REAL & HONEST ADVICE TO GET YOUR BUSINESS STARTED

Passion projects are the new black – am I right? It seems like everyone has a side hustle, part time blog, or some project they work on outside of their “normal” 9-5 job. I turned my side hustle of prop styling & blogging into a full time career in 2016 and haven’t looked back since.

How to turn your side hustle into a business via lauren kelp

We took an idea (taking the pressure off women to be perfect & give them quick, easy, & approachable recipes and life hacks) and grew it into a website with ten contributors world-wide, press features from major publications, and paid content creators for household name brands within a year. That took a lot of of chutzpah, late nights, and trial and error. We get asked all the time by readers how we turned LaurenKelp.com from an after-work project to a full-time day job, so we thought we would answer all your questions (plus some other really important things) with some help from our friends at Rocket Lawyer. You’ve got the idea & the passion, now you just need those rockstar contracts & clients to get things in gear – don’t worry, we’ve got you!

How to turn your side hustle into a business via lauren kelp
Being your own boss is truly one of the most rewarding experiences, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Very quickly the façade of sleeping in all the time, the appeal of working from home every day, or spending the afternoon lunching with girlfriends fades away and you realize that you’ve got to hustle, hustle, hustle if you want that glam #girlboss life. Luckily, for every late night, there is an amazing client, a killer pay off, or an amazing opportunity. But luck rewards the hard worker, so here are a few things I learned when I got started:

Pay for things that matter
Hire people that are smarter than you
Contracts are King
Organize, organize, organize!

How to turn your side hustle into a business via lauren kelpA pretty easy list of things to remember, right? Well, get ready girlfriend. It’s time to hike up those boss pants & get to work because these four little tips are going to save you a lot of time & money, and show those competitors you mean business!

PAY FOR THING THAT MATTER

As much as I would love to tell you that this means you should buy the Gucci belt, it’s got another purpose. When you are first starting out it is beyond important to incorporate your business. Meaning, trademark your name, establish yourself as a legitimate business, and file with all the appropriate entities. Unless your new business is a law firm, all of that probably went over your head. Before using Rocket Lawyer, I was hunting online, being put on hold for hours at a time, and filing incorrectly, and then filing again…and then filing again cause I still did it wrong.

Do yourself a huge favor & get Rocket Lawyer to do all the heavy lifting for you. With their Incorporate Online feature, you get to be the boss & with a click of a button, your paperwork is filed correctly, with half the cost, and literally none of the hassle. Win/win, baby.

HIRE PEOPLE THAT ARE SMARTER THAN YOU

Not good with numbers, hire an accountant. Terrible at billing and invoicing, get a bookkeeper. Owning your own business doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. In fact, one of the best parts of being your own boss is delegating. Seeking legal advice (questions like; how should I set up contracts if I am a photographer, should I bring on a full-time employee or a contractor, etc.) can get pricey very quick, but what do you do when you need expert advice but are trying to save your pennies? Girlfriend, the Ask a Lawyer feature on Rocket Lawyer is a business owners best friend.

You get your quick & dirty legal advice without the crazy fees or worrying about if you’ve gone to the right place. Ask your question online & get a personalized answer within minutes. Talk about people working for you!

CONTRACTS ARE KING

I can not stress this enough! Whether you are a creative starting your own consulting business or fresh out of medical school opening your own practice, contracts are beyond important. Whenever I enter into a new agreement with a client, I always send them a contract outlining the terms of the agreement, payment structure, and detailing who gets what when. I had absolutely no idea how to create said contract or even what to include, but thanks to the unlimited library of legal documents, I look like a freaking pro & so will you!

With the Rocket Lawyer Document Defense, you will get quick legal help to enforce your contract if anything goes awry. Basically, you’ll have the big guns on speed dial whenever you need them. Comforting, right?

ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE

No one likes a stack of papers at there desk, especially when there is no rhyme or reason to chaos. Join the 21st century and start organizing all those important documents, contracts, and filing forms in the cloud. Guess who has a secure cloud storage ready and waiting for you? That’s right, your new best friends at Rocket Lawyer.

