I love grilling at the end of summer and into the fall. These French Onion Burgers definitely have a fall feel to them. Each juicy burger is topped with slow-cooked caramelized onions and melted Gruyere cheese served up on a buttery toasted brioche bun with a thick slice of garden fresh tomato, a handful of arugula, and homemade herbed aioli. It sounds like something you’d order in a restaurant, right? So fancy! But it’s easy to put together and would be great to serve for a fall BBQ party or anytime you’re in the mood for a burger that will knock your socks off.…
I’ll be going LIVE on Talk Shop Live this Friday, August 26th at 7:00pm ET. Please join me to talk about my new book, Ejaculate Responsibly, order an autographed copy, and commemorate Women’s Equality Day! I’ll be staying up late that night, because it will be 1:00am for me in France. So I hope you’ll join in, ask me questions, tell me I don’t look sleepy, and help me keep the energy up. : )
This is my first big marketing event for my book and I am so excited they invited me. Talk Shop Live hosts events for mega-celebrities — like Dolly Parton and Ringo Starr — and people get to interact with them and ask questions, and the celebrities get a chance to talk about what they’re working on. But it’s not just for celebrities! It’s for non-celebrities like me too. And it’s so much fun! Thanks in advance for helping me make this a really successful event.
I’ve got two newsletters to tell you about. The first one went out to my Book Launch Group. I’ve been getting lots of questions from readers about the audiobook — will there be one? will I be the reader? So I wrote up some behind-the-scenes updates about the the audiobook version of Ejaculate Responsibly that I thought you might enjoy.
The second one includes a report from our trip to the U.S. — the first time our kids had been back in three years! Plus an update on my nephew and his babies, and a request for your help coming up with ideas for custom pencil slogans.
Michelle is a total joy. I know you’re going to be moved by her words, her enthusiasm for her city, and even her love for a feature in her basement renovation. You’ve just got to adore someone who describes her basement-turned-kids-bedroom like this: “I figured that exposed brick is a thing nowadays, so now I’m trying to make exposed concrete a thing, too.” I enjoy people who make things a thing, don’t you?
And her memories of a bittersweet home project…oh, it made me swallow a gulp.
There’s a lot to enjoy in this one, Friends. Enjoy it, please. Welcome, Michelle!…
Many years ago, when I was putting together a bedroom for Oscar, to encourage Oscar’s love of marine biology, I hung posters of shark diagrams and catalogues. But instead of framing them, I turned them into old-school classroom-style, pull-down posters — or as I like to call them: DIY Vintage Classroom Posters. I received quite a few requests for a tutorial on how to make them, and I’ve got it ready for you today.
There are a few reasons why I’m so pleased with this solution. 1) It’s inexpensive — far cheaper than framing a poster. 2) It’s easy to do and not-intimidating. 3) It looks great — and adds some fun texture to a wall. 4) It’s an appropriate solution for an inexpensive poster or a temporary hobby/interest.
With kids, sometimes their interests change from month to month. In June they love the Olympics, and in July they love antique cars. As parents, you want to encourage their interests, and hang up the latest poster they bring home, but it can be hard to invest in expensive artwork or frames, knowing that their interests will likely change sooner than later.
So for me, this tutorial is an ideal solution. It makes the poster look great on the wall, but isn’t a big investment of time or money. If Oscar’s passion for marine biology continues, the posters will continue to look good, but if he decides he’s into something else, it won’t feel like a big sacrifice to say goodbye to the shark posters. Does that make sense?
I think vintage-style posters work best for this project, because we’re going for a look that is similar to the old pull-down posters used in classrooms. Those posters are what inspired this project in the first place. Anything that has diagrams or notes, or looks like it could appear in a textbook, would work for this. Botanical prints. Biology drawings. Old maps. Stuff like that.
And the how-to process is as simple as can be. Once it is put together, it can go on the wall immediately. No waiting.
Ready to get started?…
In this newsletter: The three states we’ll be visiting on our trip to the U.S., 12 tips for hosting the perfect picnic, how to build simple crate shelves, a lovely home tour in Atlanta, and an update on my Nephew and his babies.
