A million and twenty Christmas trees are hiding behind the jump! Enjoy!!



--photos by Miss Emma Jane Kepley

Us three Holbrooks here, wishing you all the merriest and happiest. We are so thankful for you! And for refillable MetroCards, Amen. (Did you know I just had to replace mine? Because it expired? That's how you know you're a grown up, I think--when your MetroCard expires before you manage to lose it.)  We'll be spending the holiday in Utah with Brandon's family, counting our blessings + doing our best to stay warm. I'll see you all back here next week! In the meantime, don't forget to eat the orange from the toe of your stockings. You'll need that Vitamin C. :)

Ho Ho Ho, and Mazel Tov, and God Bless Us, Every One. 



I've been thinking a lot this week about the movies we always watched as kids every year at Christmas. Tradition type stuff. Growing up we never really got into Christmas Vacation or Home Alone. I don't know why. I guess Home Alone was kind of intense for me (Buzz sort of freaked me out), and I don't know but I think the artistic subtlety of Chevy Chase's performance in Christmas Vacation was completely lost on my parents. ;) Instead we watched a ton of A Christmas Story, Mickey's Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker (featuring Macauley Culkin, of course) . . . and that awful version of Scrooge with Albert Finney (ew mouth makeup). And we never did the Steamroller stuff, either, or even much Bing Crosby. We did mostly The Carpenters, some Mariah, lots of Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole, and the occasional Barbra Streisand. We once had a Time Life Treasury of Music cassette collection that rocked my socks off. My junior year in high school my dad picked up Piano Winterludes and now that, more than any other album, signifies that Christmas has come at the Lovin house. He puts it on immediately at the end of dinner on Thanksgiving and then it stays on, pretty much constantly, through January 1.

So I sat down with Huck yesterday and we watched Home Alone. It seemed prudent. Huck is at the perfect age for slapstick pain-centered comedy, and it made me see the movie in a whole new light. And then I started thinking about all these other Christmas movies out there that I'd love but have never seen, or that I've seen but have never given their proper due. So then I wanted to know what your favorite Christmas movies + albums were. And so then I wrote this blog post. Maybe we can all beef up our Christmas movie marathon arsenals this weekend! Pass the egg nog! 

(I feel very strongly that egg nog might be the great divider of all holiday tradition-seekers, much like the black olive is at Thanksgiving.)

Some Lovin Favorites:

Mickey's Christmas Carol (prepare to cry at Small One if you get the new bonus pack.)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (get it in vinyl!)

And now your favorites! Tell me all of them, I'll pop the popcorn.



And now for a little peek into what we've been up to lately.

1. Everything is dark by five, leading to a resurgence of the freak 7PM nap. I always get a kick out of the freak 7PM nap, where you're just sitting down to watch some TV or a Christmas movie and then suddenly you're waking up and it's 9:00 out and you're thinking, "Who am I? And who's ready to party with me!?" 

2. Finishing the last of the Christmas shopping. How are you guys hanging in over there? This year I abolished the "one for you/one for me" method of gift shopping, which is both sad and triumphant for me, all at once. 

3. Emails and emails! And emails! Is December National Email month or something? I've suddenly reached DEFCON level thirty billion on my email situation, and at any given moment if I happen to glance at my computer I swear I see it scowling at me.   

(PS AND RELATED TO #2 UP THERE IS THIS --> Octavia Bloom, maker of the beautiful necklace up there, is offering 25% off all jewelry for Hey Natalie Jean readers, which is a bonkers good deal. Use the code HOLIDAY25, and your mother-in-law is all set. :)

4. Paint me like one of your French girls, Sam! I got to stand in as practice subject for my friend Samantha, who is holding a 60-second portrait event in January and wanted to get a few in under her belt before show-time. It was very awkward and very fun, not to mention disappointing that she never asked me to take my top off. 

5. It keeps on being Christmas, thank heavens! In one of my better impulse buys, this polar bear pajama onesie, which I found on 5th Avenue while I was out looking for organic coconut oil. When I wear it I become a cuddle magnet for both my boys, and my body temperature heats up to about two hundred degrees fahrenheit above healthy. It's kind of nice. 

6. The Christmas tree at the Le Parker Meridien!

. . . And this burger hiding just behind those red curtains, eaten with a dear friend in from London.

7. Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn . . . is not as fancy as 5th Avenue in Manhattan. But every bit as cheery.

8. Over the weekend the Holbrooks performed an accidental Brooklyn Tour of Brunches, wherein we discovered that our Huck the Great is not a fan of brunch. I've never seen a child react so strongly to a fried egg on a spaghetti carbonara, what is this world coming to!? Luckily, he is a fan of selfies. As are we all. My favorite thing about these two boys is that when you put their heads together, their hair becomes so completely undistinguishable from each others', it's like some kind of magic. With our ginger powers combined . . .  !!! 

9. Brooklyn is killing it with the holiday bazaars. We wandered around Carroll Gardens over the weekend and stumbled into one, with crafts tables set up for the little tykes and fancy pickles all in the back. I sat with Huck for a few minutes while he happily crafted up a storm, and I had one of those moments, you know, where the room smelled just right and the kids buzzed busily and the Christmas song mix was on point and my sweater was just the right amount of fuzzy . . .  winter hat hair as far as the eye can see, and nubbly woolen scarves and fingers warmed around a hot cup of cider. It was just beautiful. Gosh, we're pretty lucky sometimes.  


