A Few Things

February 14, 2014

garance dore i love you guys

By Gabrielle. I snapped the image during Garance Doré’s Keynote at Alt Summit — it was one of her slides.

Hello, Friends. Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you are having a day filled with love and kindness — or at the very least, I hope you get to indulge in something sweet to eat. : ) Since Valentine’s Day isn’t much of a thing in France, we didn’t really celebrate the last few years, and we’ve been getting a kick out of the school festivities this week.

Ben Blair and I have no official plans this evening (that sounds so unromantic!), but we had a lovely little family breakfast this morning, and tonight, Maude is inviting friends over to watch chick flicks and wants to set up a pink and red dessert table a la Amy Atlas. Should be fun!

But the thing I’m looking forward to most is that this morning, I’m hoping to visit the famed White Elephant Sale here in Oakland. Alex told me all about it and it sounds amazing! I’ll be donating some lamps and seeing what it’s all about. I hope they let me take pictures so I can share with you. In the meantime, here are a few things I thought you might enjoy:

- Old floppy disk drives put to good use.

- Do you think any of these are true? I gasped at several! Via Dooce.

- Ben Blair was interviewed about Olive Us and our family reading habits and his answers are so good! You will love the thoughts he shares. I promise.

Seattle’s Food Forest — a public park filled with fruit-bearing plants that citizens are free to harvest. Love this idea so much!

- If your house is in the middle of a bed-wetting situation, these peel-away waterproof sheets sound interesting.

- Just heard about cobra weaves and I’m obsessed! Find a simple tutorial here. Seems like a genius way to spend some time if you’re snowed in or rained in.

- A kid’s room that I fell in love with.

- What do you think of this gratitude-focused kickstarterThanks, Amy.

- Related to oil-pulling, apparently toothpaste was invented by an American businessman — he used habit/cue behavior to make it into a product people would use daily. Fascinating! Thanks, Etta.

- Cool promo for the Grand Canyon Half Marathon (my brother’s race!). The heart-pumping shot is at 1:34.

- The Boy Scouts are helping lobby UNESCO to make the D-Day Beaches a protected site. Thanks, Mary.

- It’s not too late to enjoy the Winter Olympics! Here are 16 fun ideas so you can celebrate with your kids or host a little viewing party.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Schools are out in Oakland on Monday for President’s Day so we’re getting 3-days off. You too? Speaking of President’s Day, here are 17 silly and fun and cool little crafts you can do to acknowledge the big day.

I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


P.S. — Hey. I know Valentine’s Day can feel like salt in the wound if you’re feeling lonely already. Please know that I’m sending my best wishes and happy vibes to get you through the rest of the day. It’s almost over! Just think, starting tomorrow there will be 95% less of those awful jewelry commercials. Hang in there.

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1 Susan February 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

Great list!

An aside… my sense of what day it is is all messed up thanks to the snow days we’ve had here on the east coast, so I waited all yesterday afternoon for “A Few Things.” haha!


2 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Hah! I feel you. This week has been an odd one at our house too. I’ve thought it was Tuesday on 3 different days.


3 CeeBee February 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

I enjoyed Ben Blair’s detailed interview! Ox-Cart Man is one of our favorites, thanks to you all. You have really helped us to curate our library for our growing family, and I will be saving Ben Blair’s recs for books in the future! Thank you.


4 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Good old Ox-Cart Man. It don’t think anything will ever knock it off its “favorite book throne” at the Blair house.


5 Emily February 18, 2014 at 9:07 pm

I really enjoyed this interview as well. If you haven’t discovered “The Great Brain” and the other books in that series, you should try to find them. They are classics that would fit into Ben Blair’s list perfectly. They are out of print, but our library has copies that we borrow often.

They showcase healthy sibling relationships (three brothers) and hard work, dealing with disappointment, growing into moral people, etc. My favorite thing about them is that each of the boys in my husband’s family saw themselves as a different character, depending on where they fit into the family.


6 Barchbo February 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm

So glad you acknowledged those who might feel lonely today! I have spent many more Valentine’s Days unattached than paired up, and I like to spent it doing things for people who may not be as blessed as I am (a great reminder that not having a boyfriend/husband is NOT the world’s greatest tragedy.) This morning we donated a bunch of baby clothes/goods to our local women’s shelter and we have been collecting toiletries for the homeless to dropoff this weekend. Plus, we are hosting Game Night for the singles at our church.

My son is already in the habit of taking a flower to the single women in our neighborhood which we did last night. Our family goal is to make the day about love and kindness rather than romantic love only. It’s more encompassing! :)

Please post some photos of Maude’s shindig! Is it Galentine’s Day or co-ed?


7 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:20 pm

” like to spend it doing things for people who may not be as blessed as I am”

I love that so much! A wonderful way to spend the day.

