By Gabrielle.

I know I linked to some #yesallwomen articles on Friday, but would you mind if we furthered the discussion a bit more? Ben Blair and I talked with the kids about the hashtag over the weekend and it’s been on mind non-stop.

If you had asked me a week ago whether or not I had been sexually harassed in my life, I would have quickly said, “No, not really.” If I’d thought about it a bit more, I would have said, “Um. Yes. There was some molesting when I was a child.” But man oh man, reading the hashtag brought back so many instances. Most are small, some feel bigger. But all are so commonplace that without the #yesallwomen hashtag, I didn’t recognize them as harassment — they are just one of the costs of existing on the earth with a vagina.

Keep reading to learn what we discussed as a family.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 340 comments }

A Few Things

May 30, 2014

swimming hole at Sequoia National Park

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How are you? Are you ready for the weekend? With the exception of a BBQ on Saturday, I’m going to be on the couch all weekend — doctor’s orders. My poison oak situation has become infected and my foot has swollen to twice it’s normal size. Blech. But I have medicine and cream and I’m going to keep my foot elevated, and I know I’ll be on the mend soon enough. While I hang out, Ben Blair is taking 3 of the kids to this. How about you? Any good plans?

While I get started doing not-much-of-anything (actually, I hope to catch up on email!), here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- Solar Roadways – the narrator is obnoxious, but these seem amazing!

- Like everyone on the planet, I’ve been thinking about Maya Angelou. NPR ran a 1986 interview with her on Wednesday and so many parts of it stuck with me. She recites poetry and sings. She talks about being influenced by Shakespeare and understanding that if a white man from centuries ago could write the way she felt, then she too could write the way a Chinese man felt, or how a Jewish boy from Brooklyn felt. She talks about how her muteness became an addiction. So good.

- The response to the Reading Rainbow kickstarter made me happy.

- Have you heard of Manhattanhenge?

- Dark walls in a nursery.

- I didn’t discover the #yesallwomen stream until mid-week and my heart breaks every time I read it. I could add a dozen of my own experiences to the stream. Every female I know could. Not sure what #yesallwomen is? Start here for a good explanation.

- Related, I think this article, titled Your Princess Is In Another Castle, is excellent.

- Also related, if dads want to raise ambitious daughters, they need to do half the housework.

- A fun elephant lamp that children can build by themselves.

DIY indigo dyed blanket.

- Yay for gardening with kids!

- The Monied — a lifestyle blog through a financial lens.

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 20 comments }

Ela & Glo Giveaway

May 29, 2014

DMgiveawayBanner

By Gabrielle.

Doesn’t it feel like a good day for a giveaway? Yes indeed! And it’s a great one. The prize is a $200 gift certificate and the sponsor is Ela & Glo! Their shop offers a hand-picked selection of home decor items, beauty products, and gifts for both children and adults. And the generous prize means you get to pick whatever you like!

Ela & Glo - Spring 2014

If Ela & Glo is new to you, it’s probably because they’re quite new as well — they opened their internet shop doors only 6 months ago. Something really neat about Ela & Glo is that the business is run by a mother-daughter team, and the online shop has a brick-and-mortar version in Venezuela. Isn’t that fantastic? Eliana and Gloria work together to find and sell products that their families truly enjoy.

Something else great about Ela & Glo is that they focus on excellent customer service — unless it’s a custom item, they process every order within 24 hours!

If I won, I would definitely choose the Doris Dress, and I would want to give these Veggie Rattles to every baby I know! I’m also fully intrigued by these Coral Sandals — apparently, they are made of Melflex, a plastic that is elastic, water resistant, hypoallergenic and recyclable. And, they’re injected with natural ingredients that make them smell sweet. And, they’re like $20 bucks!

Visit Ela & Glo and leave a comment below to enter — I’d love to what product catches your eye first. The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

——-

Alexandra is the lucky winner. Thanks for playing!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Me + Ben Blair

May 29, 2014

Benjamin & Gabrielle Blair of Olive Us & Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth

By Gabrielle. Photos by Justin Hackworth .

