziplock throw away ones.
They’re cheap, hygienic and easy to clean and dry (inside-out-’em!). 👍


You could try recycled paper towel as you work to reduce your usage of it—and absolutely compost it when you’re done depending on your areas garbage/recycling/compost programs!

Re:reusable bags—avoid silicone if you have pets because the hair will just constantly stick to them and drive you nuts…. You can also reuse your existing ziplocks by washing them out and drying them upside down until they’ve been used up!

Beeswax fabric covers are a super easy way to wrap something in a reusable way and you can even diy them (maybe a fun project with the kids?) just be sure to be careful about purchasing from sustainable bee farming practices if possible!

Chnge has got to be about the most ethical clothing company there is and they sell kids cloths!


The beeswax wraps are a great project to do with kids!
Make your own lunch wraps.


I recently read the recommendation to put a dry towel in with the wet clothes when they go in the dryer. I guess it soaks up some of the water and things dry almost twice as fast. Really worth trying when one needs to use a dryer.


Erin, why would you be so selective? Socks & undies (especially), bed linen and towels are what I refer to as ‘delicates’. Just like your clothing, they’ll have a much longer shelf life from line drying them outside. Besides, nothing beats the smell of fresh linen, warmed by the sun and breeze! If you’re a lover of soft towels, then a partial dry outside first, followed by a final drying session in the dryer, will prolong their life and give you the softness you require. Personally, I like my towels to be slightly rougher as this is a fantastic way to exfoliate the skin at the same time. To adopt a more effectively sustainable lifestyle, you’ll need to rely more on the natural elements we all take for granted. Having so much ‘free’ energy at our disposal, is a gift. 🙂


Love the message here, don’t care for the tone. The bloggers link to the very same jeans they’re wearing b/c when someone buys them, the blogger earns money.

Look at this version below, I think it’s a lot easier to read (and listen to!):

I encourage EHD readers to research the impacts of the fashion/clothing industry on the environment. Instead of buying all new, try shopping at your local thrift store/vintage boutique/online used clothing site. It’s quite do-able, and the hunt can be fun.

Another idea is to try hang-drying your laundry – even just one load/week to start. They sell indoor racks you can mount from the wall or ceiling, or even free-standing ones. It also doesn’t really take any more time than the dryer, and it’s much more earth-friendly.


Especially if you also hang clothing on hangers! Indoor racks, or floor-standing ‘clothes horses’ provide even more space to hang those hangers. In cooler climes it’s still doable to hang the washing outside first, which allows the atmosphere to absorb as much of the moisture as possible via the wind, before hanging the nearly-dry washing indoors to finish it off. As most homes have central heating these days, positioning a clothes horse in a heated room is a very effective way of drying your washing in record time. So you’re not double-dipping on electricity usage.


Been there, than that. Towels are less fluffy when hang to dry. Bed sheets are more wrinkly and require ironing, so are shirts and blouses. I actually don’t overdry my clothes in a dryer typically and I dry delicate things on hangers or flat on a rack. Even with a dryer my dining room, bedroom and basement get cluttered from hanging, drying, and folding clothes. There is no way I’m taking more time away from my small kids to spend more time on laundry and invest more space for drying. We can be environmentally conscious doing many things right, but I don’t think we have to be perfect all the time. And a dryer is one of those luxury items I won’t give up. As for used clothes, some people like it ,others don’t. I buy very few things and wear them a lot before I throw away. The quality I buy can’t be found in goodwill or at least I dont have the time to search for it.


Poshmark and thredup have lots of designers brands. Most of my Anthropologie clothing come from thredup. It’s really easy to use and you can be super specific with sizes styles etc.

Kim B

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

I live in Paris, where the weather is NOT that conducive to hanging things to dry (it’s damp and coolish here a good part of the year), but that’s how we dry most if not all of our clothes and sheets. Small apartment with stuff hanging everywhere — we are lucky to have an “extra” room and a drying rack over our toilet and washing machine.

I draw the line at bath towels, however- so I wash bath towels only on the weekend when I can go take them to the laundromat to dry them in the big dryer. Same for duvet covers and duvets.


