I recently returned from a trip to Kenya where I got to go to the Equator. I’m sure we learned all about the Equator in school, but really my only recollection was that the Equator was the line on the globe that ran through the middle of our continent. When you see the Equator in person, there’s no visible line, but I assure you there’s an imaginary one. Let’s explore, together, life at the Equator. I promise you will find it fascinating.
Since I moved to the Southern Hemisphere, I’ve read about the gravitational pull and how it’s different than the Northern Hemisphere. It really is true that when you flush a toilet in the Southern Hemisphere, the water goes counter-clockwise rather than clockwise like it does in my home country of the USA.
I was fascinated by the simple science experiment that our friendly Equator guide did for us. Let me indulge you. Standing at the imaginary line Equator sign, we walked about ten meters toward the Northern Hemisphere. He poured water into a bowl with a hole, and we watched it swirl downward in a clockwise direction. We then walked ten meters on the other side of the … >> find out more...
Have you done any holiday shopping yet? If you’re wondering what perfect little gift (or gifts) to get your stylish friend, sister, wife, aunt, etc.- I’ve done the work for you! Starting off our annual holiday gift guide is a round up of lovely surprises that are afforable, practical, and bound to become obsessions.
1. The Original Beauty Blender: The most essential makeup tool makes a thoughtful gift or the perfect stocking stuffer. Or make it an addition to a bundle of beauty favorites, like number 4 on our list.
2. Woven Pear Socks: These might be the cutest socks I’ve ever seen. And did you know fabulous socks are totally a thing? They are. Your gal with the perpetually chilly toes will love them. Get a pair for every day of the week!
3. Anthropologie Mini Candle: This is the best smelling candle in the world. I love the mini size and the gorgeous packaging.
4. Naked Basics Makeup Palette: Perfect the smokey eye with this gorgeous eyeshadow palette. It’s a cult fave for good reason, and ideal for your favorite beauty maven.
5. Large Polka Dot Notebook: What is better than a fresh new notebook? With … >> find out more...
Gathering family and friends together is especially wonderful at this time of year. A DIY hot cocoa bar is just the thing for office parties, classroom parties, neighborhood cookie exchanges, church gatherings, a little celebration with family or friends, or a special treat Christmas morning. Take these tips and whip up your own sweet celebration, because everybody loves a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Start by designating a serving area for your DIY hot cocoa bar. Since guests will likely serve themselves, it’s most helpful if all the cocoa and fixings can be accessed in one spot, but if your space isn’t flexible, it’s just fine to serve the cocoa from the stove or crock pot and direct guests to the “bar” for all the fancy additions.
Be sure to have all you supplies to hand in advance. Mugs stacked next to the cocoa, a ladle for serving, napkins and stir sticks nearby, and of course all the fun extras in one place. Don’t worry if your mugs are all mismatched, as mine are. It will just add to the charm of your presentation.
Choose which special extras you’d like most to serve and stick to just 3 or 4 to keep things … >> find out more...
‘Tis the season for snuggling up with your favorite tribe and some favorite Christmas movies. It’s a regular weekend activity at our house during the holiday season, to dust off a favorite Christmas flick, pop some popcorn, and get all comfy cozy on the couch or the bed. Flannel pajamas are optional but strongly recommended. We’ve assembled a small collection of our family favorites to share with you, so put on your fuzzy slippers and get ready for a holiday movie night.
Disclaimer: I know, Die Hard isn’t on the list. It was a matter of some debate at my house, so feel free to use your own discretion in putting it on your own list of family Christmas movies. I did try to stick with those of our favorites that have the most universal appeal and broad window of age-appropriateness. So now, in no particular order, our own list of quintessential holiday films.
1. If you don’t like Home Alone, I’m not sure we can be friends. I mean, we can, but maybe not besties. We love it not just for it’s great quote-able lines like “Keep the change, ya filthy animal!” but because it’s just right for all ages and not too saccharine. My … >> find out more...
If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce, you’ve been missing out. It’s my most favorite side dish to prepare on Thanksgiving, in part because it’s soon easy, in part because it can be made well in advance of the kitchen madness come mealtime, and in part because it’s so pretty! This recipe is my own favorite homemade cranberry sauce and I’m happy to share it with you today. It’s such as cinch you may never go back to the canned stuff. It’s the perfect, delicious pop of beautiful red color on your dinner table, and the perfect pop of sweetness and tartness to accompany your main event. And on a turkey sandwich the next day? Just so so so delicious. Perfection. So, put that can down. Just put it down, and let’s get saucing.
- A 12 ounce bag of fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup raspberry jam–homemade, store bought or seedless, any kind will do
- Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
- Dash each of cinnamon and salt
If you like your cranberries extra sweet, just add a bit more sugar or jam. If you like them a bit spicier, add a bit more cinnamon. … >> find out more...
This week’s quote of the week is a small soft spot in a sea of fear and anger and sadness. There’s been so much hateful dialogue across the internet this week in the wake of the terrible tragedy and heartbreak in Paris and other, less reported parts of the world. When I wrote about my husband’s story as a refugee and why I think it’s our responsibility as fellow humans to help others in times of crisis, I was genuinely shocked by the hate mail I received, and by the mean, bitter comments on Facebook.
I understand that we all have differences. Different life experiences, different political views, different religions. I really, genuinely understand fear. But what I don’t get, and I hope I never do, is hate. I can’t abide with it. So, at the end of a long and exhausting week, I leave you with some wise, hopeful words in the form of a Maori proverb. Have a lovely weekend.
P.S. love always wins.
Petit Elefant Quote of the Week
Turn your face
to the sun
and the shadows
fall behind you.
– Maori Proverb –
If you’re just starting with this series, or need … >> find out more...
My husband is a refugee. A refugee whose family sought political asylum in the United States in the 1980’s in the face of the stuff of nightmares. The details are personal, but the bottom line is this: my husband’s life, and the lives of his family were in imminent danger; fleeing the country was the only option. They had two choices: America or Libya. They chose America, and the difference in that choice turned out to be everything.
It’s interesting, this thing about refugees. Syrian refugees. Brown refugees. Refugees from “undesirable” places. Refugees of “undesirable” or threatening religious backgrounds. It’s so easy to hate someone who didn’t get born into your fate.
My husband was young enough when his family escaped from Poland that he doesn’t have an accent. He doesn’t look that different, unless you get up close and personal. He seems just like a “regular American guy” because he is. He’s a dual Polish and American citizen, a process which, despite what you’re probably reading in the news, is not just a matter of “opening doors” for people to pour in. It’s a lengthy, nightmare of red-tape political process most natural born Americans wouldn’t want to wade … >> find out more...
Have you ever made a DIY oatmeal bath? Oatmeal is so great for dry, stressed out, rashy, and irritated skin. We used to buy the lovely packets made by Aveeno, but they get pricey if you need a soothing oatmeal bath more than once a year, so I made my own DIY oatmeal bath mixture for pennies!
Check it out.
How To Make A DIY Oatmeal Bath
- 1-2 cups oats (any kind: old fashioned, instant, etc)
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Mix together 1-2 cups of oats. (Use 3-4 cups if you have a big bathtub)
- Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to oats.
- Blend oats and baking soda in a blender until they blend into a fine powder. We use our Ninja Blender to completely puree the oats + baking soda into a really fine, soft powder.
Step 4 (optional)
- Pour powdered oat + baking soda mix (your new oatmeal bath!) into a porous sachet.
… >> find out more...
- Toss sachet into a warm bath (hot water dries the skin out even more – boo!) and let it dissolve completely in the water. If you don’t want to use a