It’s A Madhouse

By Kate Riley February 23, 2011

The last 48 hours just about did me in.  But I keep coming back to that famous saying, “That which does not kill you sends you to the madhouse.” 

You see, I got this phone call many weeks ago. I was just returning home from Tahoe, and heard a voice on my answering machine, saying something about a magazine and “. . . your home is lovely and we’d like to talk to you about a photo shoot . . .”  I listened and listened and thought, oh geez, one of my friends is crank calling me, ha ha ha ha. 

christmas ideas mag 2Then I listened some more and this lovely voice sounded completely legit.  So I picked up the phone, and guess what?  It was Better Homes & Gardens.  Wow.

So for the last two months, all my Christmas stuff has still been up in my house. 

I’m convinced that my neighbors must think I’m absolutely cuckoo.  I can hear them now.  “What’s wrong with that family?  It’s February, for goodness sake, take your Christmas tree down!” 

So I’ve suffered the shame of the neighborhood for a photo shoot in BH&G’s ‘Christmas Ideas’ magazine, taking place in my house on Thursday!  “Excited” does not begin to describe.


I had a huge dilemma a few weeks ago.  When one resides in California, where does one find fresh real cedar garland in February?

fresh cedar


One does a lot of research.  One makes friends with an online resource. 

Thank you Lynch Creek Farm for coming to my rescue!

lynch creek farm


However one cannot decorate their home until fresh greenery arrives late Monday, which only allow for Tuesday and Wednesday to basically recreate Christmas in your home for a magazine.  Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh.

The last 48 hours put me in extreme survival mode, as evidenced by the collection of coffee cups in my car console. 

coffee cups


There have been mad dashes for spray paint and wired ribbon.  Searches high and low for felt and truffles.  I’ve been precariously balanced on top of ladders and barstools, hanging greenery like a mad woman. 

It’s a bit chaotic, can you tell?

balance on high boy

This is not staged.  This is my life. 

Then mommy brain kicked in.  It’s been two whole months, how the heck did I decorate again?  I could use some guidance here.  Hey, that’s right I have a blog, refer to online pictures. 

apothecary jar

This photo reminds me of something… what is it?

Oh yes. 

“The claw . . . The claw decides who will stay and who will go!”

.I’m s .I’m sorry, I’m just a bit punchy right now.

Yet there are miles to go before I sleep tonight. 

presents to wrap


As of now, I’m going underground.  I am unreachable for the next 36 hours.  And if you really love me, since I’m supposed to be ‘dressed in party attire’ in the kitchen shot, you’ll tweet me at 12 p.m Pacific time Thursday with this:  “Don’t forget to wear your Spanx!”  

Thanks, you’re a true friend. 



cg kate signature


  1. GREAT post! Although you think you are in the madhouse, your post put a smile on my face! I am sure that you will pull it off even better than at Christmas. Throw on some Christmas songs to get you in the mood! good luck!

  2. Wow, this is fantastic news. I am sure you house will look amazing. Can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out. Best of luck:)

  3. Hahaha those people at Better Homes and Gardens have great taste :) Good luck with the photo shoot. I’m sure you are going to do great and hopefully you’ll have some fun too.

  4. Yea!!! That is so exciting, though I can imagine how stressed you are. You’ll get through it; your house will look gorgeous, and then you can enjoy.

  5. Oh my friend…that is so exciting, and madhouse? I bet you did it with grace and style as usual. Now isn’t there some way you can kill two birds with one stone after all that decorating? Christmas in February party? :)
    So thrilled for you. You SO desire it. xoxo

  6. All the best, Kate. You surely deserve it. And won’t you just love Thursday night when you can finally relax. Keep your thoughts on that.

  7. Great post, been following for a while now. Great tips, ideas, and inspiration Thanks! Oh and love the random pizza crust in the photo!?!? Too funny!


