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Simplicity Series: Mackenzie Horan

May 23, 2016

Hi, I'm Mackenzie! I started my blog, Design Darling, in college, writing from the coffee shop on campus about whatever was inspiring me that day. By the time I graduated, I’d been blogging every day for two years and it had grown from something only my mom read to this place where I could connect with so many young women who love the same things I do. After a series of short-lived jobs in San Francisco and New York, I realized I had an opportunity to make Design Darling part of my long-term career goals. Ten months after graduation, I launched my online boutique (by the same name) from my parents’ dining room table in Connecticut. Four years, a two-and-a-half year stint in New York, and a move to Dallas later, I feel extremely fortunate to be running my own business, working with amazing vendors (like Emily Ley!), and learning something new every day.
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I love sleep — if I don’t get 8 or 9 hours, it’s not a pretty picture. And lately my fiancé and I have been holding each other accountable for getting to the gym — it’s way better with a buddy and being in shape for our wedding is a great motivator!
What’s your favorite beauty secret?
I was recently introduced to Tata Harper’s skincare products and now I’m not sure how I lived without them. When it comes to makeup, I’m definitely a less-is-more kind of girl so the better my skin looks, the more comfortable I feel in just a swipe of mascara and a little under-eye concealer.
What’s your favorite go-to outfit for a quick polished look?
I practically live in button-down shirts, skinny jeans, and ballet flats, with an oversized handbag to lug around my laptop. 
What’s your favorite quick-prep dinner for your family?
Takeout. ;)
Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow and why?
My favorite person to follow on Instagram is @amy_stone — partly because she’s one of my favorite people in real life but also because she has incredible style and a killer eye for color and composition.
What tradition or routine is important to you?
Any time before someone in our family boards a flight, we send a text on our family thread saying “GBTT” or “God bless this trip” and everyone responds with the same. I don’t know how it started but now it’s second nature to text everyone before take-off and my fiancé and I have started doing it too. I think now that my parents are in Connecticut, I’m in Dallas, my sister is in New York, and my brothers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio, it’s a great way of keeping up with who’s traveling where and letting them know we’re thinking of them. 
What’s in your purse?
Wallet, sunglasses, eyeglasses, Aquaphor, Claritin, and usually a million receipts and pieces of paper I keep meaning to throw out.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m happiest when I’m traveling with family and friends, whether it’s somewhere new or someplace I’ve been before. My happiest days are on Nantucket, filling the house with too many people, biking to get coffee, spending all day at the beach, then taking turns taking outdoor showers and getting ready for dinner. Of course that’s only a few weekends every year, and I love Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for more everyday inspiration. But I’m a big believer that you can’t write about your life if you’re not out there living it!
We know you’re a busy lady! How do you balance all of your work responsibilities with your home and personal life? Any tips for our readers?
My iCal is my best friend — it’s color coordinated with different colors for everything from birthdays and travel to blog deadlines and conference calls. It might seem duplicitous but I also love my Emily Ley planner (this year I’m using the pineapple design) — there’s something about seeing my whole day at a glance and manually crossing a task off my to do list that will never, ever get old to me. I guess in terms of balancing my work and personal life, there’s definitely a blurred line between the two. Will and I squeeze in workouts together during the week when we don’t have time for a sit-down dinner date, which makes us feel like we’re killing two birds with one stone. We’re immensely supportive of one another’s careers, which makes it a lot easier when one of us has to work overtime. Weekends are our time to see friends, take Rory to the dog park, catch up on our favorite TV shows… and this year we have nine weddings to attend!  
What’s your favorite app (or other tool) for helping you do life?
I joke that our household (and my office, for that matter) runs on Amazon Prime. It’s how we order cleaning supplies and toiletries for the house and packing supplies for the office — it’s one of those things I don’t know how I ever lived without. Other than that, I love VSCO for editing Instagram photos, Audible for “reading” on my commute to the office, and Prism for paying bills.
Follow along with Mackenzie: 
Boutique: designdarling.com
Instagram: @mackenziehoran
Pinterest: @mackenziehoran
Twitter: @mackenziehoran
copyright 2016 emily ley