I think this was my favorite Fourth of July in recent memory. Unlike our trip in June, everything on the island was in bloom and it was warm enough to swim in the ocean. The waves were huge after the hurricane and I actually got sucked under at one point. Our family used to call that "getting boiled"... Not sure that that's a technical term but it's definitely a feeling I wouldn't wish on anyone. Scary! I made a not-so-graceful exit from the water and spent the rest of the day chatting and reading on the beach. Note to self: try not to drown next time and, if you are going to embarrass yourself, at least wear a really cute swimsuit while you do.

I packed my new favorite bikini from Topshop ($64) and my handy Turkish towel ($29). I use these guys for everything: the beach, weekends in the park, and even a makeshift scarf on chilly nights. Also available in navy and pink.

We schlepped my bicycle into the car and across the ferry only for it to pour rain the first day we were there. When I spotted this pretty bike parked at the beach, I had to take a snap! I can't wait to take it out for a spin on our next trip... Morning coffee runs, here I come! P.S. I was thinking about carrying cute bike baskets in the boutique; would anyone besides me be interested?!

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers (tied with peonies and tulips). Can you even stand how gorgeous these are? There were mountains of them on every corner... Just one of many reasons why Nantucket is my favorite place on the planet.

Even a gray day is gorgeous with blooms like these. My iPhone was essentially a portfolio of pictures of hydrangeas all weekend. Not mad about it.

Thankfully the weather was much nicer on our second day so we drove out to 'Sconset in the morning to have brunch with my grandmother and walk out to the lighthouse. How pretty is the view of the Summer House? Fun fact: my mom had a summer job here in the 1970s. 

We went back out to 'Sconset for church on Sunday and of course I was late because I felt the need to photograph this car. Can you even?! Dream cottage, dream car, dream life.

In the afternoon, Amy and I popped into a bunch of shops in town. I love the little walkway to Peter Beaton, where my grandmother has her hats made and Amy picked up an adorable striped shirt.

The summer that I turned 16, I worked in the cutest flower shop on the island in the gift shop upstairs. My favorite job (besides cutting in flowers from the morning delivery because, really, who wouldn't want to be surrounded by fresh flowers all day?) was sorting all the grosgrain ribbon. At the time I would beg my mom to sew ribbon belts out of them; now I'm dreaming of a craft wall for wrapping packages for Design Darling!

You can usually count on me to forget at least one or two necessities when packing for a trip... This time it was an oxford shirt (ridiculous since I live in them every season). I borrowed Will's gingham shirt (J.Crew, $64), threw on my cross body bag (Tory Burch, $295 $206), and called it a day. Oh and the nail polish is Essie's Clambake — the perfect beach color.

Until next time!


I can sum up Mignonne Gavigan in one word: chic. Her apartment, her jewelry, her personal style... Everything about her just oozes chic. Mignonne worked for the likes of Rachel Roy and Loeffler Randall for nearly a decade before launching her own jewelry label just three months ago. I spent a morning in her gorgeous TriBeCa apartment soaking up her Southern charm and advice for young women who want to make it in fashion.

Name: Mignonne Gavigan
Age: 33
Title: Founder and owner, Mignonne Gavigan
Location: TriBeCa, New York

What was your first job ever? Have you always wanted to design jewelry?
I love designing, creating, and making things. I grew up in North Carolina teaching sailing but my first internship was at Marc Jacobs, where I got to work with couture dresses. I wasn't paid anything but I did it because I loved the art and the craftsmanship — I know what it takes to make something that crazy beautiful. That's where I got the idea for my collection and what has propelled me every day. Everything I make is on beaded crinkle chiffon; the idea is to bring a piece of couture to every day. 

When did you know it was time to start your business? 
I was ripping up a couture dress and picked up a piece of the dress to tie it around my neck. I walked down the street and had people asking where I got it! Then I started making them for friends and family. I knew I wanted to work my way up and learn as much as I could from each job opportunity. I was head of Rachel Roy's design team and then left for Loeffler Randall, where I really felt like I could bring a feminine element to their designs. Eventually I built up enough want and need for my necklaces and had saved up enough money to make the first round of samples, which is always the most expensive. 

Tell me about the process of designing a new piece. 
I do my research! I always check out what's happening on the runway but I take it with a grain of salt — a lot of fashion to me is how something feels. I pull tears from magazines, go to art shows, stumble upon colors and patterns on the street. Then I see what sticks out to me and pull it all together. Each piece has to be interesting; you have to design a product that you know is going to catch. You have to make wearable things and make a little something for everybody. It's a very organic process.

How did you figure out the production side of things?
Working for other people definitely helped me develop connections in production facilities. And my southern roots! I'm always kind to the people I'm working with. Right now we're making everything in India.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to do a couple personal things before the team shows up at noon. I have a business partner who's really bright and has a strong finance background. One of my best friends is our sales director; it makes such a difference to work with people you trust. We have seven people on the staff right now so we'll have a meeting every Monday and then everyone heads off to work on their individual tasks.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Being creative is the best and worst part. I get to do what I love but there's also a lot of pressure to make the right choices. You can't just make things that only you want to wear!

