PARIS AND AMALFI COAST RECOMMENDATIONS?

Thank you all for the well wishes on Tuesday’s post about our upcoming move! After months of making arrangements and keeping the news to ourselves, we are both so excited to get down there, move into our new home, and start exploring our new city. But first…

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amalfi coast

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Because Will has a few weeks before he starts his new job, we are taking our first trip to Europe together! Since it will be extremely hard for him to take time off once he starts work, we knew we had to seize this opportunity to travel together. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to get to go back to Europe just weeks after visiting London and the South of France with my brother!

We settled on four days in Paris and three days on the Amalfi coast. I haven’t been to Paris in five years (since I studied abroad in nearby Tours) and Will (who studied in Barcelona) has never been. And the Amalfi coast is new to both of us and somewhere we’ve both wanted to go forever! I love asking my readers for travel recommendations because it feels like asking a girlfriend who happens to know all the best restaurants, boutiques, and museums. And it makes it even more fun to recap each trip! So tell me: what can’t we miss in Paris or on the Amalfi coast?!

18 OF THE BEST DINING CHAIRS FOR EVERY BUDGET

One of the most exciting things about our upcoming move to Dallas is that we’re buying a townhouse! We looked at dozens of apartments and townhouses to rent before crunching the numbers and realizing that now is actually a great time for us to buy our first home together. It will be a huge change from our two small apartments in New York but I think it will drastically improve our quality of life (especially for Rory!). And needless to say, there are a ton of decorating decisions to be made! It worked out pretty nicely that Will and I tackled his living room for the One Room Challenge last fall as we can now repurpose all of those purchases in our new place.

Because we’re making a move from two rather small spaces to a real home, we definitely don’t have enough furniture to fill the space and can’t afford to furnish every single room in a matter of months. So it’s going to be a process and one that I think we’re both really going to enjoy! I can’t wait to start checking things off our list and document our progress on the blog. It’s funny, Design Darling really started as a place for me to talk about a newfound interest in interior design in college and has evolved in the years since to include style, travel, and bits and pieces of my life. Having our own house to decorate feels like Design Darling is going back to its roots! (Not that I’ll be ditching the lifestyle elements — just crazy excited to have a real decorating project to document!)

It’s been interesting to make joint decorating decisions (again, the One Room Challenge was great practice for us!) and to see what Will really cares about vs. when he’ll defer to my opinion on something. I’m excited to get outside the colorful/girly/preppy comfort zone I created when I lived on my own and decorate a space where we feel like both of our styles are represented. Let the sectional shopping begin! ;) We’ve agreed to make decorating the main floor of the house the priority so we have space to lounge, eat, and entertain. I can’t tell you how happy I am to get into a routine where my bed is just for sleeping and not eating dinner, working from my laptop, watching TV, playing with Rory, etc.!

The main floor of the house is above the foyer and garage on the first floor and features an open floor plan kitchen, living room, and dining room. Neither one of us had a dining table or chairs in our apartments so we’ve been browsing options online until we actually get there and have a better feel for what will fit and look best in the space. I’m 99% sure about the dining table we’re going to go with but there are so many choices for dining chairs that I think we’re both a little overwhelmed. There are lots of different styles I’m drawn to (acrylic, chippendale, Louis XVI, slipcovered, upholstered, wishbone…) and I’d be curious to know which ones are your favorite!

best dining chairs for every budget design darling

Under $250:

one  //  two  //  three

four  //  five  //  six

Under $450:

seven  //  eight  //  nine

ten  //  eleven  //  twelve

Under $1000:

thirteen  //  fourteen  //  fifteen

sixteen  //  seventeen  //  eighteen

Any option that jumps out at you? Right now I’m leaning toward the chippendale style but I really don’t know how to decide! In any event I’m really looking forward to sharing our whole decorating process here and I hope you’ll enjoy following along on our next chapter! xx

WE’RE MOVING!

You know that big news I mentioned a couple weeks ago? Today’s the day I finally get to come clean. I had to wait until Will gave notice at work before I could share it here because — drumroll, please — we’re moving from New York to Dallas! I can’t believe I’m writing that sentence but it’s true and I’m over-the-moon excited to FINALLY be able to share the news with all of you! There are so many changes happening all at once and it’s been torture to keep them to myself. We decided last summer that we wanted to move in together once my lease was up in February. The crazier part is that this New England girl is headed to Texas!

Will grew up in Dallas and I’ve known since the very beginning of our relationship that he’s anxious to live there again. While I can’t say I ever thought I’d live in Texas, I also know that I’d move to the moon if I got to go with Will. (Remind me to do a post on how we met. ;)) Long story short, we’ve known we’d be moving since January and have been quietly putting big/scary/crazy exciting plans in motion while making the most of our last few months in New York. It’s crazy to think that the time is finally here!

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But first, I thought it would be nice to reflect on what I’ll miss most about New York and what I’m most excited for in Dallas. I’ve lived in New York for two and a half years now and moving here is hands down the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve grown up so much, learned to live on my own, grown my business from scratch, and made friends I’ll absolutely never forget.

