Navigating Social Situations When You Don’t Drink

In January I received a comment from a reader named Amy, asking about what it’s like to navigate not-drinking-alcohol in social situations.

She wrote:
Saw the champagne bottle on the last “a few things” of the year. I assume you might not drink being Mormon… don’t think you’ve ever written about that… do you ever end up being in situations where a lot of people are drinking and it’s annoying/awkward?

Then another reader, Ali, wrote:
We are also a non-drinking family and are planning a move to Italy. I’ve been wondering how to navigate social situations there where wine is such a part of the culture. I don’t want to offend people, but I’m not going to drink either. I’d love to hear how you handled social drinking situations in France.

Then a third reader, Bobbie, wrote:
I would also be curious about this. My live-in boyfriend is a recovering alcoholic and I’ve (mostly) happily given up alcohol, but it makes social situations tough, especially around holidays or other celebrations. It doesn’t help that we don’t yet have kids and many social engagements still having a drinking element.

I’d be curious about how others handle this for other reasons. Especially because we will likely be planning a wedding soon–I’m feeling very anxious about an occasion where many will be drinking but we won’t be. 

Does it offend people?

Keep reading. Lots to talk about.

Living With Kids: Lizzie Heiselt

We’re headed back to New York city this week to meet another incredible family. I’m excited to introduce you to Lizzie Heiselt, her husband Micah, and their 4 (soon to be 5!) kids. They live in Brooklyn, New York and have managed to thrive in a small space (they have a climbing wall in the kids bedroom!), as well as biking most places they need to go. Lizzie describes her bike as an “open-air, two-wheeled Mini Van” and after reading about how well she manages to get around on it, I’m tempted to go dust my bike off too. Welcome, Lizzie.

Dying to see how a climbing wall fits into a tiny apartment? Keep reading!

What’s Your Favorite Kind of Self-Care? Indulgent or Practical?

About 4 months ago, on one of my weekend link lists, I shared a post called, This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake. It was written by Brianna Wiest, and when it came across my feed again this week, I wanted to give it more attention. If you haven’t had the chance yet, it’s worth a read. I’ll quote a bit here so you can get a sense of what it’s about:

“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.

It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.

It is often doing the ugliest thing that you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.”

Are you a self-care advocate? Share your thoughts below.

A Few Things

Hello Friends. How are you? Ready for the weekend? My niece Lindsey is here with a couple of her roommates — it’s spring break at their university. Lindsey finished a Mormon mission to Japan in November, so while we sightsee tomorrow, I’m going to suggest we include a visit to Japantown in San Francisco, plus 3 Japanese stores I know she misses — Muji, Daiso and Uniqlo. One of her friends has never been to California before, so I also want to do all the most touristy, recognizable things too.

It’s also St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! Do you do anything fun to celebrate? Our own celebrations are usually food-related. Maybe we’ll eat Corned Beef & Cabbage, or classic Shepherd’s Pie, or these kid-friendly clover-shaped Pinwheel Sandwiches. Or, we might just dye our milk green. : )

Here a few things I’ve collected for you this week. I think you’ll really them:

13 memorable links. Go see!

Love The Place You Live: Ferry to San Francisco

This post is brought to you by Uber.


Do any of you remember the Love the Place You Live column? It was focused on encouraging all of us to appreciate where we live and notice the great things about our area, whether it’s a big city or a small town. I’ve had some really fun explorations of Oakland in the past few weeks, and thought it might be fun to highlight some of them using the same column name. I admit it’s somewhat selfish — I like using the need for blog content to get me out of the house. : )

One of the most fun things we’ve done lately is rediscover the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco. We’ve been on it before — usually when friends are in town, as part of a tourist day — but we didn’t realize until earlier this month that it could make a great date night too. As we studied the ferry schedules, we discovered we could head in to the city around 6:00 PM, enjoy dinner and window shopping at the famed Ferry Building in San Francisco, then grab a ferry back by 7:30. That’s amazing! 

For those of you who don’t know the Bay Area, trying to do the same visit by car would add another hour at least of just sitting in traffic, and then another huge chunk of time and money trying to figure out parking. Instead, we get to bypass all of that and take a stunning ferry ride that takes you right under the Bay Bridge!

It’s been quite rainy here, so for our last ferry date night, we grabbed an uberX so that we could get dropped off right at the ferry stop in Jack London Square — it’s one of our Saved Places in the app. (Have you tried the Saved Places feature yet? When you’re on a ride, you can choose to save the destination as a Saved Place, so you never have to look it up again.)

In the mornings, there are many commuters that use the ferry to head into the city for work, and a long line forms. But not in the evenings. In fact, we’ve gone a few times lately and it’s not usual to have just a handful of people on the boat. It feels like you have the whole thing to yourself.

Get inspired for date night!



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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