Behind The Scenes

Behind the Scenes: Fall Fashion Feature

August 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm , by

Our photo team always wows me with the cool locations that they find for our shoots and this month’s feature was no exception. When I told them the clothes were sort of cool and dark and moody, they suggested Alder Manor, a broken-down old mansion up in Yonkers. (It didn’t hurt that we had the gorgeous Stana Katic modeling for us, either!)

Several movie crews have used it as a set.  You may remember it from A Beautiful Mind or The Royal Tennenbaums. When we were there, there was a film crew prepping for a shoot inside the mansion so we stuck to the gardens around the house. They were amazing so we didn’t mind!

It was broken and dirty everywhere you looked but it was absolutely stunning. The groundskeeper told us that it was quite the party spot back in its day. Can’t you imagine what it was like when these little shallow pools actually had water in them?

It was pretty easy to find beautiful spaces to shoot including this outside wall of the house. Hey look! There’s Stana!

Meanwhile, back in our van, there were clothes filling the racks and lots of jewelry trays. Stana loves fashion so she had a great time trying things on and accessorizing.

She was also a sweetheart to everyone on set. When she heard our hairstylist, Mitch Barry, was big Castle fan she gladly posed for a picture with him.

Hope you enjoyed our tour of Alder Manor. Be sure to check out our fashion feature with Stana Katic in the September issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, on newsstands now!

Photo of Stana and Mitch by Stana Katic. All other photos by Sue Erneta and Gabrielle Porcaro.


On Location: Behind The Scenes in Palm Springs

July 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm , by

Remember last month when I took you behind-the-scenes of our shoot at Joshua Tree? Well, we photographed another story while we were in Palm Springs: July’s fashion/fitness hybrid 7 Ridiculously Stylish Ways to Burn 200 Calories and I’d like to share some behind-the-scenes pics from that shoot, too. First up, a view from the plane as we landed in Palm Springs. Isn’t it gorgeous?

It would be wrong if I didn’t share a picture of my room from our cool hotel: The Colony Palms. Isn’t that Suzani headboard amazing? The hotel was designed by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard who I became obsessed with after watching Million Dollar Decorators. For more on the Colony Palms, check out this beautiful wedding. Complete with synchronized swimmers!

We shot at a classic mid-century house in Palm Springs. Our intrepid photographer, Tom Corbett, doesn’t mind sitting in the road to get the shot.

I loved the retro hair and makeup on the shoot. And our model’s Rebecca Minkoff cell phone case works with the look, don’t you think?

It wasn’t easy to keep our model dry but make it look like she was actually washing the Fiat, so she got a little help. Here’s LHJ’s Photo Director, Clare, adding suds to the hood.

Trying to get three dogs to cooperate for this shot was no easy task, especially because the Golden Retriever (who actually lived in the house) was practically a Senior Citizen!

A couple of our gorgeous models.

In case we couldn’t get the dogs to do what we wanted, we made sure we had a backup shot: with LHJ’s Associate Fashion Editor, Gabrielle, and prop stylist, Henry, “sitting in” for the four legged models.

Here’s an outtake of a shot that didn’t make it into the magazine. Don’t lean back, Tom!

Hope you enjoyed your “trip” to Palm Springs!



Behind the Scenes at the Shoot: The Bronze Age

June 7, 2012 at 9:00 am , by

Recently, a team from LHJ traveled to Joshua Tree, California to shoot The Bronze Age, a story for our June issue. It’s such a spectacular place that we wanted to show you some behind-the-scenes shots. We hit the road before dawn so that we could get the morning light in Joshua Tree. The sun was just coming up as we arrived.

Our first shot was perfect. I don’t think I’ve ever seen light that beautiful.

Here’s a view of the whole crew. It takes a lot of people to make it all come together. There were three staffers from LHJ from the Fashion and Photo departments, the photographer plus his assistants and a digital tech to handle all the digital files, a hair stylist, a makeup artist, plus the location van driver! That black thing on a stand behind the photographer is a wind machine that gets controlled by the hair stylist. I bet you didn’t know they needed to be wind gurus, too!

Our photographer, Tom Corbett, has no problem getting a little dirty to get the shot! (Buy the BCBG dress here.)

The whole crew is there in case there are any last minute touch-ups. Here, makeup artist, Amy Chance adds a little body makeup to our model’s feet. (Buy the dress here.)

We always shoot more than we need and this back shot didn’t make the cut. (Lucky you! You get to see it here!)

Another outtake. Doesn’t she look like Raquel Welch in this one? You know, from that movie where she’s climbing around the rocks in that fur bikini? Except this time it’s a bikini and sweater from Banana Republic.

Hope you enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at our shoot. Have you ever been to Joshua Tree? What did you think? Tell us!


