My little guy turned 11 today. He’s not so little anymore. It’s hard to know how to feel about this, but I can tell you that the two prevailing emotions are pride and a bittersweet nostalgia.
photo by Ashley Thalman Photography
This son of mine was so hard to come by and is such an impossibly perfect outcome of a terrible medical situation; sometimes the closeness of it all just takes my breath away. During my a nightmare of a pregnancy with him, I was on permanent bed-rest with an I.V. and an in-home nurse and my body shut down one organ at a time. About once a week I was rushed to the hospital for some emergency or another.
And yet, and yet. Here he is.
On August 25th, 2004 I went into labor. I was watching the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, watching some virtually unknown kid named Michael Phelps blow up the pool. I was actually, literally watching Phelps swim while I labored at home, with no earthly idea 11 years later almost to the week, we’d be in Hawaii as a family watching my boy swim at the national championships of … >> find out more...
Boyfriend jeans. We all want them but it’s easy to assume they only look good on super skinny models. Well, as a not super skinny model (or a model at all for that matter) I am here to tell you that they can be worn by us curvier women too!
Recently I got a pair of boyfriend jeans in my fashion subscription box and I couldn’t be happier with them. They are the perfect summer jeans, if you ask me, because they aren’t shorts, but they’re not jeans. In fact, they are great for any season. They’re fitted but they’re not tight and they are most certainly not skinny jeans. They just look easy and cool and that’s exactly what they are!
Boyfriend jeans style
See what I mean? Easy-breezy, right? I paired these boyfriend jeans with my plain white t-shirt, wedges and some long necklaces. The half up top knot is a summer favorite of mine and I love the look with this super casual style.
If you were wondering how to wear or if you could wear boyfriend jeans, you can. I’m sure you can. And with how comfortable they are, you’ll be thankful you gave them a try. Here are … >> find out more...
We spent last Christmas in Durban, because that’s what you do here in S. Africa. You spend Christmas at the beach. It’s hotter than hot that time of year, and the only respite you can find is in your toes touching that cool water. Durban resides along the Indian Ocean making it more popular in my book than Cape Town which borders the arctic waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s loads of touristy things you can do in Zulu nation, but if I had my choice, I would take my tourist hat off and spend my time doing two things.
1. Going to the beach. In my opinion, the best beach spots are found just outside the city. Aptly named the Dolphin Coast, Ballito is the best with its beautiful beaches and cafés. It’s perfect for families, but even if you’re not in that season of life yet, Ballito offers a peace and tranquility that the big city lacks. Get up at sunrise and watch the dolphins ride the waves of the surfers. Who wouldn’t like that?
2. Eating a good curry, like all the time. I’ve heard it said that every person in India has a cousin either in … >> find out more...
Summertime is definitely on my perpetual list of favorite things. I cling to it as long as possible. Deep inside, though, I can feel the gears of Summertime gradually winding down, just little by little, so that the end will sneak up and pass me by without notice. I hate it when that happens. I’ll enjoy the next season when it arrives, to be sure, but I’m just not quite ready to trade my sandals for rain boots or to shove my sun-kissed little guys onto the school bus. Well, most of the time I’m not ready. There are moments…
Anyway, I’m still feeling the vibes of swimming pools, snow cones, and camp outs. Of cut-offs, barbecues, and bike rides. So to stave off the end-of-summer-blues I’m making some lists. Lists make me happy. Especially lists of happy things. Lists like 5 of my favorite things right this minute, things that are making me happy in spite of the impending change of seasons.
1. This book. It’s geared toward young adolescents, but I found it thought provoking and meaningful even as an adult, and even if things wrap up rather tidily. More than one of my highly well-read friends has termed it “life changing.” … >> find out more...
Summer vacation might be coming to a close but it’s never too late to squeeze in some little weekend vacations. Those are my favorite kinds! Not too much work to prepare and just enough time to get away and enjoy yourself without being gone too long. On those types of vacations, whether you’re flying or driving, it’s nice to keep things simple, am I right? I’m all about minimal makeup, dry shampoo (hello, life saver!) and cute hairstyles. So today I thought I’d share some of my beauty travel essentials.
