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Choose Countertops for your Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation by Fox Pro Construction

The kitchen is one of the most important parts of any home. It’s a focal point, where residents spend a large majority of their time.

The post Choose Countertops for your Kitchen Renovation appeared first on RenovationFind Blog.

Jess’ Bold Berry-Infused, Cozy Modern Holiday Apartment

I take decorating for the holiday seriously (as shown in that very, “don’t mess with me and my holiday spirit” look on my face in the photo at the end of the post). Why, you might ask? Well, remember when I shamefully admitted to literally only having a bed (cough I mean mattress on the floor) in my apartment for the first five months of living here because someone (points at self) had some intense design paralysis? Sadly the holidays were within those five months and I decided I didn’t feel like decorating. That was a mistake. I could not get into the holiday spirit last year for the life of me and I ended up in a funk all of December. Yes, this sounds dramatic but it’s yet another example of the positive effect of home decor. It’s important. So when Emily asked if I would be interested in shooting some holiday content in my apartment, I jumped at the opportunity and ran to Target with the speed of a thousand reindeer. Please come on into my cozy, modern (fully decorated) holiday home. No Scrooges, Grinches or Oogie Boogies allowed. Please and thank you.

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As you know, if you live in a small space, decorating on top of your year-round decor can be tricky because things can look crowded and crazy, fast. I originally was going to go super neutral with the color palette because neutral tones help keep the crazies away. However, I then very quickly fell hard for that almost Dr. Seuss-esque berry-colored sisal tree figurine at Target hiding at the end of my bench. I actually bought one before I even knew I was going to get to do this shoot. So neutral was out and I leaned into the saturated berries, blues (since I already had the blue velvet pouf) and golds.

HOT TIP: Changing out curtains (even a “door” curtain) may seem a dramatic choice but it’s really easy and impactful to bring in color.

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Okay cool, color is fun BUT I wanted to be very conscious of the fact that I live in a small space and an explosion of colorful holiday decor was going to probably make me and any potential guests feel overwhelmed. Trust me, I know it’s tempting to full-blown cover your home in holiday happiness (heck, it only comes ’round once a year!). But especially when using bold colors, you want to make sure you are strategic.

HOT TIP: Pick your moments and make sure there is some visual neutral space between them (aka your eye feels like it can rest).

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Woo wee, I did not appreciate the power of the faux candle until now. I was afraid at first it was going to be too much having that many but I was wrong. They make a place feel cozy and moody (the good kind) all without any fear something will catch on fire. True bliss if you ask me. HOT TIP: Ornaments aren’t just for trees. Use them on shelves and surfaces for a little holiday pop.

FUN FACT: There may be a ghost in my apartment because the first night I put them up there, I woke up in the morning and they had ALL fallen into my bed nook (behind that wall) around my head! There wasn’t an earthquake, it’s a decently deep ledge and they are NOT on the edge…which Ghost of Christmas was it, guys?!

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Aside from my beloved berry and gold tree figurines, velvet ribbon was the big MVP this year. I used it in my entry and kitchen (which you will see this afternoon). It’s such an easy, visually impactful (is that my new favorite term??) way to add “holiday” in a modern way. I also wanted to really mix it up in the greenery department so I used all the different kinds I could get my hands on and strategically spaced them around the apartment. But in the entry, I made a little holiday greenery bouquet by throwing four different kinds together. My most successful floral arrangement yet! Historically, I not only have a black thumb but also a black eye? Well, that’s not right. Basically I have zero talent for floral arrangements. But maybe wreaths are my new thing…or not?? See below.

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Welcome to my five-minute (or less) modern holiday wreath. When I first decided to make a “modern wreath” to add another holiday moment in my home I thought, “Hey, this is cute and easy. I think people will appreciate a very doable DIY.” But then we leaked the IGTV last week and now I know that A LOT of people have a problem with very minimal wreaths. There was a lot of love too but if you are equally offended then I am sorry but I still love her. I also love her because she is slender/visually light which is needed in a small space like mine. So if you are on team “minimal and harmless wreath DIY” then here is my little tutorial but you can also go to the IGTV if you are a visual learner like me. Plus, the comment section is nothing but hysterical.

What you need:

Gold hoop (they come in many sizes and you can get them online or in a craft store like Michael’s)

3, 4″ Pieces Green Floral Wire

Greenery branch (I used real cedar but this faux one from Target will last you forever)


Nail (to hang the hoop on) and hammer (to nail the nail into the wall)


1. Place the bottom end of the branch onto the hoop and wrap the first piece of wire around the hoop and greenery.

2. Continue to the center of the branch and repeat wire wrapping (leave out pieces for an organic look).

3. Finally, take the end of the branch and use the last piece of wire to wrap it to the hoop (again, leave out pieces for an organic look).

4. Hammer nail into the desired location and place hoop onto the nail.

5. Adjust hoop so your greenery is in the desired spot (I wanted mine more asymmetrical)

6. Lay cut ribbon over the bottom center of the wreath.

7. ENJOY your “hard” work. 🙂

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Now let’s talk tree. I wouldn’t say I am an expert (maybe someday?) but I do understand some basic balance concepts of color and shapes. But first, let’s discuss the lights. I decided to go for it and use these battery-operated copper fairy lights. I used upwards of 11 strands (my skinny tree is around 5 ft tall) which may sound like a lot but they are on a timer. So as soon as I get home from work they turn on and last until I go to bed. It’s easy and I love how they look. For the ornaments, I had some from last year but then added in this awesome set which is where all of the berry and gold guys came from. After that, I mixed in the little wooden guys to ground the more glam ones and then for some shape variation I added in the icicles (they are from Wondershop but sadly they aren’t online).

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Not that I was against it before but I now know the full benefits of the holiday pillow switch up. Guys, it helps make you feel like you really have a whole new space. I opted for a more, “Hey, I’m a holiday pillow but a cool nonconformist holiday pillow.” I kept two of my originals and added that berry beauty, two blue velvet guys and that awesome white knit one on the floor. That gold throw is also super soft and brings in such a pretty warmth.