I also sent out the first message to my Book Launch Group for my new book Ejaculate Responsibly. The message discusses some of the other color explorations that the book designer, the legendary Bonnie Seigler, created for the cover. And a little history of the cover font, Avant Garde.
When Bridget and her husband had the opportunity to purchase her mother’s home, they knew it was a great opportunity. And saving money on the home purchase price allowed them to set aside a big chuck of change for renovations. You’ll love looking around this modern farmhouse in Daytona, Florida. It’s bright and airy and full of light — so welcoming. Welcome, Bridget!…
We have a few standby menus that we like to serve to guests, and Taco Salad sits right at the top of that list — taco salad is like the easiest thing to serve ever! Just lay all the toppings out on the table and let guests build their own. This is particularly great if you’re accommodating special diets. Vegetarians skip the chicken. Dairy-free eaters skip the cheese. Everything is naturally gluten-free. Everyone finds something they can eat.
For this recipe we’ve used chicken thighs, which are really great for long, slow cooking because they are more flavorful and tender. It’s a snap to put together too. Just put everything into the slow cooker/crock pot (or Dutch oven — that’s what we use!) and forget about it for a few hours.
Beyond that, the only other prep work is shredding the lettuce and getting the other toppings ready. It may not be a true 30-minute meal in that it cooks for several hours, but it sure comes together in a flash. I love those kinds of meals!
Let’s get cooking.…
I’m excited to welcome Rebecca Harman to today’s Living With Kids. Rebecca lives in a beautiful historic neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia in a completely charming home. I’ve never seen so many fireplaces! Rebecca is also a dancer and opened a neighborhood dance studio called (fittingly) The Neighborhood Ballet so that she can share her love of dance with dancers of all ages and skillsets. Welcome, Rebecca!…
Here is a tutorial for the DIY Crate Shelves we used in the reading loft in our home in California. The inspiration for the shelves was this image. I like that you can see through them and get a glimpse of the wall color behind. And I like that there are various sizes. At first, I did a search to see if I could find a similar product to purchase, but I wanted more control of the exact dimensions of each box. So I concluded making them was the way to go.
We worked with a handyman/sculptor, Alex Oslance, for some of the small projects around the house, and I hired him to help me with these. It’s a huge bonus to me that he’s a sculptor, because it means he has an excellent eye for detail, and he’ll brainstorm solutions with me thinking as both an artist and a builder. And brainstorm we did!…
As I’m sure you’ve seen in the news, or are experiencing yourself, a large chunk of the world is in the middle of a heatwave. Our house in France does not have air conditioning. And I have never been to a home here that has air conditioning. Some stores and businesses have air conditioning, but it’s pretty much unheard of residentially.
But if your house is an old stone house like ours, we’ve learned that it’s possible to keep the house quite comfortable, even when it’s over 100 degrees (or 40 in celsius) outside. Here’s how it works:
It’s easy to overlook Cobb Salad. I mean, it seems like it’s everywhere from restaurant menus to cold cases at grocery and convenience stores, to cookbooks and cooking shows. Why is this salad so popular? I think that the answer is simple: it’s incredibly delicious and makes good use of ingredients that are easy to find. Cobb Salad is the quintessential crowd pleaser.
The origin of this salad aren’t 100% clear, but it can be traced back to the 1930s. Cobb Salad is really nothing more than colorful rows of perfectly diced and chopped ingredients over a bed of lettuce, and the story about its creation being one that used up odds and ends from a restaurant or hotel kitchen seems to make sense.
Traditionally Cobb salad would be served with a vinaigrette, but let’s mix things up a little and keep the classic salad ingredients but use homemade Creamy Herb Dressing, a.k.a. Ranch. It goes really well with this salad. Of course, if it’s not your thing, totally use a vinaigrette made with balsamic or red wine vinegar.
