designmom

Children's Books Oct 201401

Images and text by Gabrielle.

Last month I wrote a post about four picture books we’ve added to our library, and this month I thought it would be fun to share another four. As you may remember, I’m trying to write less posts this year, but keep them packed with content, so sharing 4 books once each month, instead of one small book post each week could be a great solution!

1)  First up, The Memory of an Elephant: An Unforgettable Journey. Written by Sophie Strady, with illustration by Jean-Francois Martin.

Children's Books Oct 201402 Children's Books Oct 201403

Such a cool book! And totally unusual. There’s a storyline you can follow about Marcel the Elephant as he writes and encyclopedia, but it’s also a book that packed with information — sidenotes and tidbits — so you can browse the pages without following the story at all.

And the images! So dang good.Both the author and illustrator live in Paris and the book definitely has a chic French feel. I feel like this book is a treasure.

Children's Books Oct 201404

2) The Little Pear Tree by Jenny Bowers.

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My friend, Annie, who owns Brimful Shop (and is a frequent commenter here — you may have seen her name), sent this book for June. It’s delightful! The book follows a pear tree over a full year, and readers watch at the tree transforms over the pages.

It’s interactive too. Each spread has lots of flaps to lift, hiding happy little discoveries. A perfect nature book for the littlest ones.

Click for two more titles! Jumping Jack and In This Book.

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Candice Stringham for hayneedle.com and Design Improvised.

You might remember the cute Chicago condo I featured a while back, owned by Haeley and her husband, and adored by their two little girls. She mentioned in her interview that she was moving to San Antonio, and the loveliest thing happened: a few readers reached out to lend their advice, support, and eventual friendship! If ever I needed a burst of positivity to remind me of how lucky I am to be a part of such a nurturing community, this would be it.

So it’s with a huge smile that I welcome back Haeley in her new Texas home. It’s pretty fantastic! Let’s go see.

So much inspiration! I can’t wait to show you!

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Host an Etsy Trunk Show!

October 20, 2014

Michelle Smith and her shop,  Gather, in Cary, NC.

By Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by Small Business Saturday® and Etsy

Small Business Saturday is coming up next month — on November 29th. I try to announce it every year. As a small business owner myself, I feel supportive of my peers, but I also care about the day because small business has consistently been part of my family life — my parents, and especially my father, always had a small business going on to supplement his teaching income. And the small business gene is something my siblings and I seem to have inherited. Among my brothers and sisters, I think we have about a dozen small businesses happening at the moment!

That said, beyond my personal experiences, I value small businesses because I know what an important part they play in stabilizing and growing a healthy economy.

Olives and Grace, Boston

This year, I’m especially excited because there’s a new feature to Small Business Saturday: shop owners and Etsy sellers are teaming up to host trunk shows! I love that so much. The picture of two small business owners helping each other and encouraging their communities to #shopsmall is pretty fantastic.

Clementine Middlebury VT

In the photos here, I’m featuring three of the shops who have already signed up to host trunk shows — Gather in Cary, North Carolina, Olives & Grace in Boston, and Clementine in Middlebury, Vermont. If you’re a shop owner, you can host a trunk show, too! Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for Etsy Wholesale with VIP code: AmexSBS

2. Find a local Etsy artist or designer who you want to work with. Then invite them to showcase their products in your store.

3. Once you’re official with Etsy Wholesale, they’ll send you your trunk show enrollment form. It just takes a few moments to submit this form online.

4. Lastly, look out for your free trunk show kit filled with good stuff in the mail.*

You can find out more about the program here.

I don’t have a storefront and (sad face) don’t get to host a trunk show, but that didn’t stop me from browsing Etsy and thinking about which makers I would love to team up with. How about you? Who would you want to pair up with for an Etsy trunk show? Perhaps you have a friend who is an Etsy seller? Are you a shop owner? Or do you have small business owners in your family? Have you ever hosted a trunk show? I’d love to hear!

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*Merchandise is only available to eligible small businesses through 11:59 p.m. ET on 10/24/2014 or while supplies last. Limit one order per business. Subject to Merchandise Terms. See Merchandise Terms at etsy.me/sourcesmallmerchandiseterms.

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Report from France

October 20, 2014

By Gabrielle. Images from Olive’s Instagram. Video by Ralph.

As promised, here is a little report about Olive and Ralph and their experience in France this semester.

Olive has been in France since September 1st. She’s young (she turned 13 the week before she moved), and we knew this might not work for her, so we were prepared to fly her back home if she wasn’t thriving. But so far, she seems to LOVE it. She’s staying with our dear friend, Caroline, and Olive says she’s amazed how fast dinner clean up goes with fewer people in the house. Hah! I love that she’s getting to see how another house is run. It’s important to me that my kids understand there are lots of right ways to do most things.

She really seems to be developing a sense of independence — helped by the fact that she lives in town and isn’t waiting on a car and parent to get her around. During her first week, she needed to change her money from dollars to euros, and instead of waiting for a grownup, she decided to take care of the task herself. She walked herself to the bank and inquired about the exchange. The bankers sent her to the post office and she was able to take care of it there. No big deal. And just to remind you, this is all taking place in French.

Speaking of French, she said she’s doing well with the language and can speak mostly accent free. She’s enrolled in the same school she attended when we lived there and it’s been wonderful for her to instantly know people and be in a familiar place.

Keep reading for more of the report!

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A Few Things

October 17, 2014

cinderella pumpkins

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How was your week? Mine was good! On Monday night, Ben Blair and I went to dinner with Brad and Kristi Montague, the couple that writes and produces the fantastic Kid President videos. The dinner totally pumped me up! Such a talented, sincere, hardworking couple. I’ve been thinking about the evening ever since.