HOT TIP: Large pillows (and a sheepskin) on the floor adds instant coziness and creates another soft seating area for your friends.

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This side of the room was where I really had to pair back because there is already a lot going on without the added holiday love. So I took away some of my non-holiday decor pieces and added in all of my favorite trees. I am so sorry to report that the wooden garland is vintage Target and is no longer available. I would have bought more if I could! Aside from that, I made groupings and balanced the colors on either side of the bench and varied up those heights.

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If you are wondering, “Why does Jess have two stockings?? Isn’t she still single??” You are correct. But one stocking felt weird and maybe sad? Or is it sadder I have two stockings? Who’s to say. It so doesn’t totally matter because I am going to be with my family for the holidays so Santa isn’t coming to my little apartment anyway. But I will say that Sara was basically the Santa of Styling for this shot and made things a bit cuter and warmer with a request for a string of lights and an added “nook forest.” She has learned much knowledge in her time at EHD and it shows because how cute is this shot?!

HOT TIP: Put fairy lights everywhere for maximum holiday warmth. Okay, not everywhere but shelves and large surfaces are nice spots to start.

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I also wanted to figure out a way to add some “light holiday” to the gallery wall. I needed to chill on the ribbon front so I took a cedar branch and carefully placed it on that big frame and it didn’t fall. A total win.

HOT TIP: To keep your holiday decor modern but not sterile, mix cute, more “classic” Christmas items (like the sisal trees) with modern figurines like the wooden trees. And the one on the left is actually a kids’ stacking rings toy and only a kids’ stacking rings toy, people.

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This was the face I was talking about. Serious is the name, Holiday Decor is the game. But also Arlyn and I were laughing at this photo and my team headshot because I am usually laughing (at myself) or making a dumb silly face. I hope you had a great time in my decked out holiday home or as my dad said when I sent him the photos, “kinda minimal huh?”…he wasn’t joking…

For all the decor here are the links in one place:

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1. Red 23″ Bottle Brush Sisal Christmas Tree | 2. Solid Plush With Faux Fur Poms Throw Blanket | 3. Holiday Stocking with Poms | 4. Nailhead Stocking Holder | 5. 2pc White Bottle Brush Trees | 6. Gold 10.5″ Sisal Christmas Tree | 7. Swiss Dot Gift Wrap | 8. 50ct Wine and Champagne Christmas Ornament Set | 9. Oversized Velvet Pillow | 10. Christmas Nutcracker | 11. Red 16.5″ Sisal Christmas Tree | 12. Faux Fur Pelt Throw Blanket | 13. Velvet Mini Fringe Trim Square Throw Pillow | 14. Silver 4pc Bottle Brush Trees | 15. Wooden Ornaments | 16. Gold 16.5″ Sisal Christmas Tree | 17. Woven Chunky Check Throw Pillow | 18. LED Distressed Shimmer Flameless Pillar Candle | 19. Cable Knit Christmas Tree | 20. Velvet Curtain Panel | 21. Silver Jingle Bells | 22. Silver 2pc Bottle Brush Trees | 23. Crackling Wooden Wick Candle | 24. Red 10.5″ Sisal Christmas Tree  | 25. Lumbar Velvet Pillow | 26. LED Distressed Shimmer Flameless Pillar Candle | 27. White 4pc Bottle Brush Trees


Don’t forget to come back just after 11 am to see the kitchen reveal with all the small party hacks you could EVER want. JK, but I have a lot of helpful tips and an actually great game to play with close friends. See you then. 🙂

Love you, mean it.


***Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp, styling by me with help from the one and only Julie Rose

The post Jess’ Bold Berry-Infused, Cozy Modern Holiday Apartment appeared first on Emily Henderson.

#159: Are You A Maximizer Or A Satisficer?

Have you ever thought about your approach to making decisions? It turns out that humans tend to have two distinct styles (and they even have fancy psychological terms to go along with them). The funny revelation is that Sherry & I each exemplify a different one. So this week we’re sharing what we’ve learned about each type of decision maker, and how it can impact everything from how we choose items for our home to how we booked our first international family vacation. We’re also outlining five ways you can refresh a room without spending ANY money whatsoever. As in zero dollars (Sherry would add a “holla!” right here). Plus, the new kid-friendly kitchen activity that we’re loving, the exciting-ish conclusion to our Color of the Year predictions, and how far people will go for bread.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

Continue reading #159: Are You A Maximizer Or A Satisficer? at Young House Love.

Hot Water On Demand – Tankless vs Hot Water Tanks  

Maybe the lifespan of your water heater has come to its end or you are renovating and want a more energy-efficient home. Whatever the reasons, when it’s time to replace your old water heater, you want to make sure you pick the right one.

According to Hot Water On Demand – Tankless vs Hot Water Tanks   appeared first on RenovationFind Blog.

The Link Up: A Bold New Reveal, Sara & Julie’s Favorite (Cooking) YouTube Channel & A Great Holiday Jumpsuit

image via Clever by  | design by Dani Nagel, home of Dani Nagel & Phillip Butler

We know that holiday shopping is on everyone’s minds and screens this time of year, but the constant BUY THIS talk can be overwhelming. This week, we thought we’d lighten the product load and give you more of a “this is what we are reading/watching/enjoying this week” type of link up. That said, if you have some people still on your list left unaccounted for gift-wise (because who doesn’t), you can head over to our gift guide page and catch up on all the gift ideas we are loving this year. Now, let’s get to those EHD approved links:

We talk a LOT about gallery walls in the office and on the blog, so today’s home tour (via Clever) is a no brainer.

From Emily: “I want to call Studio DIY out for being bold and brave again in their house. They really went for it, and I absolutely appreciate it.”

