Are The Images Missing From Your Design Mom Emails?

Hello there! I’m writing this post especially for those of you who like to read Design Mom blog posts in your inbox. For about a decade, every time I publish a blog post, an email automatically goes out to anyone who signed up to get Design Mom via email. It’s NOT a newsletter, it’s just the exact same blog posts you see on the blog, but in an email format. If I blog that day, you get an email. If I don’t blog that day, you don’t get an email. If I blog 3 times in one day, you’ll get 1 email with 3 posts.

While it’s true that most people read Design Mom on the actual website, not via email, there are still thousands of you who are subscribed to the email service and (I assume) prefer to read my Design Mom blog posts in an email format.

The blog-posts-via-email come to you through a service called Feedburner, which is owned by Google. If you get Design Mom emails from this sender: noreply+feedproxy@google.com, then you are signed up for the Feedburner service.

At the very bottom of those Feedburner Design Mom emails, you’ll see a notice that says:

You are subscribed to email updates from Design Mom.
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
Email delivery powered by Google
Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States

Lately, I’ve heard from some of you who like to read Design Mom blog posts via email, and you’ve let me know the images aren’t showing up. You’ll get an email with a full house tour interview, but no photos at all! Which is super frustrating.

I looked into it, and the bummer news is that Google is no longer supporting the emails that are delivered through the Feedburner service. So the images are not coming back. And I can’t do anything about it. Further, I plan to stop the service altogether since it’s not delivering properly anymore. That means the Design Mom blog post emails you’re used to receiving, often daily, are going to stop coming to your inbox.

So what are your options? What if you want to keep seeing the Living With Kids home tours? Or getting updates about my family’s life in France? Here’s what I can suggest:

1) You can always go to DesignMom.com and you’ll see all the latest blog posts — home tours, recipes, updates, etc. The photos will all be there too! You can check daily — typically I publish a post 4 or 5 times each week (though when I’m busy, it happens less). Or you can check once a week and catch up on all the most recent posts at one time.

2) You can subscribe to my newsletter. I have a newsletter that is separate from the blog, but it often has links to recent blog posts on Design Mom. So if you get the newsletter in your inbox, even if the main topic of the newsletter isn’t interesting to you, you can still open it up and find helpful links to current Design Mom posts.

The newsletter is published about 3 times per month, and just like the Design Mom emails you’re used to receiving, it’s free for anyone to read. You can sign up for the newsletter here. (You can also choose a paid newsletter subscription if you’d like to support my work — paid subscriptions keep the newsletter ad and sponsor-free.)

Thank you so much for reading Design Mom in your inbox for all these years. I hope you’ll stick around.

kisses,
Gabrielle

Living With Kids: Kimberly Garner

Kimberly has been with us before, and I’ve loved watching her journey. She was in a rental on San Juan Islands in Washington, and when the rental became suddenly unavailable, she was faced with the tough task with finding a new place for her and her kids on a small island with limited properties available. Where she landed is truly beautiful and special. Kimberly really has a way of connecting to the emotion of a space and creating a place that she and her kids really needed after the tough couple of years we have all been through. Welcome back, Kimberly!

Recipe: Baked Cheesy Jalapeño Artichoke Dip

You already know that one of the all-time favorite dips is spinach artichoke dip, but why not mix it up a little bit? This jalapeño version is just the thing to add to any party table, to bring out on a night of board games with friends or family, to take to a get-together, or anytime, really. There’s something about the way goat cheese gets extra creamy when it’s baked, plus that undeniable tang. Oh, it’s so good!

Jalapeños really do shine in this dip. You leave the jalapeños in larger chunks so you know they’re there. And don’t remove the ribs and seeds because the spiciness gives it character. Or do remove them if you want it more on the mild side.

The artichokes kind of take on more of a supporting role. If you can find a jar of grilled marinated artichoke hearts, go for those. They have a tad more flavor, but any marinated artichoke hearts will work. (Note: the ones bottled in oil are less vinegary than the ones packed in water.) You can even use frozen ones in a pinch, but you’ll need to adjust the seasonings a bit by adding a little salt and some lemon juice.

For cheese, it’s a combo of Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack, with Parmesan. You get the ultra creaminess of Jack cheese plus the nutty flavor of Parm, and it is magic with the spicy jalapeños. If you are an artichoke dip fan, you’ll love this take, even without the spinach.

If you’ve got a cast-iron skillet, now’s the time to bring it out. It’s a fun way to present the dip, and the cast-iron keeps the dip hotter for longer — plus, it means one less dish needs to be washed because you use it for sautéing the veggies too.

You can serve this dip with everything from crackers to veggies to baguette slices to corn chips.

