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Places To Take A Brand New Baby In Halloween Costume

Monday, October 9, 2017
You did it! You found the PERFECT Halloween costume for your new baby. Bonus points if you've made an entire family costume out of it. You're totally mom winning right now and you can hardly wait to strut your festive stuff. Except now you're wondering where exactly you should be going with a baby who can't even say "trick or treat," let alone knock on any doors on her own.

My Bunny, who surprised us with red hair, has an adorable baby version of Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story 2 as her first Halloween costume. My dad picked it out on a trip to California shortly after she was born. I've been very excited to see her all dressed up. Holidays and dressing up are two of my favorite things. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there isn't really anywhere to take her that she would care about. She's not moving or eating yet, and I'm not quite ready to go door to door with a little one who doesn't get it. Instead I came up with some places that give us a chance to take Bunny out in costume which are more her pace.

Drop in on a community Halloween party
As these are already family-focused they're a perfect place for the whole crew to enjoy some Halloween festivities. My church does an annual Halloween party that starts with a Trunk or Treat (trick or treating out of our cars) and ends with a chili cook-off for dinner. Inside there are games for the kids, a haunted "hallway," and tons of downtime for catching up with friends. Everyone is welcome. Check your local calendars for some events that you can stop by to show off your little one's ensemble, and maybe make some new friends.

Trick or treating at the mall
When I was a kid I dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz with my brother as the Scarecrow. I had just seen the Wizard of Oz on Ice. We met my grandparents, who had come as the Wicked Witch of the West and another scarecrow, at a mall to walk around and collect candy from the participating stores. It was low key but super fun! Our local shopping center is putting on Mall-O-Ween the weekend before Halloween with more than simply candy. Even better is that it will be a daytime event so no bedtime schedule conflicts - woo!

Go watch the town parade
Small towns were made for parades and our county seat, Leesburg, VA, has had a Halloween parade for over 60 years hosted by the local Kiwanis Club. The town also hosts a bunch of other Halloween-themed activities throughout the month such as haunting tours, but I'll stick to the parade. Does your local town or city have something similar? Find out when it's going down and take your little ghoul see the sights.

Head to the pumpkin patch
Inevitably you'll be taking your little one to the pumpkin patch or apple picking no matter what age she is, right? I say go in costume! Pictures from the day will be much cuter and cherished for years to come.

This list requires a little bit of digging and Googling. But if you are a friend of ETLT, you probably already knew that. In the end, though, all the spoils go to you. High-five, mom and dad, for a fun and festive (and happy) Halloween!

Ideas for Getting Rid of Old Clothes

Friday, July 7, 2017
Too many clothes and nothing to wear is a common part of the human experience. Even my husband has things he basically never wears, only to open the closet door to a nightmare of unworn clothes taking up space. It comes from a dangerous cycle of garment overloading where we buy for a certain occasion never to see that item again. If we are lucky we’re able to carve out some time to purge our wardrobe of the undesirable and useless items that are piling up. Cleaning out our closets helps us to lighten the clutter and gain perspective on the style, value, quality, and purpose of our clothing choices. We may even feel like a whole new person!

While home with Bunny I ransacked my closet. I was sick of the mess. Unfortunately, as cleansing as it was to take items out of the closet, the snoozing monster has been piled in the corner of my bedroom for months now. The obvious answer is to donate, which I considered until my little hippie brain got to thinking that a lot of resources - money, time, energy, textiles - were spent on these clothes that needed to be recouped, if only in some small way. As usual I took to the internet, researching options on what to do with old clothes that could help me regain some of the expenses and possibly do more than sit in the local thrift shop (which is TOTALLY worthy too). I learned a lot, tried a bit, and this is what I recommend.

Trade in items for cash

Taking my clothes to Plato’s Closet has been done before so I was somewhat confident in the process. Sadly I didn’t get what I was hoping for. Stores like Plato’s Closet are usually looking for specific items and are picky about the condition and labels. If you don’t know what it is they want you are left with a little bit of a headache after lugging your giant trash bag(s) to and from the store for nothing. Still, the stores are generally local and they will give you straight up cash if you want so it’s not all bad.

Pros: local, cash option, great for name brands that are in good condition
Cons: not a drop and go, definitely undervalue the clothing, picky selection process

Start an Instagram shop

I tried this next, which was a disaster. Instagram by itself is overwhelming and I still can’t figure out why I thought this was a good idea. My Insta-game is lame. Starting an entirely new account then marketing for said account while also doing all the other things on my list was impossible. I didn’t have time to advertise or put up pictures of new clothes, and this was before someone wanted to buy and I had to figure out payment and shipping. The front end was exhausting. There are plenty of successful Instagram shops out there with great followings and consistently trendy items, and more power to them, but this was just unrealistic for me.

