More Autumn Fun in Charlestown, MA & Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

Continuing to share a bit about our New England adventure (part 1 here). This was a long but incredibly spontaneous day. Which I’m learning I really really love and makes me feel alive, making spontaneous travel choices. Don’t get me wrong, I plan a ton for the trips when we travel. But then once we’re finally there, I like to deviate and have lottttts of flexibility within “the plan”. Which makes for a fun day! So on this particularly chilly autumn day, we started off walking around Charlestown, touring the Battle of Bunker Hill and showing Everett the U.S.S. Constitution (he was obsessed!), but things started getting seriously wet and cold… so we had to make a choice. Go back to the hotel and hunker down. Or, you know, drive to Maine and get some lobster rolls. Which one do you think we chose??


Charlestown, Massachusetts

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Outfit Details:

Anthropologie Top, Old Navy Jean Jacket (like 10 years old! Similar here), Nordstrom Jeans, Sebago Boots, Madewell Scarf, Stella & Dot Knot Bracelet


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(And this is just a side note but I found the most amazing natural nail salon in Atlanta where they do fancy polish and nail art - Lark and Sparrow!)


Portsmouth, New Hampshire

We drove up to Kittery, Maine (such a great lighthouse!), and then turned around and found our way into Portsmouth, NH. These towns are right next to each other on the water, and we decided to walk around quaint little Portsmouth and find some dinner. Not too many pictures from this spot because it was drizzly, but we all cozied up in a little cafe and the boys had quesadillas and we had lobster rolls. I know, we are all sorts of culinary excellence ;)

Truth be told, we had to pull out the kindles for this meal, and Stevie didn’t love it. We don’t like to be those parents who shove technology in their kid’s faces all the time, but sometimes if you want to have a nice meal, and you’re all traveling together, and things are getting fussy… yep. Kindles to the rescue!

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And that was our drizzly cold, 40-degree day in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Okay, the Maine part barely counts, but it’s still KIND of fun to count it because it makes us sound like road warriors. Which, in a van with two toddlers demanding “Frozen” songs over and over for hours, we kind of became.

What are your travel go-tos when your children are sort of melting down? I would love to hear!


6 Kids Books We Are Loving Right Now.

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Today I'm sharing a few children's books we've had on rotation lately! I absolutely love reading. You wouldn't know it in my current stage of life, because I feel like I don't have enough time for reading, even though I know it's on me to make more time for it. I've been doing a little better lately - I just finished reading Pride & Prejudice again and man, there's almost nothing better than that story. But I digress.

My mom told me when I was a little girl that she loved reading Nancy Drew books growing up. That really inspired me and I started reading the series, too, and that's what truly made me fall in love with reading. Such classic stories! I know my boys aren't old enough yet for those kinds of books but I truly believe that a love for stories and reading starts at this stage with focus from the parents - taking time to read to them every single night is one of our favorite family routines. I hope that my kids love reading as much as I do - it's helped me form my words and ability to communicate and understand so much of the world. It's helped me fall in love with writing! I hope that they find that same love for literature, as well. Everett is almost 4 years old and Daxton is almost 17 months old, and these are the books we've been reading lately with both of them.

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1. Polar Bear Polar Bear, What do You Hear? - sound book
Daxton loves this book! He cracks me up the way he tries to make the sounds of the animals (he basically makes the same sound over and over and it's so funny). He's at the perfect age for all the Eric Carl books and this one is nice because it's a little larger than this one and this one (which are also so great!), and it also has the fun sound buttons for each animal! Also, this is a great price point for a gift!

2. Little Blue Truck's Springtime
Gosh, we are such fans of this Little Blue Truck Series (the original and Christmas version are so great!), and I was amped when I saw this one in stores. It's actually much less expensive to purchase here. I put this in Daxton's Easter basket this year and I have to say, the illustrations are ah-mazing. Like, so so beautiful. This book makes me happy to read, and Dax loves all the lift-flap options on each page. Less words, more colors, which is really perfect for his stage. Although Everett has been swiping this out of Dax's room and asking me to read it to him the past few nights... so it really makes all of us happy over here!