Newsletter & Friday Links

In mid-December, I shared some Instagram Stories about the process of installing built-in shelves in our living room. One of the story-panels was a time-lapse of me filling the newly-built, painted-and-dried, bookshelves. I’m wearing pajamas and it’s a dark winter morning — you can see the light from the window change as the time lapse progresses, and the sun begins to rise. After sharing, I received a whole lot of comments from people saying how glad they were I didn’t organize the bookshelves by color. This totally surprised me for two main reasons. 1) I honestly did not realize that some people had negative feelings about books being organized by color.

2) I realized a lot of people following along on Instagram these days are not familiar with my earlier homes (why would they be?), so they didn’t know I am actually a fan of organizing books by color. They didn’t know I wasn’t trying to make a statement about book organization when I filled my new shelves. I wasn’t trying to turn my nose up at a trend. I wasn’t trying to position myself as having strong opinions about book organization.

I felt like I had somehow mislead them into thinking I was on some sort of team that didn’t like styled bookshelves, or that I think that if you have styled shelves then you’re not actually a book reader. When really, if I’m on a bookshelf team at all, it’s this one: Having books in your house is awesome! Display/organize them however you wish.

Click here to read the full newsletter, make comments, and find my mini-link list.

A Guide to Tasting Chocolate

Tasting chocolate has become an art form, a lot like tasting wine and cheese. There are books, classes, and societies all devoted to the art of tasting chocolate. Learning to distinguish between candy chocolate and fine chocolate isn’t as hard as you might think, but it does involve all five senses, and by the time you’ve finished trying out the tips in this post, you’ll have developed a sixth sense for understanding, appreciating, and tasting chocolate.

Do you remember the first time you had a really good piece of chocolate? We mean the good stuff. The kind of chocolate that melts slowly on your tongue, and tastes like berries or citrus, maybe even with a hint of coffee at the end. Once you’ve tasted it and found your favorite, this is the chocolate you’ll secret away in a too-high cupboard. One square of the stuff will get you through the witching hour just before dinner, homework time, and all the deadlines looming before you. Maybe chocolate’s not that magical…but it is delicious.

So let’s forget everything we’ve heard about dark chocolate being bitter, let’s dream beyond a Mars bar, and get acquainted with the art of tasting chocolate. Real chocolate. This will be fun! (And, trust me. This is a very fine skill to have!)

Living With Kids: Eleanor Mayrhofer

Eleanor has such a fun and unique story. She was born in California, moved to Munich, Germany on a whim in her 20s and ended up marrying a German, having a child, and spending the next 20 years there. She makes big city living in a smaller apartment seem not only totally doable, but enviable. Parks within walking distance, electric bikes, social safety nets! It sounds so amazing and you’re going to love peeking around her apartment. Welcome, Eleanor!

Sheet Pan Dinner: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Veggies

Here’s a super easy dinner option: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Veggies. I know it sounds fancy, but don’t be fooled. This is simple as can be. It’s a one-sheet-pan recipe — so very little cleanup — and the pork loin comes pre-seasoned and ready to cook, which is a major short cut. You’ll basically chop some veggies put it all on a cookie sheet, and half an hour later you have a meal that looks and tastes like it took a ton of prep.

The root vegetables make it hearty and perfect for winter weather, and the simplicity makes it ideal for an ongoing pandemic that has us all exhausted as can be. I hope you try this! I’m confident it will become a family favorite.

Newsletter: If Content Is Free, How Do The Content Creators Make Money?

In today’s newsletter, I explain the 3 main methods for making money while sharing free content as a Content Creator or Influencer, I discuss how those methods are changing, and ponder on why we assume online content should be free, but don’t expect free work from other types of creators. Here’s an excerpt:

Hey there. I still suspect this topic is only going to be interesting to me. But when I brought it up in my most recent newsletter, it got lots of interest from readers. So I’m going to (nervously) share. This newsletter started as a revenue explainer and then drifted into a philosophical discussion about consuming free content. I hope you enjoy!

—-
I always cheer for an “exposure doesn’t pay the rent” tweet and retweeted this thread thread instantly. Click through to read all the examples of people who expected Jamie Mathias, a songwriter, to write songs for them for free.

Shortly after I retweeted the thread, I saw a note from a reader, it was a blog comment, casually asking me to create a post about a topic they are interested in. And of course, we can assume that if I create that post, that reader expects they will get to read that post for free. To be clear, just like this blog reader, I too have consumed free content online for many years. We all have.

