New arrivals in the boutique!

I've been getting lots of emails asking for gift ideas for graduations, Mother's Day, wedding season, etc. and I hope that the new arrivals in Design Darling {The Boutique} will help you cross a few things off your list!
Aren't they fun? Shop all the new arrivals HERE and sign up for the mailing list to be kept in the loop on the next batch of new arrivals coming soon!

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Green + Navy

I think I'm going to impose a new rule around here... No new purchases unless they're colorful! I'm trying to think of new ways to pair my largely navy and white wardrobe and I'm loving this take...

I could pull off green, right? Especially if it's with a bow ;) And I'm in l-o-v-e with these espadrilles... That leather detail on the back is perfection! Do you have any shopping rules in place for yourself?

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Weekend Updates

What I've been up to this weekend (according to my trusty Instagram feed — follow me @mackenziehoran)...
Packing pretty orders... This one happens to contain my favorite tray and the ever-popular ginger jar matches.
Receiving a lovely package from Waiting On Martha, including this gorgeous rose quartz bracelet. So sweet!
Indulging in some yummy treats, including an Arnold Palmer on Friday afternoon (you already know they're my favorite from this pencil set!) and Sunday brunch at the Martha Stewart-recommended SoNo Baking Company & Cafe. Deeelish

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Navy Cabinets + Giveaway Winner

Leave it to Pinterest to introduce me to this fabulous kitchen tour courtesy of new-to-me Apartment Therapy site The Kitchn. Abundant natural light, navy cabinetry, and white subway tile... You know I was in heaven!
Gorgeous, don't you think? See the full feature here. And without further ado, the winner of the Sarah Swanson Design giveaway is...
Entry #51, Andrea Morris! Andrea says she could use help adding color and changing up her living room. I know Sarah will dream up something fabulous! I hope you'll both share pictures :) Thank you to Sarah for offering her services and to everyone who entered. Don't forget you may still hire Sarah for just $150/space. I promise you will LOVE working with her! 

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April showers bring May flowers...

Here's hoping, anyway! We've had quite a few gray days in Connecticut this week and I'm looking forward to fewer clouds and more sunshine. In the mean time here's a little rainy day wardrobe inspiration to keep you pretty when it's pouring...

Kain sweater / Loren Hope tassel necklace / MoMA sky umbrella (how fun is this?)
7 For All Mankind skinny jeans / Hunter rain boots (I have them in black!)

The MoMA store was kind enough to send me their sky umbrella in celebration of their twentieth anniversary and is graciously offering all readers 20% off with the code SKY20 through April 30! It's the perfect pick to keep you thinking of blue skies when the weather's less than favorable.

What do you wear to keep chic during a downpour? 

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Saks Friends & Family Sale

If you're not still reeling from Shopbop's friends and family sale last week, you're in for quite a treat! Saks is offering 20% off with code FRIENDS at checkout. Here are some of the lovelies I'd like to be adding to my cart...

I'm in love with the packaging of Nars blush and lipstick so those two are the most likely to come live with me! I have the lipstick in jungle red (the perfect red lipstick for redheads!) and would love to add Funny Face and Schiap to my collection. What goodies will you be scooping up? Shop Saks here and don't forget to enter FRIENDS for 20% off through April 29!

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Flower Power

Yesterday Michael and I were running errands and popped into a local florist where I spent an inordinate amount of money on flowers with which to photograph some new products for the boutique. Sticker shock aside, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to have some fresh blooms around here...

Whether you're entertaining or just treating yourself to something pretty for your desktop or your dresser, there's nothing like a fresh bouquet to put a skip in your step! I went with blue and white hydrangea and pink peonies. What's your bloom of choice?

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Colored Denim

When it comes to describing my style, I definitely veer more toward "classic" than "trendy." But that doesn't mean I don't keep up with what's new in the fashion world. I just pick and choose which trends are right for me as opposed to replenishing my wardrobe every season with items that will be "out" in a few months. One current trend I can definitely get behind is colored denim. Here's a decidedly classic spin on the look:

Tory Burch sunglassesDesign Darling link bangle in navy and white (only $25 each!)

