Celebrating American Independence from Africa

Happy Fourth from Africa

I know most of you readers are gearing up for Independence Day. And I’m thinking of you right now. I love living in a country other than the one I’m from. I’ve made my home in S. Africa even though it’s not the land of my birth. There’s no doubt it has made me a richer person as I’ve navigated cultural blunders and learned that not everyone thinks the way my American brain thinks. What a shock! However, when it comes to certain holidays my American roots go deep, and everything within me has to celebrate. Fourth of July, Independence Day, is one of those holidays.

Independence Day Flags

Until I was an adult, I never realized how big of a deal Fourth of July was to me. My dad was on the local fire department crew, and every year the fire department put on a fireworks show for our little town. The festivities, though, started long before it got dark enough for fireworks. I remember going up to the ballpark mid morning and spending the whole day there playing on the playground, trying my feet at the three legged races, and even participating in watermelon seed spitting just so I could savor … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

Festive Fourth of July Layered Dessert

Berry Trifle Title Look no further for the perfect dessert to share with your favorite people this Fourth of July weekend.  This Mixed Berry Trifle is no-bake, festive, and of course, totally delicious. It’s always one of the first to disappear at summer barbecues and parties. I’m using the term “trifle” a bit loosely, since traditionally trifle involves fancy lady finger cookies, but it’s close enough and sounds legit.

Mixed Berry Trifles

You can make this in a large clear glass dish, or as individual servings in small glasses or goblets. If you are taking your dish elsewhere, assembling it in clear plastic party cups make for easy transport and fun presentation. Either way, clear serving dishes show off the colorful layers and textures.

Berry Trifle Ingredients

You’ll need:

Strawberries, rinsed, hulled and patted dry

Blueberries, rinsed and mostly dry

Raspberries, rinsed and mostly dry

2 Pound cake loaves from the bakery

*Vanilla Custard or Pudding, prepared ahead

*Homemade or from a box–either will work just fine. I often opt for the box, despite my preference for the real thing, because my kitchen is crazy hot in the summer and I try to avoid my stove and oven whenever possible.  Also, I like to add a dash of almond >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

Watch On Netflix: Rosewater

What to watch this month: Rosewater.

 

Rosewater the movie

As part of my gig as a member of the Netflix Stream Team, every month I’ll share with you what’s worth watching on Netflix.  Last month I shared my affinity for the Netflix Original, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt which is still one of my favorites, (how is Ellie Kemper so darling 24/7?!).  This month I’m sharing a new-to-Netflix movie I’ve been anxiously waiting for: Rosewater.

Do you remember hearing about Rosewater last year?  It’s written and directed by Jon Stewart, of Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show, one of my favorite smart humans on the planet, and it’s wonderful.  I read some of the negative press about the movie (movie reviewers can be pretty jaded and cynical), but I found the story intriguing, and Jon Stewart can do no wrong in my eyes so I gave it a go.  I’m so glad I did.

The story is fascinating; the terrifying true story of Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari.  Bahari went to Iran in 2009 to report on the country’s presidential elections for Newsweek Magazine.  Shortly after Bahari films, (and shares with international media) state violence against protestors in the streets of Iran … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

3 Fashionably Patriotic Outfits

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We’re feeling patriotic over here, because isn’t the 4th of July the best? It’s probably one of my all-time favorite holidays. I love dressing up in red, white, and blue and celebrating with friends and family all day long! Look totally cute and stylish while still being patriotic with some inspiration from these 3 outfits that will WOW!

The “Casual Cute Parade” Outfit:

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The “Lounging By The Pool”: Outfit:

4thcollage2 >> find out more...

Rachel Utterback

Time to Stand + Have Uncomfortable Conversations

It’s time to have a conversation about race.  And it might be uncomfortable, but it’s time to stand up and start the discussion.

I can’t sit back for one more minute and hear some of the things that are being said by my white friends and neighbors and perfect strangers about black people in America today.

I know you mostly come to Petit Elefant for fluffy, fun recipes and beauty DIY’s and tutorials but today we’re having a serious, badly needed discussion about race.  If you don’t like it, feel free to skip it and wait for tomorrow’s post.  But I do hope you’ll stick around and read to the bottom, because figuring out how to stanch the bleeding is going to take all of us.

 

cousins

Let’s start by stating the obvious:  I’m white.  A super lily-white Mormon girl from the actual middle of Utah.  I grew up in a super wealthy neighborhood in Orem, Utah whose population is primarily educated white Mormons.  My school classes in elementary school were filled with all white kids, and mostly white teachers and administrators, (except for my Spanish-Immersion teachers, most of whom were from Mexico).  I attended a super elite private school … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Orange + Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Recipe

 orange + lemon poppy seed muffin recipe
Orange + lemon poppy seed muffins are on the menu today, and hooray for that because they are the tastiest muffins I've ever eaten.  Seriously. If you have a couple lemons and oranges kicking around the fruit bowl, all you need to add to those is a little bit of poppy seed and some basic pantry ingredients and you're halfway to citrus heaven.
   

