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Showing posts with label it's personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label it's personal. Show all posts

THE END OF AN ERA.


"When one door closes, another opens."
—Alexander Graham Bell


My parents are putting our family home on the market this week and it's been a really tough move for all of us to wrap our heads around. They'll stay in the same town at least until my brother graduates high school but we all know it won't be the same. Cleaning out my childhood bedroom, donating old clothes and toys, painting over the striped walls in our kitchen... Every step feels like a particularly painful part of growing up. I know it's the right choice for our family but it's been heart-wrenching to slowly say good-bye to the place where we grew up.


Every corner of that home is filled with countless childhood memories. My sister and I taking over the playroom with a Playmobil village that deserved a spot in their catalog. My parents surprising us with Coach on Christmas morning. Setting up obstacle courses for all our neighborhood friends. Celebrating my dad's 40th birthday with a big tent on the front lawn. Learning my back handspring on the trampoline. Eating veggies from my mom's garden. Hosting a French exchange student. Picking flowers from my dad's peony bushes. Celebrating my high school graduation. Finding out I got into Bucknell. Saying good-bye to Fenway. Launching my business from the dining room table. The surprise launch party my family threw me the week before it went live. Bringing Rory home. More than a dozen Christmas mornings with my grandmother and cousins.


We had a good family cry with everyone home a couple weeks ago and it was pretty incredible to hear everyone share their favorite memories in that house. Big transitions like this one always remind me how profoundly lucky I am to have the parents I do and how proud I am to be a big sister to my siblings, all of whom are funny and smart and growing up so fast. It's the people who make a house a home and I'm so unbelievably thankful that these are my people. Goodbye, beautiful home, and hello to our next chapter.


DESIGN DARLING MAP PRINTS!!!

I am so, so, so excited to unveil the newest products on Design Darling because — drumroll, please! — we designed them ourselves! My mom had the idea to create bright, colorful, oversized, preppy maps of some of our favorite destinations as well as the places where lots of my customers live. I loved the idea, knowing I would hang the maps for Manhattan and Nantucket in my new apartment. We set to work finding a local artist who could do the map renderings and a local printer who could work with the colors I had in mind. Et voilĂ ! I am so proud of how they turned out, so grateful for my mom's encouragement along the way, and so excited to hear what you think! 


They are available either framed or unframed — the prints themselves are 12" x 18" and the frames make them 16" x 22", an ideal size for hanging over a console table, headboard, sofa, or workspace. Each piece makes a colorful statement and is a happy reminder of where you're from (or where you'd rather be!). I sincerely hope you love them as much as I do! Shop them all here and be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments. Any votes on which city or state we should add next?!


THE BALLOON PROJECT


I should start this story by saying that my family has always been a fan of grand gestures. When I left to study abroad in France, my parents and my sister brought a boom box and serenaded me while I stood in the security line (I wish I still had the red-faced photos to prove it). When my sister's best friend moved out of town, we choreographed a flash mob to "Call Me Maybe" for thirty of our family and friends to send her off in style. And when my sister graduated from college last year, we booked a gospel choir to surprise her at her party and sing all her favorite songs. My mom and sister are usually the brains behind the operation and it's me, my dad, and my brothers who rally behind them no matter how ridiculous we feel at the time. These gestures, big and small, have always been a great reminder that we're all happiest when we're making other people happy.

My mom had been dreaming up a little project to pay it forward on her birthday. Her vision was this: she and my brother Camden would pick up two dozen pink balloons (ordered to the local florist by my sister) and drive to New York to meet me. My mom and I would walk into Grand Central Station (Camden behind the camera) and pass out the balloons to anyone who wanted one. We'd walk in with two big bunches of balloons, put a smile on a few people's faces, and get to see the 24 balloons dispersed across the floor of the train station before we left.


These things always feel a little awkward at first ("Hi, I'm Mackenzie, would you like a balloon? Oh, no? That's cool, welp, have a nice day!") but of course it was a home run. We started out targeting little kids in strollers but eventually got comfortable handing them out to adults who looked like they were having a tough day or tourists who were posing for pictures. And you know what? Every last one of those 24 people broke into a big smile when we handed them their balloon. 

We met a mom with three teenagers and gave them all balloons. My mom explained that it was her birthday and she wanted to spread a little joy to other people. The other mom had just come from Starbucks, where a stranger ahead of them had bought their drinks. A week before that, she had paid for a woman's purchases at Goodwill, allowing her to buy two outfits instead of one. I teared up thinking about how much better the world is when we all participate in these random acts of kindness.



My mom, brother, and I were standing on the balcony pointing out all the balloons we saw when the other mom came racing up the steps with a pastry from the food court downstairs. She thanked us for making her day and wished my mom a happy birthday. It was completely extraordinary — my mom was so thrilled, and the other woman was so touched — and yet so simple. If I felt a little silly walking into Grand Central with balloons fifteen minutes earlier, I walked out on cloud nine knowing those balloons had made a little difference in two dozen people's days.

