Emily Henderson

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My Pastel Easter Brunch

Emily Henderson Easter Sunday Brunch

Welcome to our exploding pastel Easter brunch with Cooking Light. When I was 8 months pregnant Cooking Light asked if they could do a feature at my house to celebrate Easter (this was in September) that would shoot when Elliot was 3 weeks old. I remember thinking “hmm . . . that is terrible timing and you should probably say no, dear God just say no.” But then I also remember thinking “ooh, free party! Free food! Free beautiful content for the blog! And an excuse to host a fancy brunch at our house, with our best friends during a time that typically is less social.” So yea, like any insane content obsessed blogger I said “YES!”

Emily Henderson Easter Table Setting

When the day rolled around I was a bit overwhelmed with that baby, but as promised I did very little work. Scott and I collaborated on the art direction, but he shopped/styled it (and once again did a beautiful job). I had to dress myself, but they payed for hair and make up which was a treat, and we cleaned the house (which I’m sure I had help with, although I don’t remember now). Otherwise I sat back and enjoyed a very fun, beautiful, and delicious early November Easter brunch with our best friends.

We wanted it to be a modern, pastel spring brunch with a glam/Scandy feel. White with lots of pastels and cobalt blue in there since we were in my house, after all. Look at this spread:

Easy Breezy Easter Brunch

Scott did such an amazing job.

Look at this low maintenance flower arrangement that he threw together – with just a few boring peonies (I’m joking). Quick fact: peonies in October are like $10 – $12 a stem (wholesale!), so that arrangement below honestly probably cost more than all the flowers at my wedding, which had a budget of $400. But they are much cheaper now in the spring. Trader Joe’s sells them 6 stems for around $10.

Cooking Light Easter

The menu was delicious and extremely healthy. I didn’t know this but Cooking Light obsesses about calories – making sure that the entire meal stays under a certain amount. Our whole meal was only 828 calories per person, believe it or not. The olives and the wine were not counted, however.

We started with the flatbread which was delicious.

Ricotta Herb Flat Bread

Next we had the most unsuspectingly delicious pea soup ever. The portion was relatively small, so I think I polished off three of these. I will ABSOLUTELY make this again and I know that both our kids will love it, too. Pick up the magazine for the recipe.

Cooking Light Easter Soup

On my honor I have no obligation to give this food rave reviews. But trust me when I say that this pea/asparagus and bacon salad was insanely, shockingly good. I will make this anytime. Granted we had a talented chef/food stylist preparing this, but they executed a recipe that had been researched, tweaked, and perfected by the Cooking Light editors in their test kitchen.

Easter Lunch Fresh Green Pea Salad

The main course was this beautiful roasted thyme salmon.

Easter Sunday Brunch Salmon

When I found out it was an Easter Salmon I was a bit like “uh, you mean roast or ham or chicken, right?” Then I remembered that it was Cooking Light, and they intended to be on the healthier side. We joked a lot about “Emily’s Famous Easter Salmon.” But when I tasted it I was blown away by how good it was. While most people may not prepare salmon for their Easter brunch, you can certainly make it any other time as well.

Carrot Coconut Cake Cooking Light

We finished off the meal with a absolutely tasty carrot zucchini cake. Everything was so delicious and it was SUCH a treat to basically be thrown a 4 course Easter brunch by a magazine. Clearly we had fun.

Cooking Light Easter Tablescape Emily Henderson

Those eggs were just decor. Scott bought them at the farmers market, then hard boiled them, then dyed them to be spread around the table. I think some of them were edible but I don’t believe we ate them – but then again I was in newborn fog land so I don’t remember anything.

Cooking Light Easter Eggs

The living and dining room were covered in spring, and I brought back a lot of my blue/pink accessories for the occasion, and I really liked it.

Ceramic Bells Built In Bench Bright Mid Century

Look at that tiny baby cuddled up on my shoulder. Charlie was napping during these photos which made me sad, but you don’t deprive a toddler of napping, especially when you are excited to have a few drinks and are babysitter-less.


I carefully instructed our friends to wear their simplest pastels, which they did. I myself struggled with what to wear as clothes weren’t fitting for obvious reasons – so I went with the “spray tan, tiny skirt, 9″ heels and a boxy top” method.