Since we’ve been chatting about holiday party looks lately, here’s another one Mallory is a major fan of. Jumpsuit people, this one’s for you.

From Julie: “Bon Appétit’s Test Kitchen’s channel on YouTube is like the culinary version of The Office. All of the editors are so entertaining, they definitely know what they are doing to get you hooked because I watched over 3 hours straight of them making the perfect pizza. Another series that I became enthralled with was Claire’s ‘Makes Gourmet.’

Speaking of the BA Test Kitchen, Sara’s favorite series is “From The Test Kitchen” where they have all BA chefs showing recipes made step by step, which really breaks them down and makes the recipes feel super approachable. Plus they’re hilarious. I pretend all the BA chefs are my friends regularly.

From Veronica: “Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally aka Ron Swanson and Tammy 2 from Parks and Rec have a new podcast In Bed with Nick and Megan where they cozy up in their bed and talk to their famous friends. It’s so funny and entertaining and a great take on doing an intimate podcast”

From Velinda: “If you read Emily’s living room holiday reveal, you might have noticed the new secretary/hutch in her entry and it had me itching to find my own. You’ll find me scrolling through Chairish this weekend on the hunt.”

Need a beautiful book recommendation?? Then take a peek at Jess’ new favorite, Weekends by Kara Rosenlund. It’s an instant vacation that takes you on a visual getaway along with decor tips and what she has named the best prawn sandwich recipe. Since the author is Australian, Jess has no doubt it is just that.

Julie was Ryann’s secret Santa this year and she killed it by giving her the book Digital Minimalism. It is all about learning how to live positively and minimally (duh) in this age of technology full of constant distractions and social media. Ryann can’t put it down!

From Caitlin: “Fun fact: in a past life, I was a recording studio manager I have THE BEST GIFT SUGGESTION: an Orangewood guitar. They are SUPER WELL PRICED (like, truly, under $200 and PRO QUALITY) and if you’re a parent, friend, or family member who is like ‘yo, I have no idea what to scoop for my music loving child/friend/family member’, then please know that this one has a former music pro’s stamp of approval. (Also a bunch of famous rappers use Orangewood ukeleles which is super neat.)”

From Arlyn: “I’ve had a second earring hole for a while, abandoned, but I’m back into the whole multi-earring thing, and I recently got these huggies and I’m very very into them (the 9mm ones). They look and feel really high quality and I haven’t taken them off since they came in the mail.”

Well, there you have it. Same place and time tomorrow? Great, see you then. xx

The post The Link Up: A Bold New Reveal, Sara & Julie’s Favorite (Cooking) YouTube Channel & A Great Holiday Jumpsuit appeared first on Emily Henderson.

A Robe Review: In Pursuit of the Perfect Winter Robe (and a Great Gift)

Despite being someone with a strong robe philosophy, I’ve been without a good one for too long. Shopping for robes feels daunting (there isn’t exactly a robe store), so in the name of “good robes for all,” I took this opportunity to shop and try on around 30 different robes. I narrowed it down to 10 that I love and think would be great gifts for yourself or anyone else still on your list. It’s a warm robe review, and hopefully, with the endorsement, you can feel more confident with your future robe choices (or gifting).

We’ll break in down into three categories: the “doubles as a towel” style (usually terrycloth or cotton fabric so it’s easy to dry off in), cozy blanket style (you still need to dry off) and “all day” style (more of a mid-weight). One doesn’t need three robes, but as I was test-robe-ing them around my house, I realized not all robes are good for all tasks, although there are some below that do double duty. Here goes.

The Cuddly Cozy/Blanket Style Robe

Sure you are dry now, but what if you want to wear a literal blanket and cozy up at night or weekend mornings and watch tv with two cuddly kids? You need that blanket robe. These are CRAZY soft and comfortable, but you must be fully dry before putting them on or it gets kinda sticky. Also the cozier they are the more cumbersome they are and thus aren’t great at doing some activities like cooking breakfast, picking up the house or putting on makeup.

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Frosted Plush Robe, $79: Oh dear this robe is so warm, it’s truly like wearing a blanket. I like the color; that gray reflects light in a great way. The only thing is I worry about the material of the cuff and collar. I wonder if that texture is going to attract lint. Verdict: On the scale of warmth, this is a 10—definitely cold cozy winter nights on top of pajamas instead of a blanket.

Margot Faux Fur Slippers, $38: These feel like a luxurious gift that I would like in a spa package. You feel very special and taken care of, like somebody really loves you if you received them as a gift. Yes, they are comfortable and they have a hard sole, but I worry about white slippers with my kids. Verdict: A GREAT gift (and affordable at $38).

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Stars Above Cozy Robe, $30: Now this is the one that I kept. It’s EXTREMELY cozy, but not as warm as the first one which is good because I don’t need it that warm. The color makes me happy and it falls/drapes well. It doesn’t feel as bulky and cumbersome as others. Like I might be able to make pancakes in it.

UGG Scuffette II Slipper, $85: This is my first pair of Uggs if you can believe it (my second is below). I’m a convert. They are good, stylish and I can pop out for the paper in them (true story).

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Mariposa Robe, $128: This robe is so pretty and of course cozy. I think it’s a hit especially if you want to feel a bit sexy, while still wearing a fluffy robe. The color, texture and length lend themselves to more of that vibe. It is more on the expensive side but would be a great gift to someone who loves comfort and luxury.

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Faux Shearling Trim Velous Caftan, $130: Okay. Hear me out. My best friend, Suzanne whose fashion advice I trust, is a robe connoisseur. She got the caftan robe idea from her grandma (not shocking) and finds her self wearing this style all weekend. There are no ties so once you zip it up, you feel like you can just float around the house unencumbered, but still so warm and cozy. The question is: does the embarrassment of its granniness trump its ease and comfort?

I felt very good wearing it as we were shooting and it showed. As Mallory put it: “If the ghost of Emily Henderson was haunting your house, this is what she would appear in.”