Ha ha!! May I suggest that you look to time-poor European and British women for inspiration? 😉

I’d LOVE to buy thrift clothes ❤️!!! But I make up for the lack of sizes by shopping furniture and decor at EVERY flea market and brimfield fair date I can find!!!!

At 6’ tall it’s only within the last few years that I find “real” tall fits (USA). If you buy it as a tall at 5’9” for when you wear heels….. it most definitely does not fit me even if a store labels it “tall”.

We all should be sustainable where and when we can (even if I fit into thrift store clothes it would be unreasonably difficult to search at them while raising babies/toddlers and working), we all have our limits.

Do what you can when you can! ❤️

P.s. married tall and these kids are killing me 😂 anyone want to start and kid tall and slim clothing line I can buy from?!!! Nothing fits!


I have never preordered a book but look forward to preordering yours. You are a good human. Keep it up.

I can’t wait for the book!!! Sounds like an amazing resource!

Kali Benbrooks

Love this, Emily! A goal of 2021 is to learn how to manage stress better perhaps through meditation. My in-laws purchased a home in New Orleans that my husband and I rent from them and are renovating and restoring for them on their dollar and the stress that has come along with all of that and fear that I’m not spending their money well is waking me up and keeping me up in the night. I’m trying to remind myself that this renovation does not mean everything, there’s bigger fish to fry in the world, and it shouldn’t be keeping me awake and causing such stress! Cheers to slowing down and learning to meditate. 🙂


Hey, I am not a professional but we just did two of our bathrooms and I am helping my parents with a lot of decisions with their new home addition. I wonder if I could help? I have come up with some useful tricks that save headaches and money. For example, my parents told me this morning they had ordered the grout for their bathroom. I had forgotten to tell them to pick up a few different grout colors at the store and then experiment with a few of their tiles and different colors, because the color often dries very different than the color on the bag or what it looks like wet. It is also very important to manage your contractors because if you don’t they will often just do their thing, which may include something really ugly. For example, my contractor wanted to trim my beautiful ceramic tile with metal trim. EVEN THOUGH I HAD ALREADY BOUGHT PROPER BULLNOSE TRIM AND HE KNEW THAT. I had to repeat to him, no, we are not doing metal trim. No, no, no. MEN. They think they know better but they DON’T. Also, I know this comment is a beast but… Read more »


Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what you do this year, along with your scrappy band of creative protégés and partners. I’m on the same page overall, looking forward to emerging from the ashes of 2020 into a more thoughtful, inclusive and sustainable future. Cheers!


Ooooh. Myyyyy. Gooodness!!! 🤗 Emily, you made my eyes overfow with tears, good ones, when I saw your lil mention of me. Man! I needed that today (wot a doozy!). Thank you. xx I am my word. This drives some people nuts, yes, but hey … if we aren’t true to what we know as our deep, centred, truth, then what’s it about?? “think more critically about my impact on others and the planet in every single thing I do and say, not just my intent. My intentions have never been bad” THIS is blatantly clear and why I keep sayin’ how great it is that you are striving, clearly, to walk your talk. It’s big. It’s important. And it’s a whole lot harder than simply putting one foot in front of the other and doing – get up, do my thing without making the tpugh, but better, choices, and… repeat. Making the better choices, the consciously loving choices, can be a hard slog. But, I tell ya, when you throw your body into (the beautifully styled) bed each niggt, it makes a whole bunch of sense to know you’ve done the right thing by your conscience, loved ones, community,… Read more »


Ahhh, I get the free comment now ;). I’m with you on that one!


I enjoyed this well-written post and look forward to your November book release and news about your Portland projects. I lean conservative, and have occasionally searched for blogs by apolitical designers to follow instead, but you and your team are by far the most interesting. So this year, I’ll just relax and enjoy y’all and not even try to find a replacement, no matter how vocal you get about issues. (I found you originally via Modern Mrs. Darcy and continue to enjoy her writing now and then.) I’m currently reading Interior by Thomas Clerc (translated from French by Jeffrey Zuckerman) and would love to recommend this book to you. He starts at the front door and describes every single thing in his Parisian apartment: tile, furniture, artworks, the electrical panel, what’s in his filing and medicine cabinets; how the lighting fixtures and windows work together, interspersed with brief personal, philosophical, and poetic anecdotes related to the objects … it’s amazing. I decided not to make resolutions this year, for the first time I can remember. I had a health crisis (kidney stone where the scan uncovered other abdominal issues) and a faith crisis (prayed very hard for a loved one… Read more »


Sending you a hug from Australia, Irene.