The reader didn’t mean any harm by the request, and I wasn’t offended even a little bit. It was a positive comment and very supportive. Yet, if I fulfill their request, and create the requested blog post, it will take 25+ hours of work, and considerable out-of-pocket expense. It will require research, errands, writing, photography, editing (both words and images), up-to-date software knowledge, marketing expertise, social media expertise, and more.

It’s clear from their request that the reader will benefit by my work in creating the blog post. But something we rarely consider: What will the content creator get out of it? Why would I spend that time creating content that is consumed for free? Should I expect to be compensated for that work? If yes, how should I be compensated for that work?

I’ve been a Content Creator or Influencer since 2006, before the terms “content creator” and “influencer” existed. Heck, before the term “mommy blogger” existed. Which means, I’ve been making 100% FREE content for 16 years. Over 6000 blog posts. over 15,000 Instagram Story segments. Over 2400 Instagram Posts. Innumerable Tweets. Over 40 short films. Etc. ALL free for people who want to read or watch or consume what I create.

Starting around 2010, for about 8 years, I was able to make a good living from creating this free content. I’m nothing but grateful that I was able to make a career of this work for so many years. For those of you who wonder how the people you follow make money, here’s a 101 course. If you are offering free content, there are 3 main options to earn money: 

Click here to read the full newsletter or to comment on this topic.

New Year, New You, Newlane — Scholarship Giveaway!

Here’s something fun: I have 3 Newlane University Scholarships to give out!!! Let’s do a good-old-fashioned giveaway over on Instagram. Don’t need a scholarship? You should still enter to win! Because if you win, you can use the scholarship yourself, OR you can give it to somebody else who needs it — a friend, a family member, even a total stranger! I’ll bet you know someone awesome who really wants to earn a college degree.

There are 3 ways you can enter. Do one of the 3 options for one entry, or do all 3 options and you’ll be entered to win 3 times! Here are the 3 options to enter on my Instagram post: 1) Leave a comment and tag 2 people you think should know about Newlane. 2) Save this post by tapping the flag icon, and leave a comment about what major you want Newlane to introduce next. 3) Share this post — tap the paper airplane and share it to your stories or DM a friend.

If you win: You (or the person you give the scholarship to) can use it earn an Associate Degree, or if you already have your Associate Degree, you can use your scholarship to earn a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy. The 3 winners will be randomly picked on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 and contacted via Instagram DM. Check out Instagram for more details, or keep reading.

A Budgeting Game for Teens That I Totally Made Up (And Maybe Your Kids Will Like It Too).

budgeting game for teens - easy and free featured by top lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

One summer, when my two oldest kids were teens, we were casually chatting about college. We were wondering aloud where they might attend, and talking about dorm life, and what it’s like to get an apartment, choose your class schedule, and do your own grocery shopping.

Suddenly, I had this moment of panic about teaching my kids to create a monthly budget. They earn money, and spend money, and save money, but at the time, I had never really talked them through a full monthly budget and what it’s like to live within one. I had this compelling I NEED TO TEACH THEM THIS RIGHT NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE feeling. Hah!

So I sat down at my laptop and came up with a teen budgeting game/challenge. It’s a rough-draft sort of thing, but it turns out they really enjoyed going through it. A year has passed, and we’re still talking about the budget game, and getting requests from the younger kids for their turn.

What’s the challenge? Essentially, it’s a game that takes about an hour to play, where they go through 12 months of budget, and each month they have new challenges thrown their way. The goal is to go through all 12 months of pretend budgets and end with a minimum amount in pretend savings, plus a certain number of pretend “Social/Mental Well-Being Points” (more on those in a bit). I created a Budget Worksheet to help us play, plus a sheet of “Banker’s Instructions” and an explanation of “Budget Options” (you can download all 3 below).

Living With Kids: Camille Turpin

Camille Turpin and her husband designed their house for their children. With two of their children on the autism spectrum, they built as many stress-free learning and growing and social opportunities into their house as possible. When they had the chance to move to a place with more affordable housing, they doubled their floor space and designed a home where there’s a space for everything and everybody, and the daily occupational therapy that is so important to their kids, can happen without leaving the house.

I appreciate that they put resale value on the back burner in lieu of a house that works for them right now. And that’s an important take-away from each of these tours, isn’t it? Figure out what works for your family, and run toward that. Welcome, Cami!

DIY: Printed Dish Towels

I love using flour sack towels in the kitchen — I appreciate their lack of leftover lint on dishes, and they dry items amazingly! They also make a wonderful, big, blank canvas. Sticking with the simplest of materials — a sheet of foam and paint — the towels can easily be changed from plain to modern and chic. The design and color options are endless! They can be customized to match anyone’s taste.

Now they don’t just do the hard work, they look good too.

