Happy Birthday to My Little Boy

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.

 

happy birthday boyphoto 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.

 

marker mustache

 

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...

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!

Easy Style With Boyfriend Jeans

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

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...

natalia

Natalia is a mom to two crazy boys and wife to one handsome dude. She lives in France part of the year where her husband plays professional basketball, but she hails from Southern California. The hubs was born & raised in Nassau, Bahamas, which makes them an intercultural, interracial family traveling the globe together since 2007. She loves to cook (but mostly eat), hang with her fam, be adventurous, & find ways to stay girlie in a house full of men. On her site you can find loads of hair tutorials, makeup ideas, & fashion tips for the everyday woman. She believes that beauty and fashion don't have to be intimidating and that every woman should learn to embrace her own beauty.

Things To Do In Durban

Things To Do In Durban

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?

Surfer

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...

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.

5 Favorite Things Right Now

favorite thingsSummertime 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.

Wonder book

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...

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.

Beauty Travel Essentials

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.

vacation essentials - what you'll need

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:

  • 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
>> find out more...

natalia

Natalia is a mom to two crazy boys and wife to one handsome dude. She lives in France part of the year where her husband plays professional basketball, but she hails from Southern California. The hubs was born & raised in Nassau, Bahamas, which makes them an intercultural, interracial family traveling the globe together since 2007. She loves to cook (but mostly eat), hang with her fam, be adventurous, & find ways to stay girlie in a house full of men. On her site you can find loads of hair tutorials, makeup ideas, & fashion tips for the everyday woman. She believes that beauty and fashion don't have to be intimidating and that every woman should learn to embrace her own beauty.

Our Disney World Vacation Part 4

DisneyWorld Castle Title

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.

Disney World Castle & Think

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...

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.

Walking With Giraffes

Walking With Giraffes

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.

Giraffe

One day her bestest friend from Texas came to visit her in South Africa. They laughed. They played. They explored … >> 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 Take Your Summer Dresses from Day to Night

day to night summer dresses

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.

For Day

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.

summer dresses summer dresses

For Night

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...

Amanda Holstein

Blogger at Advice from a Twenty Something, Amanda Holstein lives in San Francisco, CA where she writes her modern advice column for the everyday, stylish girl. She’s not your high-fashion guru, she’s your friend who knows about the sale at Madewell and who’ll actually tell you if that shirt doesn’t look good on you (someone needs to, right?). Besides blogging, Amanda works full-time at Federated Media Publishing, helping some of her favorite online publishers do what they love.

Quote of the Week: The Impossible

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...

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!