Emily Henderson

Round-Up . . .

My Valentines Wishlist


Brian and I aren’t real gift givers, which I know is TERRIBLY unromantic. Don’t get me wrong, for his 35th birthday I planned a whole day where I drove a “drunk bus” (I was pregnant/sober) with all of our friends to Six Flags and provided lunch/flasks for the adventure. Then, for my birthday last year Brian edited all of Charlie’s first year iPhone videos into one big long 10 minute video which was by far the best present I’ve ever received (and I REALLY think he should start a side business doing it, because we all just sit on hundreds of 10 – 30 second videos in our iPhoto libraries, right?). On my 35th he surprised me with a fancy 1930’s themed night on the Queen Mary cruise ship, with all our friends. So we do stuff, just rarely a gift.

But if we were to give Valentines day gifts, he might need some guidance. And by guidance I mean specific products, and links to purchase said products. So here you go, Hendo.


1. Gold & Diamond Heart Necklace: While I love the iconic heart shape, there is something a little to syrupy about the level of heart saturation around February 14th. But, the scale of this necklace is so tiny that I find it incredibly sweet.

2. White Shoulder Bag: I’m not a handbag chick, and can’t really spend that money on it (nor do I really want Brian to right now), but if someone chased me down an alley with 4 rabid dogs and said “take this bag or else I will unleash these dogs on your flesh!!!” I would comply.

3. “The Future Is Female” T-Shirt: Nothing is more sexy to me than a man who knows that women are incredible, and should absolutely be running the world (although we kinda are already, am I right?).

4. Heart Cut Frame: It doesn’t have to be a heart, but yes a (professionally or non-professionally) framed photo of you, us together, or us with our kids is good enough to get a big old kiss on that bearded face.

5. White Diamond Stacking Ring Set: My engagement ring broke a couple years ago and I’ve been rocking a super simple little band that I like. Still, I’m always on the lookout for really tiny beautiful rings that I can wear everyday, but feel more special than a band (also see #11).

6. Enamel Locket: If I had to pick anything on this list to for sure receive, it would be this. Seriously, Brian, fill this locket with pics of Charlie and Birdie. I would wear it all the time and cherish it forever. And it’s $68.

7. Body Massager You might be thinking that buying a massage is better and sure, I LOVE a professional massage at a spa, but nothing is sweeter than your partner actually giving you a massage on a random Saturday night while you are watching “Grease Live.” I’m sure he has different things in mind for the setup, but I think that a lot of guys get intimidated by massages thinking “what if i’m not good at it,” etc, so help yourself out and buy a massager to do a lot of the work for you. Then you (Brian) massage me (Emily) with said massager either while I’m catching up on the Bachelor, or in whatever scenario you’d fancy. I’m easy. Also, to all the men out there, regarding buying a massage – If you want to go the extra mile, make the appointment for her and then book an uber to pick her up for it, and don’t tell her where she going. Sometimes I’m too busy to even use the gift certificate (I’ve had them expire), unless it’s booked for me. So book it, call a car, and take the kids.

8. Fresh Tulip Magnolia Branches: Brian knows better than going the closed red roses route (although I don’t blame most men, and it is still very sweet), but tracking down peonies or putting together their own arrangement can be tricky. So to take the risk out of it, you can buy these online and get them sent for what I think is a reasonable amount. I haven’t done this myself, but Terrain normally has really nice packaging, so you can be sure that it won’t be wrapped in newspaper or anything too janky. I also love The Bouqs for pretty no-risk flowers.

9. Facial To-Go Kit: I’m sure this isn’t actually anything like a in-spa facial, but I’d still like to try this on my own time.

10. “Suffragette” Sweatshirt: Because I’m becoming more of a feminist every day, and I think it’s hot when men recognize the power of women. So yes, you buying this for me would make me proud to be your wife.

11. Rose Gold & Diamond Band: I’m afraid I would lose this (and she is spendy), but as a replacement wedding ring this would be lovely. Hopefully these diamonds are harvested sustainably, because I’m not a fan of that whole industry in general (which is why I typically go vintage with my jewels).

12. Percale Sheet Set: Now I just basically did this for us (so don’t bother, Brian), but for guys out there reading this, I think it would be really sweet for a guy to do a “soft sheet makeover” on the bed. Hint: keep it simple with good quality percale or silky sateen (hey, now) sheets and duvet set. I recently got that Parachute set (in white, but blue looked prettier on the board), and getting into bed is a joy (which for you men, means that other things might follow). Also I’d like to rant a bit about percale versus sateen – I know that sateen isn’t supposed to be as chic as percale, but every time I get into a bed that is sateen I roll around like a pig in mud. Silkiness against your body makes you want to roll around = good for relationships.

