Happy Friday! I feel like this week flew by. I finally saw my personal trainer after a month of not working out (does anyone else always fall off the bandwagon after a big trip?) and today I’m heading to J.McLaughlin to pick out an outfit for an event I’m hosting next week. If you’re local and have been curious about how to support A Better Chance (blog post here!), come say hi next Thursday in Darien! 15% of proceeds will go to A Better Chance — and if you can’t make it to the event from 6 to 8 p.m., you can mention ABC at the store all day for your purchase to count towards their contribution! Sharing the invite below… would love to see some of you there!

design darling friday q&a

1. I will be in Dallas for work for the next two months. I noticed you don’t have a Dallas section in your travel guide. What are your recommendations for restaurants from Tex Mex to BBQ to something more formal?

So many good restaurants in Dallas! We love Dolce Riviera and Taverna for Italian, Mi Cocina for Tex Mex, Neighborhood Services for American, and Shinsei for sushi. My husband likes Pecan Lodge for barbecue (I don’t eat meat!). Oh and my go-tos for lunch were City Café To Go and True Food Kitchen — I miss both of them so much! 

2. What are you reading right now?

Will and I are rereading the Harry Potter series and just finished the third book so we’re starting the fourth one asap! I’d forgotten how amazing the third book is. I’m also almost finished with 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam — I loved her most recent book Off The Clock and I’m always fascinated by how other people manage their time. 

3. I am planning a trip to Paris for end of June (one week) with my husband. Neither of us have been and I am SO excited!! I am torn about making a reservation for brunch on Sunday at Ralph’s. The reviews are not great and I can’t find a brunch menu anywhere online or on their website. It is different from their regular menu. You seemed to have loved it there so I am curious what your suggestion would be? Also, I have gone through your Paris stuff, but anything else you would rec’d as a must do?

I loved brunch at Ralph’s in large part because of the gorgeous setting and design details (hostesses in jodhpurs, waiters in dress shirts, Ralph Lauren tableware, etc.!). The food was good but nothing out-of-this-world — it’s pretty hard to mess up eggs and pancakes. 🙂 If you’re a big Ralph Lauren fan, definitely go, but if it’s your first time in Paris and you don’t want to waste one meal at an American restaurant, that totally makes sense to me! I have a couple posts on Paris restaurants here and here which it sounds like you’ve read so besides those my only tip is make sure you climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for the best 360 degree views! 

4. Getting married this summer and would love to see a round-up of white dresses you’d wear for different events — loved all the outfits you picked for yours!

Congrats! I frequently update the items in the bridal category on my shop page so definitely check that out. I love this classic shift (easy to rewear!) or this eyelet sundress for a bridesmaids’ luncheon, this fitted midi dress or this ladylike stunner for a rehearsal dinner, and  this scalloped jumpsuit for a bridal shower or welcome party. If you’re changing out of your wedding dress into an after party look, I love this bow jumpsuit, these dance-floor-ready sequins, and if you’re really daring, this rainbow sequined perfection!

5. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for framing larger prints? I am looking to get a frame for a print we have without breaking the bank.

We used Framebridge for framing our wedding photos and they carry a ton of different sizes from teeny tiny to large enough to hang over a bed or sofa!

6. Any good recs for work clothes?

Obviously I don’t get too dolled up to work from home but if I did have to go into a more formal office environment I think I’d do most of my shopping at Banana Republic and J.Crew (they have a hydrangea blue color in their suiting this season that’s to die for!). And J.Crew Factory seems to have a lot of past season J.Crew items at discount prices!

7. I am celebrating some various milestones and would like to purchase a special piece of jewelry. For college graduation, I got a David Yurman, for a big promotion an Hermes clic bracelet. This time, however, I am looking for something not quite DY, Hermes, major designer – more personal. Something dainty and feminine – but definitely a ring or bracelet. Sorry I know that is vague haha but you have such great taste and thought you may be a good resource for this hunt. Thank you in advance!

Congratulations on your various milestones! I love the classic look of a gold signet ring personalized with your initials. It’s something you can wear every day and pass on to future children someday! 

8. Are you still using Vintner’s Daughter? I remember reading you loved it a long time ago and I’m on the fence about purchasing. Would love an updated review!

Yes! I think I’m on my fourth or fifth bottle at this point. I briefly stopped using it just because it’s so expensive and my skin freaked out right away — like immediate cystic acne that I hadn’t dealt with since I first introduced it into my skincare routine. There are probably more affordable ways to get hydration or to treat fine lines but Vintner’s Daughter is truly the only miracle worker I’ve found for acne-prone skin. If that happens to be your primary skin concern, it’s worth every penny!

9. I am getting married in July. The theme is “garden party” inspired by blue and white ginger jars and boxwood plants. I came to love this style through reading your blog and admiring your eye for design. Anyway! I am looking for a special tablecloth or overlay for the wedding cake table. We are okay with purchasing something that we might even be able to use in our home afterword. I am thinking something inspired by, but not too closely related, to the ginger jars. Does that make sense? You always seem to have the cutest textiles so I was hoping you might be able to help me.

Congratulations! I love the idea of purchasing wedding decor you’ll be able to reuse in your home. I love the look of this, this, and this!

10. Birthday present ideas for my dad’s 60th?

My favorite dad gift is two tickets to a Red Sox game — a sporting event means a chance to spend one-on-one time together and it’s something he might not often buy for himself! Here’s a blog post I did with a bunch of experiential gifts that might be fun for such a milestone birthday!


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  1. I’m really glad you were honest about Ralphs, but in the future, if the food is only so-so you probably shouldn’t recommend the restaurant even if the decor and ambiance are amazing. I’m not saying those qualities aren’t important in a restaurant, but espeically for an expensive meal in a country known for its food, it is a bummer. Most people don’t have a job or instagram following where the ambiance makes up for the food and don’t take trips like that often.

    Additionally for you, if I would have went to Ralphs on your recommendation and thought the food was only okay, it would make me think twice about following your recommendations about other things (espeically because in that post you said admitted to choosing places based on decor but “promised” you only recommended places with good ambiance AND good food).

  2. Had to let you know that we went to Palma for dinner when we were in the city a few weekends ago and it did.not.disappoint! My boyfriend is still raving about his entree and talking about visiting again the next time we’re in the city. Aside from being a dreamy instagram paradise, the wine was soooo good and not crazy inflated pricing. I definitely found it online and ordered some bottles for home.

    All this to say — appreciate your travel guides and recs! thank you! 🙂