APARTMENT GALLERY WALL

I’m so excited to share my apartment gallery wall with you today! This expanse of white wall is in my little dining nook between the kitchen and my sofa. I always knew I would fill this small space with art (especially since we have a rockin’ assortment in the boutique right now… just sayin’) but just recently got around to framing and hanging everything. I hope you love my little gallery wall as much as I do!

design darling apartment gallery wall

All art prints  //  All frames  //  Lamp  //  Pillows  //  Cachepot

When it comes to laying out your gallery wall, I recommend framing everything and then placing everything on the floor until you have a template you like. There are a few other little details that I left out of my last apartment update so stay tuned for a few new additions! One day I’ll have a real house to decorate and be able to bring you constant decor updates… :)

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: THE SKIMM FOUNDERS

Thank you to the moon and back for your thoughtful responses on yesterday’s post. Several of your comments and emails brought me to tears and I am so unbelievably grateful for this community of women who read here each day. It’s so nice to know you’re not alone when the going gets rough. Your words of encouragement are more inspiring than you know.

It’s fitting today that I get to share two very inspiring women with all of you. I’ve subscribed to The Skimm for close to a year now and it’s becoming part of my morning routine (right up there with walking Rory, getting Starbucks, and checking Shopbop’s new arrivals). In fact I often read it before I get out of bed in the morning. Not familiar? It’s a daily newsletter that provides updates on global current events in a fun, fresh, relatable tone of voice. My favorite part is that it provides context around each update so you’re not totally lost if you miss a day of news. Whether you’re a college student, a young professional, or a married mother of four, The Skimm a must-read for knowing what’s going on in the world (and what everyone’s talking about at dinner parties). It’s made me feel infinitely better informed in the time that I’ve been reading and I hope many of you will feel the same. I was particularly excited for this interview and I know you’ll enjoy learning more about The Skimm founders as much as I did!

the skimm founders

Names: Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin

Ages: Both 28

Titles: Co-founders and co-CEOs, The Skimm

How did The Skimm come to be? Have you always had a passion for covering the news?

Danielle: Carly and I both grew up as news junkies and we both love storytelling. We met in college during a study abroad program in Rome and wound up working together at NBC News after we graduated. We started as friends, then roommates, then [coworkers] discussing how the industry was changing and what was next. The career path that we’d worked so hard to get to just wasn’t the same as it was five or ten years ago.

the skimm headquarters nyc

So The Skimm was born out of those conversations as a current events guide for the 21st century. I love it! I start almost every morning reading The Skimm in bed. Dare I ask how early you wake up to be able to produce such current content?

Danielle: The question is really how late are we up!

Carly: It’s definitely an evolving process. We have a team that covers shifts all night. Thankfully now we have editorial support — our team is always touching up the newsletter before it goes out at 6 a.m.

the skimm founders

I imagine your schedule changes a lot based on what’s going on in the world.

Danielle: The only thing that’s consistent is how rigid we are with our schedule. We won’t take meetings before or after a certain time. We schedule meetings, networking, and TV appearances around when we need to be producing content.

Carly: The best and worst part is that every day is different. It keeps things interesting but it’s also really hard to plan. We’ve had a lot of fun putting together our team and finding people who were willing to take a risk and join a start-up.

 

How would you describe the work environment you’ve created?

Danielle: The office is very branded. Our first week in January, we were sitting on a turquoise tablecloth putting the office together. That was a team-building experience in and of itself. We created this space not just to house a team but to collaborate and be creative and have fun doing it.

Carly: It’s an open space, which makes it easier to collaborate. Our team literally plays musical chairs with their laptops depending on who’s coming to the office on any given day. Everyone is a team player — we’re all passionate about what we’re doing and we’re all here to get shit done.

the skimm press wall

What’s one pinch me moment you’ve had so far?

Danielle: Going on The Today Show was very surreal. I mean, we used to book the cars for the guests on the show! Being on the other side of it was just really sentimental and symbolic.

Carly: Or when Vanity Fair came to our apartment and totally transformed it for the photos.

Danielle: We like to celebrate the big days, even when we just started and were on a very tight budget. We went to a nice restaurant after Vanity Fair to split a glass of champagne and the only other person in the restaurant was Sarah Jessica Parker. We were like, it’s a sign! We had introduced ourselves to her a few months before and stopped her on the way out of the restaurant. Somehow she remembered us and said our business card was sitting in her closet! We were like, we’ve made it into SJP’s closet! And then as she was leaving, our credit card was declined. [Laughing] It was such a reality check.

 

That’s an awesome story. I love that you include your subscribers’ birthdays at the bottom of each newsletter. You have some pretty cool subscribers: SJP, Lena Dunham…

Danielle: We started doing it because Carly really likes to celebrate her half-birthday. We have this pen pal relationship with a lot of our readers. We get to see who’s waking up with our product every day.

Carly: People ask us for a print-out of the day their child was born. Not the New York Times but The Skimm! It’s pretty incredible.

the skimm office

I love that your team takes the time to do that! Little details like that make such a difference. What are some of your current goals?

Carly: We’re really focused on growth right now, both of our product and our team.

Danielle: A successful day for us is getting a lot done but also having a social life. You could put us in a room and we’d work all day.

 

Last question! If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Danielle: Do they have to be alive?

Carly: Can we answer together?

[Whisper to one another and then count out on their fingers.]

Danielle: The pope. Oprah. Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton.

Carly: Do they have to be real people? Let’s add Olivia Pope.