Emily Henderson Cooking Light Easter 2016

When I say I’m not a hand model I mean it, and I know that up until this point it wasn’t proven, but please feast your eyes on those claws. It looks like a hawk talon around a crystal ball a la “Game of Thrones” or “Labyrinth.” Don’t worry, I’m not hand-shaming myself, I think it its actually hilarious and could care less. You’ll also notice that I put my skirt on backwards for that shot because the buttons weren’t looking terribly flattering. The skirt is from Urban, pink sweatshirt is from Maje (out of stock), and button up from Isabel Marant (out of stock).

Cooking Light Pink Gilded Glasses Tablescape

Jenny has much nicer hands, with nary a wrinkle in site, a teeny tiny slim wrist, with very un-talon like fingers. Look at her flaunting them all around my special Easter brunch. It was my day, Jenny, MY DAY.

Easy Bright Easter Decor

All the styling was so beautiful. Scott did an amazing job, per usual, and I was so happy to live with all these flowers around our house for the next week.

Emily Henderson ceramic bells Mquan
Emily Henderson Easter Brunch Decor

I wish I could tell you what I was laughing about but I think I was pretty much delirious – tipsy on daytime Rose and so glad to be around my friends again. We hadn’t laughed that hard in months. It was exactly what this slightly postpartum depressed and totally exhausted mama needed.

Emily Henderson Easter Brunch Cooking Light

We didn’t fully style the credenza behind me (we weren’t sure it was going to be in a shot) but Scott and his team did make that insanely beautiful wreath with a wooden hoola hoop from Ikea. He used fishing wire, peonies, garden roses, and maiden hair ferns.

We have an extremely strong group of friends in LA (a few were out of town) and the whole day was such a fun, luxurious celebration where we basically were treated like guests in our own home by the Cooking Light team.

Emily Henderson Easy Breezy Easter

This little bunny was the star, even though she just sat there and let herself be kissed all day.

I typically wouldn’t put so many photos of me in a post for fear of, you know, being accused of general narcissism but during this time (the first couple months after birth) I don’t really remember too much. It was all a fog and I was in and out of that crazy hormonal depression. So when I saw these photos (specifically the one below) I thought “ahhh, I look genuinely really happy and even pulled together.” I remember feeling so extremely happy at times (those brutal highs and lows) but never that pulled together or human, so it was just nice to see myself that way.

Emily Henderson Floral Garland

So thank you, Cooking Light, Scott, food stylist Marion Cooper Cairns, Danielle (who made my face and hair look all nice), David Bonom for all the delicious recipes and to all my friends who helped make this rather strange newborn November Easter brunch such a fun, beautiful and happy day.

Emily Henderson Cooking Light Easter
Emily Henderson Easter 2016 Cooking Light
Easter Brunch Salmon Emily Henderson
Pastel Easter Brunch Get The Look

1. Blush Linen Napkins | 2. Gold Flatware | 3. Mint Snack Bowl | 4. Marble & Wood Cheese Board | 5. Textured Pink Vase | 6. Gold Splatter Dessert Plate | 7. Gilded Rim Stemless | 8. Porcelain Bowl | 9. Pink Glass Vase | 10. Porcelain Plate | 11. Geometric Vase | 12. Mint Tray | 13. Pudding Bowl | 14. Pink Glass Plates | 15. Gold Rimmed Plates | 16. Gold Taper Candle Holders | 17. Marble & Brass Tray | 18. Textured Blue Vase | 19. Candle | 20. Mint Linen Napkins | 21. Silver Votive Holder

***Photography by Dylan + Jeni

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  1. Love this post. Those first few months are such a delirious fog, how great to have some artful photographs to help document! That bunny hat is the real deal.

  2. I relish reading your posts not just for the gorgeous styling, but also because you express so much happiness, and just seem to be having fun with what you’re doing. I think people follow other people who are having fun because they want some of it too. (Well, at least I do!) Use your God-given talents, have fun, help people. Seems to be a pretty good plan.

  3. You look great!

    I think this is the first time we’ve see a close up of the ceramic bells (?) hanging in your living. More details, please!

    1. Seconding the above: where, when, how much ? I don’t know what those hanging ceramic things are, but I’m pretty sure I WANT them. This from a minimalist person who, after ten months of purging and downsizing, cringes at the idea of adding something to her decor.