For me the trick is to pair the trendier piece (in this case the light blue denim) with classic accessories like these link bangles and tortoiseshell sunglasses. Note that you could easily wear this same outfit with colored denim in pink, red, or yellow! What do you think of this look — and does your style tend to be more classic or trendy?

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J.Crew Style Guide

Did you know that J.Crew's famed catalogs will now be available online, starting with this month's darling style guide? Carly was the one who first informed me of Google Catalogs and recommended that I style and photograph a catalog for my boutique. How fun would that be?
In the mean time, I'm content to peruse some of my favorite catalogs online! These outfits have me wanting to try wearing one color from head to toe. Speaking of J.Crew, have you seen this color block sweater in pink and navy? I'm convinced it was made for yours truly ;)

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Ten ways to have a good day...

Happy Monday! Here's a little encouragement to get you off to a good start this week...

...just ten little things designed to help you have a happier day today :) Does anyone else find that Pinterest almost always does the trick? Follow my boards here (and leave a link to yours in the comments!).

P.S. I also love Carly's list of five things that make her happy!

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Sarah Swanson Design Giveaway!

Have you ever thought of hiring an interior designer but decided you couldn't afford it? You might remember Sarah Swanson Design from this post and I'm thrilled to announce that she's offering a giveaway of her design services to one lucky reader — a $150 value! Here are some sample boards she's whipped up...
I'm sure lots of you have an interior design project in mind that could use the help of a professional! I love the above board she did using the monkey candlestick and Worcester jar matchboxes from my boutique. 
Think you might like to work with Sarah on a project for your place? All you have to do is become a follower of Design Darling at right and leave a comment below explaining what you'd like her help on. The winner will be selected at random on Friday morning. Good luck!

Bangles + Monogrammed Tray

I thought we'd cap off the week with an extra pretty picture I styled of a customer's monogrammed acrylic tray and a few of the new bangles added to the site this week...
Every girl needs this little vignette in her life! I hope you all have lots of fun plans for the weekend... I'm off to a Matchbook shoot, a friend's birthday party, my sister's softball games, all over the place! Have a good one! 

Kenneth Jay Lane on Gilt Groupe

A spontaneous afternoon post to share a few sparkly somethings I'd like to add to my jewelry box from the Kenneth Jay Lane sale on Gilt Groupe today...

Coral and pink drops, lapis and turquoise sparklers, and a turquoise statement maker with the prettiest clasp I ever did see! Sign up HERE to shop the sale.

His & Hers

We've had absolutely delightful weather in Connecticut, the kind of temperatures that lend themselves to playing fetch, reading outdoors, and wearing easy breezy tunic dresses like so...
ON HIM: Ralph Lauren shirt / Needlepoint belt / J.Crew shorts / Sperry Top-Sider shoes ON HER: Devon Baer Designs dress / K. Slademade colorblock clutch / Ralph Lauren sunglasses (similar) / Dani Notes iPhone case / Julie elephant bangle

My puppy Coach had to make a cameo this week ;) How fun is my new elephant bangle from the lovely ladies at Julie? It will be a perfection addition to my summer stack, which of course includes lots of these! The Devon Baer Designs dress is a new personal favorite... You may remember that I interviewed Devon for her feature in Matchbook (recap here) and she was kind enough to create her Greek key tunic dress in a custom color — Design Darling hot pink ;) I absolutely adore the way it turned out and can't wait to add more of her collection to my closet!  

Shopbop Friends & Family Sale!

Shopbop's friends and family sale is here! That means 20% off with code INTHEFAMILY20 at checkout and you can bet I'll be taking advantage. In fact, I think I'll ask your opinion before I click "add to cart" ;) Here are five items I've kept my eye on...