  8. At least you have an excuse for keeping your Christmas stuff up. I just pulled mine down on…ummm….Monday. And only cause I was having a family dinner (Monday was Family Day up here in Canada). And the Christmas decor all came down 1 hour before they arrived.
    Good luck with the photo shoot! I am sure it will be amazing! Remember, when they take your picture, 3/4 turn towards the camera, chin down, eyes up and heads always slightly tilted. It’s the pose Paris Hilton always uses in her mugshots and they always look professional lol

  9. Hi there CG! Well, let me just say that despite your “rush” for BH&G, you will still come out of it a winner! You always win when you so love what you do–whether running on a magazine deadline or on your leisurely time! Good luck to you–for sure it will be a splendidly Christmassy in your home! Cant wait to see how it turns out. Shine like you always do^_^

  10. Congratulations, Kate! You’ll do another fabulous job! I look forward to seeing you in lights in the magazine. Have fun tomorrow!

  11. That is great news, but I didn’t know they made you do all of the work,I thought people came in and decorated and styled and you posed for the pictures…shows how much I know.LOL

  12. How amazing! I’m really happy for you!! I can’t imagine how crazed you must feel doing all that yourself! Thank goodness for your photos, they were picture perfect!

  13. This is very exciting! I love BH&G. Just so you know, I still have my Christmas dishes in my hutch and I’m not even doing a photo shoot! I’m sure your home will look fabulous. Put your Centsational Girl Cape on and get it done! oh, and don’t forget spanx. I am lacking in the tweeting skills.

  14. BREATHE….you will be fantastic! Congratulations! I’m looking forward to seeing the issue.

  15. OMG bless your heart! That is so much work:) I’ll be thinking of you over the next few days.. and congratulations, that is pretty great news regardless!

  16. BAHAHAhahahaha….you go girl……..remember your own advice…breathe!!! What a great opportunity – love every second of the experience – good luck!!! SMILE

  17. oooh, such exciting news! I love Better Homes and Gardens! Hope everything goes great for you today, and I hope you have some down time planned for after all this is over :)

  18. How fun!! I’m sure you’ll pull it all together in your usual fabulous style! Your inside out prisoner sock cracked me up this morning!!

  19. How awesome! I don’t tweet so I will just tell you here – Don’t forget to wear your spanx! [although im more than sure you don’t even need them ;) ]

  20. Congrats! Nice to hear Better Home and Gardens is recognizing your great decorating style.

  21. I have a subscription to BH&G and will be looking forward to seeing your home’s pictures in it. Congrats on being chosen.

  22. Wow!!! Congratulations, Kate!! I guess it goes to show that the big guys are paying attention to what’s going on in the Blogosphere. :) I know you’ll look fabulous, and so will your home! I can’t imagine how crazy it must be right now!

  23. congrats!!! how exciting I am so happy for you! I bet it is a mad house righ now, but when it’s all done you will be so happy with what you have accomplished. :)

  24. HOw incredibly exciting but, also how nerve wracking at the same time!! I often get hyped up trying to get my house looking tip top when friends come over for a get together but, if I had the masters of BHG coming over for a photo shoot I would be frantic. Bless your heart!! Your home is gorgeous and you deserve this honor!! Congrats!!

  25. Don’t forget to breathe, breathe, breathe. Good luck. I can’t wait to see the magazine.

  26. Hang in there Kate! If anyone can pull this off, it’s you! :) how rewarding it will be to see your house in BHG!

  27. Hi Kate-

    Congrats – I am so excited for you – your such a pro hang it there it will all look fabulous. You said earlier this week that you were considering training for a marathon – well just think of the prep for this as your decorating marathon.

    My best- Diane

  28. Ha! I can totally relate, not with the BHG feature, but with the insanity. I’m doing projects and shoots for Easter for HGTV, June for Cottages & Bungalows and I’m still finishing up Christmas decor for another HGTV editor. I swear I will never want to decorate my house for the seasons again!

    I’m so excited for you, Kate. BHG is big time. :)

  29. Congratulations Kate!!!! It is Thursday morning now and I guess there is a flurry of activity at your house. Enjoy it and the fruits of your labor. I can’t wait to see it I know it is beautiful.

  30. Good luck, Kate! Cannot wait to read it. Do you know when it will be published? It’s a little bit confusing. Christmas decor now? Is it for next Christmas?
    Anyway, wish you all the luck. And if anyone can pull this off, it’s you.

  31. Love, love, LOVE you, Kate! Fantastic posts this week (as always, but something special about this week). Best of luck!