The “Doubles As a Towel” Robe

The benefit of this type of robe is that it’s made out of towel fabric (usually terrycloth or 100% cotton). I like it straight out of the shower. I usually towel off quickly, then use that towel for my hair while the robe does the rest of the job. I wear one while I pick out my outfit, and hang it up right after.

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Classic Bathrobe, $99: Some of these types of robes can be super oversized and bulky (I think it’s a thing that some people do like) but this one still drapes really well and is rather slimming. I also like the color—it is a cute pink not your average white towel robe.

Women’s Dezo Slippers, $23: These ladies look really expensive and chic, they are kind of perfect for popping over to the grocery store and not look like you are wearing slippers. And the felt is a nice non-traditional slipper material that I really like.

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Super Plush Robe, $98: This robe is more of your oversized hotel style and is really nice for someone who loves a spa day. It’s great quality and is still very cozy, because it is made from 100% Turkish cotton so it feels very luxurious while still being practical.

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Terry Velour Robe, $89: This is a top pick because check this out—it’s a very soft terrycloth on the inside so it can still dry you off, and yet soft on the outside…you could skip the towel after the shower if you wanted. I love how it drapes and doesn’t feel that bulky.

The Sherpa Bootie Slipper, $60: I wore these all weekend, they have a sole on the bottom so you could wear inside and out. They are way less bulky than Uggs (and more affordable) and like a bit stylish and intentional, yet classic.

The Everyday Robe

I didn’t realize that I needed a mid-weight for the over-the-jammies, easy to wear all day robe. It seems weird to cook pancakes in a big fluffy robe, like surely the batter will get all over that fur. So I need one that has slimmer arms, sleeves that don’t feel like an obstacle,  and with a heavier drape so it stays out of the way (and keeps you warm).

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Sierra Brushed Terry Robe, $78: This robe seems boring, but so far it’s my go-to every weekend look. It fits the bill of ‘easy to throw on’, you can definitely make pancakes in it, but its still warm (but not bulky). We live in La, it’s not that cold here so this is the perfect amount of comfort that I need.

UGG Classic Short Boot, $170: I finally got some Ugg boots, which I had to quickly take off, put in box and wrap for under the tree as per Brian’s demands. I’m very excited to debut them on Christmas for two weeks up at the cabin.

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Honeycomb Bathrobe, $98: This one is a little more lightweight, and does double duty as being waffle material (not terrycloth, but absorbent and can dry you) and is easy/lightweight. I like the texture a lot. We decided that people who like linen sheets would love this robe. It’s chic and a bit fashionable and looks like it’s been washed a million times, in a good way. You would look pretty cool with a little jammie set underneath. It’s California sexy.

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Duffield II Robe, $130: This is the single most recommended robe from you guys in my DMs. I do really like it. It’s a mid-weight, everyday robe with cozy fabric inside and this flannel material outside. My only beef with it is that where the pockets are adds volume to my hips, so it doesn’t feel as flattering as some of the others. I just wish they rotated those pockets to the front.

Here they all are, guys. And if you have any others to suggest, please do so in the comments. May the world be a warmer, cozier place now … 😉

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1. Frosted Plush Robe | 2. Stars Above Cozy Robe | 3. Mariposa Robe | 4. Faux Shearling Trim Velous Caftan | 5. Classic Bathrobe | 6. Super Plush Robe | 7. Terry Velour Robe | 8. Sierra Brushed Terry Robe | 9. Honeycomb Bathrobe | 10. Duffield II Robe | 11. Margot Faux Fur Slippers | 12. Ugg Slippers | 13. Women’s Dezo Slippers | 14. The Sherpa Bootie Slipper | 15. Ugg Boots

**photography by Veronica Crawford 

The post A Robe Review: In Pursuit of the Perfect Winter Robe (and a Great Gift) appeared first on Emily Henderson.

PSA: Things We Love (and Bought for Ourselves) That Are Currently On Sale

Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Arlyn’s Bright & Happy Rental Living Room Makeover

Happy Friday, folks. If you didn’t see yesterday’s team holiday outfit party post, check it out because we’re STILL coming down from our holiday celebration high. And while you’re there, check out the last photo in the blog post because I swear I’ve never seen so much love and Christmas cheer in one picture. 

But I need to remind myself: you guys are here for SALES today, not here for me to talk about how great the holidays are for the 1,000th time (which is a lot considering this is only the fourth time we’ve done this post). So, I’m glad you’re here just in time to meet this week’s smoking hot deals: 


One of our favorite shoe brands, Nisolo is having a 15% off SITEWIDE sale when you buy from their ethical marketplace (use code GOODTIDINGS). Their 2-day shipping rate is also discounted (only $6.95). It all lasts through Sunday. 

The young, trendy store (you may have heard of before) Urban Outfitters, is having some really great “deals of the day” this entire month. Today’s super hot steal is 40% off dresses and rompers. Here is my personal favorite. Make sure to check back through the weekend/month for more savings.

I’m a bootie lover (I’m talking short BOOTS people, don’t be gross), so I’m a firm believer that everyone should probably have a black, white and red pair. If you’re into that concept, these booties are $41 off and they come in black, white, and red, so you can choose the color of your liking.

The oil diffuser Arlyn uses every day (and is in the photo above) is 40% off (use code YULELOVEIT). And we appreciate the clever name for that online code.

Jess’ “life-changing fancy” (she said it, not me) “PJ” shirt from the link-up is also 40% off right now with code YULELOVEIT. (Sorry there are only minimal sizes available). She also loves this very similar one. But everything at Madewell is 25% off and holiday favorites are 40% off. 

I’m a HUGE proponent for giving pajamas as gifts because it’s one of those things you don’t buy for yourself that often. These PJ shorts were originally $25 but now they’re only $9 AND THEY’RE SO CUTE. Pair this with a cute, comfy sleepy time T-shirt and you’ve got yourself the perfect gift. 

