First of all, this is the first #tinykelphouse post!! That is a big freaking deal. We bought our little 700-sq.ft loveshack in New Buffalo just before Thanksgiving and are just now, JUST NOW, able to sleep in their with running water, a functioning bathroom, no doors yet, but hey…it’s no longer yellow and it’s ours! We did about 80% of the renovations ourselves (which…plaster dust is not for the faint of heart or those looking to test their relationship) and while I now go shopping for power tools more than shoes, I can honestly say it was way more fun than not.

Besides the dramatic impact of the house no longer being yellow, these blinds are INSANE. They legit make the house.
First of all, they come with a magical remote control.

Okay, wait, wait, wait…let’s back up to the beginning.

When researching blinds I came across The Shade Store & feel in love. Fast. If you live in Chicago, you’ve probably heard of them or seen their showroom at the Merchandise Mart and let me tell you…it’s magical. I worked with Carol (or as I like to call her, the magical unicorn) at the showroom and she answered all of my questions. Like, “I feel like window treatments are an adult purchase?” Also, “how the eff do I get started?”

We walked around the showroom, talking about paint colors, I showed her pictures of the space, a general design plan for the house, and the overall vibe of the place. Ultimately, we decided on these gorgeous linen roller shades for the living room and kitchen french doors. Guys, they are magical. I mean….LOOK AT THEM.

They are a perfect “not aggressive white but calm white” shade of linen, they keep out the heat of the sun without blocking the light completely, and they roll up to almost nothing. Besides that narrow bar at the top, there isn’t anything to them. No cords or thick bars, just narrow little strip at the top that rolls up like nothing.

Best part? Besides making my house look finished, refined, and totally chic? EVERYTHING IS ON A REMOTE!

Our magical installer programmed all four roller blinds on to a combined channel, so now if I want to roll all of them up or down, all I do is hit “0” on the remote & magiiiic. They each have their own channel too, so if I wanted to roll the main front door shade up, but keep the rest down, I hit channel “2” – WIZARDRY I TELL YOU.

Here is the deal – if you are looking to update your window treatments or just want to give your home a refresh – hit up The Shade Store. They are beyond helpful, kind, and informative plus the shades are absolutle magic. If you are local, ask for Carol, she is a wizard.

thanks to the shade store for sponsoring this post

BLUE BIRD BRUNCH plus a Le Creuset giveaway

Is there anything better than a warm weather brunch? The sun is out, every one is in a good mood, the champagne is flowing – it’s just magic all around. As you know, I love any (and all) excuses to throw a get together and hosting a brunch around a fabulous new serving dish is right up my alley. This weekend it was all about this gorgeous new Fleur Cocotte from Le Creuset.

Normally, I am very minimal and utilitarian about my dishes, but there is something about the embossed flowers on the lid and base of the cocotte that I couldn’t resist. Plus, it has a lovely matte finish that makes me feel all sexy and European when I am cooking.

IN FACT, I love it so much we are going to GIVE ONE AWAY!! Hop on over to @Lauren_Kelp and enter to win.

That way we can be cooking twinzies and make all sorts of delicious fun things in our fancy new Fleur Cocotte

Speaking of delicious things, have you tried a carrot ginger soup? Sister, I am hooked! We made one a few months ago and they have been on steady repeat ever since. I love this recipe (don’t worry, it’s below) because it’s light, fresh, super good for you, and wildly easy to make. PLUS, it is a dream for entertaining. It’s pretty and tasty – what could be better?

Keep scrollin’ on down for the recipe…

Recipe type: SOUP
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pound carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives
  1. Heat ½ cup broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in ginger, carrots, potato and remaining broth and heat to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. In batches, carefully puree in a blender.
  5. Add water or broth if needed to thin to desired consistency.
  6. Reheat soup if necessary. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with chives.

Are you convinced yet that you need the Fleur Cocotte in your life? Don’t forget to head over to @Lauren_Kelp for your chance to win one! Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!) and we will be picking the winner tomorrow!


thank you Le Creuset for sponsoring this post. all thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own


If I am being honest – and we are all friends here, so of course I am being honest – this end of winter/beginning of spring in between season always kind of gets me down. Call it the wacky weather or maybe because the skies tend to be more gray than blue, either way, I get bummed out. So, in an effort to simplify things, I am trying to make some small changes with big results. So…for this weeks challenge….

