IGNORE YOUR PHONE wellness challenge

Last week I met a girlfriend for lunch and as I sat there waiting for her, I couldn’t help but notice that someone at every table was on their phone. Everyone either had their phone face up on the table, in their lap, or they were endlessly scrolling away on it. Not just the majority of tables, but every single table had phones out, face up, ready to distract them from a fabulous lunch with someone they wanted to grab lunch with.

I watched as people felt the buzz of their phone, put down their silverware mid-conversation, and replied, scrolled, clicked, and ‘grammed. We are all guilty of this & I get it, it’s easy to multitask, but I had to wonder how, after being plugged in and available to everything/everyone all day, we are able to refill ourselves and…to a maybe larger question…how is it changing us? Is unplugging the new freedom?

You’ve read a million articles, heard a trillion podcasts, and I am sure have had several thousand conversations about digital detoxing, it’s benefits, it’s downfalls, and all the peaks and perils in between. And while I am a huge fan of putting boundaries on your tech use (no phones in the bedroom, shut your tv off by a certain time, etc.), I get that not everyone has that luxury, or that tech serves different uses for different people. But, here is what I want to challenge us to try this week…ignore your phone at meal time. That’s it.

Studies show that time away from technology

help improve posture and eye contact

improve short and long term memory

open up new perspectives

makes you seem more trustworthy

improves relationship quality and sense of closeness

makes people want to talk to you more

Don’t pull your phone out of your bag, or nestle it in your lap. Don’t allow yourself the temptation of looking at it every time you feel a buzz or a high pitched chime, turn it on silent. Hey, maybe go crazy and just leave it in another room while you eat at home. What could be the worst thing that happens?

This week, try thinking these three simple thoughts:

I put my phone on silent if I know I am going to be with other people in a social setting.

I leave my phone in my bag, rather than on the table, so it’s harder to access.

I look more open, trustworthy, and friendly without a phone in my hand.

photography by the fabulous Iron & Honey

sources Fast Company & Scientific American


Did you know that your skin is your biggest organ? Now think about all the junk you put on your skin – soap, shampoo, conditioner, scrubs, lotions, deodorant – it’s a lot! Now think about how much you know about all those products? Are they organic? Paraben free? What even is a paraben?

I have had terrible skin since I can remember. Terrible spots, flakes, the works. From 13 to almost 30, it doesn’t get easier to deal with. BUT, a few great things have come out of having shit skin, I have tested almost every product on the market and have become a total nutter about researching the isht out of what I am putting on my body. That nuttiness has migrated from purely facial products to just about everything that falls under ‘bath and beauty.’

There is a crap load of funky stuff floating around in your products that you probably don’t even think about because it’s in a pretty package (I am so, so guilty of this) or because it’s sold at a certain store, and it could be affecting your whole body, not just your skin.

Now I know re-stocking isn’t cheap, but I am taking on one room a month and figuring out what stays and what goes. Join me and take an hour out of your night and go through your bathroom cabinets. Pull out all the product from your shower, under the cabinets, all those samples, and even those bins you keep in the back full of half used bottles and tubes. Grab a trash bin and toss out anything that has the following:

BHA and BHT (commonly found in moisturizers)

MEA, DEA, & TEA  (or monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine)

P-phenylenediamine (coal tar dye) and anything with CI, FD&C, or D&C followed by a five-digit number (found in hair dye or colored products)

Parabens (found in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products)

Dibutyl phthalate (found in nail polish)

Methenamine or Hexamethylenetetramine (found in eye makeup, as well as shampoo and hair conditioners)

If you want help or more guidelines, try downloading Think Dirty or EWG’s Healthy Living. Both apps allow you to scan your products to see where your products rates on the dirty/clean scale.

This week I am taking on my bathroom products. I’ve thrown out a ton of lotions, funky soaps, and countless samples. Here is a list of clean (or more clean) products that I’ve swapped out. Okay, from left to right…

Lime & Coconut Salty Scrub

Palermo Charcoal Soap Bar

Meow Meow Tweet Natural Deodorant

Goodwell Toothbrush

Pacific Mint Toothpaste

Meow Meow Tweet Body Lotion

Ritual Vitamins

What products do you love? I am always on the hunt to clean up my routines & would love to know your favorites <3

Stay tuned for posts on clean lipsticks, beauty products, and lots of other swaps. Here’s to clean cleaning!

