3 COCKTAILS TO TRY THIS WEEKEND

Happy Labor Day weekend! I’m up in Nantucket with family and friends ending the summer on a high note. Do follow along on Instagram — I just surpassed 50,000 followers and I am so excited! Here are a few cocktails I’m eyeing to celebrate the final days of August…

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{Mint gimlets}

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{Grapefruit sage mimosas}

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{Apple mojitos}

Whether you’re mixing it up or sticking to classic G&Ts (my favorite!), here are a few must-haves for your end-of-summer happy hour…

Bar Cart Accessories

(1) Seeing double cocktail napkins ($32)  (2) One Kings Lane party bucket ($25)  (3) Buoy bottle opener ($38)  (4) Tortoiseshell highballs ($48 for four)  (5) Striped taper candles ($24 for two)  (6) Striped paper straws ($9)  (7) Tory Burch ice bucket ($395)  (8) Tory Burch spongeware bowls ($98 for four)  (9) Pace yourself cocktail napkins ($32)  (10) Margarita salt ($4)  (11) One Kings Lane lanterns ($75 for three)  (12) Anchor wine opener ($40)

Cheers to the long weekend! xx

OUTFIT {J.CREW MIXED MEDIA SWEATER}

My first sweater purchase for fall? J.Crew’s mixed media sweater, in light gray merino and cotton with a blue and white striped shirting back. It’s an unexpected combination that I’m loving for this unexpectedly fall-like weather and that I’ll have in heavy rotation for the next few months. White jeans now, blue jeans later… It’s my kind of wardrobe staple.

J.Crew mixed media sweater

Clare Vivier navy stripe foldover clutchClare Vivier foldover clutch

J.Crew mixed media sweater

J.Crew mixed media sweater ($98 $66 with code ALMOSTFALL)  //  KEP Designs anchor bangle c/o ($150)  //  Clare Viver foldover clutch ($198), also love this one  //  Old Navy white jeans ($15)  //  Alice + Olivia Dina heels (old, still available in black and olive green)

I love the little peek of stripes on the shoulders! How would you style this sweater?

10 UNDER $100

A round-up of favorite finds for you and your home that won’t break the bank.

If you’re having trouble viewing the slideshow above, double check that you’ve enabled plug-ins in your web browser. While we’re on the subject of affordable must-haves, acrylic staplers ($28) and cheeky cocktail napkins ($32 for four) are back in stock in the boutique!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE?

I’ve said before that I probably won’t be in New York forever. I love, love, love this city but it’s not where I see myself running my business or raising a family in the long term. In the time that I’ve been writing Design Darling, I’ve lived in rural Pennsylvania, central France, San Francisco, suburban Connecticut, and now New York. Crazy, right?! And I’ve definitely liked and disliked different things about each place. While it’s fun to daydream about where I might end up next, I’m determined to make the most of every single moment I have in this incredible city (having a 101 in 1001 list helps a lot!). Here are a few of my favorite things about New York…

statue of liberty

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The hustle and bustle. The friends I’ve made. My favorite restaurants. Having my family only an hour away. The dog park in Madison Square Park. The city skyline and sunsets over the Hudson River. How tough people are, because New York practically demands it. All the different neighborhoods. How late everything is open. The first weeks of spring and the two months leading up to Christmas. The feeling that I’ll never, ever run out of new experiences to have here.

Tell me: what do you love most about where you live? The coffee shop where the barista knows your name? Having your own backyard? A fun music scene? Team spirit for your favorite sports? Let’s hear it!!!

P.S. My advice for moving to New York.

APARTMENT UPDATE!!!

New apartment pictures, woohooo! It’s been almost six months since I moved into my new apartment and I still have so much to do: hanging art, waiting for furniture to arrive, repotting my cactus and lemon tree… But I hope this little update will be a fun sneak peek of what I’m working with!

target threshold

I’ve long recommended Target for furniture and decor so I was ecstatic when they offered to send a few fun furnishings my way. I’m not headed back to school anytime soon but I still get that fresh start feeling every August/September and this collaboration was the perfect push to start filling in some of the missing pieces around here. If you recall my obsession with campaign furniture, it will come as no surprise that I had to have this campaign desk. I used my acrylic console as a desk in my last apartment and, while I will treasure that piece forever, I have to say it’s really nice to have drawers and a little more desktop space to spread out on. The acrylic console really does do better as a spot to throw keys and mail than a place to hunker down and work for hours on end. This desk on the other hand lends a little masculine appeal to my fairly girly apartment (ahem, hot pink map) and could easily be painted if I wanted a different look… A fresh glossy white, perhaps? Or, you know, bright pink…

target threshold x benches

These green X benches (similar) might be my most brilliant Target find to date… $60 a pop and the perfect punch of bright green to complement all the blue and white. Right now they’re in front of my sofa as a coffee table/ottoman hybrid situation (everything has to do double duty in a small apartment!) but I love the idea of storing them underneath my acrylic console when I live in a larger space someday.

ikea expedit bookshelves divider

I used this Ikea Expedit shelving as a divider in my last apartment but I decided to keep things really open in this new space by pushing it up against a wall. The top two shelves house the majority of my coffee table book collection and the bottom three hold a combination of clothes, accessories, and supplies for Rory. It’s probably the single most practical piece I own but it’s nice to not stare directly at it when I walk in the door.

target rugby stripe bedding

The combination of this Katie Kime scalloped headboard and the rugby stripe bedding is about as cute as my prepster, navy-or-nothing heart can handle. The sleep in print is the perfect finishing touch! I’ve come to accept that having Rory sleep in my bed (a non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned!) means it’s not worth it for me to splurge on fancy bedding at this stage in my life. This Target comforter is super affordable (now on sale for $21!) and would work well in any number of interiors, from my studio apartment to a dorm room to one of my brothers’ bedrooms. I can’t say enough good things about it!

target campaign desk

Desktop details: a Jenny Prinn abstract from Will, monogrammed pencil cup, acrylic stapler, and Kate Spade paper goods.

dana gibson lamp

After a year and a half of using my windowsill as a bedside table, this little Target find makes me finally feel like a grown-up. (It’s the little things…) Topped with my Dana Gibson lamp and a mint julep cup, it’s a happy little home for current reads and everyday baubles.

coffee table styling

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this candle smells so good, I could go through one a week. Also, I have three of these white lacquer trays in my apartment, cannot get enough of these lipstick tube-inspired matches, and have a not-so-slight obsession with Slim Aarons.

sister parish summer house vase

Does anyone know the name of these flowers? I scooped them up at a bodega a couple days before we took pictures and just love the colors. Perfect pop of pink in a blue and white vase! (Psst! A bunch of you have asked whether Design Darling will be carrying 2015 planners and the answer is Y-E-S! You will love this Emily Ley planner that we’re rolling out next week. Stay tuned!)hot pink nantucket map print

I’m really pleased with how everything is coming along and, while I wish it were 100% finished right this very second, I recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that decorating is a process — and a fun one at that! I hope you enjoyed the update!

P.S. My last apartment tour and how to decorate on a budget.

*Photos by Bekka Palmer