By Gabrielle. Photos by Sarah Knight Photography.

When Hillary first wrote to me about her home, she mentioned solar panels and I was hooked. Someday I want a home that’s run on solar power, but until then I’ll just have to live vicariously through people like Hillary!

Another draw was her and her husband’s very, very different design preferences. For example, this is a tee shirt available in Hillary’s shop. And this is one from her husband’s shop. I love them both. But how do these different styles merge in the home? You’ll see. Friends, please welcome the Barney family!

Q: Tell us all about your family.

A: Hello! We are a family of four, living in the Salt Lake City, UT area. I am the Creative Director for Petite Lemon, and my husband runs his online shop, Blonde Grizzly.

We have two daughters, Lily and June. Lily is our three year old. She is full of energy, very willful, and our social butterfly. She amazes me every day how smart and creative she is. June is 11 months and I can’t believe how much our hearts have grown having her in our lives. She is all smiles, very mellow, and always on the move.

We also have a little chihuahua mix named Bear Grylls. We got him as a puppy, and I love that my children have grown up with this furry friend of ours. He is a total sweetheart and a true lap dog.

More goodness, straight ahead!

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Get Moving! Part Two

October 13, 2014

Jawbone Fitness Band1

By Gabrielle. 

Ready for a little fitness band update? You may remember that in September, I partnered with Jawbone and jumped on the fitness band bandwagon. I reported on the very first day I started using the band. And now, it’s been about a month, and as promised, I’m reporting today on how it’s been going.

I should start by saying that at the beginning, I tried not to let the Jawbone stats affect my actions. I wanted to really see what my current habits were and just observe them. And the first observation? I suspected that there would be days I didn’t move a ton, but oh my goodness, I had no idea how little I moved on certain days. I guess I was surprised at the inconsistency. I would have days where I ran errands and did yard work and I hit my movement goals easily — I wasn’t “working out”, I was just going through a typical busy day. And then, there were days where I would have a really productive time on my laptop, but barely move at all — sometimes fitting in less than 2000 steps. Yikes! The ups and downs in my movement were pretty crazy.

Second, I was equally surprised at how inconsistent I was about sleep as well. I love sleep! I think of myself as someone who prioritizes sleep, sleeps deep, and loves getting a full nights rest. But it turns out, the image I have of myself is way off. My sleep is all over the place! From 4 hours to 8+, sometimes deep, sometimes mostly light. And my bedtimes range from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Until I could see the hard data staring me in the face, I had no idea how bad I was about a consistent bedtime and sleep routine.

So the first thing the Jawbone band inspired me to do was aim for a more consistent schedule. I started trying hard to achieve a regular bedtime, and aim for 10:30 or 10:45 PM. I was also aware of getting in more movement even on days where I had a long list of computer tasks. I set the Jawbone to give me a reminder when I’d been sitting still for too long during the day — then I’d get up from my desk and move around for a bit — walk downstairs to the sink for a drink of water, or out to the mailbox.

I found I really enjoyed my daily check-ins with the app. It’s easy to use and has encouraging words and tips and fun facts built right in. Speaking of the app, I just learned that anyone can use the app to track food, movement, and sleep — even without the band! So if you’re curious, you can learn more about it here.

Jawbone Fitness Band2

Things that have surprised me about the band: 1) I didn’t use the social factor. At all. I know lots of people love the “team” option. It allows you to share your info with friends or family and encourage each other toward fitness goals. But it turns out this is one area where I like to keep the info to myself. I definitely wouldn’t have predicted that. Secondly, I didn’t use the app to track my food, though it has powerful food-tracking software built in. I found I was a little overwhelmed at paying attention to movement, sleep and food all at once. So I’ve decided to get comfortable with movement and sleep before I start paying more attention to food.

Four weeks in and I’m feeling great about my progress! It really is helpful to acknowledge where I’m at each day — it’s like a tiny, daily intervention that keeps me honest with myself about bad habits I’m developing (or have developed).

