FRIDAY Q&A: DATING ADVICE, A BRAND I’M DYING TO WORK WITH, HOW I COPE WITH MEAN COMMENTS, AND MORE

Happy Friday, friends! I just got back from three days in Charleston and am trying to shoot a few upcoming posts today before we head to Atlanta this weekend for my friend Sara’s wedding! Thank you so much to all of you who submitted questions this week. I’m keeping a running list on my computer so feel free to submit your questions anytime over email or Instagram!

design darling friday q&a

1. I’d love dating tips and advice on how to put yourself out there. I’m not very forward and I’m old-fashioned so I’m afraid to try dating apps!

I think it’s totally fine to opt out of dating apps if you’re putting yourself out there in real life. For me personally, I wasn’t meeting a ton of single guys as a self-employed person in a female-dominated industry, so I decided to give dating apps a try and went on a few dates a week over the course of nine months. I wound up meeting my now husband on Tinder — and given our single mutual friend, I’m 1,000% certain we would never have met otherwise! If you’re constantly meeting new people through work or friends or going out at night, I fully understand not having a need for dating apps — but if that’s not the case, I’d highly encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and at least give it a try before you decide it’s not for you. The right partner is out there looking for you, but you’re going to have to make a little effort to go out and look for him/her too!

I’m not totally in the know on the best dating apps nowadays, but I’ve seen some of my closest girlfriends match with a dozen guys on Bumble and then be too scared to send a simple “hey” or “hi!”. I’ll literally go through and send the same hello to ten people for them — what’s the worst that could possibly happen? I think it’s so cool to think that all that’s standing between you and a possible romantic connection could be a two- or three-letter word and it takes a single moment of courage to get over the hurdle. And the more times you take a chance, the more times you’re putting yourself out there, the more times you’re sending the universe a message that you’re looking for love (or at least a fun fling!). At the end of the day, I was always of the mindset that a bad date could at least be a good story and nothing ventured = nothing gained.

P.S. If you want a couple good reads on conquering a fear and putting yourself out there (with dating or in general!), I highly recommend The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. 

2. How did your parents pick you and your siblings’ names and what baby names do you like?

Mackenzie — My mom was on an international licensing trip to Tokyo for Ralph Lauren and went into a trim store looking for blackwatch plaid ribbon for a project. She found the blackwatch but fell in love with the Mackenzie tartan and bought ten yards to use for birth announcements “someday.” My parents ended up loving the name as much as the plaid and the rest is history!

Reilly — My parents loved the idea of “living the life of Riley,” a carefree, comfortable, and enjoyable way of living where you had enough money so as not to be concerned with earning more. They then found the Irish-American singer Pat Rooney who sang about Reilly having a comfortable and prosperous life and preferred this Irish spelling and heritage.

Grayson — My dad’s sister-in-law is named Gray and my mom loved that her name felt strong, mysteriouis, and uncommon. My parents looked up boy names with “Gray” in them and found Grayson and Graydon. My mom had grown up swimming in a public pool called Graydon and couldn’t imagine naming her son after a pool, so Grayson easily won out as his name.

Camden — This is the best story out of the four as my parents originally called home from the hospital telling the three of us that our new brother Whitney had arrived. My mom loved the names Whit and Kipp but my dad didn’t like the name Kipp and my siblings and I immediately nixed Whitney. My mom also loved the name Chase but we weren’t entirely sold on that either, so finally they suggested Camden (having recently visited Camden, Maine, and loved it) and that was it. My mom initially wanted him to have a one syllable name but agrees that he’s much more a Cam than a Whit. Any time he’s annoyed with one of us we’ll remind him that he would have been Whitney if we hadn’t intervened. 😉

And I hate to disappoint but I’m keeping all my baby names to myself! But I think my parents chose pretty perfect names for all of us and I always tell my mom that she took all the good ones. Will and I will have our work cut out for us one day! 🙂

3. I know you did stand-up paddleboard yoga, but do you do yoga regularly? If so, what kind?

I loved stand-up paddleboard yoga (and would do it again in a heartbeat!) but I don’t do yoga regularly. I’ve gone through phases of taking yoga classes at our YMCA and I have friends and family members who live for it, but as much as I’d love to love it, I almost always find it a little too slow-paced to keep me fully engaged. Right now I’m doing BBG three times a week (which I talked more about in this post) but I’d love to incorporate a barre or Pilates class into the mix! 

