A Few Things

February 21, 2014

Donut Time sign in Oakland, California

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How’s it going? Did you have a good week? I loved having a shorter school week! At the same time, I feel like shorter work weeks throw me off my game — so I’m happy as a clam that the weekend has arrived! It should be a good one. On Saturday the family is helping out with a track meet at the high school. Then on Sunday I’m headed to Washington D.C. for the ONE.org Power Summit. It’s been years since I’ve been to D.C. and I’m really looking forward to it.

When we lived in New York, we made several fun trips to Washington as a family, but I first fell in the love with D.C. when I was in college. During the second half of my sophomore year, I moved to Washington (I lived in an apartment in Alexandria) and worked on an economics+history research project in the National Archives. I couldn’t believe I worked in the same building that houses the Constitution and Declaration of Independence! (I’m still wowed!)

I LOVED walking into that grand building every day and working at huge leather topped desks with green glass lamps. I handled original documents from Civil War Veterans — letters they wrote, forms they filled out — always hand written. Sometimes there would be photos. The research project was run by Nobel prize winner, Dr. Robert Fogel, and went on for years. I only worked on it for 6 months, and I only had a general idea about what the overall aim of the project was. It had nothing to do with graphic design, which was my college major — I was just there for the adventure!

Have you ever spent time in D.C.? Any fun plans this weekend? While I get some laundry done so I can pack, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- I think our family needs this poster. Thanks, Laura.

- What it’s like to send your child to “forest kindergarten” in Denmark.

- A glimpse of humor at the Blair house: Three very short videos (CountingPBJ and Office) that Ralph (and Ben Blair) made over the weekend. Dying laughing!

- March 8 is the National Day of Unplugging, based on the idea of the Sabbath Manifesto — taking one day a week to unwind, unplug, and get outdoors. Your thoughts?

- Some color for your wintery day: Marimekko is launching a full children’s collection!

Sweet Child O Mine re-imagined.

- My trench coat is on its last leg, so in preparation for Spring, I’m scoping out a new one. The daydream version is this Burberry number, and my reality version is from DKNY — I love the cute color options. (Can you believe the difference in price? So crazy!)

- Simple DIY wire bracelet.

- I love this Happy Birthday poster.

- Last day to vote for The Homies! Three categories: Best Family & Kids Blog, Home Projects & DIY Blogs, Home Design & Inspiration Blogs. Readers pick the top 5 and then judges add their picks too. I’m one of the judges this year!

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


P.S. — What time is it? Donut Time! I snapped the sign at top here in Oakland. Isn’t it fantastic? The store is closed down now, but my mouth waters just reading the sign.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 PS February 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

as someone who grew up in DC, may I just recommend a few delicious places? 2Amy’s pizza, Tryst coffee, Fleurir handgrown chocolates, and Dukem in Little Ethiopia.

And for sight-seeing, the fabulous Philips Collection gallery in Dupont Circle. The Smithsonian and related museums are wonderful, but Philips is intimate and so well-curated.


2 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Yes, please! I love food recommendations. Thank you!


3 Dena February 22, 2014 at 7:04 am

Thank you for sharing this! Our family of five is headed to DC (our children’s first trip) for five days in June. Looking forward to sharing in their awe of the history and sights.


4 aimee @ smilingmama February 21, 2014 at 11:56 am

How fun! I hope you get some time to do a little sightseeing while you are here! Sunday’s weather is going to be amazing, though it will be colder next week. The National Archives have been renovated since you were last there, might be a fun visit. And of course the MLK memorial is new. My absolute favorite memorial is the FDR, especially at night.


5 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I’ve been wondering what the weather will be like — thanks for reminding me to look it up. And thanks for the recommendations also. I had no idea the Archives had been renovated, and I’m very much hoping to see the new MLK memorial.


6 Lynne February 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I echo the Phillips recommendation. It’s one of my favorite art galleries anywhere – every part of it is interesting (the building) and the collection itself is fantastic – an amazing mix of 19th c. european and modern work. Another favorite spot (if you love art) is the Freer Gallery in the Smithsonian complex. It is small and usually empty and there is the most lovely painting in there by John Singer Sargent called “Breakfast in the Loggia.” It is a transcendent experience sitting and looking at such a beautiful thing.

Have a great trip!


7 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Good to know! When I worked at the Archives, I would spend my lunch hours at the National Gallery or the Portrait Gallery, but I’m not familiar with the Phillips Collection. I hope I get to check it out — John Singer Sargent is one of my very favorite artists.


8 Brimful February 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I was just in DC last week, scoping it out for a possible move tree this summer. I’m excited at the prospect of being back in a big city again…and such a pretty one at that!


9 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I agree! It’s so pretty. I love being there — always makes me feel patriotic.


10 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity February 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for the link to the post about Forest Kindergartens. It was so interesting. I don’t think they would work here in Canada as our winters are just too harsh, but I do think a lot more time could be spent out-of-doors than we presently do. I’m always amazed at how quickly our schools in the Toronto area call indoor recesses because the wind chill is at -20C or lower. They claim that many of the children (especially from new Canadians) don’t come dressed for the weather so the school can’t risk sending them out. It makes me sad to see the students indoors for days on end though (especially this year).

Have fun in DC.


11 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I do think gear makes a big difference!


12 Katie Harding February 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

We are thinking about going to DC so I plan on stealing everyone’s recommendations! Good timing, can’t wait to hear the reviews!


13 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

How fun, Katie!