Where are you with movement since we talked about this last month? Are you using a fitness band? If you do use a band, have you found it gets you moving? And have you found it to be habit forming? I’d love to hear!

——

This post was brought to you by Jawbone UP24. Photos by Lindsey Rose Johnson.

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A Few Things

October 10, 2014

pumpkins design mom

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How’s it going? My kids are out of school today, so we’re all feeling celebratory about the 3 day weekend. Though honestly, I think it will be pretty low-key. My only weekend plans are a date with my inbox — I let it get away from me this month!

The most exciting thing on the schedule, is that today, Kristen Loken is coming to my house to shoot some photos for the book. We’ll be snapping pictures of the office, the family room, and a couple of other spots. I’ve been shooting all over the place for the last few weeks, so it’s fun to be shooting at my own house.

I’d better get prepped for the photo shoot, but before I put on my art director/stylist hat, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- Forty years of family portraits. I didn’t expect to be touched so much by this. Maybe because I’m one of 4 sisters as well. Thanks, Gwen.

- I’m super excited about this glue/dye technique. So easy! You can totally make these Halloween napkins.

- A clever response to a sexist dress code. Thanks, Tanya.

- The forgotten female programmers who created modern tech.

- My sister Jordan’s Ira Glass costume was featured on Jimmy Fallon! (See it at minute 3:30.)

- So, so disturbing: How we punish people for being poor. Thanks, Chelsea.

- A good resource for anyone thinking about DIYs: How to prepare wooden palettes for upcycling.

- Has anyone tried Toms Wedge Booties? Several cute options under a hundred bucks! I’ve got my eye on the Desert Suede with the red laces. Wedge booties are one of my favorite mom shoes — stylish, but easy to walk in.

- It’s so hot here, I’ve been getting my fall fix via multiple batches of Pumpkin Cookies.

Habitat for Humanity Restore is a wonderful way to give your old furniture a new life.

- Have you pledged for a gorgeous Alt + fashionABLE scarf? Help us reach our stretch goal — buy some for holiday gifts and provide opportunities for at-risk women in Ethiopia at the same time. Woo hoo!

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

P.S. — Is it feeling like October where you live? Like I mentioned above, it has been quite hot here this month. So hot that I had to pull the kids’ tank tops and shorts out of storage. We keep talking about hot cocoa, but opting for icy beverages instead. Hah! 

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Meri Meri Giveaway

October 9, 2014

DMgiveawayBanner

By Gabrielle.

Hooray! I’ve got a fantastic giveaway for you today, sponsored by Meri Meri — the Party Supply & Paper Goods Shop. They’re offering a fabulous $150 gift certificate!

Meri Meri Halloween Witch Cups 2014 Meri Meri Halloween Tea Towel 2014

I could not be a bigger Meri Meri groupie. I love the unique paper goods they create, and I especially love that they are completely original and found only in the Meri Meri shop!

I’m featuring my favorites from their Halloween goods today (Halloween will be here in a flash!), but they also have Thanksgiving decorthemed birthday partiesgeneral party suppliescute baking goods, and tons of holiday products as well.

Meri Meri Halloween Cookie Cutters 2014 Meri Meri Halloween Banners 2014

If I won, I would order a whole bunch of these Wicked Hanging Bats and hang them over the entry table or over the mantel. Wouldn’t that be a fun focal point?

Meri Meri Halloween Treat Bags 2014

Visit Meri Meri and leave a comment to enter, I’d love to know what party theme or party supply you love the most. The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

——

Angela is the lucky winner. Thanks for playing!

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Jihan Geronimo Balloons

By Gabrielle. Image via Geronimo Balloons.

In June, I discussed my goal of establishing better or more “grownup” grooming habits this year — like consistently having a proper manicure and taking the time to make sure my hair looks good each morning (instead of throwing it in a messy top knot as I rush out the door, or working in my pjs and ignoring it altogether).

I also discussed wanting to experiment with my identity and how it ties into physical appearance. I envisioned my hairstyle changing each month in big ways, trying out clothing styles that are new to me, and becoming confident about applying various makeup looks.