I will try and snap an instagram or two of Maude’s party. It’s so hard to get good photos once it’s dark!


8 ann February 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Oh Gabrielle –

You have a smart one…Ben Blair!

My husband also has a philosophy degree. When I married him an entire new world opened up as to how to view/think/approach nearly everything.

What Joy he must contribute to your household!

Happy Valentines Day –



9 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Ben Blair is a gem for sure! All the happiest things in my life are because of him.


10 Regina February 18, 2014 at 10:40 pm

What a sweet comment :)

Joining the chorus of people thanking you for sharing Ben Blair’s interview. I really appreciated his words because it crystallizes many of my thoughts too, not just on reading but media in general. So far I have just one 2-year-old, so it was also interesting for me to read how reading time progresses as kids grow up and the family grows. Thank you.


11 Ann February 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Don’t forget to wear safety goggles when you do the cobra weave! I have never done it but I watched some of the videos. So cool!


12 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Good idea! I can’t believe how nuts they get when they explode.


13 Sally from Little Hiccups February 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Schools in Berkeley are closed today for Lincoln’s birthday so my kids get a four day weekend. That also means they celebrated Valentine’s Day with their classmates yesterday which has stretched the holiday out to two days!

That kid’s room is amazing! I’m not normally a fan of pink but the colour of that bed is awesome. Such a great pop of colour. And I love seeing a tee pee in a girls’ bedroom.

Enjoy the long weekend :)


14 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Olive and June’s school was closed today too! Little June has a cold so she would have been home anyway, but it was fun to run errands with Olive.

I hope you enjoy the long weekend as well!


15 Sally from Little Hiccups February 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Oh no… I hope she’s feeling better soon.
My three year old is sick with a cold too and missed pre-school all week. It’s no fun when the little ones are sick.


16 Jess. February 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm

This may be your best roundup yet. Cobra weaving! So cool! And I have been wishing urban gardens existed forever. Cities are paying workers to maintain trees anyway; why not make them food trees? Give kids playing in parks a snack, feed hungry passers-by, give community canning courses. Go, Seattle. Can’t wait to read Ben Blair’s interview. Gush, gush, gush. Also, I really, really love Valentine’s Day. Let’s celebrate all the love!!!


17 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Thanks, Jess! So glad you enjoyed it. I obsessed with the community garden idea as well!


18 Sally from Little Hiccups February 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

One more thing for the weekend…
The Chinese New Year Parade is on in San Francisco tomorrow. It’s always crazy busy but the kids enjoy it, especially the dragons, lion dancers and fireworks.
We taken our girls the last two years and they can’t wait to go again tomorrow :)


19 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Good to know! Perhaps we’ll check it out.


20 Robin February 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm

You know I think Ben Blair is awesome. The interview was just another example of his awesomeness!


21 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Robin, we love you! Happy Valentine’s Day — I hope Sophia liked her book.


22 Kathryn February 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm

We made a cobra (and several other varieties at our homeschool co-op this week. So much fun!


23 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

What a cool project! I still don’t understand the physics of it at all, but I’m totally mesmerized by them.


24 Willa February 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Love the Oakland Museum’s White Elephant sale! I had a great time digging through things. My boyfriend got a little overwhelmed by the crowd, but the volunteers really have quite an impressive system for keeping everything organized.


25 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I wandered and wandered and wasn’t going to buy anything — just get the lay of the land — but there was a vintage dress I couldn’t refuse!


26 Nina February 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I loved the interview with your husband about reading to your children. Fantastic and very inspiring! My oldest child is 4 and LOVES to read. We’ve made it a ritual for every day. The book recommendations are wonderful as well as the books that influenced your’s and his parenting. Thank you for sharing!


27 Design Mom February 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Isn’t it such a great interview? I love his answers so much!


28 Dee Dee February 16, 2014 at 5:01 am

Really appreciated your husband’s interview. Affirmed many of our own selections and ideals for our family.

Hoping that Ben Blair (or your team of in-house experts) could put together something similar for recommended movies.



29 Janssen February 16, 2014 at 8:57 am

What a beautiful post by Ben Blair. You guys are both such an inspiration to me as a parent.


30 Emily Foley February 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I don’t know about the rest of those random facts but the kidney one is for sure true. I know first-hand. :)


31 Anna February 21, 2014 at 8:19 am

My father has three kidneys, too. I don’t think the original two work at all anymore.


32 Sally Bluhm February 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I very much appreciated Ben Blair’s interview on books and reading. Thanks for sending us that way! Everything about the two of you is a breath of fresh air.


33 Anne February 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Those facts that don’t seem true: one of John Tyler’s living grandchildren lives on my street. No joke. Our neighborhood is pay new development on farm land that he owned and sold a few years ago, and he still lives at the entrance. Mind blowing.


34 sarah February 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

Thanks for your PS :]


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