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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

ELIMINATING TOXINS IN YOUR BATHROOM ROUTINE

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!

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
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Soothing and delicious latte that is packed full of anti-inflammatory properties.
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond milk
Instructions
  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

 

DEEP BREATHING TO MANAGE ANXIETY wellness challenge

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?

DEEP BREATHING FOR WHEN YOU ARE FEELING ANXIOUS

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

GIN OLD FASHIONED for the non-bourbon drinker

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktailsGang, how is it not the weekend yet? Jeesh! I have been crushing hard on this gin twist on the classic Old Fashioned and I cannot wait to share. I had a gin based Old Fashioned at a bar downtown Chicago and was OBSESSED! It’s crazy good & if you are like me and just starting to dip your toes in to the whiskey well, this is a refreshing way to get the flavor without going crazy. So, how do you make it you ask? SIMPLE!

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktails

So the simple, 30-second recipe is this: Grab your gin, tonic, and the Cocktail Crate Old Fashioned mix and voila!

If you don’t know Cocktail Crate, you should. They are honestly the best pre-made mixers around (& no, this isn’t a sponsored post). We have a few on hand at all times and they are always a hit. You just add in your ice, gin, a bit of the mix, and a splash of tonic to make it bubbly & heyo, it’s party time!

For the more living room mixologist friendly recipe, see below. Both are great & I promise, you’ll be obsessed!

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktails

GIN OLD FASHIONED
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Oz Good Quality Gin
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 2 Sugar cubes
  • Zest of an orange or lemon
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. Divide the sugar cubes into 2 glasses.
  2. Saturate with bitters - give it a good couple shakes or so.
  3. Top with 2 shots of gin and muddle until the sugar breaks down and begins to dissolve in the mixture.
  4. Add as much ice as makes you happy and stir for about 45 seconds.
  5. Run the zest of the citrus along the top of each glass. Twist and squeeze to release some oil and drop into the mixture or skewer with blueberries and place on side of the glass.
  6. Bottoms up.

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktails

SANEM’S TRIFLE the best 30-second dessert ever

You know when you are going over to a friends house for a dinner party & you ask what to bring, and because your friend is nice, they are like “Ohmygosh, nothing, don’t worry!” Or maybe, “maybe a bottle of wine?” But you love this friend and you want to help out, so you say, “Okay, I’ll bring some wine, but I am also bringing over dessert. Nothing you can do about it.”
30-second dessert | Sanem's Trifle via Lauren KelpYou feel good because you’ve taken some of the load off your friend & that is a nice thing. You’ve got an extra bottle of wine from the last time you hosted, so that’s easy breezy. Done & done. You’ve crossed that off your mental to do list & all is well. Until the day of the dinner party & you’ve totally forgotten your really nice offer to bring dessert & you are running late & are starting to stress about it. What to do?!

Step away from the store bought pie, you don’t need it. Give me 30-seconds and a few simple ingredients and we will whip up such a delicious dessert, you’ll be on sweets duty for the rest of your dinner party attending life!
30-second dessert | Sanem's Trifle via Lauren Kelp

Meet your new favorite dessert, the Sanem Trifle <3. A girlfriend of mine, the lovely Sanem of Sanem’s Boutique, shared this trifle recipe with me and she swore that it was truthfully the best dessert & couldn’t be more simple to whip up.

So, naturally, we had to give it a try. Lawd, have mercy was she right. This dessert is crazy easy to make & really, really good. It’s wildly easy to make & perfect for individual servings or to make little ones en mass for a cocktail party.

