Travel season has officially begun, and if you're traveling with kids you'll want to make sure you have the perfect bag to carry your whole world. Petunia Pickle Bottom is a diaper bag company that makes high quality bags for moms on the go. They really have thought of everything you need, so every bag comes with tons of pockets and storage for bottles, diapers and wipes. They also include a wipes case and changing pad in their bags.

They recently released a collection of weekender bags that's perfect for traveling. I just took mine up to Flagstaff for the weekend, and I was able to fit all of my clothes and makeup with ease. They also sell a matching train case to store all of your toiletries in style.

I'm excited to tell you that you can win both of these bags, and take them on your next adventure. It's a $230 value! Head over to my Instagram post today, like the post, tag a friend and follow Petunia Pickle Bottom on Instagram. A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, June 24th at 5pm.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer, wallpaper by Hygge and West.

Coffee & Cuddles


Coffee and cuddles rank in my top 10 things I love most in this life, so of course, I love this t-shirt design from Dove Tail Vintage. Simple graphic t-shirts are a huge trend right now in fashion. I love this fad because t-shirts are so comfortable and easy to wear, but I also love them because you get to know a little bit about the person before they ever speak a word.

Maybe I'll get some free coffee and a hug this morning?!...One can only hope!

These t's are super soft, and I adore the wide open neckline. They are designed to be a bit loose, so it works for my growing bump. YAY! Visit their shop today to see their other designs and get FREE SHIPPING when you enter code: avestyles.


If you want your own Coffee and Cuddles t-shirt make sure to enter the giveaway today (Monday, March 30th). To enter:

Follow me on Instagram (@avestyles) Leave a comment on my IG telling me your favorite coffee spot and who you like to get cuddles from.

Follow Dove Tail Vintage on Instagram (@dovetailvintage).


Potty Training Tips & Giveaway


Potty training is one of the most patience-testing tasks I have ever done as a mom. I don't really write about motherhood too often on this blog, but given the amount of poop and pee I have been cleaning up I thought sharing my experience could help some other moms out there. Fashion can wait for the good of motherhood. My daughter is two and a half, and we really wanted to wait until she was "ready." Given that she is our first child, we were reading all of these articles on waiting for her to meet all the checkmarks before trying. But with preschool enrollment starting now and seeing sentences like, "Child MUST be fully potty trained to enroll," definitely put a rush on things.

I read several different resources and talked to a lot of moms. I bought the tiny potty that you have to empty when they tinkle AND I bought a potty seat for the 'big potty.' I downloaded different apps on my iPhone to tell me when to take her to the bathroom, I bought a tarp for her to sit on for the first couples days...All sorts of things...and here is what I really needed:


1. The potty seat. She liked the feeling of being like a grown up and sitting on the "big girl" potty, so we bought a seat from Target. The seat keeps her from falling in, and I just tote it around with us everywhere now so she can go potty. It's a lot easier than bringing a mini potty and putting it in the back of the car. I also bring anti-bacterial wipes to sanitize the seat after use in a public place, as well as sticky notes to cover up the automatic flush sensors. Let's be real, falling in the toilet and automatic flushers scare small children. Keep the potty experience positive!


2. iRulu BabyPad - Once you have a place that your kiddo enjoys sitting, the trick is getting them to stay there long enough to go to the bathroom. Two years olds are busy, but one thing mine always has time for is watching shows or plays games on her tablet. We use an iRulu for Elle because it's a tablet that is just hers. Everything on it is educational and kid friendly. I don't have to worry about her messing up my iPad or using apps that I don't want her on. She likes that she has her own personal device like mommy and daddy, and it's perfect for long stints on the toilet. They are way more affordable than an iPad ($68 vs. hundreds), and can do anything that an android device can do. You can learn more about it here, and check it out on the latest episode of The Balancing Act. And, we're giving one iRulu away to one lucky reader.

iRULU GIVEAWAY: To win an iRulu tablet for your little be sure to do the following two things below:

1| Comment below sharing one of your favorite attribute of your child.

2| Follow me on Instagram and tag two friends that you think would benefit from these tips.

The giveaway is only open for 24 hours, and the winner will be notified via email. The winner will be chosen using

alex-9 (1)web
alex-9 (1)web

3. Pull-Ups - For the first two days we stayed home and kept Elle from wearing any bottoms so she could feel if she had an accident. On the third day she was pretty much pee trained, but we are still working on number two. I tried having her wear underwear, but going out in public made it especially difficult when she would go number 2 in her pants. Let's just say there were many moments of poop on the floor, stepping in it as we tried to get her bottoms off without getting poo on her legs, etc. I was worried that if I put the pull-up back on she would revert to her old ways, but she hasn't. We put a fresh pull up on her every day, and we're no longer using 5-6 diapers in a day. Plus, we're not ruining a ton of underwear. Until we can get her completely number 2 trained pull-ups are where it's at.