Pros: can do it from home, money goes straight to you, work on your Insta-game
Cons: you do all the work, your clothes are still sitting around, really only works for niche fashion that I could tell

Recycle for discounts at your favorite stores

This is by far the simplest option and maybe has the best return for the work. Like donating, you can drop your clothes off at retail stores. The difference is the discounts in return. H&M has a sustainable fashion initiative that allows customers to bring in clothes from any brand in any condition and get a 15% discount coupon. And there’s no limit to how many times you can go in! Click here for a list of other retailers who may also be going green.

Pros: SO easy, no real limit to how many times you can do it, relatively good rewards, clothes get used
Cons: the result is not cash, you have to bring your crap through the mall or mail it somewhere which might be a little weird and/or counterproductive

Invite your community to shop your closet

I’ve never done this because my clothing labels are nothing special but I do know a fellow blogger in my area who does. My friend Tonya Michelle of her namesake blog is all about fashion, beauty, and DIY. She works with boutiques and labels from all over and she gets TONS of clothes which she doesn’t always keep. Every now and then she puts the word out on Facebook that she is downsizing and invites local ladies for a night to come shop her closet (literally). I love this because she gets to meet new people while cleaning. Wouldn’t we all like to make cleaning more fun?

Pros: great for those items you only wore once, make new friends, gets it all done at one time and place, buyers come to you
Cons: you have to clean your house haha, limited inventory with an even more limited guest list

I deliberately chose not to look into programs like Poshmark or ThreadUp for a few reasons. First, my clothes are not name brands and are generally out of season. Second, I didn’t really want to share the return I got in processing or other fees. And third, I appreciate the greener options like recycling fabrics. Did you know denim can be used for insulation? I’m sure those are great ways to get rid of old clothes, but again, that system wouldn’t work for me. Anyways I’m headed to the mall these weekend to unload my old stuff and I can’t wait to be free. I hope you find the perfect way to declutter your closet too!

Tools For Easier (& More Fun) Daily Scripture Study

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Hands up if in January you promised to read your scriptures more this year. Yeah, me too... I’m learning that making a new habit isn’t so easy as just saying it. Life does get away from us and simply sitting and opening your Bible, Book of Mormon, etc. can get boring/overwhelming/tedious REAL fast.

Growing up we got all kinds of creative access to scripture stories. We met the characters in cartoons and songs, associated the lessons with snacks or games. Knowing those stories is something we can directly trace back to childhood. We should be proud that at one time we were nearest to God. Instead of becoming like little children, we *were* those little children!

Fast forward to being an adult. I can barely remember to brush my teeth in the morning or feed myself lunch. Taking a quiet moment to improve our relationship with God is more of a to do list item than an actual part of our daily lives. We set our goals but we have to go outside the box to meet said goals and overcome the potential snooze fest of traditional scripture study. Thankfully there are plenty of tools out there to help. These are my picks, mainly geared towards Mormon doctrine and resources. But no matter your faith I encourage you to find similar ways to make scripture study a more unique and fulfilling part of your day.

**This post contains NO affiliate links. All writing and opinions are mine and exist only because I want to share cool stuff with you.**


While in school Spencer and I were taking a class focused on studying the Book of Mormon. A semester-long project required us to put together a plan for reading daily. We knew just reading through wouldn’t be too fun so we decided to listen via audiobook. We would sit down together every night and hit play while we worked on other things. It was really smart for allowing us to multi-task. We’ve done this a few more times since for many reasons. May I add it’s perfect for talks too! You can download the scriptures on audiobook here, or access text-to-speech via the Gospel Library mobile app (see below).

Illustrated Books

I had an illustrated Bible growing up. The images I have today of those stories are from that book. Naturally I wanted something similar for learning scriptures when Spencer and I were asked to teach the 4-year-old Sunday School class. We now own all four of the illustrated scriptures. The write ups are simple, you can get the basics quickly. Plus you can visualize things. Someday I’ll own the coloring books too haha.


Social Media

I’m kind of obsessed with social media. I spend hours refreshing Facebook and liking posts (which I might be doing while writing this). Twitter is even more enjoyable. But there is a whole lot of nonsense out there. To get a break from all the noise, I follow and like scripture- and gospel-related accounts such as Book of Mormon Central which has some insightful information on Book of Mormon and LDS church history. You learn so much! And my friend works there, so I feel cool.