30-second dessert | Sanem's Trifle via Lauren Kelp

Sanem's Trifle
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Sara Lee family size all butter pound cake
  • One quart Land O Lakes heavy whipping cream
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 box Salerno Santa's Favorite anise flavored cookies
  • 1 Jell-O box of instant white chocolate pudding
Instructions
  1. Rinse raspberries in a colander and set aside to dry.
  2. Follow instructions on the back of your pudding box. Make the pudding and set aside.
  3. Pour about 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into a large mixing bowl. By using a balloon whisk, whisk the whipping cream with powdered sugar for about 5 minutes. I seriously eyeball the amount of powdered sugar I add. Start off with a tablespoon or two and then add to taste. You will know your whipped cream is done when it reaches soft peaks.
  4. Take the pound cakes and place them on your cutting board. Cut them in half length wise. Take the cup your a going to "build" your trifle in and place it open side down on the pound cake. Press the cup down to cut out your pound cake. Push the round pound cake piece down into the cup with your fingers so it becomes the first (bottom) layer of your trifle.
  5. Your next layer are the raspberries. This layer will cover the entire piece of pound cake. Be generous.
  6. Third layer to creating the Razy P Trifle is the pudding. I add the pudding into a glad ziploc sandwich bag. I seal the top, cut a corner off the bottom of the bag. It helps me control the application of the pudding and looks much neater rather than adding the pudding with a spoon. Add enough pudding so that you have completely covered the raspberries.
  7. You are almost done! Now, take that fabulous fluffy whipped cream and do the same thing that you just did with the pudding. Add some whipped cream into a sandwich bag, cut a corner off and add your whipped cream over the pudding. Cover all of the pudding with the layer of whipped cream, and you are set!
  8. The anise flavored cookies play a role at the very end. I add some in a sandwich bag, seal the bag and crush the cookies. Remove the crumbs from the bag and garnish the top of your trifle. If you have a few extra raspberries you can add one two on top of the whipped cream and garnish the crushed cookies over the raspberries. Grab your spoon and dig into the layers of goodness, my friend!

30-second dessert | Sanem's Trifle via Lauren KelpStunning right? Promise me something, if you only try one thing on LK, have it be this. I mean, just look at it! Give it a try & let me know what you think. xo, LK

30-second dessert | Sanem's Trifle via Lauren Kelp

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 goat yoga class…

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.

'>LADY LOVE for Valentine's Day

GAL PALS! Okay, we’ve been friends for a while, so be honest with me, are you a fan of Valentine’s Day? It gets a bad rep and, since we are being honest, it wasn’t always my favorite holiday. But, over the years, she has grown on me a bit & instead of using V-Day to celebrate one person, we have started using it as an excuse to celebrate love (all the people we love, all the things we love, the freedom of love, etc.) in general.

30 second valentine's day cocktail via Lauren Kelp | Rose Lemon Spritzer

This Valentine’s Day I wanted to do something a little extra special (because, let’s face it, we need to remember all the good things right now), so I am hosting a fun get together. On my way home from a meeting, I swung by my favorite place (Marshalls, duh), and picked up the freaking cutest supplies!

From a festive arrow garland, to adorable Meri Meri love tokens, & let’s not even talk about these amazing lip cocktail napkins! Sorry Chicago, I bought the three packs they had 😀

30 second valentine's day cocktail via Lauren Kelp | Rose Lemon Spritzer

I mean, everything you see here is from Marshall’s & it was all under $50 – how can you beat that? So make things extra fun, I whipped up a batch of Lady Love cocktails for the group. You get a little bit of tartness from the grapefruit juice, a little sweetness from the simple syrup & cranberry juice, and they are fantastically customizable. Mix up a pitcher of the mixer and have a tequila or a chilled bottle of vodka on deck, so your guests can decide what they prefer.

If you are into garnishes, mint is perfect, or toss in a fun stir stick and get really crazy! Grab the recipe for the Lady Love cocktail below & let’s get this party started! xo, LK

30 second valentine's day cocktail via Lauren Kelp | Rose Lemon Spritzer

LADY LOVE
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
The perfect way to celebrate a little love in your life
Ingredients
  • 2 oz tequila or vodka
  • 4 oz pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • Splash of cranberry juice
Instructions
  1. Fill shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Add tequila (or vodka), grapefruit juice, and simple syrup
  3. Shake and strain into chilled rocks glasses filled with ice cubes.
  4. Add a splash of cranberry juice & gently stir.
  5. Sip, serve, enjoy!

30 second valentine's day cocktail via Lauren Kelp | Rose Lemon Spritzer