FRIDAY Q&A: MY FITNESS GOALS, FACE MASKS FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN, AND THE NEXT THING I WANT TO CROSS OFF MY 101 IN 1001 LIST

Happy Friday! This week was a doozy trying to play catch-up after traveling last week and getting ready to travel again today. Zero complaints about escaping the snow in CT but I’m for sure craving more than a few consecutive days at home to get back into a real routine. I spent all day Wednesday shooting and editing photos of our guest bedroom (which you’ll see next week!) and then Will and I stayed up super late on Wednesday to assemble furniture for our home office (which I’ll be posting the week after next). I sometimes feel like if I’m getting a lot done in one area of my life it probably means I’m falling short in at least one or two more and that feeling definitely got the best of me this week… anyone else? I hope you all get a little time to relax this weekend!

design darling friday q&a

1. What are your fitness goals for the new year?

I plan to continue personal training at Countdown once a week… I just had my fourth session yesterday and I am SO sore today! And then I’m not sure whether I want to add in something new (I’ve heard great things about Obé Fitness and know a few of you are hooked!) or go back to BBG. I guess my biggest goal when it comes to fitness is to be consistent. I feel so much better (and sleep so much better) when exercise is a part of my routine and I hate the feeling of making a ton of progress and then getting out of the habit for one reason or another. So whatever workout I decide to do, I just want to make it as sustainable as possible!

2. What are three books you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to yet?

Such a great question! I think I have ten pages of wishlisted books on Audible. 😂 But three that I’ve been meaning to read forever are Crazy Rich Asians, Shoe Dog, and Steve Jobs. 

3. Do you have a favorite face mask or two that you would recommend? I know you’ve mentioned you also have acne-prone skin… would love to hear more about how you combat that!

I am borderline fanatical about Tata Harper’s purifying mask for acne-prone skin. I use it at night a couple times a week and it visibly reduces breakouts by the next morning. When I’m breaking out, I’ll use Kate Somerville’s Eradikate cleanser, then Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate mask, then the Tata Harper mask, and then apply Vintner’s Daughter. The last one is the only product I’ve ever found that keeps cystic acne at bay. It’s expensive and I’m always on the lookout for something cheaper that’s equally effective, but I notice a huge difference if I go a week without using it and always cave and order another bottle. If you have an acne product that you swear by, please leave a comment and help a girl out! 🙏🏼

4. I’ve seen you have a few jute rugs in your house and was wondering which one you recommend (looking for an 8’ x 10’ for our family room). 

I love, love, love our Dash & Albert rugs! We have this plain jute one and this woven one and they’re both beautiful and durable. This one isn’t technically jute but it has a similar colorway — we’ve used it in both our living room and our dining room and it’s definitely the softest of the tree! We also have this jute runner that comes in an 8’ x 10’ and I actually just ordered this affordable jute rug for our home office and can’t believe how much I like it in person!

5. Do you have any favorite online sources for kitchen lighting? Trying to find island pendants!

I dream of the day I can hang these over a kitchen island! I would check out One Kings Lane, Pottery Barn, RejuvenationSerena & Lily, Wayfair, and Williams-Sonoma Home. I love these, these, and these!

6. I love your hair and want to know how you style it!

Thanks! I’m really not the best at doing it myself so there’s a decent chance that if you’re seeing a picture of it, it’s because I went to Glam Blow that morning. 😉 If I’m doing it myself, I use this hair straightening brush (see a before and after here!) to even out the texture and then run through it with this curling iron in the 1.25” size.

7. Any ideas for ways to store blankets in the living room to hide them? 

I would get a big basket and place it next to an armchair or sofa! The one we have from Pottery Barn is no longer available but I like the looks of this and this.

8. How did you choose which wedding photos to print and hang? I’m having the hardest time narrowing it down!

I went through the same thing! I wrote a post on framing our wedding photos here but basically I narrowed it down to my favorite twenty or so photos (a mix of just the two of us, us with family members, and a group shot with our bridesmaids and groomsmen) and decided which ones I wanted in these frames for our walls and which ones would go in picture frames for desks and nightstands. I think I wound up with five frames for our walls (one in our home office, three in our bedroom, and one in our bathroom) and everything else got printed and put in a small frame. 

9. What’s the next goal you’re hoping to cross off your 101 in 1001 list?

Next week I’ll be able to cross off #62 which is photographing at least five rooms in our house for the blog. So far I’ve shared our foyer, living room, dining room, and kitchen and next week you’ll see our guest bedroom!

10. Would you say you’re naturally tidy? Any thoughts on Marie Kondo’s new show? (Might be watching too much Netflix!)

I am definitely NOT naturally tidy! Organization is something I crave but really have to work at. So far Will and I have only seen one episode of her show but I read her book a couple years ago and find her extremely inspiring (you can read my takeaways from the book here). I love the idea of surrounding yourself only with things that make you happy and I can say with confidence that we’re definitely not there yet in our house. My friend Kelly and her husband are currently Konmari-ing their house in Chicago and I’m so excited to see their progress! Would you guys be interested in following along if Will and I did something similar? I’m a little intimidated but it’d be great motivation for me!

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  1. I am many, many days late to this post, but concerning your acne: have you talked to your dermatologist about Retinol? When I was a teenager, I didn’t really break out. However, as an adult, I began developing cystic, hormonal acne. It was… not a good look. Finally, I got fed up and went to visit a dermatologist who put me on Tretinoin 0.025% (retin-a cream; I now use 0.6%) and IT CHANGED MY LIFE. It completely eliminated my cystic/hormonal acne and has given me straight-up incredible skin. It also has ridiculously amazing anti-aging properties and they say the earlier you introduce it into your routine the better. I’m 25, so I’m really only using it for acne, but I’m excited to see how it pays off down the road! Definitely talk to your derm about it.

  2. I have a question for next week’s Q&A: What are your favorite leggings? I’m looking for every day black comfy ones. I have some lululemons but I find them too restricting for just lounging and also not warm enough for winter in MA! My previous favorites were from Loft of all places, but when I bought them again this year they had changed to a much thinner fabric 🙁 Honestly that seems to be a trend if you read leggings reviews online!

  3. For acne prone skin, I swear by The Ordinary salicylic acid 2%. I patch tested it overnight and then tried just a little the first time and the difference was very noticeable. My skin was smoother, softer and my breakouts were visibly reduced. This is after using True Botanicals for a year and while that helped, this $5 acid made a bigger difference than those pricier products. But I do like the TB clear line too. The tata mask sounds promising though!

  4. Aww Mackenzie, I love you!! YOU GUYS SHOULD DO IT. I would personally LOVE to see your journey, *and* I truly can’t recommend it more. It’s made SUCH a difference in our lives, and we’ve only tackled the first category so far!

    Also, I cannot WAIT to see the additional rooms! You’re my home #goals for sure. 😉 XOXO! Have a great weekend with Will! Wish we lived closer!

  5. Any and all Arcona products are amazing for acne! I use their whole line and it’s life-changing. I also love Herbivore Prism and use it daily. I’ve never used Tata Harper but I’ll definitely be checking out the purifying mask!