A Few Things

November 8, 2013

Ropes at the Blair Treehouse

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. How are you doing? Was it a good week for you? Are you looking forward to the weekend? We have fun stuff happening this weekend and I’m glad for it. There’s a home project that I’ve been working with Ikea on, and I hope to finish it this weekend and share it with you next week. Plus, we’re going to take advantage of the 3-day weekend (do your kids have school off for Veteran’s Day?), and film 2 Olive Us episodes. We haven’t filmed since June, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Lastly, I’m sure the kids will be hanging out on the backyard ropes this weekend as well. (The photo above was taken in the evening — we have a big spotlight we can shine on the trees.) Their climbing skills are improving rapidly! While I put all the climbing gear in order, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

The McDonald’s Theory: A bad first step makes the second step easier.

Chelsea of Frolic’s Instagram stream is one of my favorites. Her images from South America are killing it. (Also, you can find me on Instagram here.)

- Upside Downton Abbey.

- Gorgeous DIY wrapping paper.

- The Arcade Fire Interactive Video for Reflektor. (Fun fact: Ben Blair took Ralph, Maude and Olive to the Bridge School Benefit Concert last month and Arcade Fire was the headliner. The kids can’t stop talking about how good the concert was!)

- Heartbreaking: A husband photographs his wife’s experience with cancer.

Stately tees and posters. These would make fun gifts.

- This what a nursery created by a graphic designer looks like.

- Mothers with one-day-old babies. Love!

- Get a head start on the menu: 21 Thanksgiving Recipes guaranteed to please.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I’ll meet you back here on Monday for Veteran’s Day. I miss you already.


P.S. — I’ve been making too-slow progress on the mental health front, so I’m starting a round of anti-depressants today. Crossing my fingers this will finally help me get back to normal. And feeling so grateful that this medicine is available!

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Becky November 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

As someone who has been there, I just wanted to say good for you and hang in there, Gabby. Anti-depressant meds can take a while to get up to the right level in the body, but for me they made all the difference. Hoping you feel better soon. <3
(Also, DesignMom – especially the Friday roundups – make up my mid-day mental health break at work. So thanks for all the interesting posts!)


2 Giulia November 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Hi Gabrielle,
I hope you feel better soon. Glad you are getting help.
We saw Arcade Fire last year in an epic outdoor concert – rain, mud and all. It was unforgettable! They opened for U2.
Have a great weekend!
PS: Your ads in the top right box play music really loudly without me prompting it to play – pretty scary, especially when reading at work ;) Not sure if it’s just me.


3 Brimful November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm

You are doing the brave right thing by taking the meds…rest when you can! So thankful for your authenticity and transparency with your mental health journey…thank you!


4 Anika November 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Just wanted to add my voice to the other grateful ones — thank you for your authenticity and for sharing your journey with mental health. Knowing someone else is struggling and being brave enough to be upfront about it is very inspiring and comforting. Thank goodness for meds and for all the other supports we have around us that help us get back to feeling like ourselves. Bless you!


5 Sally from Little Hiccups November 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Hope you’re starting to feel better soon.
Berkeley schools have a day off today too so we have a four day weekend! So far the kids haven’t found it too exciting with medical check ups and flu shots this morning! Making it up to them now with an afternoon at the Children’s Creativity Museum in SF and a ferry trip across the bay :)


6 Sharon November 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm

As one who has just endured a heart-wrenching move and some major life changes, I want to reach my heart and my thoughts out to you as you start medicine – and hopefully a shorter road to feeling better. It made all the difference for me – and I know you will start feeling better, as well.

I spent my high school and early college years at the Bridge School benefit (early 90′s!) with Pearl Jam, an enormous picnic blanket, my fake doc Martens, and my best friends. So happy for your kids to get to experience it. I’ll never forget that.

God Bless you – from one mama to another.


7 Marlena November 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thank you for always being so honest. Hoping that the meds help – and soon!


8 Janet November 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Love your Friday scoops! Hope you start to feel better soon! Have a good weekend!


9 Olga November 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Good job for taking charge of your depression. I do wonder thou if your body is missing all that rich French food. The great farm fresh milk and eggs. You never know?


10 Jen November 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

This is no joke, my sister unknowingly used the McDonald’s theory when she, my mom and niece came to visit me in New York. We were hungry and tired in the Financial District, trying to b-line it to Battery Park and she suggested McDonalds. Before that I had dithered, but when she suggested Micky D’s I immediately was like “Pret A Manger. Right there. Let’s go.” And it was great.

Keeping this tactic on reserve.


