Visiting New England in October!

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I guess I’ll just start off with the truth.

We almost moved to Boston this summer. Or I should say, we almost moved back to Boston this summer. There was a job opportunity that we were seriously considering, and during that time, I was chatting with Everett & Daxton all about New England. Well, we ended up staying put because another (better) job kept Stevie working right here in Georgia, which was a relief because we have so much family here, but after sharing with my boys so much about Boston, I thought we ought to take a trip. And what better time to visit than autumn in New England??

I’m going to break this post up into a few so that I can share about where we ate, what we did, and most importantly (to the boys!) - where we played. Because we played a LOT. I will do a separate follow-up post about traveling with our two boys this time around - please let me know in the comments section if you have specific questions!


Downtown Boston

This shot cracked me up because it was COMPLETELY candid and they all looked so pensive.

This shot cracked me up because it was COMPLETELY candid and they all looked so pensive.

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Color like POW.

Color like POW.

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I love this statue. She’s representing the angels who worship at God’s throne.


Beacon Hill, Massachusetts

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Are you seeing the streets lined with gold? Goshhhh.

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Just casually posing on the quaint cobblestoned alley. LIKE ALL BLOGGERS DO. Sometimes we’re a little bit ridiculous.

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Outfit Details


Loft Top (half off right now!), Madewell Jeans, Banana Republic Scarf (similar), Franco Sarto Flats, RAW Bronzing Studio Tan, (my leather jacket was purchased overseas, similar styles here and here)

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My little sweetheart.

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I never want to forget them like this. Everett is wearing this top and these pants, Dax is wearing this top and these pants.

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Leaf confetti.

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Not the tour we were on but I wanted to get a shot of how the truck goes into the water! So cool!

I think this is our only family photo of the trip but gosh, isn’t Daxton just the sweetest? That child is growing up.

I think this is our only family photo of the trip but gosh, isn’t Daxton just the sweetest? That child is growing up.

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What We Did.
We walked the historical Freedom Trail (if you go without kids, I HIGHLY encourage doing The Freedom Trail Run - it’s a 5k tour of the Freedom Trail and ends with a ferry ride back to where you started! SO efficient and helps you squeeze in a workout while you’re traveling!) We wandered the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, which are two of the most amazing public spaces you will find in Boston (I’ve previously overshared the Public Garden here and here).

We also found several amazing playgrounds, one in Beacon Hill called the Myrtle Street Playground, where we played with the kids for a few hours one perfect morning. The golden leaves kept falling around us like confetti and the air was cool and I just thought, “This is it. A perfect moment that I don’t want to forget.” Whatever those golden trees are, I need to plant one here in Georgia. We also played at the Esplanade, on the Charles Bank Playground along the river, and this was the perfect way for the boys to get out wiggles when they were sitting in the stroller for too long.

We also took a Duck Tour in the afternoon, which Everett was really excited about, because (all you boy mamas, listen in!), the tour truck transforms into a boat and goes into the Charles River. Yes. My boys were losing their minds a little, because at any mention of “transformer”, they are shook.

We took the boys to the Curious George toy store in Harvard Square and let them each pick out a toy. It’s kind of a fun thing we’ve started to do - minimizing the toys we buy at home but letting them choose something to play with when we travel. I think it helps them create a special memory reminder of our trip AND gives them a little something to play with on those long travel days where extra patience (and distraction!) is sometimes needed. Our one rule is that the toy must be small enough to be packable! And by the way, they picked out some of these Green Toys and we are loving them!

Where We Ate.
Call me boring, but we did a lot of Starbucks on this trip. My boys are carb monsters and tear through the muffins and bagels like its their job. I like having a few things I can count on them actually eating, so we did a lot of Starbucks in the AM. My order is a grande Americano and the Bacon, Egg & Gouda breakfast sandwich - it’s so good! We also packed the boys apple sauce pouches, snacks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, which really helped them feel comfortable (because they eat a lot of this at home!) However, Stevie and I didn’t hold back! We loved our juices and smoothies at The Juicery, dinner at our favorite restaurant in Harvard Square called Grafton Street, and a must-have yogurt at Berryline. Yum.

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This trip was such a blast and we did so much on each day! I’ll share in a separate post about hanging out in Charlestown, where we ate the BEST brunch and cannolis, and why we took an impromptu trip to Maine for the day ;)

The Llama Dress.

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Details:

Llama dress (30% off this weekend!), Target flats, Warby Parker "Louise" glasses, Amazon handbag, Stella & Dot Covet letter necklace, hand-made earrings from a shop in Santa Barbara (similar here and here!), Axiology lipstick in "Bonafide"


I kind of flipped when I was browsing after my bronzing appointment and saw this dress hanging on the rack at Raw Bronzing Studio. Most people don't know that Raw carries an incredible collection of unique clothing, chic home goods and boho accessories, and I love shopping there because it feels like an island oasis. This dress was a must-grab, because I think it will be a great fall transitional piece. This is coming from the girl that is trying, oh so trying, to wrap my head around putting together a fall capsule wardrobe. I'll keep you posted if I can get it together ;) If you are local to me, don't forget to use the code OYKRISTEN when you visit Raw at the southside location - you can score 25% off your first full-body organic spray tan! But back to this dress - I am in love. Plus, every time I walk, I feel like the little llamas on the skirt are dancing right along there with me. Bonus points in my book if your clothes dance.