Thanks for the virtual hug from Australia, Rusty!

I agree with you completely about “no Planet B”. Protecting the environment is one of the two areas (the other being anti-war) in which I’m an extreme liberal. I hang all my laundry, walk on all local errands, compost and recycle, and (before the pandemic, I used to ) take public transportation for long-distance trips.

I e-mailed president-elect Biden to praise him for being an Amtrak supporter, and can’t wait for the day I can take a train trip to visit family again.

I make sure to read your posts whenever I see them because you often mention new sustainable actions and methods. I appreciate that very much!


Bravo Irene! You’re standing up for all the right reasons in life.:)

Roberta Davis

I feel like I have been in a benevolent prison for most of the year, and yet in some ways, I feel closer to family even though we can’t be together. We bought a new house, which has been a blessing- giving us a new and larger space to roam around in. But it is sad that we can’t yet share it with family. In the spring, I started reading to my 2 younger grandkids (2 and 4 now) on FaceTime. They are in Colorado, and I’m in Washington. At first it was 4 days a week, and now just 1 day since the school schedule keeps the whole family busy. But I love doing it so much and it keeps me more involved with the entire family. And hopefully has a good effect on the little ones and builds our relationship. (They do love The Gruffalo, even though the littlest one pronounced it “scary”. He still wants to hear it!) I’m not sure what I learned this year. Maybe just to relax, enjoy what life has given, and be patient. For this next year, I plan to continue to work on my developing yoga practice, which has given me… Read more »

Stephanie Kurth

I wish you well with your efforts to slow down, enjoy time with your family and think more about your impacts on the world…those are always very good things. Also, congratulations on the publication date for your book. I’ve been trying in every way possible to get a response from someone on your team about the artwork I provided for use in the book. Can you or someone on your team please respond to me privately to give me an update? Thank you!


2020 saw a big shift for me in being very intentional and thorough about what I buy and who and what I support through my purchases. Coming to understand the supply chain, sustainability, and ethical labour practices intimately…it’s actually encouraging how many amazing companies there actually are to buy from once you figure out where to look—and I actually got a suggestion through comments on your blog which helped me find that (so thanks)! I’ve also learned a lot about how to have conversations about systemic racism, oppression and intersectionality (check out Kimberly crenshaw’s podcast if you have a minute!!! Soooo worth it). I’ll be teaching a class to my student teachers about intersectionality and unconscious bias in February and I’m really looking forward to it. Personally, I escaped an unsafe marriage just prior to the pandemic and I’ve changed and grown so much in my understanding of boundaries and my respect for myself. I spent a brief period of that time homeless but now I have my own space and … there’s something about decorating your own space after something like that. The level of love and appreciation for it is just … different. I look forward to continuing… Read more »


Rachel, sending you love. x Being homeless must have been so very difficult. I feel so massively fortunate that I will be in the home I know and love after my relationship is, finally, physically apart from my ex. I cannot imagine what it’s like for people who have to leave this kind of situation with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing and often, kids in tow. I’m going to be doing some workshops (have the skills … going to share the goodstuff snd pay it forward) to ‘give back’ through a DV agency. I’ve also been asked to share my experiences as a case study – Australia is going through the process of making Coercive Control an offence, just as physical abuse is currently. This is a game-changer, especially for women, yet it affects all genders and relationship dynamics. “Coming to understand the supply chain, sustainability, and ethical labour practices intimately…it’s actually encouraging how many amazing companies there actually are to buy from once you figure out where to look” It sounds like you’re rebuilding the very platform of your life! I’m proud of you! It’s a huge deal to walk through the ‘fire’ and come out the other… Read more »


Rusty!!! Thank you for these kind words!!! I actually changed my dissertation topic following everything to study domestic abuse prevention in Canada (we’re sorely lacking in my opinion) and I’m actually looking to Australia and New Zealand for what they’re doing!!! I’d love to hear more about the case study you’re participating in but I need to be really careful about what information I share publicly. If you get on the insider community and you’re comfortable speaking to me would let me know?

