December 18, 2014

The 7th Day: Holiday Lights at The Atlanta Botanical Garden!

^ Doesn't that look fake?? It isn't! ^
Holiday Lights at The Atlanta Botanical Garden!
You know what makes the holidays special? Family. You know what makes the holidays even more special? Doing holiday-ish things with your family. You know what makes those holiday-ish things with your family even more special? Hot hot beverages.

So happy.

Enter the Spencer family annual walk through the Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (I say annual because it's something we aspire to doing annually :) We had SO MUCH FUN. We laughed a lot. Gazed in wonderment. Perhaps belted out a few memorable Frozen tunes at peak moments of bliss. Perhaps confused other light-onlookers as to whether or not we were some kind of odd flash mob/circus act hired (rather curiously) by the Botanical Gardens to create a flurry of shenanigans for the people to join in on. Like those children who went screaming towards the Olaf-like Snowman show (because we might have done it first...) Like the DJ who was so excited by our slam dancing to his mad skills that he turned up his scratching (so LOUD) and we had one of those "me and the DJ!!!!"-moments. Until my baby woke up. And woke me up from my dream of being Jennifer Lopez in a club. Having a moment with the DJ. I threw him the deuces. And then motioned towards my little wailing baby with my swaddle cloths, as if to say, "THIS ISN'T A COME HITHER DANCE WITH SCARVES. These are swaddle clothes. I have to rescue him from the misery of your loud tuneage. Yep, that's spit up. Oh wait, there's a bit here in my hair, too."

I don't know what your family is like, but I bet they are insane in their own way, too. Isn't every family? Some are better at putting on a proper face, but all families, no matter how composed (publicly or otherwise) are pretty insane. We gladly accept this fact and probably revel in our familial personality archetypes a bit too much. But it's fun. Joking with my family. Is something I missed these past few years while we lived away. Thankfully, my husband has joined right in on the fun and is getting excessively good at his zingers. My dad has been teased, put in his place, and proud of Stevie all in one fell swoop of a joke. Which is how you reach son-status (in his book). This evening was one for those kinds of books. We just enjoyed each other so much and it made me incredibly thankful for my crazy sweet kin.

Something about those lights. Makes you feel that magic inside.

Is it just me, or does this totally look like Olaf's parts? You know, when he comes apart?
I just felt like it was Olaf and all his friends.
Aren't these the most tubular photos you've ever seen? SHE'S LIT UP. But not like that.
Isn't my sister the prettiest. If you're in the market for the perfect woman, I'll be conducting several rounds of interviews on her behalf. Contact me directly. K thanks.
These two.
That's the Christmas magic. Right there. Don't miss it.
Sometimes they're a little too bro-tastic for my liking.
The famous lady with all the hair.
My baby was with us. But he slept like a baby. It's uncanny - why won't he do this at home?!
I'm gonna need to marry this guy all over again. HE'S SO BEAUTIFUL IT HURTS.

It's a Marvel.

If you're in the Atlanta area, wandering through this light show is one of the raddest things you can do with your family at Christmas. Hands down, my favorite addition to the "annual" Spencer family Christmas traditions. Happy 7th day!!!

December 17, 2014

The 8th Day: Holiday Gift Guide for Little Ones

Holiday Gift Guides: Little Ones

Holiday Gift Guides: Little Ones by oykristen
// 1. Miu Color Aroma Diffuser // 2. Gumdrop Newborn Pacifiers // 3. Uncle Goose Wood Embossed Spanish/English Blocks // 4. Jellycat Stuffed Animal & Book Set // 5. Skip Hop Alphabet Play Mat // 6. Freshly Picked Moccasins // 7. Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set // 8. Winnie the Pooh Classic Library Set // 9. Boogin' Head Pacifier Clip // 10. Skip Hop Safari Xylophone
 // 11. VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube //

Holiday Gift Guide for Little Ones.
Oh baby. I have tried to be really good this year and not purchase too much for my little one. But I spend every single day with him, so I am constantly reminded of all the different things he "needs" as he is developing. This was a really fun gift guide to put together, because I would love all of this for my own little one! Happy shopping for your under 1-year-old!

