Newsletter: Changing Your Name & A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? Have you missed my “A Few Things” posts on Fridays? You may have noticed I’ve been transitioning the weekly link list to my newsletter. I’m still settling in to the newsletter and figuring out what I want it to be, but I think publishing it on Fridays and including a link list may be the way to go.

You may have also noticed my site has been totally unstable for the past two weeks. It’s actually been unstable since November, but it’s been particularly inaccessible for at least the last 10 days. I’ve had a programmer figuring out the bugs for months, and she was able to get major problems resolved yesterday. I practically cried I was so relieved! I’ve been updating this blog almost daily for the past 15 years, and when it’s unreliable it really throws me off. So I’m feeling huge amounts of gratitude today (I also published several posts that I wanted to publish over the last two weeks but couldn’t, so if you’d like to catch up, feel free.)

And now, here’s the excerpt from today’s newsletter:

Ping-Pong Cancer

The news coverage and debates about Critical Race Theory are especially frustrating because they’re pretend. CRT isn’t a problem. CRT is being taught in exactly zero K-12 schools. CRT is hurting no one. And CRT doesn’t need to be solved/fixed with new laws. The only reason we’re having to talk about CRT and read about CRT and argue about CRT is because the Republicans know if we’re using up all our energy on CRT then America won’t have time to solve actual problems. They’ve used the same strategies for years (so many years!) bringing up other fake problems like The Caravans, Sharia Law, and The Gay Agenda, instead of coming up with plans, policies, and platforms that Americans want to support.

I wrote a thread about this, and made a comparison to what this kind of distraction/time-wasting strategy would look like in an operating room. I’m going to share it here in case you’d like to read it.

Tall House Updates

The work progresses! In this update, we’ve got lots of progress on the powder room near the entry, we oiled and filled an armoire in the living room, and we also learned about shibboleths.

Living With Kids: Chelsey Woolley

There’s something special about the Woolley home. It’s definitely in a state of repair and redesign, I’m sure the exposed brick lends an added chill, and the constant sprinkling of dust from the perpetual updating must get old. But on the flip side, it’s a home where anything seems possible when the sunlight streams in. It’s a home where cuddling up together in one room creates all the warmth needed. And as for the dust, who notices such things against such a colorful backdrop? From the way Chelsey describes her six children to the way she chooses wall color and their two non-negotiable house rules, this is a tour to enjoy. I really hope you do!

Newsletter: Birthday Quirks & Birthday Bummers

Several years ago, in May 2016, I was at a conference, and I joined an art session taught by the fabulous A’Driane Nieves. I settled myself at one of the tables and as I got to know my table mates, it turned out that most of us had June birthdays (which means we are Geminis, if you follow that sort of thing). In fact, one of the women even had my exact same birthday! It’s always fun to find a birthday mate, right?

Except when it isn’t.

After realizing we had the same birthday, June 14th, she said, “You know, it’s also Donald Trump’s birthday. June 14th. Flag Day.”

My mouth fell open. I have rarely been caught that off guard. I said, “Are you joking? Is that for real?” I could not believe it. But apparently it’s true. I share a birthday with Donald Trump… Click here to continue to read this newsletter, share your own birthday quirks and bummers, and to find my weekly link list.

The newsletter is completely free to access and read, but if you feel so moved to support my work, please consider a paid newsletter subscription: just $5/month or save money with the $50/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Founding Member at $75. Not a fan of newsletters? You can support the work directly via Paypal or Venmo (@Gabrielle-Blair). Thank you! Seriously, thank you. Support from readers keeps the newsletter, and this blog, ad and sponsor-free.

Living With Kids: Lesli Gresholdt

I think it would be so therapeutic to live near a lake, don’t you? There’s something calming about that indescribable shade of blues and greys and the dance of the tiny ripples. Having a rotten day? Just grab a fishing rod and cast away mindlessly. Need a break from homeschooling or that looming deadline? Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Plus, a lake makes for a killer kitchen sink view.

Yes, Lesli and her family are lucky ones, living the good life on a lake just outside of Chicago and enjoying it to the fullest. Yes, she is ever on the lookout for lake dangers — especially since her kids are five and two — but I’d say she’s ready for pretty much anything. You’ll see. Friends, please welcome the Gresholdt family!

Tall House Updates

Hey there! I’ve got so many fun updates for you today. We’re been working outside, three rooms on the ground floor are officially painted, and plumbing in the entry is well on its way. I can’t wait to show you.

Dang I Am Not Doing Well At The Moment

Here’s an excerpt from my latest newsletter:

Hello there! Happy June! Also: Dang I am not doing well at the moment.

I think the simplest description is just that my depression is acting up again. I take my medicine (wellbutrin) every day. I haven’t changed my schedule or taken on unusual projects. There isn’t really a good explanation for why it’s hitting me now. Sometimes it just takes over despite my best efforts. It feels like I’m in deep water, and I’m kicking hard to get above the surface of the water, but I never quite reach it.

Something different I’ve noticed this round is that I kind of feel blasé about it? As if maybe I am more accepting of this brain of mine? I’m not particularly worried about the darkness this time. I’m not obsessed with wanting to die. I’m just enduring, getting through it, trusting it will stop at some point. Is it possible that I’ve become practiced at depressive episodes? Or maybe my medicine is just keeping me from the worst of it?

