Emily Henderson

My Thoughts for the New Year

Happy New Years (resolutions)

emily-henderson-kids

I was raised making new years resolutions since I was a small kid. My parents were amazing but not all-together perfect because for instance, I was also raised to not put lids on anything, or even worse to rest a lid on its jar in the fridge without properly securing it, thus ensuring the eventual disaster the next time it’s chosen and shaken. I’m working on that. Meanwhile it’s ingrained in me that I set aside, every year, some time to think about how I’ll better myself (SCREW LIDS ON TIGHTLY). My resolutions normally involve health (lose weight/less wine), organization (clean car frequently, pay bills on time) and something in business (create helpful systems without annoying protocol).

But with two very small kids and a demanding (and exciting) career I can give very little to anything else and any lofty resolutions are fruitless and will join my long list of failures. So this year I’m not promising to work out a lot, write more birthday cards, cook organically,  or SEW A G.D. QUILT.

This is not the year that I will learn to throw pottery or speak french. NAY.

My goals are fairly simple, but it’s nice to write them down and think about their importance (or lack thereof):

1.  Join our new community – We have been desperate for a neighborhood with kids, who hopefully go to the same school as ours, and even more optimistically share some of our same values. We have fantasies of casual Saturday afternoon bbq/play dates in the backyard and we are so excited to live those out. If you are a new neighbor of ours and have wondered why we haven’t come to say hi (and I apologize for the construction) it’s because Brian and Birdie have had hand foot and mouth disease the whole break. We didn’t exactly want your first impression of us to be ‘Hey neighbors! We are the family with a highly communicable virus that has left Brian looking like he had leprosy on all his limbs’ (its GNARLY in adults, you guys). But we’ll meet you soon. 2017 is about community for a lot of people and we are no exception.

2. Listen to more music – We are shipping down my family’s player piano and I’m so excited I could spit. It’s been in our family for 100 years and it’s old and BEAUTIFUL but it needs some work (the player components are shot, the soundboard thing is done and 6 keys are missing). All my siblings and parents are musicians and have proper beautiful pianos (we are Mormon, after all) but that one, the one that we were all raised playing on, has been awaiting us. If any of you know anything about player piano restoration here in LA, then please advise.

3. Continue to vocally support and negate what we feel passionately about in the world – I can’t believe how much I appreciated all of your comments and input about why you voted for Trump and it honestly blew my mind open and made me way more empathetic to those outside our liberal California bubble, while not making me like him any more. Going forward I will speak my analytical (open) mind, not brush over the negative out of fear of backlash and be part of the influence that I want to see happen in our world. Obviously this blog will never be a political one, but I won’t NOT push publish on a post out of fear of being less ‘popular’. I wish the influencers that I followed allowed for more dialogue on their platforms and spoke their minds articulately and accurately more often when impassioned. So, in line with my forever mantra of ‘be the blog you want to read’ I suppose I will. Also, I can’t wait to make that into a t-shirt and sell it to exactly NO ONE. P.S. Don’t get scared, this is more a reminder to me than a change in digital strategy – I think you all know that I am thoughtful in my posts about anything controversial so this isn’t some sort of call for aggressive discourse, I promise.

4. Survive while smiling – So easy. Our christmas “vacation” was riddled with small things that went wrong (car broken into, basement flooded, HFMD, sick toddlers, SO MANY DROPS OF WATER FROM THE SKY THAT WE AREN’T USED TO IN LA, etc.). But we survived and really, really tried to stay positive (thank God for grandparents). I’m pretty good at keeping things in perspective, but it’s always nice to remember that no one has ever died of a blog failing or an instagram post being ‘unliked’. No one has ever died of being an insecure parent, watching too much reality TV (GAH TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!!! #bachelornation), or forgetting to provide socks for their baby. In fact no parent has ever died of crawling into their toddler’s crib and cuddling with him (many mornings in a row) because he is scared and just needs his mama even though I know that when he begs for cuddling in the middle of the night and I acquiesce, that I am creating quite the (cuddle) monster. I don’t care anymore. I’ll be cognizant of my decisions, but i’ll do whatever I want to to make our kids the happiest they can be (especially during a big change like a move) and keep Brian and me in a healthy and happy marriage.

Really when it comes down to it, those goals are this: be kind to neighbors, listen to music, speak empathetically, and stay positive no matter what life throws at you.

Ha.

Perhaps my resolution should be to be more concise. But I’d fail, because this lady loves her words.