1. Miu Color Aroma Diffuser
We fondly refer to this as the "moo moo" in our house. This was an excellent gift recommendation from my big sister. A little tip for all you mamas with sleep-challenged little ones - diffusing certain essential oils is supposed to help them sleep! We've been using this in our baby's room for a few weeks now and have started to notice a dramatic difference (I've mostly been using a little lavender.) This particular model is great because it can double as a fun color-changing nightlight when the kiddos get a little bit older. Big sister says.

2. Gumdrop Newborn Pacifiers
Can you say stocking stuffer? Everett doesn't really suck on these. He chews them. But they are his paci of choice!

3. Uncle Goose Wood Embossed Spanish/English Blocks
Pretty much the most gorgeous wooden block set I've ever laid eyes on. There is a very small window of time when parents actually get to pick out their childrens' toys and clothes - and I am going to capitalize on that right now!

4. Jellycat Stuffed Animal & Book Set
These are the sweetest stuffed animals, and I love the interactive story that comes with them! Everett has the puppy and is hoping to add the fox to his collection soon :)

5. Skip Hop Alphabet Play Mat
This mat is the perfect place to spread out all those toys and let those little ones learn to roll over and crawl!

6. Freshly Picked Moccasins
I die. These are the most gorgeous baby shoes everrrrrrr. Santa might have splurged on these this year. Might.

7. Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set
Because my husband says that boys need balls.

8. Winnie the Pooh Classic Library Set
I think childhood reading is one of the most important things in the world. Who doesn't remember the classic tales hailing from the Hundred Acre Wood? Ah, the good ol days. This particular collection is a bit advanced for babies, but it would make a really special gift.

9. Boogin' Head Pacifier Clip
These little contraptions make such an enormous difference. We need lots of them. Stocking stuffer!

10. Skip Hop Safari Xylophone
Isn't this a fun one? Great for those little musicians in the making!

11. VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
Let's keep those busy brains busy! 

Anything I missed? What else is on your gift guide/wish list for your little one? Oh happy day!

December 16, 2014

The 9th Day: Maple Glazed Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.
‘Tis the season for warm treats! I created this recipe especially for the awesome folks at The Epicurious Community Table and Reynolds to Make Meal Magic, and I am thrilled to share it with you today! Pumpkin adds a delicious twist to the good old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. Who says that pumpkin is only for Thanksgiving? I so disagree. Drizzled with maple glaze, this delightful indulgence will give you a hankering to cozy up with a book by the fire while Michael Buble croons from your docked iPhone :) Effortlessly prepare large batches of these treats in less time by using the cookie baking sheets. Then simply enjoy serving the most popular treat at this year’s holiday gathering! 

- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds® Cookie Baking Sheets Nonstick Parchment Paper.
3. Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl; set aside.
4. Beat the butter and sugars in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
5. Add the egg and vanilla, return the mixer to medium speed, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl.
6. Add half of the reserved flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated.
7. Add half of the pumpkin and beat until just incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and pumpkin until combined.
8. Drop 2-inch dough rounds on cookie baking sheet, staggering them 2 inches apart.

1. Bake cookies for 12 minutes.
2. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back.
3. Bake the cookies for another 5 minutes.
4. Remove cookies from the oven. Using oven mitts, simply slide cookie baking sheet onto wire rack and let cool completely.

For the Glaze:
1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
2. Dip spoon in glaze and drizzle over the cookies in a zigzag pattern. Let the cookies sit on the cookie baking sheet at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes.

REYNOLDS KITCHEN TIP: You can cook large batches by preparing one set of cookies on the cookie baking sheet while another batch bakes. Then simply slide the cookie baking sheet with the baked cookies onto a cooling rack and you can immediately put another batch of cookie dough in the oven. It saves time and – BONUS – makes clean up a breeze.

Get to it!
I hope you enjoy making these for your loved ones during the holiday!

First published on Epicurious and Parade here with paid sponsorship by Reynolds Consumer Products. Used with permission of Tidal Labs. Thanks for supporting this sponsor and allowing me to create fresh and unique content like this for Oy!