And then, I wanted to discuss everything with you. What I was learning. How the changes affected (or didn’t affect) my behavior. The concept of identity and how it ties into physical appearance.

I went into the whole thing with a big picture in my head, but oh my goodness, the plan has not proceeded on track at all. In fact, I think I’ve actually been substantially worse at grooming since June than I was during the previous year. From June till now (and still continuing), I allowed my travel and project schedule to ramp up in a crazy way, and physical appearance has taken a back seat to pretty much everything else. It’s like I set out to go in one direction, and have ended up in the completely opposite direction.

I probably knew that about myself, but had never really admitted it — outside of basic upkeep like daily showers and trimming my nails, beauty tasks can quickly fall the bottom of my priority list.

I don’t think I really considered how much time exploring this grooming + identity idea would take. I suppose I was imagining fitting it in around my other projects, but really, it’s a major project itself. And to carry it out the way I originally thought of it, would mean clearing some things from my schedule (for example, finishing my book — I just received chapter design samples today!), to make room for it.

But the thing is, I still really want to do this. I still like the idea, I still look forward to the discussions, and I haven’t given up yet. I’ve even made some small progress. You may remember I had bangs cut — a small thing, but a fun change. We discussed at-home beauty tasks versus hiring out. I’ve been growing out my roots in preparation for a big color change — I now have a full inch of salt & pepper growing in. I’ve also had a bleach test done on a strand of my hair. It’s little. But it’s something. So, as some of my deadlines wrap up, I’m going to try and focus on grooming/identity stuff and see what happens.

I’d love to hear: where do “beauty” tasks fall on your priority list? Are you diligent about scheduling hair appointments? Do you make time in your morning get-ready routine for makeup? If you have a project deadline you’re up against, does non-essential grooming fall to the wayside? And have you ever made a goal, and then gotten worse instead of better at it? I’d love to hear your stories!

P.S. — The bleach test is because I want to try really white blonde, similar to Jihan’s super cool hair do. Have you ever made a drastic change like that?

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By Gabrielle.

My favorite part of this home tour is Megan‘s answer to my query “How did this house become your home?” I guarantee chills and a smile. The way life works out so often takes my breath away.

There’s some practical goodness in here, too, especially for those of you who may find yourselves on edge whenever the paints come down off the tip top shelf! Megan runs a design company that specializes in helping people set up kids’ art spaces, and she completely understands that not everyone enjoys a Jackson Pollock-esque living room at the end of a creative session. Enjoy the tour, Friends!

Q: Please introduce us to your family.

A: I live in a small cottage in Mill Valley, California with my loving husband, Aaron, our 16-year-old dog Shanti, and  our two little girls, Karuna and Ora. Karuna recently turned six, but could pass for 36 by the way she nurtures her little sister Ora, who is two. Whenever I leave them with a babysitter, Ora says, “Okay, Ra-Ra will be my mommy.” Ora is a spunky little girl, completely opposite of her sister, so they make a great duo!

Aaron and I met in college at a bar. It was the day after I returned from a solo trip through Europe and the Middle East.  According to him, I was emanating a traveller’s cheerful, free-spirited vibe. When I first saw him, he was sitting across the room, smiling at me like we had known each other forever. He had this look in his eye and huge dimples that drew me in. I have been smitten ever since.

Craft room ‘fraidy cat? You’ve gotta see Megan’s!

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Minted Giveaway

October 6, 2014

DMgiveawayBanner

By Gabrielle.

Oh goody! A Minted giveaway!! I’m a huge Minted fan. I’ve been ordering from them for years and love everything about this company. In fact, I’m such a fan, that last year I invited Minted CEO Mariam Naficy to be a keynote speaker at Alt Summit — and she did a terrific job. (Yay for women-led businesses!) Today’s giveaway prize is a super generous $350!! That’s plenty to cover all your holiday cards, and throw in some art prints or party supplies too!

Minted Holiday 2014

In my opinion, the key to Minted’s fabulousness is that they are huge supporters of the art and design communities. All of their card and stationery designs are sourced from independent artists and designers. And I know several designers who credit Minted for helping them get their name out there.

