A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? I’m waving from New York! I flew here on Tuesday and I’m flying back to California today. I shot the photo above from my hotel room. Not a bad view. : ) Have you had a good week?

Our four youngest kids started school on Monday, so that was the big event at our house this week. And Ralph gets home 2 weeks from yesterday!

I love being back in New York. My trips here are always a wonderful mix of meeting up with old friends, parties and social events, and professional appointments. I end up feeling productive, but also touristy. This is for sure my favorite city in the world. Even in crazy hot August.

I’m off to a happy last day here, but before I go, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

I’ve got 12 links for you. Which one is your favorite?

Color Factory New York City — Photo Tour and Tips

On Wednesday, I took my first visit to Color Factory NYC. I had been to the one in San Francisco, and been blown away by what my sister Jordan (and her amazing team) had created. So you can imagine, I had high expectations for the New York City version. But holy moly. It was like they had leveled up x 10. It’s SO GOOD.

It’s a much bigger space. It’s far more ambitious. It feels more polished; more professional. Maybe more museum-like? At a glance it’s clear that it’s beautifully done, but it’s even more beautiful when you get into the details.

And the details. I mean. The way the ceilings are painted, the writing on the walls, the voices in the exhibits, the introductory video, the pretty napkins that come with the pretty treats, the small gifts you receive as you travel through. It’s remarkable in every way.

Color Factory is essentially a giant art installation that roams over 20,000 square feet in Soho. (For reference, the San Francisco version was 12,000 square feet.) In each room, there’s a different color experience you can interact with, and the color experiences were created by artists — some local to New York City, and some from around the world.

“Color experiences” might sound vague, but it’s not meant to be. An example of one right in the entry: The building is painted with colorful stripes, and inside the front door, Queens-based writer Won McIntosh, wrote a poem based on each one of the colors. The poems are lovely — several made me tear up!

I asked my friend Wendy of Blue Lily Photography to come along with me and she captured so many fun photos. Hopefully, the photo tour below will give you a better idea of what it’s all about.

All my favorite parts when you click through!

Your Parent’s Favorite Band

The other day, I heard Billy Joel’s For The Longest Time playing in a store, and had a total flashback to childhood. I was in 3rd or 4th grade and we were on a road trip where my dad played Billy Joe’s Innocent Man album many, many times. I don’t have any memory of my dad listening to earlier Billy Joel songs, but I can tell you he sure loved that particular album.

The flashback got me thinking of other albums and bands I associate with my dad. Definitely Simon & Garfunkel. The Kingston Trio. The Beach Boys. Those are the first ones that come to mind.

Do your kids know your favorite music? Come discuss with me.

The Best Way To Run Errands When You Don’t Have A Car

This post is sponsored by Uber

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Uber asked me to try their new service, Express POOL. Have you heard of it? I had seen the Express POOL option in the app, but didn’t know anything about it, so I was curious to learn more. For the last week or so, I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to give Express POOL a try, and on Saturday, the opportunity arrived.

Maude wanted me to go look at apartments with her near campus, but Olive was using one car, and Ben Blair was using the other. Mostly, sharing two cars works well for us, but with four drivers at home (Ralph will make #5 when he gets back in a couple weeks), there are times when I want to run an errand, and there isn’t a car in the driveway to use. On Saturday, when I realized we didn’t have a car available, I thought: Ding! Ding! Ding! The perfect time to try Express POOL. 

I told Maude about it — and that I wanted to try it — and she looked at me with confusion. Then she said, “Mom. Yes, I know about Express POOL. How do you think I’ve been getting from Berkeley to our house for 4 bucks?”

Hahaha! I mean, OF COURSE she knew about Express POOL. As I was about to discover, it’s so perfect for college students, or for anyone who is watching their budget, doesn’t mind walking a couple of blocks, and has a flexible timeframe. Maude said that for her, it’s less expensive to use ExpressPOOL than it is to use public transit to get from college to home, but a whole lot more convenient, and takes a fraction of the time.

So I said, “Maude, this is perfect. You take me through each step, and I’ll write a tutorial.” And that’s what we did. Here’s a step-by-step Express POOL How-to, featuring me and Maude and our excursion to campus.

Click here for all the details on how it works. Plus, Maude introduced me to the Lawless Circle on campus. Come see.

Living With Kids: Shelly Nupp

Living With Kids: Shelly Nupp featured by popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

Do you ever get an itch to spruce up a space in your home, but you get frustrated because everything you want just seems too outside your budget? Well you are going to love meeting Shelly in this edition of Living with Kids. She and her husband have completely redecorated their entire home for a few thousand dollars — and the results look they spent ten times that much.

Shelly was featured on DIY Network’s First Time Flippers, and now runs a blog all about renovating on a budget. Welcome, Shelly!

This home will leave you inspired to find some creative ways to freshen up your own space. Read on!

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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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