13. Silk Comforter & Throw: See #12. It’s a splurge, sure, but I’ve felt these blankets in person when I used to style that catalogue (8 years ago) and they are so soft and luxurious. Not something I’d buy myself, but if someone held a tiny axe to my pinky and threatened to chop it clean off unless I said yes to owning this blanket, I would quickly say “yes.”

14. Personalized Photo Book: This takes A LOT of work and a little foresight, but a pretty photo book is a DAMN good gift. I love their new “Lay Flat” version with the linen cover. I’ve only made a few myself, and it takes forever as you can easily obsess over it (I’m in the process of doing more right now), but if Brian secretly pulled together a photo book of the last few years, or even better the last 15 years together as a couple, I would be so happy, impressed, and full of all sorts of physical and emotional feelings.

15. Body Elixir: This is only a gift if one smothers me with it – otherwise its just a fancy little bottle that I would buy myself. See #7.

But, dear Brian (and all men/partners), you know that all you really have to do is write a card or a letter explaining why me, why I’m the one you love, and have loved for 15 years, and then maybe remind me of how I’m doing a good job at this whole motherhood thing (something that as a very busy working mom, I think to be true and yet when I hear it from him I get a huge surge of relief and joy). Also a hug. And a foot massage without complaining about how I need a pedicure. All free stuff, folks.

I’m a cheap Valentines date, for sure.

*P.S. I framed this post in a “what I want for V-day” because it is more fun/personal than a simple V-day gift roundup post. This is in no way me passive aggressively asking my husband for these things, and he knows that. So, don’t take my comments too seriously. It’s just my spin on the gift roundup idea, and to give ideas to you and your guys/girls. So, share it if you want any of these things. 

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  1. Emily,

    Great Valentine’s Day post! I love the locket in #6 as well. Terrain’s site shows the necklace priced higher though.

  2. The enamel locket (#6) is really a piece of junk, I’m sad to say. It was on my wishlist as well and I impulsively purchased it while on vacation in Portland. The enamel part is very pretty, but the locket is dollar store quality and immediately wouldn’t snap to close. It does this every time I try to open it. So–cute necklace from afar, but not a functional locket, which really defeats the point!

  3. I hate that you have to have a disclaimer on posts so that people won’t attack you. You can’t win! The world is a crazy place nowadays.

    1. I came here to say the same thing. I seems that the vitriol is on the uptick in the comments on this site. Emily, please don’t get too down about this! Perhaps it is a sign of lots of new readers? You are an amazing voice and I loved this round-up!

      1. No, this is a sign of the old readers being sad this is now a lifestyle, commercial blog and not a décor blog. Of the three posts this week only one has been design, the other two fashion centric. And all with clickbait vs. content.

    2. Agreed! I love your posts – the words, the personality that shines through with things like that hilarious photo and the commentary on each item (tiny axe!). You’re so personable! <3 This is a great list.

  4. I’ve already made my hubby’s v-day gift. It’s a photo book of a trip we took this year. I made it at CVS for $24.00 and it was super easy.
    An employee and I went through the steps together; he was very helpful. The pictures went directly from my phone to their printer; the employee assembled the book, I came back 15 minutes later and it was ready. It’s not as pretty as Emily’s pick (it’s black), but I recommend it highly.

  5. happy valentines day! but can we have a serious post about sateen vs percale? my mother has RUINED me about sateen (she hates it). what’s the deal? I’m literally programmed not to buy it so I can’t even gauge from personal experience.

    1. I love sateen! So soft and smooth! I can’t imagine why anyone would hate it. Maybe you are thinking of satin? That could be weird for sheets–too slippery and not breathable. Sateen is just extra smooth cotton. They also seem slightly warmer to me than percale, but not anywhere near as warm as flannel. I love to splurge on Garnet Hill sheets and duvet covers (Emily just recommended their silk comforters which I have not tried). They are really great quality and last for years and years!

    1. … I was reading through the comments to try to find more info on that too. I would love to put something together/pay someone to put something together. This is a beautiful list of gifts and things I would love to have but a video compilation would top this list any day!

  6. A gift guide?! How very Dooce of you. ? Obviously I kid, and mostly say that since she recently wrote about you (outside of the context of HGTV!) and now I feel like we’re all friends and should hang out with our beautiful children some time. Hopefully your readers stay kind and loving and always in awe of everything you ever do.

  7. I love it. He totally needs to start that side business. I would probably pay a couple hundo to get that done and off my plate (and done way better than I could have done it and in much less time, mind you). If he doesn’t do it, is there someone else out there that does? Man, it would be a gold mine.

  8. I own the enamel locket and I have cherished it the past three years I’ve had it. The hubs did really well with that gift thanks to Pinterest!

    A drunk party bus would have been equally cherished. Ha!