Two months ago, I was answering some interview questions via email — the interview was for a magazine and the questions were about our wedding (so long ago!). The interviewer also requested an image of us as a couple from our wedding, and an image of us as a couple now. All of a sudden, I realized we hadn’t had a picture taken of just the two of us for years! There has been an occasional couples selfie, but nothing that really works as a portrait. So I asked the interviewer to hold tight while I figured out a current photo.

Benjamin & Gabrielle Blair of Olive Us & Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth Benjamin & Gabrielle Blair of Olive Us & Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth Benjamin & Gabrielle Blair of Olive Us & Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth Benjamin & Gabrielle Blair of Olive Us & Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth

Then, as luck would have it, Justin Hackworth let us know he was coming to town to shoot a wedding, and we invited him to come by for dinner. We had a lovely evening of casual dinner and catching up, and after dinner, he generously shot a few photos of me and Ben. And I love how they turned out!

Benjamin Blair of Olive Us - shot by Justin Hackworth Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth Benjamin & Gabrielle Blair of Olive Us & Design Mom - shot by Justin Hackworth

Of course, now I’m curious. What’s your experience with couple photos? Do you make a point to have photos of you and your mate taken regularly? Or are you like us — taking a million photos of the kids and travel scenery, but forgetting to get photos with just the two of us? I’d love to hear!

By the way, Ralph and Maude were both gone the day that Justin came by, so we couldn’t do family photos, but he captured some fantastic images of the youngest four.

Click here to see the photos of the kids!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 36 comments }

Help Wanted

May 28, 2014

pencils+crayons+markers (1 of 1)

By Gabrielle. Image by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Hi Friends! This is a little announcement to let you know Design Mom is hiring. I’m seeking an in-office assistant.

This is a part-time entry-level position. 20 hours per week — in office from 9:00 to 1:00, Monday through Friday. Sometimes, a particular day might need extra hours, so if you can stay longer sometimes, that’s great.

The job will include processing and responding to a ton of email — like incoming product pitches and event invitations and sponsorship inquiries. So applicants need strong communication skills and should be clear writers. The job will include running errands — generally work-related, but sometimes personal (because work life and personal life for bloggers often overlap). The job will include assisting on photo shoots, discussing the editorial calendar, and doing research (like figuring out what the rental van options are for 10+ people planning a two-week roadtrip…). The job could include attending blog-related events and possibly traveling for those events.

I’m seeking someone who is a creative problem solver, who has a knack for getting things all the way done. Someone who is energetic, who is excited about blogging and social media. I’m looking for someone who is positive and kind and fun to spend time with.

Interested? Are you a good fit for the job? Living in the East Bay? Available during the posted hours? Looking for entry-level work? Then I want to hear from you! Send me an email. Write a short intro letting me know a bit about yourself, and include links to any of your websites, blogs or social media accounts. At that point, I’ll contact candidates with further instructions.

Want to know more about the job? I’ve included some Q&A when you click through.

Keep reading for answers to your questions.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 18 comments }

By Gabrielle. Image via The Glow.

I’m fascinated with birth cultures. (Have you see Babies? So, so  good.) So when Fiona offered to answer a few questions about the birthing system in Berlin, I couldn’t wait to share her with you. From the amount of scans during a routine pregnancy to weight gain scrutiny and a delightful post-natal leave program, it’s all interesting stuff. And just wait until you hear of the area’s medicated birth philosophy. Friends, I truly hope you enjoy this interview! Welcome, Fiona!

Q: Describe the moment you knew you were pregnant! How did you tell your first born?

A: When our first-born turned two, we decided it was a good time to try for a second wee little one. I had not had a period since giving birth as I took the mini-pill immediately afterwards whilst breastfeeding and stayed on it, so I had absolutely no idea how long my cycle would take to get back into any sort of rhythm. A few weeks after I stopped taking the pill, I had pains in my side one night that just seemed really strange, so I went to the doctor the next morning and she gave me a pregnancy test to take. I was surprised and so so happy to see a very faint, but certainly there, second line! Wow, I had not expected to get pregnant so fast!

More from Berlin, just ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 23 comments }

By Gabrielle.

Hallie Burton‘s energy and joy for life is completely contagious. It’s refreshing to find someone so equally enamored with her family life, professional life, and the city she calls home. (Ahhh, New York! It has that effect!)