There are plenty of great cloud storage options out there, but many of them are not secure & when you are storing sensitive information, security is everything.

So are you ready to join the ranks of small business ownership? Because we believe in you so much, Rocket Lawyer is offering a discount for new users. Use this code & sign up here to receive 50% off a year long membership. Watch out world, we’ve got moves to make!

How to turn your side hustle into a business via lauren kelpphotography by aimée mazzenga

HOLD PLEASE, YOU NEED A DESERT VACATION we are going to Arizona, like ASAP

ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelpOoh we’ve got the winter blues baaaad. Remember all those happy pictures of cacti, fresh citrus, and magic cloud-less skies we posted a few weeks ago? Yeah, me neither. Now that Chicago has turned all rainy, cold, and icky, we are trying to figure out how we can become snowbirds and ditch this winter weather.

Have you ever been to Arizona? It’s oddly not a place many people think to visit, unless you are an actual snowbird, and then it’s probably at the top of your list. The hubs and I live in Phoenix for a quick year while he was going to graduate school & I can honestly say it was one of the best years of my life.ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelpBetween the weather (sure the summers are hot, but there is nothing better than having 75 degree Januarys), the rad landscape (read: cacti & mountains everywhere you look), the amazing food, & array of adventure activities – it was an absolute blast. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of going back to the desert for a week with Visit Mesa & Visit Phoenix and it was nothing short of exactly what the doctor ordered.ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelp

For all you cold weather dwellers that go to Mexico, Florida, or Palm Springs to escape the weather, this is my note to you on why you should absolutely make Arizona your winter getaway.

#1 – THE SCENERY

Let me tell you, nothing shakes the dust off faster than waking up in the morning and going for a good hike. By the end, you have worked yourself out of that funk, kicked those winter blues, and accomplished something major all by 9am. It is the absolute best & both Mesa and Phoenix have amazing hikes.

Usery Mountain is gorgeous & so do-able if your hiking skills need a little work. The switchbacks aren’t steep & the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I mean, just look, there are giant saguaros everywhere.

For those more advanced, you can’t visit Phoenix and not take a trip to Camelback Mountain. This is an absolute must for a sunrise hike. Watching the sunrise over the city is such a cool experience. Again, a little more challenging, but who says you have to make it to the very top? There are plenty of places to take in the scenery and watch the city wake up.

ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelp

#2 – THE FOOD

You think New York, LA, and Chicago have great food? Just wait until you’ve tried some of the local spots in Arizona. If farm to table is up your alley, Mesa has this great Fresh Foodie Trail that you can follow all along the Valley. From a local olive mill to urban gardens and back, the FFT allows you to eat your way across the desert while learning about why sustainable food is important and actually kind of cool.

Now if you consider yourself a bit of a foodie, downtown Phoenix is the stop for you. Sam Fox, owner of Fox Restaurant Concepts, is the king of the food scene in Arizona. From the most delicious local lunch spot, Flower Child (go, it’s amazing, you won’t want to eat anywhere else) to the swank, highly Instagram-able neighborhood spot, The Henry, you literally can’t go wrong. I recommend going on a self-guided tour of his spots – I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelp

#3 – THE ACTIVITIES

Okay, now it really starts to get good. You’ve got great hikes, amazing food, now you just need stuff to fill in the gaps. Get ready for some of the most fun you’ve had in a long time.

Last week I did yoga with goats (read about my hysterical experience here), flew on a trapeze, and watched the sunrise in a hot air balloon. I did all of those things in the span of 24-hours. I mean, that’s insane!

If you are looking for something to get you out of your comfort zone, I could not recommend a flying trapeze class more. It is such a wild ride. Here is the thing; I am not a big heights person. My toes tend to go numb and I start swearing a lot and my palms get all hot & bothered, it’s really cute. But once you grab ahold of the trapeze bar and swing in the air for the first time, you are hooked. You are more than safe, hooked in at all times, and you’ve got like three nets under you at all time – so you can relax about that. You fall, you flip, you even do some fancy Cirque thing where someone catches you – it’s an absolute blast. We flew with iFly Trapeze at The Phoenician and it’s so easy to sign up. Just visit their website, show up, and have Marco & Robin teach you how to become trapeze masters. I am serious, go – you won’t regret it.