14 ellen patton February 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I went to the Newseum in DC last year — it’s fantastic! And, of course if you have time to see the DC Temple, it’s beautiful (and they have a nice Visitor’s Center).


15 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I’ll have to look up the Newseum. Sounds interesting.


16 giulia February 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

i live in dc now! there are so many good places to visit, and so so much good food! i have no doubts you will be able to find some great things yourself, but here are all the dc posts on my blog, in case you have some waiting time in the airport and want to read through some recommendations :)



17 Design Mom February 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

So helpful, Giulia! Thank you.


18 Megan M. February 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

My mind is blown over forest kindergarten! I would have LOVED that as a kid. I wish I could send my daughters! And I love the point she makes about whether parents freak out because they truly think something dangerous will happen, or if they’ve just gotten so used to stepping in when something COULD happen. Food for thought.


19 nicole February 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Those videos are so funny! I love the counting one best, and I love that your husband is willing to comply!


20 patricia villamil February 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm

You are in luck, the weather will be a nice 50s – 60s. I’ve been living here for 6 years and this city is just amazing. I second the Phillips Collection, but the Corcoran Gallery is even better. The Portrait Gallery is one of my favorites. But, Im sure you don’t want to be stuck in a museum with the weekend tourist crowds, so I suggest you head over Union Market, an upcoming artesans and foodie haven. This is where most locals go to sample good local food. I would also take a night trip to H Street NE to get a sense of the underground arts and nightlife. Or you can also walk along 14th street NW, which has been recently sprouting new local businesses. Have fun.


21 Zoe - SlowMama February 21, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Thanks so much for linking to my interview with Ania on Forest Schools in Denmark — it was so interesting to speak with her about it and I wish we had a forest kindergarten in my area!

I lived in DC for 5 years (and am now just up the road in Baltimore) and I, too, highly recommend the Phillips Collection and the Corcoran. There are many terrific restaurant options in DC… And yes to Union Market. Since I love seafood, I’ve been wanting to try Black Salt — it looks cool and gets great reviews.

Oh, and I’ve been searching high and low for a new trench coat. Appreciate the links!


22 Emilee February 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I did my student teaching at a high school in NW D.C. Loved it–and probably lived in that same apartment complex that you did in Alexandria, since I was an intern from BYU. The other interns and I tried to see as much of the city as possible, so we toured each intern’s workplace (got to see so many amazing historical sites–Library of Congress forever) and as many museums as possible. (The Newseum is amazing, and I love the portrait gallery. Plus, I personally recommend playing Ultimate Frisbee on the National Mall at the base of the Washington Monument at midnight. :) I’m jealous you get to go there this weekend. Washington D.C. is always a good idea.


23 Ania @ The New Diplomat's Wife February 22, 2014 at 3:51 am

Thanks Gabby for featuring the interview with Zoe – I had fun doing it with her and quite excited about the new site. We’ve learned a ton about how much kids can really do in such a short amount of time in the forest school and it’s been quite an adventure!


24 Matilda @ Buttered Side Down February 22, 2014 at 5:15 am

All of the videos were hilarious, but I loved the counting one especially. Too good.

I’m moving to DC next month without knowing too much about it (moving for my boyfriend’s work). It would be great to maybe see a recap from you next week!


25 Emily A February 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I want to start a desert Kindergarten here. Right now. I want to start a desert 4th grade, too. I think all of my kids would have thrived in forest Kindergarten. What a cool option.


26 Carly February 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I know that little Forest Kindergartener! I babysat her when her family was living in DC! I love the idea of being outside and forming a loose curriculum around the natural world. As a preschool teacher, fostering independence and confidence at such a young age is amazing.


27 Hillary February 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Love DC! Have you taken your kids there yet? Hoping to take ours in a couple months. So much wonderful history to soak up. Enjoy


28 Jeanine February 23, 2014 at 10:57 am

Thank you for sharing especially, the National UnPlugged Day: WE WILL Be taking part in this for sure :D !!!!


29 Cortney (be cool, mom) February 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I was born and raised here in DC! Design Sponge just put out a great little 24 hours in DC guide a few weeks back. The Corcoran gallery is closing soon if you want to check that out. Tomorrow we’re planning to check out the Alex Prager A Face in the Crowd Exhibit. Also the American Cool exhibit at the portrait gallery is supposed to be great. Have fun! Safe travels.


30 Shannon February 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Have fun in D.C., Gabrielle! It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I got to live there for four years while I was working for Special Olympics Intl. and it was an amazing experience.

The zoo is wonderful and so are the museums, but our family’s favorite “secret” spot to visit is the 12-foot statue of Einstein at the National Academy of Sciences just off Constitution Avenue.


31 Jennifer February 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

If you have time for some craft shopping, check out Scrap DC (http://www.scrapdc.org/) – a thrift shop/craft store. So cool! Safe travels – I love living here in DC :)


32 jweed February 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Also lived in DC for 2 years before getting married (where I met my beau), so it holds a magical spot in my heart and mind. Just this morning I was telling my kids about riding the metro into work (on Penn ave) and waiting for the driver to announce, “Foooooooggy Bottom.” Miss that place. The Corcoran gallery is awesome, but I would opt to waltz around the FDR and tidal basin. And I’m dying to see the WWII and MLK memorials as well.


33 Fashion Mom February 28, 2014 at 6:49 am

I love DC! One of the best periods in my life was when I got to go there once a year for work. Last time we were there I was still pregnant:


I am trying to find a reason to have to go again soon :)


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