Frequently Asked Questions
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- Why haven’t you answered my email?
Ugh. We’re so sorry. We work really hard to answer as many emails as possible, but sometimes, our inbox fills faster than we can empty it. Our sincere apologies if you haven’t received a response. Please know, we read every single email. And we especially appreciate email from readers.
Oh. The answer you’re looking for may be below. Feel free to keep reading!
PERSONAL QUESTIONS FOR GABRIELLE
- How do you do it all? How do you achieve work/life balance?
This is my most frequently asked question. And the answer is: I don’t. Not even close. In fact, on some level, I believe the whole idea is a myth. If my blog is really good on a given week, then you can bet my house is a wreck. If my blog seems a little bleh, then it’s guaranteed we’ve got a lot going on at home. If you know me in real life, then you know I work in my pjs as often as possible and that I’m a very typical mom. As each new child joined our family, I had to learn to be a more flexible and lower my expectations another notch. (Want more on this topic? I was interviewed in detail about how the Blairs manage things here.)
But I do think attempting or thinking about work/life balance can help. Here are some posts with specific tips.
One more thing. Please keep in mind that on this blog I attempt to keep things very positive and showcase the best and prettiest things happening in my life. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bad days and failed projects and lost tempers. At the end of the day, blogs are a show. I suppose that’s why we like them so much.
- Are you done having kids?
Wow. So personal. But yes, we’re all set. We had 5 kids before I started blogging, and we’ve added 1 more since then. Our family now feels complete. But if you’re curious, here are some photos of me pregnant with number six. Here is June’s birth story. And here are her newborn photos.
- How do you manage your curly hair?
Lots of product. Lots of conditioner. And I only get it wet every 3rd or 4th shower. Here’s a post detailing my hair system.
- Are you LDS?
Yes, I’m a Mormon. But I only have one mom.
QUESTIONS FOR GABRIELLE ABOUT FRANCE
- Why are you living in France right now? Did you move there for work?
Since Ben Blair and I both have internet-based jobs, we can work anywhere. Well, anywhere that has a decent internet connection, and an open door policy for American citizens. The story of how we ended up in France goes like this: After 8 years in New York, we decided it was time to move somewhere more affordable. And since we were both working online, we also wanted to test the waters and see if we were truly mobile. The theory was that we could work anywhere. But if we moved from New York, the capital of world, would everything fall apart? We decided to give it a try.
We thought we would choose a place to settle down and raise the kids, and get some money saved too. We did some research and eventually chose Denver, and we loved it there! We moved into a rental and started looking for a house immediately. But after about a year, we still couldn’t find the right house, and we felt really unsettled. At that point, we considered moving abroad. We had always talked casually about moving somewhere with the kids so they could learn another language and experience another culture, and now, we started looking into it seriously.
First we considered South America — we figured that being in the same time zones as the U.S. might be easier for work. But in my heart of hearts, France was my first pick. And Ben Blair loved the idea of using France as a base and getting to visit lots of different countries in Europe. Bonus: since we had both studied some French in high school, we felt at least a little familiar with the language. We started making baby steps — getting passport photos for the kids, looking up houses in France — and a few months later, we made the move!
- I want to move abroad. Do you have any tips?
Actually, yes. I sure do. I wrote several posts before and after our move detailing lots of the specifics. Here’s a link where you can find them all.
- What are you doing for school in France?
Our kids go to a local French school. They didn’t speak a word of French when they started, but they are fluent now! For more details, here are the posts about our experience in French schools, and here is what my kids wear to school. Related, here are posts about French parenting.
- How did you find the house you’re staying in?
We found it on a site called Sabbatical Homes. We did a search for homes that would fit our big family, had internet, were a direct train ride to Paris (within 2 hours), were within our budget, and that were available on the date we wanted to move. One house came up in the search. It was La Cressonnière. (And it happens to be stunner.)
- Was it hard to find jobs in France? Did you have to get permission to work in France?
This is where we got really lucky. Because of our online work, we still have American jobs and get paid in US dollars. So we didn’t have to search for work here, and we didn’t need to get permission to work here. We still do the exact same work we did when we lived in the U.S. From what I understand, getting permission to work in another country — or getting a work visa — is only required if you’ll be applying for local jobs, jobs that could normally be done by citizens of the country you are moving to.
- I’m coming to France, where should I stay? What are the cool things I should do? What should I wear? What are the best travel shoes?
For places to stay, we find the best deals for Paris hotels on Hotwire. We’ve also had good luck renting apartments using Airbnb. For things to do, there are just too many to list! But here’s a link to some of my posts specifically about our trips to Paris and other travel within France.
As for what to wear, think layers — and feel free to add a scarf to your outfit if you want to feel like a local. For shoes, I have to say, I’m not too particular. I tend to wear black Converse when I know we’ll be walking a lot. They’re comfy enough and they don’t show dirt. : )
CONTRIBUTORS & GUEST POSTS
- Who else writes articles on Design Mom in addition to Gabrielle?
Great question! The About page has bios and photos of each regular contributor, and a few details about what they’re responsible for. You can also read their in-depth interviews here.
- Are you currently hiring new writers and DIY contributors?
Right now, Design Mom is not currently hiring new columnists, and we do not have need of guest posts, but thank you for asking. It takes guts to put yourself out there like that. Thank you for adding some bravery to the world! When we’re ready to add someone new to the team, we’ll be sure to announce it here on the blog.
As for DIY projects, we’re always interested in sharing amazing projects from creators around the world. If you have a DIY or Craft project that hasn’t been published anywhere else, email our DIY Editor, Amy Christie, and include a few finished, styled photos of the project at 500 px wide. Amy and the team will consider each project and if it’s a good fit for Design Mom, we’ll pay you for the post, and credit you on the post as well (of course!). To get an idea of the sort of tutorials we like to publish, please browse our Make Something tab, and be sure to note the format we use.
- Are you still accepting pregnancy, birth and adoption stories for your Growing a Family series?
Yes and no. We love reading your stories! Gabrielle started collecting and sharing them when she announced her last pregnancy, and we received so many beautiful tales that the series went on for years. We’ve decided to pause the series for a bit as we work on a site redesign, but we have plans to bring them back. In the meantime, you can find all the birth, pregnancy and adoption stories here. With over 125 posts, it’s an absolute treasure!
REVENUE & ADVERTISING
- How does this site make money?
The main source is ad revenue. Design Mom is currently represented by Federated Media. They fill the 3 largest ad spaces with display ads from a wide variety of sponsors. Small ads in the left hand margin are sold to small businesses directly. In addition to display ads, you’ll find clearly marked sponsored posts from time to time.
If you’d like to advertise on Design Mom, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tell me about giveaways? Do you receive one prize to keep and one to give away? Do companies send you tons of free stuff?
We do receive some fun things in the mail. And it’s always a delight to get a package. But, because we currently don’t make a shipping address publicly available, we receive a lot less stuff than you might think. If a vendor wants to send something, they have to ask for an address. And unless we need to see the product’s function up close, or shoot better product photos, then we typically decline.
Be assured, if someone sends us a product and we decide to write about it, we’ll definitely let you know we received a freebie. We are all about full-disclosure.
And no, when hosting a giveaway, we do not receive a prize for ourselves.
- Any other sources of revenue from this site?
Yes, Design Mom is also an Amazon Affiliate. If you have a blog or website, you can become one too. Why not?
- Can I advertise on your site or become a sponsor?
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