Have you ever taken a hot air balloon ride? If not, it really is a bucket list item. Again, not crazy about heights, but after riding with Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix, I can honestly say there is nothing to worry about. The initial take off is super slow and smooth & you just kind of glide. There is nothing fast about the process and you don’t shake or swing, it’s just nice and steady. We flew over the Sonoran desert at 6,000-feet watching the sunrise along the Valley and it was truly breathtaking. After about an hour at varying different heights, you land in the middle of the desert to a champagne breakfast – very classy. Our guide, John, shared a brief history of hot air ballooning and we cheers-ed over a successful trip, a beautiful landscape, and amazing views. It was epic.

 

ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelp

#4 – THE AMENITIES

Half of the fun of visiting the desert is getting to stay at one of the many amazing hotels. We stayed at The Phoenician in Scottsdale and it was an absolute dream. Their rooms are so well designed & lux (between the marbled wallpaper and gigantic tub, I wanted to move in) and the property is stunning. You are tucked at the base of Camelback Mountain so no matter where you look, mountains surround you – it’s very cool. Plus their spa is a dream. Rumor has it that the spa is getting a major upgrade next year, so that alone is an excuse to book a stay.

With seven pools, several tennis courts, a fabulous gold course, and incredible restaurants, there is literally something for everyone. It is so serene and quiet; you can’t help but just melt on to a lounge chair and relax the day away. Can you tell I already want to go back?!

ultimate winter getaway via lauren kelp


This experience was in collaboration with Visit Mesa & Visit Phoenix.
As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.

IT’S LIKE YOUR NORMAL YOGA, BUT WITH GOATS the most hysterical workout of your life

goat yoga in arizona via lauren kelpLast week I got to gallivant around Mesa & Phoenix, Arizona going on hot air balloon rides, learning how to fly on a trapeze, and lots of other fabulous adventures that I can’t wait to tell you about. But maybe the most hysterical and unique experience of the week was a morning yoga class…but with goats.

All you American Ninja Warrior fans, remember April Gould the “Goat Whisperer” from 2015 & 2016? Well she has partnered with long-time friend, Sarah Williams (who, if you ever visit Arizona, has one of the best SUP companies around – Desert Paddleboards) to bring you one of two goat yoga experiences in the country.goat yoga in arizona via lauren kelp

Truthfully, the experience is hysterical and unlike anything I have ever done. You drive out to April’s farm just outside Phoenix, let yourself into the gated field, and check your normal notions about yoga at the door.

It starts off normally enough, everyone doing some stretches and some basic poses to warm up, the only thing that might be different from your normal class at the gym, is that there are a bunch of goats running around in tiaras, feather boas, and crowns.
goat yoga in arizona via lauren kelpSarah leads the group in beginner yoga poses while April walks around with the goats. She places dried fig leaves in front of your mat so the goats will come over, hang out, and munch a little. They share their story, talk about why goats are awesome, and just encourage you to relax and have a little fun.

Between you and me, I was totally confused. I live in the city, I don’t casually interact with goats on a regular basis, and I think the last time I pet an animal outside of a dog was at my grade school field trip to the petting zoo. I had no idea what to expect. Don’t they bite? I think I am afraid of them jumping on me? What if I can’t hang? I had a series of questions…goat yoga in arizona via lauren kelpAbout 15 minutes in, Sarah leads us into a downward dog & that is when things start to get crazy. Starting at one end and working around the circle, April leads one of the smaller goats up on your back and the goat just kind of hangs out there. If you are close enough to your partner, the goat will hop from person to person quite happily.