Emily’s favorite Spanx undies are on sale for 10% off. I know it’s not a  huge discount but when it comes to quality shapewear during the holiday season, we’ll take what we can get. Plus, these are perfect for a classic NYE little black dress situation. It’s coming up faster than you think, guys.

Emily’s everyday snakeskin boots are on sale for 40% off (yup, these are the ones she wore in the holiday post + many, many other posts). Emily would like you to know that she is bummed that she paid full price, but happy for you. 

Anthro is having a 30% off EVERYTHING sale –– this weekend only. GEEZ. For homewares, we love this trinket box, this throw and THIS cool totem

In the market for a new bed frame? Veronica just bought this one, which unfortunately for her went on sale for 55% off 2 days after she bought it. I’m sorry, V, but at least we get to share this $134 bed frame with all of you now.


Tommy: EHD alum, photographer and now jewelry designer, Tessa Neustadt just launched her brand new sustainable jewelry line YESTERDAY. Check it out and be literally one of the first ones to know and love this brand like we do. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Winky Lux: The name might sound a little closer to a sex toy than a makeup brand, BUT I found this AMAZING lipstick which I wore in yesterday’s holiday look post (this is the last time I’ll talk about yesterday’s post – I promise). It’s completely clear – which really bamboozled the office ladies – because when you put it on, it changes the PH balance in your lip to bring out your spicy natural lip color. PRO TIP: If you have lips that are particularly prone to being chapped, hydrate before you put this bad boy on. 


That’s all for this week, we’ll see you back here next Friday for more deals and steals. Happy holidays, everybody. Xoxo, Mallory

The post PSA: Things We Love (and Bought for Ourselves) That Are Currently On Sale appeared first on Emily Henderson.

The Surprising Lessons I Learned About Design (& Business) from a Mazda Influencer Event

Despite having a business, I don’t identify as an “entrepreneur.” Despite having a following, I flinch when people call me an “influencer.” And despite living in the most “car culture” city of the world, I’m certainly not a “car person.” So when Mazda invited me to an “Entrepreneurial Influencer immersion trip” to launch their new CX-30, it was a quick but polite “no.” While I knew it would be fun, it didn’t feel like the right fit for this lady. It would be like inviting The Rock to a hair and beauty influencer event. Sure, I drive a car and I want it to work for my family but the level of torque in a car’s flux capacitor doesn’t hold my interest. Wherein lies the twist?


I finally (and enthusiastically) said yes because A. They told me that my job would simply be to “cover the event” in whatever way I wanted to, not try to sell you their new car. And B. It was two nights in Montecito the Rosewood Miramar Beach, with a resort full of “Entrepreneurial Influencers.” Your damn right I was curious how this was going to go down and wanted to know who the heck these people were.

Cut to, it was incredibly fun and extremely worthwhile. I met a “beard influencer” and did yoga on the beach with dolphins jumping (literally). But little did I know that I would come away with something that will heavily influence me, my company, my design and my team in 2020. It’s not a car. No. Somehow, I turned what could have been a random “gig” with a car partner into my own personal self-improvement weekend.


But first, I’m sure you are wondering…what happens at a sponsored “Influencer trip?” Well, they are all different, I’m sure, but the goal for these types of experiences is for the attendees to be immersed in the brand in a more impactful, meaningful way. Some pay influencers, some just comp their trip. Some require specific deliverables, some just trust that you will tell whatever story to your audience that you feel is right (if any). Most let you have creative freedom on how you cover it, because they understand the extreme importance of our authentic voice for our audiences, on different platforms.

It started on night one with what we would have predicted to be a very boring and standard brand presentation. Instead, we were enthralled by a very compelling French artist that is now the head of design at Mazda. It was less about tech and car innovation and more about the creative process and their larger philosophy on people and business. Thank god.

We learned of Mazda’s mantra—what everyone on the team values and brings to their daily work:

Performance, positivity and humility.

On each person’s desk, they have this simple sculpture of three entangled wire triangles that represent the three pillars of what they deem is good success both in business AND creativity.

The fact that humility was in there struck me. HUMILITY???? It’s definitely something I feel I don’t see valued as much these days and certainly not something I would have touted as a common theme at an “entrepreneur influencer car event.” It’s laughable, actually. The oft-correct stereotype of “influencers” and “entrepreneurs” is literally anything but humble. It wasn’t intentional “brand messaging” by Mazda. Humility wasn’t written on a brochure. It was simply what I took away from it and maybe it’s what I needed to hear or is what I’m looking for right now, both in business, my personal growth and in my creative projects. I turned 40 this year and the blog turns 10 in January, so the level of self-reflection is HIGH right now.

Projecting a successful image, “knowing it all” and having a large and respected sense of self are what we are taught make a great CEO. The world is full of “fake it ‘til you make it” idioms, which I have always abhorred. Instead, let people ask the perceived dumb questions without shame. Lord knows I do.

This obsession with ego is probably why I never identified with being a CEO or entrepreneur (have you seen Succession yet??). Am I creatively driven and hardworking? Sure. But the word entrepreneur has always implied valuing “business,” which I link too closely to valuing money and not valuing people. It feels false to me, which is where my imposter syndrome kicks in. But being confident in fact that you don’t know everything, and being willing to fail, say it, adjust, ask questions and try again is crucial to truly creating anything new and meaningful. Whether you are creating a sculpture, climbing a cliff or running a digital media company. So many of our projects would have turned out badly had we not stood back and admitted something that I did wasn’t working. It’s not ideal when you have a client involved, but it strangely gives you even more credit with them as they likely were thinking the same thing.