These are some of my very favorite drug store beauty products. With these items you should be good to go for your next vacation! I don’t usually wear very little to no makeup at all when I’m camping, but these lightweight products would be perfect for that or even a beach vacation, and ideal for long flights as well. Here’s what I included:
… >> find out more...
- Face sunscreen (I got it in my BirchBox and really like it)
- Aveeno CC Cream – it’s lotion with coverage and SPF. Wins all around!
- Revlon Nearly Naked Powder – just as the name says, it’s barely there! Enough to give some nice coverage but it doesn’t feel heavy at
We finally came limping home from our big vacation to Walt Disney World, exhausted and happy and bursting at the seams with great memories, a couple of blisters and perhaps the evidence of a few too many churros. We did everything that was important to us, though not even close to everything that’s possible at Disney World. It’s a massive magical place. And hot. Really really sticky blazing hot. Today I’ll give you our favorite highlights from each of the 4 parks, and Typhoon Lagoon. I’m sharing a ton of info today, so prepare for a lengthy post you may wish to bookmark.
The Magic Kingdom was our first stop, and also our very last. I love starting the Disney World circuit with that magical stroll down Main Street U.S.A. and finishing our trip with the Main Street Electrical Parade, Tinkerbell, and those amazing fireworks. All are musts for anyone visiting the Magic Kingdom. I get goosebumps every time! My boys especially love the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s the newest attraction in Fantasyland and it’s great–a fun interactive queue to help pass the time, and just enough thrills to please, but not very frightening. My rather … >> find out more...
Walking with giraffes. I swear that sounds like a movie title starring some animal conservationist that is trying to save the giraffe species. Well, that’s not quite what the story is about. Although, if that movie had the tagline, “Based on a true story,” then these narratives would have something in common. Venture with me as I tell the tale of walking on the African plains with one giraffe.
Once upon a time there was a gal named Jen (that’s me!) who lived in South Africa. She loved the country for its beauty, animals, and people, even though it was a long way from her friends and family in the great state of Texas. Her scenery was much different than her Dallas homestead, but her days were much like those of her friends across the ocean…shuttling kids to and from school, keeping the house clean, working hard to put healthy, home cooked meals on the table. She worked, too, but her work was where things were not so much the same. Everyday was different, and Jen loved it that way.
One day her bestest friend from Texas came to visit her in South Africa. They laughed. They played. They explored … >> find out more...
With summer coming to an end, it’s time to get the most out of your dresses before it’s too late. The great thing about dresses is that they are super versatile. What makes them so versatile? They’re great for layering. Whatever you layer over your dress can totally change the look and feel of your outfit. Whether it’s a denim jacket or a statement necklace, these additions make all the difference. Check out my top tips for transitioning your summer dress from day to night.
Start with an easy breezy dress like this white one from Old Navy. Your key pieces for making your summer dresses more casual? Flats and denim. Denim is my go-to when I want to dress down a look. Try a denim jacket or a chambray shirt. Simple sandals are a great daytime staple as well. I recommend a pair of slides (these go with everything!). Bring in some color to brighten up your day look with a printed tote.
The best way to make your dress nighttime ready is by swapping out your accessories. Instead of flats, go for something dressier like a wedge or heel. Jewelry is key — opt for something that really … >> find out more...
This week’s Petit Elefant Quote of the Week is from the poet Theodore Roethke.
(If you’re just getting started, we’re on week 6 of the new inspiring quote series. If you’re interested in catching up, here are links to week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5 and week 6 of the Petit Elefant Quote of the Week.)
This week’s quote, isn’t just a Quote of the Week, it’s also part of Shot@Life’s Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay—where some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000).
So please, pretty please, comment, share, take social media action, and help us reach 50,000 vaccines. Last year I asked for your help on behalf of my sick daughter Sofie. Not only did you help raise money for a record number of vaccines, you lifted up my … >> find out more...