The second happy thing: The weather has finally cooled down here a bit! It’s hovering around 70 — I realize that’s still totally mild, but it feels closer to fall than it did last week. : ) And speaking of fall, we are in full Halloween costume mode around here (Oscar wants to be Frankenstein, Betty wants to be Dracula, and June wants to be Annie), and I suspect that’s what we’ll be working on this weekend. That, and more progress on the Girls’ Room. How about you? Any weekend plans?

I’m off to a lunch meeting in a bit, but before I head out, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

Which English you speak has nothing to do with how smart you are. Thanks, Ainsley.

- The best way to respond to a bully. Thanks, Natalie.

- A very powerful read on what happens when a company tackles Ebola.

- Cozy nook inspiration!

- This boggles my mind a bit, but apparently seven pounds isn’t what ten pounds is. New research indicates that heavier babies are also healthier — and do better in school. (All my babies were tiny! None even close to 10 lbs.) Thanks, Kat.

- This also boggles my mind. What a $95 million apartment looks like. Thanks, Audrey.

- Woah. These shrimps can see cancer, and now, there is a camera that can, too. Thanks, Matt.

- The cutest marshmallow monsters.

- A group of professional moms called the Nappy Collective in Melbourne are running an Australia-wide diaper drive. In August alone, they collected 82 thousand diapers. I’m so curious if you see diaper drives like this where you live?

- PLEASE let this be true. #bringbackourgirls

- Oh man. This is amazing, mind-blowing and ultimately incomprehensible to me. Made me tear up thinking about how precious life is.

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

kisses,
Gabrielle

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DMgiveawayBanner

By Gabrielle.

Ready for a gorgeous giveaway? Good. Because I’ve got one. You could win $150 from Caitlin Wilson Textiles!

Cailtin Wilson Textile Portland Collection

Caitlin Wilson is a textile and interior designer who will knock your socks off. I’ve worked with her lovely company on Design Mom before, and I know that people adore her wares! If her products are new to you, I urge you to take a look.

The Caitlin Wilson shop stocks pillows, rugs, furniture, and fabric by the yard as well. And all of it features her fabulous original textile designs. Including the newly launched Portland Collection. It’s full of watercolored patterns and florals that look completely fresh and modern.

Caitlin Wilson Portland Collection

If I won, I would be tempted by the Bridge City Blooms Pillow on Grey (stunning!), anything in the Gold Collection, because gold always feels like fall and holiday to me, and this Navy Spotted Fabric — I don’t know what I would do with it, but I am into it for sure.

To enter, visit Caitlin Wilson Textiles and leave a comment below. The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

——

Molly is the lucky winner. Thanks for playing!

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olive and june

Photos and text by Gabrielle.

This is a photo of Olive and June. Which reminds me, I really need to write a post about how Olive and Ralph are doing in France!

But really, this photo is here, just so I can have something pretty at the top of this post. Because after the jump, I’m showing lots of photos of the girls’ room pre-remodel, and the photos are not pretty. They’re not pretty because I snapped them with my phone in low light. And they’re not pretty, because, it’s just not a very pretty space. Yet.

But it will be! I’m confident of that.

We started the remodel on Tuesday. Want to see what we’re up to?

Photos and sketches ahead!

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pumpkins on the porch

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Images and text by Gabrielle.

Over the weekend, I spent a lovely afternoon autumn-izing our front entry. Last year at this time, I was barely functioning, and I only have a vague memory of putting a pumpkin on the porch. And if I remember correctly, the squirrels ate that pumpkin! Not my best October for sure. Hah!

pumpkins on the porch

So this year, it was fun to put some thought and effort into it. I have loved the simple colors in our living room — whites, woods, pale textures and a bit of metal — so I thought it would be fun to extend the same color palette to the entry decorations — with the hope that it makes a pretty transition from outside to in.

pumpkins on the porch

First, I moved our cement planters full of succulents, and filled in the space with pumpkins. Instead of the traditional orange-y-orange pumpkins, I picked out Cinderella pumpkins in a muted, dusty orange, and white pumpkins as well. I wanted big impact, so I went with lots of pumpkins.

pumpkins on the porch

Next, I swapped out the summery pillow on the porch chair, for some fresh ones. The gold adds just a touch of glamour! A nice contrast to the home-y textures. I chose two pillows from Target — one in metallic chevron, and the other in an embroidered pattern.

I also added a throw blanket from our linen closet (it’s a super-cozy traditional wool picked up in Ireland), to make the porch chair inviting on cool evenings.

handwoven basket with leather handle

Then, I brought a favorite stool outside to act as a side table — the perfect spot for a cup of tea. And I included a woven basket to hold magazines. The basket is easy to move indoors if the weather gets iffy. (I wish the weather was iffy! California needs some rain!!)

I love a project like this! It didn’t take long to pull it together, but it makes a big difference. The entry feels like fall, even if the weather here hasn’t caught up yet, and it’s so cheery to come home to. I also like that I mixed it up this year and tried something new with the colors, instead of going with our usual orange and black. I like classic orange and black, but it was fun to experiment. And assuming the squirrels don’t eat the pumpkins, I think this look will keep the porch looking gorgeous through Thanksgiving!

Tell me, Friends: Do you decorate your entry in the fall? Maybe put up a wreath or a bouquet of leaves? Or do you like to keep it spooky in October? We have loved spooky stuff over the years, but The Treehouse isn’t on a trick-or-treating street, so I’m finding it’s easier to focus on “fall” for our decor, instead of Halloween. How about you?

P.S. — Some of our favorite good-looking, but spooky Halloween Decor DIYs. And the coolest scarecrow!

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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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