FRIDAY Q&A: WHAT I’D BE DOING IF I WEREN’T BLOGGING, HOW TO CHOOSE A RUG, MY THOUGHTS ON PUSH PRESENTS, AND MORE

Happy Friday, everyone! I had a fun week between my sister Reilly’s birthday party (a Les Mis sing-along with 30 of her friends!) and a double date with my friend Lauren and her boyfriend. I have a ton of upcoming projects to shoot this weekend but the weather is supposed to be amazing here in Connecticut so hopefully we can spend some time outside too! I hope you all have a great one.

1. If you weren’t a full-time blogger, what job would you be doing?

I wasn’t planning on becoming a full-time blogger when I started Design Darling in college so I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to do in the real world! I interned at Ralph Lauren, Jonathan Adler, and Rue Magazine when I was in college (and even lived in San Francisco for a few months after graduation to continue writing for Rue!). If I weren’t blogging full-time now, I like to think I’d be writing for a magazine or have gone back to school and started an interior design business.

2. What is your all-time favorite book?

This is such a hard question! Off the top of my head, I’d say either Pride and Prejudice or the Harry Potter series. I’m planning to reread all the Harry Potter books with Will as part of my current 101 in 1001 list and it will be the third time I’ve read each book. I really want to reread them with Will but I’m not sure if that means reading two copies at the same time, reading out loud from the same copy, or listening to the audiobook version together. Any ideas?!

3. What’s the best brand of basics to invest in (t-shirts, tanks that will last)?

Most of my basics come from J.Crew’s perfect fit collection (short sleeve here and long sleeve here) and Everlane. I also like the looks of the J.Crew Mercantile t-shirt — you can’t beat that price! For striped basics, you can’t go wrong with the Minquiers Moderne style from Saint James.

4. Any laundry or clothing care tips? Especially for blazers!

I bring my blazers to the dry cleaner every few wears so I’m afraid I’m not the best person to ask! But I’ll include it here so any laundry experts can weigh in in the comments.

5. I need decorating help! Do you have any advice for how to choose a rug? 

Rugs are so important when it comes to making a space feel complete — I still kick myself for not adding a rug before we photographed our guest bedroom in Dallas for the One Room Challenge a couple years ago. I’m not sure which part of your home you’re shopping for but personally I think a classic jute rug works in just about every room (at least as long as you’re not going for a super formal look!). I’m usually not a fan of statement-making rugs — I like them to provide a fairly neutral foundation for the rest of the decor. I have a whole section of my shop page dedicated to my favorite rugs so be sure to check that out!

The other thing to pay attention to is making sure you choose the correct sized rug for your space. There are few things worse than a rug that’s way too small for the room (seriously, that’s worse than no rug at all!). In a living room, you want to commit to either having all furniture fully on top of the rug or having the front legs of every piece on the rug. In a dining room, I’d recommend having both the table and chairs fully on the rug so you’re not dealing with wobbly chairs that are half on and half off the rug. In a bedroom, you can again have all your furniture on top of the rug or move the rug so it’s more than halfway beneath your bed. This post has some helpful visuals on rug sizing and placement but it boils down to this: if you’re deciding between two rug sizes, always err on the larger side.

6. What camera do you use for blog photos?

I have the Canon 5D Mark III and switch between two lenses depending on what I’m shooting: this 50 mm f/1.8 lens for outfit photos and this 16-35 mm f/4 lens for interiors photos. We also rented a zoom lens for our safari honeymoon which I wrote about in this post. And I talked about how I edit my photos in the first Q&A here!

7. Any rehearsal dinner dress ideas? I’m getting married in late October.

Congratulations! I love this long sleeve style, this midi dress, and this bow jumpsuit (which I wore in the navy here!).

P.S. Have you checked out all my bridal favorites here? I update it every time I stumble upon a dress or shoe that I would have considered for our wedding last year!

8. What are your thoughts on push presents (i.e. getting a gift when you have a baby)?

I’m not sure it’s something we will do (gift giving isn’t one of my love languages!) but I pass zero judgment on couples who do! I think it’s lovely to commemorate a milestone moment however you see fit, whether that’s with a newborn photoshoot or a piece of jewelry with their initials. My life philosophy on just about everything is simple: you do you!

9. What’s your favorite moisturizer?

I hate that it’s so expensive but I swear the La Mer moisturizing soft cream saved my skin in the days following my Fraxel treatment this past spring so I ordered another small tub of it during the Nordstrom sale in July. It’s a dream for dry, dehydrated skin and doesn’t make me break out. I’ve also been testing out this Tula moisturizer which is a little less pricey and still super hydrating. If any of you have a drugstore favorite similar to one of these, please leave it in the comments!

10. What are your tips and tricks for a perfect blowout? Yours always looks so nice!

I’m always so flattered when someone asks for hair tips but the truth is my hair drives me crazy and I leave it to the professionals! I get a keratin treatment at Maison d’Alexandre (also highly recommend Frederic Fekkai) every 4-5 months to address frizz and uneven texture which you can see in this post. I use their shampoo and conditioner to maintain the results as long as possible. Then if I’m shooting photos for the blog, I usually get a blowout once a week or straighten it at home after it dries naturally — I don’t even own a hair dryer. I use some combination of this $40 hair straightening brush, this $30 curling iron (size 1.25″), and my favorite dry shampoo and that’s it!

P.S. Read previous Q&A posts here!

10 thoughts on “FRIDAY Q&A: WHAT I’D BE DOING IF I WEREN’T BLOGGING, HOW TO CHOOSE A RUG, MY THOUGHTS ON PUSH PRESENTS, AND MORE

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  1. I really like your explanation to the question about the push present. Upon reading your response, I too have realized that gift giving is not one of my love languages either. Consequently, I always feel quite guilty for avoiding buying a present when I know it is socially expected of me. There are other ways that I enjoy showing that I care for a friend or family member, and your rationale makes a lot of sense!

  2. Love your rug picks. What’re your thoughts on Oriental rugs? I’m set to inherit a few but have somewhat mixed feelings

  3. The Harry Potter audio books are amazing! My husband and I are such huge Harry Potter fans and discovered the magic of the audio books before we saw the play in London a couple of years ago. The narrator is phenomenal and has won countless awards for his work on each book. Highly recommend!

  4. What about shoe care tips? I love the Tretorn sneakers you wore in Vermont, but I would have been terrified to wear white sneakers on a hike! I have the jcrew Gola Mark Cox Tennis sneakers, which I LOVE, but completely trashed them wearing them around London for a week. How do you keep your white sneakers so fresh? Care tips for other types of shoe (especially suede!)?

    also – I mis-read your response at first and thought it said you brought your blazers to the cleaners every few YEARS! Hah!

  5. I’m obsessed with skincare, especially moisturizers. It’s my one must-have skincare product night and day. I highly recommend Laneige’s Water Bank Hydrating Gel for the lightest, most hydrating moisturizer ever. Belif has a very similar moisturizer as well and they’re both UNDER $40! Can’t go wrong with K-beauty products! They’re so gentle and leave my skin so soft and clean feeling.

  6. The Harry Potter audio books are supposed to be AMAZING. My next re-visit of the series is definitely going to be listening to those.

      1. I currently listening to all the HP books again! On book 4 and there’s something extra magical about the audio version.