An Ode to Dorothy Draper

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Upon entering the Greenbrier, America’s historic resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV, you are immediately overwhelmed — in a good way. Rich in history, color and pattern, your eye can’t help but bounce from room to room, unable to soak in all of the details fast enough. During my first visit, I found myself wandering the halls and rooms for hours, entranced by interior designer Dorothy Draper‘s designs.

“At the Greenbrier she [Dorothy Draper] concentrated on the three basic ingredients she thought essential to any decorating job: masses of beautiful color, a sense of balance and scale, and an awareness and love of smart accessories,” says Robert Conte.

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Mission accomplished, Dorothy.

Mixing colors and patterns I never would have thought to do on my own, I find myself turning to images of Dorothy’s Greenbrier designs for inspiration. In my favorite room, the Victorian Writing Room, bright reds and deep greens are paired alongside punchy floral fabrics in perfect harmony.

Here are a few pieces you could implement to capture Dorothy’s ‘three basic ingredients’ found at the Greenbrier, but with a modern twist.

Living room image: Cup of Jo. Rug: Doris Leslie Blau. Table: Target. Vase: Etsy. Pillow: Houzz.

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What to Pack for a Summer Getaway

Summer Vacation Pack List

Going on big, long vacations is wonderful, but there’s something to be said about a quick weekend trip. Since they are generally less expensive, you can take more of them throughout the year which gives you more events to look forward to and get excited about. After all, isn’t the anticipation of a trip almost as fun as the vacation itself?

Growing up in Ohio, I spent many weekends on Kelleys Island. With a population of less than 350 people, you feel as though you’re in another world the second you step off the ferry and on the island. Everything is a little bit slower and more carefree up there.

At just a four hour drive from Chicago, I’ve already planned my first weekend trip for this year and created a list of what I’m planning to bring with me.

  1. Bikini top and bottoms: For the last eight summers, I’ve worn some variation of a basic black bikini. This swimsuit from J. Crew falls under the swimsuit requirements that I apparently have, but the scalloped edges give it a fun, vintage vibe.
  2. Chambray cotton-linen romper: When I’m on vacation, the last thing I want to think about is styling an outfit. A romper is a one-piece garment that is quick and simple to throw on. It also allows me to easily go on bike rides or hikes, which are things that wouldn’t be as comfortable to do in the other one-piece option; a dress.
  3. Drawstring bucket bag: This bag can fit my wallet, book and towel and ties shut so I don’t have to worry about anything falling out during bike rides – it’s perfect.
  4. Water bottle: I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day, which is actually pretty easy to do when I’m in my normal routine. But while on vacation, I’m more likely to order a cold beer or a refreshing cocktail, and remembering to drink water falls way down on my priority list. Carrying a bottle of water with me all day is the little reminder I need to keep hydrated.
  5. Sunglasses: Any glasses that make me feel like Jackie Kennedy are a win in my book.
  6. Face mist: This refreshing mist is exactly what my skin is craving after a long day of sun and wind. It’s light, fresh and leaves my skin toned and glowing. Plus the subtle rose scent is slightly addicting.
  7. Slide sandals: These simple sandals are the perfect no-fuss shoe. Similar to my reluctance to style an outfit, I also don’t want to waste time buckling or tying shoes just to get out the door.
  8. A good book: Ever since I watched the first episode when it came out on Hulu last month, I have been obsessed with The Handmaid’s Tale. I devour any interview clip, episode preview or article review I can get my hands on between episodes each week. So it’s no surprise that I’ve been dying to read the book that the television series is based on.

Floor-to-Ceiling Bookshelves

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I have a wishlist (yes, an actual physical list on a folded sheet of lined notebook paper) of design features I dream of having in my future home. One thing at the top of that list is built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

They instantly make a room feel homey, comfortable and inviting. Their height and amount of wall real estate they take up also make the space feel like your own little library. Not to mention they are a great conversation starter. I currently have two large bookshelves in my apartment and whenever friends come over, that’s the first area they gravitate towards. They browse the book titles, make comments about books they’ve also read and ask questions about the small knick-knacks that break up the stacks.

So, until the day I have my very own built-in bookshelves, I’ll just continue to collect books that will one day be organized floor-to-ceiling.

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Design Idea: Display Your Stationary

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I am the biggest sucker when it comes to stationary. I can’t leave an Anthropologie or a Target without buying a notebook or a card set or SOMETHING. There are so many pretty styles out there, it almost seems like a disservice to the charming artwork and clever sayings on the cards to keep them hidden away in a desk drawer. So, when I moved into my studio, I decided I would display it all.

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Do or Don’t: Tattoos

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Every time I spot a trendy girl with a sleek, simple tattoo peeking out from under her shirt sleeve I get an itch to get one too. But, I’m way too big of a wimp, both pain-wise and commitment-wise (I mean, it’s on your body FOREVER). While I’m 99.9999% sure I will never get a tattoo myself, I still love to browse Instagram and Pinterest for ideas.

Can you use the word ‘elegant’ to describe tattoos? No? Well, I’m using it. Frédéric Forrest‘s striking line drawings are so beautiful and elegant and are the exact look I would go for.

Here are some I would consider…

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Candy Cupcakes

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I have a major sweet tooth. Cake and candy are two things I can never turn down, no matter how full I am. I normally only make these cupcakes around Halloween when candy is literally unavoidable, but I had a hankering for them this past weekend and decided to whip up a batch to get my candy fix.

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Sad Mac

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Remember that episode in Sex and the City when Carrie gets Sad Mac-ed? Well, that happened to me last week.

I should have seen it coming. My mac was about 8 years old and on its last leg. It would die the second it wasn’t connected to power and it took close to a full minute just to close a program. And then, one day last week, it just happened.

I hadn’t backed up since October of 2011, so my biggest worry was that I had lost everything I had stored on my mac. My pictures! Eight years worth of memories!

But, countless hours at the Genius Bar, a trip to a mom and pop computer store (after being told that since my Macbook Pro was more than five years old it was considered “vintage” and couldn’t be fixed by Apple), and one hard drive extraction later, they were able to save everything and I’m finally back up and running on my new Macbook Air.

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DIY Copper Hanging Grid Divider

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This past September I moved into a studio apartment – the first studio apartment I have lived in. A big design challenge was finding a way to separate my “bedroom” area from my living area.

A bookshelf wall acts as the main divider between the two spaces, but I still wasn’t crazy about walking into my apartment and having my bed be right there. I knew I wanted some sort of a divider between my bed and front door, but I didn’t want it to feel too closed off or to be an eye-sore. After having no luck finding anything online and in stores that would accomplish the look I was going for, I decided to create something!

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