A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? We had the loveliest rain storm last evening and into the night. The rain was badly needed (for the fires and just because we haven’t had any in ages), and the earth smells so good now. Our whole yard looks green and lush and happy

A few readers emailed me about the giant surprise ball I mentioned we made for Olive’s 16th birthday party, wanting to know more details. Surprise balls are awesome! Traditionally, they are made from rolls of crepe paper (like streamers). You roll up the crepe paper, making a ball, and hiding little gifts and trinkets inside as you go. Then, as a party activity, or just for fun, you take turns passing the surprise ball. Each person unwraps until a little gift falls out, then passes it on. It’s a charming activity.

There’s a Berkeley artist named Anandamayi Arnold who makes the most beautiful surprise balls ever. She shapes them into fruits and rocks and other objects and they are truly a work of art. I received one of her peach surprise balls as a gift and couldn’t bear to open it for months!

The one we made for Olive’s party was not so pretty. : ) We used saran wrap — many rolls if it — and wrapped up all sort of things from the dollar section at Target, party favor trinkets, a few $2 bills and $5 bills, and lots of mini candy bars. It was quite huge by the time we were done with it; about 15 or 16″ in diameter. Lots of fun.

This weekend, we don’t have any big parties, but I do have a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

14 excellent links. Go see!

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Meal Delivery Service

Blue Apron's Best Meal Delivery Service

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

My family is a curious bunch, and we decided to discover for ourselves the best meal delivery service out there. We have been Blue Apron customers for a couple of years now, and wanted to try some competitors to see if we were missing out on something better. Over the course of 2 weeks, we tried 5 different meal delivery services and have the pros and cons of each one laid out below. If you’ve been curious about the best meal delivery services too, here’s a deal especially for you: the first 50 readers will get $30 off their first Blue Apron order! Just click here.

I’ve got a chart plus pros and cons on 5 different companies. Come see!

Style Watch: Rucksacks Are The New Backpacks


A few years ago, Ben Blair and I took a trip to Sweden. We loved it. And we brought home a couple of Swedish-made souvenirs that we still use today. One of them is a Sandqvist backpack (pictured above). We use it a ton, it’s held up really well, and we love the look of it.

At the time we bought it, it seemed super unusual to us. We hadn’t seen anything quite like it around. We called it a rucksack instead of a backpack. There was no zipper, it had leather details and interesting textures, and it didn’t look like a typical high school backpack. It looked like an adventure waiting to happen.

We did have one concern when we bought it: Are we too old to carry a backpack for anything other than a hike? Will we get any use out of this? Will we end up giving this bag to our teenagers?

Apparently, it’s not an unusual question. I did quick search for “can adults wear backpacks” and there seems to be no shortage of articles telling me the rules. Several are adamant that backpacks are a no-go, but there are just as many saying the new versions are totally grown-up-appropriate.

Are you in or are you out on the rucksack trend? Before you answer, come see what I found!

Living With Kids: Ashleigh Miller

The reason I love this series so much is I’ve always been a bit obsessed to peek into peoples’ lives and see how they live. I’m the kind of person who has been known to go to an open house in the neighborhood, just because I am curious about how someone else lives their life. And it is even more exciting when the person’s life is so drastically different than my own. That’s why I am so excited to introduce you to Ashleigh. She’s a mom of 2, a dog owner, an entrepreneur and lives here fabulous life in a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya.

Please say hello to Ashleigh.

This home is so unique and is such a stunner. You’re not going to want to miss it!

Me Too.

best writing in response to #metoo

Did you see the #metoo hashtag? Or see the “Me, too” status updates? Maybe you watched in horror, surprised at how universal the problem is. Maybe you added a #metoo, and could name 100 women in your life who could add one as well. Maybe you had a #metoo to add, but didn’t feel safe enough to post it.

If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, this message was copy-and-pasted all over social media this weekend. If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #metoo

I don’t know who originated the message, but all of my feeds were full of #metoo. I participated, and so did hundreds of women I know personally. It’s overwhelming.

At some point on Saturday, I said to Ben Blair, “I think you’re the only man on earth I fully trust. I love lots of men. I support lots of men. But ultimately, I don’t trust them.” I have only just started to gather my thoughts on all of this. I must have read dozens of posts, essays and articles about it over the weekend. Here are some of the best ones I found:

– “I wish women didn’t have to rip our pasts open & show you everything & let you ogle our pain for you to believe us.” — Lindy West

Keep reading for more links, essays and quotes.



Design Mom is all about the intersection of design and motherhood. I'm Gabrielle Blair (some people call me Gabby), a designer and mother of six. I think you're going to love reading Design Mom.

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