Minted Holiday 2014

Minted is a terrific source for all your social paper needs. Holiday cards, birthday invitations, baby announcements, thank you notes, even party decor! And they also have a helpful blog with tons of great ideas. The designs are gorgeous, and the quality is top notch — here’s a link where you can see the luxe paper they print on.

Minted Holiday 2014

Their newest innovation? The Minted Envelope. These new printed envelopes are gorgeous — every detail, from front to back, has been considered. The quality of the envelope elevates the contents within in a lovely way. And right now, recipient addressing is free!

Minted Holiday 2014

To enter the $350 giveaway, visit Minted and leave a comment below — I’d love to hear what you’re shopping for these days paper-wise. Halloween? Early Christmas prep? Fall get togethers? The winner will be announced on Thursday. Good luck!

——-

Ashley in MD is the lucky winner. Thanks for playing!

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A Few Things

October 3, 2014

squash

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. How are you? I want to thank you for the good conversation this week. I love hearing what you have to say! But oh man. I have not been able to participate in the way I usually like to. Perhaps this weekend!

Today is another work day away from my desk. Hah! Some weeks are just like that. I’m shooting photos at my sister Jordan’s house today, and then getting ready for some weekend guests. But before I head out, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share:

- Crowd-funding a free cancer drug.

- Have you ever used “gentle parenting” techniques?

Safety dance.

- Are you following this story about the New York Fed? You can listen to it here.

- How to keep a toddler busy for an hour.

- Why Sci-Fi isn’t getting Artificial Intelligence right.

- A book for children to drive their toy cars through. Thanks, Jessie.

- ”Because we deserve to do more than just survive. We deserve to thrive.” A heart-wrenching speech and poem from a Marshallese mother and poet to the United Nations.  Thanks, Heidi.

- Dove does it again: what kind of beauty legacy are we giving our girls. Thanks, Rebecca.

How to Spot a Trafficking Victim in an Airport. So important. Thanks, Lisa.

- I was delighted to see this: What to Expect When You’re Adopting.

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

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111220_CBOX_imusMap.jpg.CROP.original-original

By Gabrielle. Map by David Imus.

Just checking in with a fairly random post this morning. Work has taken me away from my desk so much this week! On location photo shoots, meetings in the city, stuff like that. But I wanted to squeeze in a quick hello.

Salon wrote about this map. It was made by one person  — David Imus of Oregon. And it won Best of Show in America’s most prestigious map making competition.

I was fascinated by this article. First, because I had no idea there were prestigious map-making competitions. Second, because I love the fact that the top award is typically won by big companies, but this time it went to a solo map maker. And third, because when I read why the Imus map was so good, I was stunned by the careful thinking and design considerations. It’s more useful, more readable, and better looking too! Yet another reminder that design matters.

Did you see the article? You can read it here. I know so many of us love maps, so I thought this article might resonate with you as well.

And that’s it! I’ll be back later today with an awesome giveaway with Minted. (It’s a big one! Definitely check back.) Till then, I’d love to hear if you’ve seen any good design lately that struck you like this map struck me. UPDATE: Oh darn! I’m still not ready on the Minted giveaway. I’m thinking Monday, now.

P.S. — I’m still gobbling up your fantastic comments on the Homework post. I’m dying to find a few minutes to respond! Keep them coming.

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Homework

October 1, 2014

By Gabrielle. Video: How to Set up a Study Space. Image by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.

Happy October! We are a month into school and homework is on my mind today. Oscar and Betty are in 3rd and 4th grade and their workload so far hasn’t been too challenging. But poor Maude. Her homework is cutting into her sleep time.