11 Jen November 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

And I just saw your P.S. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having a rough time. Major props for your honesty and maturity when it comes to discussing mental health. Big moves like the one you just made are certain to bring increased anxiety and upheaval. I’m glad you’re getting the help you need.


12 Amy3 November 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I hope the anti-depressants do the trick. I know people who have been helped immeasurably by them. I wish you well.

I love the photo of the climbing. My daughter would kill to hang out with your kids in those trees. She loves climbing!


13 Patty Boone Pysher November 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Good for you for taking care of yourself! Have you had your thyroid and parathyroid levels checked? Especially the parathyroid hormones. I found out my were completely out of whack by accident. During surgery to remove a goiter on my thyroid the surgeon spied a very enlarged parathyroid nodule, tested my calcium levels which were through the roof and promptly got that thing outta there!!

Almost immediately my blue mood and lack of energy lifted..my 4 and 6 yr old immediately noticed a change in my face and eyes. No one had ever thought to test for parathyroid problems and that had been my problem all along. Thyroid levels had been checked and were normal but never the parathyroid. The surgery was in June and lets just say I’ve got my life back! I feel like my old self after suffering for about a year.

Pulling for you always!


14 Jen from SewnNatural November 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I’m sorry to hear that things have been rough but delighted to hear you are moving ahead with your next step of healing. Talking about mental health takes MUCH courage – thank you, thank you, thank you, for using your blog and your voice to talk about it. Sometimes lots of Vitamin B, and fish oil, and all the other “arsenal” of tools are not enough. The most important thing is getting back to a place where you feel more like yourself.

Your blog has been particularly delightful lately, by the way.


15 Elizabeth Aquino November 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Wishing you peace.


16 ann November 9, 2013 at 5:08 am

what Elizabeth said…


17 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay November 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm



18 Adri Max November 9, 2013 at 5:21 am


the photo is astonishing – like everything you do. Thank you for brightening up my day.

Take care, Adri.


19 Laurak November 9, 2013 at 6:29 am

<3. You are smart. And brave. And wonderful. Thank you for sharing your world.


20 Amy November 9, 2013 at 7:32 am

Thank you for sharing your mental health difficulties with everyone. I had a bout of depression a few years ago, due to overwhelming anxiety that turned into depression after my kids got a bad case of head lice. Go figure! Anyway, I took antidepressants for a few years and have been off them for three years. I rarely share my story with anyone unless I think they would benefit from it. Sadly, there is such a misnomer about mental illness in this country. Thank you again.


21 Gayle Markow November 9, 2013 at 8:26 am

What everyone else has said. Thanking you for your honesty, courage, being a light to so many of us. Wishing you well. And wanted to let you know, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Olive Us spring flower bouquet. Thanks again for all the honesty and beauty you bring us.


22 Tere November 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

Oh that upside downton is the best!!! Can’t get enough of it. If you ever visit this south corner of the world, as Chelsea did, please ask for some tips! You’ll love it here!!
Have a good rest this weekend, napping and all. This will get better!! <3 big hugs!!


23 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay November 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Sending you big, big encouragement to continue tending your mental health. Good job for keeping it a priority. Getting on the correct meds has saved me. I am who I am supposed to be. I wish the same for you. Rest up.


24 Julie November 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Thanks so much for your A Few Things series – a part of my weekend routine! I enjoy the range of creative, thoughtful, humorous links.

Commenting this time to add my hopes that your mental health improves soon, for joy and peace.


25 courtney November 9, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I really appreciate your openness about your mental health journey. My husband started anti-depressants in the spring after needing them for too long. It took him years to get over the stigma. He has made a lot of progress (still with more to go), but I finally feel like I have my husband back. It breaks my heart that he let the fear of depression impede his recovery for so long. I wish you peace and progress!


26 Nora B November 9, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Hang in there, Gabrielle! Hoping that things feel lighter and happier soon. Also hoping that the small and beautiful parts of your life bring you small moments of peace amidst the dark.

Sending you love and goodness, always!


27 Kate November 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Long-time reader, big fan of Design Mom, offering some feedback/constructive criticism here, FWIW. The ads on your left-hand sidebar are flashing so much it feels hard to read your site lately. To say it’s giving me a headache would be an exaggeration, but not by a lot. I think they’re making me click away faster. Anyway, just thought I’d mention it in case I’m not the only one. Still love you, Gabrielle!


28 Kate November 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

P.S. Just saw your own P.S. Hang in there! Moving stinks. Thank you for your honesty about your struggles.