4. What is your opinion on white pants after Labor Day? Is it a real rule?

I stopped following this rule a long time ago and I haven’t looked back! I love white jeans with a navy blazer or tan sweater and I love, love, love an all-white winter look with a cream coat and white pants. 

5. Do you have a self-tanning ritual for the winter months?

I used to get spray tans somewhat regularly (I love Zen Bronze if you’re local) but this year I’ve mostly been applying it at home and it couldn’t be easier. I use this self tan mousse and this applicator mitt every few days in the summer. In the fall/winter, I get a little lazy and only apply it to parts of my body that are exposed in a given outfit (my face/neck/chest, arms/hands, legs/feet). It fades on its own after a few days and I can exfoliate it off if I want to even things out, but basically Will is pretty used to seeing me with pale legs and tan feet at this point. 🙂

6. What’s one brand you’ve always wanted to work with but haven’t yet?

This is such a great question! This past year especially I’ve gotten to work with a few of my all-time favorite brands for the first time and it blows my mind that brands like J.Crew or Ralph Lauren have wanted to work with little old me! One brand I’d love to work with and haven’t yet is Wisteria — Will and I have purchased quite a few of their pieces for our home and my favorite partnerships are either when I get introduced to an incredible new product that I can’t wait to share or when I’ve already been a longtime fan of the brand and get to share that obsession with all of you!  

7. Do rude or mean people ever message you? How often and how do you deal with it?

It definitely happens and to me, it really depends on the intent behind a given comment. Constructive criticism is essential for growth and I think some negative feedback is a necessary evil of having an online presence. So I’ve definitely developed a thicker skin in the nine years since I started my blog, but I’m still a pretty sensitive person and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t received a few comments that totally broke my spirit at one point or another. I try to remember that people’s insults are often a projection of their own insecurities and that their words are more a reflection on them than on me. At this point I’m usually more upset when someone comments something rude about my family or friends than I am when someone insults my outfit, our house, or even my appearance, but it’s tough when someone who doesn’t know you offline makes assumptions about an aspect of your life or picks apart something you already don’t love about yourself. In those moments I remind myself of this quote I love: “Don’t worry about the people talking behind your back — they’re behind you for a reason.” Amen!

8. Do you have a Dallas travel guide? I’m visiting in February!

You can see some of my recommendations listed here but they might not be the most up-to-date since we left almost two years ago. I still love City Café and True Food Kitchen for lunch and  Mi Cocina, Neighborhood Services, and Taverna for dinner. Highland Park Village is great for historic architecture and window shopping and the Sixth Floor Museum is amazing if you’re at all interested in learning more about JFK’s assassination and all the conspiracy theories surrounding it.

9. What advice would you go back and give your 20-year-old self?

To be kinder to myself, to spend less time worrying about other people’s opinions, and to have faith that everything happens for a reason. In fact I think those are all still good reminders for me at 29!

10. How did you decide to display your wedding shoes?

I still haven’t decided, but I did have them cleaned at Leather Spa in New York thanks to all of your recommendations and they did by far the best job of the three places that have attempted to get all the dirt and sand off of them! Now that they’re as clean as they’re going to get, I’m thinking about getting one of these acrylic display boxes and putting them in the bookshelf in my office. What do you guys think? Any other ideas you’ve seen and loved?

P.S. Catch up on past Q&A posts here!

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  1. That was really kind of you to use both gender pronouns in the first question. It’s such a little thing, but so inclusive and welcoming and I definitely noticed. Thank you.