3. Winne the Pooh: Original Edition
We started reading Everett this series of "chapter books" a few months ago as part of his bedtime routine and he absolutely loves it! He feels so grown up, getting to read a big book, and he helps me fold over the pages when we stop for the night (I know - some of you might think that's a terrible habit, but I've been doing it basically my entire life and old habits die hard. And also, it's kind of fun teaching my son how to read books the way I did when I was young...) These sweet stories about the whole Hundred Acre wood gang are so classic and darling and funny, they are seriously still relevant to today! Except for the one part when Christopher Robin carries around a gun and shoots a balloon out of the sky. That probably wouldn't fly in this day and age of children's literature... but still! Such sweet stories. We are actually re-reading the first book again because Everett loves it so much. We still need to rent the movie, now that we've read the books. This is another set that makes such a beautiful gift - even a baby shower gift! These books are really pretty in person and you almost want to display them.

4. Little Excavator
Oh, boy books! We have exhausted our copies of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, so this book came along with a fresh take on the construction process and Everett loves it! I don't know what it is about boys and big trucks, but it is such a thing.

5. In New York
I've passed on my love for NYC to my sons, and Everett absolutely loves everything about that city! We have a few books about New York, and this one is his absolute favorite. It's not too detailed, but the illustrations are beautiful and we end up stopping a lot because he has so many questions. I should probably do a better job of having books about our own home town city (someone leave me a comment if you have any Atlanta-specific favorite kids books!), but this one is such a crowd pleaser and most nights he asks to read at least a page or two of this beloved read. And of course, this leads to him asking all the time when we are "going back to New York to stay in a hotel".

6. Dragons Love Tacos
Gosh, is there anyone who doesn't love this book? We usually tell this one in a Boston accent (I have no idea why??) and even though we got it years ago, it's seemed to resurface in popularity over the past few weeks in our house and we've been reading it a lot again. It's seriously so funny and the expressions on the characters faces are just priceless. Great for boys or girls! And taco lovers.



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

Our Daily Family Essential Oil Routines.

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Essential Oils have become a big part of our family life over here. Almost two years ago I started using them here and there, and progressively discovered different ways I could incorporate them more and more. What began with purchasing a simple starter kit (to have on-hand for my labor and delivery with Daxton!) has grown into a full-blown lifestyle for our family and I am so grateful! I love having so many safe alternatives for allergies, viruses, anxiety, rest management, energy support, immune defense and more!

I've shared about oils here and there but I wanted to give you a specific outline of how and why my family uses essential oils throughout the day to support our health and wellness.

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Morning:

1. Diffuse in the AM!
I diffuse something every morning once I get my kiddos downstairs and begin our breakfast routine. I like to diffuse something bright and cheerful, like an energizing blend of citrus oils (Elevation and Citrus Bliss are some of my favorites!) Because of pollen season, I've been diffusing a equal blend of Peppermint, Lavender and Lemon (this trio is available here!) a lot lately. I have also been loving DoTERRA's Yoga Collection, which is composed of 3 killer good oils called Arise, Align & Anchor and these three are all so grand and make me feel super happy for the day.

2. Drink Up!
I also take this opportunity to add 1-2 drops of a citrus oil to my first glass of water in the morning. Why? Drinking water with citrus helps detoxify the body, ridding it of chemicals and helping to balance the pH levels. Lately I've been on a kick with Grapefruit oil, but I also love Lemon & Tangerine oils. They're all good!

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Afternoon:

3. Work Groove!
Once 2pm rolls around and my kids are down for their naps, I get busy! Haha, not that I wasn't busy with them before hand... ;) Believe me, there are days where I need to take a nap, because motherhood is exhausting  - and when I feel that I need it I take the time to rest! But most of the time, I use this block of time in the afternoon to get work done (like this blog post!), and I usually need a pick-me-up. At this point in the day, I usually brew up a mug of hot tea (lately I've been adding this Beauty Dust into it) and I roll on my go-to "get stuff done!" oil - Motivate! I love rolling this on my pulse points (wherever you would apply perfume), but I also have a diffuser necklace that has this oil in it, as well. That way I can smell it whenever I want! This oil just gives me the amplification I need to get my work groove on before I have to switch gears again into Mom-so-hard ;)

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4. Laundry Flip!
Usually right before my boys wake up from their nap, I try to flip a load of laundry. That's gotta get done at some point, right?!I learned a few years ago about how toxic dryer sheets are (I'm talking about the potential cause of migraines, asthma, allergies, rashes - the list goes on and on!) because of the chemicals in them. It's not a myth, simply google "are dryer sheets toxic" to find a slew of research on the subject. Gross! I prefer not to serve my children a chemical cocktail every time I bring their folded laundry into their bedrooms. So I use wool dryer balls instead (found on Amazon!), which are less expensive and a completely toxic-free way to fluff laundry. I like to add a few drops of my Lemon essential oil to my dryer balls so that my laundry has a fresh, clean scent.

