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

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?

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

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



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


learning about reiki and holistic health via lauren kelp

Friends! Courtney here. Have y’all heard of Reiki? It’s basically a modality that is used to find inner peace, restore balance, and create comfort – something many of us strive for – am I right? We’ve tapped into it here in the studio and got a chance to interview the wonderful and inspirational Tori Washington, a local yoga master and Reiki guru. Since we’re all about exploring new art forms and methods for taking the pressure off, we’re excited to be able to share Tori’s thoughts, feelings, and intimate insight into this organic approach to health and wellness!reiki and holistic health via lauren kelp


Traditionally, Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. This life energy is administered by light touch of the hands and promotes healing for the whole body so that includes our mind, our emotions, our physical body and our spirit.


We are physical bodies, but more than anything, we are energy. Reiki is translated to mean “universal life force energy.”  There are many translations for yoga – one being “yoke,  join, or concentrate” – so yes, Reiki and yoga can work together.  Blended they are powerful. We often start with the physical (a yoga practice) and from there, for many, the journey begins.


I saw a Holistic Therapist when I was younger and she changed my life.  In many ways, she saved my life.  I battled with anxiety and eating disorders as a teenager into my early 20’s. My relationship with food was really distorted and the way I treated my body stemmed from a lot of deep-rooted pain.  She was the one person who didn’t try to prescribe me any medication.  She was the only person who reminded me that I have the ability to tap inside and heal myself.  I had to connect with the pain in order to transform it and it’s hard work.  Instead of running from it, I had to get to know it. I quickly realized that this is a never-ending journey and it’s an honor that I get to show up every day and do the best that I can.  It’s part of our life’s work.  So holistic health to me, shifts the conversation from “how do I fix this?” to “how can I heal?”  It’s accepting that the answer will change many times throughout your life.

learning about reiki and holistic health via lauren kelp


So many! I’ve heard people chalk it up to magic, some people think it’s dangerous.  That is from a lack of knowledge and understanding. Reiki has electrical and magnetic qualities that can be measured. There are now logical tests that can account for this type of energetic healing or therapy.


One thing I know for sure is that people are looking for more.  There’s a level of dissatisfaction with our current system of medicine.  On an instinctive level, people know that there is something more to draw from.  At the root of every physical pain is an energetic blockage, a story, something that they are holding onto and need to let go of or transform.  It starts deep within.  So as a whole, I feel a tremendous shift occurring. People are looking in the mirror and realizing that they are not just a physical body. They can feel it. When you notice that, you’re much more open to different forms of healing because now it’s not just about healing the physical. We are much more complex than that.  We are much more powerful than that.  I see the future of Reiki enhancing the way we approach medicine.  It will give birth to a new way of healing – one that is more effective, less expensive, and draws on our own personal power.


I will say that right now in my life, for the first time, I feel that I’m on the right path with this. It hasn’t been something that I have always had a handle on. My fiancé always makes fun of me because if ANYTHING comes up on my skin or I have a weird feeling in my stomach, I immediately jump on WebMD and look up all the various ways I could be potentially dying.  It’s ridiculous! And ultimately, it’s a crutch.  So I have made a HUGE commitment to myself to come back to that place of remembrance – I am on a healing journey and it’s going to look different every day.  So I’m simplifying everything. I’m healing my relationship with food which I now view as medicine. I’m trusting the intelligence of my own body and I’m learning so much.  Stay tuned, I’m definitely along for the ride on this one!

learning about reiki and holistic health via lauren kelp


Sitting down and closing my eyes for the sole purpose of healing by tuning into someone’s energy is the most infinitely loving thing I can do as a human on this earth.  It is the link between my heart and someone else’s – it’s love and recognizing we are all made up of it.  It’s acknowledging that we are all connected and in this together. It’s rebuilding your personal power to heal not only yourself, but the relationships in your life because of it. Practicing energy healing…  I don’t really know how else to describe it… there are no words for how important it is to me. But it’s the link.  It’s the link to everything that I am.




Ah, so many takeaways – my heart bursts just thinking about it. I almost never refer to it as Reiki and always use the words ‘energy healing’ because as my practice has evolved, I definitely incorporate some of the traditional practices, but I’ve also blended in my own unique rituals.  So energy healing is how I describe it.

learning about reiki and holistic health via lauren kelp


Tori will be hosting several “Yoga Outdoors” events through her studio Yoga Six – Lincoln Park this summer. (She always offers energy healing in her classes!) She’s also co-hosting a yoga retreat with Angie Starz right outside Cuba’s colorful capital, Havana, in April 2017!  

*Disclaimer:  Neither Tori nor is discrediting western medicine and the amazing work that doctors do. Tori is speaking strictly from personal experiences and we are happy to share them with y’all!


