End of summer and hello you and you

Hello!  Hello.  It’s the end of the summer (officially) and I’ve missed you.  So hello to you and hello you and you.  How are you?  How’ve you been?  Long time no talk.

I took an inadvertent hiatus this summer to avoid a nervous breakdown (success!) which is why Petit Elefant has been “content lite” for a bit.  We should really catch up over lunch soon, but in the meantime let’s talk summer.

disneyland

In May / June I took the craziest trip ever to the French Riviera, Spain, and Paris.  Whirlwind time of my life, so much fun.  I have lots to share with you about that trip, the least of which is that I’m now completely addicted to prosciutto (I haven’t been vegan for awhile) and airbnb, among other things.

I then took a family trip to L.A. to see my rheumatologist (YAY) and Disneyland.  May I just say?  Tower of Terror makes me very, very nervous.  Every time.

tower of terror

Then all of a sudden it was the 4th of July and family BBQ’s and babies.  Did I mention babies?  BAYBEEZ.  I like them, a lot.  My sister is responsible for the crazy cuteness of this guy.  … >> 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!

DIY make a custom welcome mat

DIY custom welcome mat

It’s been DIY free on Petit Elefant for far too long, so I’m here to show you a ‘DIY make a custom welcome mat’, alternately titled ‘I’m late to the bandwagon but I love geometric neon shapes for home decor in spite of my 80′s childhood’.

Let’s get our DIY on, shall we?

 

welcome doormat

This is my front door, and if you look closely yes that IS a snowflake painted sisal welcome mat.  I’m pretty sure I got it two years ago for Christmas.  Yes, it has been gracing my front doorway all season long, every season since then.  Which means maybe I should’ve just left it until the snow starts falling this year.

Or.

OR it’s time to spiff things up and do some DIY damage with spray paint.  Spray paint is almost always the answer.  Unless we’re talking about food, in which case, it’s ice cream.  Always ice cream.

 

project supplies

Supplies for DIY make a custom welcome mat:

  • construction grade / color spray paint
  • ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape
  • (not pictured) grey primer spray paint
  • (not pictured) lawn sized garbage bag
  • (not pictured) acrylic top coat spray paint to finish

 

sisal doormat

Step one:

 

Once you’ve got your favorite worn … >> 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!

Send a card to someone you love

I’m a card person.  I love getting cards the old school way, in my tin mailbox.  It can turn a blah blah blah Monday into YAY DAY.  (See what I did there?  Shhh.)  But seriously, is there anything better than actual ink to paper mail in a friend’s handwriting?  I’m serious, cards are totally my thing.  I told you all about my love for legit handwritten snail mail few years ago, because I think you should say hello to someone you love every once in a while.

I leave a card for each of my kids when I travel, and love notes to my husband telling him how much I love his sexy manly beard, and on the regular I send cards to friends just for fun to tell them I miss their faces.

It’s a thing.

This is a pile of cards currently sitting on my dining room table, awaiting stamps so they can be sent off to a bunch of someone (s) I love.

 

send some cards to someone you love

 

I’ve partnered with Hallmark several times (obviously, I love them) and today I’m super excited to partner with them again to share their most recent awesome venture: Hallmark Card Rewards.  Basically, … >> 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!

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Great back to school shoes for kids

My kids are headed back to school this week, and none of us are excited.  Summer is our favorite time of year (collectively) and we all moan and groan about the first day of school.

It’s not that the kids don’t like school per se, it’s just that going back to school marks the end of our summer glory days; days filled with sunshine, pools, lazy afternoon naps, and trips to the French Riviera.

For me anyway.

back to school shoesNone of that goodness happens during the school year.

Except the pool part, my kids swim year round, so at least they can’t complain about that.

(don’t fret, they’re sure to find a way)

The fun part about the kids heading back to school, at least for me, is the shopping involved.  Surely I can’t be the only parent who loves buying back to school supplies.

Please tell me you too love stupid cute back to school suppliesHelp a sister out here.  I don’t know if it’s all the freshly sharpened pencils or new textbook smell, but I can’t get enough of it, especially since it’s my kids and not me headed into the classroom.

monsters inc shoes

Naturally as I … >> 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!

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Our master bathroom remodel before and after

Our master bathroom is finally done.  YOU GUYS.  The bathroom is doooooooonnnnnne.

master bathroom remodel reveal

And before we proceed any deeper into the amazing glory that is our new bathroom, I’d like you all to know, *AHEM* that my husband is a saint and the lengthy duration of this remodeling process had nothing to do with him.  The epic-ness of tearing out an entire bathroom to the studs while living in the room next door is, well, a thing.  A complicated thing.  Especially because we did 50% of the work ourselves and a contractor did the other 50% when we had time and when he had time, which is to say, the master bathroom remodel has seemed never-ending.

bathroom candles I’d also like to state for the record: when I say ‘we’ I always mean everyone BUT me.  My husband, my kids, my husband’s best friend, my old college roommate’s husband. ‘We’ means lots of people who aren’t me.  Just so we’re all clear.