  32. Okay so #1- CONGRATS!! Jumping up and down with excitement for you right now!! Holy cow that’s awesome
    #2- Your Toy Story reference made me laugh out loud….at my desk…while at work. My office mates now think Im nuts.
    #3- The inside out sock kinda sorta made my day. Just sayin. And only because life has been so crazy lately that I realized Im currenty wearing not one but TWO pairs of underwear. Haha yes….as in put one pair on, ran around and forgot…put a second pair on. Yep…

  33. Kate–so happy for you! What does Mr. Husband think of this opportunity? I know you will succeed, and we can count on everything being beautiful, as well as you! Blessings!

  34. So cool! Congrats to you for the millionth time….can’t wait to see the pictures/article in BHG. Be sure to take some time to rest after all the excitement! Excited to hear all about it too. Have a great rest of the week.

  35. Congrats, you deserve it. I wish I could make rooms over like you do!
    You are amazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing!
    Good luck!

  36. WHOOT!!!! You go girl, you deserve it! I’m sure you will make the house look extra loverly. Be sure to let us know when the issue hits the stands.

  37. How fabulous! Congratulations!! I’m sure you’ll have an exciting time. :D
    Can’t wait to see it in BH&G!!

  38. Yay!!! This is so exciting to hear, and I’m so glad I have a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens. I will be awaiting the December issue… it seems so far away. Congratulations!

  39. Oh, Kate…..what a wonderful blessing! I will look forward to seeing BH&G next season with your home featured. I can’t imagine having to decorate again in February! I wish you the best. But you will do great and creative things. You always do! :D

  40. How exciting!!! I’m so happy for you and can appreciate all the random things you did to get ready that aren’t on the average persons list of “things to do”! Congratulations! It will be extra fun to see that issue!

  41. You are too funny! It’s going to be fabulous because you rock!!! Good luck!
    Spanx rocks!!! Except for when you have to pee. ;)

  42. How amazing. I can’t wait to see the photo spread. You deserve the recognition. Hope it is a wonderful experience.

  43. Yay!! This is wonderful news! I loved your house decorating from Christmas last year it was lovely — can’t wait to see and read about you in the Mag! :)

  44. Wonderful news!!! You totally deserve it! I hope you have a nice relaxing treat planned for next week. :-)

  45. Yay! That is so exciting! I can’t wait to see the pictures in all of their glory! Congratulations!
    Lila Ferraro

  46. Wow, Kate– I don’t know how you do it all! Just think what a blessing it will be to {take off your Spanx} and put your feet up when all is said and done. Kudos!

  47. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see the issue. When it’s all said and done, you really should do a post about the whole process — how the interview went, if the writer came with the photographer, how you decided what to wear, if they “restaged” anything, etc.

  48. You are so deserving of the spread. Your home and ideas are wonderful. May I ask, in the photo with the coffee cups in the car, was that a Coach coffee cup holder, or was that just your Coach bag next to the cups??? Thanks Kate!

  49. Praying for you to get through it with flying colors and your brain intact. You can do it! Excited for you and looking forward to that issue!

  50. LOL- you are a total trip! What an exciting thing to be stressed about- seriously! It will look fabulous when you are finsihed- without a doubt!

  51. I love this post! Little did I know this is what your Tweetpic was all about last night. Yes! I love how a blog is a little visual diary of our home. This is such an awesome experience for you… you crack me up! Can’t wait to see the photoshoot!

  52. How exciting and stressful. I’m sure you’ll be amazing…as usual. I’m very excited to hear all about it.

  53. That really is so amazing!!! You are such an inspiration and of course BH&G’s called you, your house is amazing!!! I’m still giggling about “the claw” comments…(c:

  54. Congrats! That is wonderful!
    (And did you really just quote both Toy Story AND Robert Frost in the same paragraph?! Classic! You ARE talented!)

  55. I love this post! Totally made me crack up! :-D Good luck with the photoshoot. I’m sure it will go great! Can’t wait to see this issue this holiday season!

  56. You are certainly having an exciting life these days…just remember all that success you wished for…this is it! Enjoy! I’m really excited for you and can’t wait to read about you in the mag!