And yes, domestic violence is absolutely a gender based and intersectional problem—not that it doesn’t affect men but it would be foolish not to examine it through an intersectional and feminist lens.


Yes, if I get “in” there, we can chat for sure.
It’s through the Law Society. They’re gathering ‘extreme ‘ case studies to use as evidence for the legislation changes.


Interesting, I’ll look it up! And thank you!!!!


Ps. Hugs back 🙂


I really appreciate the comment of INTENT VS. IMPACT.

So often we want to pat ourselves on the back for our good intentions w/o looking deeper – the impact/ result is more important than intention.

At the same time, I hope we can be more forgiving of those w/ good intentions that have had a negative impact. Forgiving – not shaming – may be a better tactic to help others take off their blinders. It’s not easy, but forgiveness and grace – not smugness – is needed to set this world on a better path and give our society of fighting chance. For us. For our kids.

Happy New Year everybody.

Cris S.

I don’t know – I think 2020 and staying home all of the time with my two kids and husband really just drove home how broken our relationships are. My husband and I are pretty good most of the time, but the relationships with our kids and their relationship with each other – it’s really hard and mostly awful. I don’t know how to fix that – 14 and 17 are awful enough without throwing in years of resentment between kids with different special needs and then the fractures that happen between and among the parents and round and round and round again when no one can go anywhere. I’m exhausted and an introvert trapped with three extroverts, one of whom sits next to me all day while I try to work and NEVER STOPS TALKING. I’m fortunate in a lot of ways and try to remember and focus on those, but I’m drained and don’t see an end in sight any time soon. So, while I’m trying to make things better, honestly the kind of introspection I should be doing and that you are talking about here just makes me feel like even more of a failure. But I’m… Read more »


Cris, little, tiny, elephant steps. x


Agree! Those little steps can be super impactful.


Cris S, you’re not a failure – so don’t beat yourself up about it. It is what it is. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t, but at the end of the day it is everyone’s responsibility to pull together to make things work. A family that works together, stays together! Stay strong. 🙂

I’m just really hoping that the new/old Portland property means that there will be a 2021 blog post where we get to pony shop for Birdie. 😉


Emily, I applaud your self-reflection and ability to focus on what truly makes you happy. Make sacrifices to prioritize yourself and your family so you won’t have any regrets or resentment towards your career. It’s all about balance! I am excited to follow you on your journey this year.


I found this site during the start of the pandemic and can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for this delightful little slice of interwebs pie. From the beautiful pictures that soothe my brain to the incredibly useful articles on rugs and sofas and sideboards that I’ve bookmarked for when I get to drop a lit match on my IKEA crap and walk away (I’m kidding- I *know* that is not environmentally friendly and actually, I fully embrace the Swedish megastore, it’s just that the Ektorp has been real unkind to my quarantined butt), to just the general loveliness of all the contributors that has warmed me in this cold world, I feel like giving this place a huge hug of thanks. You’ve kept my hopes up in so many ways, carry on with your wonderful selves in 2021, I’ll be here eager to read!

Emily – As always thank you for your candor. I had just finished 6 months of treatment for breast cancer when the pandemic broke out, so I’m definitely ready to *LIVE* again. I started a small blog for other young cancer patients (I was 30 when I was diagnosed and found that the experience for young cancer survivors was rarely represented in media). My goal for 2021 is to continue writing posts for the blog, with intention and authenticity. I just started reading your blog this year and really respect and admire the honesty, humor, and thoughtfulness that you and your creators bring! Happy 2021!

Pamela Turner

Your statement of being “awake and “present” struck a personal chord for me as that is what I want going forward, as well. Additionally, this year I am taking bigger steps toward less of everything. Less stuff of every kind from clothes, accessories, decor, furniture (even dog jackets!) to less self criticism, less guilt for not doing things I don’t enjoy and making more room in my head, home and heart for everything I truly love. The husband and dogs are definitely staying😀.