If you were to pick two of these items, which ones would make the cut? You might just see your picks in future His & Hers posts! Shop here and make the most of that 20% off!

6 Gift Ideas for Spring

For some reason, I feel like half the people in my life celebrate their birthdays in the springtime. Between birthdays for my boyfriend, my brother, and my parents — not to mention Mother's Day and Father's Day around the corner! — my brain is definitely on finding the perfect gift for each person.

The other night I was dashing out the door to a friend's birthday dinner and decided to whip up a little something with items I have in stock for the boutique. It inspired me to share a few gift-giving ideas with all of you in the hopes you'll find that perfect something at Design Darling! 

FOR THE GIRLS: Earrings and a bangle in her favorite colors.

FOR YOUR MOM: A votive holder and a matchbox (or two!).

FOR THE BOYS: A kill-proof topiary for his place and a monogrammed key fob.

FOR YOUR COWORKERS: A budget-friendly monogrammed pencil cup or business card holder to brighten their cubicle (and your view).

FOR THE HOSTESS: A monogrammed tray for her bar cart.

FOR YOUR BFF: Pearl hoops and a colorblock clutch were made for girls' night out!

- - -

What are your favorite gift ideas for spring?

J.Crew Eyelet Dress

You know when you see a piece of clothing and immediately picture yourself living out your fantasy life in it? (No? Just me?) When I see this J.Crew eyelet dress, I picture myself frolicking, picnicking, sipping cocktails, and most likely reenacting The Sound of Music. Here's how I'd style it:

Every girl needs an eyelet dress and a monogrammed hat, right? (I just ordered this one!) Side note: how fun are these letter rings? Hello, perfect gift for birthdays, graduations, etc.! I'm also envisioning a set of three to spell out your monogram. If only they'd get the E and the H back in stock! I'll be waiting ;)

New arrivals in the boutique!!!

All I can say is...bring on the bangles! Shop these new arrivals and more right HERE

Topiary Love

I can't explain the cause of my recent infatuation with topiaries but I can share some of my favorite evidence...

{Michelle Adams in Lonny}

{Herve Pierre on The Selby}

{Martha Stewart Living}

I'm obsessed! Shop Design Darling topiaries here and here.

Saturday Eye Candy

I'm sure lots of you are entertaining, planning parties, traveling for weddings, etc. this spring — plus it's almost peony season — so I thought I'd share this inspiring image...
Pink peonies and tulips in mercury glass vases, photographed at a wedding by Carla Ten Eyck. Gorgeous, don't you think?

Easy Breezy

There's something about this look that feels perfectly suited for a Friday afternoon: the loose-fitting top, the perfect navy tote, and the platform sandals that will take you from day to night...

It's precisely what I'd like to be wearing this weekend. (I'm desperate for a budget-friendly alternative to the shoes!) What are your big plans? Have a good one!

P.S. Ashley Brooke Designs is hosting a Design Darling giveaway! That's right — you could win a monogrammed business card holder and monogrammed pencil cup. What are you waiting for? Enter HERE.

P.P.S. I was interviewed by Jen from Your Style and I'd love for you to check it out!

Stacked Books

I love an idea that translates well in virtually any interior and this is one of the easiest: stacking your books for a look that's lived in and personal. Pick your favorite titles and deck out your bookshelves or prop them next to your bedside. For a little inspiration, look no further:
Different, right? I love all the little boxes they're styled with too. No matter where you live or how tight you are on space, it's an easy way to inject a little personal style.

P.S. Design books are one of my ultimate indulgences — but I always buy them on sale at Joss & Main or One Kings Lane. Sign up to be kept in the loop on upcoming deals!

*image from the portfolio of Westbrook Interiors

Design Darling on DailyCandy!

This week I had the pleasure of seeing one of my Design Darling products featured in the (virtual) pages of DailyCandy, one of my daily newsletter reads. Here's what they had to say about the boutique and my #ThingsWeLove pencil set...

