Linen & Dahlias on the Beach.

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Details:

Gal Meets Glam Abigail Dress (also available here), Soludos Wedges, Stella & Dot Cuff, Wrap Bracelet & Letter Necklace, Raw Bronzing Studio Tan


This day is even more vivid in my memory than these photos can capture. The water was euphoric, the joy in my heart was vibrant, and I was wearing the prettiest happiest dress. We were playing frisbee on the beach of the Pacific Ocean, just the two of us, laughing and joking together like we were still 18. After all these years together, no one can really infuriate me or endear me more than him.

Our time in Santa Barbara was meant for celebrating the wedding of our friends, but we also treated it as a really good excuse to toast our own 11-year wedding anniversary. I remember this day because I felt a tangible sense of bliss and elation and it was finally, a sigh of relief.

To be honest, these emotions were a pretty stark contrast compared to how I've been feeling for most of the summer. It's been a season of unforeseen circumstances and Stevie and I have clung to each other as we have been grappling with how to be adults through it all.

Sometimes the blog and Instagram world can look like a whirlwind of fun and endless joy, when the truth is that everyone has things they're going through and dealing with. This summer has been especially rife with emotion and decision making in our little family, and I have carried the weightiness around with me (that instead of a diaper bag, which I keep forgetting to bring with me lately). We live with the very real feeling that everything we do affects not only ourselves, but our two precious little boys, and this summer especially we have been examining how we are living and how it impacts our kids, for the good and the bad.

This trip was a refreshing break from all that emotion. I don't share this with you because I have everything figured out and I can tie a pretty bow around it. There is nothing really to share. No big conclusions or life changes or evidence of anything new (except that I cut my hair - like an inch). I feel like change happens first on the inside, and I can feel a shift coming even though my life might not reflect any tangible difference yet. Does anyone know what I mean? Perhaps I am just rambling, but I feel like I haven't really disclosed all of these feelings here on the blog because I haven't known how to put words to it yet. And also because there isn't anything to share! Except that I might be even more sensitive and emotional and contemplative now that I'm 30 and maybe I should just chill a minute. But that Pacific Ocean did me some real good and I am grateful that we got time to play on this beach, just the two of us, and revel in the beauty of the Earth. Just up the beach from us was a 150 year old fig tree and one of the figs fell square on Stevie's head as we walked beneath it - we both took it as a good sign.

P.S. - What we did in Santa Barbara for the weekend ;)



What we did in Santa Barbara for the weekend!

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Oh my GOSH Santa Barbara is some kind of dream. I am so excited to share this post with you because I have been living on the memories from this beautiful trip since we returned. I hope this post is helpful if you are planning a trip out West! We were so stoked to visit this place that we had heard about for so long but failed to visit when we lived in California. On this trip, we were busy seeing friends, exploring this incredible stretch of California and eating & drinking a lotttttttt of good stuff :)

We flew into LA and headed up to Santa Barbara for the weekend, to attend our friends' wedding and also to celebrate our own 11-year anniversary. We explored the town but I wish we could have had even more time there - Santa Barbara is an absolutely decadent, luscious and exotic place. From the hand-painted Spanish tiles trimming the cobblestone streets to the volkswagon-sized succulents growing wild, I was on inspiration overload. So much intricate beauty and divine details spilling out of each vignette.

We stayed at the Santa Barbara Hilton Beachfront and had an awesome experience. The beach was steps away and the pool and gym were used by us on more than 1 occasion. As were the chips and guacamole that was available at the pool. And the breakfast was so good too! We kind of regret not going out to eat more in town, but the food at the hotel was outstanding and we were tired people so...

Things we LOVED that were recommended by locals:
- Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez Valley - One of my favorite memories! (separate post coming on this!)
- Coffee at Handlebar Roasters - we visited 3 times!
- Santa Barbara Historical Museum - it was honestly so stunning.
- Funk Zone (wine tasting rooms and art galleries) - My favorite was The Valley Project! The Sauvignon Blanc & Grenache were my favorites!

Restaurants Recommended that we didn't get a chance to visit!
- Barbareno
- Bouchon
- Lily's Taqueria
- Ice Cream at McConnells

We also ate at some food trucks (the names which I can't remember any more - #blogfail), but even though I could keep talking I figure I should just show you around so you can FEEL ME here. Santa Barbara was truly more than I could have imagined.

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We drank coffee at  Handlebar  everyday (perhaps multiple times...) and I was so excited to try oat milk in my cortado!! I know you're probably thinking that is the most California sounding order  ever , but it was seriously SO GOOD you guys. I've got to find a place to buy oat milk to have with my coffee at home! Also the scones were delish.