And it’s a fabulous reminder that falling in love with your day-to-day doesn’t necessarily mean over the top gestures, jam-packed schedules, and excess. Sometimes, it means scootering to school, having a daily uniform, and simplifying the aesthetics that surround us. Yes, simplicity is a very good friend to Hallie and her sweet family. How inspiring! Friends, I hope you love this tour as much as I do.

Q: Tell us about this stylish family.

A: We are an Australian (me), a Canadian (George), one loud New Yorker (Pompie), and one Shoodle (Maxi)! I’m a working Lifestyle photographer whose clients include Target, Crate and Barrel, Jonathan Adler, Martha Stewart, Club 21 Global, and Como Hotels and resorts. George is a partner in a contracting business. Pompie is a student and a passionate ballet dancer already! Maxi is an international dog of Mystery, and we are all dedicated Roger Federer fans!

Together we ride, scoot, dance, skate, and sing through our days! We really are the “family that plays together stays together!” We are a one-child family by choice and love every minute of it…we are the three musketeers of our own destiny. As three individuals and as a family we fit, and we knew our family was complete the minute Pompie came out.

We love the idea of equally shared parenting, and the concept really drives us to be better individuals and keep our lives and careers going and, of course, being the best parents possible. Equally being in her life and not one out doing the other really is creating such a beautiful independent child. We travel a lot coming from other countries, so we try hard to keep this side of our life moving for the grandparents. We love bringing up a child in New York; it’s exciting daily and what’s on offer is amazing. We actually try and stay in town in summer so we have a better chance of discovering the city without so many crowds…

Sleekest kitchen ever. Straight ahead.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 78 comments }

Offline

May 27, 2014

Blairs at Sequoia National Park

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Getting back to business on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend always feels like a challenge to me. You too? But the long weekend was wonderful and even though the house is a mess and I feel behind on work, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Totally worth the effort and the aftermath! Things I want to remember from our trip:

- We spent the first few days at Sequoia National Park. We hadn’t been to a National Park since we moved back to the U.S., and I was so happy to be there! I love getting the park brochure — designed with the standard black band. Love everything about it! And I grinned when we bought a year-long parks pass. We have plans to hit the Grand Canyon, Zion, Yosemite and more this year, so I know we’ll put it to good use.

- For the next few months there are 9 of us, while Charles from France is visiting. Our car only has 8 seat belts, so we rented an extended-cab van for the trip. It was nice for the kids to be able to spread out.

- Sequoia National Park makes for fun photos. The trees really are magnificent! We took some of the less-traveled hikes through the ancient trees, and it felt like sacred ground. (You can see more of our photos here.)

- We enjoyed learning the difference between a redwood tree and a sequoia, and we also learned a ton about black bears, which are common in the park. Oscar especially loved learning about the park animals. After a kid-friendly lecture on American Lions by a park ranger, Oscar asked, “Can a cougar jump farther than a Kangaroo?”

- One of the major highlights was finding a picturesque swimming hole, and getting it all to ourselves for at least an hour — which felt remarkable on such a busy holiday weekend.

- I brought my laptop on the trip and didn’t open it once. And we didn’t get phone coverage in the park either. So I was basically off-line for 4 days. Delicious!

- We got home from Sequoia quite late on Sunday night, then repacked the van and headed up to Stinson Beach the same night. We had planned to go in the morning, but wanted to avoid the legendary traffic, so we put the kids in their pajamas and made the 1 hour and 15 minutes drive at 11:30 that night. Everyone got to sleep in the next morning. : ) We stayed in a beach house with Jordan’s family and Liz’s family.

- The weather on Monday was ideal! We spent the whole day on the beach. At one point, Ben Blair and I had a race — it was the first time I had full-out sprinted in years (yes, I realize I don’t exercise much). It felt so good!

- This was the first Memorial Day in quite awhile where we didn’t visit a military cemetery. It was definitely a different sort of Memorial Day for us.

- Though we went went through several bottles of sunscreen, the kids still ended up with sunburns. Me too. Boo! So several of us are spending quality time with our bottle of aloe vera gel.

