Happy New Year's Eve! I hope you all have fabulous plans to ring in 2013 in style. I'm dying to know what you'll be wearing when the clock strikes twelve: a classic LBD? my tried-and-true navy? something so sparkly it could only fly on NYE? Do tell! 

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I can hardly believe that 2012 is coming to a close. What. A. Year!

In January, I started writing for my favorite digital magazine, Matchbook. In February, I attended New York Fashion Week for the first time and made a little street style cameo on Unabashedly Prep. In March, I launched Design Darling {The Boutique} (definitely the highlight of my year!). In May, I cohosted a Jack Rogers party (hello, dream collaboration!). In August, I attended Alt Summit NYC. In September, I hosted Fashion's Night Out at Alice & Trixie. In October, I found out I'd be speaking at Alt Summit Salt Lake City. In November, I hosted a holiday event with Elle Magazine at Kate Spade New York (pinch me please!). In December, I filmed a segment on holiday gifting for NBC Connecticut. And last week I stumbled upon the teeny tiniest NYC studio and yesterday — eeek! — signed a one-year lease.

All the while, I made steady progress on my 101 in 1001 list: buying my first grown-up bag, buying my parents an Apple computer, working out with a personal trainer, seeing a new Cirque du Soleil performance, trying acupuncture, taking a cooking lesson, seeing a comedy show, going to the top of the Empire State Building, going zip lining, upgrading to a DSLR camera, taking a self-defense class, and even participating in a flash mob.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this amazing year. I truly cannot wait to see what 2013 has in store!


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Bring on the coffee and the holiday cheer! This weekend is going to be a mad dash to the finish line: last-minute shopping, gift wrapping, tree trimming, house cleaning... you know the drill. We celebrate Christmas here in Connecticut which means come Monday our house will be bursting at the seams with nine cousins, six aunts and uncles, three dogs, a partridge in a pear tree, and of course my beloved grandmother. How do you celebrate the holidays? I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xx

*Images 1 / 2 / 3

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I've never really been big on resolutions (besides, I already have this list) but I love the feeling of a fresh start, whether it's flipping to a new page in my planner or sending out the last order for the day. Lately I've been thinking about a few things I'd like to improve upon and the start of a new year seems as good a time as any to get going!

1. Be better about remembering people's names.
I'm not naturally good at this and it doesn't help that I'm constantly "meeting" new people online. Whenever I attend blogging conferences (like Alt Summit, coming up in January) I get overwhelmed trying to put names to faces and always wish I could remember everyone I meet from one conference to the next. I mentioned this on Twitter and my girl Courtney says she tries to mention the person's name three times in conversation to get it to stick. I'm always so impressed when people I've met in passing recall my name so I'm definitely going to give this a try!

2. Learn to be on time.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm almost perennially late and if not I'm at least panicked because I've cut it too close and I'm down to the wire to get somewhere in time... Not a good look. If it's just a question of leaving five or ten minutes earlier — even if it means being the one waiting for a change! — it's something I plan to work on this year.

3. Only buy things I absolutely love.
Maybe this means instituting a "one in, one out" policy for my closet because seriously, things are getting out of control. Especially as I think about settling into a tiny apartment, I want to strategize on making quality purchases I love rather than shopping to fill every nook and cranny at once. This is something I've gotten better at over time but there are always more ways to pare down and save up for something special.

4. Support more small businesses.
You get back what you give out, right? I'm fortunate to get to work with some amazing fellow small business owners both through my blog and the boutique and I have some seriously awesome sponsors here on Design Darling. Whether we're buying art or clothes or furniture, let's all show small business some love this year!

5. Work smarter, not harder.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to constantly strive for more. While this drive has its perks, it also makes me more likely to burn out from taking on too much at one time. This year I want to focus on working smarter — hiring interns, minimizing distractions at my desk, unplugging as much as possible at night — instead of burning myself into the ground by saying yes to every project that comes my way. This is something I imagine I will always struggle with as an entrepreneurial type but, hey, baby steps!

What's one thing you'd like to work on this year? Do you believe in setting (and keeping!) New Year's resolutions? 

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Who decides to wrap up holiday orders and embark on her apartment search the same week? This girl. The past few weeks have been insane — in an awesome, overwhelming, what-did-I-get-myself-into, thank-goodness-I-love-my-job, pinch-me! kind of way — so I'm not really sure why now felt like the right time to tack this onto my to do list. But my parents and I spent the weekend looking at places and goodness gracious, I am so excited to finally live in New York. Granted I will be living in the teensiest, tiniest studio with a hyperactive 10-month-old puppy and boxes on boxes of inventory... but I'm 100% up for the challenge. Eeek! Lots more to come on this I hope. In the mean time, tell me: 1) Where was the tiniest place you've ever lived? and 2) What's one thing you did to make it feel like home?

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You know what's even better than discovering a new favorite interior designer? Finding a new favorite interior designer whose projects are beautifully photographed and whose website is well-designed. Thank you, Anne Hepfer, for fulfilling all three criteria and making it difficult to narrow down my favorite spaces for this post...
Those mirrored doors. That painted ceiling. That ceiling fixture. That blue canopy. That dreamy pedestal sink. Need I go on? See more of Anne's work here.

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Today is your last chance to place an order from the boutique in time for Christmas! Please note that cut-off dates for iPhone cases, leather goods, and stationery have already passed but all the items pictured above are still available and will arrive in time for the holiday. As always thank you for your support and feel free to email me with any questions! 


If I'm telling the truth, I've spent the majority of the past week packing orders in my pajamas. I'm totally not complaining but I'm a little over my old sorority t-shirts and flannel pajama pants that have definitely seen better days. If I'm going to work in pajamas, I might as well own it, right? Thinking it's time for a little upgrade...

