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This is 44…Personal Thoughts About Growing Up And Aging Through Digital And Social Media

Tomorrow is my birthday, so to celebrate I closed the “office” for two days and I’m giving myself two “Yes” days (think cold plunge, walk/hike with podcasts, vintage shopping, wine at lunch, Barbie (2nd time) with my best friends, kids snuggles, man snuggles, pig snuggles, and friends from LA coming in to probably Alpaca snuggle). But we can’t let 44 fly by without a little self-indulgent/reflection post because this age/decade is so much more fascinating than I could have predicted.

To celebrate 44, I wanted to quote my friend Jason Derulo via Armchair Expert last week who talked about the top 10 biggest “missers” in NBA basketball – the players that missed the most attempts at scoring. As you might guess they are the GOATS: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, etc. The players that have the most misses, have the most wins. I found this stat so inspiring, comforting and have repeated this ad nauseam last week to my kids, friends, team, grocery clerk, UPS dude (shout out to Dustin) and anyone who will listen.

Mid-life is hard, but also so empowering. Like most people in their 40s, I’m really enjoying the clarity that comes from stirring the pot of life ingredients – i.e. heavy work/family responsibility, daily mistakes, some successes, terrible parenting moves, trips/falls, and recovering on all fronts. Oh and with a dash of try-hard-know-it-all-ism. Let’s call it middle aged soup. Every day is an opportunity to fall on your ass and get back up, which seems to get easier each time, until the fall is greater and the way back up is unknowingly hard. On a good day, I love this weird game of life, while recognizing that I’m lucky enough to do so from a really privileged vantage point. While my vanity doesn’t enjoy getting older, the increasing moments of clarity and wisdom are so worth it – and spoiler: you only get to have wisdom by aging. I’ll take the ladder.

Right now our kids are 7 and 9 and Brian and I are loving these “magical years of parenting” where they can get themselves fed and dressed, but don’t hate us yet. We have a slower, simpler life with dogs, pigs, alpacas, and a neighborhood/community that we value so much. But a career that is heavily embedded in social media is not always easy. I started my (second) career as a design blogger in 2010 before influencing on multiple platforms was a thing and adapting to it has been a REAL WILD RIDE.

2022 was specifically challenging in regards to social media. My relationship with it was already challenged. I fundamentally changed during lockdown and felt immense pressure to go back to a chaotic work life presenting “perfection” all day every day on social media and I just didn’t have it in me anymore. Meanwhile TikTok was disrupting this industry in a really alarming way and the numbers were changing fast. I didn’t adapt as well as I wish I had (mentally or professionally). The numbers were BUMMING me out. I was saying a lot of terrible things to myself that I don’t even want to write down. Essentially, I was full of insecurity/self-doubt and wondering if I still fit in. I’ve been doing this for 14 years, which is like 278 in social media years. Digital (specifically social) media is a game that has so much potential for reward (and I’m so grateful for parts of it) but due to the algorithms it often feels like the Hunger Games – we are all thrown into a battle where the second we figure out how to use the weapons we were given, the rules change and that weapon no longer works. My professional self-worth was getting caught up in it. We were scrambling to try to hit the numbers we had during Covid, and I was secretly wondering if flipping houses would offer more stability and better mental health.

This is also a HUGE reminder to us all – that social media can be very dangerous, mentally if you don’t know how to approach it in a healthy way. I didn’t start blogging until I was 30 and on social media when my frontal lobe was super formed at 33. And even I find myself super affected by “likes” and comments when I’m not in a clear head space.

Thank GOODNESS for my wonderful team. They do so much behind the scenes you have no idea and were so supportive. You see, there used to be just 1-2 social media platforms and that’s it (the blog and maybe OG IG). Now we have/GET to shoot, record, bank, edit, and publish content for 5-7 platforms most days (some vertical, some horizontal, some quick and catchy, some long form, some short form to promote the long form, some visual, some written, some with caption, some long articles, voiceover, etc). Each platform has different requirements, formats with different audiences that want different things. It’s really, really hard to know what will hit (and I’m not alone, all the marketing execs at top companies that I partner with and every content creator I know are equally flummoxed and trying new things every day). You have to look at it like a creative challenge that you get to take otherwise it can be an impossible place to lead from. Last year, I was trying to create the content mostly by myself up here, which wasn’t working AT ALL and I wanted to give up. I missed my team so much. I wasn’t doing the best job, I wasn’t enjoying it, I would forget to get the right footage for the right platform, and I was so mad – I used to be so good at this!!! I found myself really resenting social media, as if it were the problem, and I felt like such a brat. I knew that I was the problem. I had to make a big shift.

