FRIDAY Q&A — MY ENGAGEMENT RING, OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS IN NYC, WHERE TO FIND PREPPY CLOTHES ON A BUDGET, AND MORE

Hello and happy Friday! I’ve had a fun and busy week with two nights in the city and a girls’ night in town last night. It’s crazy to think we don’t have that many more weekends at home this year so I plan to take full advantage sleeping in and trying to finish up our dining room. We picked up the newly reupholstered birdcage chair (still not sure if I want it to live in this room but it looks amazing and much more grown-up!) and cushions for our new dining room chairs last week so now we just need to hang curtains and curtain rods. The dining room is turning into one of my favorite rooms in our house (it’s super sunny during the day so I find myself working at the dining table more often than not) and I can’t wait to share it with you! Have a great one!

design darling friday q&a

1. What’s your favorite beauty or self-care indulgence (massage, facial, pedicure, etc.)?

I try to get a facial once a month as I’ve found them extremely helpful for acne-prone skin. If I’m sore from working out or feeling overwhelmed, going and getting a massage is my favorite, but I’ll go to a cheap, no frills kind of place over a fancy spa any day. And I get a mani/pedi every couple weeks — I probably wouldn’t be so diligent about manicures if I weren’t in pictures all the time, but I consider a pedicure more life maintenance than self-indulgence! 😬

2. What are your favorite nail colors?

I’m pretty boring with my nail colors but I figure it’s one less decision I have to make if I get the same colors over and over. 99% of the time I do a CND pale pink gel color called Romantique (it’s what I wore on our wedding day!) and a hot pink on my toes (OPI Strawberry Margarita or something similar). 

3. Did you help design your engagement ring or was it a surprise?

Will and I looked at rings two or three times together before he proposed. I just had no idea what I wanted and he knew it was way too important of a decision to just make an educated guess! I tried on everything under the sun but kept going back to a round solitaire in a six-prong Tiffany setting. Once we decided on the look, he picked out the diamond and took it from there. The first day he asked if I wanted to go look at engagement rings was honestly more of a surprise than the day he proposed — I was blowing up my mom and sister’s phones from Dallas!

4. My fiancé and I are taking engagement photos in November. Any suggestions on what to wear?

So exciting! Our engagement pictures won’t be much help since we took them over the summer, but I think first you need to decide whether you want to dress up or keep it casual. We had a beach wedding with cocktail attire so we wanted our engagement photos to reflect casual, classic Nantucket attire. But if you’re having a black tie city wedding, you might want to be in a cocktail dress and heels. If you’re thinking casual, I’d probably wear this cream sweater with my favorite jeans or I  love the idea of this sweater dress with ankle boots. If you’re thinking dressier, I love this navy shiftthis fit-and-flare dress, and this similar style that I wore for our engagement party (you can see it in this post!). The most important thing is that you both feel comfortable and wear something that makes you feel your best!

5. Any new needlepoint projects? What are your favorite needlepoint stores / resources?

So many of you have asked for a needlepointing update and I’m embarrassed to report that I’m STILL working on Will’s needlepoint belt that I started before his birthday in May. I am so close to being finished with it and then I’m going to start working on a Nantucket sign ornament for Christmas. I’ll be sure to share the finished products once I finally wrap them up! I’ve gotten canvases from Erica Wilson on Nantucket and House of Needlepoint in Darien as well as Needlepaint online. You can read about how I got started with needlepoint here!

6. Do you have any plans for another dog?

We want another dog SO badly but it’s just not the right time for us. My parents take care of Rory when we’re out of town and they already have their hands full so they might kill me if we dropped off two dogs instead of one! 

7. Do you still get keratin treatments for your hair?

Yes, I actually got one yesterday! I go to Maison d’Alexandre in Greenwich and they last about 4-5 months for me before my hair starts to get frizzy again. You can see my hair right after a keratin treatment in this post. 

8. Any tips on how to combat homesickness?

Ugh, I feel for you! This was the hardest part of the two years we lived in Dallas for me. My best advice is to plan regular visits with family and friends (whether you go to them or they come to you) so you always have something to look forward to and to make a concerted effort to meet new people where you’re living now. And when all else fails, FaceTime!

9. What are some of your favorite date night restaurants in NYC? Need an idea for my fiancé’s birthday dinner!

If your fiancé likes Italian and you haven’t been yet, Will and I both love Palma! We also love Café Cluny, Mermaid Inn, and Rosemary’s (excited to try their new pizza place next week!).

10. Any recommendations on where to find preppy clothes on a teacher budget?

I think J.Crew Factory is your best friend here. They carry similar styles to J.Crew and you can find all their basics — ballet flats, button-down shirts, cashmere sweaters, field jackets, navy blazers, and even winter coats — at unbeatable prices, plus there’s almost always a promo code you can use for an additional percentage off. Beyond that, I’d check out Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Loft, and Old Navy.

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  1. Hello, curious now about how you chose your wedding rings? We ended up choosing the thinnest white gold bands, to match my engagement ring which has a very thin band and because I like the idea of stacking (another ring to celebrate a birth, maybe). But now I’m kind of regretting that the wedding ring is not more visible (I kind of want to show it off you know?). I wanted ALL the rings, it was a very hard choice! Do you also like the idea of stacking rings or do you think it becomes too much/not so elegant?

  2. How any boyfriend (/future fiancée) picks out a ring on his own is beyond me! My (now) husband and I went to the jeweler together because I’m pretty picky and wanted to pick out exactly what I wanted. For when my best friend got engaged, she and I went to some jewelers after they’d been dating for a few years and I got a feel for what designs she did and didn’t like, then I went shopping with her boyfriend to help! I liked both ways, but think it depends on the couple and the woman’s want to control what she’ll be wearing for the rest of her life!

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