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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.

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


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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 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


 

QUICK & EASY CHERRY PIE another easy Thanksgiving recipe

How are you doing, my little turkey master? Feeling pumped to have the gang together this weekend? What are you making? Are you excited? A little anxious? Well, sister-friend, have no fear cause we are here to help with all those last minute cooking needs! You’ve got the bird handled and possibly some sides, but now it’s time to fill in all the extra little details – rolls, appetizers, and most importantly DESSERT! Don’t know what to do and don’t know if you can handle another 45-step recipe? Girl, we got you. Try this 4 step, 30-minute prep cherry pie and don’t look back! Delicious, easy & a total crowd-pleaser — what could be better? 

easy thanksgiving cherry pie via lauren kelpeasy thanksgiving cherry pie via lauren kelp

THANKSGIVING CHERRY PIE
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pie
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 cups pitted cherries
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • Store bought crust (9 inch)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F & place bottom crust in pie pan. Set top crust aside, covered.
  2. Roll out half the crust and line a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate until needed. Roll out the top crust and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, cherries, and extracts. Let stand 15 minutes. Turn out into bottom crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top. Place pie on a foil-lined cookie sheet--in case of drips!
  4. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Let cool for several hours before slicing.

easy thanksgiving cherry pie via lauren kelp


 

HOST A CANDY MAKING PARTY

Hello, hello, my favorite festive friends! How has your fall been? Can you believe we are already half way through October?! Holiday season is officially around the corner & we are talking all about how to get the jump on party planning today (it involves wine so you know it’s going to be good!) host a candy making party this holiday season via lauren kelp

The holidays can get so hectic & while everyone wants to get together for parties, potlucks, and mini gift exchanges, your already busy schedule can’t handle much more. Sound familiar? It’s true! We are busy birds but we also love a good get together, so that is why we are throwing a candy making party!

That’s right…. A CANDY MAKING PARTY!

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It’s almost too good to be true, right? Wrong! It’s the best idea ever! Whether you want to be fabulous & make your own Halloween candy, try a dry run for Christmas presents, or be extra prepared and get a holiday party on the books, this candy making party is legit & perfect for so many reasons.

host a candy making party this holiday season via lauren kelp

#1 – WINE + CANDY = MAGIC

Everyone loves a good get together, but everyone loves it more when good wine is involved. You know I am right! For the perfect candy-making recipe & an even better wine pairing, hop on over to our friends Kendall-Jackson.

Here is a hint, it involves delicious chocolate, sliced almonds and the most perfectly paired Vintner’s Reserve Cabernet you’ll ever had. The rich flavors of dark chocolate paired with the complex oak and cherry notes of the Cabernet are legitimately divine!

host a candy making party this holiday season via lauren kelp

#2 – GATHER THE GALS

When sending out the invites for your fabulous candy-making party ask your guests to bring their favorite chocolate bark, toffee, or caramel recipe to share with the group! Grab some index cards or print off this recipe card (made by the amazing Ashley Cooper Design) for your guests to do a fun recipe share!

For our get-together, we had the ingredients of two of our favorite bark recipes – white chocolate and cranberry bark & a dark chocolate and almond bark – already prepped & set out. This way, while your guests are swapping recipes, pouring wine, and catching up, you can have some candy already set out & ready to whip up!

host a candy making party this holiday season via lauren kelp

#3 – PREP THE SPACE

Whether you’ve got a big island that everyone can gather around or a tiny little galley kitchen, it’s important to create a designated candy-making space. Since my kitchen is the latter, I clear off my dining room table and have everything all laid out and ready to go. That way, my friends can sit around the table, drinking wine & catching up, all while making their own little tin of candy from the pre-prepped ingredients on the table.

Not interested in going the individual tin route? Have a few bigger baking pans & have everyone work on those. Once the candy is done, you can break up & divvy up then.

host a candy making party this holiday season via lauren kelp

#4 – GOODIE BAGS

You are hosting a candy-making party, of course there has to be goodie bags! Luckily, they are wildly easy & most of the work is already done for you.

Grab a few clear plastic bags (your local grocery store should have them in the baking aisle) and a packet of twist ties, & if you are feeling really fancy you can make or buy little name tags for your bags!

Cut up the candy into squares & divvy them up amongst the bags & voila! Add in those recipes you asked everyone to bring & you’ve got yourself one heck of a little parting gift.

host a candy making party this holiday season via lauren kelpHappy hosting, my friends!

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Photography by Constance Higley & Recipe Card by Ashley Cooper Design

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

CRANBERRY + PISTACHIO ALMOND BARK

XMAS0004Hello merrymakers! Constance here! If you’re anything like me, you’re in full scramble mode. It’s Monday and that means you have less than one week until THE day of gifting. No matter how hard I try and how much I plan, I’m always working, shopping, cooking up until the last minute. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs that said the best work is done under pressure? No? Well….someone did, and I’m sticking to that nugget of wisdom!
And friends, if you’re in the same boat, this recipe is clutch. Total prep time? About 10 minutes. Total time? About 8 hours. BUT 7.5 hours of that is spent in your refrigerator which means this little recipe is foolproof! And better news? It’s truly so, so good. And it just to happens to be red, white, and green!

XMAS0001 INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. good white chocolate
-2 tablespoons almond extract
-1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
-1 cup chopped dried cranberries

XMAS0002INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of cranberries.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and cranberries evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

XMAS0003


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