Currently Coveting

Who else had snow this weekend? While I'll admit it came a bit early for my liking, it did send my mind drifting toward the holiday season and a time for gift-giving and wishlist-making...

I just bought the gingham shirt and I swear I haven't take it off since it arrived! And I tried on these sunglasses in Anthropologie a couple weeks ago and haven't gotten them out of my head since! Now I'm just waiting for the tortoiseshell to come back in stock online. I bought the desert boots in San Francisco  over the summer and wear them almost daily. Sometimes I swap in hot pink shoelaces when I'm feeling spunky. What are you currently coveting?

P.S. Happy Halloween!

And the winner is...

Congratulations to entry no. 132, Rebecca of A Daily Something! You have won the K. Slademade clutch in the color of your choice. Please email me so I can put you in touch with Kelsea, the birthday girl! Thank you to everyone who entered. Your support never ceases to amaze me! 

K. Slademade Giveaway!

I usually run giveaways from Monday to Friday but this week we're making exceptions for a special occasion! Kelsea, the crafty creative behind my adorable sponsor K. Slademade, is celebrating her birthday on Saturday and wanted to let you all in on the fun with a two-day giveaway here on Design Darling!
The winner will receive the color-blocked Voyager Clutch (retail value $68) in either coral/gold or navy/turquoise. To enter, you must like K. Slademade on Facebook. For an extra entry, follow K. Slademade on Twitter. (Leave two separate comments below.) I will announce the winner on Saturday evening. Good luck!

Look Up

When it comes to decorating your walls, you know you have artwork, framed photos, mirrors, shelving, and — oh, right — windows. But I noticed in perusing my recent pins that my eye often goes first to the ceiling! Thinking of the ceiling as an additional wall gives your space an extra chance to make a lasting impression. 
Whether it's a coat of unexpected color, wooden beams, or wraparound tile, a statement ceiling can absolutely transform an interior. What do you think? 

Darling Details

Design is in the details. It's the little things in life. Whatever your preferred motto, it's clear there's something to be said for that special finishing touch — the fresh flowers, the leopard lining, the unexpected sparkle. I'm finding it's way too easy to get caught up in everyday stresses and way more beneficial to stop and appreciate the little things that make it all worthwhile. Today I'm going to make it a point to relish those little things: the first sip of my morning latté, a smile from a stranger, the glow of the Empire State Building as I make my way home from work. What are you going to appreciate today?

{all images here}

Happy Weekend!

What are your weekend plans? I'm off to Bucknell to reunite with my very favorite people for Homecoming. I see lots of happy tears and hugs in my future! Whatever you're up to, enjoy and see you back here on Monday!


Apartment Essentials {Wood Furniture}

Today I'm bringing back the Apartment Essentials series with a traditional twist. While I love white furniture and colorful accents, I love them even more when they're juxtaposed with more traditional pieces. Whether they're family heirlooms, Craigslist finds, or one of these vintage-inspired gems, wood pieces add character and tradition to more contemporary interiors.

How do you use wood in your home?

Wardrobe Essentials

There's something about this season that makes me want to shop incessantly. It might be the memory of back-to-school shopping lingering in my post-grad mind but here are a few of the things I'm coveting this time of year...

Cozy knits, leather accents, riding boots, and tortoiseshell accessories... What are your fall wardrobe essentials?

Laura Day

I stumbled upon the portfolio of interior designer Laura Day on (where else?) Pinterest and fell in love with her playfully luxe aesthetic. The Bridgehampton farmhouse in her portfolio is interior inspiration fit for a dream home...
A big tree, a perfect lawn, a punchy front door, and two pups in the yard... Welcome.
As if the leather couch and lucite table weren't enough, Laura upholstered two ottomans in coordinating sorbet hues. S-m-i-t-t-e-n.
Beamed ceiling, natural light, whitewashed floors. Campaign desk. Tufted armchairs. Quatrefoil chair. Pardon me while I pick my jaw off the floor!
And then there's this. Are you sold yet?

Outfit + Picnic

The weather this weekend was nothing short of perfect and I had no excuse not to tackle two tasks on my 101 in 1001 list:

85. Have a picnic.
96. Do a personal style post on the blog. 

The first was delightful but the second scared me quite a bit. Posting pictures of personal style is, well, personal! But I decided to venture outside my comfort zone and see what you all think...

Ralph Lauren sunglasses / J.Crew blazer / Chance Co. shirt 
J.Crew necklace / Vintage cuff / Rugby belt (similar here)
BDG jeans / Corso Como boots / Vintage picnic basket

In other words, my daily uniform (minus the picnic basket, unfortunately). Let me know what you think! In any event I killed two birds with one stone, bringing me to 22 completed tasks on my 101 in 1001 list! 

P.S. Thanks to my cousin Emily and boyfriend Michael for the outfit pics!

P.P.S. I used this Hot Tools curling iron per your suggestions on this post. The curls came out a bit before we snapped pictures but I promise I LOVE it!

The Perfect Tan

No, not the tan you worked on all summer. (And failed at, if you're me.) I'm talking about the perfect tan accessories for fall. A little leather shoulder patch action, a darling vintage-inspired bag, and an everyday wedge that's as chic as it is comfortable. Accent it with a well-placed pop of pink or — my go-to favorite — navy.

What are your favorite ways to wear tan this fall?