Orange + Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Recipe

Can we talk about poppy seeds for a minute?  I've always loved a good poppy seed muffin, I mean really, who doesn't?  But Eastern Europeans LOVE THEM some poppy.  I don't know what it is about poppy seeds, but my husband's mother, our Babcia, sends boxes upon boxes of poppy seeds after a visit to Poland.  I'm not really sure what we're supposed to do with all of them, but I really truly, actually have about 5 pounds of poppy seeds sitting in my kitchen cupboards.  So if any of you are jonesing for some, you know where to find me.  I'm down to 2 tablespoons shy of 5 pounds after making these muffins, so I have plenty left for you.
   

Poppyseed Muffins

Anywho. These muffins are seriously heaven.  They're dense + moist … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Shellac Nails

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Do you know what my favorite beauty tricks are? Low-maintenance ones. So, concerning the love and care that nice-looking nails require, I often come up short – literally. I am a notorious nail-biter. Sometimes it’s absent minded, other times it’s stress related, but either way the only time I really seem to kick the horrible habit is when my nails are painted.

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This polish is 3 weeks old.

Nail-painting itself is not an easy endeavor, and common polish always chips off your hands within days (and yet, somehow, pedicures could withstand a nuclear war without even a blemish.) Gel and acrylic nails often require too long a commitment, they damage your nails, and leave your hands looking more mangled than glamorous when they come off.

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This is after I removed the shellac (on my own, and without acetone).

Fortunately, there is a happy in-between manicure solution: Shellac. And gals, it’s the bomb. The substance Shellac is a blend of gel and polish. It is applied like a polish and so it can’t be used to extend your nail, but it does add strength and durability. In the long term, Shellac is much less harmful to nails than gels and acrylics, and it … >> find out more...

elliepeek

20 years old, and deeply happy to be alive. I am an aspiring writer, maybe-lawyer, and human being. I am an English major at Brigham Young University. I write a heavy bit of poetry, and eat a heavy bit of Indian food. I lived in Germany for a bit, but currently call Utah my home. I want to travel as much as time and cash will permit, in this short and spectacular life - and look good while doing it.

Making Babies and Eating Curry in Thailand

Making Babies and Eating Curry in Thailand

I got pregnant with my oldest in a bamboo hut in a refugee camp on the borders of Myanmar and Thailand. We were working with Karen refugees that were chased out of Myanmar for their beliefs. Now they resided in a camp managed by the Thai government. We were welcomed there but still had to abide by the rules. One of those rules was lights out at 7 PM. Not much to do in a dark bamboo hut after 7 PM, if you know what I mean. Cue lesson in the birds and the bees. Like a Cabbage Patch Kid, we joke with our oldest that we’re going to get “Made in Thailand” inked on his rear. Nothing puts red on the cheeks faster than telling your child where he was conceived. Parents are, like, so embarrassing.

That was the beginning of our six week trek across Thailand. Newly pregnant, I had nothing to show for it except waves of nausea that crept in at the most inopportune times. Everyone told me the best part about Thailand was the food. They were all liars. Cashew coconut chicken curry turned my stomach like nobody’s business. Comfort food was nowhere to be found. … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

How to Rock a Sale

If your summer plans include hitting up every great sale that comes along, it’s time you had some training. Might sound silly, but trust me, if you go into a sale with a plan and a purpose, you come out at the other end quicker, happier, and significantly less broke. Let’s eighty-six the buyer’s remorse, mmkay?

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There are too many summer “blow-outs” to keep track of, but a personal favorite of mine is the “Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual” which is happening right now! How do I survive that explosion of lace, sequins, and smelly body lotion? These are seven tips and tricks that I have picked up by working in retail and by indulging in (sometimes over-indulging in) sales myself, with pictures from my last semi-annual haul.

  • Know what you want. Check online and see what you are looking for, before you go. I always start with the basics: “I’m looking for a nude bra, black bra, and pajamas.”

 

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  • Go early! You are not the only one looking to take advantage of half-priced heaven, but you can be one of the few early birds.
  • Be prepared to budge. Sometimes the store will be out of the exact item you imagined,
>> find out more...

elliepeek

20 years old, and deeply happy to be alive. I am an aspiring writer, maybe-lawyer, and human being. I am an English major at Brigham Young University. I write a heavy bit of poetry, and eat a heavy bit of Indian food. I lived in Germany for a bit, but currently call Utah my home. I want to travel as much as time and cash will permit, in this short and spectacular life - and look good while doing it.