Happy New Year, folks. May we all be slightly better versions of ourselves this year, eh?

What are you resolving, if anything?

(P.S. remember the year that I wrote these insane resolutions?).

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  1. Great post, as always.
    After a chaotic 2016, I think my resolution and yours are in alignment. I’m just focused on growth without burning out, spending more time with my husband and generally enjoying life.
    Also, loving your numbering 1,3,4,3…..
    Can’t wait to see more of the new house come together. Wishing you a fabulous 2017!

  2. Every year my husband says my resolution needs to be screwing lids on. A few years back he got HFM, it hit him so much harder than the baby. Good luck!

  3. Emily,
    Thank you so much for sharing your authentic, thoughtful, ridiculously talented, real self. I really do appreciate it. Neighbors! We never guessed how important they’d be. We accidentally bought a house in the most amazing Norman Rockwell of neighborhoods. Our kids have grown up (2 y.o. – 8 1/2) running all over with a gang of other kids. Some of the adults like each other as well. You will do well. My resolutions are: curate my closet (i.e. Buy less clothes), teach my kids what real music is (i.e. Less Justin beiber) and eliminate styrofoam (less landfill). Haha. HNY!

  4. Happy New Year Emily! I can totally relate to so much that you said… I love how you simplified your goals and put them all into one sentence… “Easy peasy lemon squeezy : )” Now they’re attainable instead of being goals that are just not going to happen. And yes, sleep with your babies, it won’t last forever… I wish I had done that more with my girls (24 & 19 now.) I believe that it makes children more secure not needy or spoiled like some told me when my children were young. One more thing, my 19 year old doesn’t screw lids on tightly either, it drives my husband crazy! lol! So, you’re not alone on that one either : )

  5. My sister got hand foot and mouth disease from her grandson last spring and really suffered….my hope for a quick recovery goes out to your husband. Yes hold those babies…they will be out of your house before you know it (take it from an empty nester) Happy New Year !

  6. Happy New Year! We have been sickies over here too. My resolution is to take care of myself more. I have been a mother for a decade and put my needs waaaay behind everything else. This year I am going to nourish myself better, rest better, find a skin care practice that is tolerable for daily use (why are there so many steps?! I just end up using a baby wipe and going to bed) and discover something new that brings me individual joy.

    that living room is everything!!! just goes to show that good bones speak for themselves….

  7. So great to have you back posting! Have been missing your blog the last week! Looking forward to a new year with your blog full of inspiration and entertainment. My resolutions are mainly to socialize more with friends and neighbours and to real more books. Happy new year! M.

  8. Mine is trying not to buy anything made in China, especially anything kitchen and toy related. I have serious doubts about whether they are maintaining chemical quality in their items and rank it up to the fact that my journey into living more “clean” has taken me here….

  9. My resolution this year is to say all of the kind thoughts that come into my head-even (maybe, especially?) to strangers. It seems easier to do something, rather than to not do something. I am right there with you that 2017 is the year to keep it positive and simple.

    And my middle-school best friend Ami had a player piano. We used to JAM to “You’ve Got a Friend.” Thanks for sparking that hilarious/fond memory.

  10. Ha! My new years resolution actually is to screw lids on tightly. It’s my partner’s biggest pet peeve when it comes to living with me. And I agree, it can lead to disaster.

      1. OMG. I JUST SPIT OUT MY NOSE. Thank you. That made me feel so much better. I have yet to find a dead rodent in any un-screwed on jam jar. Success. :)

  11. I have the same issue with lids! Its a running joke in my family to check the lid first because I probably didn’t put it on correctly earlier. Idk why it’s such an issue for me, but it is!

    1. We’re resolutions twins! I turn 30 in November, and when I do, I want to either be in the best shape of my life (won’t be that hard…), or pregnant. I figure either way I’ll be pretty psyched about my abs.

  12. Love the resolution to be better versions of ourselves – that’s high on my list too, following “be more authentic.” Looking forward to 2017 on your blog!

  13. Thanks, Emily! Great post. Looking forward to a great year of design eye candy, mixed in with some family posts and honest discourse/passion about where you think this country is going and why.

  14. Holy moly, HFM is no joke and during the holidays! Bless your hearts!
    I can remember thinking, why is wine burning my mouth and why do my flip flops hurt my feet!?!?!
    Here’s hoping you’re all immune now!