Overall, such a happy trip! Traveling is a hassle. There’s no doubt about it. Packing up. Figuring out how to feed everybody. Navigating to a new place. Messed up sleep schedules. But  in my experience, it’s worth it every time.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend as well!

P.S. — Have you ever had a run in with poison ivy or poison oak? I am highly allergic to both and have awful reactions. Apparently, I contacted some poison oak in our yard a few days before our trip, and all weekend my leg was an itchy, ugly mess. So gross! I’m guessing I have a few more days of this and then I should be on the mend. 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 28 comments }

Slow Cooker Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Coleslaw   |   Design Mom   #crockpot

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Lindsey of Café Johnsonia.

Memorial Day has come and gone and that means it’s officially summer! Our family loves a good barbecue — Ben Blair makes the best burgers ever. But every so often it’s nice to switch things up a bit, so next up in the Slow Cooker Series is pulled pork sandwiches. You could use any kind of sauce you want, but for this one, we’ve used a homemade bbq sauce of sorts with two secret ingredients!

Slow Cooker Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Coleslaw   |   Design Mom   #crockpot Slow Cooker Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Coleslaw   |   Design Mom   #crockpot

Let’s talk about these secret ingredients. Have you ever had bourbon bbq sauce? It has a nice smoky, sweet flavor. And true, you could add bourbon to the sauce recipe if you wanted, but this one uses liquid smoke and vanilla extract. Don’t worry, it doesn’t end up tasting like cupcakes or anything. It’s really good. (Trust me!)

Plus, you can’t have pulled pork sammies without a pile of coleslaw, right? I’ve got a good homemade recipe for that too, and it’s as easy as can be to put together. The coleslaw in the pictures is made with a new coleslaw mix from Trader Joe’s that has shredded kale and Brussels sprouts too. You can use any kind of slaw mix you can find or like best.

Ready to get cooking?

Click for the recipe and tips!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 7 comments }

A Few Things

May 23, 2014

Blair-Swing-2-FrameB

Image (an animated gif) and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How are you? I noticed on my social media feeds yesterday that school ended for some people this week. You too? Our schools continue through the second week of June, so we still have 3 weeks to go. But, we do have a 4-day weekend! No school today and of course, no school on Monday for Memorial Day. So we thought an adventure was in order, and we’re headed to Sequoia National Park. Woohoo!

I’ve never been to Sequoia and I’m really looking forward to it — it’s the one with the tree you can drive through. : ) Have you ever been? We’d be delighted with any advice you want to give. We’re getting on the road first thing, but before we head out, here are a few things I wanted to share with you:

- The slickness of sexism — in response to the abrupt firing of the NYT Editor in Chief. This is a great short writeup, and in the writeup, the first 4 links she includes in the first line are all super smart as well. Thanks, Hannah.

- It’s not just snowflakes. No tears are alikeThanks, Sara.

- “How do I shake a hand that isn’t there?” Excellent videos from a British organization called Scope. Thanks, Amy.

- Getty images Lean In collection. What do you think? Accurate? Too clichéd?

- It’s the Nordstrom half yearly sale. I always go straight for the shoes. These sandals are so attractively simple — do you think they stay on?

- Best. Roommate. Ever. (Be aware: lots of cussing — but made me laugh!)

A family tries to make sense of what happened and what happened to them as the 9/11 Memorial Museum opens. How do we make sense of tragedy and tourist attraction? Thanks Elizabeth.

- Nightstand upcycled into a play kitchen.

- 10 years of ONE.

5 stylish storage ideas for a little kid room.

- The myth of the special needs super momThanks Vrylena.

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

P.S. — The image at top is an animated gif I made of our swings. I can’t decide if I like or if it’s too jumpy. : ) But I sure love the swings!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 10 comments }

Two Kitchen Tools

May 22, 2014

Electric Kettle & Mini Masher

Images and text by Gabrielle.

In March I wrote about the food habits we had picked up from our time in France, and since that post, I remembered two things in our kitchen that we wouldn’t own if we hadn’t moved to France. So I wanted to share them with you. Neither is particularly French, but we started using these tools because they happened to be in the kitchen of La Cressonnière, and we loved them so much, they were two of our first purchases when we moved back to the U.S.!