New York has been the backdrop for so many snapshots of my early twenties — the good, the bad, and the ugly. First dates I couldn’t wait to tell my girlfriends about. Dazzling skyline views from someone’s rooftop. Late nights that ended in greasy diners. Road trips out of the city and skyscraper views on the drive back in. Heart-to-hearts that changed my life. Mornings at the dog park, watching Rory have the time of his life. Meeting Will and realizing, oh! that’s what a relationship is supposed to feel like. Amazing meals with amazing people, often more than once a week. I love this city, and I always will.

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What I’ll miss most about New York:

Central Park in the snow. Central Park in the sunshine (preferably with a picnic basket). Date nights at Palma. Dinners with Amy and Emily when we laugh so hard our stomachs hurt. Day-long work sessions with Carly. The ability to hail a cab anywhere at anytime. Seamless (please tell me there’s a Dallas alternative). The dog run in Madison Square Park. The hustle and bustle. The museums. The quick flight to Nantucket. And most of all, living so close to my family in Connecticut. That will be a toughie. :(

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What I’m excited for in Dallas:

230 days of sunshine every year. Buying (and decorating!) a house together. Dog-friendly outdoor dining. Having a car. Making new friends. Meeting new readers. MORE SPACE! Mild winters. Having a guest bedroom for family and friends to stay in when they visit. Moving into my very own office (which I’ve dreamt about for years now). Being able to hire someone more long-term to help me with the boutique (ditto). Living close to Will’s family. Country concerts. Super friendly people. And of course the opportunity to start a crazy exciting new chapter with Will and Rory by my side.

At the heart of it, I’m ready to take on my next chapter in a place that feels less temporary. There are a million things I could say to explain why I’m ready to leave this wonderful place, many of which my friend Victoria summed up really nicely in her post about moving back to San Francisco. Living in New York is hard and I’m really, really glad I did it. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished here and I’d encourage anyone on the fence about moving to New York to do it in a heartbeat. I get why people say this is the greatest city on earth, and I also get why friends who visit say they could never live here. Personally I’m comfortable with the knowledge that I wasn’t meant to live here forever. The east coast will forever have my heart and I’ll always look back fondly on these years in New York… But I cannot freaking wait to see what Texas has in store.

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It’s pretty crazy to think about how much has changed since I started writing Design Darling more than five years ago. I’m writing this more for my own reflection but I love knowing that some of you have read along since the humble beginning. I’ve studied abroad in France, interned at Jonathan Adler, graduated from Bucknell, lived in San Francisco, worked in PR in New York, quit that job, launched my boutique from my parents’ dining room table, moved to New York on my own, ended a long-term relationship, grew my business working from home, threw fun eventsshared goals big and small, and met the person I’m meant to be with, all while taking advantage of everything this incredible city has to offer. Thank you for being such a big part of these last five years and here’s to brand spanking new adventures in the five to come!

Do any of you have experience moving from New York to Dallas? Or to Dallas from anywhere else? Or, hey, just moving in general? I’m dying to hear your advice for a relatively seamless move and getting settled in a new city. Do weigh in below!

LELE SADOUGHI $700 GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday and thanks for stopping by! You are in for a serious treat today. Jewelry designer Lele Sadoughi is giving one lucky reader a $700 gift certificate so you can pick out the baubles of your choice. If you’re not already familiar with her line, you’re about to fall head over heels in love. There are at least a dozen pieces of hers I’m coveting at the moment but here are a few I’ve worn in recent weeks:

lele sadoughi pearl groove necklace

{Groove necklace — my favorite!}

lele sadoughi turquoise slider cuff

{C slider cuff}

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{Gardenia necklace}

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{Papyrus earrings}

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{Stone cube slider bracelet}

Lele was tapped to create the first jewelry collection at J.Crew and designed jewelry for Tory Burch before launching her own label. You can now find Lele Sadoughi jewels at the likes of Anthropologie, Charm & ChainNeiman Marcus, and Net-a-Porter so it’s quite an honor to have her on Design Darling today! Bold, geometric, and stunning quality, Lele’s designs are the perfect finishing touch to take a simple outfit from nothing special to instant chic. As you can see, I really can’t get enough.

You could go on quite the shopping spree with a $700 gift card — I can’t wait to see what one of you lucky ladies will choose! (You can start your shopping list right here! I think this and these are next on my list.) I’ll be drawing and contacting the winner this Friday so simply follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Each step counts as one additional entry. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

POLKA DOTS OR STRIPES?

 

 

 

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polka dots  //  stripes

Just popping in this Sunday morning to share the two cutest tie-front shirts I stumbled upon in my never-ending quest for the perfect button down shirt. I tend to favor stripes over polka dots but I’m seriously tempted to scoop up both of these to wear with white jeans this summer. What’s a girl to do when it’s spring and snowing besides stock up for future jaunts to Nantucket?