THE RUBY ROSE a refresh grapefruit and rosemary cocktail

Babe-trons, we did it. We made it through the week. It’s officially Friday, it’s probably close(ish) to quitting time, and I am sure there are one or two things for you to celebrate. And you now the best way to celebrate? With a fabulous cocktail! We are crushing hard on this delicious grapefruit and rosemary pair and we can’t wait to share. Meet the Ruby Rose. Delightful, refreshing, and absolutely no muddling required 😉
The Ruby Rose Cocktail via Lauren KelpI mean, look at her! She can’t even help her sassy pink self. So here is the skinny, the Ruby Rose is like freaky easy. A little grapefruit, some vodka, a little St. Germain (which you should have on hand at all time because even if you don’t use it, it makes your bar cart look fancy af), some rosemary and voi-freaking-la. Easy baby, what did I tell ya?


The Ruby Rose Cocktail via Lauren Kelp

Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • Juice from half a Ruby Red grapefruit
  • 2 shots of vodka (we used Tito's)
  • 1 shot of St. Germain Elderflower
  • Dash of lemon juice (more to taste)
  • Rosemary sprig to garnish and stir
  • Sugar for rimming
  1. Cut the end of the lemon off and rub it on the top of your glass and dip in sugar
  2. Add a handful of ice into your cocktail shaker and add in vodka, grapefruit juice, and St. Germain, shake gently until container is frosty.
  3. Pour into your perfectly rimmed glass, add a sprig of rosemary & stir to add in some of the herb flavor.
  4. Serve, sip, repeat!

The Ruby Rose Cocktail via Lauren KelpThe Ruby Rose Cocktail via Lauren Kelp

IS STAYING IN THE NEW GOING OUT? and are we mad about it?

Have you heard about this latest trend – staying in is the new going outTBH, I am having a hard time containing my excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out as much as the next gal, but between the late nights at the office, crazy travel schedule, and trying to squeeze some gym time in there somewhere, staying in becoming trendy is just the break I was looking for.

Nesting is officially the new going out.

Call me old, but there is nothing that I love doing more on a Friday night then coming home, taking my makeup off, making a great dinner, and slipping in to a scalding hot bath. I turn off my phone, pile on the epsom salts, and maybe…if I am feeling extra crazy…dive head first into a good mud mask.

With professional burnout rates being so high, people giving up social media for Lent because the pressure to be doing something “cool” all the time is too much, and not to mention all the other emotionally exhausting sh*t that greats us every time we walk out the door, it’s no wonder self care searches are up by 121%. But let’s be real, going out isn’t going anywhere, it’s just getting prioritized a bit behind casual quality time with friends and some self care action.

What do you think? Do you believe the hype? Is staying in really the new going out?

TURMERIC IS THE NEW BLACK wellness challenge

Turmeric and ginger latte recipe via Lauren KelpI was at a swank little coffee shop in the West Loop the other day and saw “Golden Latte” on the menu, so naturally, I ordered it because it sounded weird and maybe magical and I have to say…I was very pleasantly surprised!

Little did I know that this fancy latte has a cult following. You’ve heard of matcha lattes, but have you heard of the latest wonder drink – turmeric lattes? From Sydney to San Fran, people are ditching their morning cups of joe for this healthy alternative and swearing by it’s many magical benefits.

What are the benefits you ask?

  • anti-inflammatory
  • potent antioxidant
  • boosts immunity and brain power
  • aids in muscle pain relief
  • helps with digestion
  • reduces cholesterol
  • lowers risk of diabetes
  • helps fight infection, depression, anxiety, and I am sure a bunch of other annoying ailments
  • PLUS it’s amazing for your skin and a great source of natural caffeine

Okay, so here is my health challenge for the week — I am going to swap out two of my weekly morning cups of coffee for turmeric lattes and see how it goes. Join me?