3. Wipes - Don't forget the wipes either! You'll still need them from time to time. Sometimes toilet paper just doesn't do the trick when you're really trying to get them clean.


4. Potty Time App - Download Potty Time on your iPhone or on your iRulu. Elle really enjoyed the positive reinforcement of the digital sticker chart. Elle also likes that she could call her friend "Rachel" when she went potty or when she had an accident, and Rachel encouraged her to keep trying. Though it's just a video that's preloaded into the app the kids think it's a real phone conversation. So cute!

5. Fruit Snacks - The reward system really does motivate kids. It did for Elle. In two days time she was pee trained, and I really think fruit snacks did the trick. She will do anything for those tasty treats.


Those are my tips that have worked for us so far. As for #2 we have learned that putting a tiny bit of Miralax in her water helps her stay regular and avoid painful bowel movements for now. It's a journey and every kid is different. Don't feel frustrated if your kiddo isn't potty trained in three days. Just go into the process with an open and positive mind. Celebrate the wins as much as you can too!

*This post is sponsored by iRulu and The Balancing Act.

Photos by Amy Frances Photography

Win a Trip to New York Fashion Week

New York City Fall Fashion Week is the biggest fashion event in the U.S. hands down! So, of course, it is my DREAM to one day be there for all of the shows and rub shoulders with my favorite designers. What if I told you that dream was handed to me on a silver platter - or rather on a silver can of Diet Coke? Well, it was, but baby girl Evjen has decided to make her due date happen at the VERY same time. Don't even get me started on HOW tragic this is to me. I'm holding fast to the truth that my baby girl will be better than any fashion event in my lifetime, but it's not the easiest to swallow. haha.

BUT, just because I can't go that definitely doesn't mean YOU can't. In fact, if your dream is the same as mine you can make it a reality by entering into a contest to win a trip to Fashion Week and an invitation to Glamour Magazine and Diet Coke's Live event where you will be able to rub shoulders with major fashion designers like Zac Posen, Cynthia Rowley, and L’Wren Scott. YEP! No lie! Here are the dets...



Diet Coke has been a huge supporter of the fashion industry, and this year is no exception. To celebrate Diet Coke's new look, they teamed up with The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Target  to launch the Diet Coke Young Designer's Challenge where young designers have a chance to design a graphic that celebrates Diet Coke and have it sold in Target stores. What an awesome opportunity, no? PLUS, they'll have their designs judged by Zac Posen, Cynthia Rowley, and L’Wren Scott. So, they are extending the celebration to YOU by giving you a chance to win a trip to the unveiling of the winning design and obviously that means fashion week.

SO, how do you enter???

1. Using your new found addiction to Pinterest, create a fall style board showcasing FOUR of your favorite fall looks for this coming season. You can check mine out to see an example. With each look you add to your board put the hashtag #takemetoNYC in the details section for each pinned item along with your description.

2. Repin the gorgeous and now permanent new look of the Diet Coke can from Diet Coke's Pinterest board and add it to your fall style board,

3. You have until August 18th to enter the contest via Pinterest. Four winners will be selected to attend the September 5th Glamour/Diet Coke event and flown to NYC for Fashion Week. =)

It's THAT easy! Don't miss your chance to win your DREAM trip! AND, to make sure there are no sore losers, I also have 10, yes TEN, 12 packs of Diet Coke ready to give away to those of you that enter. SO.....create a board and then leave a comment with a link to your board in the comments section of this post OR tweet me a link to your board, @alexevjen. Good luck!

*This post has been sponsored by Diet Coke*

Make Pie Not War Giveaway

Alana Little has picked the coolest name I've ever seen for a jewelry company - Make Pie Not War. SO AWESOME! Her creations are just as creative and memorable. Each necklace, earring and ring is handmade with love by Alana.

Formerly a corporate accountant, Alana quit her day job in 2007 to pursue her passion for jewelry and founded Make Pie Not War. Her risk has paid off, and since her debut she has been featured in Lucky Magazine and, not to mention several other notable publications.

I hope to one day meet Alana in person because she seems so fun and light-hearted. I'm sure you'll love her creations just as much as I do. Each piece is completely unique, and her pricing is really affordable.  AND.....

You can WIN a handmade necklace courtesy of Alana this week!

Alana has selected BLACK Vintage Crystal Goodness to be given away to one lucky blog reader.

The necklace includes a delicate gold chain, with Swarovski crystal rondelles, big black faceted beads and calfskin leather bows. It's a necklace that can be worn with ANYthing (picture below with Alana as the model).

So, how do you enter? You can enter up to two times by...

1. Visit Make Pie Not War's Etsy site and leave a comment in this blog post with your name, city and which Make Pie Not War item is your favorite.

2. Become a fan of Make Pie Not War on Facebook and leave a comment on their wall with this message, "Thank you for the giveaway on AVE Styles' blog!"

The contest starts today, September 14, 2010 at 12:00pm and ends on September 21, 2010 at 12:00pm. The winner will be announced via Twitter and notified via email.

Good luck!