Behind the Scenes at The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch

January 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm , by

Ree Drummond (the voice and talent behind The Pioneer Woman) invited us to stay at her lodge when we visited to film LHJ‘s fantastic cooking videos (watch the first one here). The lodge — the Pioneer Woman’s second home on her ranch — is a 20-minute drive from the nearest tiny town. And if you try mailing something from there . . . well, you can’t. It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere!

Ree says she’s woken up to cows outside her door on the porch, so when I woke up at sunrise in one of the guest rooms I was hoping for just that experience. It didn’t happen, but I did look out onto a most beautiful view of the Drummonds’ Oklahoma ranch, with working barns, horses grazing and cows in the field . . . where they actually belong.

Ree is beautiful and sweet. We had a lovely time with her at the ranch and, yes, ate a lot of delicious food! Click here to see a slideshow of what went on behind the scenes. And remember to check back each month for a new cooking video from Ree!

LHJ On TV: Behind The Scenes Of Put A Ring On It

July 6, 2010 at 11:59 am , by

When my friends at WE tv asked me to be the “bait” in their new surprise proposal web reality show, Put A Ring On It, I didn’t quite realize what I was getting myself into. The brand-new show brings together a group of “proposal experts” to help one lucky guy pull off an amazing proposal. As the bait for the first episode, I was going to lure the unsuspecting bride-to-be to a local restaurant for a staged Ladies’ Home Journal interview—which would actually be the big proposal.

That means I had to email and interact with the lovely Nadia, who thought I wanted to interview her about her passion for running. She was so excited about our faux-story that I was really hoping she wouldn’t be too disappointed when it turned out to be a ruse (I mean, she had a pretty fabulous consolation prize). Every time we emailed, I was super-nervous. (What if she doesn’t buy it? What if I blow the entire surprise!?) By the time the big day rolled around, I was almost as nervous as her boyfriend, Michael—and he was proposing! We set the stage at a local restaurant: The Put A Ring On It team had stocked the entire garden area with extras who would be able to pull off Michael’s crazy-but-sweet vision for the moment he proposed. There were hidden cameras everywhere. I called Nadia just minutes before she arrived and then took my place with super-secret spy recorder pen in hand. What happened next? Well you’ll just have to watch the show.

Fresh New You: Makeover Magic

March 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm , by


I love working on fashion shoots that are all about the clothes but our Fresh New You makeovers are all about the person. It’s such an interesting challenge to hear what different women wear  (and why) and address their personal fashion challenges.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “I’m stuck in a rut.” It’s funny—these women know they need a change but they’re scared to try anything different. When a women who wears boring suits every day takes a look at herself in a red dress, it’s not just her clothes that have changed. It’s her attitude. She stands a little taller, she smiles a little more. She starts flirting with the woman in the mirror.

And when we get to the shoot: The hair and makeup artists work their magic, the women come alive. Their confidence in front of the camera is like that of a seasoned professional.

So, what can you take away from this? Give yourself a makeover at home! Go into a clothing store and ask for help—tell the salesperson what you currently wear and that you want to try something totally different. You don’t need to buy everything—or even anything—that you try. But it’ll give you a chance to get out of that rut. Do the same at the beauty counter. Let the pro try something new, anything that will feel fresh and different. You might not like everything you try but at least it’ll give you a chance to see yourself in a new light. You just might start flirting with that woman in the mirror.

Lara Spencer: The (Oscars) Insider

March 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm , by

One of the things I love most about awards shows, especially the Oscars, is the red carpet coverage. I’m riveted by the glitz, glam and gowns, but I’m just as fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Lara Spencer, anchor of CBS’ The Insider, was nice enough to give us a glimpse inside the industry’s biggest night.

Lara Spencer

Photo courtesy of CBS Television Distribution

For her, Oscar prep begins in January. “I start screening the films that are likely to be nominated, so that means a lot of movie nights with my friends,” Spencer explains. “They eat popcorn while I take notes!”

Though she puts her notes to good use when she interviews celebs on the red carpet, she also relies on her ability to improvise. “You can prepare all you want, but you never know what what will happen in the moment,” Spencer says. “You don’t know what mood a star will be in, or if they’re going to show up in a really fun outfit or with an interesting date. I kind of go with the flow and feel them out. My mantra is to be prepared, but also be prepared to throw all your notes out the window.”

On TV, Oscar night seems impossibly glamorous and exciting, but Spencer’s experience in the trenches is quite different. “It’s high pressure for us and it’s high pressure for the stars as well—you can definitely sense which nominated actors are nervous, and you can feel the tension. But when the ceremony is over and everyone heads to the parties, it’s like a giant weight has been lifted. It’s time to celebrate, regardless of who won.”

Check your local listings for The Insider to see Spencer’s coverage of the Oscars red carpet on Monday, March 8th.