The Big Shift…

I took a break – some time to think/focus/read last January. Time is the world’s most privileged commodity of all and I am so grateful I was able to take some to reset. I asked myself so many hard questions. I went through all the “whys,” honed in on my value (shout out to Brené Brown). I read about blockages and started the work to remove the ones that were making me feel so terrible and negative about myself. I dove more into spirituality to feel more connected bigger/higher power/universe (who others might call God). If this makes you bristle or want to roll your eyes, I get that. This is not about organized religion (for me) or weird wellness stuff. Just feeling more connection to what feels good and bigger, to each other, and to the planet. All that meaning and purpose stuff. It might be placebo, I don’t care. Collectively it all worked.

It was like a pair of cloudy gray glasses were lifted off my eyes and for lack of any less cringey terms, I felt really supported, warm, hopeful, clear, and like I belonged here. My pep came back in my step. I felt light and bright again. I was saying yes again to opportunities that felt so aligned with where I wanted to go. I re-invested my time back HERE, into this blog – the one element of this job that I’ve always loved with my whole heart. And the numbers followed. Funny how that works 🙂

I’m so glad that I didn’t make any large changes when I was feeling so down on myself. I could give you all the steps that helped, books that I read, mantras I wrote and repeated – but it’s personal and specific to my life, my problems and career and I don’t want to evangelize or proselytize (but will in person if you want me to:)).

Boundaries… FTW

One thing I did (that I would highly recommend) is identifying the real pain points in my job and strategize how to fix those, without throwing out the baby out with the bathwater. When you are down it’s so easy to be like, “thats it, I’m calling it,” when there might be 1-4 changes that could make everything better. Not everything is fixable but my reaction to the problems and my approach became so much better. We started monitoring comments, which has been wildly good for all of our mental health. I now have a very strict and manageable on-camera shoot schedule rather than feeling the pressure to be “on” all day every day (the recipe for burnout). And on the days that I don’t feel like being on social, I don’t. A huge thanks to my team for posting and managing all our partnerships – it’s a really big job that is super invisible. They allow me to take breaks when I need to and they take the reigns to keep the business going 🙂

The days that are frustrating are less “doomsday” and more just “life”. Doable. All OK. And every time I feel negative (like if I invested heavily in a project that didn’t hit at all), I have so many more tools to help me see it as a lesson, not a total failure. Besides, the numbers are just numbers. The posts that give me joy and make me excited are what I care about.

I’m so grateful that this blog exists and is still growing. I’m so thankful that you are here and that we’ve been able to stay open and thrive despite every major digital media shift. And listen, the middle aged cliche is actually really comforting. Instead of a Porsche I have a cold plunge, and instead of an affair with a younger man we have some alpacas and piglets. The sense of reinvention feels exciting and ripe with possibility. There isn’t an “after” in this case, it’s a “forever tweak”. And I just won’t, can’t, and will never quit you. So thank you. xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: Our Back Patio Reveal! (+ How Everything’s Held Up To 6 Months Of Portland Weather)


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106 thoughts on “This is 44…Personal Thoughts About Growing Up And Aging Through Digital And Social Media

  1. Absolutely share your concerns regarding social media … which obviously raises the question of kids on line wayyy before their fontal lobe is fully developed.

  2. ❤️ Just so much love to you! Everything you say resonates with me. I love this blog, I’ve been following since 2010 and it’s my little escape during the day, my daily dose of beauty. I’m really happy you’re sticking to the blog format, because when I’m tired of everything else (news, social media etc.) I’m not tired of this blog. Thank you for sharing your design and parts of your life with us and have a very happy birthday ❤️

  3. Happy Birthday Emily! I’ve been here since the beginning of this blog and couldn’t be more thankful that you and your team continue this project. It seems silly to me sometimes, but this blog / site is this constant 10-15mins of my almost daily life that I so look forward to. I too have reached middle age right along with you and share some of the same sentiments. I hope you have a wonderful day and 44 is full of peace, whatever that means for you. THANK YOU for your work and not giving up on this blog!

    1. Yes, this 100%. I start my workday with the blog almost every morning or catch up at lunch if the morning didn’t start out well. I have minimal FB presence and have no other social media, so this blog is my connection to you and your team and the beautiful work you all do. I have been inspired by posts, found new artists and makers, learned more what my own style is while growing in appreciation for others, and boy have I learned a lot in the comments on the posts about hard topics. This is a great community and I am thankful for it. Thanks for keeping it going Emily, and happiest of birthdays to you. See you again tomorrow!

