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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

RASPBERRY CHAMPAGNE FLOATS
Recipe type: Cocktail/Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 2 scoops raspberry sorbet
  • Champagne
  • Raspberries for garnish (fresh is always better)
Instructions
  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

WINTER LEMONADE

winter lemonade cocktail via lauren kelpAlright party people, raise your hand if you are ready for a little warm front? I mean, as much as I love Chi-beria, I wouldn’t turn down a little sunshine…know what I mean? As much as I would love to control the weather, I thought that I might whip up some winter lemonade to help bring the sunshine out.

This at-home lemonade has the perfect amount of holiday spice (think vanilla & cinnamon…mmm!) and delicious as is, or throw a little vodka in there & you’ve got yourself a party!
winter lemonade cocktail via lauren kelp

WINTER LEMONADE
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water + additional water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • Optional: vodka or your favorite spirit
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring lemon juice, sugar, water, split vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil
  2. Once boiling, remove from heat & let cool (in the pan) for 3 hours
  3. Pour everything (including the cinnamon sticks & vanilla), add additional water (if desired) and chill.
  4. Drink as is or add a shot of your favorite spirit!

winter lemonade cocktail via lauren kelpI mean, how delicious right?! The longer the lemonade sits, the better, because it allows the flavors of the cinnamon and the vanilla to sink in. But, if you are as impatient as I am and want to drink it right away, it’s delicious as well.

This is perfect, & I mean, seriously perfect, to make before having friends over for drinks or before a party. Throw it in a pitcher with some vodka next to it and you’ve got a delicious, self-serve cocktail. Easy breezy baby! Enjoy.

winter lemonade cocktail via lauren kelp

 


 

MEZCAL HOT CHOCOLATE

‘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

MEZCAL HOT CHOCOLATE
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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

GINGERBREAD LATTE

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

GINGERBREAD LATTE
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 Cup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons strong coffee
Instructions
  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.

CHAI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES + our new favorite cookbook & a fun event!

One woman’s Vogue is another gals cook book – know what I mean? Between you & me, I never really got into fashion magazines. Truthfully, I enjoy Vogue & Vanity Fair more for the articles than anything else & while I absolutely appreciate the styling & editorial finesse, they never became a staple in my purchasing habits. But cookbooks are a different story entirely.

PS – Hey, CHICAGO! Scroll down to the bottom, I’ve got a special surprise for you!

chai chocolate chip cookies via lauren kelp

Give me a good cookbook & I will read it like an 11-year-old reading Harry Potter for the first time (or, fine, okay, also me every time I read it…I mean book 6 is just so freaking good!) A new cookbook is full of exciting possibilities – new recipes, yes, but also new stories, new ingredients to fall in love with, new ways to show your friends and family you love them, new ways to be thoughtful about your food & mindful of what you are putting into your body. In fact, I love cookbooks so much, I have given myself a strict monthly budget to indulge my little habit. December’s cookbook of the month is the latest from Nancy Silverton, Mozza at Home.

chai chocolate chip cookies via lauren kelp

If you don’t know Nancy, you should! She is the only chef to win both the Outstanding Pasty Chef & Outstanding Chef awards from the James Beard Foundation (i.e. big freaking deal). Mozza at Home is all about crowd-pleasing recipes for relaxed, family-style gatherings. Uhh, does that sound like anyone you might know?! She gives you the backstory on each recipe, where it came from, why it’s personally significant, and she tells the story of her time in Tuscany & you are tempted to put in your two-weeks notice & fly out to meet her. I just got the book yesterday but am already obsessed! I was so excited, I woke up this morning (yes, as in like 3 hours ago) and whipped up her Chai Chocolate Chip cookies & they are nothing short of magical. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or hot mint tea and you’ve just about died and gone to heaven. Grab the recipe below.