We drank coffee at Handlebar everyday (perhaps multiple times...) and I was so excited to try oat milk in my cortado!! I know you're probably thinking that is the most California sounding order ever, but it was seriously SO GOOD you guys. I've got to find a place to buy oat milk to have with my coffee at home! Also the scones were delish.

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There was some amazing shopping in this town, and Stevie is lucky that we were too busy juggling the wedding events, wine tasting and driving the coast in our rental convertible to take time to shop. I did manage to pick up an amazing pair of earrings in one of the boutiques in the Funk Zone which was my only souvenir of the trip!

There was some amazing shopping in this town, and Stevie is lucky that we were too busy juggling the wedding events, wine tasting and driving the coast in our rental convertible to take time to shop. I did manage to pick up an amazing pair of earrings in one of the boutiques in the Funk Zone which was my only souvenir of the trip!

A big wooden fancy carved door. I walked through it ;)

A big wooden fancy carved door. I walked through it ;)

Our rental!!! Since we drive extremely normal cars in real life, we were freaking out like school girls when we got our rental upgraded to this baby. I named her Crystal and she was the best. Also now I'm spoiled and I dream of luxury vehicles for my future life.

Our rental!!! Since we drive extremely normal cars in real life, we were freaking out like school girls when we got our rental upgraded to this baby. I named her Crystal and she was the best. Also now I'm spoiled and I dream of luxury vehicles for my future life.

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My feet are NOT this tan in real life. Thanks to my trusty gals at  Raw Bronzing Studio , I was feeling like my best self with this sun-kissed glow. Without actually having to bake in the sun ;)

My feet are NOT this tan in real life. Thanks to my trusty gals at Raw Bronzing Studio, I was feeling like my best self with this sun-kissed glow. Without actually having to bake in the sun ;)



Do you see what I mean about inspiration overload? Like, what do I look at first in this photo?! The trees, the colors, the lines, the sunlight - it's all so good and soulful and brilliant!!!

Do you see what I mean about inspiration overload? Like, what do I look at first in this photo?! The trees, the colors, the lines, the sunlight - it's all so good and soulful and brilliant!!!

Wedding guest style! I loved wearing  this gown  from  Rent the Runway  for our dear friends' wedding - I've really enjoyed using RTR this summer to find beautiful dresses for some special events like this one without actually having to buy formal attire. You can get  20% off your first time  if you try it out with code FIRST.

Wedding guest style! I loved wearing this gown from Rent the Runway for our dear friends' wedding - I've really enjoyed using RTR this summer to find beautiful dresses for some special events like this one without actually having to buy formal attire. You can get 20% off your first time if you try it out with code FIRST.



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The succulents grew like weeds. Like the most beautiful, stylish, Instagram-approved weeds.

The succulents grew like weeds. Like the most beautiful, stylish, Instagram-approved weeds.

These are stairs that I seriously wanted to take home with me. I am obsessed with spanish tile and although this style would majorly clash with my green bungalow-style home, I just know that somewhere in Heaven there is a home for me and it is, in fact, spanish architecture style and it has these stairs (I might have hugged them after this photo was taken.)

These are stairs that I seriously wanted to take home with me. I am obsessed with spanish tile and although this style would majorly clash with my green bungalow-style home, I just know that somewhere in Heaven there is a home for me and it is, in fact, spanish architecture style and it has these stairs (I might have hugged them after this photo was taken.)

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Like I said - the beach was calling and I had to GO.

Like I said - the beach was calling and I had to GO.

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This is a photo of me being pose-y because 1. I liked my dress, 2. I liked the plants and 3. We were without children so taking photos without coaxing them with snacks was a vaycay in itself. Although Stevie needed a lot of snacks on this trip so ??

This is a photo of me being pose-y because 1. I liked my dress, 2. I liked the plants and 3. We were without children so taking photos without coaxing them with snacks was a vaycay in itself. Although Stevie needed a lot of snacks on this trip so ??


Dress - 50% off with code SISTERS / Bag / Earrings - similar / Necklace


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I mean, this photo is stupid pretty. Can you see the boats in the distance? I can't handle this view. Like, I want to take everyone I know and love back to SB just for this view. The Earth is so beautiful I could cry.

I mean, this photo is stupid pretty. Can you see the boats in the distance? I can't handle this view. Like, I want to take everyone I know and love back to SB just for this view. The Earth is so beautiful I could cry.

We loved our time in this town and we really want to take another trip back! I think my boys would absolutely go nuts for the little park in downtown Santa Barbara we found. And also, I need more oat milk cortados because Georgia hasn't caught on yet. May the trip planning commence!


