Family Summer Trip to NYC!

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I can’t go too many months before I get the itch to get back to New York. Stevie is up there almost weekly for work so we talk a lot about NYC as a family - we have a bunch of great books (this one and this one are our faves), and it helps the boys understand where he spends time when he’s working. It also has helped us create a fun bucket list of places to visit and explore! Which is just what we did as a family a few weeks ago. We loved taking the boys up there for a few fun days in the city and I just I love sharing with them all the things I appreciate so darn much about that wondrous place. In case some of you are planning a trip or curious about what to explore with your kiddos, I wanted to share!

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A quick note: If you think traveling with kids in NYC is absolutely terrifying and insane - I promise you it’s neither. Like anything else with kids, it just requires some planning before the trip and some grace & flexibility during the trip. Believe me, our travel times aren’t without challenges and moments of frustration. But I truly love traveling with these boys - we have so much fun together and make such sweet memories as a family! It’s definitely worth the work and the sometimes frustrating moments that are inevitable. Definitely let me know if you have questions. Okay, on to the pictures and recs!

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Central Park and Washington Square Park were our jam this time around. We were in Central Park every single day - I don’t know how people live in the city without getting into some green space every day #suburbanthoughts. It’s so grounding and green and SO BEAUTIFUL. The trees are magnificently old and feel like they have endless stories to tell. I just love it. We also love Bryant and Riverside Parks but didn’t spend any time in those on this particular trip.

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Things to do in Central Park with kids:

  • bring a frisbee and run/play freely on Sheep’s Meadow

  • explore the 10+ playgrounds (some with splashpads - if you’re visiting in summer, bring a towel!) Our faves are the Diana Ross Playground (westside), the James Michael Levin Playground (eastside) and the Heckscher Playground (just north of Central Park South).

  • see a show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Puppet Theater (seriously, these shows are SO incredible!) Puppetry feels like a lost art (kind of like tap dance?) and I love that this form of puppetry is still celebrated here.

  • grab lunch at Shake Shack at 77th & Columbus Ave. and walk your lunch into the park. We like to eat on the big rocks that overlook the lake :) Yum I want another Shackburger right now…

  • walk from the Bethesda Fountain down through the mall (a gorgeous tree-lined pathway)

  • play on the Alice and Wonderland statue on the eastside of the park at 75th street. It’s really fun for the kids to climb and it overlooks a pretty little pond and it’s just such a peaceful reprieve.

    We didn’t get to sail boats or do a horse carriage ride yet (two requests that we couldn’t make happen this time!), but those are still on our list!

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A tower of blondes.

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I wear my Blanqi supportwear every day - if you’re pregnant, you have to check them out! Made walking around the city so much more bearable, especially since I tend to carry big, heavy babies. My favorites are the maternity tanks - an absolute must for any pregnancy! I wear one everyday, either by itself or with layers.

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Juice Generation!! It’s become a family fave.

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^ The BOB Double Stroller that has endured a lot of abuse over the years traveling with us - it’s still rocking!!

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We took the boys to get cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery in SOHO! It was so much fun sharing a sweet treat there. I honestly have no idea how we were able to snag some because when we used to live here, the line was LONG and they would sell out first thing in the morning. But they were SO GOOD. I can’t remember what the flavor was - they change it monthly but whatever it was, it was GOOD. We also really like the DKA and Everett chose some kind of Nutella bread and he chose well. Haha I’m so proud.

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New buildings going up all the time!

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We explored two museums on this trip - first, the American Museum of Natural History (Daxton is REALLY into dinosaurs right now), which we have spent a lot of time in on multiple trips. They really loved it this time and the dinosaurs wowed them more than ever. Haha I love this age. And we also visited The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which was awesome! It literally has a space shuttle on the ship. Like, in every direction, this is a dream museum for boys.

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I forgot to mention that we found an EXCELLENT pizza place that is completely kid/family-friendly called Patsys Pizzeria - if you are looking for something on the upper west side, you will not be disappointed! I can still taste the goodness.

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“Cleaning fossils” at the American Museum of Natural History. They were cracking us up. We found the Discovery Room this time around and it is honestly such a perfect place for kids to get hands-on! So often, museums can be a bit boring because they can’t actually touch anything, but this is a dedicated space that is for kids to use their hands and discover! They dusted away at fossils (pretend ones), used those fossils to build the structure of a dinosaur, pet little live critters (I’ll admit I was grossed out), used a telescope and microscope, you name it! It was really fun to see their minds at work in a new way. I HIGHLY recommend visiting this room if you come to the museum.