CHAI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 1⅔ cup + 2 tablespoons bread flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 2½ sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1½ teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ lb chocolate (60% - 70% cacao), chopped into ½ chunks
Instructions
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position & preheat the over to 325.
  2. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the over for 10-12 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Feel free to shake the pan & adjust half way through baking, so nuts brown evenly. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool, & turn off your oven. Once nuts are cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.
  3. Combine the cake & bread flour in a large box and stir to combine.
  4. In another large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and pepper and mix until light in texture and color. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly in between.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix. Reduce speed and add in the flour and mix until no flour is visible. Add in chocolate and stir to combine.
  6. Cover the dough & refrigerate for at least 1 hour (preferably over night)
  7. Adjust the oven rack so one is on the top third and one is on the bottom third and preheat to 350 & set up two cooling racks.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into 1¾ ounce balls (smaller than a ping pong ball). Put 6 to 8 balls on each large baking sheet with at least 2 inches of space in between each ball of dough.
  9. Put one sheet on each rack in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes, until light golden, but still soft. Switch baking sheet positions halfway through cooking time, so they bake evenly.
  10. Remove baking sheets from the oven and set on the cooling rack & let sit for 5 minutes.
  11. Repeat with the rest of the dough & enjoy!

chai chocolate chip cookies via lauren kelp

For all my CHICAGO friends, come meet me & Nancy at her book signing at the Macy’s State Street at noon on December 9th! I’ll be there from 12-1, so come introduce yourself & say ‘hi’ & I’ve got a special gift for you!

Looking for more fun holiday events? Check out this list of events happening at Macy’s this month!

chai chocolate chip cookies via lauren kelp


lauren buttonThis post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

GLAZED FRUIT LOOP DONUTS

fruit loop glazed donuts via lauren kelp

Hello, hello my festive little friends! Are you getting in the holly jolly spirit? Are your bells a jingling? Okay, okay, I’ll stop 🙂 But seriously, I don’t think I have come down from a sugar high since Thanksgiving and I have no plan (well, no serious plans, anyway) of stopping until good ol’ 2017. I mean, I’ve never met a warm carb I didn’t like & todays recipe is no exception. Ladies & gentlemen, meet your new favorite brunch treat – the Glazed Fruit Loop donut. 

fruit loop glazed donuts via lauren kelp

She is sassy, a little unexpected, loopy for sure, but always a good time. Perfect for a holiday office treat, at-home brunch with the girls, a morning meeting, or hey, just to have on hand. Is the recipe easy? Uh, duh. Do I have most of the ingredients at home? Absolutely. Can I swap out Fruit Loops for another favorite cereal? I mean…if you must 😉

fruit loop glazed donuts via lauren kelp

So, normally, I am no a big donut eater, but one the occasional Saturday morning, sometimes I will wake up early & whip up a fresh batch. Or if we have friends staying with us, I think waking up to the smell of freshly backed donuts is a special kind of treat. My sweet husband sometimes switches up our normal breakfast cereal choice for something a little more…youthful, so last weekend I was feeling festive and decided to sprinkle the tops of the freshly coated donuts with fruit loops & my life has never been the same since. This recipe gets a big fat “Husband Approved” stamp and it’s a fun little indulgence. 

fruit loop glazed donuts via lauren kelp

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I bake, I have no regard for mess. Things are everywhere – flour in my hair, covering the counter, messy spatulas laying on the counter, open food coloring containers – it’s a bit of a war zone. But, with a little helping hand from method, I fear no mess! If you haven’t heard of method, I am sure you’ve seen their super fun colorful ads with mess everywhere & drippy ice cream cones – they are so well done, right? Anyway, between their line of hand soap, surface cleaners, and all-purpose cleaners, there is no mess you can’t candle. Yes, even a bag of fruit loops that spilled on the floor and you accidentally step in them and those adorable little loops turn into a million tiny crushed crumbs. Even that mess…

Best part? method is animal friendly, so that means no animal testing (HOORAY!) and all of their products are people-friendly (read as: biodegradable, vegan + gluten free) so nothing scary and funky going on inside the bottle. So what are you waiting for? With no mess to fear & a killer recipe, you’ve got some baking to do! 