P.S. - Later this week I'm sharing some beachy dress photos and a review on some wineries in Santa Ynez Valley!

A Morning Stroll in the Boston Public Garden.

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We spent the weekend in Boston two weeks ago for Stevie's 5-year class reunion at HBS, and man, was it wonderful being back in Beantown. Living in Cambridge was a really special session in our chapter book, with memories that we often re-visit when we are telling stories, and I honestly can't believe that it's been 5 years since we moved. Until I remember that there are two children in my life now that weren't around back in our cold-weather Boston days. #wakeupcall

It was a whirlwind weekend being back on that immaculate campus seeing friends, and we both kept remarking to each other how normal it felt to be back, and how it felt like absolutely no time had passed. We were back to our old stomping grounds, having dinner with classmates, attending lectures and talking about dreams for the future. Truthfully, it felt like NO TIME HAD PASSED. Isn't that so strange?! A few pics below of our weekend.

This view of the Charles River never gets old.

This view of the Charles River never gets old.

The dogwoods were in full bloom and were more perfect than I've ever seen before anywhere!

The dogwoods were in full bloom and were more perfect than I've ever seen before anywhere!

We were frolicking around without kids and it was WILD. Like, I wasn't holding 5 sippy cups and snacks in my bag. I was holding  lipstick.  What is this life.

We were frolicking around without kids and it was WILD. Like, I wasn't holding 5 sippy cups and snacks in my bag. I was holding lipstick. What is this life.

The rhododendrons were in full bloom, too! Mental note - I need to plant some of these in my yard.

The rhododendrons were in full bloom, too! Mental note - I need to plant some of these in my yard.

I used Rent the Runway for a few of the reunion events and was pleasantly surprised! Will definitely be using that service again soon!

I used Rent the Runway for a few of the reunion events and was pleasantly surprised! Will definitely be using that service again soon!

Our view from up high. It was 55 degrees one morning when we woke up! with it being 90+ back in Atlanta, I wasn't mad about wearing a few layers.

Our view from up high. It was 55 degrees one morning when we woke up! with it being 90+ back in Atlanta, I wasn't mad about wearing a few layers.

The block made me think for a mere moment that we were in London ;)

The block made me think for a mere moment that we were in London ;)

Had to.

Had to.

Some of our BFFs from our time in Boston! It was the best to catch up.

Some of our BFFs from our time in Boston! It was the best to catch up.

On the final morning, Stevie and I had a bit of time before our flight so we trekked from our Copley Square hotel to THE cutest little coffee shop Thinking Cup, where we grabbed some to-go breakfast sandwiches and coffee and headed to the loveliest of Boston's parks, The Boston Common.

America's oldest park featuring trees planted from all over the world (an homage to the immigrant nation that we are), this park is very dear to my heart and always the perfect place to stroll, especially in good weather. The manicuring, the flowers, and the swans - its truly the perfect romantic setting for a movie. Mental note - pitch this location for a movie.

Anyway, we strolled. Whilst chomping down some breakfast sandwiches and taking photos of ducks for the boys (because, Make Way for Ducklings). And we took way too much time doing all this slow wandering and ended up having to haul it to make our flight on time. Which we did! But it was a little close.

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Since we actually had time to talk without being interrupted on this particular morning, we spent our time in the Garden dreaming about the future. I don't know if anyone else does this, but when I travel I often find myself dreaming about what life would be like to live in that particular location. I wonder about where the good schools are, what people do with their kids for fun on the weekends, where the local cool places are to eat. In cities like this I wonder how people get around (train everywhere? Walk everywhere? Or still need a car?), how they function with 8 months of winter (yikes, bowl a lot??), and how different the life must be from my Atlanta suburb. Since we actually lived here years ago, the dreaming this time around got really specific, and Stevie and I couldn't help but talk about what it would be like to move back to Boston for a few years. There is just something so characteristic about New England, it will always take up some special space in our hearts.

But before we knew it, we were buckling our seat belts while we listened to the Delta safety information, and we were SO glad to be reunited with our boys just a few short hours after this morning in the Garden.

p.s. - that time I was gigantically pregnant in the Boston Public Garden.