29 Tasha November 10, 2013 at 7:21 am

The cancer story is hitting home. I am about to embark on caring for my mother after major surgery in January. The short: Finding out she has stage 3/4 colon cancer and other complications last Easter. It is amazing that not a year has passed and here we are. What a whirlwind. She is making it easy on us! The good news, the surgery is a blessing as we were told “inoperable” in the beginning. I’m not giving up, not stopping hope. But…I am becoming more anxious as we get closer to surgery and wonder “can I do it?” It’s not about me, believe me, I just hope I continue to be the “nurse” I was at the beginning when her colostomy needed tending, bathing, etc. I am up for it, I guess it is just feeling real again. We has an amazing summer. Every day IS a blessing. I have to note, too, that my sister, brother and I (and Dad, of course:) do all chip in and this feels like the luckiest thing. We all sort of sweep around doing our parts and it is a gift to have this. I am thankful ♥

Gabby – I just caught your comment about your health and am sending you positive energy. YOU can overcome! We all who join here know it, I pray you do. XO

(Remember your discussion about the XO’s? I think it’s okay to send them)


30 Anna November 10, 2013 at 7:48 am

I took antidepressants for several years (getting pregnant shifted my hormones and I was able to feel better and stop taking them). But for all those years they really helped – but I did have have to experiment to find the right one. I hope things start to improve quickly Gabrielle. Have you tried one of those sunshine therapy lamps too? I’m wondering if all the Bay Area fog and gray days have been an added difficulty for you.


31 Michelle November 10, 2013 at 7:57 am

Thank you for your honesty, Gabby. You are an inspirational lady and not just because of all you create and do, but because of the openness, gentleness and love that you share through your writing. I think of you every time I wear my genet scarf. : ) sending you wishes for peace and tranquility.


32 LeonieK November 10, 2013 at 9:13 am

Dear Gabrielle, I hope the meds help you get back to feeling wonderful. It does not show in this post. Thank you for writing and the inspiration. xoxo


33 LeonieK November 10, 2013 at 9:15 am

To clarify, i meant that your post is as inspirational as ever and does not indicate you’re not feeling as you used to :-)


34 Libby November 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

I wanted to wish you luck with the anti-depressants, too. I just finished taking some after 2 years and I am so SO grateful that they were available. As soon as they started helping, I realized that I probably should have been on them as soon as my son was born. Four years of struggling, followed by two years of what felt like an awakening. What a difference. All the best to you.


35 Emily Chandler November 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Gabrielle, Thank you for all of your fun links. These are my favorite types of posts. Also, for your honesty about how you are doing. Email me if you want any suggestions for mental health therapists, I am a mental health professional and live in Oakland too. Best wishes to you!


36 Shannon { writer + editor } November 10, 2013 at 10:06 pm

You have my best wishes for the best possible results with the medication. I have a friend who just started on a course of treatment and while the medication is helping, what’s really wonderful to see is her sense of hope. If that makes sense. :)

I think your links this week cover just about all of the emotions! I especially appreciate the McDonald’s story because my older daughter and I are doing NaNoWriMo, so we’re spending the month of November in a constant state of SFDs. Yowza.


37 JulieG November 11, 2013 at 6:27 am

Fantastic photo and climbing set up. Wishing you health and happiness and hoping all goes well with your new medicine. Thank you for being so open and honest about mental health – sadly not something that always happens here in the uk. Thank you also for the McD link, a great tip for anxious perfectionists like myself! x


38 nadya November 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

All the best to you! How amazing and brave that you’re trying antidepressants. Good luck–I’ll be thinking of you.


39 Sheila November 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I so appreciate your honesty and being so forthright about your depression. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the meds really do help you feel better. Know that there are lots of us cheering you on!


40 Addie November 12, 2013 at 9:06 am

Please know I am sending thoughts and wishes that the medicine will help – after a big change in my life I too had to seek help – and it was the best decision I could have ever made. Do not be discouraged if it takes a few weeks/they have to up your medicine/change medicines/etc, I have been there and this too will pass. Keep hope!


41 amber November 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I just stumbled upon your blog and dang, you’ve got style!

But I just wanted to express my thoughts and reservations about anti-depressant medication. That is not a solution to the problem, it will actually create more of a problem.

I encourage other methods of rehabilitation such as meditation and practicing intention, self-love and letting go of fears, worries and anxieties.

I only am saying this because I believe there is a huge problem with mental health in our country. It is so easy to be prescribed medication that will change your natural brain chemistry when it doesn’t solve the problem. It just covers it up.

I wish you all the best, sending my love.


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