The Design Dialogues {Emily Maynard}

If you're anything like me, you're utterly infatuated with Elva Fields' darling jewelry. The designer, Emily Maynard, incorporates vintage baubles into each new design and the results are nothing short of extraordinary. I'm excited to have Emily here today to answer the Design Dialogues questionnaire about how she got her start in design, how she'd advise aspiring creatives, and what's next for her budding business!

Emily wearing one of her beautiful designs!

Who you are:
Emily Wheat Maynard

What you do:
Unofficially: a million things at once. Officially: founder and designer, Elva Fields.

Where you do it:
Taylorsville, Kentucky.

Five words to describe yourself...
Interested, busy, happy, driven, particular.

How do you define your aesthetic?
Colorful, whimsical, vintage.

Who are your style icons?
My grandmother, Tory Burch, Lauren Hutton, and Grace Kelly.

A peek into Emily's vintage collection from her feature in Matchbook Magazine.

Favorite quote:
"Count it all joy."

Favorite site:
Weather.com. Kentucky is infamous for 70 degrees and snow all in the same week so I always like to know what's in the forecast!

Favorite store:
Any and every flea market, antique mall, or vintage shop.

How did you decide that you wanted to design jewelry?
After spending years in the library during graduate school researching the history of jewelry, I realized how much I missed making things. So I combined a love of research with a love for creating — et voilà, Elva Fields was born! 

What is the best advice you've ever received?
"If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting" — in support of change and innovation from my business advisor Jerry.

And the advice you'd offer aspiring creatives?
Cultivate your creative skills every single day. It takes both talent and discipline to make it a business.

Where the magic happens!

Three items on your to do list... 
Finish writing long-overdue thank-you notes, frame that artwork, be a better person each day.

Three items on your wishlist...  
A fireplace, more time, a French easel.

Three items on your bucket list...
Taking my daughters on a girls trip each year, a two-week trek in Peru, surf camp.

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I love her style icons and her favorite quote, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting." Thank you so much for joining us, Emily!

Pretty Little Things

Loving these pretty little matching sets in darling polka dots and gingham with bows. Wouldn't they make a darling stocking stuffer? 

{Madewell polka dot bra ($34) and underwear ($16)}
{ASOS gingham bra ($33) and underwear ($21)}

Is anyone else's brain slowly but surely drifting toward the holiday season?

Quick Question

In the past, you all have given me great recommendations for books, hair products, etc. so I figured I'd ask whether anyone has a favorite life-changing curling iron. My hair always looks more polished when I touch it up with a curling iron so I'm looking for something that heats up fast, has a strong clamp (none of these new clamp-less options), and does a great job that'll stay in tact for as long as possible. Mission impossible?

{image via Cup of Beautiful}

Life According To My iPhone

The untimely death of Apple visionary Steve Jobs this week seems like an appropriate time to demonstrate the importance of technology in my life. Like many of you, I'm a once-you-go-Mac-you-never-go-back kind of girl. I work on a Macbook, blog on a Macbook Pro, and do just about everything else on an iPhone. Here are a few recent snaps taken with my iPhone and Instagram...
I'm trying to take a few on-the-go outfit pictures each week. Can you tell oxford shirts and skinny jeans are something of a uniform for me?
When I'm not racing to work or dashing to catch the next train, it's nice to take a moment to capture the city (even if it requires being that girl pausing on the sidewalk with iPhone in the air). The magic of Grand Central Station is never lost on me!
And lest you get the impression that I'm spending weekends in the wilderness (that was one time, I promise), here we have a sunset snapped from my front yard, a boulder field on last weekend's hike, the boat yard the train passes on my morning commute, and a tree in a friend's yard on a particularly beautiful day.
- - -
I hope you all have a moment to stop and smell the roses this weekend, even if it's through the lens of your beloved iPhone. It's rather fun to look back on! Have a good one and see you back here on Monday!

Pretty Please

I mean, what more do you need to know? 

Black + Navy

Rules were made to be broken. For an easy twist on Tuesday's black on black, introduce a navy accent or two. The unexpected pairing offers a subtle contrast that's decidedly modern.

The dress is a steal and every Loren Hope piece is an instant staple. But basic pumps with a ladylike bow on top? Add to cart.

Healthy Habits {101 in 1001}

Today I'm sharing a few more of the goals from my 101 in 1001 list. For people who have asked to see the entire list at once, I decided at the beginning to share the list over time a) because it's so long and b) because it's fun to share both goals and progress! Some goals are professional in nature, others financial, others pure fun. The goals I'm sharing today have to do with health and fitness — admittedly not my forté.

19. Drink eight glasses of water a day every day for one week. This is probably easy and mindless for some of you but to me it feels insurmountable. So. Much. Water!

33. Hire a personal trainer.

42. Take a self-defense class.

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What do you do to stay healthy and in shape?

Fall Back on Black

On days when wardrobe inspiration escapes me (as it does many mornings now that I'm waking up earlier and getting dressed while I'm still half asleep), I find that there's no better fix than basic black on black. Here are a few pieces that have wound up in my Shopbop hearts of late...
I love the plunging pussybow blouse but it's the leather collar on the blazer that has my heart skipping a beat. That kind of detail for just $115? I think I know where my next paycheck is going!
Tulip hem or maxi length? Take your pick!
I'm kind of obsessed with this envelope clutch and gorgeous platform heel. They'd make even a t-shirt and jeans insanely chic!

But of course I saved the best for last. You know I love a backless dress!
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What's your go-to when getting dressed? I'd love to hear your tricks for dressing quickly and stylishly!