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We got mildly addicted to Juice Generation a few years ago and now we basically go as much as possible whenever we’re in the city. “Get Ur Green On” is my favorite juice!

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The Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park! We had never been there before but they LOVED climbing it! It looks out over a beautiful pond - would be a great spot to bring a book and read for a bit. That wasn’t really the case for me, but if you were alone it would be splendid.

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Everett really wanted to visit “Town Square” (Times Square), and we didn’t have the heart to correct him because it was SO CUTE. So off to Town Square we went. Haha for like 10 minutes. Then we left again because oh, it’s so bright. It’s one of those places that you HAVE to go to see a show, but otherwise you don’t really want to be in that mess of lights and sounds.

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^ My dream is to one day see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular here!

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To make things easy, we usually stay at a hotel close to Central Park. Our favorites are The Warwick (where we stayed this time around) but if that one is sold out or if the prices are crazy, we like The Hilton NYC Midtown, which is located just across the street. Honestly, it’s just nice being able to walk the kids into the park everyday, so this location works well for us. Also there’s a Starbucks on the way from our hotel into the park #priorities. But there are SO many trendy, cool hotels everywhere - I’m always filling my bucket list with new ideas!

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There you have it! We had such an amazing trip. I loved watching the boys light up at so many new experiences this time around. They have been so much littler in the past when we’ve taken them to NYC that I have just made all the decisions about where we eat and what we do, but this time around they had opinions! They wanted to walk more, which I’ll be honest, terrified me at times, especially when we were close to lots of street traffic. But just like anything else, it took a little practice and learning and we were all finding our rhythm as a family exploring the city. And all their suggestions and ideas were so much fun to make happen. Except when Everett insisted we ride the subway and I watched Daxton basically lick one of the subway poles while we were riding. I felt like I was in slow motion yelling, “NOOOOOO”, but thankfully, somehow, he didn’t get sick after that. Ahhhh I don’t even want to think about it.

We had so much fun! I also put together a little IGTV episode about our trip, you can see it here. Do you have questions? Have you ever taken your kiddos on a city trip? Did you/they like it? Would love to hear from you!

40 Hours in Nashville.

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Girls weekend in Nashville! My friend Savannah and I trekked up to the center of the Bible belt to celebrate my friend Holly’s birthday, and I have to tell you - I was seriously looking forward to this weekend. Something about planning ahead and being able to look forward to a super fun girls-only trip, well, I don’t know about you but that always seems to motivate me. Need to clean the house? Just think about Nashville. Need to finish mailing a zillion DoTERRA packages? Think about Nashville! My kids are going nuts, there’s no food in the house, dinner has to be cooked by someone, I need to wake up early to exercise… think of Nashville! Having this trip on the horizon really kept me motivated, and it lived up to all the expectations!

I haven’t ever really “done” Nashville, even though its not all that far from Atlanta. We went to a wedding there a few years ago, and it was a total blast, but we were in and out of that city within like 24 hours because Everett was a baby and all that good stuff. So this time around Holly took us around to all her favorite spots, and even though it was a fast trip, we managed to do SO much (its amazing how much you can do when you only have to feed yourself and tie your own shoes).

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This little spot called Cafe Roze was kind of like, the most perfect little cafe in all the land. I mean, when you have a choice between a rose cardamom latte, an orange blossom latte, and a black sesame latte, how do you actually choose?!

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Cured is a nail salon that does a lot of extra special glittery, foiled, holographic & iridescent wonders to fingers and goodness gracious, I am still going gaga over my nails. We all went with the foiled technique and it was a GOOD CHOICE.

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I have this thing for floors. Said every basic girl, basically ever.

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Frothy Monkey, Frothy Monkey! Because one hot beverage per day just really isn’t enough. Although I really need someone to teach me how to man up and enjoy a matcha. I just can’t, you guys.

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Also, we did a crazy good dinner at Milk & Honey and I am still dreaming of that porky fried rice. Also, the burrata and fig on sourdough toast situation was exactly what the doctor ordered. Still kind of dreaming on that one, too.