  15. With a five-year-old and an 18-month-old and a thriving small business, you and I are in similar phases of life. My children are kicking my ass in such a profound way, I could weep. Actually, maybe a good cry would help. In 2017 I resolve to find a way to do a smidge more than just survive. I desperately need to find a way to thrive. Me. I count, too.

    1. I had two good ‘weeps’ over the break and they really helped. They were mostly about self-pity but then afterwards i felt so much better. I knew that brian and the kids were suffering more, but that doesn’t mean i don’t get to cry about my lack of vacation as a mom and wife, right? DO IT!

  16. I love the way you raise your kids, it’s been really inspiring to see! I have a one year old and a 3 year old too and can really relate to the survive whilst smiling thing. Last year, me and my toddler made a card a day together everyday (we made 366 hand-cut cards together whilst his baby brother was napping!) so this year he’s been asking me what our new project would be! I need to take a few days off first before we start on anything… haha!
    Can’t wait to see more of your house! love your kitchen.

    1. Wow. you are a really good mom. That’s amazing to do with your child especially while you are so tired. don’t ever doubt yourself. you are a badass mom. keep making those cards.

  17. Arriving home at 11:30 after a 12 hour drive from Oregon to California on New Year’s Eve, I missed the festivities and the motivating moment to be resolute. Time to do that this morning. Thanks for sharing your modest, but heartfelt resolutions.

  18. Love your blog and your resolutions! Thank you for speaking out against Trump and what you believe. Many, many of us are horrified by what his administration might bring in 2017. And you may live in a liberal California bubble, but I live in an awful red Texas bubble. I am thankful though that I realized that many other Texans share my view. Thanks for always keeping it real!

  19. I like that, “Be the blog you want to read.”

    You shouldn’t have to cater to anybody, and you have a good head on your shoulders to know what is and isn’t a controversial topic, and you are well-versed enough to get a good two-sided discussion going. Please do this again if anything else comes up in the tumultuously political 4 years to come!

    I love reading about your family life just as much as I love coming here for a dose of pretty.

  20. Between the croup and coxsackie . . . I don’t know what to tell you. SO been there. Hope your hubs doesn’t get hit that hard. (I got it in June after a spotty, fevered three-year-old persisted in licking my face.) Please make sure he goes to the doc to get checked for any lingering issues, which he surely will NOT have. Hang in there!

    1. wait, what are the lingering issues? he’s getting better (hand still shedding and he can’t button a button by himself) but could it possibly get worse?

  21. I have an old player piano from 1924, and I’m getting it fixed by Larry Broadmoore. He might be the only expert in this stuff in Southern California. I got the piano from craigslist about three and a half years ago. I found Larry shortly after getting the piano and he’s been working on it ever since! He did get sick for a long time, and that delayed the fixing a lot. But I’m expecting the insides back any month now! I have a feeling he might be really good, but take forever. He’s fairly local – somewhere in Sylmar.

  22. I appreciate so much that you plan to, “Continue to vocally support and negate what we feel passionately about in the world.” I stopped following about half the blogs I read after the election because the blogger didn’t have anything to say about the election. In the days where I was reeling, these people were posting about outfits and rugs. I’m sure they still have their audiences, but I realized those weren’t the blogs for me. I’m glad you have the courage to take a stand, express yourself, attempt to bridge differences, and engage in meaningful discourse. To me, your actions and words make you a change-maker, a role model, and a leader.

      1. I find it interesting how different people have totally different takes on the same issue. I do not desire to read personal political or social opinions on the design blogs I read. And with all respect to Emily, I don’t value her opinion over anyone else’s. I’ll have to judge for myself whether I continue to follow those design blogs that offer political commentary. To me, it is irrelevant whether I agree with the author, or not.

        1. I agree with Catherine, I think the political commentary doesn’t have a place. Because Emily has evolved into more of a lifestyle blog I suppose she’s making it more personal but I’d rather not…

        2. But this blog has always had Emily’s very strong, and authentic voice: whether she was discussing design, hiring employees, volunteering for a shelter, or her children. It would feel inauthentic to me if she pretended that the election had never happened or that the world wasn’t dealing with enormously complicated and threatening issues. I appreciate hearing different points of view and I don’t think these types of posts are out of keeping with her blog at all.

          1. These types of posts may not be out of keeping with where her blog has evolved to, but, again, it’s not what I am looking for. One blogger offered readers the option to “opt out” of her family posts once she started having kids. I really appreciated that, otherwise I probably would have stopped following her. I simply do not have the time or bandwidth to open up “surprise” posts. I want to know what it is (in general) I’m going to be exposed to. Emily certainly has the right to do whatever she wants with her blog. But a personal lifestyle blog is not one I’m interested in following. Carry on all of you and enjoy!