Newsletter & Link List

If you’ve been reading my work for awhile, you may already know that I like to make big plans at the start of the year. Sometimes I follow through on the plans successfully. Sometimes I make an attempt and then fail — either loudly or quietly. Sometimes I make a little progress and then get distracted by other shinier projects. At the moment, I feel the same instincts to think big, but I keep tempering every project I think of with “depending on the pandemic”. So, who knows? Here are some of the projects on my mind for 2022.

Click here to read the whole newsletter, make comments, and find the link list.

One Pot Dinner: Weeknight Cassoulet Recipe

Weeknight Cassoulet Recipe | designmom.com

Cassoulet! Have you ever eaten it before? It’s a classic French Stew — so thick it’s almost a casserole, and it’s packed with different ingredients and layers of flavor. I remember the very first time I ate cassoulet. It was the first time we lived in France. We were visiting friends in the Dordogne region who lived next to a castle. The weather was chilly, and a hot bowl of cassoulet was the perfect thing for dinner. It warmed me right up and was super filling.

True cassoulet can take a long time to make, so this recipe includes a few short-cut options. For those of you who prefer a slow-cooker, the notes include an adaptation for that too. If you give the recipe a try, I hope you let me know what you think.

And if you’ve ever had memorable cassoulet, I want to hear about it!

Tall House: Laundry Room Before & After

Here’s a tour of our fully renovated laundry room. I would say “we took it back to the studs” but there aren’t really studs in our house — hah! Instead the walls are made of thick stone and brick. The previous occupants used this room as a “back kitchen”. It housed the fridge and freezer, and it had the kitchen sink and the water heater — sort of a prep kitchen. The actual cooking took place in the room next door (our current kitchen) which is where the stove and oven was (and still is).

We moved the prep areas into the cooking kitchen, and we converted this space into a laundry room with a utility sink, a pantry, and our big furnace-water-heater combo. Come see what we’ve been up to.

Living With Kids: Dalia Baurichter

You’re going to love getting to know Dalia today, and hear her perspective about faith, parenting, clutter and so much more. Dalia, her husband, and their three daughters (and a golden doodle!) live in a Parsonage in South Florida. Tony is a pastor and the home is actually owned by the congregation — Dalia and their family live there as part of their compensation. It seems like a lovely twist on a renter/landlord situation. Dalia and Tony also have one daughter with special needs and two children who were born premature, so she has some beautiful wisdom to share about life’s unexpected twists and turns. Welcome, Dalia!

4 Secrets To Making Goals & Resolutions You’ll Really Keep

Some people love making goals at the beginning of a New Year. Others do not. I’m in the loves-making-goals camp, but if you’re not, you’ll get no judgement from me. I think it’s more about how different brains work — some people get inspired by goals, and others get discouraged and prefer non-goal motivations. My personal tendency is to make big ambitious goals — shoot for the moon! — and if I don’t reach them all, that’s fine. I enjoy picturing the possibilities either way.

For those of you who are interested in making goals this year, here are two methods that research has shown to work really well.

Newsletter & Link List

Hey there. How’s it going? This morning, I received a booster shot. (Moderna.) No side effects so far, but I have zero plans for the next few days just in case. This is only my second shot, because when I was first vaccinated back in May (on a very short trip to California), I received the J&J shot. I’m so happy/comforted to be boosted! And for those who are curious, getting a same day booster wasn’t an option for me here in France — I made the appointment a month ago, but this was the earliest date available. According to the official French Anti-Covid app, vaccination coverage in France is 89.5%.

In other vaccine-related good news: France is starting widespread vaccinations for the 5-12 age group! Which means our youngest, Flora June, can finally get vaccinated! We made her first appointment for the earliest date: January 5th.

What’s happening vaxx-wise where you live? Is it easy to access a same-day vaccination? Or do you have to wait for an appointment? Is your community working on initial vaccinations? Or have they moved on to boosters? Is it free for you to get vaccinated? Or do you have to pay a fee?

Click here to read the full newsletter, find the link list, and leave a comment. It’s free!

New Year’s Eve Creme Brûlée — Dessert for Two

Creme Brulee for Two

I’ve got a lovely little surprise for you today. It’s a Creme Brûlée For Two recipe — part of the mouth-watering Dessert for Two series. And it’s just in time for another mid-pandemic New Year’s Eve, where it’s safest and most compassionate to celebrate at home. Extra bonus: It’s very doable — just 4 ingredients!

The only hard part is patience, because these are best when they’ve cooled for 8 hours or more. So you could make the recipe first thing in the morning on New Year’s Eve, and then let them cool all day. As a last step, you’ll brown the topping just before you serve them that night. Perfect.

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