It was a freaking riot! At the point, all intentions of practicing yoga go out the window, and all eyes are on the goat. Not to mention that there was a little kid (less than a week old) running around, so naturally all I cared about was snuggling the hell out of it.goat yoga in arizona via lauren kelpIf you are there with a group (which we had a birthday party & a bachelorette party in the group) April & Sarah will lead you in group poses and the goat joins right in. Hoping up on the top of the pyramid or right on top of you while doing a partner plank. Don’t worry, everyone is happy to take a picture and capture the hilarious scene.

When you visit Arizona (and you should absolutely visit) you’ve got to stop by Arizona Goat Yoga. The classes are basically free ($10) & you have to sign up in advance on their website, but I promise, it will be one of the most hysterical things you’ve done in a long time. Going with friends or a family vacation? This is an absolute must! Nothing says next years holiday card, like a human pyramid with a goat on top of dear old Dad.goat yoga in arizona via lauren kelp


photos by Kristen Carter Photography
This experience was in collaboration with Visit Mesa & Visit Phoenix. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Hello, hello my entertaining mavens! How was your weekend? Too short, am I right?! We spent the weekend up in New Buffalo, knocking down walls, power-washing decks, and getting on a first name basis with the guys at the local hardware stores.

Needless to say, I am about to cancel that gym membership thanks to all the yard work I am about to embark on. But, no complaints here! I will get those Michelle Obama arms any way I can!

We haven’t done one of these fun round-ups in a while & I think it’s about time! Here are some things that I am loving lately & would love to hear your favorite things.

thanksgiving cocktail via lauren kelp

1.SPICED VODKA CRANBERRY

Looking for the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail? Sister friend, this is it! Our girl, Chloe from Boxwood Avenue  whipped up this perfectly autumnal cocktail – the Spiced Vodka Cranberry – & it’s so good, we’ve been sipping on it all weekend.

town and country key chain via lauren kelp

2. TOWN & COUNTRY KEY CHAINS

Okay, I know this is a little cheeky, but I can’t help it! I saw these keychains a few months ago & thought they were hysterical. I plan on slipping these into Griffin’s stocking so I can use them J Isn’t that how the best presents always go? Find them on Waiting on Martha

macys christmas tree decorating via lauren kelp

3. TREE DECORATING AT MACY’s STATE STREET IN CHICAGO

Come decorate holiday trees with me at Macy’s this Saturday (Nov. 12) at the Macy’s on State Street at 1pm. I’ll be sippin’ on mocktails, and munching on festive bites while learning how to decorate my holiday tree like a freaking pro with Adam Havrilla, Owner/Creative Director of Artistic Blooms. Come!

encha matcha chia seed pudding via lauren kelp

4. HEALTHY BREAKFAST

It’s no secret that I love matcha (since giving up coffee a few months ago, it’s been a lifesaver!) but now the love has gone to a new level thanks to these amazing recipes. Encha, my go-to matcha brand, is perfect for smoothies, bowls, baking, anything really & this matcha chia pudding recipe from Vanilla & Bean is here to prove that!

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5. FALL TABLESCAPES

Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means it’s time to break out the festive tablecloths & flat ware and set a fun holiday table! I am obsessed with this moody tablescape from Table & Dine – isn’t it awesome?! Plus, those plates are plastic! Check out the full story here!


GETTING YOUR BUSINESS SH*T TOGETHER

get your business stuff together with lauren kelp

Friends! Let me introduce you to the fabulous Bianca Sansosti of Bianca Sansosti Artistry. She is here to help us kick off our latest series – Get Your Sh*t Together. If you are like me, constantly running around with a never ending to-do list, this series is all about helping you get your life together from business to beauty to health to career, it’s all in there & it’s going to be awesome!


After 10 years of working for other companies, both as a traditional employee and then management, and now starting & owning my own company, I’ve learned a ton about running a small business. I’m also a firm believer in learning from others’ mistakes, so I’ve also learned a lot of what NOT to do. I find that so many small business owners really have no idea what they are doing and are working blindly. Most don’t come from a business background, and that’s totally OK! So many don’t even know where to start, so I’m here to let you know that it’s time to Get Your Sh*t Together so you can start your journey to success.