Click here to read the rest, to find my weekly link list, or to comment.

Living With Kids: Kimberly Taylor

For the life of me, I can’t figure out Kimberly Taylor’s math. Four boys plus one full chicken coop plus kittens and dogs plus a horse and sheep plus did I mention four boys just does not equal this elegantly ordered, white slip-covered home with glossy-worthy vignettes spilling from every cupboard and gasp-inducing views from every window! But if you ask Kimberly, it’s exactly the addition of her young men and their menagerie that makes the Taylor home add up to just perfect. Get ready to be inspired by her answers; I know I was!

Tall House Updates: Take A Full Tour

Would you like to see a full tour of the Tall House? I shot this tour to give an overall sense of where we are with the renovations. We’ve made so much progress!

The upper 3 floors are basically done — there are a few little details to attend to, but it feels like the big work is finished. On the ground floor, some of the rooms are close to done, but others still need a lot of work. Once the essential plumbing is complete, our plan is to move in and finish the rest while we live there.

After sharing the tour, I also invited Q&A and answered a ton of questions. I’m going to share the Q&A in this post too. Come take a peek.

Ten Shortcuts For Better Cooking

As much as I like spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking, I’m always looking for new ways to save time in the process. Anything to hurry dinner along is appreciated by me and my hungry children. Happily, it’s possible to make a healthy, wholesome, quick meal while cooking from scratch at home.

Which brings me to my 10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking. You may already know some of the tips I’m going to share with you, but even if you do, consider this a nice reminder. And it’s pretty great to have them listed in one place!

Tall House Updates

Good things have been happening over at the Tall House since my last update, and lately, my mind is moving more and more toward decorating and furniture. In France, there’s been another lockdown, but stores are reopening starting this week, and I can’t wait to hit the brocantes and search out treasures. At the top of my shopping list? We need to find a bed for Oscar. He has a twin size right now, but we want to put something bigger in his room so that it can work for guests if needed.

Come see what we’ve been up to.

Covid Vaccination Comments From Readers Around the World

I was only in California for two and a half days, but while I was there I prioritized getting a covid vaccine shot. I sought out the J&J shot because it doesn’t require a second follow-up shot, and I wasn’t sure if and when I’d be able to get a second shot of another brand.

When I mentioned on Instagram that I had gotten a vaccine while in the U.S., I received a ton of DMs asking why I hadn’t gotten one in France. They were shocked to hear that I hadn’t had the option yet.

Vaccinations are definitely happening in France, but they seem to be a couple of months (or more) behind what’s happening in America. Currently in France, the under 50 age group is officially scheduled to begin being vaccinated mid-June. Though it sounds like things may be speeding up. Just last week, as I was headed to the U.S., they invited anyone 18+ to sign up for unclaimed doses of vaccine in their area. In some areas those appointments seem to be easy to find, in other areas, they are non-existent.

Based on the responses in my Instagram inbox, it became clear to me that a lot of Americans don’t really have a picture of what’s happening vaccination-wise in the rest of the world. So I started sharing vaccination comments from readers all over the globe. I thought you might like reading them too. They are really eye-opening.

Living With Kids: Noelle Nicolai

Noelle, her husband Matt Lybert, and their two kids share an absolutely charming 1750 square foot home outside of NYC. I am so excited to show it to you. Noelle had to get inventive to figure out school and work from home in a relatively small space, and managed well with some creative activities and use of a nearby family member’s home. This house is so smart and stylish. It’s full of art, bright light and thoughtfully chosen pieces (you can’t waste any space when there isn’t extra space to spare). Welcome, Noelle.

Easy DIY Constellation Jar

DIY Constellation Jar featured on top lifestyle blog, Design Mom

Because of my love of the stars, when my daughter was little, I purchased her a night light that shines stars all over her bedroom walls. After seeing a few light-filled jars on Pinterest, I had an idea to fill a jar with the constellations — and I was able to create my own constellation jar, using items I had around the house!

Newsletter: Hello From An Airplane

I wrote my latest newsletter from a plane, on my way to California. (I’m still on the plane as I write this post!). I took the photo above a few minutes after we left the airport. Flying always feels like a miracle.

In the newsletter, I shared a list of things on my mind (just like my Random Thoughts posts), and I shared a link list (just like my Few Things posts).

I hope you get a chance to read the newsletter and let me know what’s on your mind too.

The newsletter is completely free to access and read, but if you feel so moved to support my work, please consider a paid newsletter subscription: just $5/month or save money with the $50/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Founding Member at $75. Not a fan of newsletters? You can support the work directly via Paypal or Venmo (@Gabrielle-Blair). Thank you! Seriously, thank you. Support from readers keeps the newsletter, and this blog, ad and sponsor-free.

Living With Kids: Miranda Rosbach

Today’s Living With Kids tour features the home of Miranda Rosbach who lives with her family in a suburb of St. Louis. Miranda said that one of the first things she fell in love with about their home is all of the natural light it gets and you can definitely see that as you look through these bright and airy photos. Miranda loves to create space where kids can entertain themselves and learn to be creative and it really shows with all of the books and art and art supplies they have around the home. Welcome, Miranda!

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