The best looking electric tea kettle.

The first is an electric kettle. Apparently, these are common as can be — like more standard than a toaster — in every Western country but the U.S.. And they’re definitely sold here, but I had never seen one used by an American friend, and I had never used one myself, until we lived in France.

They are so handy! The water heats to boiling super fast. It’s great for making hot drinks, for making ramen (or cup noodles, as my kids call them), or anytime you need a small amount of boiling water fast (like when we made dye for Easter eggs). Sometimes it surprises me how often we use it.

There are tons of options available. We use this ceramic one — I chose it for its looks (I thought it would be pretty sitting on the counter) but it works great too. : )

Mini Masher - the very best tool for making guacamole and egg salad

I don’t know the official name for the second tool. We call it a mini-masher, and it took me several searches to track one down. This is the one we have, and I found two others, here and here. Dang I love this tool! I use it for two things specifically: to mash avocados for guacamole, and to mash boiled eggs for egg salad.

If you don’t eat either of those things, I would not recommend this tool to you. But if you do eat guacamole and egg salad, this tool will make you about 75% more willing to make them, because it does the job so well, so quickly and so easily — even if the avocado isn’t perfectly ripe!

Of course, this made me wonder: do you use/adore any kitchen tools that you think are probably uncommon? Where did you discover them? What do you use them for? Also, have you used either of the tools I featured? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — Travel season is here! If you’re headed to France, here are Five Fabulous Souvenirs Under $5. And here are 5 more!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 101 comments }

Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

Text and how-to images by Gabrielle. Family portraits by Sarah of Modern Kids. | This post is brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement — they have everything you need to tackle your own weekend projects, just in time for Memorial Day!  #springiscalling

——–

There are 3 reasons I’m super excited to share this project with you. 1) It’s awesome! I thought of it last fall, and the whole idea still makes me grin. 2) I’ve been sharing behind the scenes peeks on the Lowe’s Instagram stream for the last few days and it’s fun to get to finally share the finished photos. And 3) We haven’t had family photos taken since the Vintage Car photo shoot in France — 3 Christmases ago! We were long overdue and this was a great excuse/opportunity.

Sarah of Modern Kids did the portraits. She also did our French Greys portraits back in the day. She lives here in the Bay Area and it’s been wonderful to be able to work with her again!

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Betty Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

The idea for The Family Swing Project came to me last fall. We had just started to get to know our yard, and Ben Blair pointed out how pretty the view of the stream was from under this particular tree. He mentioned we should hang a swing so someone could relax and take in the view.

I loved that idea and looked up to consider where a swing should go. And when I looked up, it hit me that there were a ton of options — ten or more branches growing horizontally.

There was a lightbulb moment and all of a sudden I could picture our whole family spending a warm, lazy evening under the tree — each child in their own swing, and Ben Blair and I sharing a bench swing. We could sway and chat and listen to the stream, and just be together.

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Oscar Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

This vision has been stuck in my head for all these months, and this last weekend, we decided to bring the vision to life!

Ben Blair was the how-to master mind. He figured out how to build the swings and get them to swing properly. I’ve included a complete photo tutorial when you click through, so you can see what he came up with (and in case you’d like to build your own swings!).

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Ralph Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

They’ve only been hanging for a few days so far, but they are already a major draw for the kids, for their friends and for the cousins. It’s easy to see they are going to provide hours of entertainment, and a bucket full of memories for our family.

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Maude Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Flora June Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

We hung the swings at different heights — one particularly low swing was hung especially for June. And all but two hang from their own branch. The bench hangs from the sturdiest branch and we tried to sort of center it — with the other swings hanging around it.

The project turned out wonderfully, and it feels good to have made a bit more progress in the yard. I already said this, but the whole thing still makes me grin!

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Olive Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

Man oh man, I like those kids.

Would you like to learn how we built the swings? Keep reading.

Click here for the full tutorial.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 66 comments }

By Gabrielle.

I’m not sure what’s most visually stunning in this tour: Mount Etna or the fireplace! (That shot above is the kitchen window view. Gulp.) But then there’s Becca‘s super intentional style of parenting and innate gratitude for her life, and the views somehow become secondary.