1. HIRE YOUR CABINET

You are the president of your company, and every president needs their cabinet & trusted advisers. I’m talking about your lawyer and your accountant. These are imperative people in your business, especially if you don’t have a business background (and even if you do). Your lawyer is going to help you decide how to organize your business (sole proprietor, LLC, corporation) and draw up any documents you will use, like client contracts, and can go over your policies & procedures to ensure they’re legal in the state you’re operating. Your accountant is going to help you through the financial process of bookkeeping and filing your taxes. Don’t know which accounts to use to classify different expenses? Don’t know what a chart of accounts or a balance sheet is? Your accountant will tell you. It may not seem at first that these things matter when your business is small and operated solely by you, but they are crucial, no matter the size of your company, to protect you and your assets & success, especially as your company grows.

2. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK

Go to local networking events for your industry, and even the networking events that aren’t specific to your industry (you never know who you will meet). 85% of my business comes from referrals, they are GOLD. The more people begin to know you, the more credibility you have. Credibility = Trust, Trust = $$$. There are also many events geared towards women entrepreneurs & women owned small businesses – women supporting women is a key to our success.

3. FIGURE OUT YOUR BRANDING

Your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand needs to be cohesive amongst everything you do and needs to be reflected in every way you run your business. It also needs to reflect your clientele and your mission. It is what you will be known by and associated with. Your branding needs to flow in every tiny corner of your business. The Ritz-Carlton is known for their chocolate chip cookies which welcome guests. This is all part of their branding and how branding applies to every facet of your business. A branding consultant can be an investment, but finding the right one will give you a large return in the end. I know I keep repeating the word “branding” a lot – because it’s really, really, important. When you have to make a decision about something, ask yourself which option reflects your branding best.

4. “FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION”

This was the most important principle they ingrained in us in design school. When we were designing rooms & buildings & furniture in school, it meant that the functionality of our design needed to come first before the aesthetic, basically. If it doesn’t work or make sense, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, because it’s useless. Guess what? That’s true for business, too. If you don’t have your internal systems, processes, and policies figured out, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. Those are the foundations of your business and what make up customer service. You don’t have to have it all figured out at first – it’s going to take some trial & error, and learning from mistakes that will happen. Have a beginning game plan, and go from there. It’s always going to be a work in progress, especially as your business grows and evolves. I still make changes to my policies and processes and contracts as new things happen. It’s never going to be 100% complete.

5. BE HUMBLE & KIND

Not to sound too much like Mr. Tim McGraw here, but it’s true. Your professionalism and the way you carry yourself leave a lasting impression on everyone you meet. Remember your manners, be gracious and nice to people. So many people I know in the creative world are amazing at what they do, but have egos bigger than they can manage, and just aren’t nice people to be around or work with. So guess what? I don’t refer clients to them, no matter how good their work is. Show your gratitude to clients and referral sources. An email is nice as an immediate follow up, but you’re a business owner now. Invest in beautiful stationary, with your branding, and take the time to write someone a thank you note and send it in the mail. That person took the time to think of you & your business. It will be remembered. Every time I see one of my biggest referral sources, she always brings up to me how much she loved the beautiful thank you card I sent her after our first meeting, a year later, and how she has it sitting on her desk. It left a lasting impression on her. Start with baby steps in your business. You don’t have to be perfect, and you won’t be. This advice doesn’t have to just apply to new businesses – if you already have your business, use it as guidance to re-evaluate what you’re doing, which we all need to do every so often. Like Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”


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5 TOTALLY AWESOME PODCASTS

Maybe it’s just me, but whenever the weather gets colder, I start getting really excited about podcasts. Come early September, podcast season rolls around and I can’t contain my excitement. This year, I have channeled my glee into a fabulous little round-up of joy! Ooh yes, fellow podcasters, this round-up is quite possibly off-the-chain. We’ve got fun facts that will make you sound smarter around the water cooler, interesting history to impress your Dad when you go home, and, of course, the best friend ‘you got this shit’ pep talk we all need. Fire up the ol’ iTunes and get ready to download!


