Happy New Year!

2011 has been a big year: I graduated from college, moved to San Francisco, moved back to Connecticut, landed a job in New York, quit that job in New York, and decided to start my own business. All the while I was crossing things off my 101 in 1001 list, which I've now organized HERE so you can see every goal I've ever shared all in one place. Check it out and let me know which goals you hope to accomplish in the next 2.75 years!

I have big things in store for 2012 and I can't wait to share them with you every step of the way! I'll be launching my business, tackling more 101 in 1001 tasks, and of course sharing lots of pretty clothes and rooms as we go. Thank you for stopping by each day and lending your support in comments, emails, tweets, etc. I couldn't ask for better readers and I'm so excited for what this next year will bring! Thank you and Happy New Year!!!

Rachel Pally Stripe Cutout Dress

Navy and white stripes, universally flattering jersey, and easy to throw on for a dose of instant chic. Someway, somehow, I must own this dress!

A few things...

1. I might have to let our dog Coach wear bows on a regular basis because I've decided this shot from Christmas morning is frame-worthy.

2. My Joss & Main sale ends in 24 hours! A few of my favorite items are still available: this hot pink slipper chair ($109), this aqua linen pillow ($79), and this Jonathan Adler lamp ($154). Sign up HERE and check it out!

3. Design Darling, L.L.C. became official this morning!!! I can't wait to fill you all in on what I've been working on. Let's just say there's a BIG surprise coming your way!

Ski Bunny Chic

Did anyone have a white Christmas? It's been very mild on the east coast thus far but my boyfriend is skiing in Montana this week and it made me think to whip up a little winter look for those of you combatting cooler climes.

(7) Anne Klein bracelet (8) ASOS coin purse

Perfectly cozy, whether you're braving the cold or brewing coffee indoors!

Coral, Lavender, + Lucite

Joss & Main Curator's Collection! ***UPDATE

I'm thrilled to announce that I've partnered with home decor sample sale site Joss & Main to bring you a curator's collection of playful, preppy items for your space. Whether you're ready to invest in a dining room table or to treat yourself to a colorful throw, I hope you'll find something you love!

Please sign up HERE and check back tomorrow to shop to your heart's content!

***UPDATE: My sale should go live this evening around 9 p.m. Thank you for your patience and support!

Disclosure: I earn $15 credit for each person who signs up and makes a purchase. Sign up and invite your friends to earn the same!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very merry weekend filled with Christmas traditions...
twinkling lights,
festive decorations,
your favorite foods,
and lots of special moments you'll cherish for years to come.

*all photos taken by me with Instagram; bokeh effect added with Picfx

Madewell Shoes

I generally identify more with J.Crew than Madewell but the latter has been nailing it in the shoe department lately. (Don't even get me started on these leopard pumps — too perfect for words!)

(3) Suede Sandstorm Boot — I have these and love them! (4) Leopard Print Film Noir Pump
(5) Watchtower Boot (6) Suede Sidewalk Skimmer — only $88!

Seriously, how's a girl to choose?

Girly Girl

A monogrammed shade, quilted boots, and sequins galore! I'm sensing a trend in the items I'm saving to Currently Obsessed and Pinterest. Who says prepsters can't be girly girls as well?

(1) Nicole Cohen print (2) Sperry Top-Sider boots — only $88! 
(3) Shades of Light lampshade — I'm obsessed! (4) Moleskine notebook 
(8) Michael Kors passport case (9) Kate Spade heels — a forever favorite!

I don't care to toot my own horn but I'm rather convinced that monogrammed lampshade is the find of the year — and a must-have for design darlings everywhere ;) Which is your favorite?

Bring On The Brights

I might not wear them all at once but I sure do love each and every one of them! Here are a few colorful favorites from my current Shopbop hearts...

Shopbop is so dangerous! Anything fun you have your eye on?

The Ultimate Souvenir

One of the interior design dilemmas that seems to be plaguing some of you (as per this post) is what to hang on the walls. So when I stumbled upon this William Abranowicz photograph (featuring work by Thomas Struth) on a new-to-me favorite blog The Aestate, I knew I had to share! It made me think about blowing up and framing one of my favorite photos from the time I spent abroad (more on that here).
Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The house from The Sound of Music in Salzburg, Austria.

The Louvre in Paris.
The sculpture garden at the Louvre in Paris.
View from Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg, Austria.
Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley.  
- - -
Which one shall I frame? Do you have any travel photos framed in your home?

Hello Sunshine

Everyone loves a handwritten note and every girl needs a wealth of options when it comes time to pick up the pen! I'm quite convinced that these Kate Spade notecards from Crane belong among my collection...

Aren't they darling? At just $20, they may very well find their way to my desktop!

Bows On Sale!

I am smitten with this green bow top from ASOS. It's perfectly preppy in a very Kate Spade way, don't you think? I love the way it's styled with all black and a retro 'do but I can see myself pairing it with white jeans in the summer too. The fact that it's on super sale is only inching it closer to my cart! Find it here.

White On White

Do you ever seen an outfit or a room and think, "Why didn't I think of that?" That's precisely how I felt when I saw this look on stylist Elin Kling. White on white with a bright red lip and simple accessories — what's not to love about that? 

It'd certainly help to have her model-esque frame but I'd like to think we could all replicate this look with a few simple ingredients. (I know I've blogged about this lipstick before but it really is the perfect red!) Has a plain white t-shirt ever looked so good? I think not! 

Etsy Exploring

I'm sure other bloggers will relate to the excitement of stumbling upon a new-to-you blog, designer, project, or shop. It's why we click through other people's blogrolls, spend so much time on Pinterest, and window shop online. One of my favorite sites to peruse is Etsy. In addition to the amazing small businesses who sponsor Design Darling (see them over there in the right column?!), these are a few of my recent favorites.