Jimmy Chin Profile Freestone Route Yosemite Falls
photo by mikey schaefer via national geographic

This was echoed the next night by the very inspiring filmmaker Jimmy Chin (shown above), both about the importance of optimism and humility when building a team. He had to find the impossible—a group of world-class rock climbers that were also videographers to film Alex Honnold attempting the death-defying free solo climb up Yosemite’s El Capitan…no ropes, nearly 4 hours of climbing with just a handful of videographers who had agree to do this 3-year project and climb without spooking him). They could have no one with ego on the team, they were there for him, or it could literally have led to death. If you haven’t seen the documentary Free Solo, please do, it’s incredible and beautiful and certainly not just a documentary about rock climbing.

To have two highly successful men in widely different industries touting the importance of “humility” in 2020 was insanely refreshing and was something that I actually DID identify with, despite my missteps in this category, as well. After 10 years in the public eye, you bet that my humility has been challenged.

But yes, this was an event through by a car company, so…how did they bring this unpredictable value into the design of a car?

Here’s what the Mazda team did:

When Julien Montousse became Senior Director of Design at Mazda North American Operations, with the intent (5 years ago) of creating the CX-30 that launches today, he took the entire design team on a two-week retreat full of meditation and bonding. The intent was to come together to attach one singular emotion to the design and experience of this car. A car.

When we design a room/house, we always put adjectives to it, caring more about how it feels than looks, but not homing in on or naming emotions other than my usual “happy.” I certainly wouldn’t have thought that a car company would care so much about emotion.

What they came up with, the intent of this car, was the feeling of “restrained allure.”

I identified with this immediately, although we at EHD often say “quiet impact” or “simple but special.” It’s a bit sexier, for sure, but I think a lot of people want to feel a bit of sexiness when driving their car. It also, again, hits on this humility point. It doesn’t scream “I’M FANCY’ or “I’M RICH’. It’s quiet but attractive.

So how the hell do you make A CAR have “restrained allure”? How does that actually translate into the shape, style or finish of a steel vehicle?


Here’s what they did (which blew me away):

1. In the design process, they got rid of all the hard lines in the body of the car, so that nothing stopped your eye and instead it flowed beautifully, but it’s not flat. They actually created a water-like and subtle S shape on the side that when moving, gets hit by the natural light in a really pretty way. Yes, it was strangely alluring (check my stories).

2. Check this out: they took a painter and hooked his arms up to nodules to track his exact painterly technique and motion, so they could create robots/machines that painted like him. WHAT. They successfully replicated a painting technique that makes it look and feel more hand-painted, with more depth and movement.

I don’t know how most cars are conceived and designed, honestly, but this seemed so thoughtful and impressive to all of us.

I loved the spirit of the design and my wheels were turning fast for what that means in design, in digital media?

In a town that highly (and mistakenly) values how fancy your car is, Brian and I have always tried to reject this. I drove a 2005 crossover until 2017 and only upgraded because it seemed crazy not to have any sort of ability to voice call while driving, especially with kids. My hesitation was out of laziness, but I also liked rejecting a culture that judges your success on what you drive.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are “car people” that value innovation and tech, who notice and care about engines and torch and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I obsess over the finishes of wood and the tuft of a sofa to a shockingly and seemingly superficial degree. We all value different things and driving a really high-end car certainly doesn’t mean you aren’t humble.


So I drove it around because what car partnership wouldn’t let you actually test it for a day. We cruised around Montecito in the CX-30 and checked out all their design stores. I liked it, guys, a lot. It was smooth and easy and super intuitive; all the necessary bells and whistles are right there and simply laid out and I really did like how fluid the body was. It’s unpretentious, functional and pretty.

Beyond the features of the car, I more identified with the notion of its “restrained allure” and the philosophy behind the company. But that’s likely because I’m, again, “not a car person.” What “I am” is a person (influencer or not, entrepreneur or not) who, 10 years into running a business, is seriously searching for growth in design, personal connections and business, but in ways that feel intuitive and right to me. Mistakes have been made this year, bad ones, and oh have the lessons been learned but coming out of this event where I was reminded of the importance of humility in all of these processes, I felt strangely so much better about myself. Empowered even. Of all the things I maybe can’t tap into as a business owner, humility is one that I think I can—both in design and business.


The sharp, wonderful and humble entrepreneurs who joined, from left to right: Natalie Elizabeth Ellis of BossBabe, Evelyn Torres of Brickellista, Amy Landino who authored Good Morning Good Life, Tara [TBD LAST NAME] of Rad and Happy, ME, Sarah Faherty who was runner-up on Masterchef Season 10, Erika De La Cruz from Passion to Paycheck, and Caileen Kehayas Holden of Career Contessa.

Of course, the irony didn’t escape me. I was staying at the beautiful Rosewood Miramar Beach resort on the beach, wearing snakeskin knee-high boots, being followed by my own personal paparazzi (Mallory and Sara shooting and banking my insta-stories and photo assets for the partnership) while eating $28 breakfast from Malibu Farms. I definitely wouldn’t say this event was setting the landscape for an article about humility. This wasn’t the intended take away.


And yet if what they are saying is true, that humility is one of the keys to success and greatness in business, then, guys, there is even more hope for me and this business that I’ve proudly (if not accidentally) created. I’m looking at you 2020, we got this.

I left with some great connections with entrepreneurs that are indeed very humble, thus shaking my judgment/fear of that word a bit. I went in intimated by their business prowess, but by day three, they were telling me all of their failings and mistakes (of course, I shared mine on night one RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE). It was such a great reminder that we all FAIL, because running an actual business that was born out of creativity is hard as the two are innately at odds. It’s the subject of my third book and no I’m not joking. There was a ton of great advice exchanged and a lot more of it coming from me than I thought possible. Turns out, I’ve learned a thing or two.

If you want to see who all was there over the 3-week period (they had a creative/influencer group and a more outdoorsy/influencer group), head over to the hashtag on Instagram. The car launched today as did all of our different stories on different platforms and I for one am excited to see how each “influencer” told their story of this trip to their following. Turns out, that while I may have a big following, I for one was highly influenced by what I learned.

