A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? I have an exciting weekend in front of me. I’m flying to Utah this morning! My brother-in-law Paul Rodgers (he’s married to my sister, Rachel), is being promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Army. Such a huge accomplishment! The whole family is super proud of him. Paul is an incredibly hard worker, a born leader, a father who truly loves hanging out with his kids, and he reads so much that he has encyclopedic knowledge of more things than I can count. I consider myself very lucky that he joined our family. I was only in middle school when Rachel and Paul were married, so Paul’s been in my life for a long time. What a great man he is.

Three cheers for Colonel Paul Rodgers! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

The ceremony is on Saturday, and I’m arriving today so that hopefully I can help my sister with set up. While I’m in Utah, Ben Blair will be taking the kids to the Women’s March in Oakland. Of course, I’m bummed to miss it, but I’m so glad the kids will be able to participate. They are making signs today after school and possibly t-shirts too. I made them all promise to take tons of photos.

Are you marching? If yes, which city? There are tons of marches across the country — the New York Times shared a map with all the locations if you’d like to look one up. It feels like such a historic event to me, I’ll be watching coverage as much as I can!

I’ve got to head to the airport, but before I go, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

– Ashley Judd’s TED talk about online abuse. Wow.

– Brené Brown has a new online class called the The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: A Wholehearted Revolution. It looks really good to me. If it looks good to you, too, let me know. Might be fun to take it as a group and discuss lessons together.

One hand tying shoelaces.

– A teenager’s guide to spotting fake news written by an AP History teacher.

– An inverted aquarium! (The video is a little slow, but the idea is so cool! Skip to the end if you need to.)

– Men confess what feminine things they would do if stereotypes didn’t exist.

– Bamboo tumbleweeds that clears mines.

The Divided States of America. I’d like to watch this over the weekend if I can. It’s long — 4 hours — but it’s been highly recommended to me by a few people. Have you seen it?

– Elephant protein destroys human cancer cells.

– What? Shark in captivity gives birth without male.

– For those who are marching this weekend, here are some awesome downloadable protest posters. From Ladies Who Design. From Samantha Hahn (tons of designs including the one above). From Refinery 29. You can download the files then send them to your local copy shop for printing.

I hope you have such a good weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


The No Shampoo Method

In Beth’s Call it a Day interview, shared earlier today, she mentions only being able to wash her hair every 4 or 5 days, and that she would have thought that was disgusting before it became her reality. When I read that, it reminded me of three different articles that have come my way in the last month or two.

One is about people who have stopped washing their hair at all with traditional hair products and only use baking soda and vinegar. (The article is from 2 years ago, and you may have seen a dozen similar ones since then, because they’re all over the place. Do a search for “the no shampoo method” if you’d like to read more. The first time I read about the no shampoo method was in 2012, and it was from a hairdresser’s perspective.)

People who have gone the no-shampoo route seem to really love it, and rave about how much more well-behaved, predictable, shiny, and healthy their hair is. Though it takes awhile to get there; they all talk about a tricky transition period. Apparently it takes a month or two for the hair and scalp to adjust to the shampoo-free routine.

More articles and thoughts (some conflicting) ahead.

Call It A Day: Beth Ogden

Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova, A Day in the Life

We first met Beth last year while she was in college in Elmira, New York. She’s now a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova. It’s not an easy lifestyle – there’s an outhouse involved! – but I couldn’t wait for her to take us along with her.

Welcome back, Beth.

In Moldova, teachers only have to come to school when they have scheduled lessons. Today, I have to observe another teacher’s first period class, so I drag myself out of bed a bit after 6:30. I have trouble getting up, so I’ve already snoozed my alarm three times.

Before getting out of bed, I usually turn my data on and check my email, Facebook, and messenger. I usually sleep in a nightgown, so as soon as I get out of bed, I throw on some warm leggings, thick socks, and a sweater, as well as my down winter coat and a hat. It’s pretty chilly in my room in the morning, as my house is heated solely with a soba, or wood stove.

An outhouse in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. From a day in the life of a Peace Corps volunteer.

I then start my daily morning trek to the outhouse. Living situations in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, vary greatly. Some volunteers have gorgeous bathrooms with toilets and showers, while others have no indoor plumbing. I live with a host family, and for the three months I’ve lived with them, I’ve gotten used to my no indoor plumbing situation. Our outhouse is a pretty long walk from the house, and this morning it was particularly muddy and slippery. I pass by the chickens and ducks and am thankful that the rooster has chosen not to show his face on this very cold morning. He likes to try to attack me, so I’m glad for some peace this morning. The outhouse is a very simple squat toilet. I’ve more or less gotten used to it, but I’m always very excited when I get to use a real toilet when I go to the capital city. On my walk back to the house, I stop at our hand-washing station to wash my hands. Lately it’s been mostly ice, but my host mom added hot water today, so I get to wash my hands without them going numb.

A handwashing station in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. From a day in the life of a Peace Corps volunteer.

When I return to the warmth of the house, I get dressed. Contrary to many other Peace Corps countries, Moldovans take how you look very seriously. I dress in a simple black skirt, a warm sweater, a cardigan on top, and two layers of lined stockings, as well as an additional pair of socks. The school has heat, but it’s still pretty cold, so dressing warmly is a must. If I have time, I usually put some mascara on, but that’s the only makeup I wear.

More from Beth’s day, just ahead!

An Attempt To Keep My Resolutions, Part One

how to start a collection

The best news! I invited Karey Mackin back to talk to us about resolutions (remember her holiday style story that made us all belly laugh?). You’ll love this post! Here’s Karey:

(I have a lot of goals for 2017. Gabby’s letting me tell you all about them, so I have accountability. It should be noted that I have issues with accountability.)

I want to start a collection. Not just any collection, though. Hers.

I did not know ginger jars even existed, but now that I do it’s on. I am Veruka Salting all over them.

But here’s my issue with collections: They take way too much time. And, what if you change your mind midway through collecting? Mmmm, I’m just not feeling pigs-in-flight anymore. Now what?

I think what I need is an insta-collection.

What even is an insta-collection? I’ll tell you.

Dessert For Two: Lemon Curd Tarts

Delicious and easy lemon curd tarts for two | DesignMom.com

Yes to this. Yes to all of this. I asked Lindsey for another Dessert For Two recipe, and when this showed up, it felt like she created these Mini Lemon Curd Tarts as a special gift to me. I adore lemon desserts, and this one couldn’t be easier, with simple ingredients and very little prep. Plus, these photos are killing me with their gorgeousness!

Citrus season is a great time to live in California. On the drive to school I pass at least a dozen trees dripping with oranges and lemons, and a friend of ours asked Oscar to help pick oranges from his tree, then sent him home with two giant bags full. Fresh-squeezed orange juice for days! We’re trying to figure out if there’s a sunny enough spot in our yard to plant a mini citrus grove — one tree each of lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, and kumquat. Doesn’t that sound dreamy?

Before we jump into the recipe, tell me friends, what’s your take on lemon desserts? I know lemons can bring out strong opinions. As for me, I’m not afraid to admit: I would choose this over a chocolate dessert any day!

Find the full recipe with notes when you click through.



Design Mom is all about the intersection of design and motherhood. I'm Gabrielle Blair (some people call me Gabby), a designer and mother of six. I think you're going to love reading Design Mom.

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