Ginger and Turmeric Lattee
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
Soothing and delicious latte that is packed full of anti-inflammatory properties.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  1. Combine turmeric, ginger, sugar, and coconut oil in a blender and wait to blend
  2. Heat almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.
  3. Pour the hot almond milk into the blender and blitz everything until smooth and frothy.
  4. Serve, sip, & enjoy!

Turmeric and ginger latte recipe via Lauren Kelp


THE MOST FABULOUS APRONS YOU’VE EVER SEEN plus pineapple salsa salmon

Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren KelpHey there, Megan here! I’m popping in on one of my favorite hostessing blogs (aka Lauren Kelp!) to share a delicious recipe and background on a little adventure I recently embarked on that is perfect for all your party lovers. If you can’t tell from above, it involves champagne…and lots of it.

So yes, go grab that glass and sit back and enjoy!

Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren Kelp

First and foremost kicking things off with a little introduction.

Full name: Megan Patterson

Occupation(s): CEO/Founder of Bon Aprontit, Lifestyle/Hostess Blogger of Blog Appetit and Senior Marketing Manager at Modern Luxury Media <- 9-5 gig

Hobbies: Anything that involves cooking, friends and champagne

Guilty Pleasure: Binge watching New Girl and Shark Tank

Starbucks Order: Black with Splenda

Yup, that about sums it up. I’m a champagne drinking, party throwing and everyday hustling kind of girl.

Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren Kelp

So now to the good stuff.

I always dreamed of starting my own company as I’m sure many of you have since you’re all a bunch of #GIRLBOSSES. It wasn’t until this past fall my dreams finally came true and I launched Bon Aprontit – a line of luxury jewel embellished aprons to help women feel fabulous in the kitchen.

Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren Kelp

The idea of Bon Aprontit all started when I would watch my mom throw these elaborate dinner parties for friends and family and buy a beautiful new dress to wear for the evening but then cover it up with an old apron. We all love to throw a good party, am I right? But who wants to worry about spilling on their new dress or covering it up with an old apron? Not I, so that’s how Bon Aprontit was born.

Bon Aprontit is the perfect gift for the dinner party hostess, bride to be, new homeowner and woman who loves to look fabulous when cooking up a delicious meal at home especially my favorite salmon dish that I’m sharing below.
Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren Kelp

Trust me when I say this will be your new go-to dish this summer because yes, it’s that good.

With only a few simple steps and basic ingredients you’ll be whipping up this summertime favorite in no time and in style with Bon Aprontit 😉

So now to the recipe (aka the REALLY good stuff) and an overload of photos because I can’t get enough of how beautiful this dish looks. Enjoy!

Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren Kelp

Recipe type: Dinner
For the Salmon
For the Pickled Red Onions
  • ½ TSP SALT
For the Pineapple Vinaigrette
  • ½ TSP SALT
For the Pineapple Salsa
  1. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Once pan is hot, place skinless salmon in pan and sear on each side for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Finish in oven for approximately 3 minutes, or until desired finish.
  1. Combine the first four ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Immediately remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. Slice red onion and place in pickling liquid.
  4. Refrigerate for 6 hours, up to 24.
  5. Drain liquid from onions.
  1. Using a potato peeler, peel cucumber lengthwise to create thin slices.
  1. Combine pineapple juice, white wine vinegar, and dijon mustard in blender.
  2. Blend on low and slowly add olive oil in a steady stream until vinaigrette is emulsified.
  3. Finish with salt to taste.
  4. Place cucumber slides in a bowl and lightly drizzle with pineapple vinaigrette to soften.
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  1. Place seared salmon on plate.
  2. Top with pineapple salsa, pickled red onions, and cucumber ribbons.
  3. Lightly drizzle pineapple vinaigrette over top.
  4. Finish with micro greens and edible flowers if desired.