She’s a sophomore now and the work load is definitely heavier than it was for her last year. Part of the issue is that she’s a diehard member of the Cross Country team. Practices are long and she puts in a ton of mileage. In theory, she could quit Cross Country and have plenty of time for homework, but that doesn’t really seem like a feasible option. Cross Country is the happiest part of her life at the moment! And all that running seems to keep her teen emotions balanced — there’s nothing like post-run endorphins to put anyone in a great mood. Taking her out of cross country doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. In fact, I’m reminded of that saying: “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”

Ralph experienced similar late nights last year, but with Maude perhaps I notice it more because she loves her sleep. Late nights typically hold no interest for her. If she’s tired, she has no issues going to bed early — she’s not one to fight sleep in order to watch a show or something like that.

I get that this homework situation is normal high school behavior — and I did the same thing as a teen and survived. But seeing her stay up late, fighting sleepiness so that she can finish her homework, is frustrating. It just seems like a seriously flawed system. No doubt these thoughts are amplified because I feel like I’ve read over and over how important sleep is for everybody — but especially for teenagers.

How do you deal with homework at your house? Is it messing with your family schedule? Or have you figured out a good homework rhythm? Do your kids attend a school with no homework at all? Have you read anything lately on sleep — or on homework — that has you thinking about this? Also, I’ve heard some high schools out there are experimenting with late starts so that teens can get more sleep. Has your school tried this? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — Do you kids cover their textbooks with paper? Here’s a cute tutorial on book covers if you want to learn how.

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Oh Baby Wild World

By Gabrielle. Print via Etsy’s Letters on Love.

Whew. Lindsay Gault Drakos’ experiences are going to fill you with hope, helpful information, and maybe some anger. With three babies born in three countries, there’s bound to be a story or three! As with all of my Growing A Family posts, I hope you find even just one sentence or shared moment to make your day (or delivery) easier. I will warn you that Lindsay’s birth experience in Athens is difficult to read, but rest assured: Lindsay’s three babies are all thriving and growing up happily ever after, despite the trials of their journeys. (Be sure you stay tuned to the end: I borrow some of Lindsay’s worldly experiences and ask her a few questions. If you’ve still got your own babies to deliver, you may want to borrow Lindsay’s advice, too.) Welcome, Lindsay.

Click to read Lindsay’s birth experiences…all so different!

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Living With Kids: Alisa Burke

September 30, 2014

By Gabrielle.

Inspiration overload. You’ve been warned. If you only look at the pictures, you’ll want a wall of floor-to-ceiling blooms bursting into your life and a drawn-on dishwasher. But, oh! If you read Alisa‘s words, you’ll suddenly see everything around you in a crazy haze of beauty. (She’s an artist; she has that effect!)

Her perspective is one that I can’t wait to share, and I truly hope you’ll leave this post overwhelmed with encouragement. Friends, please help me welcome Alisa and her family!

Q: We can’t wait to meet you all! Tell us everything…

A: I live with my husband Andy and two year old daughter Lucy in a small town on the Oregon Coast. My husband and I have been married for ten years, and together we live a very creative and non-traditional life working as artists. A few years ago, we put a plan in motion to chase after the dream of simplicity. We wanted to leave our fast-paced life in Southern California, and move back to my small hometown on the Oregon Coast where we could focus on raising our daughter and running a creative business together.

My husband quit his job as a structural engineer to be a stay-at-home dad and pursue his own art career, and my business became the means for our survival. We knew that if we decided to start a family, there was no looking back! We wanted to say goodbye to the predictability of steady jobs and income, and choose the road less traveled.

More gorgeous, straight ahead!

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U2 & Madonna

September 29, 2014

u2 songs of innocence

By Gabrielle.

We have been listening to the new U2 album, Songs of Innocence, pretty-much nonstop for a couple of weeks now. Have you had a chance to hear it yet? It’s the free album that was causing some drama on iTunes. We love the album. We are big U2 fans so we tend to like everything they produce, but that said, we feel like this album is especially good. Bono mentioned it was their most personal album, and I think it shows.

Anyway, this is not an album review, it’s just that the album has Ben Blair and me talking about music and age. Bono, the Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton — these are not young guys. But seeing them sing and play and move and rock in performances like this, seems totally normal to me. They don’t look out of place at all in my eyes.