Here are several ways I am trying to simplify my life this week. Some of these might be up your alley, some maybe not so much, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

1 – No more falling asleep with the TV on

I know, I know, it’s a bad habit, but some nights my mind is racing so much that the only thing that will help me go to sleep is watching mindless TV shows (Arrow, anyone?) But, as we all know, falling asleep to the TV doesn’t exactly provide the foundation for rest, now does it? This week, I am putting down the remote and picking up a good book.

2 – No more waking up & checking emails

Do you do this? It’s the first thing I do when I turn the alarm off at 5 a.m. It’s like clockwork. I turn off the alarm, refresh my email, check the news (depressing), and Instagram. Immediately I feel stressed and rushed and it’s no bueno. This week I am putting my phone on airplane mode and giving myself a little extra time in the morning to ease into things.

Airplane mode keeps all your notifications from coming through (i.e. no emails, calls, texts, Instagram notifications, and all the other nonsense you get notified about). Here is to hoping this small change makes a BIG difference.

3 – No more chips and salsa for dinner

Tell me I am not alone in the weeknight meal struggle. Sometimes it’s hard to whip up a meal after a long day, you know what I mean? And once the pizza guy knows your name, that relationship has to end ASAP.

For those of you who meal plan, I envy you. While it’s not hard, it is just a bit time-consuming which is always the hurdle. This week, my goal is to meal plan for three dinners, nothing crazy, just something basic and easy to work into being a fully functioning adult.

4 – No more double booking

Scheduling every moment of every day is exhausting and a fool-proof way to set your plans up for failure. Happy hours and catching up with friends are meant to be fun, not stressful. Try limiting your hangouts and catch-ups to two days or swapping the happy hour for a walk outside or spin class. This week I am opting for a fewer hangouts of higher quality – you in?

5 – No more stuffing & cramming

By no means am I a hoarder, but there are just certain things that I can’t seem to organize. Random match books, receipts, random screws, you know, normal things. And don’t even get me started about the chair. You know when clothes aren’t dirty enough for the hamper, but not clean enough for the hamper — it’s the chair. So between the chair, the random junk drawer, and the other corner piles, something has got to go. This week, it’s time to tackle the chair…

6 – No more elaborate morning routines

When I was in college I was all about the elaborate morning routine. I woke up, stretched, journaled, had some quiet time, made breakfast, showered AND blow dired my hair, plus probably singing to the plants and talking to the birds because that is how much freaking free time I had. Who the eff has that kind of time now? Not I, said the over scheduled fly, not I.

While I am still a huge proponent of a morning routine (we talked all about it here), mine looks way, way different. It is all about waking up 10 minutes early, leaving my phone on DND, meditating for a few minutes, and giving myself a little extra love – maybe some mornings that means actually make a breakfast, or taking time to do my hair, or hey, here’s a big one, trying to make that morning meeting on time.

This goes for evening routines too! 

7 – No more multiple outfit changes per morning

I am notorious for changing multiple times in a morning, are you that way? Even if I think I know what I want to wear, majority of the time I spend half the morning picking out shoes or switching a top – it’s a nightmare. Your decision making skills begin to decline once you’ve made a certain amount of decisions in a day (it takes a lot of energy to make decisions all day and your brain gets tired), so spending a lot of time and energy on choosing an outfit takes away strong decision-making skills from something else.

This week I am giving my brain a hand and selecting outfits ahead of time, that way I don’t have to worry about it!

What about you? What changes have you made in your life to feel less stressed?

photography by Iron & Honey

KALE & AVOCADO SALAD lovely for a spring housewarming party

Party people, what’s happening?! Is this warm weather not the absolute best? Every time spring rolls around all I want to do is entertain. The windows are open, the grill gets fired up, and it’s a non-stop open house!

We recently moved in to a new space, so naturally we had to throw a housewarming party! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE housewarming get-togethers. Home ownership is a big deal and so it absolutely deserves to be celebrated and y’all know how I love to celebrate. But I also think that moving is a big deal and should be celebrated (congrats, you made it through a move….real life, that’s a big deal) so why not throw a housewarming party for a new apartment?! All the house parties!!