Really looking forward to continuing to follow the journey you and your team have in store this year. All the best in 2021!

Love all of this so much. I am continually inspired by the way you share so candidly, thank you! And welcome to P-town!


You could start by stop using ALL the plastic plants in shoots!


Ruth, did you know that a recent study showed that certain indoor plants actually release dangerous indoor VOCs (volatile organic compounds)?


Before I read the comments or say one word about your beautiful post, I just have to say YES RUSTY!!! Look at your shoutout, you fine human! I know you’re going through a tough time and hope you see how much you matter. Even to me, a stranger on the Internet who lives about a billion miles away from you in Philadelphia, PA, you are a bright light.

There is no planet B, folks! Keep bringing your full self here, Rusty. You make all of our lives better.

Happy New Year!


Crikey! You guys are making the tears flow!

Sara, thank you!
Mmmwaaah! xx

I guess I wear myheart on my sleeve and just wanna help.


I can’t wait to hear more about your sustainable/green projects! I love your blog so much, but the only criticism I’ve ever had is that it doesn’t seem to take into account the roles home construction and consumerism play in contributing to climate change. We can’t have enough blog posts on how to live in a beautifully styled and constructed house in a sustainable manner while still keeping our personal and household carbon footprints low. Have you seen pictures of zero emission straw bale houses? They’re so beautiful!


There’s even a type of concrete which is recycled!!!
The products already exist.
The key is getting enough people who can afford them, to choose them, to then bring the critical mass price down so everyone can afford them.
That’s exactly what’s happened with rooftop solar panels in Australia.
There’s so much more to sustainable building than straw balesand adobe these days.

so glad to hear this from you, emily! years ago when the overflowing trash cans all over nyc became hard to ignore, I started my journey towards sustainability. it started with a shopping ban that never really ended and i’ve learned and gained so much along the way. there really is no planet b! with the shortage of popular POC blogs and ig accounts I decided to finally start my blog and share my journey here:

ps. i’d love to reach out and collaborate. is there a contact page i’m not seeing? happy new year!
pps. 2021 goals – undone 2020 tasks 🙂


Just wondering about the fireplace you show in the photo. Can you give the details?


I love the fireplace in the photo. Can you share the details about it… is it built in, the firebox, make, brand, etc


Look for ‘the Mountain House – master bedroom’ and you’ll probably find more information about it!


Compost! We started using a service in 2019 that picks up all our food waste (also other select organic stuff like dryer lint, pet hair, etc) on a weekly basis. Makes us realize how much would otherwise go in the trash as a family of five.


Yeah, baby!😁

Small business owner here myself (org dev consultant and speaker). Like many of us, perhaps you’ve been caught up in activity metrics (more, more) rather than MISSION metrics. It is incredibly common for organizations of all sizes.

But busyness that doesn’t advance the business mission is not good. Example: a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating homelessness has its best fundraising year ever, but homelessness in the area it serves increases 15%. #fail

Crafting mission metrics can be a more effective way to both gauge success and to assess opportunities or ideas that surface during the year.


Pet peeve alert — if the new projects are not within Portland city limits (as I gather, they are not) can you please say “Portland area” or be specific? There is a lot to Oregon beyond Portland — referring to areas outside Portland as Portland is kinda like referring to Big Bear as LA. (Neither is accurate, which is of course the point.)


Can’t wait to see what this year holds for the blog and for all of the team. This is the only blog I read and I really love it.

I think it is just so so hard to be a mother and an entrepreneur or work outside of the home. It’s hard to be a SAHM mom too, don’t get me wrong, but trying to do both is just so tough. I can relate. I know I am dropping the ball with my kids and their education this year, but I am hoping it won’t be too bad and they will thrive. Society puts a ton of pressure on us, but I am glad that you are giving yourself grace. We will be here to read the blog and support you regardless. Have a great 2021!

p.s. I really missed seeing the #showemyourstyled Christmas post from a few years ago this time around in 2020. Could you maybe bring that back next year, or maybe do a belated post?

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