December 15, 2014

The 10th Day: Holiday Gift Guide 2014 for Her

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Her

// 1. Kate Spade New York Women's Metro Watch // 2. Knitted & Knotted Regan Cardigan // 3. Orla Kiely Umbrella // 4. Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick // 5. Anthropologie Magic Carpet Yoga Mat // 6. Anthropologie First Frost Jewelry Box // 7. David Lebovitz My Paris Kitchen // 8. Keani Jewelry MerRing // 9. Origins Ginger Essence Rollerball // 10. Merimekko Coin Purse // 11. A Beautiful Mess 2015 Planner // 

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 for Her. 
Another gift guide! And this is the best kind, because its for all the "hers" in your life - your best friend, your sister, your mom (ahem, and maybe a little something for you? You've been awfully good this year.) 

1. Kate Spade New York Women's Metro Watch
Every watch she makes is magic. But this one is a fun twist on the typical Kate Spade watch, and I love it! 

2. Knitted & Knotted Regan Cardigan
There is nothing cozier, and this one looks especially dainty.

3. Orla Kiely Umbrella
Because rainy days should all be this much fun.

4. Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick
This lipstick is such a surprise. Amazing pigments and it stays put. No smudges, so you can do all the smooching you want! 

5. Anthropologie Magic Carpet Yoga Mat
A splurge for the bendiest gal you know. This swanky mat will make you want to stretch!

6. Anthropologie First Frost Jewelry Box
How gorgeous is this box? I love it because it's the kind of thing you would never buy yourself but totally use and display!

7. David Lebovitz My Paris Kitchen
OMG. This book's recipes are so scrumptious I could cry. I can't wait to snag my own copy!

8. Keani Jewelry MerRing
If you don't know Keani, you should. Her Hawaiian jewels are unusual masterpieces, the kind of beautiful pieces that no one else has. 
Smells so unique and is formulated with really excellent (no chemicals!) ingredients. 

10. Merimekko Coin Purse
This makes me want to carry coins in an age of plastic.

11. A Beautiful Mess 2015 Planner
Why have these sisters thought of everything. This day book makes me want to make plans.

I know. I could go on and on adding to this list, because it's full of all things I like! But I truly think that all these items would make gorgeous, memorable gifts for all the special women in your life. Now get shopping, friends! And happy 10th day of Christmas!

The 11th Day: Holiday Fun at The Georgia Aquarium!

The 11th Day of Christmas: Holiday Fun at The Georgia Aquarium!
It's a double-post kind of day! I don't love posting blogs on Sundays, because that's our family day (we kind of take a social media strike), so today I will post the 11th and 10th days of Christmas posts!

Got guests in town for the holidays? Or are you looking for something to do with your kiddos while its friggin' freezing outside? If you're one of my Atlanta homies, you have got to take a field trip to The Georgia Aquarium. Seriously. First of all, IT'S WARM INSIDE. And of course, the fish are cool, too. And maybe, just maybe, the aquatic mystique will work on your baby and they will sleep in their stroller the entire time like mine did! (Now you see why I'm recommending this - all you new mamas, go, go, GO! You can't run fast enough!)

We visited a few weeks ago with friends who were in town from London (doesn't it sound fancy to have friends from London? THEY ARE FANCY.) and we were excited to show them and their sweet little girl Atlanta's fine aquarium. I had no idea how much our baby (only 3+ months at the time!) and their little girl (14 months) would enjoy the whole experience. I mean, I just thought that Everett might be too little to really grasp any of it. However, both of the littles especially loved the Dolphin Tales Show - they were completely engaged during the entire 30 minutes of it! The exhibits are awesome for kiddos of all ages (um, hello, we loved it), and there is a lot to see so it is definitely a full-day activity.

My personal favorites were the beluga whales (so peaceful, it's like watching a ballet), the otters (I think that's my spirit animal), and of course, the gigantic whale sharks (they will grow to be as big as a bus!) The area that was most enchanting to me was the stroll through the Ocean Voyager exhibit, where you literally experience what it's like to be a tiny fish in the great blue sea. Sitting in front of that incredible window, just watching the whales sail by - well, there's nothing like it. Absolutely nothing. We sat there for a long long time, quietly, just taking in the engulfing view.