U2 songs of innocence

But. If a random 54-year-old — someone I’ve never heard of before — came out with an album of music, an album that was totally current and sounded completely modern and fresh and up-to-date (whether it was rock, or hip hop, or pop, or whatever one’s favorite genre might be), what would my reaction be? Would I like U2′s album if I didn’t know their earlier work, if I didn’t have context? Would I even be willing to listen to it?

We had similar thoughts when Madonna’s last album came out. Madonna is 56. She was 54 when she started singing Give Me All Your Luvin’. And I sang right along anytime I heard it on the radio. It’s a really fun, catchy song. But every once in awhile I would remember she was in her fifties and I would laugh that she was singing what I thought of as pop-y, high school lyrics. Again, if any other 50-year-old had hit the scene with that song, would he or she have been laughed from the stage?

Related, I LOVED this article written by a women who almost accidentally found musical success in mid-life. This line from the article struck me: “It was heartbreaking how many people — mostly women, some with a better background in music than I have — told me they’d put away their drum kit, electric guitar, bass, whatever, because they were too old to play rock and roll.”

What’s your take? Do you ever think of this topic? Do have opinions on age and music? Is there an age limit on rock? How about for pop music? Do you think women age out before men? Do you like the new U2 album or did you delete it immediately?

P.S. — Check out this beautiful video of Madonna, made by a fan, that morphs images of Madonna from 1983 to 2014.

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A Few Things

September 26, 2014

Design Mom Living Room

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How’s it going? Any weekend plans you’re looking forward to? We’re thinking of our European kids this weekend, because Ralph is headed from England to France tomorrow. He’ll be in the same town, and attend the same school as Olive, but they’ll be living with different families. Oh man, the thought of them getting to see each other on most days makes me super happy, and is somehow hugely comforting. Which reminds me, I should totally share an update about how both Olive and Ralph are doing — hopefully next week!

Beyond thinking of my kids-across-the-ocean, my weekend will be mostly taken up with responding to copy edits on four of my book chapters. Anytime there’s a circumstance that requires me to make a ton of purposeful decisions all at once (like when we cleared out our storage unit in Colorado), I have to really psyche up for it and getting in a particular frame of mind. A thousand decisions that need to be made during a short time period is so overwhelming to me! It’s the exact opposite of busy work, and I find it completely exhausting. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

Before I dig in to my book work, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- I totally need this — Pep talk of the week!

- I had no idea Bridge to Terebithia was a frequently banned book.

- To mark National Public Lands Day, all National Parks are free on Saturday. Woot!

This restaurant wants to be the worst-reviewed on Yelp.

- Did you get a chance to see Emma Watson’s UN speech? Any thoughts?

- The best built-in beds for kids.

- DIY jump rope. (I love jumping rope.)

- Murder in a time before Google.

- Meta Coleman’s class on Creative Children’s Spaces looks so good.

- The A-Z of dance.

- Dying to try a pair of these drapey pants from Banana Republic — they look comfy as sweats, but elegant too! There’s a code to get a discount — use BEHERENOW to get $25 off of every $100 you spend.

- It’s Like They Know Us. So many good ones, but this might be my favorite: ”Oh, really? My little guy never fusses at mealtime. Have you tried feeding him on a white couch?”

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

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Olive Us: Oscar’s Project

September 25, 2014

Oscar with tools

Images and text by Gabrielle.

Oh my goodness. Watch this one with your kids! They will love it, I promise. And I think you’ll like it too. In fact, maybe it will get you excited for a weekend project. : )

Every time we share a new Olive Us video, I think to myself: this is my favorite one yet! But this time, I think I mean it even more than usual. Hah! The idea in this new video is simple as can be, but I hope it will inspire kids everywhere to get out there and tackle their own projects.

Take a look:





I have to say, this was a really fun episode to film. It was the first one we filmed here at our house in Oakland, and we loved putting our new backyard to work. Honestly, it was the first time we started day dreaming about what we’d like to do with the backyard, and this episode ending up having a lot of influence on this particular installation.