invisibiliapodcast_icon_hotpink-01_sq-2359778531d9733109e3674a5cecf5a711aa511f-s400-c85IF YOU LIKE THIS: This American Life

TRY THIS: Invisibilia

HERE’S WHY: Invisibilia is all about the invisible forces that control our behavior – beliefs, ideas, emotions, & assumptions. Co-hosted by three awesome gals, Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin, & Alix Spiegel, these three weave a fun narrative storytelling experience that uses scientific research to help you look at life differently. They explore topics like, “Do clothes have the power to change you?” and “Does faking it until you make it really work?” See – you are curious, aren’t you? This podcast is perfect for a good commute, a long car ride, or (my personal favorite) when you are making dinner.

 


hidden-brainIF YOU LIKE THIS: Ted Talks

TRY THIS: Hidden Brain

HERE’S WHY: If your favorite thing about Ted Talks are that they are short, interesting, sometimes funny, and totally digestible, you will love Hidden Brain. Basically, it is a podcast that helps curious people understand the world & the things going on around them. Hosted by NPR regular, Shankar Vedantam, the show reveals the unconscious drivers behind human behavior, why we make the decisions we do, and the triggers that direct our relationships. Interesting stuff, right? Perfect for a short commute, when you are doing something boring at work, or when you want to buff up on your fun facts.

 


IF YOU LIKE THIS: “The Tipping Point” or “Outliers”

TRY THIS: Revisionist History

HERE’S WHY: If you have ever even seen “The Tipping Point,” “Outliers,” or any of Malcom Gladwell’s work, this podcast is for you. Each episode takes a sideways look at a specific historical topic. No, no, don’t worry, it’s not boring – it’s actually fascinating! Episode #10 chronicles the amazing story of British comic, Harry Enfield, and how he satirized the current political situation with a character called Lots of Money. Sounds kind of like SNL (think Tiny Fey as Sarah Palin), right? Yep, it’s just like that. Totally worth a listen.

 


CLGo3vlW8AAyKvxIF YOU LIKE THIS: Getting pep talks

TRY THIS: Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert

HERE’S WHY: Everyone needs a good pep talk & if you are in a creative rut or need a change, this podcast is for you. It is as if her latest book, Big Magic, just jumped off the shelf and decided to have a little one on one chat with you. Encouraging, witty, & slightly irreverent (with talks like, Pursue Your Passions Like a MOFO), it’s always inspiring to listen to. Episodes have a very conversational vibe and feels like you are having coffee with friends chatting about your biggest, scariest creative fears and knocking them down one by one. Great if you are looking for an inspirational ass kicking or if you just need to shake things up.

 


CfYsqdRW4AA4nS-IF YOU LIKE THIS: Mindfulness with a side of snark

TRY THIS: 10% Happier

HERE’S WHY: Don’t get me wrong, I am all about meditating, mindfulness, and living a more thoughtful life…I just like my enlightenment with a bit of snark. Hosted by Dan Harris (the ABC newsman who had a panic attack on Good Morning America), this show is all about trying to answer one question: Can you be an ambitious person and still strive for enlightenment (whatever that means)? Great for a commute, something to listen to while walking the dog, or just when you need a little boost.

 

 

 


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EATALY – ROSÉ TASTING aperitivo at its finest

Ayo! You guys! We’ve been on a rosé kick lately & when we saw that one of our favorite hot spots was hosting a little class, we just had to join in the fun. So the other night LK & I walked over to Eataly for a quick guided wine tasting of Southern Italian rosé wines & it was all that we wanted it to be & more.IMG_3608