The Garbers are an American family on a military tour that ends this summer, so I’m glad we have the chance to tour their home before they head off on another adventure. Just one look out that kitchen window, and I’m sure it’s going to be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to this space and pace of living with their kids in Southern Italy. Friends, welcome to the Garber home!

Q: Please tell us all about this family living in Sicily.

A: This family started in Boston in 2008 with a blue-eyed, bearded veterinary student and a determined young nurse. Even before we started dating, we knew we’d marry each other….and we were right! We got married in a surprise snowstorm in 2010. Shortly after our wedding, Elliott left for a 12-month deployment with the U.S. Army, an experience that challenged us but also gave our new marriage a unique texture and fortitude.

Now we are the stretched-but-grateful parents of vivacious Lena (three) and curly-haired Gil (one). We also have an opportunistic Maine Coon cat named Siena.

We live in a yellow house on the edge of a cliff in Sicily. Elliott is a veterinarian in the Army, where he cares for military working dogs and runs a vet clinic on base. I’m taking time off from my career as a nurse to stay at home with our children, and in the meantime I’m pursuing my creative side with blogging, knitting, and photography.

Q: How did you end up living overseas?

A: After Elliott’s yearlong deployment away from his new bride, the Army gave him his choice of assignment. Starry-eyed, I chose Italy. The rural, quiet beauty of southern Italy appealed to us because of our love for the outdoors and our desire to live a simple life.

We arrived in July 2011 with three-month-old Lena. A few days later, I was looking at photos of potential houses, and I saw one with a spectacular view of Mount Etna, exposed brick, dark wood trim, a rustic fireplace, and a balcony overlooking a green valley. Right outside the front door was a Norman castle from the 12th Century. “I just found our house!” I said.

The fireplace is a work of art. Truly. Go see.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 51 comments }

5E5A9541b

By Gabrielle. Photo credits: United Nations Foundation | Amy Sussman.

I’ve been meaning to tell you a little about my trip to New York earlier this month. Ambassador Power was speaking at the Moms + Social Good conference and I was invited to moderate. What an honor!

We talked about fascinating things like the realities of her work and home life — bedtime stories interrupted by phone calls from world leaders (can you imagine?!). We talked heart-breaking things, like the kidnapped Nigerian daughters. And we got emotional as talk turned to the children that needlessly die as war intersects with their childhood. We talked about light-hearted things, too. I asked her about her strong name and wondered if she gave her kids similarly powerful names.

It was a really good talk. And that comes as no surprise, because Ambassador Power is terrific. Obviously, smart as can be and passionate about improving the world, but also delightful to talk with. Friendly and personable, she kept the whole room enthralled easily. The interview went much too fast and I found myself wishing I could chat with her for hours!

5E5A9571b

This is the second year of the Moms + Social Good event — a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and the United Nations Foundation. The whole conference was live-streamed, so women could watch it and take part wherever they are in the world. If you’re curious, you can find images, video and reports about the day here.

The event was truly well done. It acted as the finale of the Global Moms Relay. The relay is new to me, but I’m already a fan of the whole idea. What is the Global Moms Relay? It’s this: from International Women’s Day through Mothers’ Day (March 7 through May 11), 30+ celebrities and community leaders from New York to Nairobi answered the question “How has a mom changed your world?”. Powerful stuff!

5E5A9546b

If you’ve read Design Mom for awhile, you may know I’ve worked with other advocacy groups — like OneMoms and Every Mother Counts — that work to help mothers around the world. Both of these groups (and many, many more) were present at the Moms + Social Good event. It’s so important to me to keep talking about these issues, keep them in the news, make sure my elected officials know how I feel about them. And this conference felt like an amplification of all those things. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to attend.

P.S. — I know when I mentioned Ambassador Power earlier, there were comments that she is a favorite role model for kids. I love that! Are you familiar with her work? Maybe you’ve read her books? I’m so impressed with her — I feel like a fan girl!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 7 comments }

Craft Books09

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Another pretty craft book I wanted to tell you about. This one is by Petit Collage and it’s filled with happy projects for the home. So many cute ideas! I love the menu chart and the chalk family tree.