Oscar at work OscarBlair

I hope you enjoy the video! And if you have a child, or grandchild, or niece, or nephew that would enjoy it, I hope you get a chance to share it with them as well. Yay for the satisfaction of a job well done!

P.S. — Would you like to know more about Olive Us? Here you go:

- Find the official Olive Us website here.
- Find all the posts I’ve written about Olive Us — including every episode — here.
- We’ve made 44 episodes so far and ulive commissioned 20 of them! You can find the Olive Us page on ulive here.

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fashionABLE Kickstarter

September 24, 2014

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By Gabrielle.

I’m so excited about this! Remember the Alt Summit + fashionABLE scarf design contest I mentioned? Well, today I’ve got a happy contest update for you. Over a hundred scarf designs were submitted, and the top choices were voted on last month. Then, on Monday, we announced the winners — the vote actually ended in a tie!

The photos here feature both of the beautiful winning scarves. The blue one is the Zeritu, designed by Hannah Coulson. The peach one is the Tigist, designed by Drew Pistilli.

As with all fashionABLE products, these scarves help provide jobs for at-risk women in Ethiopia. Each scarf is handmade of custom-dyed, 100% Ethiopian cotton. I’ve seen both of the winning scarves in person and they are gorgeous!

But here’s something new: Instead of selling these scarves on the fashionABLE website, we launched them on Kickstarter instead. And they are only available through the Kickstarter campaign. By crowd-sourcing them, it allows fashionABLE to know exactly how many scarves to produce. If 150 of the Tigist scarf is ordered through the campaign, then only 150 scarves will be woven. And that’s it. If 500 Zeritu scarves are ordered, then 500 will be made.

The neat thing about doing it this way, is that it means fashionABLE can offer the scarves at a significant discount — because they don’t have to make manufacturing guesses. The other neat thing is that we can offer tons of fun incentives as well!

So head on over and take a look — you can even see me in the intro video!

We announced the campaign on Monday and it’s already 70% funded. Which is fantastic! I hope you’ll join in the fun. And remember, if you want to buy one of these winning scarves, ordering them through this Kickstarter is the only way to get them.

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you wear scarves? Do you have a favorite between the winners? Are you already familiar with fashionABLE, or are they new to you?

P.S. — Did I mention we’re running a contest to celebrate? If you share the campaign you could win of the of the scarves! Find contest details here.

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Tea Collection Giveaway

September 23, 2014

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By Gabrielle.

You know what sounds like fun today? Giving away a $200 store credit to Tea Collection!!

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Tea Collection is a clothing line that is beloved by parents and children everywhere. The company finds inspiration for their easy-to-play-in clothes from all over the world. In fact, each line is influenced by a specific place. Morocco, Buenas Aires, a sunny island in the Pacific — could be anywhere!

The latest collection was inspired by Bavaria and the Black Forests of Germany — famed for fairytales, quaint villages and cuckoo clocks, for folksy Old World paintings and charming cottages. Tea Collection clothes are high on style and high on quality as well. These are clothes made to last.

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Extra fun: There’s a BIG SALE happening at Tea Collection right this minute! It’s a Friends & Family event where you can get 20% off using the code: FALLFRIEND — and the sale only last for 2 days, so act fast. I want to stock up on my favorites — stripey rompers, sweet dresses, hardworking outerwear, and the cutest shoes!

To enter the giveaway, visit Tea Collection and leave a comment below — I’d love to hear what you’re shopping for these days. The winner will be announced on Friday. Good luck!

———

Kelsey is the lucky winner. Thanks for playing!

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By Gabrielle.

Is it just me, or are we all a bit fascinated with New York? I know so many people who either reminisce fondly about their time in The Big Apple, or else dream about someday living there. And tell the truth: When you hear the first few chords of New York, New York, you can’t help but belt out all the lyrics, right?

LaTonya Staubs lives a colorful life in Brooklyn. From the red and white polka dotted rug to turquoise chairs and on to orange spotted walls, this is an explosion of creativity. And yet, it’s still a calm from the storm that is the city, just outside their front door. That’s a trick that requires constant attention to balance and intention. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from this designer, mama, and lovely blogger. Friends, please welcome LaTonya!

