This picture (found on this cool new site) makes me so happy. Clean white desktop, laptop open, lots of pretty little extras (like the ones I sell here). Yes please!


I'm crazy picky when it comes to choosing art and the worst part is I can't even describe what I like and don't like — I just know it when I see it. That's why I get so excited when I stumble upon someone's work that I instantly fall in love with. Case in point: every single piece in Elizabeth Mayville's adorable — and completely affordable — Etsy shop. Imagine being so talented you could make lemons and George Washington look equally charming? I suppose I'll have to make do by purchasing as many of her prints as possible ;) Who are some of your favorite affordable artists? Two more I love right here and here.


Remember when I confessed that I am really, really awful at painting my own nails? I'm proud to report that I've improved my skills thanks in large part to Julep's Maven program, a subscription service that sends members new nail polishes (and a couple other beauty freebies!) every month. I chose the Classic-With-A-Twist package but there's definitely something for everyone! The winner of this giveaway will receive an intro box similar to what I received above. To enter, simply follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below. I'll be contacting the lucky winner on Friday morning!

P.S. If you can't wait to subscribe, Julep is giving all Design Darling readers 20% off their first box with code DESIGNDARLING at checkout. Enjoy!


This weekend I'm headed back to Bucknell for homecoming weekend (and to see my brother Grayson who's in his first year there!). I can't wait to catch up with all my sorority sisters, meet Grayson's friends, and enjoy a perfect fall day on that beautiful campus. I hope you all have a good one!


You may recall that one of the tasks on my 101 in 1001 list is to find my signature scent. My sweet mom was kind enough to spend a recent afternoon searching with me and we had a lot of fun spritzing different bottles and either loving or wincing at each scent (though not half as glamorous as these photos). Isn't it funny how personal scent can be? Anyway we narrowed it down to this and this but now I'm completely torn. Is it possible to have not one but two signature scents? Is there a perfume you swear by? Do share — I'm thisclose to being able to cross this one off my list!

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Lately I've been itching to plan a trip and take a vacation. As I was editing photos for Monday's outfit post, I stumbled upon folders and folders from my semester abroad in college and took a trip down memory lane. I lived with a host family in Tours, France, for six months and spent weekends frolicking around Europe. Here are a few of my favorite snapshots...
{Ios, Greece}

{Santorini, Greece}
{Périgord, France}
{London, England}
{Munich, Germany}
{Salzburg, Austria}
{Interlaken, Switzerland}

While there's undoubtedly plenty more to see in Europe, what I have in mind now is a little less adventurous and much more along the lines of packing a couple bikinis and hanging out on a beach for a few days. Tell me: if you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? And what's the coolest place you've been so far? I can't wait to read your responses!


Did you happen to catch yesterday's new arrivals in the boutique? I took your feedback to heart, adding a couple patterned lucite trays to the decor section, a monogrammed cuff in three cute colors, and — finally! — monogrammed iPhone cases so you can text and tweet in style. Check out all the new arrivals here and, you know, get a head start on your holiday shopping ;) Enjoy!


I'm excited to be introducing Design Darling's newest sponsor, Purple Paparazzi! The site is brimming with beautiful baubles designed by Amber Jones, who is generously offering up a $75 gift certificate so one lucky winner can scoop up something pretty in time for the holidays! (Personally, I'm eyeing this and this.) To enter, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below. I'll be emailing the winner on Friday morning. Good luck!


If you haven't perused J.Crew's new arrivals yet, all I can say is you're in for some serious eye candy. I found myself obsessing over almost every single blazer and coat on the site. Is it wrong that I couldn't limit it down past these six? Crisp white piping, a perfectly ladylike bow, and the prettiest shade of periwinkle with a pop of navy under the collar... Each one blurs the line between want and need. Tell me: if you could only have one, which number would you pick?! 


Every so often I like to revisit this tried-and-true favorite, a Hamptons home designed by the insanely talented Amanda Nisbet. If Design Darling were a room, surely that last room would be it, no? See the full home tour here and the rest of Amanda's portfolio hereTime for me to pin each of these spaces to my dream home file... 


Shopbop only offers its friends and family discount a couple times a year so when it happens, I like to seize the moment! Here are a few of my picks for accessories and shoes...

When it comes to clothes, I'm contemplating this sweater (suede patches are my jam), this dress (isn't this the prettiest color?), and this little number (never too early to start thinking New Year's Eve). Oh and if you love my new bag, 20% off is the perfect excuse to splurge! Enter WEAREFAMILY at checkout and comment below to let me know what you snag!


I was helping a friend source inexpensive rugs for her new apartment when I realized that some of you might like to see what I found. Here are a few of my favorite places to look...

{1} Urban Outfitters for patterned flat-weave options 
{2} West Elm for jute area rugs perfect for covering wood floors or layering with smaller options
{3} Lulu & Georgia just launched with a number of unique offerings (I want this doormat
{4} Dash & Albert for basic stripes in every color under the sun 
{5} The Land of Nod for great geometric prints worthy of adult attention
{6 & 7} Pottery Barn Teen for patterns and solids perfect for a twenty-something's apartment 
{8} Rugs USA for pretty trellis prints in great neutrals

Where have you found affordable rugs? What's the next piece on your decorating wishlist?

P.S. Not redecorating right now? Pin the image above for future reference!


