A Valentines to London.

I remember standing at the GAP cash register with my mom in 1995 holding my breath in anticipation. On a casual trip to Prestonwood Mall, we had wandered in the the GAP at the wishes of my older sister. While we were there, I found an XS short-sleeved, ribbed, sage turtleneck shirt on the sale racks that (shocker!) was being cleared out with a big orange "FINAL SALE $4.99" sticker on it.

I tried to act cool, like I was so grown up and belonged and not in the kids sections of Meryvn's next door where the rest of my clothes were from. But apparently my mom was in a good mood that day and tossed it up on the counter to buy it for me. What was a simple purchase for her was- to my 11 year old self- an unexpected graduation into coolness.

As I got the bag and held it carefully throughout the rest of our errands around the mall, I felt like I had arrived to the sexy dark-lipstick-wearing-Cranberries-listening club of maturity by that one simple purchase. I had a shirt from the GAP and I was, officially, soooo cool.

Fast forward another 12 years. Tyler and I had bought a tiny house in Dallas and were, slowly, trying to make it cute. I remember getting some floating shelves from West Elm that year for Christmas, and that momentary bliss of feeling cool was back. Here I was- with something from that modern shop, West Elm, that would make our house look so cool. 

*Editor's Note: I have always been (and remain!) a huge dork- just in case you hadn't realized that yet. 

But I've got great news for that eager 20-something version of Lauren: I'm featured on the West Elm blog, Front & Main, this week! I got to scurry around London picking some of the best bits from the shops I love here. It was so much fun and I'm still very flattered to have been asked. 

I'd like to think that the 11 year-old and 23 year-old versions of me would give each other a high-five at the news... but who knows, they're probably preoccupied tearing out pages of Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Tigerbeat and moodily listening to Coldplay.


*images by Ben Clube for Aspiring Kennedy & West Elm.