Thanks, DailyCandy! I love that they highlighted what great gifts we have for weddings because I've worked with a few fabulous brides to whip up custom orders for their big day — monogrammed pencil cups in white for bridesmaids, monogrammed key fobs for groomsmen, matchboxes for favors, you name it! I'll also be expanding the monogrammed acrylic assortment very soon so stay tuned! (Make sure you're on the mailing list here.)

Shopbop Favorites

For those of you who might be tackling a little spring cleaning, I thought I'd suggest a few favorites from Shopbop for when the time comes to, er, replenish ;)

It seems I'm up to my usual tricks with plenty of blue hues, classic accessories, and stripes galore. What are your Shopbop faves right now?

Recent snaps...

Thank you all for your kind words on yesterday evening's impromptu post. What would I do without all of you?! Moving right along, here's what I've been up to the past couple weeks, according to my trusty iPhone...

- Introduced new arrivals in the boutique, including this baby topiary and this monkey candlestick (which makes me want to throw a party!)
- Wrote thank you notes (on stationery that's coming soon to the boutique)
- Organized my baubles (including this bracelet and these earrings) on my gold lacquer tray

- Rocked my new monogrammed Jack Rogers every time the temperature hit 50 degrees
- Took time for date night and admired these unseasonal tree lights
- Shipped some pretty orders, including ginger jar and leopard matches (and got a new order from a bride!)
- Ate way more Easter candy than I had previously thought possible (oops)

- "Tested" new bangles that I'll be adding to the boutique on Monday
- Speaking of Jack Rogers, got coffee with their social media guru and got to peek into their amazing studio
- Sent more pretty orders, including the ever-popular monogrammed acrylic pencil cup (great gift for Mother's Day, graduation, etc. — just sayin')

What have you been up to lately?

Living in the present...

In a break from our usual topics of discussion here on Design Darling, I thought I'd share an epiphany I experienced this afternoon. Lately I've found myself feeling inadequate, wanting more, and thinking I could should be doing everything better/faster/smarter. It doesn't help that I'm 22 and following bloggers who are 3, 5, 10 years older than I am — young women I admire and who seem to have it "all figured out."

The fact that I'm lucky to do what I love is not lost on me. I am so blessed to have a successful blog and online business — and I mean successful in the sense that I am proud of both projects and excited for where I plan to take them in the future. But it's easy to look around and feel like I'm not doing well at all. I live at home to save money. I'm lousy at making time for life outside of work. My inbox is out of control and my parents' dining room is a mess of boxes, inventory, and packing supplies.

I had a mini meltdown earlier thinking about all the things I could be doing differently. It's taken me three years to get my blog to where it is now (how envious I am of all the overnight success stories!) and still I wish it were bigger. How do I become one of those young women who affords a gorgeous apartment, blogs original photos every day, cooks homemade meals every night (frozen pizza doesn't count), exercises five days a week, fills her closet with new clothes, keeps a tidy workspace, makes time for happy hour every night, and gets eight hours of sleep a night to boot?

The reality, of course, is that that woman doesn't exist. We all put our best selves out there on our blogs, but there are of course bad days (mean comments, technological difficulties, and mini meltdowns alike) behind the scenes. But when I take a moment to count the blessings I have right now — when I remind myself I'm doing the best that I can — I realize I'm actually doing just fine.

All that said, I'm going to make a bigger effort to live in the present and appreciate all the awesome things I've got going for me right now. Who's with me?

Hello, Yellow

When it comes to happy hues, I think it's a tie between bright yellow and hot pink. Just looking at them constitutes a mood boost! Here are a few yellow lovelies to brighten your day...

While yellow isn't a color I generally gravitate to in my wardrobe, I definitely think I could pull off a pair of yellow pants (remember these?) and certainly the ballet flats. But what I'm most excited for is bringing a bit of yellow into my decor this summer. How fun would four of those chairs be grouped around a round white table? Very fun indeed.