We are sharing four fabulous tricks to hosting a stress free housewarming party over on the Kendall Jackson blog, so head on over and get you some pointers. Real talk though, housewarming parties shouldn’t be stressful – don’t let them be. Who cares if you haven’t unpacked all your boxes and if the house isn’t perfect? There is something charming and refreshing about a space that isn’t perfect, you know?

Last week we hosted our little housewarming bash and I made my absolute favorite seasonal salad. I call it seasonal because it sounds like it won’t always be there, but truthfully, we have it in the dead of winter, so it’s really an all year round salad, it just tastes better in the spring-time. Meet the kale & avocado salad!

It’s got delicious chickpeas, yummy kale (that you rub a lemon vinaigrette on the leaves and it tastes like magic), and lots of avocado (because, hellllllo). It is perfect for a crowd and tastes like absolute heaven with a glass of crisp white wine. That is why we served K-J AVANT by the boatload. Salads and wine are like the grown up peanut butter and jelly and deserve to be enjoyed just as often.

Here is what I love about pairing a really healthy, delicious salad with K-J AVANT the earthy taste from the salad is sweetened by the vibrant fruity notes from the wine. The Chardonnay is crisp and cool and when it meets the avocado and chickpeas it is like a magical garden party. Plus, the price point is wildly affordable, so I always have it on hand for parties so we never run out!

Kale & Avocado Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 8 cups Kale (rinsed and chopped)
  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 ripe Avocado (diced)
  1. For the dressing, combine lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Once thoroughly mixed, slowly add in the olive oil while whisking until creamy.
  3. Add your kale to a large bowl and pour the dressing over the leaves and gently massage the dressing in to the leaves (this takes the bitterness out of the leaves and ensures a nice lemon flavor with every bite)
  4. Rinse and drain your chickpeas and dice your avocado into little cubes and gently fold in to the salad.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate util ready.

So, what do you think? Ready to host a fabulous stress free housewarming party and with a delicious salad and Chardonnay pairing as the menu? We thought so!

this post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson, all thoughts and opinions are my own

I DRANK COLLAGEN and heres what happened

If I was a betting gal, it would be easy money to say that you and everyone you know is taking about collagen. It’s the latest super supplement and it’s popping up on every heathy list imaginable – but what is it all about?

I wanted to see what all the hype was about, so naturally I dove right in, headfirst, and went gangbusters for a week. I ate, drank, gargled (jk, I didn’t do that), and breathed collagen (by only by accident because I sneezed while scooping some out….oops) and there are legit some amazing benefits…

Here is why everyone is loving collagen:

Great for your bones, joints, and muscles

Helps with digestion & is great for anyone with acid reflux, IBS, or leaky gut

Does wonders for your skin (goodbye wrinkles), teeth, nails, and hair

And, rumor has it, it supports a healthy nights sleep

After doing some research, I ordered Dr. Axe’s Multi-Collagen Protein and started adding two scoops to my morning smoothies. This particular mix is a high-quality blend of bovine, chicken, fish, and egg collagens, providing collagen Types I, II, III, V and X (hence, “multi” collagen).Types I and III are amazing for your skin, hair, and nails while Type II collagen, which  supports gut health, joint health and healthy immune system function.

This mix is great because it’s super high quality, easy to absorb, tasteless, and has absolutely no smell (which, to me, is a big win). Smoothies are a super easy way to work collagen in, but I have also mixed it in to my cup of tea in the evening, and lots of people use collagen in their recipes!

I’ve been drinking collagen for about two weeks now and I can tell that their is a difference in my skin, energy levels, and my hair feels more healthy. It’s so easy to work in to my morning routine and with noticeable results in such a short time, it’s definitely become a beloved part of my health regime.

What do you think? Would you try working collagen in to your routine?

FRENCH 75 my favorite go-to fancy cocktail

Hello, hello my favorite festive babes! How are you doing post-holiday? I for one have had a very, very slow start to 2017. Burn out is real and 2016 was full of it. I am taking my time & easing back into the swing of things, but in true LK form, we thought we would kick things off with a fun cocktail. Meet my favorite celebratory libation – the French 75!

french 75 | lauren kelp

The French 75 is particularly special to me, because we had them at our engagement party many moons ago. They always remind me of something special and fun. No matter where I am or what I am doing, if I have something to celebrate, a birthday, something big at work, I whip up a French 75 and cheers to the magic.