Even if your workwear is a tad more formal than mine of late (I sure hope so!), wouldn't these be perfect attire for Christmas morning? Oh and if it's warm where you are don't talk to me I'm so jealous I'm smitten with this short sleeve set. Happy weekend everyone! xx

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I love Instagram as much as the next girl but every now and then it's nice to take out my DSLR camera for something besides product shots for the boutique. Here are a few recent scenes around the house...
My beloved Tory Burch satchel on the coffee table. (All leather goods need to stay far away from Rory...)
The umbrella stand (a Joss & Main score!) and needlepoint cushion in our foyer.
I've long since crossed #50 off my 101 in 1001 list but I can't seem to stop buying coffee table books. Still love this as a holiday gift idea!

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Today I'm excited to be sharing one of my new favorite sites, Fab. It's a great resource for beautifully designed art, home goods, and gifts. Their holiday shop is brimming with last-minute gift ideas like the following:

I totally want the 7 print and the water bottle but I tried to choose items that at least one person in my life would love to receive! Pretty knife set for a holiday hostess gift? Hot pink skateboard your siblings will fight over? Baggu bag stocking stuffer to make your mom's grocery shopping a little more stylish? Check, check, check. Check out Fab's holiday shop here and let me know what you find!

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A quick post this morning as I'm busy packing orders in Santa's workshop my dining room-turned-warehouse (sorry, Mom and Dad!). I hope you're all feeling the holiday spirit and surrounding yourselves with hot beverages, red nails, twinkling lights, and all the happy little details I love about this time of year. I'm crossing my fingers for a white Christmas and a bevy of elves to come to my aid ;) Only two weeks until Christmas morning! 

*Photos 1 / 2 / 34 / 5 / 6 / 7

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This weekend I was getting dressed for a Christmas dinner party and had one of those moments where I decided I hate everything in my closet. (Please tell me you know the feeling?) It's funny that I spend part of each day scrolling through gorgeous outfits on Pinterest and yet when it comes time to get dressed I'm still texting my girlfriends saying, "What are you wearing?!" 

I have a hunch that some of you might feel the same way so I decided to create a new little feature called Style Ingredients, where I'll feature a few favorite looks and break them down to see which pieces I love most about the look with links to similar products you can shop online. My hope is it will help me notice a few gaps in my wardrobe and inspire you to pull together some new looks from yours as well! 

I'm definitely too pale for winter white but there's something very refreshing about this monochromatic look. 

If you don't see yourself rocking a fedora anytime soon, you could easily get the same look with a green scarf. It's an unexpected combo that feels totally modern with basic black underneath.

Oh, Jenna. I would wear this outfit for New Year's Eve or a fancy date or prancing around packing boxes in my dining room because it's just that cute.

What do you think — do we like this idea for a series? Any looks you'd like to see me take on? Leave a link in the comments!

*Images 1 / 2 / 3

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"Heels for the girl who only wears flats." They're perfect.

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First let me say that I am completely blown away by your support of my little boutique this holiday season. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you

Here's the cut-off calendar if you'd like to place an order in time for Christmas. These dates will be mentioned at the top of each product description so please note we cannot guarantee delivery in time for Christmas if your order is/was not placed by the date specified above. 

The deadline for leather goods and stationery is this Wednesday and you'll be able to order everything else (including decorjewelry, and monogrammed acrylic pieces) through Monday, December 17. As always, please feel free to email me with any customer service questions and thank you again for your unbelievable support!


We celebrate Christmas with everyone on my mom's side of the family which means it's one of the few times a year all nine cousins are in the same place! My grandmother likes us to open presents one by one so everyone can appreciate the thought that went into each gift. It makes the magic of Christmas last a little bit longer and it's always fun to see what everyone had in mind while doing their Christmas shopping. For the past few years it's safe to say we've had a very J.Crew Christmas... :)

iPhone case // Scalloped bikini (obsessed!) // Soap

J.Crew is probably the one place where all of us — girls and boys — can find something we have to have so it's kind of a slam dunk for giving and getting. What's your one-stop holiday shop? Do you celebrate with your immediate or extended family? I can't believe it's only 19 days away!

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1. The party dress with girly bows and sparkle. 

2. The bright skirt with festive gold accessories.

3. A silk camisole and tuxedo pant in classic black and white.

Just a little style inspiration for dressing up, for the holidays and beyond! Which look are you most likely to sport this season?

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Just a quick note to let you know today's the last day to order an Emily Ley iPhone case from the boutique in time for guaranteed Christmas delivery! There will be upcoming cut-off dates for Loren Hope jewelry and Kollection stationery as well. Thank you all for your continued support! xx

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In the spirit of Monday's post about ten ways to decorate for Christmas, we got started this weekend placing candles in the windows and hanging garland over the front door. My mom had seen this adorable wreath and decided to recreate it with materials we had on hand. I love the way it turned out!
Materials: hand pliers, chicken wire, metal wire, and some sort of greenery (we used boxwood from our backyard but any kind of garland would do!).
1. Cut your chicken wire and lay out your shape. We did "H" for our last name but you could make any shape you like or even three letters for a monogram!
2. Twist each piece of chicken wire into a tube shape. This doesn't need to be perfect — just three-dimensional so you can secure your greenery to the wire.
3. Wrap your greenery around each part of the letter and secure with metal twist ties as needed.
5. Go back and trim as necessary. 
6. Ta da! You're almost finished. Now wrap with Christmas lights...
7. And hang on your front door! You'll be the envy of the neighborhood. ;)
What do you think?! Any fun holiday DIY projects you've tackled lately? 

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