  57. um i can’t believe you left your stuff up since Christmas. not in a bad way. in a i’d-tear-it-all-down-come-january-15th kind of way. i admire that. good job. nice pluck. oh and your puns, they made me laugh.

  58. Omg kate!!
    Such great news! Im so happy for you!!
    I adore your blog! My 3 little mini decorators enjoy seeing wjat you are up to daily:)
    They were so excited to see you live on nates show!!
    Thank you for all you do!

  59. How FUN!!! I took part in one of these several years ago at a friends garden! Only they gave a concept..and we pulled it off. I helped and we brainstormed and it was amazing fun! The photo shoot was fun.. Andrea is who we worked with. have a BALL!!

  60. I think your ideas are just lovely and shared your blog with my very dearest friend, whose taste is soooo much like yours. You definitely are gifted with an eye for style and a lot of energy, too. Please take care of yourself and put your hubby and children first…then don’t feel guilty to consider the opportunities that lie ahead as long as it doesn’t flip flop your priorities.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiration and hard work with others.

  61. Oh I love this post! Especially the “chaotic” picture lol. Congrats!! When is that magazine coming out?? You inspire me. We moved into our first house a few months ago and focused on renovating the basement. But soon our couch will be delivered – and the living/dining room needs painting, we need CURTAINS…I don’t know where to begin! Help…feel free to pass by any advice from you would be so appreciated. xx

  62. BHG has great taste. Best wishes regarding your magazine spread. I can not wait to see it. I know it will lovely!!

  63. I love Toy Story and Death Proof (where I heard the last quote in there)! Congratulations on having your house published. That’s so neat! By now, everything is over so I hope you are resting a well deserved rest! :D

  64. Congrats! Can’t wait to see the mag! And I’m impressed – from the photos it looks like you had to re-wrap fake presents? You’re attention to detail is great and probably why they’re featuring you!

    PS. The coffee cups pic makes me feel like I’m not along in the caffeinated world :)

  65. Best of luck to you and I hope all goes well. I’ll be anxious to hear about it. And, don’t forget your Spanx:).

  66. SO excited for you! Can’t wait to see the finished product and buy the magazine…next November? I’m sure you ‘hit it outta the park’ – great job!

  67. Congrats! that’s so awesome, but man – christmas in Feb…uh. Love the claw comment. ha!

  68. That is so awesome. I’m sure we all appreciate what a major under-taking this must be, but you are doing this for the betterment of man — no, no, that would be the betterment of your bloggy sisters who will all be waiting with bated breath for the issue to hit the newsstand. You will, of course, let us know well in advance so that we may all get a copy, right? I do hope you will blog this entire thing so that we may enjoy your BH&G fame. Please, please?

  69. Oh I LOVE that special mag edition!! I saved the last one and put it away with my Christmas decorations to use OVER AND OVER again!!! What an honor for you! Congrats from IL!!! Here is wishing you the Christmas spirit in February! I will definitely buy the issue when it comes out at the end of the year! There ya go….one issue…sold! Best of luck to you!

  70. Wow, congrats! I look forward to that magazine every year, and now I’ll have a reason to buy up every copy! Have fun with it, and remember, YOU DON’T NEED SPANX!!! :)

  71. I missed this post yesterday. How exciting for you! I can’t wait to see the results! Do we have to wait until the mag comes out though? Cause that’s just not fair. :)
    In a military community, where many spouses are deployed during the holidays, it’s not unusual to have Christmas trees left up until Feb or Mar or even April so the family can celebrate Christmas together after the service member comes home. We wouldn’t think you were weird at all. :)

  72. Congratulations! My craft room appeared in a national magazine a few years ago. It was so fun to see how they stage the room etc. Have fun with it!

  73. Kate you are a HOOT! Reading this post made me laugh and smile. What a cool treat to have your home featured. I would have been a basket case for sure. Good Luck, which you will not need. Just be the amazing lady you are and all will go well.

  74. I have been out of the loop on my blog reading, and I totally missed this. I just wanted to say congratulations, albeit very late in the game, because this is a total honor and compliment! Not too long ago I saw it was only your second blog anniversary. and I was totally blown away by that. You certainly work hard, are totally talented, and deserve all that is coming your way. You are an inspiration, and I wish you more success like these!

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