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Nighttime:

5. Boys' Bedtime!
I like to use my essential oils to help my kids wind down at night and help get to sleep and stay asleep (can I get an amen, mamas?) I do this first by adding a drop of Lavender essential oil into their nighttime bath. This helps them calm down and get into a restful mode - more cuddly and sleepy and less, you know, about wrestling.

Next I make sure to diffuse Serenity in their bedrooms, which is a beautiful blend that has so many delicious sleepy-restful oils in it! I have little diffusers in all our bedrooms so we can all get the benefit of nighttime diffusion. I got several of these on Amazon and they have held up pretty darn well (plus, this diffuser has a color-changing nightlight, so it's a big hit with the boys!) I have noticed a marked difference when I diffuse this in my boys' rooms - they fall asleep easily and don't wake up. If you're a mom, I'm sure you've experienced your toddler coming out of their bedroom 10+ times a night "needing" water, "needing" to go to the potty, "needing" to snuggle (when they actually just want to see what you're watching on Netflix - or is this only my child??) When I remember to diffuse Serenity, this doesn't happen!

During story time we also roll something on their feet - usually a diluted rollerball of OnGuard or Serenity. OnGuard is an amazing immune-defense blend, so if it's flu season or if they simply have a runny nose, I like to roll this on the bottoms of their feet to prevent any sickness. Why the bottoms of the feet? The pores on the bottom of the feet are larger and allow for easy absorption of the oil into the system. Plus, when I put socks on their feet afterwards, I don't have to worry about them getting oil all over their hands (or bed!) I've made up some custom blends for my boys to address teething, flu and fevers - I shared about that here ;)
 

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Beware of ticklish toes! Everett howls with laughter so I usually try to distract Dax with a book while I put on his teething oil :) BTW these pics are blurry because this is real life - lighting in the evenings is not ideal! But I wanted to let you guys have a real-life picture of how this oil routine goes ;)

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6. Lights Out!
After the boys are in bed and Stevie and I have had dinner and relaxed a bit, it's time for lights out! I love to get something going in the diffuser while I'm getting ready for bed, so that when I actually settle in, the oil has had a few minutes to diffuse and fill the room with a comforting scent. My absolute favorites are Serenity, Forgive and Breathe. These oils smell SO good and are super relaxing. If I am super sleepy and really need to get some serious rest, I will pop a few of the Serenity supplements, which are a natural rest complex and let me just say - THEY WORK. You wake up feeling super rested and satisfied with your sleep!

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P.S. - I've been re-reading Pride & Prejudice as my pre-bedtime book and I miiiiiiiight have made a specific rollerball blend inspired by the book. It may or may not be called "Most Ardently" and it may or may not be so freaking good, you guys. Not to brag or anything but I like to think of it as the essence of Elizabeth Bennett. Okay, bookworm moment over.


Giveaway!

Let's have a giveaway, shall we? Gosh I love giving away presents to you people.

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Since I love you guys and such, I wanted to give you a chance to try out my laundry routine by gifting you a set of 6 wool dryer balls and a 15 ml bottle of DoTERRA Lemon essential oil! Hop on over to my Instagram to enter :)


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Do you have any questions about this daily routine with essential oils? Let me know in the comments how you use your oils or if you are willing to try something you read about here!


Ready for More?

Don't have any essential oils in your life and you're ready to give them a try? I can hook you up for 25% off the retail price! Send me an email at oykristen(at)gmail(dot)com OR click "Hook me up!" and follow these 3 easy steps:

1. Click the link below.
2. Select "Join & Save" for 25% off anytime with your wholesale membership.
3. Select Your Kit! I recommend the "Home Essentials" or "Family Essentials", because those have a lot of the oils I mentioned in this post ;)