the tree + a conundrum

December 19, 2008 |  Category:   holidays home life


We got one last weekend, and it’s a little scrawny in places, but the girls were really excited when we brought it in and even directed where all the ornaments were to be hung. C was especially particular about where she wanted certain ornaments to go (I mean she is just newly 2 – what in the hell?). When I have a minute, I still need to hang our stockings somewhere (but where, is the big question) and the paper snowflakes that M and I made together last year need to go up as well.

OK, so at our holiday trunk show last saturday, a Japanese journalist approached us about photographing our home for the 2009 Christmas issue of a Japanese magazine. Sounds fun, and could be good press, but I don’t think our apartment is particular photogenic. It’s not a charming, period-details kind of typical Brooklyn brownstone apartment (she didn’t seem to care about that though). It’s a newer condo with no architectural interest whatsoever and some of our “stuff” is nice, but overall, the apartment is really average. So am I stressing about this? Um, yeah, a little, particularly since I don’t have time to “spruce” the house up. 2 years ago I turned down another photoshoot for Parents Magazine for the same reasons (but I was also ready to give birth to C so I used that as an excuse) and 2 months ago I turned down a story for some journalism students at Columbia in collaboration with the NY Times to follow us around for a few weeks with a video camera (seemed very intrusive during this time of deadlines and mayhem and there were other factors involved that made the decision the right one – omg, I can’t even imagine having that added on to the pile). So what should we do?


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  • Mery December 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Don’t stress (ja, ja, easier said than done, right?) It sounds like a fun thing to do! Just make sure your house is semi clean (clean enough for a camera lens) and that’s it. And I’m sure your house is way cooler than you think. You guys look pretty cool to me so I can’t imagine your living space not being cool.

  • Kelly Sopchak December 19, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    My kids at work call me “bosslady.”

  • Lani December 19, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    no brainer. just do it.

  • Samantha Hirst December 19, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    agreed..go for it! i’m sure the photography will focus on the good stuff 🙂

  • Gabriel December 19, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    offer to take the photos yourself. you have a great eye and can see all the nice details in everyday life. no need to set up professional lights, etc. just take similar pics to what we see here. and since it’s your home you’ll know best what kind of light hits at what time of day, etc. this would be a great chance to add some photo work to your ever expanding portfolio.

  • Gabriel December 19, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    ps – if you do take the pics yourself definitely have a prop stylist work with you – whether it’s someone on staff at the magazine – or better yet suggest someone you may know who can do this. they can bring in extra things to “spice” up certain vignettes. maybe those things are home products, furniture or artwork made by fellow small business owners in brooklyn. and you can give those people on page credit/publicity.

  • selkie December 19, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    the publicity alone makes it WAY worth it!

  • payal December 19, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    absolutely go for it!

  • Andrew Thornton December 19, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    You know, the creative community is rather small and I think a lot of folks out there would be up for the free publicity. What I’m trying to say is that you should let that community help spruce up your place. I’m sure that there are tons of people, if you reached out to them, who would either donate their crafty goodness to you or at the very least let you borrow them for the photo shoot. I’d say, make a dream list of all the things you’d like done or to do, and see what happens. You can’t really lose.

    And if it were me, I would have totally taken on the students following me around. But I’d only do it if they were willing to trade a couple of hours of free work time. I’d say that it was to really get into my shoes and know what it’s like. Just think, you could have had an army of Columbia students at your disposal. Maybe next year…

  • Jenna December 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    funny because I am split on how to decorate the place most of the time – half of me wants total and complete minimalism, the other half is happy with meaningful knick-knacks and art. So the apartment ends up being neither.
    I know what you mean about the columbia students, but I didn’t really want an army of students at my disposal (and I seriously doubt they would have agreed). They would have followed us around with a video camera. It again goes back to the balance of how much to reveal when you’re in business, especially right before the holidays when I was trying to secure some corporate accounts – plus the angle of the documentary was a series on how the recession is affecting small business owners. I felt like they were looking for some drama by some of the potential scenarios that were presented and how we felt about it. As it turns out, I don’t think we were right for the story, and I couldn’t imagine that stress on top of all that is going on right now.

  • Gabriel December 20, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    if you do need help with taking the pics or styling let me know – i have a few leads for you…

  • Andrew Thornton December 21, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Hey Jenna,
    I think the best thing anyone can do is follow their heart. And if doesn’t seem right, then it’s not.

    I’d like to go the minimal route myself, but never will. I’m a magpie. It’s in my blood. I have hundreds of owl figurines and gallons of glue and books piled to the ceiling. I tried to clear things out, but another shipment of books came and I can’t wait to dive in and read them and happily stack them up.

    I knew I really had a problem when my four year old niece came into my studio and said, “Oh my gawd! You need to clean your room, Annu.”