Bright separates, leather tassels, sea glass-inspired art, vintage baubles, and gingham bowties... J'adore! What are your favorite Etsy shops?

The Design Dialogues {Meg Galligan}

Let me first thank you all for your support of this little interview series! I love that it's turned into such an inspiring feature and I can't wait to continue it in 2012. Today's guest is San Francisco jewelry designer Meg Galligan, whose company Margaret Elizabeth Jewelry is brimming with pretty baubles to complete your holiday look. Here's Meg to tell you all about it!

Five words to describe yourself:
Curious, creative, spirited, passionate, loyal.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Classic with a twist. I love bold pieces and believe accessories make an outfit. Living in San Francisco and growing up in New England, I can't help but be a layering fanatic.  

Who are your style icons?
Christiane Celle, Grace Kelly, Jenna Lyons, the Clarins sisters, Kelly Wearstler.

My two favorite necklaces from Meg's collection. The lapis needs to come live with me!

How did you decide you wanted to design jewelry?
I started designing jewelry while a student at Boston College, making pieces for myself and friends. It started off as a hobby and then, after being approached by a few small boutiques, I realized it had the potential to be a business. 

What is the most glamorous aspect of your work?
Making my own schedule, and being able to travel to fun places in search of new materials & inspiration. 

What is one lesson you've had to learn the hard way?
I've learned that you have to be patient with the design process. Trying to create new pieces can't be forced!

How pretty are these shots from Margaret Elizabeth's lookbook?

What advice would you offer aspiring creatives?
Trust your instincts! If you're passionate about something and believe in it, great things will happen. 

Where would you like to see your business in five years?
I'd like to expand my line beyond jewelry into other accessories: leather goods, scarves, etc. I'm also working on a line of cufflinks that I hope will become a bigger part of the business in coming years. One day I'd love to open a shop.

Gorgeous two-tone earrings

Three items on your to do list.
1) Ship today's holiday orders.
2) Meet with a bride about the jewelry for her bridesmaids.
3) Pack for our holiday travels.

Three items on your wishlist.
1) A new pair of Varina ballet flats.
2) An Hermès scarf.
3) Trip to Buenos Aires.

Three items on your bucket list.
1) Travel to Africa.
2) Adopt a dog.
3) Plant a big vegetable garden.

- - -

Thank you so much, Meg! I love that her business started out in college and grew into a full-time venture. Inspiring, isn't it? Now go check out her shop and find something pretty for yourself!

How do you decorate?

I have been sharing a few snaps of our Christmas decor on Twitter but I'm curious what the holiday looks like chez vous. We use traditional garland and a beloved array of collected ornaments but I love the idea of an all-out prepster Christmas à la Anna Spiro, complete with grosgrain bows and mix-and-match wrapping paper. What do the holidays look like in your home?

10 Classic Accessories Every Girl Should Own

Let's talk about online shopping, shall we? There are times that I fall in love with something and buy it straight away for fear that it'll sell out and I'll have missed my chance. (That's the only way these pants found their way to my closet — in two colors.) And when I'm spending my money on impulse buys and offline necessities, it's actually the classics that fall by the wayside.

Why replace my favorite white t-shirt when this pink bow skirt might sell out at a moment's notice? I have a hunch that I'm not the only one who shops like this, so I've made a list of 10 classic accessories I think every girl should own. It might not be the most colorful list, but it guarantees you'll have everything you need when you buy something you want.

(1) Monogram necklace (2) Tortoise sunglasses (3) Diamond studs — These are faux but have the same sparkle! (4) Classic wallet (5) Everyday bracelet (6) Pearl studs — These are just $20! (7) Tan bag — I am in love with this shape! (8) Ankle boots (9) Ballet flats — I love my Tory Burch Revas! (10) Everyday watch — This gold and tortoise number is perfect!

What do you think? Anything else we should add to the list?

Here & There

Books and things on my desk / My favorite cocktail ring, a gift from my boyfriends' parents 
A favorite snap from Lucky Magazine / My ever-present to do list 

A few sneak peeks from life of late, as some of you may already have seen on Twitter. (Are we following each other yet?!) Clearly propensity for office supplies (namely, these notebooks, this planner, and these scissors) is alive and well.

So tell me about yourself, again!

One of my favorite posts ever, ever, ever is this one right here when you all chimed in with answers to a few fun questions. I was so blown away by the response and loved reading about you all so much that I've decided to bring it back every so often just to touch base with you and give new readers a chance to introduce themselves!

{image via Note To Self}

Where you spend the holidays:
Favorite indulgence:
Heels or flats?
Next home project you're tackling:
New Year's resolution:
Blog(s) rocking my world lately:

Copy and paste to leave your answers as a comment! Here are my answers:

Where you spend the holidays: At home in Connecticut.
Favorite indulgence: Mani/pedis.
Heels or flats? Heels.
Next home project you're tackling: Finding the perfect lacquer tray and throw blanket for my nonexistent apartment. (Any recommendations?!)
New Year's resolution: Keep checking things off my 101 in 1001 list!
Blog(s) rocking my world lately: Note To Self and Sequins & Stripes

Now go on and tell me about y-o-u! Can't wait to read them all :)

Très Jolie

Pink and navy, color-blocked, gold toggle closure. Need I say more? Get it here.

Be My Guest

I was delighted to fill in for these lovely ladies with a few more gift guides this holiday season! Here's what I've been up to...

Definitely stop in to say hi...or finish up your holiday shopping ;)