I know what you mean! I hate when I buy a ton of one product that I love and it just doesn't sell. What's one pinch me moment you've had so far?
Every week there's something cool and fun happening. We've had sales meetings with our ideal top three vendors. Net-A-Porter is putting us on their special finds. We just landed a PR company who's stoked to get the ball rolling. 

I can't believe you've only been at this for three months. 
The demand for production is the most exciting part. We did a trunk show last week and sold 42 necklaces. And a couple nights ago, I gave one off my neck to Katie Couric at a restaurant!

That's amazing. When will you know you've made it?
I don't think I'll ever know that. I am having so much fun but it takes a long time to build a brand and get your name out there. I hope it keeps growing and evolving — next year you make some more necklaces that do really well and the year after that you roll out shoes that really resonate. Being successful isn't selling 100,000 necklaces; it's continuing to do it year after year. 

That's such a motivating sentiment! I can't wait to see where it all takes you. Do you have any advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs? 
It was really hard for me to break into fashion; I didn't have any connections so I was just scraping away one day at a time. Continue to follow your heart. Don't burn bridges. You can learn something from everyone. Once you stop learning, change jobs. It's scary, but make that leap. Believe in yourself!

Keep up with Mignonne Gavigan:
Website  //  Facebook  //  Instagram  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter


Need an easy beach read or a gripping novel to get you through your morning commute? I have a couple of reading goals on my 101 in 1001 list and decided to put together a summer reading list for myself and anyone else who's looking for a recommendation. And because I thought it would be fun to open it up to a few perspectives, I asked Design Darling's lovely summer interns, Mary Claire and Taryn, if they'd share a few of their own summer reads. I'm not always good at setting aside time to read so I'm hoping that having a list of ideas will keep it top of mind for me! From beach reads and business advice to classic works and science fiction, here's what we're reading and planning to read this summer:

1. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger — Mary Claire's recommendation and one of my all-time favorite books. If you loved The Catcher in the Rye (or last summer's movie Salinger, which is now on Netflix!), you'll tear through these novellas. Recommended for: bedtime reading.

2. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson — I'm excited to read this recommendation from Taryn about a man who escapes his nursing home and gets caught up in a police chase, all the while sharing stories of how he altered the course of history throughout his lifetime. The best-selling novel was turned into an independent film released in Europe but you know what they say: the book is almost always better than the movie. Recommended for: a good laugh on your daily commute.

3. The Vacationers by Emma Straub — Currently no. 23 on the New York Times best seller list, The Vacationers is the story of a slightly dysfunctional New York family on a two-week vacation in Spain. It's equal parts dramatic, relatable, and romantic — also known as the perfect beach read. Recommended for: er, well, your next vacation.

4. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler — Having read The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, and Tender is the Night within the past year, I cannot wait to read this story about F. Scott Fitzgerald's notorious wife Zelda. Written as though from her perspective, it's supposed to reveal some of Zelda — and her famous husband's — inner demons, set to the backdrop of the roaring 20s. Recommended for: your next book club pick.

5. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso — I'm a sucker for stories about start-ups and women entrepreneurs so I picked this up at the Strand before heading to Nantucket for the weekend. The founder of Nasty Gal explains how she went from selling clothes on eBay to doing $100 million in online retail sales. She isn't afraid to tell it like it is but her book is definitely a kick in the butt if you're interested in running your own business. Recommended for: fans of By Invitation OnlyI Shouldn't Be Telling You This, or Lessons of a Lipstick Queen.

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — Read it before you see the movie! An incredible novel about a young cancer patient and the boy she falls in love with. The book and the movie will remind you what's really important in life (and probably to call your family and tell them you love them). Recommended if: you need a good cry.

7. Why We Buy by Paco Underhill — Taryn read this for one of her fashion merchandising classes at FIT and loved learning about the "science of shopping." As a blogger and online retailer, I have a feeling I'd love this research-based read on consumer behavior. Recommended for: fans of Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis (that's me!).

8. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann — A bestseller in the 1960s and, according to Taryn, "Gossip Girl for adults." ...And just like that, I'm sold. Recommended for: a guilty pleasure.

9. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern — A series of short memoirs recommended by Mary Claire about a 28-year-old guy who moves back in with his 73-year-old father. Funny, disarming, and occasionally poignant, it's a quick read you could finish in one sitting. Recommended if: you follow the Twitter account or you need a good gift for Dad.

10. Divergent by Veronica Roth — Taryn read all three books in this series in less than two weeks last summer and insisted that I give them a try before renting the movie, which came out in March. Written on the author's winter break from Northwestern University, the science fiction novel tells the story of Tris Prior and her life in Chicago after the apocalypse. Recommended for: fans of The Hunger Games.

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What's on your list to read this summer? Have you read and loved (or disliked!) any of these? Let's hear it!

P.S. Pin the image above for easy reference next time you're in a bookstore or library!