Q: Tell us all about your family. (Also, your babes have such unique names, so please share how you chose them!)

A: My family and I live in Brooklyn, NY in a small and loving space. We started our family at a pretty young age, by total surprise. I was 21 and Peter was 24. River was and is still the most amazing surprise!

Before I got pregnant with her, Peter and I were young people just having fun in the city. There was always a party or show to attend, and my life was pretty much the typical life for a girl just barely out of her teens working and living in the city. I wanted a peaceful pregnancy and baby, after all the hoopla. I also wanted a baby girl with a unisex name, so she wouldn’t be judged about a job etc. before others ever met her. It goes so well with her personality.

We came up with Oak after I had already lost a baby well into my second trimester. I went into my pregnancy with him incredibly nervous and private, with a lot of feelings, and not knowing exactly how to sort through them. I soon realized that the insecurity after getting pregnant after a loss like that doesn’t just go away. All I could do was share my feelings with friends, and later with blog readers. I wanted to be strong and I wanted my baby to be strong. I knew if he made it through all the endless high risk appointments and past that 24 week mark he would be strong. Oak is a representation of that strength, like an Oak tree.

River’s room and those orange spotted walls, just ahead!

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Animal Puppets from Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

By Gabrielle. Images by Nicole Hill Gerulat for Playful.

I’ve got such a sweet little project for you and your kids today. It’s an Elephant! The most charming paper elephant you’ve ever seen. And it’s one of the many adorable projects in the Merrilee Liddiard’s fantastic new book, Playful. You can find the full instructions, plus a free downloadable template below.

Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

Have you seen the book? Everything about it is scrumptious. Every project, every photo, all the little details. Buy it so you can make fun, imaginative, totally do-able projects with your kids. And buy it because the attention to detail will inspire you!

I’m a huge fan of Merrilee. Such a fan that I sought her out to work on our Olive Us movie titles and illustrations (see examples here and here). She’s endlessly creative and her ideas spark more creativity in everyone around her.

Animal Puppets from Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

This simple elephant would be terrific to make with your kids. Hang it on the wall, add sticks to make it a puppet. Or make tiny ones as cupcake toppers. Yay!

Click here for the full tutorial and downloadable template.

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A Few Things

September 19, 2014

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Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How are you doing? It’s been a good week at our house. Nothing too eventful, but it was one of those weeks where it felt like things ran pretty smoothly. That’s always feels like such a bonus!

This weekend, I’m toying with the idea of getting started remodeling the girls’ bedroom. Pulling up old carpet, taking down the ceiling tiles — that sort of thing. But it’s a big job, and I really shouldn’t start anything new until the book is completely done. Hah! We’ll see how it goes. How about you? Any fun weekend plans?

I’m off to sit in the girls’ room and ponder the possibilities, but before I close my laptop, here are a few links I’ve been wanting to share:

- Rush hour in the Netherlands. Amazing!

- Did you know children with cancer can spend up to four months in isolation in the hospital? That means no playing with other kids. This kickstarter wants to fix that. (And the video got me teary.) Thanks, Macarena.

- I’m still laughing — Happy Birthday from Grandpa and Grandmaster Flash.

- This is what has happened in the 5 months since we found out about #bringbackourgirls.

- The spiritual art of saying no. Thanks, Laurie.

- This speech to a class of pre-schoolers was banned. Thanks, Gillian.

- Breathtaking photos of Ethiopia from an African-based female photographer.

- MIT is hosting a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.” Yes please! Thanks, Amy.

- Turn your Instagram photos into a light cube.

- A beautiful video on what ballerinas do to prepare their pointe shoes for performance.

- The new common core math is not fuzzy. Thanks, Cate.

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

P.S. — I snapped the image at top at the grocery store yesterday. When I saw them, I immediately thought of this cuss-filled but hilarious article. I know I link to it every year, but it’s funny every time!

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