Do you have a drink like that? I am always so curious about how people celebrate. I would love to know!

french 75 | lauren kelp

Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons gin
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • ¼ cup chilled champagne
  1. With a pairing knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin spiral.
  2. In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into chilled glass & top with chamapgne
  3. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.

french 75 | lauren kelpI mean…just look at it, she is so pretty! How can you go wrong with chilled champagne and gin? It’s like magic in a glass! Cheers, my friendsfrench 75 | lauren kelp

RASPBERRY CHAMPAGNE FLOATS the easiest & most festive way to ring in the new year!

Hello, hello, my festive party-throwers! How is your holiday season shaping up?! We’ve got a few days between Christmas and New Year’s to just catch our break, eat some more delicious food, and put in a few hours worth of work, before we are off to the next bash!

Is it just me, or has this holiday season been a bit of a whirlwind?! This year, the hubs and I are taking it nice and easy for NYE (plus, it’s our 4 year anniversary!), but I love a good celebratory cocktail, so we whipped this little guy up!
The perfect New Years cocktail | Raspberry Champagne Float Perfect for something low-key, a girl’s night in, or any other occasion in which you need a fabulously fun cocktail/dessert in 30 seconds. Sister, this is it. Two scoops of sorbet (we used raspberry, but you could easily use lemon or another fun flavor), a little champagne, and you’ve got yourself a party!
The perfect New Years cocktail | Raspberry Champagne Float

Recipe type: Cocktail/Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 2 scoops raspberry sorbet
  • Champagne
  • Raspberries for garnish (fresh is always better)
  1. Grab a few glasses, & scoop enough sorbet to fill glass halfway
  2. Pour champagne over the sorbet (slowly, it tends to bubble up)
  3. Garnish with raspberries & dive in!

The perfect New Years cocktail | Raspberry Champagne Float


‘Tis the season for hot chocolate & strong cocktails – am I right? Yesterday Chicago was colder than Mars. Let that sink in for a minute. CHICAGO WAS COLDER THAN MARS.

Naturally, the only way to cope with a frozen tundra is to have boozy treats waiting when you get home. I have re-discovered my love for hot chocolate (I know, I know, what is wrong with me? Why did I ever stop loving it?!) and adding a little kick of mezcal has made it all the more amazing.

mezcal hot chocolate recipe Now, now, for all those leery about mezcal – don’t be. It’s actually amazing & delicious and when slipped in some cozy hot chocolate, a little whipped cream, and a dash of chili or nutmeg – it’s a game changer. This mezcal hot chocolate concoction is like a 30-second version of the rich and delicious Mexican hot chocolate but…again, it takes 30-seconds, it’s awesome and warms the body right up.

I mean, how can you not give it a try?!
mezcal hot chocolate recipe

Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 1 oz Mezcal (we used El Silencio)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz milk
  • 3 oz baking chocolate
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar
  • Cinnamon, chili, nutmeg, & other spices to taste
  1. Pour mezcal, vanilla, milk, baking chocolate, & sugar into a saucepan and heat on low/medium, stirring constantly, until chocolate & sugar are melted.
  2. Whisk the mixture to give it a nice froth (or just put it in your blender for a hot second)
  3. Pour into a mug, add some whipped cream & top off with some spices.
  4. Enjoy!

mezcal hot chocolate recipe


If the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the drink of fall, then this Gingerbread Latte is absolutely the winter version. Nice and cozy with all the spices and fragrances of the season and perfect to serve warm or over ice (and easy to adapt for a happy hour twist) – what could be better? If you are looking to spice up your morning coffee order, this is absolutely it!
Gingerbread Latte recipe via lauren kelpAs much as I love spend $6 every time I walk into a coffee shop (said no one ever….), it’s nice to keep your wallet tucked away and play living room barista. This sassy little coffee order totally plays into my fantasy of being a rockstar barista. I get to play with spices, froth some milk (okay, it’s totally unnecessary for the recipe, but it’s fun, so I do it), and serve it up in a fun glass. Plus, you know how much I love when things can get a little boozy & this is an adorable drink to serve at your next home happy hour. Everyone will be like, oohmygosh, you are such a rockstar barista slash mixologist, what do I even bring to this friendship cause you are so cool and good at everything awesome.