 

Keep up with The Skimm:

Sign up for the newsletter  //  Facebook  //  Instagram  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter

*Photos by Bekka Palmer

GETTING OUT OF A FUNK

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Will and I went to a dinner party at Katie’s apartment over the weekend and I had a long conversation with my friend Roxy (my first blog friend back when I was still in college!) that got me thinking about a lot of things. Truthfully, I’ve been feeling more anxious than usual lately. We’re not sure where Will’s career will take him in this next year and we’ve talked a lot about what cities we would and wouldn’t want to move to. (And I’m so happy we’re even having those conversations because, no joke, he’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Getting personal today, okay?) But not knowing whether we’ll be in New York or Dallas or San Francisco this time next year has me feeling like I’ve lost control. It’s harder to make decisions about hiring an employee before Christmas, for example, when I’m not sure how far into the following year I’ll be able to employ that person in New York. Ditto office space and a bevy of other personal and professional goals. And yet I’d hate to spend the next year in New York with one foot out the door, stressing about a move that may or may not even happen. Maybe this is just the nature of being in your twenties.

Since I’m already spilling my heart out (writing is the best for that, isn’t it?), I’ll add that fashion week was a tough time for me this year. It’s this hectic period where you feel like you have to see everyone, do everything, get invited to the right shows, and forgo your regularly scheduled work and sleep to cram in as much as possible. And maybe it’s because I’m not invited to 1,394 shows but it was a terrible time for me to get stuck playing the comparison game. Why wasn’t I invited to that presentation? Why wouldn’t so-and-so include me in that blogger dinner? If you’re already feeling less than your best, a week like that can really highlight everything you’re not doing well enough.

And lately, I’d been letting those feelings snowball until they were keeping me up at night. But then something always happens that puts everything into perspective. On Monday, my friend Kelly texted me about a college acquaintance whose battle with leukemia took a turn for the worse over the weekend. I just lost it thinking about his parents, his sisters, his friends, and my friends who are close to him. And suddenly it’s like, wait, nothing else matters. I am so lucky to be in love with a guy who wants to be a part of my life for the long haul. I’m so lucky we get to choose a city where we can both further our careers because I can do my work from anywhere. I’m so lucky to have good people around me who remind me why the bad ones aren’t worth it. Who cares about which shows I was or wasn’t invited to? Who cares about a rude blog comment? Who cares whether I can hire my first employee this year or five years from now? We’re all so damn hard on ourselves and life is just too short.

So today I’m getting out of a funk, putting an end to the snowballing, and giving myself a clean slate. Surrounding myself with people who are creative, smart, and dynamic and who inspire me every day to be a better version of myself. Focusing on what’s really important and not beating myself up when I fall short of some crazy ideal that I’ve put in place myself. And being extra personal with all of you when the mood strikes, because it’s scary as hell to write these posts and to put them out in the world for people to dissect and extrapolate and misinterpret. But maybe it will help one or two or, hey, a hundred of you. Maybe it will encourage you to count your blessings and to spend less time lamenting your shortcomings. To call your girlfriends and tell them how much you love them. To stop taking your boyfriend or your parents or your siblings for granted. To help you see that you’ve got a family who loves you, friends who mean the world to you, and a life that keeps you on your toes and makes you feel lucky to be a part of it all. To help you realize that this funk is just a blip, that you are, in fact, dynamite, and that you’ve got a lot of great stuff to do before you leave this crazy world. Thanks for bearing with me and this novel today. Onward and upward, shall we?

OUTFIT {LITTLE BLACK BLAZER}

If you’ve been reading Design Darling for a while, you might remember this post (around this time last year) about mixing navy blue and black. I figure with fashion week upon us, there’s no better time for me to try out the look! And when Jones New York offered to send over one of their signature blazers, I knew exactly how I’d style it:

jones new york black blazer

Black blazer + navy tank + skinny jeans + statement shoes! I think it’s a winning combo, don’t you? I’m a big believer that adding a fitted blazer can add instant polish to almost any outfit, any day of the week. I wear navy blazers all.the.time (previously seen here, herehere, here, and here) so I’m pretty excited about having a new color to style!

kate spade jayna sunglasses

I picked out the Meredith blazer in black ponte knit and I think it’s the perfect wardrobe staple: affordable, classic, and versatile. (I also love it in charcoal!) For those of you who work in an office, it would be super chic layered over a sheath dress or a silk blouse. Here I styled it for happy hour with a few blog friends — proof that it’s just as suitable when you’re off duty.

ann taylor bow heelsBusiness on top, party on my feet.

jones new york blazer

This company Wink & Winn lets you design your own bag so I jumped at the chance to design my perfect navy leather tote. I actually don’t own a single black handbag (how do I live in New York?!) but I love how the navy accessories pop against the black.

wink & winn tassel bag

Jones New York blazer ($129 ℅)  //  J.Crew silk tank ($98 $69)  //  Henry & Belle jeans ($148)  //  Wink & Winn design-your-own bag (℅)  // Bow heels (similar)  //  Photos by Bekka Palmer

design darling mackenzie horan

Compensation for this post was provided by Jones New York via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Jones New York or AOL.

WEEKEND READING


73 questions with Anna Wintour.

An elbow patch sweater for $45.

A trend I could get behind.

Hustle prints are back in stock!

I cannot wait to read this book (and enjoyed this article as well).

I really love this navy jumpsuit.

Love this look on Kat featuring turquoise tassel earrings from Design Darling.

My friend Kelly is raising money for school supplies for her husband’s classroom in Chicago. I adored her post and their mission — what an extraordinary couple.

Navy pinstripes — such a sharp look for fall.

Not one but two beauty posts this week! An update on my Kerasilk treatment and my new favorite lipsticks.

Save 30-50% on J.Crew sale items like this cashmere long-sleeve tee, my favorite schoolboy blazer, and these cap-toe ballet flats with code EASYSALE through Sunday.

So proud of Liz for this darling capsule collection!

The perfect fall dress.

What do you think of this bag?