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I got a little carried away in Lemon Laine, which is this wondrous natural beauty and wellness shop where we all got to geek out. You all know how much I love me some green beauty products! Lemon Laine had an ample smattering of skincare products specifically, and I was able to sample so many clean products that I’ve only ever seen online. It was really fun to try out so many things while we were in-store! I purchased a few fun things to try out so I will report back with thoughts! The green beauty trials live on!

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Then we got gussied up and went out to celebrate the woman of the hour. There was dynamite food (I forget the restaurant!), a really fun crew and mayyyyybe even some dancing. I basically didn’t sleep but it was worth every moment of exhaustion for all the laughter!

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I’m so grateful for these friendships in my life. I just have to say, becoming a mom can be really all-consuming, and I honestly have felt like in the years since becoming a mother that my focus hasn’t really been on my friendships. I’ve been figuring out family, figuring out who I am all over again, and figuring out how to run a business while staying home with my kids. I have relationally really leaned into my family over the past several years and I am so grateful that I have had my sisters and parents who’ve been so supportive.

But there is truly nothing like having girlfriends! At the beginning of 2018 I made a promise to myself to take more intentional time for my friendships, and you guys, it’s been like the best 2 months ever! I have had so many lovely coffee dates and connect times with some beautiful women who inspire and uplift me, and I am so grateful! This trip was one of those experiences that left me feeling so full of love and admiration for life!

I just want you to know, if you’re in a season where you feel like your current situation is all-consuming and you can’t possibly add anything else to your list - I get it. I really really do! Be good to yourself and don’t stress about it. My biggest piece of advice would be, when you feel a little space in your mind open up (because I truly feel like you need space in your mind, not your calendar!) - carve out the tiniest bit of time to lean into 1 friendship at time and see how you do. There is truly nothing like the “iron sharpens iron” that comes from friendships with people who love you, know you and want the best for you.

Like me and Nashville. We just met but we’re already besties and I think it’s already time that I make a second voyage ;)

P.S. - I made a little Nashville travel diary over on my IGTV if you want to see more video clips of these spots! xx

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!


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 ;)

Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez Valley.

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Details:

Urban Outfitters tank (past season, similar here), Loft skirt (on sale!), Fabrik bralette, Anthropologie earrings (past season, similar here), Stella & Dot wrap bracelet, Keani Manta cuff, Target flats, Free People clutch (past season, similar here), Raw Bronzing Studio organic spray tan


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Wine tasting in California is a thing. A beautiful, hot, wonderful thing, and I am so glad that I got to do *all the things* while Stevie and I were in Santa Barbara last month.

This stretch of CA is a bit drier than the Napa/Sonoma area, so the wines produced in this region are a bit more unique and rare. We had so much fun driving north from Santa Barbara (only about 45 minutes) to explore the Santa Ynez Valley, which has become must-visit wine country over the past 20 years. The town of Santa Ynez is like a chic old Western village, dotted with some of the most incredibly vibrant foliage I've ever seen. It really amazed us, since California has been in a severe drought and fighting wild fires all summer long. I am so struck by how plants thrive in such incredibly dry climate! Okay, major plant lady digression. Back to the wine.

We lingered the most here, at the Sunstone Vineyards & Winery, because we loved it so much. The wine was really delicious (our favorites - the Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Rose & Soleil Rouge!) While we were tasting we snacked on cheese, figs, bread and the most insanely delicious balsamic dressings and glazes that they have on-site. I so very badly wish that I would have brought home some of the Raspberry Balsamic (because it looks like I can't buy any online!) Ugh, I hate remorse. New lesson - buy everything when I get the urge. Stevie will love my new plan.

This winery is really beautiful, designed in the French style with an extra dose of massive cream-colored dusty stones. It just felt like the set of a movie where you would see Jesus wandering around and teaching his disciples. I think it was all that stone. The sun stone, no wait - the SON stone. Gosh I am really in the zone right now.

The other venture we took was into the town of Los Olivos, where there are tasting rooms side-by-side. You can try wines from all over the Santa Ynez Valley region, without having to drive all over. This is a great way to stay safe while tasting. Since we were driving I tried a few here but nothing nearly as good as what we experienced at Sunstone. We also heard really great things about the town of Solvang, which is designed like a Swedish village. I really wish we had made it over that way to much on some pastries at Mortensens Danish Bakery, but we just ran out of time. Next time!

P.S. - What we did on our trip to Santa Barbara and playing on the beach of the Pacific Ocean!