I mean, what could be better?!

Gingerbread Latte recipe via lauren kelp

Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 Cup
  • 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons strong coffee
  1. In a small pan, heat your almond milk over medium heat. Once warm (just under boiling), add spices, brewed coffee, and honey & mix well
  2. Serve in a fun mug & top off with a little ground cinnamon, or for a happy hour twist, add a shot of your favorite libation!

Gingerbread Latte recipe via lauren kelp Well, snow bunnies, what do you think? Ready to cozy up by the fire with one of these delicious Gingerbread Lattes? I mean, let’s be real, what’s not to like! Can’t wait to hear what you think! xo, LK

Gingerbread Latte recipe via lauren kelp

lauren button

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.


host a friendsgiving dinner | lauren kelpHello, hello you amazing holiday hostess! How are you feeling? The holidays are officially here – Thanksgiving is like, tomorrow, and Christmas is right around the corner. You are tempted to let holiday anxiety sneak in and mess up your killer girl-boss-ness, but you won’t let it. Here’s why – we got you. We are going to help make this holiday season off the freaking chain. Don’t worry about the turkey, the presents, the holiday dynamics. You know why? Because, life is messy and weird and that’s okay. There is beauty in the mess. There is joy in imperfections. And, change starts at the dinner table, so let’s make this season one of big bear hugs instead of worrying about the perfect pot roast – shall we?host a friendsgiving dinner | lauren kelp

Okay, so real talk. Now that everyone is freaking out that Thanksgiving is right around the corner (which means Christmas is basically here in the blink of an eye), your calendar is about to get a whole lot more jam packed. How is that possible, you ask? Well, your friends love you & they want to get together to celebrate. Not to mention all of the work outings, parent/significant others parents commitments, and all the other normal busy stuff that is going on – you are about to  be one busy gal.
host a friendsgiving dinner | lauren kelp

We propose HOSTING YOUR OWN FRIENDSGIVING! I know, I know, it’s not some revolutionary new idea, but it is awesome nonetheless. Gather your friends, work besties, neighbors, and whoever else you want to invite over & have one big low-key, super fun bash.

So, friends, here is our step-by-step, fool proof plan on how to host the most delicious, stress-free Friendsgiving of all time! Interested? I thought so! Keep scrolling…. host a friendsgiving dinner | lauren kelp


As you know by know, we are all about the attainable dinner party. We choose friends over fancy table settings any day of the week, but Thanksgiving is a special time, so we are going to do a bit of both.

If you are like me, and live in a small apartment, there is temptation to not have a lot of people over due to space. Ignore this temptation because it’s silly. We totally rearrange our furniture to fit in as many people as possible. I mean, who cares? It’s just furniture! You won’t hurt it’s feelings.

Figure out the largest room in your house & take it over. Push those sofas back, hide that coffee table in the backyard, or do whatever you need to do to clear it out & move a big table in (yes, folding tables from Ikea or Costco totally count as big tables). Round up some chairs & set the table however fits you.

You like pumpkins, great – do that! Going for more of a moody jewel tone theme – fantastic! I am not going to tell you how to decorate your table because you already know how. My goal is to encourage you to be the catalyst that gets everyone together. How am I doing? Pretty good so far, right?!

host a friendsgiving dinner | lauren kelp


Everyone knows that a rule of thumb for a killer Friendsgiving is to make it a potluck. It’s the best because everyone gets to make their favorite dish, it takes the pressure of the host, and it’s so fun to try everyone’s favorites! That being said, it’s important (you know, as the host) to have a few dishes to get the party started.

We recommend this amazing sauteed green bean recipe & the most ahhhhmazing browned maple butter sweet potato recipe. Pair them with a glass (or two…) of Kendall-Jackson’s Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir & you’ve got the fixings for one heck of a party!

host a friendsgiving dinner | lauren kelp

photography by Constance Higley

This post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson but all thoughts, opinions, and food obsessions are our own.