Like Mother, Like Daughter.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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Last year for Mother's Day, my mom treated me to a sunless tanning experience - a bronzing session at RAW Bronzing Studio. I had never had a spray tan before and I remember thinking this was a funny new activity for us to do as mother/daughter. Afterwards we went to lunch and she was doing her mom thing, asking me lots of questions about my life, and then she leaned over and looked me seriously in the eye. I wasn't sure what she was about to say, but I prepared myself to enter into a deep conversation about whatever it was she was about to propose. I caught a twinkle in her eye as she said to me, "Don't you love it? Your tan?" I breathed a sigh of relief - my mother! She's a hard one to peg, with all her simultaneous humor and depth. And I had to admit, I did love it. The bronze tone of the tan looked so natural and pretty, but my favorite part was that I had no tan lines. No tan lines, you guys! #dreamtan

My mom is the reason why I've started paying extra special attention to taking care of my skin. Over the past few years, she has had some basal cell carcinoma spots removed, so it's made me super aware of how seriously important it is to take care of my own skin. She's always saying that it was because she wasn't taking care of her skin when she was younger, so I want to heed her advice and take better care of the skin I have!

I'm pretty wretchedly terrible at washing my face at night (I know, it's so immature not to do this but I'm just always so tired), but I am trying to be more aware of how much sun exposure I am getting throughout the day. Especially as the weather is heating up and I'm outside more and more with my kiddos. I'm used to enjoyably baking in the sun, because I have olive skin and I don't burn as easily as some. However, that's almost all the more dangerous - I don't always feel the damage happening! But I'm getting better about being aware and taking preventative measures. I shared here about how I have been prepping my skin for the spring/summer season and I've been pretty consistent about that protocol.

My mom and I were at the beach together last weekend, and we had both gotten a bronze at RAW two days prior. I was like, DUH - mother daughter beach photos for the win! Thanks to my sister Rachel, who snapped these for us. I wanted to share with you all how real the sunless tan looks - my mom and I have very different skin tones and it still looks so natural on both of us! She has a lot of pink undertones in her skin while I favor my Dad's side more, with all those good yellow undertones. Note the sarcasm. Yellow = sallow.

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Now I'm not going to go mega-cheesy here, but I do want to say that I am immensely grateful that my mom is here with me, continuing to share her life's experiences. I don't take it for granted, because my mom lost her own mother at 19, and wasn't able to ask her questions and have the kind of relationship that I'm able to have. I am still learning so much from my mom - from skincare to how to navigate friendships and motherhood and taking care of my body and mind and heart - she is a wealth of wisdom and I am so thankful that she is here with me. Leaning in. Asking me hard questions and helping me answer them in my own way. With Mothers' Day approaching, I just wanted to share this little tribute to my mom. She's amazing. And she's funny. Never underestimate a woman with a good sense of humor.

All that to say - take care of your skin, you guys! Because my mom says so.


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Discount & Giveaway!

RAW Bronzing Studio is located throughout the metro Atlanta, Georgia area, and the studio local to me (location here) is generously offering my readers 25% off the price of a full-body bronzing service at the RAW South location with the code OYKRISTEN. This is an awesome deal for those of you local to me, and with all this warm weather approaching I hope you are able to take advantage of it!

Over on Instagram, I am giving away an awesome gift package to one lucky local, including 4 full-service bronzing sessions ($162 value!) - make sure to check it out, enter and tag your local friends! xx

P.S. - I'm wearing an old Victoria's Secret suit (remember their bathing suit line? RIP, similar here), these high waisted shorts and this leather wrap bracelet. The bandana is my sister's a my mom's outfit details are lost on me - although if you were really curious I could probably figure them out for you ;)


Butterflies, Birds & Biking at Callaway Gardens!

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Funny story. The last time we were at Callaway Gardens, I had to keep pulling my bike over on the side of the paths because I was so nauseous. Yep - super PREGNANT. And that night I went home to take a test because whoa, the biking was so rough. And jostle-y. So this season, when we decided to bike around the gardens, it was really lovely to be able to enjoy the ride with a baby on the outside of my body ;)

Callaway Gardens is especially known for it's spectacular variety and display of azaleas in the springtime. Stevie grew up going there on Spring Break with his parents and siblings, so he always has incredibly rich memories when we visit. You know how you just want all the good things that you had as a child, for your own kids? I really see that side of him come out when we visit Callaway. And of course, the gardens are different these days, the restaurants are different, but he gets this warm sparkle in his eye when he sees the boys running around at Callaway, and it really is the sweetest thing.

This time around we went to the BIRD SHOW! The Birds of Prey show is so rad - the owls flock out of their cages and they fly around and eat snacks in the air and it's pretty much the best. Any fellow bird lovers out there? Let me just be clear - I love birds in the wild. Birds for house pets are a no no. But owls  - yes! It was bomb. And if you haven't visited the Butterfly Center you really should. Haha this post is so not sponsored but I can see why it might seem to be. We are just a Callaway family! If you're interested in biking, birds and butterflies (and obviously - the flowers!) it's a gorgeous time of year to visit! xx