Stevie and I went on a little date night to shop for some antiques and try out a new-to-us Italian restaurant, and he snapped these photos really quickly outside of a cool vintage shop. I have to mention that I love my Warby Parker Louise glasses in the Rosewater shade - I've had them for a few years and miiiight just be ready for another color! If you haven't tried it before, their Home Try On program is so easy and wonderful to use. I might be doing it again this fall because I really love these lenses and LOVE the prices. I've been a glasses wearer since I was in 4th grade, so I've had lots of experience over the years wearing glasses and contacts - this has been my favorite pair ever!

Unfortunately we didn't find any antiques that we agreed on because our styles could not be more different, but I think we came to some good conclusions about the direction we are moving in! I am having so much fun doing some home decor makeovers and I can't wait to share the results with you all super soon!

Happy Labor Day weekend to you! Stay safe friends!

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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!

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 ;)


10 Ways I Prep My Skin for a Spring Glow.

This is post is sponsored by RAW Bronzing Studio. All opinions are my own.

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'Tis the season of events aplenty! Kicking it off with Easter this weekend, the rest of Spring is packed full of weddings, graduations, reunions and, of course, Spring Break! And with these fun soirees comes the need for bathing suits and shorts, dresses and heels! And probably showing more skin than you did in the dead of winter, when you were still convincing yourself that Ugg boots are sort of cute because they are the warmest shoes ever made by man. (Just to be clear, I wear Ugg boots, but I know they aren't really cool anymore.)

I love a good, golden tan as much as the next girl, but as I've gotten older and I've learned that the damage from the sun's powerful UV rays aren't to be ignored or taken lightly. In my family we have particularly sensitive skin, so I try my best to protect it and prepare for this season of warmth and sun exposure. I was thrilled when I learned about RAW Bronzing Studio, a local-to-me organic spray tan that is actually formulated with ingredients that are nourishing for the skin (INGREDIENT LIST HERE). Today I'm partnering with RAW to bring you these 10 tips for how I'm prepping my skin for a healthy glow this spring.

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Sun Care

I don't play chicken with the sun anymore. When I'm heading to the beach or pool, I always carry:

1. Sun glasses - Since my kids tend to find mine and play with them, I usually opt for inexpensive ones. But I love these Quays featured above!

2. A hat - Full coverage is best for me, so I often look a little silly with an enormous hat on the beach, but my family has gotten used to it ;)

3. Lots of natural sunscreen - The sunscreen I really liked last year is Goddess Garden SPF 30 for everyday. This summer I'm looking forward to trying out Coola and Bare Republic, two brands I've read a lot of amazing reviews about.

4. A higher-neckline bathing suit - My chest has broken out in the past few years when it gets too much sun exposure, so I'm always on the hunt for a higher bathing suit neckline (not always the easiest to find!) or a really good cover up.

5. A spray tan - Like I mentioned before, the best way to get a good, even glow without the harsh UV ray damage is by getting a spray tan! This way, when I am at the beach, I don't have to worry about tan lines or taking the time to lay out. The RAW bronze allows me to have a healthy glow without "trying" which helps me to be more present with my family and, you know, build sand castles!

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Skin Care

Taking care of my skin continues to become more important to me with each year. I'm dealing with cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles and sun spots - things I didn't have to worry about 10 years ago! I want to take better care of my skin so that I don't have drastic issues to address 10 years from now. To me, this means practicing some daily good habits, including:

6. Taking collagen - This is a new practice for me, but I am loving adding this collagen to my smoothies and shakes. It supports healthy skin, nails, hair and joints.

7. Exfoliating - Sloughing off the dead skin is a key part of taking care of the gentle skin underneath. I like using this one for my face and I've heard this one is amazing for body! Also featured in the photo below ;)

8. Moisturizing - Nourishing the new growth beneath the surface is probably one of the most important things I can do for my skin. I am currently using and loving this face oil, this body oil and this body butter. And this is my little secret weapon for spot treating areas that need extra attention, like scars or wrinkles.

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Personal Care

9. Drinking lots of water - Sometimes this is really hard to remember to do, but I find that having a fun water bottle like this one helps!

10. Taking my multivitamin - Again, hard to remember to do everyday, but I feel so much better when I'm consistently taking this vitamin pack, which delivers power-packed nutrients to my entire body.

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I hope these tips help you as we head into bathing suit and event season! I am such an advocate for self-care. While I certainly don't have a ton of time to put into endless beauty treatments, I think creating some practices that make you feel put-together and pretty are so important for feeling confident.


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 a crazy good deal and for those of you local to me, I hope you are able to take advantage of it! I recommend adding the "Prep" to your package, because it neutralizes the pH of your skin so that the formula will work better (sometimes the soaps and deodorants we use can throw off the balance in our skin). You can choose between the Original Bronze or the Rapid Bronze - original slowly develops over 8-10 hours, while Rapid develops between 2-4 hours and you can shower between the 3-4 hours mark. FYI Rapid is an awesome option when an unexpected event comes up and you need to look put together fast!

I'm running a giveaway for a few amazing goodies over on my Instagram today - make sure you stop by and take a moment to enter!

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P.S. - Wearing: jumpsuit (from last year, similar here), these flatforms, this necklace, these earrings and this lipstick.