  4. Happy Birthday Emily and many thanks to you and your team for the inspiration and laughs I get from reading this blog every morning for years. Cheers!

  5. I value this blog so much. While it seems rather silly and trivial – your blog is my slow down in what you described above. It’s my 15 minutes in the morning between being a mother, wife and attorney, where I get to focus on something for me. Thank you for coming back everyday.

  6. I love this blog- it resonates. I come here every day for practical knowledge, beauty, life stuff and the celebrations/successes that occur and the honest self appraisal too. I appreciate the design content, love your team and you, and there is a sense of longevity and integrity that I trust. I appreciate your journey, work and life and all that you are learning. Happy Birthday.

  7. Chiming in to say that THIS old lady doesn’t use most of the other social media platforms and I’m grateful for long form bloggers who allow me to sip my coffee and read and start my morning at a slower pace. Glad you are here doing what you do.

  8. Love love love! I’ve been here since the beginning and see how hard everyone works at keeping the blog relevant, fun, engaging and useful! Please share all the books, podcasts, etc you consumed!

  9. Happy birthday! 🎂🎉 This blog is a happy, bright spot in my days, and am so grateful you’ve kept it up at such a high quality over the years. I’m also in the same stage of life, and resonate so much with what you’ve written. I’d absolutely love to see a post about the books, resources, etc…you’ve turned to. Just added the Jason Derulo podcast to my list and am already a Brene Brown disciple. Thanks to you and your team for bringing beauty and joy to this crazy online world.

  10. I really loved and appreciated this post. You are a gem, Emily, and I treasure getting to read your blog. Social media is absurd. If it wasn’t for my Buy Nothing obsession, I wouldn’t even be on Facebook. 🙂

  11. Thank you Emily and team for all that you do! I love love love the blog, I look forward to it as part of my morning “at my desk before work starts” ritual. Don’t ever stop, because I will always be here along with all your other fans. I now restrict my social media to 15 mins a day, I have taken time to identify which posts make me happy and I can count them on one hand. All others make me feel less than. My 15 min per day restriction, keeps me honest and controls those feelings. I feel connected but not beaten down by the perfection in reels. Thank you for everything and happy birthday for tomorrow!

  12. Heart-sourced birthday blessings, Emily! And so much recognition for how you continue to show up in integrity and with kindness and grace. I quit FB in 2020 and never joined most of the others. The result has been more creativity, focus, and ease, no doubt. At age 48, I’m increasingly conscious of how I want to spend this one precious life. Scrolling social media comments is definitely not on the list! And thank you so much for your comment policy here. It makes a huge difference and makes this space feel much safer and kinder.  

  13. HBD! LOVE U LADY! Thanks for putting into words so many of the frustrations I’ve been feeling about social media, content, etc. Sometimes it really does just feel like a bunch of people screaming for attention as the rules change on a daily basis. It’s so easy to feel left behind by that. Whatever the platform/format, people are here for your voice and story. Thanks for sharing it! <3

  14. Yay! Happy birthday. I am still a follower of blogs so am happy to see you continue on this platform.

  15. Happy birthday! Your thoughtful reflections resonate deeply with me as a 48 year old. I am a meditation coach and one small thing I’d like to offer: perhaps the most valuable thing we have is our attention, as opposed to time. Attention means love and how we use it literally shapes our lives.

    1. Wow, Molly, “perhaps the most valuable thing we have is our attention”–that’s a major paradigm shift. Going to be mulling on that one for awhile. That’s huge. My brain is going so many places–especially about the attention economy making it so hard to truly be present and focus our attention on the here and now. What a gift when we can do that. No wonder we feel revitalized when it happens. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. I love starting my work day with your blog! I have a few of the social medias, but really love this the most!

  17. I always enjoy these self-reflective posts and will often come back and re-read them. Thank you for sharing! Also, I love that you moderate comments – It’s a nicer experience for a reader of the blog as well.

  18. Yes to all the previous comments! I’m not on social media and am sooo thankful for the daily dose of happiness this blog gives me. It’s been part of my life for more than a decade, and I go back to old posts all the time. Have a wonderful birthday, and thank you for sharing your talents, wisdom, and kindness with us.