We can’t seem figure it out why but we always seem to get the absolute best instructor/leader/speaker in all of the classes/tastings/tours we’ve done this summer! We are lucky gals because this time around, we were blessed with Jordan Anderson of the wine & beverage department & he was just a peach! He was extremely knowledgeable, opened up the floor for questions often and interacted with us tasters on a super cordial level. Quick shout out to Jordan – you are the greatest!
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The class, about an hour long, was held on the second floor tucked away in the corner of their abundantly beautiful wine section. At this point in the day (right after work) LK & were getting a little hangry & when we saw that there were nibbles laid out for us at a bar-like seating arrangement, we were ecstatic (because, I mean, food). We got to nibble on the most delicious parmesan cheese, their famous rustic bread (a soft sourdough) and Canadian bacon with shiitake mushrooms & sage. They all paired so well with the rosé & it was a perfect weeknight wine session complete with amazing gourmet treats.
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The rosé was the perfect patio pounders & the experience was the ultimate summer apervito. You just can’t beat Eataly’s vibrant atmosphere and & all of the Italian offerings! If you haven’t already, go shop their markets, indulge in a tasting or sign up for a cooking class & experience this place. It’s the quintessential grocery store & so much more!

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END OF SUMMER READING LIST

I am a big reader, always have been. I was the gal that went to her English teacher and asked for extra summer reading lists, additional book assignments, and was writing my favorite authors asking them to come speak at my school or sign my copy. Now, as an adult, reading has become a total luxury. It’s that sacred time where you can snuggle up on the sofa & dive, head first, into a whole new world. Twenty minutes with a good book is one of my favorite indulgences – add in a glass of wine or a bathtub and it’s all ‘life made’ over here.

Sadly, between my growing love of shitty TV, mounting to-do lists, and chores around the house, I haven’t been spending as much time digging into my reading list as I would have liked. HOWEVER, it’s a new month & things are about to slow down, so I am making a personal goal to start reading more. Thankfully, I have friends who are much smarter than me & have recommended some goodies to dive into this fall.

What have you been reading? I want to know! Book club anyone?Fall reading list vis Lauren Kelp

1 | THE SHARING ECONOMY

Hailed by my incredibly savvy friend, Anne, this is all about the end of employment (as we know it) & the rise of crowd based capitalist. Brilliant economist, Arun Sundararajan, breaks down this newly organized economy where we make money by “sharing” assets, peer-to-peer commercial exchange (i.e. Uber, Lyft, AirBnb, etc.)

2 | BIG MAGIC

Since reading this I have recommended it to everyone I know, given it as gifts countless times, and have quotes written on post-it notes all over my house. If you are in a rut & need a change, frustrated with your current creative situation, or just need a little kick in the ass to help you get up and do all those things you’ve been dreaming about – this is it. It’s the best friend pep-talk you never knew you needed and then some.

3 | THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING

Described by our fabulous Editorial Assistant, Courtney, as “if you haven’t read this, you haven’t lived.” Intensely personal, deeply honest, and wildly cathartic for anyone going through loss, grief, or personal issues. While you might want to keep a box of tissues nearby, don’t let that deter you from this classic Joan Didion memoir.

Fall reading list vis Lauren Kelp

4 | 100 YEARS OF THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES

If you aren’t a big reader, don’t have time to get into a new book, or just want something short before bed or during the commute, this is it. While a bit hefty in size, you read stories you might normally pass over, fall in love with authors you probably haven’t heard of, and get an incredible peak into the literary climate of each decade. It’s so good. It’s also the perfect gift for any bookworm on your list.

5| YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT

This book is absolutely hysterical. I mean, just read the back cover description: Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her “transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man,” attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called “ma’am” and “miss” (“Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds”).

A riot, right?! If you a looking for a feel good read or love other hysterical memoirs, this is right up your alley.

6 | TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Every year at the end of August, I read To Kill A Mockingbird. It is absolutely one of my favorite books & one that deserves to be revisited time and time again. If you haven’t read it since 8th grade (or whenever it was assigned at school), it’s absolutely worth a re-read. It will impact your life in the best way.

Fall reading list vis Lauren Kelp


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3 STEPS TO A BETTER BED TIME

IMG_3915Natalie here! Today I’m talking about nighttime routines and why it’s so important to have one. Do you have a nighttime routine? Are there consistent things you do every night before you go to bed? Personally, I go through phases where I have a nighttime routine that’s really healthy and then phases where I completely abandon it. When I’m not on top of my nighttime routine, I typically notice a pretty dramatic slump in my overall wellbeing.