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.18.35 AMHowdy! Have you heard people talking about Lifestyle Coaching? It’s kind of like a Life Coach (but different) and also kind of like a Business Coach (but also different). Luckily, we happen to have a Lifestyle Coach on the LK team & she allowed us to ask all the questions you’ve been wondering. So, meet your new best friend, Natalie Canizares! 

Dying to know what the eff a Lifestyle Coach is & why you really might love one? Read on!


A Lifestyle Coach is someone who partners with you to help you achieve your goals by dismantling limiting beliefs and unhelpful patterns while also holding you accountable and cheering you on. It’s almost like having your own personal cheerleader in the arena of your well being, who isn’t afraid to tell you how it is.

I personally focus a lot on balance as a coach because I feel it’s so key to maintaining long-term success. Balance to me looks like being able to indulge without feeling like you’ve completely ruined your life! It’s not about being perfect, it’s about knowing how to come back to your center whenever you feel off.



People work with me because they want to:

  • Lose weight
  • Increase their energy
  • Manage stress
  • Ditch dieting
  • Stop counting calories
  • Feel better in their skin
  • Gain confidence
  • Feel mentally clear
  • Start a yoga practice
  • Sleep better
  • Improve complexion
  • Improve digestion
  • And the list continues…

Essentially coaching is meant to help you get from where you are to where you want to be as quickly and efficiently as possible.



Coaching is great for someone who is ready to commit to change but isn’t sure how to really make that happen for themselves.


Logistically speaking I work with clients virtually and via telephone so I’m able to help women all around the world from the comfort of their own homes.

The way I work with clients is 50% mindset 50% practical tools. This is a big reason why people see results, pretty much right away, because we don’t just talk about what’s going on for you and what you can improve, we create actionable steps you can take immediately. So after every session you walk away with clear things to work on. Each week builds upon the last week and brings you closer and closer to your goal. With the ultimate goal being that these new healthy habits become integrated into your life so much so that they become second nature.

One aspect of my coaching that can be really helpful is learning how to eat for your body specifically. There is so much contradicting nutrition information out there and it can be extremely confusing to try to understand what you should and shouldn’t eat. I help people cut through the fluff and learn how to eat in a way that really works for them. No two bodies are completely identical and sometimes the smallest tweak in your diet can make a huge difference in the way you look and more importantly in the way you feel.



From my understanding nutritionists and dietitians mostly focus on food and meal planning. While I absolutely help people improve their diets that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Aside from diet I also teach breath work (to alleviate stress and balance the body), meditation, personalized yoga classes, and other self-care practices.



After years of struggling with body image issues and imbalanced health I became passionate about nutrition and lifestyle and how I could improve these things for myself. My path led me to working with a Life Coach, which is when I realized I too could help other women find balance in their bodies and lives. As soon as I realized this I enrolled in school and started my business, and that was almost three years ago!


So, what do you think? To help empower you to feel like the beautiful, amazing, bad asses that they are, Natalie is offering free 30 minute strategy sessions! Click here & get ready to kick that goals ass!

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THANKSGIVING0078Natalie Here! Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips on how to have a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Because I’m all about having your cake and eating it too.THANKSGIVING0052


On the days leading up to this holiday, or any holiday that involves big meals for that matter, focus on eating nutrient dense food. This looks like lots of good veggies and healthy proteins. Do not starve yourself. I repeat, do NOT starve yourself! I can’t stress this point enough because it’s so often what people do in preparation for big meals. When you starve yourself before eating a decadent meal you knock your body off balance and make it harder on yourself to recover from the sugary treats and the creamy potatoes. So instead of “saving up calories” for Thanksgiving, eat healthy balanced meals. This will also make it a lot easier to not overdo it.



If you really don’t want to go overboard on the buttered rolls, bring a dish that’s delicious and healthy. Salads are great because they’re packed with nutrients and they go well with pretty much everything. Eating some greens before or with your meal will also help you pace yourself. Plus, you can never have too many vegetables!



The most important tip I can share is to just have fun! One meal can’t make or break you. No matter how many slices of pumpkin pie you have, there’s always tomorrow to drink green juice. If you’re going to eat a big meal, please, make sure you enjoy it.