J. McLaughlin monogrammed duffel // Madewell desert boots (similar)

I am so excited to be hosting a giveaway with J. McLaughlin! They are a great go-to brand for preppy essentials and I'm head over heels for my new monogrammed duffel (so is our dog Coach!). Who wants to win one for fall trips and holiday travel? Enter by following the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below and I will contact the winner by email on Friday. Good luck!


I swear we skipped fall and went straight to winter in Connecticut. I may or may not be wearing my quilted vest at my desk ;) Here's what I'd like to be wearing this weekend... Faux fur, leopard, and stripes, oh my!

P.S. Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. Girl power! :)


Let's talk.

Lately I've read a couple blog posts about the rise of self-employment among bloggers. This is a movement I am proud to be part of and I love seeing the various ventures my friends have launched off of their blogs: consulting gigs, e-commerce sites, interior design firms, styling businesses, and more.

It saddens me then to read backlash from people who write public, negative, and thinly-veiled commentary about those who have left salaried positions to strike out on their own with limited business education and job experience. The life of an entrepreneur (one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise) isn't the right path for everybody. I get that. But if it is your chosen path, who's to tell you you're wrong for pursuing it? While I like to think that my personal choices are just that — personal — I do feel compelled to reflect on the subject at hand.

I started blogging in 2009, graduated from Bucknell in 2011 with a major in French, and launched my e-commerce site in early 2012. My job experience at the time was limited to high school summer jobs in retail, college summer internships with Ralph Lauren and Jonathan Adler, a post-graduate internship with Rue Magazine, a stint in public relations in New York, and freelance writing work for Matchbook Magazine. I took a handful of business classes in college but nothing to suggest I'd be running a small business after graduation.

I'm honest about those things and always have been. I've never pretended to know more than I do and I've certainly never been shy about asking for help when I need it. I meet with my SCORE mentor every few weeks, have monthly Skype calls with fellow bloggers and small business owners, and just wrapped up a month-long business workshop to address questions I had going into my first holiday season. I run things by my amazing parents on a daily basis and have an accountant who handles some of the financial processes I never mastered in school. Everything I've learned about buying wholesale, managing inventory, and packaging orders has been learned entirely by trial and error.

And you know what? I'm really, really proud of everything I've learned and accomplished in the past year. Quitting my job and starting a small business wasn't a decision I made lightly and I acknowledge that it wouldn't work for everyone. For me, I was deeply, genuinely unhappy with the path I was on and I made a big change. If it was foolish of me to leave a job I hated and start something of my own, it would have been ten times as foolish for me to keep doing something that made me miserable, day in and day out. I'm cool with people who have desk jobs, people who raise their families full-time, and people who march to the beat of their own drum, whatever that entails. Blogging has opened up a world of opportunities for me and I commend anyone who's taking similar opportunities and running with them. Whether that means landing your dream job, relishing a creative outlet outside of work, or, yes, launching a small business, I commend and support you.

Launching a small business has been a risk, financially, personally, and professionally. It's something I always intended to do, whether at age 22 or 52. Realizing it would never be the perfect time and weary of spending my days wondering, "What if?", I went for it. I took that risk and I'm working my ass off every single day to make it worth it. I won't glorify the hard work or the long hours, but I love what I do and I'm more grateful than you know to each and every customer and reader who have lent their support. And if sales taper off after a year or five years, I'll change course and reevaluate all over again. I'm less afraid of that now than I was a year ago.

Let's applaud one another's choices, support them if we like, and keep it to ourselves if we don't. Madeleine Albright said, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." I think we can all agree the world is a better place when we do.

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You may recall that one of the tasks on my 101 in 1001 list was to invest in a "grown-up" handbag and if you follow me on Twitter you know that I think I've found the one! I bought this bag during Tory Burch's friends and family sale over the weekend and I can hardly wait for it to show up on my doorstep. Hopefully it's absolutely perfect and you'll be seeing it in many outfit posts to come ;) What's your everyday bag? Is it a purchase you saved up for? Do any of you carry the bag I just ordered? Fill me in!


I'm dying to know: if you could completely start over in your home (budget be damned) how would you decorate? A painted ceiling? A pink sofa? A striped powder room? Let's hear it!


This weekend was too cold for sandals and just a little too warm for boots, which means my obsession with ballet flats was in full swing. I wore this outfit to see Butter with my mom and sister (loved the company, didn't love the movie). Sole Society sent me these adorable glittery flats and they're great quality for what they cost — just $49.95! They release a new pair of shoes every day and right now they're offering all Design Darling readers in the U.S. $20 off your first purchase with code DARLING20 through October 31. Check it out and let me know what you find!


Have you ever seen a prettier home/pool/yard/anything? Way to go, Ali Schwarz.

P.S. As always, lots more exterior inspiration here!


Wishing you a weekend that's brimming with adventure! A few noteworthy links:

- Absolutely drooling over the contrast trim on this skirt.
- Loved every page of Matchbook's October issue, but especially the new checklists.
- Making my way through this list of 12 TED talks every entrepreneur should watch. 
- Finally remembering to bring my business cards thanks to this pretty new case!
- Totally hooked on this blog full of inspiration for tiny apartments.

Have a fun link you think Design Darling readers would love? Leave it in a comment below!