    1. Same! Not on social media and love this blog and have been reading for so many years. Thank you Emily!

  19. Happy Birthday! This blog is my absolute favorite, and I’ve been reading for years. It’s allowed me to kick my Snooze Button addiction! instead of hitting “snooze” in the morning, I open your blog immediately! It helps me wake up in a happy way. Keep up the great work 🥰.

  20. Happy Birthday for tomorrow, Emily.💕
    44 in numerology = 8, verrry auspicious!
    This type of post is my favourite (sans reveals featuring nature and menagerie). You share your authentic self and spill your beans. With age, comes wrinkles, saggy bits and crinkles; but also, if we’re mindful and live with authenticity and awareness, wisdom and nouse. It seems you’ve earned some ‘stripes’ in this department.
    I wish for you, that the year ahead brings new inspiration, calmness and the realisation of a long-held dream.
    With love,
    Rusty 🥰

  21. Happy day before your birthday, Emily! I know you said they’re specific to you and your experience, but I sure would love to hear more about the books and resources you used to help you get through a hard time. Stay well! <3

  22. Sending happy birthday wishes! I’m 65, retired, and don’t fit the profile, but I get so much from this blog! I sincerely appreciate you and all of your team! I rarely comment but wanted you to know how much it means that you all continue to do what you do, and that you do it with such integrity, humor, whimsy, creativity, honesty and grace. Best wishes!

  23. did i miss the piglet post?!?! happy birthday! I loved reading this. I’m on a social media break right now, my brain is so much better for it.

  24. And don’t forget that you are right in the years when most women start their menopause transition (we will start having symptoms in our early 40s) and that can also influence how you feel (lack of energy, brain fog, etc). I certainly struggled a lot. I am happy you persevered and got your mojo back. Your blog is one of my favourites; I check it religiously every day and hope to continue to do so for a long time. Happy Birthday and all the best!

      1. Yep, just starting in that ‘fun’ journey. I think coming out of Covid straight into it is proving especially challenging

        1. Leah, with you on the extra challenging. Some research is showing that after having COVID the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are more pronounced, which has been my experience. Hard to untangle! But I am still super grateful for getting wiser as I get older.

  25. Emily, happy birthday! I want to echo so many others who have said that the blog is a bright spot, an important moment of me time before the morning insanity begins, in my day. Thank you (and your team) so much! I also am a 40+ year old, with two young kids, who doesn’t do social media, and a few years ago I realized my daily house blogs crawl was bumming me out more than starting my day pleasantly. I decided I needed to limit to the blogs who passed my “keeping it real” test — those that can make room to acknowledge the struggles of life and show their readers their humanity behind the scenes, in addition to sharing all the pretty/inspiring things. Yours was one of the very, very few that passed the test, and I am very happy to spend some of my time and attention with you every day! Thanks for continuing to write these posts, they are the best. ❤️

  26. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And thank you for everything you do and for being you. Being around your age, I appreciate you kept the blog. I find the blog content most valuable even though I enjoy your presence on IG and YouTube too. But the blog is where I engage with the content more. I love how you framed your recent animal acquisitions in terms of a midlife reinvention. We all need something new to look forward to from time to time. I’m currently working on getting a new puppy.

  27. Happy Birthday (tomorrow), Emily. Enjoy all the fun things you have planned. I’ve been reading your blog since the start and enjoy it each morning. I’m retired, and not your typical demographic, but it’s relaxing/enjoyable to read your posts. I used to work in social media and still go on several times per day. Instagram and Pinterest are my favorites, the others get a quick glance.

  28. Happy Birthday! Always appreciate your sharing. And I read this blog every day. (Sorry, but I just don’t like Instagram.) Wishing you many more successful years in your career and in your life!

  29. Happy birthday Emily! Longtime blog reader here and at this point it feels like you’re my big sister – cool, kind, giving me advice about what comes next in life in a way that helps me feel really excited about getting older. I hope you have the greatest day!

    1. Came here to say the same thing! I enjoy reading these personal reflection blog posts so much.. happy birthday!

  30. Thank you for sharing! I will admit that as social media changes, I’ve noticed that your social media has remained consistent. Sometimes that’s refreshing, sometimes I’m connecting less. HOWEVER (and please, do not take the former as a critique), your voice is what I’ve been connecting with for over a decade. When you show up, I’m here. I love learning from you and following along. So don’t worry so much about the types of content and staying relevant. Show up in your most authentic way and you’ll continue to receive our engagement.