    1. Wow. thank you. glad to have the support to do what i want to do. stuffing your digital mouth full of bread to keep it from shouting is not exactly what my plan was, so i’m glad that i can feel more support when the time comes to open it up and create a starch free dialogue.

  23. I had no idea you were mormon too?!?!?!?!? Why are all of my favorite bloggers mormon? Seriously, you all are amazing. :)

  24. My New Year’s Resolution is to live more intentionally. I find myself saying yes to everything and in turn not fully enjoying anything because I’m too exhausted. I want to simplify my life to what matters most by being more careful with decisions both big and small. I want to live in the moment rather than obsessing over the calendar! Happy New Year to you and your darling family!

  25. <3 <3 <3
    You're wonderful.
    I too wish other bloggers spoke their mind about this spinning world and what we're doing to it. Your writing/design/ideas/humor got me looking at this blog, but your progressivism is what keeps me here. Thank you Emily!

  26. Great resolutions! I’ve been thinking a lot about community and ways we can make small differences in the lives we touch every single day, especially post-election. By the way, my sister and I both separately brought up your blog post about understanding those who voted for Trump to my entire family over Christmas. I spent hours reading through the comments and learning and hearing the other side, rather than just judging them. It was so helpful for my grieving process after the election. My resolution is to speak up, but also to LISTEN and create spaces for open, non-judgmental discourse – similar to what you created in that blog post. Thank you for the inspiration: home, style, family and just generally with life!

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with Julia that reading your readers’ comments helped my grieving process post election (and I don’t even live in America). Thank you so much Emily for opening up that dialogue and even though I read readers’ responses that I found disheartening it was helpful to understand what people were thinking when they voted.
      Happy New Year Emily. Sorry to hear it hasn’t started so well but you’re doing an amazing job. Keep up the fabulous work on this blog, and every best wish to you and your family for 2017.

      1. I agree!! (re the comments). Despite all media options out there (and lord knows I searched for it) i found that the comments in that post were the most enlightening and meaningful to my own self. That sounded super braggy, but i’m just so glad to hear that so many other people found solace in other people’s comments on this very site. xx

  27. Great resolutions! I have a great piano restorer, they restored the piano at The Gamble House for us. It is T & S Piano Tuning & Service! Good Luck.

  28. I hadn’t thought too much about resolutions, but I think I’ll try to give more compliments. So I’ll start now.

    Emily – You’re amazing. Your energy and eye are always a source of inspiration. You take on serious and not so serious topics with positivity, reason, and humor. Stay you, my friend!

    1. Thank you very very very much. If your intent with giving more compliments was to make someone feel good, the consider that goal achieved. Thank you (and keep it up). x

  29. Of course I have my resolutions for 2017. I have every year. This time they are simple. Be polite and pleasant, smile, eat vegetables and not worry so much. I love you and your family and i wish you all you wish for 2017. Many kisses!!!!

  30. I’m reading this while hiding out in the t.v. room while the movers pack up our three story house for a move later this week to a two bedroom retirement apartment. Downsizing is my new definition of hell. I have sorted, purged and divided every single thing we own. Into keep (and move), sell or give to family

    I get you, I really do. No toddlers or illness. Just a mountain of stuff.

    This move is the right step for us now and I’m sure yours is for you. Happy bonding with your new community.

  31. This year is about balance. I am striving for balance between work, house stuff, family, friends and carving some time out for me. This year I’m going to try and suck less at the balance of it all.

    1. Please let me know how you are going about this. I’m desperate for any sort of insight on this age-old subject matter (first answer, emily, go to bed and stop reading/responding to comments!!!)

  32. “Continue to vocally support and negate what we feel passionately about in the world” yes yes yes! I absolutely love this resolution and welcome it! Thoughtful, respectful discussions from opposing sides are so wonderful and refreshing.

  33. I must admit that thru out the election process your posts sometimes made me nuts. I was one that wrote in that I voted for Trump and after I read all of those comments I too felt better. I respect your passions and that your a women that stands up for her beliefs. Thanks for opening this up to the discussion like you did.