      Also, that marble table. I’ve been searching for a dining table for months now, and this table is what I need. Is it vintage or new ? If new, is it still available ? Thank you in advance for answering !

      I loved that post. So happy and beautiful and bright and personal. The flowers are incredible !!

  4. Great post! A few things cracked me up, Brian looks really bored in one photo (I’m sure he wasn’t, just made me laugh) and all the comments about your hands. I’m inspired to throw an Easter brunch now. Happy Friday!

  5. Love the whole post Emily- you are so cute! Is that a new dining table? The marble top and gold base are SO YOU!! Can I ask where is it from?

  6. You are so adorable and REAL. I always come here for the the design/style, and I always come away with a smile because of your personality and wit. (Oh – and the styling never disappoints!) xo

  7. So beautiful! I love that you shot this in October. I’m to have to tell my husband and family so that when they think I’m crazy because I want to have a Cinco de Mayo party one week for the actual holiday they understand how REAL bloggers/businesses do it!

    Also- someone gave me those Anthropologie glasses as a wedding gift and I love them, but find them incredibly awkward to drink out of… there is like no room for your face. Is that just me? Do I have a weird shaped nose or something?

    Anyway, beautiful – invite me next time :)

  8. Thanks for sharing! I’m a regular Cooking Light reader so read your article last week on the plane while I traveling, but love seeing all the behind the scenes styling details in your post! We’re not hosting this year, but I still set the dining table for Easter because I couldn’t resist using some pastels (I’ll ditch the eggs but keep the same color scheme for Mother’s Day, which we do host). Gorgeous!

  9. Love this beautiful and happy post! You look fantastic–recent baby or not. I especially love that flower wreath and all the eggs. I wish someone would throw this party for me!

  10. Your hand comment is great! I swear I have the worst hands in photographs too! I am always clenching onto something (a drink, someone’s shoulder) like I’m about fly away them to my torture nest! In addition to my ugly hand poses, I have toe thumbs…at least you don’t have those!! P.S. I want that brunch!!

  11. I kid you not, my stomach growled while scrolling through that. All that looks amazing. And I don’t even like fish. But that salmon was beautiful. From start to finish I want to eat all of that Easter Brunch!!

    Off to buy that magazine. Were they trying to sell their magazine because it totally worked! :)

    Love those flowers and blue candles!! And your pink sweater!

  12. Crazy question, but are you related to Lauren B. who is currently on The Bachelor? You two look alike, and I could swear that I saw you in the studio audience last week. Either way, I enjoy your work.

    Thank you.

    1. I don’t know about being related to Lauren B., but I know that was Emily in the women tell all audience! Must have been fun!! Now Emily, it’s your turn to tell all! ;))

  13. Yes, Scott did an amazing job. Also, you look beautiful. love the outfit.
    I am having a brunch for easter and will definitely try to do some of the things Scott did here. For example, that flower wreath! Pray for me! ha

  14. All I can think is, “This, this post is why we love you Emily.” Hope all PPD is gone by now, and that you are finding some long sleep stretches now and again, however you see fit.

  15. Everything about this post is awesome…your writing, the styling, and the recipes. I cried laughing about your freaking “talon” hands comment and your girl Jenny stealing your day with her fabulous hands! You make me smile in so many ways and I’m incredibly grateful for it!!

  16. I love how REAL your posts are…if you had never pointed out that they turned your skirt I do not think anyone would have noticed but I LOVE that you did!

    That baby bunny is just too cute :)

  17. Absolutely gorgeous! Particularly head over heels in love with that Peony wreath hanging behind you. Simple, yet stunning. Looks like you all had a great time! The food just looks amazingly delicious.

  18. Such a beautiful post! Very inspiring ideas. May I ask where the aqua and white stripe dishtowel is from? I love stripes! :)

  19. I love all the beautiful details you thoughtfully put into this! I am obsessed with the floral wreath on the wall, can you kindly share where the gold metal wreath is from?

  20. Everything looks beautiful and delicious. I wish I looked this amazing when I was 3 weeks post partum… you look awesome! Also, you’re hand modeling comments are hilarious! “It was my day, Jenny” hahahaha

  21. I LOVE the gold flatware…..i was eyeing it for months, but when i finally went to buy it, it was sold out. so i waited a little longer, and finally just bought the chrome version.
    Naturally, soon after, the gold was back.
    Trying to decide if it’s worth re buying…