  31. Happy Birthday Emily! Cheering you on here and I love reading the blog. It’s my daily treat. I’m so happy to see you radiating joy. Congratulations on 14 years of blogging and figuring it out – even when it’s hard. X

  32. Love your personal essays, Em. Happy birthday! And, thank you for sending such happy, positive light into the universe and, of course, the life and home inspiration.

  33. I took this summer off of work and it sounds like we had a similar journey (call it spiritual if you like, it’s hard to define). This all resonates with me so much. Love this blog and sending much love!

  34. Happy Birthday, Emily! You are a bright light and bring wisdom, humor, and fun to the internet! May the coming year bring you peace and contentment in the delightful and magical space you’ve created in the PNW!

  35. Happy birthday! Your blog has been a great source of inspiration for me over the years! I’m very thankful, and I’m happy you’re still in this space. 🙂

  36. Happy birthday! And thank you so very much for keeping your blog. I got rid of social media and am happy that blogs are making a slow comeback (especially in Substack).

  37. Your kids won’t hate you. Teenagers are wonderful. I know you were kidding, but I find it to be self-fulfilling prophecy for some people who assume their kids won’t/don’t like them.

  38. Happy Birthday Emily, from a fellow 44er – it’s a great year, and I too have found myself loving the shift in energy in my 40s. Thanks for sharing, too. It’s clear you’re not alone in all of these feelings about social media and how to protect our peace and find our joy these days. I, for one, would love to hear about any books you might recommend from your reset in January – I think many of us would be served by reading those books!

  39. Happy birthday! And thank you for continuing to blog – I read it every single day. Though I follow y’all on social – IG, Youtube – the blog is still the place I go for decorating and style ideas. You offer meaningful context and I value that much more highly that flashy, cutesy, quickly-aged video content.

  40. And this is the type of content that keeps us coming back for more! Real, raw and relatable! Thank you! As a designer, trying to not only keep up with the latest trends AND all of the social media accounts seems endlessly daunting and it is so refreshing to know you are not it it alone and ways that help one may help another. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and experience! All those 40 something’s can relate and the 30 something’s can learn. Sending very happy birthday wishes along!

  41. Love love love this post!! So personal and relatable and encouraging. Would love to learn about the resources that helped you on your journey!

  42. Gosh, so sorry! I must have posted 3 comments on Instagram about joining TikTok. Sorry for the extra pressure!

    At the time I only came to Instagram to keep up with your content and to be fair I really thought you would do so well on TikTok. But I hear everything you are saying.

    I hope no matter what you always continue to write even if it is just for yourself. Although, an occasional book would also be nice! ❤️

  43. I love your blog. It resonates with me so much, and aside from the news, is the only thing I consistently read on the daily. I keep coming back. It helps I had kids at the same time and am generally similar in age, but I feel like you have such a gift of inviting people in and creating community. I rarely read the comments section but always imagine there’s this group of us that have been reading along all these years and growing with you, like an old group of friends. Happy Birthday! Xx

  44. Dear Emily,
    Warmest birthday greetings to you! As a woman who’s also embraced the wonderful “forty-something” years, I completely resonate with the sentiments you’ve expressed. Being a creative professional myself (I work as a costume designer), I understand the immense pressure that comes with self-promotion. It can be truly overwhelming, it has been a source of anxiety for me.
    Your blog has become a source joy for me. I find solace in it and make it a daily ritual to check in. Your words and insights have provided a comforting space that resonates deeply with me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, as they’ve been a beacon of inspiration and a reminder that we’re not alone in our struggles.
    Wishing you a fantastic birthday filled with joy, reflection, and all the things that bring a smile to your face. Here’s to embracing the journey ahead with renewed vigor and the wisdom that comes with embracing every chapter of life.
    Warm regards,

  45. Happy Birthday Emily! I look forward to reading this blog while I eat lunch at my desk everyday. I have been a long time follower because of your authenticity, social awareness, and creativity. Thank you for creating a positive space for all of us to enjoy!

  46. I’m so glad that your blog has remained a priority and glad that it still brings you joy. While most “influencers” have abandoned or cut way back on their blogs, I truly enjoy reading yours as you continue to make the effort. You (and the members of the team) do a great job with both content and tone – there is an authenticity that I really appreciate. While I am well beyond 44 and am at a very different parenting stage than you are – heck, I even have a slightly different design esthetic – so much of what you share in your blog resonates in such a genuine way. It’s also worth noting, since a big theme of this post is about social media, that I think you have found the sweet spot in terms of how and how much you incorporate your children. Enough to show a true picture who you are and of your family but not so much that you infringe upon their privacy as individuals in their own right. Thank you for the pretty interiors (and exteriors), for the cute kids and pets, for the helpful health and beauty product recs but, most of all, thank you for keeping it real. Happy Birthday!