Thank you, Mazda, for a lovely few days. And thanks to all who I met for your generous advice. Head to stories to see what we did and come back later today for a “design store tour in Montecito” post.


**NOW PUT DOWN YOUR LAPTOP AND GET YOURSELF A MAZDA, CX-30, TODAY! For this weekend only, head down to your local Mazda dealer and quietly whisper the name Emily Henderson into the ear of your salesmen, to receive exactly ZERO% off. (I’m joking, dear god, I’m joking).

*This post is in partnership with Mazda but all words and feelings are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support us. 

**photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

The post The Surprising Lessons I Learned About Design (& Business) from a Mazda Influencer Event appeared first on Emily Henderson.

The Best Candles To Gift This Season (And A Passionate Argument For Gifting Candles)

Jess Holiday Apartment 20190282 2

I’m about to drop a hot take, and I need you all to stay with me. Candles ARE NOT A BORING GIFT. I get it, they get a bad rap for being the easy-out hostess gift. And sure, not everyone enjoys a scented candle. But these wax wonders can be complex, elevated, and intense. They can transform the way you feel in a space. The first thing I do in the mornings (when I don’t wake up too late and have to fly out the door) is light a candle in the bathroom and a candle or stick of incense in the living room. It’s a form of meditation for me, and I just really enjoy the warmth a candle gives a room. And you can bet there is always a candle lit in my office here at work. Plus, I’m an olfactory obsessee, if it smells good I want it. Candles, soaps, incense, perfume, GIMME. And I’m here to (hopefully) change your perspective on candle giving this season.

Over the years, I’ve bought and burned many a candle, some have topped the list and others were forgettable. Remember, not all candles have to smell like cloying sugar cookie dough or detergent. There are a lot of really cool makers out there producing really interesting scents in truly beautiful containers. Not only are these guaranteed to smell amazing, but they’re also gonna look great sitting on a desk, nightstand, or credenza. HAVE I PROVEN MY LOVE FOR CANDLES YET? They can get to be pricey, but there’re also a lot of great budget options out there (perfect for a co-worker, or white elephant gift). So without further ado, here’s a list of my 16 favorite candles across all price points.

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1. Hearth & Hand – Sugared Birch: This candle smells like a fresh snowy forest, on a brisk winter day. It’s clean and surprisingly refined for a $5 candle. I’ve been keeping this tiny candle on a little tray in my bathroom for the past few weeks. It’s minimal, small, but throws a great scent.

2. Mrs. Meyers – Lemon Verbena: I once interned at a very well-known production company for a year and this was the signature scent for the entire building. It was the dish soap, hand soap, and the candles burning in the waiting room and every bathroom. So whenever I get a whiff of this, it takes me way back. But it’s a very nice scent, and I had a great time interning so all good memories. No one would be disappointed to have this burning on their desk (or in their home).

3. Voluspa – French Cade & Lavender: This isn’t actually a candle I’ve burned myself, but it’s Arlyn’s absolute non-seasonal favorite. Here’s what she has to say: “It has a crisp clean floral, and throws scent INCREDIBLY well (a little guy can fill a room with a soft scent that isn’t suffocating). If I burn this candle with guests around, they no-fail ask me what it is, plus it also mixes really well with other scents if I light numerous candles. I like to burn it with Capri Blue Volcano (Anthropologie’s signature scent). Anthropologie actually tends to burn both of these together as well, which gives you that ‘I never want to leave this place, I’m moving in’ feeling.”

4. Opalhouse – Juniper & Red Ginger: This little candle is perfect for stocking stuffing, gift bags, or multiple co-worker gifts. It packs a great punch for its size in both the smell and burn time departments. Juniper & Red Ginger is my favorite holiday-themed scent, without being overwhelmingly HOLIDAY. It’s warm, spicy, and very cozy. This scent also comes in a pretty glass version, if you want to up the glam factor for a few dollars.

5. Hearth & Hand – Cardamom & Vetiver: When I first sniffed this candle straight from the jar, I didn’t get much, but as soon as it started burning, the scent comes through. This is currently the candle burning in the office Arlyn and I share (there’s always at least one thing burning in there). It’s a warm, subtle scent that’s not overpowering but just whimsical enough that it’s perfect for a cozy winter night or a relaxing summer afternoon. Cardamom has a slightly floral scent while vetiver brings a sharper green scent that balances the sweeter tones of the cardamom really well. Plus the pretty label and brown jar make it easy to style in any home.

Emily Henderson Best Candles 3

1. Rx Candle – White Sandalwood: I love a local candle maker, and Rx Candles checks that box along with making beautifully scented candles at a great price. White Sandalwood smells to me like a sweet incense and vanilla, minus the smoke. It almost has a nostalgic smell for me, like a perfume my mom might have bought me as a kid that was scented like gummy bears…but elevated and more complex. It’s a weird way to describe it, but it’s the description I keep going back to. IN A GOOD WAY. I burn this candle all the time, and I have the room spray, too.

2. P.F. Candle Co. – Patchouli Sweetgrass: I’m going to hit on two P.F. Candle Co. scents in this post, but they have SO MANY GOOD ONES. I haven’t really come across a P.F. Candle Co. candle I didn’t like. They come in their iconic brown jar container and are sold all over. So many small boutique shops here in LA stock them, and they come in various sizes to hit different price points. Recently one of my favorite scents has been Patchouli Sweetgrass. It’s an earthy, light, and natural smelling candle. This is actually a fairly neutral scent, so if you’re thinking of getting a candle for someone who might be strong-scent adverse, this is a nice option. The closest thing I can compare it to is hay (in a very GOOD way), and it makes me think of warm summer days.

3. P.F. Candle Co. – Night-Blooming Jasmine: Another favorite P.F. Candle Co. scent is their Night-Blooming Jasmine. While Patchouli Sweetgrass has me thinking about warm summer days, Night-Blooming Jasmine makes me think of warm summer nights. With it’s heady, deep floral scent, this is a moody candle. But unlike Patchouli Sweetgrass, Night-Blooming Jasmine comes in a beautiful terra-cotta jar perfect for a casual California home.