Now, the key to a really good Cobb Salad is to use the best, freshest ingredients you can find. (Or use up some odds and ends from your refrigerator.) It’s worth the little extra splurge for the good bacon. For this salad, try applewood smoked, thick-cut bacon — the best way to cook it is in the oven. (Directions are included that in the notes below. It’s one of those life changing tips, I promise.) Use really good, ripe tomatoes and flavorful cheese. Marinating and grilling the chicken yourself is an extra step, but well worth the effort. (There’s a simple marinade below if you need one.) All of those little things will add up to a stellar salad.…
Walking through Elizabeth’s House is like walking through an Art Gallery. Clean white walls, bright lighting and inspiring and thoughtful art on every wall. Some of the art by Elisabeth herself. Other pieces by other amazing artists, and some by her kids too. She and her husband and her family live in Nairobi, Kenya. Elizabeth is Nigerian-American and her husband is South Sudanese-American and they’re both as inspiring as their lovely home is. Welcome, Elizabeth.…
Picnics are one of my favorite things about summertime — both spur-of-the-moment sandwiches on the lawn, and well-planned out feasts. What’s not to love about sitting out in nature, enjoying some company and a plate full of delicious food?
Every time I watch one of those addictive British period dramas (I’m looking at you Downton Abbey), I’m always fascinated by the lavish picnics depicted in the stories. The servants carry the silver and crystal along, as well as chairs and tables, tents, and a fancy multi-course meal. It all looks so dreamy and magical and I want to transport myself into the television and join them.
In reality, our family picnics are mostly of the last-minute variety that involve me grabbing a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a few napkins on the way out the door. But sometimes I get it just right and create my own version of a dreamy and magical afternoon withe perfect picnic.
So today, I thought I’d share my secrets for the perfectly planned, perfectly executed picnic.…
Some of you know this already, and some of you my be surprised to hear, but I run a conference called Alt Summit (it’s actually my main job when there’s not a pandemic). Alt Summit has been around since 2009 — there have been 15 conferences in four cities: New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Palm Springs. It’s for content creators and entrepreneurs in creative fields, and it’s always an event full of learning, collaboration, and inspiration.
The last Alt Summit conference was the first few days of March 2020, right before the whole world shut down. It feels like a million years ago, I’ve missed it so much. And I’m very happy to announce that it’s coming back!
Alt Summit is headed to New York City this fall. We’ve partnered with The Riveter and we’re hosting a one-day conference on Friday, October 7th, 2022. The venue is called Pier Sixty and it’s right on the waterfront, with floor to ceiling windows. I can’t wait!
Tickets are on sale now at an Early Bird discount. The regular ticket price is $650, but the Early Bird Ticket price is $450. Early Bird pricing is only available through Wednesday, July 13th.
We’ve had a house full of guests for the last week and it’s been so lovely — our older kids, and nieces, and boyfriends, and friends. We didn’t celebrate the 4th because we had school that day (obviously, July 4th is not a holiday in France), and weren’t really feeling it anyway. But yesterday was the last day of school, so we celebrated the official beginning of summer break with a big feast last night.
I’ve been mostly off social media for the last several days while we’ve enjoyed our visitors, and oh my every time I checked in for a bit, it was pretty overwhelming. Mass murders, and gun violence, and extra big doses of anti-trans propaganda. I hope you’re making time to rest your brain and feel what you’re feeling.
Here’s a little update on my upcoming book (it’s out October 18th, and you can pre-order it now — here’s a page with links to lots of bookstores where it’s available).
This book writing and editing process has been very different from my last book. For those of you who are curious, this is what it’s been like. (I should add a caveat that this is what is was like from my perspective, I’m betting there were other rounds of editing and feedback happening at the publisher that I wasn’t seeing):
There is a reason tablecloths come in every color for every season — they add so much to a festive table setting! Have you seen this pin? I loved the idea of using something as utilitarian as bubble wrap to print with. And I thought a tablecloth — something I can use all summer long — was the perfect surface to try it out. Isn’t it fun to make art you can use?
It’s a perfectly imperfect print. You can coordinate colors to your needs and you can use the same technique on a whole list of items — napkins, wrapping paper, the wall, clothing, pillows or lampshades, to name a few.