Just a note, the Georgia Explorer exhibit is closed for repairs until early 2015. But I promise, it didn't cramp our style.

// This. the.whole.time. //
// Miss these three so much already. //
// "Say Cheese, Everett!!!" Hi response: "Zzzzz..." //
// We found Nemo! //

This is definitely an excellent family day date, special enough to warrant a visit on the holidays. And right now, the Aquarium has really turned itself into a celebrating oceanic affair! From SCUBA Claus to the underwater Menorah, there are some really special holiday-themed exhibits and events taking place, which the littles will adore. And you will find yourself secretly digging, too.

Have you visited the aquarium during the holidays before? Let me know if you take a trip and comment back about your favorite exhibit!

And be sure to check back later today for another gift guide! Xox

December 13, 2014

The 12th Day: Holiday Gift Guide 2014 for Him

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Him

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Him by oykristen
// 1. Banana Republic Plaid Utility Shirt // 2. GoPro Hero 4 // 3. The North Face Men's Aconcagua Vest // 4. LL Bean Wicked Good Moc Boots // 
5. Stanley Classic Vacuum Mug // 6. Barnes & Noble The Curious Bartender Book  // 7. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls // 8. Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic Sunglasses // 9. Timex Ironman Shock Resistant Watch // 10. Aveda Men's Aftershave Balm // 11. Scoutmob Shoppe Custom Monogram Cufflinks //

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 for Him. 
Oh, how I love the countdown to the best holiday! I'm excited to share this year's 12 days of Christmas posts - 1 each day up until Christmas! Kicking it off here is a gift guide for the manliest of lads in your life. As many of you know, I am a bit of a gift fiend. I just absolutely love finding the perfect present for someone. And it gets challenging with guys, because finding out what they like just isn't second nature to me. It takes a lot of research and "getting into their head", if you know what I mean. Hopefully this will help inspire your gifting and shopping for every guy on your list this season.

1. Banana Republic Plaid Utility Shirt 
Because you can't put a good shirt down.

2. GoPro Hero 4  
So adventurous, right? This will make you the most epic wife/girlfriend/mom EVER.

3. The North Face Men's Aconcagua Vest  
For all your vested interests. 

4. LL Bean Wicked Good Moc Boots 
Moccs! I'm having a bit of a love affair with moccs lately. Can't get enough of those toasty toes!

5. Stanley Classic Vacuum Mug 
Having a really crappy mug is like having no mug at all. Stanley does the trick every time.

6. Barnes & Noble The Curious Bartender Book  
For the mixoligist in your life.

7. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls 
These are the best. So I've been told.

8. Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic Sunglasses 
Put these on. Cue your iconic at-bat anthem of choice.

9. Timex Ironman Shock Resistant Watch 
Excellent watch for any kind of basic athletic training. And it won't break your bank.

10. Aveda Men's Aftershave Balm 
Sometimes, just sometimes, they won't admit that they like to be pampered. But they DO! 

11. Scoutmob Shoppe Custom Monogram Cufflinks
A touch fancy, but really spankin' cool for the dude who actually wears cufflinks.

Merry Christmas to HIM. Am I right or am I right?

December 12, 2014

The Count Down Begins!

The Count Down Begins!
Happy Friday, friends! What a glorious day! Is it just me, are are you really starting to feel the Christmas spirit? Maybe all this cold weather is what's doing it, but I'm feeling all sorts of merry and cheery and bright. Which is helpful, because I've definitely fought some moments of stress and anxiety about the holidays. Taking some time away really helped. But I'm reeeeeeeally excited to share some fun content with you over the next twelve days, aka my 12 Days of Christmas posts. I've got some fun recipes, family activities and gift guides - along with a few of my personal favorite traditions and remembrances :)

Join me tomorrow, when I will be kicking off the 12 day count down to Christmas!