4. Thymes – Frasier Fir: If you’re looking for the perfect holiday candle, THIS is the one. There are a lot of “Frasier Fir” candles out there this time of year, but for me, none have compared to Thyme’s timeless scent. Brady had this burning in his apartment one year while we shot Christmas content. He’s always burning a good candle, but this one really got my attention. It’s fresh and the perfect replica of a woodsy Christmas tree covered in crisp snow, without being overpowering. Hot Tip: Get the white wax version, I’ve found that the colored wax versions don’t throw the scent as well.

Emily Henderson Best Candles 2Emily Henderson Best Candles 1

1. Spitfire Girl Goddess Candle – Cassiopeia: This might be the prettiest candle in the bunch, and I’ll gladly display this on my shelf any day. It’s from a collection of candles from Spitfire Girl all based on constellations. This one is based on the vain queen Cassiopeia, and has very royal notes of mandarin zest, bergamot, and vanilla. If anyone wants to get me another one, I’m happy to send you my address.

2. Otherland – Chandelier: Sophisticated and clean are the two words I would use to describe this candle. Saffron, champagne, and leather are the three notes here and they make this candle smell much more expensive than it is (though sure, it’s pricey). If someone’s coming over and I want to impress them, this is what I’m burning. They’ve just dropped a new line of holiday scents that I’m DYING to get my hands on (especially Silk Pajamas, Sacred Dusk, and Black Velvet)

3. Maison Louis – Neige de Printemps: The candle for the minimalist in your life. Everything from the beautifully designed type on the box to the clean and complex scent of citrus it has wafting through the air. It almost smells like the green part of a citrus tree. I also want to throw out an honorable mention for their spicy scent Aboukir, which almost took the spot on this list.

4. PLTNC – Forest Floor: This candle is made by a friend of Mac’s and we buy one every December to slowly burn throughout the year. It’s scent is mossy and dark, and comes in a very cool minimal jar (which is 100% guy approved by Mac). This is premium lifestyle-mafia-gift material, here. And I know for a fact that this candle is poured with love by a very cool dude who is probably the president of his local lifestyle mafia chapter.

5. D.S. & Durgas – Concrete After Lightning: Described as “Electric crackle, downpour, panic grass, sizzling asphalt steam. Respite on muggy summer days.” And THAT was intriguing, so I, of course, had to have it. I’m not sure if I get “panic grass” but I do love a high concept candle. It smells like what I would want a cologne to smell like if I made colognes, and the more I sniff it the more I think it does smell like wet concrete. The design and presentation get an A+ as well. Side note, their perfume “Cowboy Grass” is a favorite and I’m happily accepting donations of it to last me through the year.

Emily Henderson Best Candles

The Best Budget Candle: Threshold – Coconut & Honey Crackling Wick

I was NOT expecting to enjoy this candle as much as I did. I picked it up at Target one night on a whim and haven’t looked back since. (I’ll admit, I really don’t ever leave Target without at least ONE candle, and I don’t think it’s a problem). This unassuming brown jar candle has a wood wick, which I feel really slows the burning time making your candle last longer. This isn’t proven science, just something I’ve observed. That wood wick also creates an amazing flicker and every now and then you get a great crackling wood sound effect. Best of all, these candles really throw. They quickly fill a room with their scent and warm burning wood vibe. There are several scents in this line, but my favorite so far has been Coconut & Honey. I don’t want to be gender assuming here, BUT I could easily see this non-decorative candle sitting happily in any dude’s space. Guys like their spaces to smell good too, right?

The Overall Favorite: Tatine – Garden Mint

But the spot for absolute favorite candle goes to Tatine’s “Garden Mint.” It’s herby, dark, mysterious, and extremely sensual. Once upon a time, I was shooting a home where the owner was burning this beautiful candle and I found a store that carried it THAT DAY and picked one up before heading home. I haven’t smelled anything like it since. I literally have my nose in this candle right now, as I try and decide how to best describe its complex notes. It’s certainly herby, but not floral. It’s minty, but not like a pack of gum. It’s like mint mixed with soil wet from a summer rain, and old bookstore on a crisp overcast fall day, AND I JUST WANT TO BURN THIS CANDLE ALL THE TIME. Plus it has the one characteristic that I think truly defines a good candle – you don’t have to be burning it for the scent to reach your nose. In fact, often just by setting out this candle, it does a great job of scenting the room without a match in sight (saving you some serious cash). For $40 you are getting a high quality, long-lasting, and beautifully crafted candle.

So, there it is. My magnum opus to candles, and why people shouldn’t be so bored of gifting them (or receiving them, you grinch). And if you’ve never been a candle person before, and you have a collection of gifted yet unused candles just…try it out. Really.

But before I leave you…a few last-minute tips: If you really want to round out a candle gift, try adding a set of cute matches, a ceramic match holder, or a wick trimmer along with your candle. What are wick trimmers and why are they important? Well, their name is pretty self-explanatory: they trim a candle’s wick. But their shape allows you to get into a deep candle jar to trim a wick in way that scissors can’t. And you should be trimming your candle wicks before lighting each and every time (even when they’re brand new). A short wick means a smaller flame, which distributes heat more evenly and prevents tunneling. Thus extending the life of your candle.

This year, give the gift of scent! It’s not weird or boring, I promise.

***photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

The post The Best Candles To Gift This Season (And A Passionate Argument For Gifting Candles) appeared first on Emily Henderson.

Update your office paint colours and improve productivity

Choosing the right paint colour for your office or commercial space is a slightly different process than choosing paint colours for your home. When you chose colours for commercial painting in Edmonton, you want ones that will boost the mood and work productivity, while still being visually appealing.

Update your office paint colours and improve productivity appeared first on RenovationFind Blog.