Now while I generally stick to Facebook and Twitter, another great account is 3 Mormons on YouTube. I just found them and their discussions are insightful as well as addicting and fun. I’ve left Instagram of this list because I’m not a huge fan and because I don’t know of any interesting Mormon- or Christian-based accounts. If you know of any to check out send them my way! And don’t forget you can follow the LDS Church and its leadership on pretty much every platform. *thumbs up*

My fave social accounts:
Twitter LDS Quotes
Facebook Book of Mormon Central
YouTube 3 Mormons


I have an LDS Scripture-A-Day widget on my phone's home screen. Some days that’s all the reading I do, but at least I'm getting something. Also the LDS mobile apps are a must have with everything from scriptures to Conference talks to Sunday School materials. There are even videos and music! Apps are by far the best for accessibility and keeping your back from going out while still having all that stuff with you. Log in and you can keep track of bookmarks, annotations, and notes!

Download the LDS Mobile Apps

Book of Mormon Central also has an app (AWESOME). KnoWhy on Google Play // in the App Store

I wrote this post because I realized fifteen years have gone by since my baptism as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I still don’t know my Book of Mormon stories. Since making the commitment to get more gospel in my day I’ve sincerely tried to find ways to make this easier and more realistic. We are so lucky to have unlimited, quick access to the scriptures in unique ways. Definitely go find out which one of these works for you. Then come tell me what you try or find!

Some Things About the Author

Monday, May 29, 2017
Who the heck are you and why should I read your blog?

Really, though. You’re thinking this right now. Since getting my act together around here I’ve been wondering whether or not I’ve answered these questions for anyone who visits the site.

My self-perception is of me wearing many hats. It’s a great visual: A woman looking at herself in the mirror fidgeting with a range of hats, each one for a different job or feeling, trying to decide which one to wear. You, the visitor, have little or no idea what that means. This is the part where I tell you exactly that and why it matters. Here's four things about me I think you should know.

I’m a (brand new) mom.

My daughter was born about two months ago. Her whole existence still surprises (and amazes) me. I'm working out the kinks in my relationships and responsibilities, and figuring out exactly what my mom identity is. My take on motherhood isn't always one of eagerness. Yet that little girl is everything I could have ever wanted. I want to do right by her. It's all taking some getting used to. While I do that I hope to find other moms who have a similar view of motherhood or who can give me more to chew on. This will be an ever-changing journey and I would appreciate some friends along the way. Wouldn’t we all?

I’m a musician.

Yeah I'm in a band! We are QOK Music and we are five siblings with a message or two to offer through our music. In the band I'm the lead singer and a lyricist. We have been playing together for about ten years, but we've only been truly serious within the last two. Someday we expect all the effort will pay off in one way or another.

I write about my band because I believe our story is inspiring. We're ordinary people putting our creativity out there, working hard to perfect and share what we have to give. I always hope that by talking about the experience someone will be moved to do the same with his or her talents or passions. Creative people often need encouragement. In my experience if I see someone relatively like me (i.e. normal) doing their do I feel a little bit better about doing mine. My wish is that I am passing that along.

I’m a Mormon.

I believe in God and his son, Jesus Christ. I know that God has a plan for all of us. I accept the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the way I know God's plan to work.

I was baptized at the age of thirteen with my parents and younger brother. My family has been insanely blessed by that choice. Everyday what I receive from my church, both doctrinally and culturally, becomes more and more a part of my whole being. I'm not determined to share all the moments that touch me, but there are some that compel me to shout from the rooftops. That is what and when and why I will write. You deserve perspective. You deserve honesty. By sharing my faith I am trying to give you both.

I am more…

Something I often emphasize about myself is that many parts make up the whole. Even the list above isn't all of who I am, though I've tried to be concise. There is a lot to this party! My interests and influences are varied. I’ve got post ideas for television shows I’m into, outfits I’ve worn, recipes I’ve tried, quotes that inspire me, ways to deal with stress and anxiety… and the list goes on. Any path requires some level of navigation so I'm leaving room to talk about whatever is important or necessary or cool or enjoyable to me as I make my way. Maybe you’ll agree and hang out for a minute.

Now, who am I and why read this blog?

I’m Kristyn - A mom, musician, Mormon, and much, much more. Chances are you’re a whole made up of many parts as well, and I’d like to find where we connect. Read on and I’ll see you around :)

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