  47. I still love starting my day off with blogs and yours is one of the ones I look forward to reading. It’s just so different from the frenzied pace of social media where everyone is yelling into the void for attention.

  48. Just want to chime in as another voice that really, really appreciates you and this blog! Thank you for keeping it going even through the hard parts! I’m also not really on social media and much prefer an og blog and y’all do such an amazing job of balancing aspirational with more widely relatable content all while keeping it real in such a lovely way. So thank you! And have a really wonderful birthday!

  49. I can so relate to this! I recently took four weeks away from work, somewhat unplanned—but it was the first time in 10 years I’ve had a real reset away from my desk job, and I came back feeling genuinely excited to jump back into work and re-energized for life stuff too. I reached out to a friend recently who I hadn’t spoken with in a while to try to reconnect, and she shared that she wasn’t engaging because she felt a bit jealous of my (single, child-free, traveling/city-living) life, and seeing me sometimes reminded her of what she’d given up to have a family. I told her *I* have always been a bit jealous of her beautiful family and idyllic home in a lovely small town, and spending time with her sometimes reminded *me* that I am missing out on these important life stages! After we were done laughing, we agreed that it’s all relative; the grass is always greener on the other side, whether it be friendships or social media. All you can do, I think/hope, is try to be a good, kind person who contributes meaningfully (in whatever large/small way that has meaning to you) and lifts others up along the way, and Emily you and your team are great models of this, thank you.

  50. Happy Birthday Emily! I watched you on Design Star and have read your blog for many years. I love your design and fashion style and your sweet family and all of your team. Your blog is one of the best out there hands down and I hope that you never stop treating us daily w your (inclusive = team) wit and wisdom. May the coming year bring you peace, joy, good health and continued success.

  51. Happy birthday!
    i love reading your blog because you are true to yourself and we get to watch you (and your family) evolve/grow over the years. It is a privilege to be able to peek into someone else’s life & thoughts. It is also very interesting to read the comments, sometimes they give me new ideas, sometimes they just give me an idea of what people are thinking worldwide, it’s like politics but in a fun way and about design!

  52. Happy Birthday Emily. I also LOVE the blog and have been reading for years and years. I start my (computer) day with reading your blog and always appreciate the content. Thank you and so happy you’ re continue writing here.
    btw. the animals are all so adorable.

  53. Happy happy birthday!! Your ability to evolve while on a very public stage is inspiring not only from a design standpoint, but more importantly a modern woman/mom/neighbor/wife/friend vantage point. You know how Mr. Rogers was every kids’ TV friend? I feel like you are my grown up version of that- and I mean that as a complete compliment because “it’s you we like, it’s not the things you wear. It’s not the way you do your hair, but it’s you we like……!” May 44 be the best year yet with even better yet to come!

    1. I love this comment! The Mr. Rogers analogy is perfect.

      Happy birthday, Emily! Thank you for sharing all of this with us. Your authenticity Is definitely what keeps me coming back. I love you and your team and all that y’all share and I love reading the comments too (more so since you’ve stopped allowing the vitriol). This is a design blog, and I adore the design content. But what stands out are these posts from you and some of the beautiful conversations in the comments section. I remember one on the issues of guns and several around racial justice that were so important to me because it felt like true dialogue with people I’d otherwise never meet. You are giving so much more to your readers than you are even aware of. We keep coming back day after day and appreciate you coming back too.

  54. A couple weeks ago, I spent a week at art camp with my sis. I chose to “embrace failure”, giving myself permission to try new stuff and ways of making art that didn’t have to be perfect. Or even good. I just had to give everything a try. Some pages in my art journal exceeded my expectations. Others, I’d just as soon paint over and begin again. But I was a lot less frustrated by missteps.
    I’m nearly 74. It took me a long time to get this smart.

  55. Happy Birthday Emily! I have been reading your blog for more than 10 years, and I love it! I am also about to be 44 with kids the same age as yours and although sometimes I do fight my feelings of comparison, I always appreciate how you express gratitude and the authenticity you bring to your writing. Congrats to you and your entire team for keeping blogging alive!

  56. Happy birthday! I love how you’ve shared that the wisdom that comes with age makes each new decade sweeter than the last. Great job pivoting with social media. It’s your tool, not your master! Well done. 🙂

  57. Thank you for your vulnerability. I see so much light in this share… because you dig into the darkness. You are my favorite stylist!