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BREANN0013Hello, hello! Who doesn’t want naturally glowing skin? I know I do, especially in these colder months. We’ve talked about how to mimic the look with makeup, but Health & Wellness Contributor Natalie Canizares is showing us three simple steps to getting glowing skin naturally! See what you think! – xoxo, LK

Natalie here! We all want glowing skin, and luckily there are tons of products on the market that can help us achieve that look. But chances are if you want to glow with your makeup on, you probably still want to be glowing after you take it off. This is something I struggled with personally for years. I wanted to so badly to have skin that looked healthy and dewy all of the time but it just wasn’t the case for me. When I discovered the power of diet and lifestyle I started to see a huge change in my skin without even (consciously) trying! Although my skin isn’t 100% perfect all of the time, it looks a whole lot better now that I take care of myself from the inside out. As overwhelming as it may sound to add more self-care into your routine, it’s actually pretty simple. The big game changers for me were actually small tweaks that took very little effort for me to make. When people ask me how to get glowing skin I always give them these three simple tips:


How many times have you read an article that tells you to stay hydrated? I’m willing to bet it’s been more than a handful of times and that’s because it’s so darn important! Really! Your body is made up of 70% water. Most of us don’t drink nearly enough water to allow our bodies to thrive. The general rule of thumb is 8, 8 oz. glasses every day- if you’re drinking that, you’re safe, but a little more certainly won’t hurt. My best advice to getting more water into your daily routine is to always carry a bottle of water with you whenever you leave the house. It’s a lot easier to remember to drink water when you have it with you. Being hydrated is key for your overall health and it effects your skin immensely. After a few days of drinking plenty of water you’ll start to see a change in your complexion, so get drinking!

Want some fun ways to drink more water? We’ve got a delicious recipe that will keep you filling up all day!

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetTIP TWO: NO MORE PROCESSED FOODS

Eliminate or avoid highly processed foods- Eating a diet high in processed foods is often the culprit of lackluster skin. There was a time when I was always on the go and constantly reaching for the low calorie “healthy” option. Therefore my skin was less than bright. You don’t need to completely cut out processed foods to notice a difference in your skin, just cut back at least 50%. Highly processed foods tend to be super acidic and can often lead to inflammation and skin irritation. You should start to see (and feel) a difference within a week of doing this, so give it a few days before you call it quits. 



Get your daily dose of probiotics- I absolutely love probiotics. They are my number one (not so secret) weapon for so many things! The why behind probiotics making your skin glow isn’t as important as the fact that they do, but if you’re curious it’s actually pretty simple. Probiotics feed the “good” bacteria in your gut, making it easier for your body to actually digest and absorb the nutrients you are eating. Since your skin is the last organ to get nutrients, it’s really important to be able to absorb them properly. A lot of times just from living an averagely healthy lifestyle in today’s world our gut bacteria gets weakened or damaged because of chemicals in our foods and excessive amounts of sugars and wheat, so probiotics are really a life-saver. I give this tip a lot because I have experienced such positive results from incorporating probiotics into my own diet… especially when it comes to my skin. Sauerkraut, Kombucha, and high quality yogurt are all great ways to get that good bacteria into your diet. If you’re more into supplements than you are into adding new foods into your diet just make sure you buy probiotics that are refrigerated, they are way more powerful than the ones you buy at room temp. 


Implement these tips and you will start seeing the glow come back to your skin within no time. Even just doing one of these things consistently will result in a positive change; add all three together and you’ll light up the room! 

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2ace789b42df81ee071089765a538d69If you’re like most people, one of the first things you do in the morning is look at your phone. Maybe you open your email right away and get to work or maybe you casually peruse Instagram. Either way, chances are you’re glued to your phone before you even get out of bed. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve been there and occasionally I’m still guilty of getting on my phone the minute I open my eyes. But there’s something really valuable about starting your day off without a screen in your face. One of the best ways to set yourself up for a stress free (or minimal stress) day is to begin the day with a few minutes of inward focused attention.

You don’t need tons of free time in the morning to have an easy morning routine that supports you, five minutes is completely sufficient. cd625ad378eae139f98b8017a5037540

Step One: Breathe. 

Take a few deep breaths. That’s it. Inhale fully and exhale fully. Give yourself about two minutes to do this or do it for as long as you’d like. Simply focusing on your breath is a great way to harness your energy inward, and start the day off from a calm and grounded place. 

Step Two: Intention Setting.

Set an intention for your day. If you want to get fancy you can do this in a journal, or you can simply set the intention in your mind. Setting an intention is as easy as thinking, “I want to feel calm today” or “I want to focus on what I’m grateful for today”. The best part is that there is no right or wrong way to set an intention, it’s completely up to you and nobody else. 

After focusing on your breath and setting an intention you’re totally free to look at your phone. You’ll probably find that anything that felt pressing when you first woke up might not seem like that big of a deal anymore, or that your Facebook newsfeed really isn’t that exciting. 

4c6512b446f2f9ec95f0d91906401a3eHere’s my challenge for you:

Try doing this every day for 30 days, and see how you feel at the end of it. Chances are you will have broken the habit of immediately jumping to look at your phone, and you’ll probably want to keep it up. Starting your day with a little bit of inward attention will always pay off. 

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