I’m so excited to start a weekly Q&A series on the blog! I’ve done a few Q&As on my Instagram (saved to my highlights if you want to take a peek) and it’s really fun for me to see what you guys are most interested in and makes me feel like we’re having a conversation (how I wish I could meet every one of you in person!). These are also one of my favorite posts to read on other blogs (including Julia’s and Liz’s) so I hope you guys will enjoy them too!
I’m still brainstorming a name for this series so if you have any ideas, leave me a comment below! The questions in this post came from my Instagram story yesterday but please feel free to submit questions any time in Instagram comments or direct messages as well as over email (just put Q&A in the subject so I don’t miss it!).
1. What are your daily makeup must-haves?
My number one makeup must-have is this NARS tinted moisturizer which I’m almost positive I’ve used since I started Design Darling in 2009. I’ve tried a hundred other tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and foundations but I always come back to this one in the shade Groenland — I’ll be despondent if they ever stop making it. Recently I’ve been layering it over this Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow primer and it gives a really pretty dewy glow. If I could have those two plus this Marc Jacobs mascara on a deserted island, I could figure out the rest.
I mix it up more when it comes to other products but right now I’m using this concealer in the shade Bisque, this blush in the shade Gaiety, this bronzer, and this eyeliner. You can see more of my beauty favorites here!
2. Who takes your pictures? Do you edit them yourself?
Right now it’s almost always my husband, my mom, or one of my brothers taking my photos. I’ve worked with professional photographers (and talented friends like Ali and Amy!) in the past but this is working for now! I edit them using VSCO presets in Lightroom (my favorites are S1 and S3) and then I tweak brightness, contrast, etc. from there.
3. Do you have any advice for the beginning of college / sorority rush?
Oh man, first semester of freshman year was tough! It’s hard to move away from home and know no one, but I think the important thing to remember is that everyone else is in the exact same boat, no matter how confident they may seem. I remember all my high school friends raving about how much they loved their various campuses from day one but the truth was it took us all a few months to find our footing and make new friends. We didn’t rush until sophomore year at Bucknell so it was nice to have some time to evaluate which sorority felt like the best fit. My advice for the rush process is just to be yourself and to trust that you will wind up exactly where you are meant to be.
4. What were some things you did to get started in blogging?
Blogging was so much less strategic back when I started in 2009! I didn’t know that I was starting a business, just that I’d found a hobby that interested me and a fun way to connect with like-minded people beyond my hometown or college campus. I wrote about things I loved and things that were happening in my life at the time (finding dresses for sorority formals, planning trips during my semester abroad, etc.). I sought out other bloggers with similar interests and became friends with people I’d yet to meet in real life. It wasn’t at all about making money or working with brands or any of that — I really think if you’re excited about what you’re doing, other people will sense that and be inclined to follow along.
One thing I did do was take a few months to blog just for me, to see if it was even something I wanted to stick with, before I shared it with family and friends. That way once I shared it, there were already several months of blog posts for people to read and I was a tiny bit closer to finding my voice and honing my aesthetic. Not saying there aren’t some seriously scary posts from back in the day (you can peruse the archives at your own risk in the dropdown on the right) but I think it’s good to do your own thing without a ton of noise in the beginning.
5. I love your RL leather leggings and want to invest in a pair but am worried the trend has passed. Thoughts?
These were a major investment before our honeymoon so I better be wearing them until the day I die! In all seriousness, I look to designers like Ralph Lauren for classic pieces that will stand the test of time (my mom still wears pieces from when she worked there in the 80s and 90s) and these leather pants feel both current and timeless to me. If you’re worried about taking the plunge, I’d recommend trying the look with a similar but less expensive pair like these — then if you find yourself reaching for those all the time, you’ll know the real deal will be a solid investment!
6. What pieces should I start with when working on improving my wardrobe?
I’m assuming you mean starting to invest in higher quality pieces and this totally depends on your lifestyle and the pieces you reach for most often. I would start to pay attention to which pieces you find yourself wearing day in and day out, season after season, and seek out higher quality versions of those. For instance, I splurged on this Smythe blazer last fall after realizing I had worn two similar and less expensive blazers into the ground in the previous five years. The fit of the Smythe blazer is out of this world (so much so that I also splurged on the white version this past spring) and I wear both of them constantly, but these obviously wouldn’t be a good investment for you if you’ve never worn a blazer in your life. In other words it’s all about cost per wear. Whether you find yourself living in ballet flats or skinny jeans or yoga pants, spend more on pieces you’ll wear and love most.
7. Have you considered moving back to NYC?
I elaborated on this in my post about why we moved to the suburbs but the short answer is that we did for a brief moment but once we were settled in Connecticut, we haven’t given it a second thought!
8. What would you recommend to someone who wants to learn needlepointing?
I’d suggest finding a local needlepoint shop where you can take a class or at least convincing a friend to learn alongside you. (If you’re in Connecticut, House of Needlepoint in Darien offers classes!) I’m sure there are tons of resources to learn online but personally I benefited so much from learning in person! And I’d start with a small, simple canvas and work your way up to more involved projects as you get more confident. You can read how I got started here.
9. How do you incorporate your love of Nantucket into your home?
I think my entire aesthetic is influenced by my love for Nantucket! Our whole house is blue, white, and a little bit beachy. But to be more specific we have these Nantucket matchbook prints in our kitchen, this Nantucket poster and this letterpress map that we still need to find a home for, and seashells that I’ve collected from Nantucket beaches strewn about the house. Not to mention our wedding photos and wedding album! And I still want to find a way to frame our Nantucket wedding invitations and the Nantucket needlepoint leash and collar that my Grandy made for Rory. And my brother Camden and I may or may not be working on a little project to sell framed Nantucket photography… stay tuned! 😉
10. What’s a milestone (aka turning 30!) gift that’s on your wishlist?
Will, is that you?! Just kidding. 🙂 I just turned 29 so I honestly haven’t thought about it! We did a big trip to France to celebrate Will’s 30th and I generally prefer the idea of sharing experiences over exchanging physical gifts (it actually drives Will crazy because gift-giving is a big love language in his family!). But if I were to treat myself to something special, this bag or this dresser would be at the top of my list.