As luck would have it, the footage didn't turn out so great but the impression it made on me and my brother is one I won't soon forget. I'm so lucky to have such an awesome family and a mom who wanted to celebrate her birthday by making other people feel like it was theirs. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!



P.S. If you're feeling inspired and want to put a smile on someone's face, here are a few more ideas for paying it forward. If you have your own favorites, please share in the comments!

1. bake cookies for your local homeless shelter
2. call your grandparents
3. leave a 100% tip for great service (I first did this for my 101 in 1001 list!)
4. pay for a stranger's coffee or drive-thru meal
5. put change in an expired parking meter
6. say good morning to someone on the street (for some reason, this is the easiest way to put a skip in my step)
7. volunteer at a school, senior center, or soup kitchen



WOULD YOU JUMP OUT OF A PLANE?

{Hang gliding with Grayson in the Swiss Alps}

{Bridge jumping with my dad outside of Barcelona}

{Skydiving with Grayson in upstate Connecticut}

A little known fact about me: I am a tiny bit obsessed with adventure sports. You know that feeling you get during the drop of a really scary roller coaster? I know some people (hi, Mom!) hate that feeling... but I can't get enough! I knocked a couple adventures off my bucket list during my semester abroad in college and went skydiving with my brother (and thrill-seeking partner-in-crime!) for my last birthday. 

So far I've done bridge jumping, hang gliding, skydiving, trapeze, and zip lining — and I would honestly do all five of them again. That adrenaline rush is unlike any other feeling in the world! Would you bridge jump or sky dive? What's the craziest adventure sport you've done so far? What's next on your list? Would love to know how many of you are adrenaline junkies as well! :)

P.S. If you're more like my mom, we've gone parasailing a couple times as part of our family goal to see all fifty states and it's a much more low-key but equally fun activity. Highly recommend!


DESIGN DARLING BLOGGER BRUNCH


Yesterday I hosted twenty of my very favorite bloggers for a fashion week escape on the rooftop of the Gramercy Park Hotel. This was really the first event I've ever planned and hosted and I'm so excited that it went off without a hitch! The blogger brunch was a wonderful excuse to don a pretty dress, gather friends from all over the country, and toast to the upcoming second anniversary of my boutique. Peach bellinis, pink peonies, and the most awesome, inspiring, and stylish bunch of young women... Really, what more could a girl want? Gratitude doesn't begin to cover it. Note to self: must do this again soon.

Outfit details:

Table details:

Bloggers you need to know about!

*All photos by Amy Stone



GOODBYE 2013, HELLOOO 2014!


I think I say this every December but I can't help myself... What. A. Year. 

I moved to New York with my puppy, made amazing new friends, decorated my first apartment, grew my business, partnered with some really awesome bloggers and brands, traveled all over the country (Salt Lake City, Dallas, New OrleansDenver, and Boston!), spent lots of summer weekends in Central Park and on Nantucket, and finished the year on such a high note. I also wound up crossing 79 things off my 101 in 1001 list!

Truthfully though, this year was also a bit of a bumpy road for me. I had my heart broken, experienced every possible growing pain of running a small business, struggled with hurtful comments on my blog, and was even dumped by a boy I really liked — in a text message (#notcool). I try to keep things happy and upbeat around here but it definitely hasn't been all rainbows and pretty shoes behind the scenes.

I'm really, really looking forward to a fresh start. I have a lot of exciting projects on the horizon, awesome girlfriends by my side, a new boy in my life, and the most supportive family in the entire world... So bring it on, 2014. I'm ready for you!



A DESIGN DARLING CHRISTMAS!


My brothers Grayson and Camden put together this video of our Christmas morning and I thought you might like to see! Let me know what you think and whether you'd like to see a little more video content around here... I really love how this turned out! :)

P.S. I'm wearing Sleepy Jones pajamas and a Club Monaco hat!

5 VIDEOS TO WATCH WHEN YOU'RE HAVING A BAD DAY


There are a few videos I keep bookmarked on my computer for moments when I'm feeling pretty low and need a little inspiration. Whether I'm feeling sad or tired or just needing a kick in the behind, these videos always have me up and at 'em again in no time. I hope they work their magic on you too!

1. Art Williams  //  Just Do It

2. Steve Jobs  //  Stay Hungry

3. Miracle // You Were Born For This

4. Kid President // Pep Talk

5. Neil deGrass Tyson // The Most Astounding Fact




GAL PALS


This. Weekend. Was. AwesomeDenver is such a beautiful city and everyone we met was so fun and down-to-earth. But mostly it was just great to be reunited with a few of my college girlfriends. The friends I lived with my senior year live all over the country and I forget how much I miss seeing and talking to them every day. While I love New York and the besties I have here (Amy, Carly, and Emily to name a few), I really miss having a big group of friends who all live on the same street and are always down to come over or go out at a moment's notice. I know I'm not the first to say it but New York is definitely not the easiest place to meet people and make new friends!

Do you have a ton of friends in your city? Did you have a hard time adjusting to "real world" friendships outside the college bubble? How do you keep in touch with friends who live far away? I'm totally thinking a few more trips are in order...!