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Le Menil Scelleur

By Gabrielle.

Here it is! This is the final post in the 5-part mini-series about our time in France. I’ve been meaning to share it for two weeks now. (These last two weeks! They’ve been full and good, and overwhelming too.) But even though this post has been delayed, today is actually a fitting day to share this finale report about our time in France. Because one month ago today, we said our teary goodbyes and flew from Paris to San Francisco. One month ago!

When I am able to sit still for a moment here and there, I get terribly homesick.

(But don’t feel too bad for me. Tomorrow, I’ll share photos of the house here in Oakland. It’s awesome!)

During our last six months in France, I tried to share lots of posts about small details of French life, and we took two big trips — both North. Here’s the full report:

We marked two years in France. And a gardener power-cleaned the cobblestones at La Cressonnière.

We talked about working with a time difference. And we discussed homeopathie in France.

We shared Stacking Wood, which was filmed right at the farmhouse. It’s another one of our most popular Olive Us episodes. We also took you on a visit to a French cider farm. And talked about the famed local French lace.

Keep reading for our final French adventures!



By Gabrielle.

Here is the 3rd report (of five) in my Adventures in France mini-series (here’s number one and two). This covers February through July of 2012. The thing that stands out to me about this report is the Olive Us series. We started that project fairly casually during this time period, and had no idea what a life-changer it would become for us.

I hope you enjoy the report!

We celebrated Chandeleur (the French crepe-eating holiday that was replaced by Groundhog Day in the U.S.). Experienced a rare Normandy snow day. Survived a frozen-pipes-record-breaking-cold-spell.

We talked more about French parenting. We learned about La Petite Souris (a little mouse that comes to French children instead of the toothfairy). And we talked about how French kids eat everything.

I introduced Love the Place You Live and shared images of a chapel turned art space and gathering space.

We visited a lesser known WWII site called Mount Ormel. This is very close to where we lived and was the location of the last battle before the Allies marched down the Champs Élysées, freeing Paris.

More adventures ahead!


Flying Houses

May 14, 2013

By Gabrielle. Flying Houses by Laurent Chehere.

Here. A few photos to kick your imagination into overdrive just in case your week already needs a little lift.

Wouldn’t it be fun to travel by house? Think of the time you’d save on packing! Ha. (Oh, dear. I think the Fjordieth festivities and travel fatigue are getting to me!)


Cecilie Ellefsen

By Koseli.

A few weeks ago I introduced a new series to spotlight favorite pinners and find out what inspires them most. Here’s the second post in the series — nicely coinciding with Gabrielle trip to Norway. Enjoy!

We’re so excited to feature fabulous pinner, Cecilie Ellefsen. She’s a Norwegian illustrator living and working in Oslo. Here‘s what she has to say about her colorful and whimsical aesthetic:

Growing up in a rural part of Norway, nature and animals have always inspired me. The feeling of finding that secret childhood forest with enchanted critters, hollow trees, traps and hideaways fascinates and inspire me. I love to draw and always bring my sketchbook with me. When I`m not drawing, I like to eat good food, watch strange animated films and visit fleamarkets to find treasures for my ever growing collections.”

We asked her to pick a couple of her favorite recent pins and share just why she loves them.

Cecilie’s favorite pins, straight ahead!



May 7, 2013


Photo and text by Gabrielle.

We’re in Norway! The big Fjordieth trip is finally happening. We checked into our hotel late last night and I can hardly believe we’re here. Hooray for Ben Blair!

Ben Blair | Fjordieth

I love this photo of him donning his gloves that I snapped last winter. I think he’s definitely channeling some inner viking!

Rain is scheduled for much of our trip, but right this minute, we have a perfectly sunny day in Oslo, so we’re going to make the most of it. Feel free to join us on our adventure via Instagram.

P.S. — Something else I can’t believe: Flora June Blair is 3 years old today! Remember her birth? (Wasn’t it two seconds ago?) We woke up early and filled her bed with balloons, then served the traditional breakfast in bed. She was over the moon about it! Man oh man we love that little girl.


A Few Things

May 3, 2013

Mustard Field in Normandy

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Are any of you at Mom 2.0 this weekend? I’m cheering on the conference from my laptop. I was supposed to speak on a panel, but had to cancel when I had flight problems. Total bummer because it’s truly one of the very best conferences out there. But you know I can’t feel sorry for myself when we have such an exciting trip coming up. That’s right, the Fjordieth is happening on Monday!