When I work with clients that are perpetually stressed I always start by taking a look at their morning and nighttime routines because what we do first thing in the morning and right before we go to sleep can have such a great impact on how we feel in general.

The good news is, creating an awesome nighttime routine can help you sleep more deeply, wake up feeling rested, and even improve your mood and productivity throughout the entire next day.

When creating a nighttime routine it’s important to start where you are instead of setting overly ambitious goals. Don’t let a nighttime routine intimidate you. A good routine can look so many different ways, there’s no one way to do anything!

Here are three steps to creating a nighttime routine that works for you:

HAVE A CONSISTENT(ISH) BEDTIME:

Going to bed around the same time every night helps your body get into a natural rhythm with sleep. This can help with insomnia and it can even make it easier to become a morning person! I say consistent (ish) because we’re humans, and it’s important to leave wiggle room for life to happen. Remember it’s never about being perfect, it’s just about doing what’s best for you in the present moment.

GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE BED:

This one can be challenging for most people, especially because a lot of us fall asleep, Phones in hand, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Signing offline 30 minutes to an hour before bed gives you a chance to disconnect from the outside world and allows your nervous system to calm down. If you’ve ever laid in bed with your mind racing when you should be sleeping, too much social media at night could be the culprit. Get offline and do something that soothes your mind. Maybe read a book, drink a hot cup of tea or listen to some relaxing music. This might be the most challenging tip I’m offering, but it’s also probably the most potent. If this sounds overwhelming start small and work your way up to doing this daily.

CREATE A NIGHTLY ROUTINE THAT FOCUSES PURELY ON SELF-CARE:

This can look like lighting a candle or incense before bed, taking time to meditate, and it can also look like applying moisturizer to your face or body. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s really just about spending time doing something that feels good to you.

Applying these tips will help you sleep better, and feel more centered and grounded throughout the day. Who doesn’t want that? Cheers to peaceful nights and more restful sleep!


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WEEKEND PARTY PLAYLISTS Labor Day weekend, anyone?

Well all know that music can absolutely make or break a party. Whether it is a dinner party with friends, a big backyard hang, or a weekend celebration – music is totally the unsung hero of any event. Don’t have time to curate the perfect party playlist in between cooking, cleaning, and all those last minute details? Of course you don’t. Avoid playing DJ during the event (or even worse, having that one friend take over….it’s okay, we all have one) try out these four perfect curated party playlists. Looking for an ambient anthem vibe? Yep, we’ve got it. Need something more sophisticated but not sleepy? Got that too. Trust us, if it’s one thing we know – it’s how to throw a party!

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THE DINNER PARTY HERO

This is one of all time favorite playlists. Perfect for the evening dinner party where you just want to sit back, relax, get a little tipsy and catch up with friends. This playlist is packed full of feel good rhythms that you can’t help but bob your head to. No one will want to change this station because it’s got a little something for everyone. Cat Power, Otis Redding, Dawes, and Johnny Cash – how could it get any better than that?

UPBEAT ANTHEM WEEKEND

This guy is perfect for the weekend house party. Grilling out in the backyard, people mingling throughout the house, everyone just doing their own thing & having a good time – this is the playlist you want. It’s upbeat and full of remix tracks and positive vibes & keeps any party going. Plus, if you are hoping hour house party turns into a dance party, this is a pretty good warm up playlist.

PARTYBARGE TUNES

This is also a fan favorite in our office. It’s the perfect playlist for drinking on a boat, hanging out on the lake, or sitting poolside. Curated by #TeamSia, so how can it not be amazing? Pop baselines and catchy hooks make this playlist super fun and a total mood booster. It’s also a really fun playlist to dance to — just saying!

ULTIMATE WEEKEND HANG

Throwing a party, having some drinks with friends, or just hanging out on the porch – this playlist is the ultimate weekend hangout mashup. While there isn’t anything too mainstream on this playlist, there is a good mix of tunes you’ve heard of stuff you can’t pronounce.  If you are looking for a little bit of lounge music that isn’t lame or Miami-esque, this is it!


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