11. I found myself in "a mood" on Saturday evening, and managed to inhale Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, North & South, Wuthering Heights, Emma, and the first episode of Cranford (you guys) all without breaking for water. One of these days I'll get my insomnia under control. Until then, donuts for breakfast make a pretty decent substitute. 

12. I got to attend "An Evening with the Director and Cast of Big Eyes" at the 92Y with one of my favorite friends and YOU GUYS. Tim Burton is astonishingly normal. Christoph Waltz is easily the most awkward interview ever. Full body cringing. Afterward, we had crinkle cuts + cheese sauce at the UES Shake Shack, got three free Shake Shack Christmas ornaments for having worn "Christmas sweaters" (it was an accident) . . . it was easily one of my favorite evenings in recent history.

13. Finally, reassuring posters in the subway.

Hey, I've got a kiss in my pocket for every single one of you. Happy Tuesday!



Happy Monday! I have a couple of photos to share with you today from our spread for Ikea Family Magazine, which went live a few weeks ago. In case you'd forgotten (how could you!), this was the project we photographed over the summer in our old place just before moving out to BK. It's a part of the current issue on stands now, and the second part of our spread will be part of the next issue, on stands in the spring. If you happen to have a subscription, you've probably already found me in your mailbox. Maybe I'm on your dinner table as we speak!? Just please tell me you didn't leave me in your bathroom. :)

Here is the initial spread. (The second part will be published in the spring issue, keep ya eyes out!) Ikea just sent over a folder of photos that weren't used in either of the spreads (cream cheese) and I figured I'd share, 'cause what else is a blog for, anyway? (No, really. Enlighten me.)

Here they be, stinkers!

Huck's old closet bedroom with an Ikea sprucing.

They asked me if I had any hobbies they could photograph me doing and I said, uh,  . . . shopping online? 

My shoes say hello. :)

Aside from their holiday goods + Picardie-style French glass tumblers, the kids' toys + books section at Ikea is always on our must-raid list. Huck's enthusiasm up there is not put on. That's some pure King Elk joy. ;) 


My boys are cutie tooties. Have a wonderful week! 



one || two || three || four || five || six || seven || eight || nine || ten || eleven

Most years I put together a separate gift guide for the mens and for the ladies, and most years those gift guides end up looking more or less completely identical, I guess because I have such a thing for menswear on the ladies. It's my favorite look on a girl, especially when coupled with an intensely feminine red lip. So this year we're saving time + paper and just going with one gift guide. Knock yourselves out, kids.

My favorite places to shop like a dude these days:

IZOLA + its sister shop HOOT // For the best stocking stuffers around.

BRIDGE & BURN // For some gorgeous Pacific Northwest inspired digs.

DANIEL WELLINGTON // For wrist wear you can share with your man friends. Plus you can get 15% off + free worldwide shipping with the code HOLIDAY_HEYNATALIEJEAN.

W A Y W A R D // For the coolest leather accessories (paint splattered pouches!!!).

NINA Z // For the kinds of clompy clogs you'll never want to take off.



Heyyyyy guys! What day is it? Is it still Christmas outside? 

I've been spending way too much time watching Gilmore Girls lately. Between the hours of midnight and, like, 5AM, thank you, lack of impulse control, and I'm so tired these days I barely know my own name, it's like Night of the Living Dead around here. So obviously I'm going to attempt a blog post. You're thrilled! Smart decision-making skills are always the first to go during massive sleep deprivation situations, so I'm sure we're in for some fun. (Netflix jet lag, the great equalizer.) 

(I feel highly betrayed by the April story line. Why you gotta play me like that, Luke Danes? Come on!)

Bertrand! So I want to talk about the lights situation. How do you like your tree lit? Colored? Clear? I used to watch my parents string the lights on our tree when I was a kid, always the day after Thanksgiving, always with good intentions of finishing that night, but always forgetting that the lights-stringing portion of the event likes to last two days at a minimum, because, my mom. My sisters would usually give up + go to bed after an hour or so but I'd usually sit there on the couch, waiting up, watching them go, one eyebrow raised, learning valuable things about human nature + lights stringing + what a healthy give-and-take in a marriage might (or might not) look like. :) It was always the most dramatically charged night of the year. We were lucky to have made it out alive. 

What you are basking in right here is the glow of approximately thirty thousand strands of Christmas lights, only two of which are reliably lit from end to end at any given moment. 

I like to string steady lights first, then add the outdoor patio lights that I'm always worried will burn us to a crisp, and then, this year, we added some twinkle lights. Twinkle lights! I don't know what it says about a person that we are only now finally twinkle light kind of people, but, whatever.

Then I like to live with it for a bit + turn my attention to other parts of the house, make sure I am settled in my soul and happy with the direction things are going, you know, watch too much Gilmore Girls, start to obsess over baseball hats . . . let Barrold talk me into finding him a big red bow . . .

Oh Barry, you old cutie. 

(Once I finished with Barry, Huck walked into the room and announced, "Barry's looking weird.")

Today, I was ready to finish the job. Well, it was ornaments or it was fall asleep on the couch or it was watch another episode of Gilmore Girls, but look, I'm on a self-imposed break. It was starting to get, you know. 

Bert was too much for our tree skirt, it wasn't up to the job. So instead he got a Fresh Direct box turned inside out. Pretty fancy.

I like him! And then we did takeout Pad Thai and watched While You Were Sleeping. 

The end.