Craft Books11 Craft Books12

I’m a huge fan of the creator, Lorena Siminovich, and the whole line of Petit Collage products. I think Lorena is a creative genius — and I love watching her as a businesswoman as well!

When I first came across Petit Collage, it was a tiny online shop with a handful of sweet art prints. Now the line includes games, wall decals, mobiles, toys, prints, and the book! And each item is beautiful and made with attention to details and quality — the focus on design is so appealing to me! Plus, Lorena is a parent and creates her products with real kids and real families in mind — and yes, real kids really love them!

Is there a company out there you feel connected to that you’ve watched grow and thrive? It’s fun to witness!

Craft Books13

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 6 comments }

A Few Things

May 16, 2014

Maude 800 meters

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. How are you doing today? Good things going on in your life? We’re excited that our daughter Olive arrives home from her school trip to France today. Two weeks is so long! We missed her like crazy.

We still have several weeks of school left, but we’re definitely in that winding down period. Ralph took his first AP test yesterday. Maude’s track meets are almost done. Summer is getting close — we can all feel it!

This weekend, we’re working on a fun project in the yard, and having a get together with the cousins on Sunday — it will feel amazing to have the whole family together. How about you? Any fun plans?

I’m off to change into work-in-the-yard clothes, but before I head out, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- Did you hear that Martha Stewart is speaking at Alt Summit Summer in Salt Lake City? Her keynote will be a Q&A, and I get to be the interviewer! I’m so excited about this I can hardly stand it. Will you be there? (Announcement here. Tix available here.)

Crayola meets STEM.

Random Correlations. Endlessly fascinating.

- Something fun: I’m taking over the Lowe’s Instagram Feed for 5 days. I start tomorrow. I hope you’ll follow along!

- A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer. Thanks, Mari.

Maps made from iconic, regional food.

- May is Bike Month! And this bicycle is revolutionizing lives in rural Africa.

- A reaction to red-carpet commentary.

- A citrus themed baby shower.

- A park to encourage independent children. Thanks, Kelly.

- Ben Blair posted an Instagram video of little June trying to wink. Little kids winking is the best! (Watch it in the app so you can hit play.)

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 16 comments }

Minted Giveaway

May 15, 2014

DMgiveawayBanner

I’ve got a really excellent giveaway for you today. Minted is the sponsor and they’re offering a $250 gift certificate! Plus, this post is extra fun because I’m going to share a few photos from Design Mom Readers — photos of Minted Art in their homes. I’m telling you, good stuff today!

Minted Art in Homes

You probably know about Minted’s excellent selection of customizable party invitations, birth announcements and gifts. But for this post, I’m going to talk about something you might not know they offer — Art Prints. They have a Limited Edition Series, and a Custom Art Series.

Minted Art in Homes

The Limited Edition Series is Created by independent artists, printed on archival paper, and available in multiple sizes. I featured some of my favorites in this earlier post, and can also include these Abstract Circles and Dandelions among my favorites.

The Custom Art Series is created by independent artists as well, and includes options for adding words or names, and changing colors, too. Animals Alphabet, Family of Oranges, and Summer Picked Poppies caught my eye.

UPDATE: To enter the giveaway click this link. Good luck! I hope you win. : )

——-

And be sure to keep reading to see what Minted Art is like in the homes of Design Mom Readers. Such great submissions! I wish I could feature them all.

Click to see Minted Art in real homes, plus the thinking behind how each print was chosen.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 39 comments }

beautyofdifferent1

By Gabrielle.

My friend Karen Walrond wrote an excellent post yesterday titled These People Are Nothing Like Me. It’s about her habit of seeking out and actively reading the blogs of people who are different from her. I love the post! I love finding names of people I respect on her list, and I love finding lots of new names to discover as well. Karen’s post had me reflecting on the state of diversity among the blogs I read, and in my own social media streams.

My question for you: How diverse is your media? If you consider yourself a member of the Tea Party, do you also follow people like John Stewart? If you’re an ardent Democrat, do conservative voices ever cross your screen? If you’re religious, do you read columns of any atheists, or scholars from other religions? When hot-button news is happening, is your Facebook feed a mess of differing opinions?  Do you follow people who are living all over the world? Are the faces and races you see in your Instagram feed diverse?

