Crystal Kehn is the amazing mom behind South Austin Moms, one of the many wonderful branches of The Local Moms Network across the country. This mama is busy—in addition to making the South Austin site and Instagram go-to guides for local moms, Crystal is mom to four kids, a 12-year-old boy, 10-year-old boy and two either year-old-girls (she has two biological children and her oldest son and one of her daughters is adopted). The Texas native covers South Austin as well as surrounding areas like Sunset Valley, Circle C, Southpark Meadows, Onion Creek, Oak Hill, Bee Cave, Westlake, Belterra and Dripping Springs, so if you’re in the area or looking to visit, you won’t want to miss her recommendations below.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Chicago for college and then overseas to Uganda for 10 years where we worked, started our family and figured out adulting. Three-and-a-half years ago we made our way back to the US and landed in the fabulous town of Austin.
Why did you decide to bring The Local Moms Network to your town?
I love finding resources for other moms and making mom life easier and less isolating for them. Whether they need to find a local library, dentist, resources for special needs, or a great place to find clothes for their littles I’m all over it! So TLMN was just a natural fit for me.
What is your must-try restaurant for someone new to town with kids?
We love Mod Pizza as a family. Each person gets a pizza made to order right in front of them, and they even have a gluten-free option for me! Tarka Indian Kitchen is also a family favorite. Honestly, our kids probably love it for the Mango Lemonade, but they eat up the Indian style chicken fingers and masala fries too. For date night, my husband and I love Geraldine’s inside Hotel Van Zandt. It is the most creative menu I have ever eaten from and I have enjoyed every dish we’ve tried (including dessert!).
Where do you recommend friends and family stay when they’re in town, if not with you?
I have recommended Hotel Van Zandt as an anniversary/staycation spot to multiple friends in town. It is a luxurious experience down to the last little detail.
Where do you love to go for a drink?
I guess I’d say my living room after the kids go to bed! Don’t I wish I had time or energy to just go out for drinks? Really though, I do look forward to a drink at certain restaurants like Gloria’s Latin Cuisine. I love a good mango margarita! Non-alcoholic? I love Kombucha from Flower Child on 2nd.
Do you have a favorite coffee shop?
RADIO Coffee & Beer…good coffee, and the atmosphere embodies the heart of Austin…with most of the seating outside you’ll find yourself surrounded by large trees, hipsters, techies and other young moms toting toddlers.
Where do you go for kids clothes?
Clothing a family of six requires being extra savvy, so I look for where the deals and steals are and that is where I shop…often online! When I have the luxury of time I love Anthropologie at 6th and Lamar for myself, or I’ll pick up something for each of the kids at Nordstrom Rack in Sunset Valley. My new favorite spot for picking up gifts for littles is Alexa James Children’s Boutique.
Our family loves to explore different hiking trails and to kayak on Ladybird Lake as often as possible when the weather is nice. Ladybird Wildflower Center can also easily occupy us for hours on end! We recently had a guided private tour of the Austin Zoo and we were fascinated by all of the information our guide shared and inspired by the vision behind the zoo to rescue and respect the animals in their care.
There is plenty to do indoors also. The new Central Public Library has been named“one of the greatest places in the world by Time magazine and you’ve got to see it to believe it. For days when we need more activity than curling up with a book: the new Urban Air Adventure Park is a blast. They’ve got a zip line, obstacle courses, trampolines, a foam battle pit, bowling, lazer tag, virtual reality and rock climbing walls all in one huge warehouse.
Any other events/places someone planning a trip should look out for?
When in Austin, you must hit the live music scene! There are plenty of kid friendly shows even at music festivals like Austin City Limits. The Bullock Museum is free every first Sunday of the month. Pecan Street Festival has all the best of Austin… local music, vendors and food trucks all in one place. Gospel Brunch at the Thicket food truck park is free with food and live music every third Sunday.
Our mission is to give moms the gift of time. What is your best time-saving tips?
Take advantage of the H-E-B app for making your grocery list- it tells you what aisle to find every item on (and it keeps me from getting sidetracked in the store). Or use their new curbside pick-up!
For clothes shopping, I recommend finding brands you love and know fit well with you and your families body types and stick to those to save a ton of time. I know I love Adriano Goldschmied jeans, and Franco Sarto shoes so I keep my eye out for sales and buy when prices drop!
Do one load of laundry every day to keep it from piling up and overwhelming you on Saturday. You can do the same with housekeeping tasks—15 minutes a day sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, wiping countertops etc. and there’s a lot more time to play with the family on the weekend!