  58. So glad that you are happy there and sticking with the blog. I’ve followed you for years and you have always been an inspiration. I first met you, Emily, when I used to work at Calico and helped design your window treatments in your LA home. My friend, Karla, and I came out to a mission in the valley to help decorate for Christmas one year, when you asked for volunteers. So much fun. And I designed an apartment for a homeless Mom and her two children through Pen and Napkin, after you posted that they needed designers to help with their projects. Like I said, you have always inspired me and I love reading your posts!! Keep it up. And Happy Birthday!

  59. Happy Birthday! Best wishes for more of what you want and how you want it in your “new” year. Love the pictures of you and your family adoring and loving up the four footed members that are part of your world!

  60. Wow why did the last sentence make me emotional on the subway. I guess cuz I enjoy reading this blog. Thank you EHD team for all your work. Sad to hear how you were struggling and glad your gray glasses are gone after your hard work and connecting to whatever that higher power is and inspired to try to see clearly myself. Trying to also invest in my God time. Thank you for sharing and happy birthday! Also shit. I didn’t realize you were 30 at the start of the brass petal. I’m 31. I could really just start something new. That’s wild.

  61. Happy Birthday, Emily! I just want you to know how much your blog has meant to me over the years. I found it back in 2014 when I was a newly single mom to a baby and bought my first place without a partner. I was trying to hone in on my style and was feeling really lost. I found a video you and Orlando did about rug sizes and I was totally hooked on your vibrant spaces and fun personality. You’ve taught me so much about design and surrounding yourself with the things that speak to you (hello vintage and quirk!) and I feel so proud of my home now and how much it reflects my journey. I’ve really appreciated all of the process posts you’ve shared along the way, and most especially any mistakes you’ve made. It’s like getting a master class in interior design and teaches me so much. I also love the community you’ve created here and the coming together of design enthusiasts. It’s nice to have found my crowd! Yours is one of my first online stops every morning and has been for the last 9 (!!!) years. Thank you for all of the work you and your team put into the content and for your vulnerability and wisdom. It’s enhanced my own life a great deal. I hope for many more years to come.

  62. One of my most favorite blog posts of yours! I appreciate the honesty and transparency. And can relate to most of it (except the part of you know, being a public figure with partnerships. Tomato, tomahhhto. ;))

    Socials are a weird, weird thing. I’ve also taken a lot of breaks this last year, and have tried to just LIVE more. It can be like a poison. I don’t even try to figure out the algorithms. The most action I’ve gotten lately is a video of my dog…on my dog’s page. 25k plays for her 85 followers. 🤣🤨

    Onward and upward!

  63. Thank you for creating this fun, personal, eclectic corner of the Internet! I’ve learned so much from you and you feel like a fun older sister. You’re an inspiration and I’m so glad you’ve found a good groove! It’s wonderful to see. Happy birthday!

  64. I’m a VERY longtime reader, and I feel like the blog has come back to life recently – maybe it’s the comment moderation (so smart), or maybe the content is feeling true-er, but I’ve been loving it. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!

  65. Hi Emily, Happy Birthday to you from one of your long-time readers/admirers. I know there are those days that we all get, but hang in there, because you are loved. Your magic is in your honesty! Sending love to you, your family and the team!

  66. Love the blog. Love that you love to write it. Love the leisurely pace of what can only be described as the home interiors version of “forest bathing” — soaking in the beauty, the details, the relaxation , the power of design, communing with others who feel the same. Not being rushed, just being invited into joy and beauty. Lovely. Just lovely.

  67. Just want to say thanks for all your hard work Emily & team. I’ve been reading since day 1 – I guess about 13 years now? I start every day with coffee and reading the latest blog post and I’ve learned SO much. I know it’s a ton of work – I couldn’t do it – I appreciate you! Thanks for being a nice human!

  68. I’ve been reading since you made over a room for A Cup of Jo and you’re one of the few blogs I read on the regular because of the vulnerability and joy you show with your blog. Plus, some of your journey in life is similar at times in the larger themes as we are both close in age. Keep up the good work! Hug hug hug.