While we get packed up, and work on a Norway itinerary (suggestions eagerly welcomed!), here are a few things that might be of interest:

Spine Poems — are they the new magnetic poetry?

- My son Ralph has been making awesome 30-second videos. This one is my current favorite. You can see the rest on his YouTube channel.

Vermeer-esque photos of kids. Thanks, Chara.

- Each charm raises funds for a different non-profit group — you can literally wear what you believe in.

- Remember Richard Prince? He’s in the news again.

- On my Cafémom column: 6 Ways to Cut the Clutter and Hollywood Glam Nursery.

- An interactive novel for kids aged 9 and up. It’s made for the iPad. The trailer looks interesting to me, like a predictor of what’s to come.

- When is a blogger not a blogger?

- Totally funny. (And totally feel good.) Thanks, Heidi.

- Cinco de Mayo is on Sunday! Here are 18 ideas to help you celebrate.

- Today I seem to be pinning lots of flowers. What are you pinning these days?

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


P.S. — That field at top? It’s next door to our house. Amazing!


Text and photo by Gabrielle.

Today is Ben Blair’s 40th Birthday. Forty years. Forty great years!

So we have big plans. The kids are still on school vacation, and this is how we’re celebrating. First, we used a roll of paper to make a scroll listing 40 of the fantastic things Ben has done in his life — memorable things like walking the Brooklyn Bridge, and life-changing things like raising six kids  — and then hung the scroll from the ceiling over our bed so he would see it as soon as he woke. The list was so long that it tumbled down, rolled off the bed and pooled on the floor! When he woke up, we brought him breakfast in bed and took turns reading from the list — and even adding more items at the bottom.

This afternoon, we’ll have sandwiches and tartes from two of his favorite bakeries. And this evening we have a dinner date planned in Caen.

But the real celebration is happening in May: Ben Blairs Fjordieth in Norway! We bought tickets for the whole family and we can’t wait!! The fjords have been on Ben’s travel wishlist since I met him and I’m so glad we’re finally making it happen.

Originally, we loved the idea of turning the trip into an extended family & friends event, but ended up feeling bad about asking people to spend money on plane tickets. For us, it’s a bargain — we bought 8 plane tickets for about $850 (can you believe that?). But a ticket from the U.S. is pricey.

The big surprise for today: We invited friends and family to send video birthday messages for Ben, and Ralph edited them all together to make one big movie. It’s about 45 minutes long and it’s fantastic! It has me laughing and crying from one minute to the next. Instead of gifts, we’ll surprise Ben with the video this afternoon when we light the candles and sing happy birthday. The video is sure to be a treasure for Ben, and it’s a treasure for me as well. I love seeing how much people appreciate and respect this good man I’m married to.

As for me, I didn’t make a video for Ben, but I do want to write a little tribute here.

Keep reading for 40 things I love about Ben Blair.



April 19, 2012

Friends! I’m so excited to tell you about this. Every time I think about it, I get all giggly. Next March, Ben Blair will turn 40 years old. The big Four Oh! Obviously, we want to do something awesome to celebrate such a landmark birthday, and we’ve come up with the perfect thing: a trip to Norway to see the Fjords! That’s right. We’re going to celebrate Ben Blair’s Fjordieth Birthday!!!

Ben has talked about visiting the fjords since I’ve known him. And somehow, we haven’t made it happen yet. But I think we’ve finally found the perfect excuse. Of course, as soon as we thought of the idea, the first thing we did was have a logo drawn up. (Hah! Can you guess my graphic design background?) There’s nothing like a logo and a public announcement to make me commit to a project. I hired Clayton Thompson. I knew I wanted hand-lettering, and I knew he would do an amazing job. And he did! Don’t you love the logo?

But here’s the thing, outside of the logo, we don’t really have a plan yet. And I’d love your advice. Should it be a romantic getaway? Should we invite everyone Ben Blair knows and loves — and see if they’re up for a big trip? And if yes, how might that work? Should we bring the kids? What would make it a really amazing celebration?

And what do you do at the Fjords? Hiking? Boating? I really have no idea. Have you been? Can we go in March for his actual birthday? Or do we need to postpone the trip till a warmer month?

I hope you’ll brainstorm with me! I’m so excited to get the plans going, and I’ll be sure to share updates as I go. Hooray for Fjordieth Birthdays!

P.S. — Don’t laugh, but I started planning this the day after Ben Blair turned 39. : )

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