FRIDAY Q&A: MOVING IN TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE, WHAT I DID WITH MY WEDDING DRESS, THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF MY JOB, AND MORE

Happy Friday! I’m heading into the weekend with a skip in my step thanks to all your kind words on yesterday’s post about A Better Chance. We have a fundraising gala for the ABC house tomorrow night and I can’t wait to spend time with my parents, siblings, and all the girls. After back-to-back-to-back trips to Charleston, Atlanta, and Boston this past week, I am so excited to be home and recharge my batteries. I hope you all have a great one!

design darling friday q&a

1. Any tips for how to grow a just-for-fun blog beyond family and friends?

Create content you’d want to read, be true to yourself, and give it time. I know this advice sounds cliché but there really is no shortcut that I’m aware of. If you’re passionate about the photos you’re creating and the stories you’re writing, the right people have a way of finding you. Examine your analytics and survey your existing readers to find out which posts resonate with them most and find ways to expand on those topics. Figure out what makes you unique and focus on attracting people who are interested in that niche, whether it’s ten people or ten thousand. At the end of the day, social media is just digital word of mouth and people who truly love your content will do a lot of the marketing for you!

2. How did you know moving in with your boyfriend (now husband) was the right choice?

I was getting ready to leave my life and family in Connecticut / New York to move to his hometown of Dallas and there was no way I would have made that move had we not talked extensively about where our relationship was headed and our timeline for getting engaged and getting married. I know moving in together before marriage isn’t right for everyone, but personally I was not about to move across the country to live in my own apartment in a city where I didn’t know anyone! I’ve had friends move in after dating for a year and other friends who waited until after their wedding day and I definitely don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. As long as you and your partner are on the same page, that’s all that matters!

3. How do you protect your skin from the sun? What products do you use?

I’ve gotten a lot more serious about sun protection after the Fraxel treatment I did this past spring. I’m religious about applying sunscreen and always have either the Elta MD facial sunscreen or this Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen in my bag and car at all times. My favorite tinted moisturizer is also SPF 30 but I like to layer actual sunscreen on top. I’m also a big fan of wearing baseball caps for everyday running around and straw hats when I’m at the beach or traveling.

4. How did the Fraxel treatment work out for you?

I shared the before and after here and I’m still very pleased with the results! It didn’t eliminate every single sun spot (it only treats ~20% of your face in one treatment) but it’s absolutely something I would do again in a year or two to treat discoloration. Probably the biggest benefit is that it got me to take my skincare and sun protection much more seriously in the months since and my skin looks and feels so much healthier as a result!

5. Any earring suggestions for my wedding day?

I think for your rehearsal dinner or welcome party you can have a little fun and do a statement earring like these or these, but for your actual wedding day I’d keep it super classic and go with diamond or pearl studs. I borrowed a pair of diamond studs from a local jeweler and wore my mom’s wedding and sapphire bands as my something borrowed and something blue. Just a little something sparkly to frame your face but nothing that will take away from you or your dress! I keep an updated page of all my bridal favorites here.

6. What is your go-to brand for an everyday bag?

My most carried bags are from Annabel Ingall, Mark & Graham, and Tory Burch (obsessed with the new Lee Radziwill satchel!). The first two fit my laptop and tend to be my go-tos on travel days whereas Tory Burch makes more ladylike, structured bags that I like for going out. 

7. What did you do with your wedding dress? Did you keep it, display it, store it, donate it?

I couldn’t bear the thought of getting rid of it! I had it preserved using this reasonably priced service on Amazon and it came back looking brand new. I’m keeping it stored in its packaging and crossing my fingers our future children will want to rewear or repurpose it someday!

8. I just got the best faux fur vest recently but I have no idea how to style it. Any ideas?

I like layering mine over button-down shirts or cable-knit sweaters to keep the look feeling classic and not too trendy. They’re also cute with a flannel shirt or plaid scarf as it gets closer to the holidays!

9. Would you consider yourself religious?

I was raised Catholic until the priest who baptized me and my siblings stole over $1 million from our parish and died in prison. 😬 After that we really only went to church on Easter and Christmas and over the summer on Nantucket, where we attend Catholic mass at an inter-denominational chapel. Right now I’d say I consider myself more spiritual than religious — I believe in God but have formed my own beliefs on birth control, gay marriage, etc.

10. What’s the best and worst part of your job?

The best part is connecting with women all over the country. I’ve said this before but I met three of my bridesmaids through blogging and have become friends with so many women I would never have met if it weren’t for this digital outlet. I love getting to support other female entrepreneurs and small business owners and share the things I chat about with my girlfriends with a larger audience of kindred spirits I may never meet in person. And of course I appreciate the flexibility of working for myself and getting to call my own shots — I’m not sure I could ever give that up and much prefer the uncertainty of not having a salary to the way I felt working for someone else.

The worst part is probably just not being taken seriously by people who don’t understand that blogging is in fact a job. I would never dream of asking someone their salary and yet strangers ask me whether I make any money and/or how much of it on a fairly regular basis. There are of course unbelievable perks that come with this job, but there’s plenty of boring back-end stuff that exists in every career like accounting, negotiating contracts, chasing late payments, and what have you. I wouldn’t trade this job for the world, but it is a job and one that I take quite seriously!

P.S. You can read all my past Friday Q&A posts here!

6 thoughts on “FRIDAY Q&A: MOVING IN TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE, WHAT I DID WITH MY WEDDING DRESS, THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF MY JOB, AND MORE

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  1. Mackenzie, I’m really enjoying your Friday Q&A series. I like hearing short snippets about people’s lives, particularly when they are written in their own voice. Keep up the good work!

  2. Oh yikes on that priest situation… that’s really unfortunate. Greed is a sneaky sin (and tragically prevalent in church leadership… okay, actually everywhere). It really sucks when the betrayal of someone in such high esteem has such a lasting impact on the people hurt by it. I’m really sorry that was your experience. (And grateful that you have such an incredible family that “walks the walk” when it comes to living right. Mentorship / positive examples / learning from others is so crucial.)

    Thank you for the dress preservation recommendation!!! I have been meaning to get mine preserved for literally six years but couldn’t pull the $500 trigger at our local alteration company in Nashville, so I may just have to do this!! I picked an extremely simple duchesse silk a-line Amsale dress for our wedding so that it would be a classic enough silhouette for my daughters to one day wear — fingers crossed they’ll want to!

    1. Kelly, thank you so much for your kind words. I was a little nervous to include that question and so appreciate your immediate understanding. Everyone’s experience is different and I’m sure it’s something I will continue to explore throughout my lifetime until I find what feels like the right fit. And I am so with you on the dress preservation — I got a quote for $800 locally and I just couldn’t do it! Was so happy to find this service and think you’ll be as impressed as I was — it comes with everything you need, literally down to the tape to adhere the shipping label.

  3. I think that bloggers should be more open about how they make money. You obviously don’t need to release your tax returns, but money shouldn’t be such a taboo topic (https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2015/04/14/the-money-taboo-why-it-exists-who-it-benefits-and-how-to-navigate-it/#2922e2ae2f62). You can research the average or medium income for most careers online. How can a younger person reasonably consider blogging as a career if they have no idea how the monetary aspects of it work or how much they can reasonably expect to make? Money being taboo is also rooted in sexism and classism.