  69. Happy birthday and thank you for never quiting the blog! I read it every day and love it so much.

  70. Emily, are you able to read all of these comments without bawling? They make *me* cry!
    So many of the blogs I used to read and enjoy have moved to Instagram, Substack (bleh), the ether—but you, along with Cup of Jo and Smitten Kitchen, are still there: the OG blogging ladies! I mean that in the most admiring way. I can only imagine how much work, persistence and creativity it takes to keep coming up with fresh, engaging, sincere content every single day. I really, really appreciate it, and obviously I’m not alone in that. I also love your voice, and the distinct voices of the team you’ve nurtured. So: great job, thank you, I hope you keep having fun with your work, and I hope you had a lovely birthday.

  71. Wishing you the Happiest of Birthday’s ever!!! I prefer the blog format over any other platform out there. For me personally, I feel more connected to the content from a blog. Also, FWIW, I appreciate the comments being moderated. I know it’s a lot more work (it doesn’t go unnoticed) and it makes me WANT to be here. THANKS!

  72. Happy birthday, Emily! I’ve been following you since The Brass Petal – like nearly half my life! – because you are so genuinely you. I’ve commented this before but it’s just so meaningful in this world of influencers. My husband and I watched your season of Design Star last fall and you are exactly the same now as you were then, before money, fame, success, being an “influencer,” navigating social media and the way blogging has changed. Through it ALL you’ve been you, genuine, kind, humble, YOU. So, thanks for being real and a wonderful real. (That extends to the whole team too! You’ve got good ones who get it.)

  73. Emily, posts like this are like an iceberg. We get to read the words on top, but only those closest to you KNOW the depth of them. I celebrate every decision you made for your heart and mind over the loud scary voice of strangers. You’ve been a design inspiration for me for YEARS- your work has helped me create wonderful homes. Keep up the great work professionally but most important, on you! You’re a treasure.

  74. Emily: Great post! I’m a long time reader and fan (I was one of your lucky guests up at Arrowhead!) You and your staff do a great job. I’m sorry that you had to go through a mental shift. Those are always hard. Mine came when I was in my late 30’s and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I stopped working for a month as well to figure out what I HAD to keep in my life and what I could get rid of. It was super hard. While over 20 years later I am still figuring it out – the mental shift then still helps me today. Best of luck!

  75. Happy Birthday my Virgo sister! So glad you found ways and wisdom to give your active mind a rest when you need it. And just to weigh in – the blog is my FAVE part of EHD. I like the long posts. I like the honesty. I think sharing the books/podcasts/retreats/apps that you found useful would be very useful to me and many of your other followers. I read two blogs daily. Just two. And you are one of them. You bring me joy – not to mention helpful advice and inspiration. Keep on keeping on lady.

  76. Happy Birthday!
    Love the blog/newsletter format. Am not on social media much, so yes, the algorithms affect me not seeing your content there. James Clear (Atomic Habits) mentioned on a podcast that newsletter database is key, so all content created should direct people to sign up.

  77. I adore your blog! I am one year older than you, hello and happy birthday to a fellow Virgo! Thank you for the work you create 💖

  78. Happy Birthday and thanks for sharing the honesty of your heart. It’s empowering to hear that even a super bad a** like you has human doubts and experiences like the rest of us.
    I’d say to myself if I had a social media business the reason something doesn’t hit sometimes has nothing to do with how awesome it is… more like your followers r simultaneously just having a rough week or chapter in their lives and lacked the time to enjoy your happy/fun posts. Maybe, at that moment, just send them positive vibes/ prayers etc
    Love you Emily and team!!

  79. I love your annual birthday musings (and the ones through the year, too). I’m 4 and a bit years older but have very much been working through the same sort of meaning and connection to goodness questions for much of my 40s. So far 48 feels really good but I feel like maybe being proselytized to about the steps/books/mantras that helped you might make it even better? I don’t think I’ll get to ask in person so if you end up feeling up for sharing more I hope it will be here!

  80. Happy birthday Emily! I LOVE your philosophical post so much and I’m so glad you’re out here leading the way with authentic content. It really seems rare to find genuine good people. Thanks for continuing to do what you do – I’m 39 and so excited for my next decade! Almost like being a teenager again, the sense of promise and potential.

  81. Happy belated birthday, Emily!!! And thank you so much for sharing/writing this post. I have read this blog daily for 10+ years and have seen the blog, the team, and your family/life go through so many changes, each of which I feel so grateful to learn about and catch glimpses into. This blog will always be a daily visit for me (for however long that is!) because of the heart, soul, effort, time, creativity, humor, vulnerability, brilliance, beauty, and so much else that has always been put into it and shows up in each post every single day. Thank you so much for creating it and making it happen. xx

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