Printing with bubble wrap takes some patience and attention to detail. But don’t worry, I have tips below. And your fingers are sure to get a little painted as well, but the outcome is well worth the effort. I think the hardest part of this particular project is saving an unpopped sheet from the happy bubble-popping feet of my kids. : )
Let’s get to printing!…
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! This gorgeous ombre creation that is calling to you from these stunning photos, is an ice cream pie. No pre-heating the oven. No hot kitchen. Just gorgeous, cool, creamy deliciousness. And perhaps one of the best parts of this ice cream pie is the crust. It’s made of sugar cones instead of the usual graham crackers or cookies. True innovation! : )
To make the layers, there are several routes you can take. The first would be to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream, divide it into equal portions, and add color (and flavor, if desired) in varying shades of pink or another color (yellow would be pretty and summery too). Another option is to buy various shades and flavors of sorbet, sherbet, and ice cream.
The key is to make sure the sorbet, sherbet, and ice cream is the perfect temperature for spreading, but not too soft or melted. Freezing each layer for a few minutes in between really helps, however it’s kind of pretty to see the layers melt into each other in true ombre fashion.
And that’s it! Super easy. This would be perfect for a summer holiday, a birthday party, baby shower, girls’ brunch, or any get-together. Is there ever a bad time for ice cream? No, no there is not. Find the full recipe below.…
I’m still reeling from Friday’s Supreme Court news. Ben Blair and I took the family to a protest in Paris this weekend — it was organized in response to Roe v Wade being overturned, to show solidarity to women in the U.S., and around the world. I know it’s just a small thing, but it felt good to take some action, use our voices, and gather with people who want to fight for what’s right. And today, I get to share something else I’ve been working on in my efforts to fight for what’s right:
We need to talk about abortion in a whole new way.
For decades, our discussions and debates about abortion have been exhausting and frustrating and useless — a loop of endless debates about “when life begins”. I wanted to do something about that. My new book, Ejaculate Responsibly, turns the usual unproductive abortion debate on its head. It will give you 28 easy-to-understand arguments that will move the discussion forward to a clearer — and fairer — place. The book is on sale October 18th and available for preorder now:
It’s hard to imagine a world that would consider criminalizing men’s actions in the way we freely legislate women’s bodies. And yet the cause of almost all abortions is an unwanted pregnancy. And men cause literally all unwanted pregnancies.
In this book, I shift the conversation from stopping abortion to preventing unwanted pregnancies, and I focus on the role men play in causing those unwanted pregnancies. This shift gets us out of the destructive cycle that’s centered on legislating women’s bodies, and delivers a healthier and doable path out of the abortion impasse.
I wrote this book to help readers clarify their thinking. It’s filled with information, stories, and new ways to approach this topic, that can have real-life impact and get us out of the usual dead-end cycles.
My hope is that this book will be read and discussed in health classes, in college lectures, in bookclubs, in families, and among friends. I hope it will be used to hold politicians accountable for what they say and do.
I worked hard to make the book approachable, and really enjoyable to read. And I worked with my publisher to keep the price low, so that it’s as accessible as possible.
If you’d like to support the book, pre-ordering a copy would be amazing (or maybe several copies if you’d like to share them — or even give one to your senators!). Helping to spread the word about the book, or supporting its message in any way you can, is also a huge help.
You can learn more at bit.ly/Ejaculate-Responsibly.
P.S. — I’ll be putting together a Book Launch Group later this week. And I’d love to have you involved. If you think you might be interested, watch for a blog post and newsletter with more info.
In this newsletter: An update on the kids, a short essay about how companies should compensate the unpaid labor of their employees’ spouses; what doctors wish people knew about decision fatigue; information about anti-abortion “pregnancy crisis centers” and why they are so dangerous, and much more.
An excerpt from the newsletter:
Based on what the man describes about his work day, we can conclude his wife is doing about 70% of the work it takes to keep him productive and thriving.
So common sense says that his company should split his paycheck 30/70 and pay 70% directly to the wife. She should get 70% of the retirement benefits directly in her name, and 70% of any other perks or benefits. They should both be on the payroll.
His company is taking a huge risk — they have a CEO whose entire life is built on volunteer, unpaid labor. Can you imagine if this company relied on key internal departments that were run only by volunteers with no paid contracts? What investors would support that kind of risk?
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