fruit loop glazed donuts via lauren kelp

GLAZED FRUIT LOOP DONUTS
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
DONUT
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
ICING
  • Food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups of Fruit Loops cereal
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Grab a small saucepan & combine unsweetened almond milk, white vinegar, vanilla extract, egg, and butter over medium heat. Whisk gently until everything is combined into a sauce & pour into dry mixture and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into a doughnut pan & bake until 10-14 minutes. Remove & place on wire rack to cool.
  4. While your donuts are cooling, it’s time to whip up the icing! In a medium mixing bowl, add your powdered sugar, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla extract, mix well until nice & smooth. If you want two different color icings, evenly separate into two batches & add in food coloring. To get this pink color, use one drop of red – for purple, use one red & one purple. Mix well until color is thoroughly blended.
  5. Place a paper towel under your wire rack, put the donuts on the wire rack, and glaze away!

fruit loop glazed donuts via lauren kelp


lauren buttonThis post was brought to you by method #FearNoMess

THE ULTIMATE HOLIDAY EVENTS

‘Tis the season for twinkling lights, wreath-making parties, and fabulous holiday events…am I right?! Well, my friends, it’s about time to start scratching names of that gift list of yours. Luckily, Macy’s State Street has some fabulous events in store!

  • Looking for something fun to do with mom & grandma? How about the Waterford Signing Dec. 5th at noon (at State St.) where Waterford spokesperson and artisan, Vincent Rellis will showcase and explain the process of how raw materials are transformed into the world’s finest luxury crystal
  • Maybe something for the food lover? Check out the Culinary Demo & Book Signing with Nancy Silverton on Dec. 9th at noon (at State St.) for an exciting cooking demonstration from her new cookbook, Mozza at Home.
  • Looking for something fun for the kids? Believe Day on Dec. 9th at noon (at State St.) is all about some holiday family fun with face painting, balloon twisting and special performances from Broadway in Chicago’s ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and The Goodman Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.
  • Maybe you need some help with the gift wrapping? Hop on down to Macy’s Watertower location for the Holiday Gift Wrapping Event on Dec. 10 at 2pm  for complimentary gift wrapping with any $40 purchase or more. Plus, enjoy festive music from our DJ, refreshments and more!
  • Looking for something a bit more fun? Check out the Ugly Sweater Event on Dec. 16th (on State St.) for a fabulous twist on a holiday classic!

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

THE HOLIDAY STYLE CHALLENGE with The Home Depot

Okay, party people – it’s time!

Ready for the big reveal?! Before this fun style challenge with The Home Depot, I have to be honest, I had never thought of getting my holiday decorations there before, but now…ladies & gents, I am a changed gal! Am I new to this train? If you still need some decorations, y’all, I’ve got just the thing…
Holiday Style Inspiration for a small living room via lauren kelpSo, a few weeks ago, The Home Depot sent these fabulous giant boxes and asked us to decorate our mantels and, thanks to our new little house, we have a hot new mantel ready to decorate!
Holiday Style Inspiration for a small living room via lauren kelpFor the full report, all the deets, and all the products we used, you have to hop over to The Home Depot’s blog, but here are some fun little pics and a peak into the new living room! Don’t worry, the yellow is on it’s way out 😉 Holiday Style Inspiration for a small living room via lauren kelp


 

THE HOME DEPOT HOLIDAY STYLE CHALLENGE who is ready for a little sneak peek!

So, last month I was asked to participate in a holiday style challenge with The Home Depot, and naturally, I passed out from excitement. I am a frequent flier of the good ol’ Home Depot & between a new house & all the other holiday festivities, this was exactly the kick in the pants I needed to get my jingle bells in gear.

holiday decorating how-to via lauren kelpSwing by tomorrow to see the full reveal & get a fun little peak at the “before” pictures of the tiny house! Can’t wait to hear what you think!

holiday decorating how-to via lauren kelp