Is diversity important to you? Or do you simply consider it a nice bonus when it stumbles into your life now and again? For those of you who find yourselves with very diverse media around you, did it happen accidentally? Did it happen naturally? Or did you do something in particular to seek it out? And feel free to share links if there’s a blogger who is different than you that you want to recommend!

P.S. — Karen also wrote an excellent book called The Beauty of Different.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 50 comments }

Wool Car Blankets

May 14, 2014

Pendleton Wool Blankets National Parks Series

By Gabrielle.

I feel funny writing a post about blankets when the temperatures here are in the 90′s today, but I wanted to share these with you before I forget. And in reality, I end up using these types of blankets more often in the summer than I do in the winter.

I started looking into old-school wool blankets when my mom sent us a classic Pendleton blanket for Christmas. It’s the same one you can see on Ralph’s bed here. It’s the Badlands pattern, part of Pendleton’s National Parks series.

I was so excited about how gorgeous this blanket is, but I felt dumb too. For some reason, I assumed Pendleton was no longer making these blankets, and that I had to track them down at a flea market if I wanted one. But here they were on their website — the whole series! All totally classic. In fact, Pendleton has been making these National Parks blankets, in 100% wool, since the early 1900s!

Though I use them in several places, I think of these types of blankets as perfect for keeping in the trunk of the car. They fold up compactly so they don’t take up much space, the wool is water resistant, and they can really take a beating. I like them for last minute picnics, watching fireworks on summer nights, and if a cold front moves in, they even do a great job of keeping us warm. : )

But, the Pendleton blankets come with a big price tag. So I wanted to see if there was anything else out there that was more accessible, and I found some great options.

Woolrich Civil War Series Wool Blankets

Woolrich, another classic label, is also still producing traditional wool blankets, and at a lower price point than Pendleton. The Civil War series offers four designs that look like historical military blankets. The blankets are not 100% wool — they’re something like 85% wool and 15% nylon. But they’re certainly handsome. And they come in at about half of what the Pendleton blankets cost.

European Army Surplus Wool Blankets

Then, in my searches for military beds for the boys’ room, I happened upon some gorgeous European Army blankets, also in wool, that have a bargain price tag compared to both the Woolrich and the Pendleton blankets. I like this one from Italy, these two from the Czech Republic, and this one from Switzerland. I found French and German versions too, but I didn’t think they were as pretty. : )

Like I said, these are bargain priced — as low as $28!

Woolrich Allegheny Series Wool Blankets

Lastly, I noticed the Allegheny series by Woolrich. These are 100% wool, and I love the patterns, but I’m not as crazy about the blanket stitching around the edges. They’re in the same price range as the first Woolrich blankets I mentioned.

Tell me, friends, are you a fan of these types of wool blankets? Are you perhaps one of those lucky ducks who inherited a classic wool blanket from a grandparent or a great uncle? Or are you rolling your eyes and thinking: geez, Gabrielle, you must be the only person on Earth to not know that Pendleton is still making blankets? : ) Also, do you have any other sources I should know about?

P.S. — I suppose I find the National Parks blankets especially endearing because I grew up around National Parks and they continue to be some of my favorite spots to vacation. Do you have a favorite National Park?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 63 comments }

By Gabrielle.

We’ve got another family who has moved away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, this time to South Dakota. That’s interesting in itself, but then add the wide range in ages of the children and I’m completely hooked to the story!

With all boys and one lovely little girl and a husband who travels quite a bit, Michelle has created a home that fits them all. And don’t even think for one second that Lily, the youngest and only girl, has to live in a boyishly decorated space! Her bed is dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. You’ll see.

Welcome, Arnold family!

Q: Please tell us all about this cute family.

A: Hi there! Our family consists of my husband Rod and me, our boys – Ben, Bo, and Jackson – and our daughter, Lily. And I have to add our beloved family dog, Gracie, because she will feel rejected if I don’t include her.

Rod and I met and married in college 25 years ago. Can’t believe we’re old enough to say that! We have lived all over the place, which my kids have said is both awesome and not awesome, depending on the point they are trying to make with me at the time.

Lily’s room sure is cute. Click to see it!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 28 comments }