  34. These are great goals to aim for! I am fairly new to your blog, but look forward to checking in every week not only for the quality inspirational design content, but also for your personabilty, honesty, and relatability as a human being. Thanks for keeping it real, and keep up the good work in 2017 :)

  35. I love that you plan to thoughtfully post political things if the need and inspiration arises in you. It made me love you more and your blog helped me to process the election and understand everyone outside of the left coast. I am so excited to see the unfolding of your house in the New Year. I have also enjoyed the posts from your team.
    I’m always resolving so I don’t have anything particular for the New Year. My big process right now is teaching my five year old to read. That’s enough for now. :)

  36. I really appreciate that you didn’t pretend Trump didn’t happen. I agree with a poster up thread who said they stopped following some design blogs after they couldn’t muster any courage to talk about the biggest thing that happened in the States last year. It’s important to talk about, no matter what side you are on. It’s important for our industry, so often design / fashion bloggers are dismissed (in ways that are usually sexist) for not being smart or authentic. We need leaders to show the world that we can love a mid century credenza AND care about the evacuation of East Aleppo. We are smart and feminist and our houses look kickass.

    But also, lets not pretend the pretty-blog world is incredibly diverse, it’s important to show yourself as an ally in spaces that WOC may want to enter but don’t often see themselves represented, it’s important all through the next few years to show, publicly that you hear and see minorities for which this defeat felt personal and heartbreaking. I’ve found solace in you and Gabrielle Blair who I both think have done a good job of this as allies.

  37. I love this post! Your resolutions are fantastic, and I love love love what you just said about America/election/voicing your concerns. Your post asking for feedback on why readers voted for Trump was SO enlightening. I live in a liberal bubble too, and it did feel like half the country was embracing the horrible things Trump said and stood for. I appreciated hearing that people had voted for him despite his rhetoric, rather than because of it. Seriously – your honesty and openness, and the writings of the commenters, truly helped me that day. I told a ton of people about it, too (“My favorite design blog gave me hope!”) so thank you. Please keep being you. I come here for a lot of reasons but wouldn’t come if not for your wonderful, authentic personality. Much love from the frozen tundra of Minnesota.

  38. Ooh! A sneak peek shot of your new home. Awesome!

    And, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I hope Birdie & Brian are well soon (and you and Charlie don’t succumb).

  39. Ha! Adore, adore, adore all of these. You seem like you haven’t realized your impact on people as I think you have already done a great job at voicing your opinion, staying positive, and valuing being with your husband and kids, despite the unbelievable reno you just had done like lightning and the move. Can we say we should all give ourselves more credit this year for all the things we do and life each other up more? :) Thanks for all you do!

  40. I always love your posts…especially the personal/political ones! Even though I love the design posts too, duh. I had no idea you were(are?) Mormon?!! I’ve lived in Salt Lake City my entire life so I feel pretty familiar with LDS culture etc (even though I am not Mormon)…I would love to hear more about this! Do you have a link to the article you wrote years ago? I have also noticed that there are a lot of Mormon bloggers and blogger-types.

    Happy New Year!

  41. Emily, I think its clear why so many of us have stayed with your blog over time. Besides being uber talented (and surrounding yourself with other uber talented folk) you are also funny, self-deprecating and fearless to speak what’s on your mind and in your heart. The design world is full of talented people but its your blogs (and posts) that always earn my attention because of who YOU are. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2017. Happy New Years to you and yours!!

  42. I feel you on the hand foot and mouth disease. I got it when I started working at a child care facility and I thought I was going to scratch my skin off. Terrible! I hope Brian (and Birdie) recovers quickly!

  43. Happy new year, Emily! I didn’t resolve anything, but you explained in 1 and 3 what’s really been on my mind. And you remind me to go see more live music at dive bars and listen to more new music. (I think a music suggestion post is in order!)

  44. My goal is to write 2017 on my checks. 😂

    Good for you, for living according to what makes sense for you and your family. Parenting by the books isn’t always going to be best. It’s hard work enough as-is, without trying to make the family conform to some sleep, play, or eating standard when your heart is telling you otherwise.

    We are bracing ourselves up here near Sacramento for this mega storm that’s supposed to roll in tonight. May your house stay dry, your t.v. be full of reality shows, and your family be healthy!

  45. Just getting to this post now, but you know, THANK YOU. For us decor-lovers, we’re all working to get things “just right” and I took a deep breath when I heard what happened to you all over the Holidays. I think we tend to think these shitty life things don’t happen to people with profile, but you showed us they do. You’re like us. Have that imperfect bbq, let the kids freewheel and meet some new friends!