Luxury hostess apron and Pineapple Salsa Salmon via Lauren Kelp

photography by aimée mazzenga




Deep breathing for anxiety via Lauren Kelp

Maybe it is the season or the current state of affairs (can we just get one day without a CNN alert, puhhlease), but I have become increasingly more and more anxious. I have never considered myself someone who has anxiety but recently I find myself becoming stressed more easily and overwhelmed more quickly – which is gross and super not fun. So, this week I am trying to give myself a minute to take some deep breaths whenever I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Join me?


1. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale through your nose for five seconds

2. Exhale through your mouth for good five seconds

3. Now repeat and count to 10 (an inhale is “1” and exhale is “2” and so on)

4. If you need another go, count to 20 or until you feel more zen

I have started doing this when I get overwhelmed with work or in rush hour traffic (sans the closing eyes bit) and it has really helped take the edge of the situation. Do you find deep breathing to be helpful? Excited to be working towards a less anxious week with you!

Deep breathing for anxiety via Lauren Kelp


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 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!


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.


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!


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?


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


There are lots of reasons to love Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec, but I think the standing O goes to her for coining the phrase “Galentine’s Day.” Maybe I totally live under a rock, but that is the first time I had hear of it and it was the perfect excuse to get the gals together, celebrate them as the magical unicorns they are, and throw a little party!
This year (because, don’t worry, Galentine’s Day has become an annual event) we decided to do something casual and classy. We kicked off our shoes, slipped on our Birdies, and settled in for a non-stop afternoon of catch-up. It was the absolute highlight of my month!

Have you ever made a breakfast board? It’s the easiest thing & my new favorite way to arrange breakfast goodies. We cleared the coffee table, threw down a runner, and piled cheese boards full of homemade grapefruit donuts, the most delicious cranberry & orange scones from Simply Taylor‘s cookbook Real Food, Real Simple, tons of fruit, and other goodies sprinkled throughout.

It was the absolute perfect Galentine’s Day spread! This way, the gals can nibble, munch, and graze all morning long and brunch slowly turns into lunch so the party never stops.

We had a mimosa bar on a side table & several of bottles of wine placed throughout the room (for easy access, duh) and it was the easiest, no-fuss party I think I’ve ever thrown!

Give it a try – I promise, it will be the best party you’ve had in a long time! Happy Hosting, LK

HOW TO DECORATE CUPCAKES like you went to pastry school

Question for you – are you a baker? I am trying so hard to become a really awesome baker, but I have to master the patience portion. With cooking, you can throw in a little of this & a little of that, a dash of something unexpected, and voila – you feel like Gordon Ramsey. With baking, there is so much precision and attention to detail – neither of which I have. In a decision to try and up my kitchen game, I signed up for the Windy City Dinner Fairy cupcake decorating class at Macy’s last week & would you believe it was a total blast?! It was free, delicious, and I learned some seriously valuable frosting tips! 
How to decorate cupcakes like you went to pastry school

Nicole from Windy City Dinner Fairy taught us how to decorate cupcakes with a piping bag. Have you ever used one? We got a set as a shower gift and I have barely broken it out, but thanks to some pro tips (like, make sure your frosting is room temperature before putting it into the bag otherwise the icing won’t go on smoothly) and I feel like I have kind of got the hang of it. 

How to decorate cupcakes like you went to pastry school

If you are like me & have no idea what you are doing, here is a basic guide:

Round Tips: for lines, dots, writing, filling, and thicker frosting

Open Star Tip: star shaped decorations & perfect to make the below hydrangea flower frosting effect

Closed Star Tip: rosettes

Basket-weave Tip: for lattices & ribbonlike lines and boarders

To make the awesome hydrangea cupcake frosting effect (like the cupcake below), fasten your open star tip to your piping bag, fill with room temperate icing, and squeezing slowly place a drop of icing starting from the outer rims moving inward. Feel free to go as high as you want to go or as wide. It’s your cupcake, so have a little fun with is!

How to decorate cupcakes like you went to pastry schoolSo, what do you think? Ready to try out your new cupcake decorating skills? For more information on Windy City Dinner Fairy visit Nicole’s Facebook page and for upcoming information on Macy’s events, click here. Happy decorating!

How to decorate cupcakes like you went to pastry schoolThis post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.