Before I show you the gorgeous new master bathroom, I just want to remind you of the awful bathroom I posted yesterday.  The before-before, the before from when we were house hunting and were thinking of buying our … >> 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!

Our master bathroom remodel before photos

Our master bathroom (and bedroom) were pretty bad when we first bought our house.  And while I know you’ve been waiting for photos of the master bathroom remodel final reveal for oh, about a month, I HAD to show you the Nightmare on Elm Street the master bathroom was originally.

master bathroom shower beforeI dug through some horrid old photos, with resolutions you’d expect from a digital camera in 2003.  My 13-year-old’s throwaway cell phone takes better photos than our super expensive camera 10 years ago, but that’s neither here nor there.  And when you’re done being assaulted by visions of the 90′s I’ll post the new bathroom, and hopefully your brain won’t have been too traumatized by what you’re about to see.

Are you ready?  Get ready.  Brace yourselves.  Some serious ivy obsession is about to burst through your screen.

before master bathroom remodelYou guys.  I feel okay about ivy.  On college dormitories on the east coast of the US in the fall.  Climbing the bricks of my childhood home, filling the gaps in chain-link fencing on a dirty inner city lot.  But I’ll tell you what I don’t feel okay about: ivy crawling the walls of my master bathroom.

master bathroom before photos

In fact, I’m not … >> 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!

Making you feel loved over the years

I am loved.

I am loved diamonds

What does that do to you when you hear it, read it, feel it?  I hope it’s a visceral reaction in your gut, that feeling loved business.  Because when you’re loved the way you deserve to be, it can be a breathless and dizzying, electric, glorious experience.

OR.

Or the feel of being loved, really truly and properly, can be a glowing ember of toasty warm content.  The act of feeling loved can be safety from fear, from separation and anxiety, of knowing someone out there has your back no matter how stupid you get.  And sometimes we all get a little extra stupid.

A few weeks ago I wrote about being loved and loving, what I wish for my family, should something go amiss with my Stupid Lupus.  Actually, physically, writing my love and wishes for the people closest to me was painful to think about but enormously satisfying to outline in detail and verbalize (in my head at least).  Sometimes the love we give is exactly the kind of love we need.  Do you know what I mean?  The things I shared with my daughter are the kinds of things I needed … >> 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!

Pack for weeks in a carry on bag

how to pack for a long trip in a carry on

Having to pack before a trip, any trip regardless of how awesome, is the lamest.  I hate packing.  I loathe it, detest it, want to scream every time I do it, procrastinate until the very last minute, and in the end stay up until the wee hours of the morning of travel jamming stuff into every available corner of my suitcase.

But now, after traveling extensively over the past several years, I’m here to tell you I am now a packing ninja.  Let me repeat that, for those of you who know me and have traveled with me in the past:

I am (now) a NINJA, of the packing variety.

barcelona with luggage(You see these ancient, winding stairs, 4 flights up in our apartment in Barcelona?  Yep.  They were a breeze for my carry-on.  Not so much for my traveling bestie Rachael and her ugly American suitcase.)

Learning how to pack properly took me years to figure out, YEARS of trial and mostly error.  Since I’m OCD, the thought of coming home from a trip and tagging everything I didn’t use in my suitcase with a post-it note, writing down what I used, keeping a master pack list of useful stuff, then … >> 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!

Amazing potato salad recipe for BBQ season

potato salad recipe

High five! Potato salad recipe season is here (aka SUMMER!) and I’m betting you’re as excited as I am to get the grill fired up and spend your evenings outdoors. One of the most popular summer BBQ side dishes is potato salad. This potato salad recipe isn’t one that’s been handed down from my grandma or Great-Aunt Martha or anything.  It’s just a little something I’ve come up with that is full of goodies that just about everyone will love.  And by goodies, of course I’m talking about bacon, cheese, and Ranch dressing.  (Did your heart jump a little at the thought of that artery-clogging goodness?)

Potato salad recipe lovers, unite!

potato-salad-recipe-serving-bowl

Don’t worry, we’re dolling up this potato salad recipe a bit more, and taking it out for a spin on the BBQ circuit by adding some fresh lemon juice, herbs, and green onions.  I even went as far as making homemade mayonnaise.  (I know.)  Store-bought is just fine too.  Be sure to use good, thick bacon so it doesn’t disappear when you cook it.  You want to know that bacon is there in every single bite!

potato-salad-recipe-ingredients

And then there’s the shredded cheddar cheese.  Because why wouldn’t you … >> find out more…

Lindsey Johnson

Lindsey Johnson can usually be found in one of three places--the kitchen (cooking and washing dishes), behind her camera, or at her laptop editing photos and writing. If she's not in any of those places, chances are she's chasing after her three crazy kids or scoring a great find at the thrift store. She writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia and lives near the beautiful mountains in Utah with the aforementioned three crazy kids and one great husband.