Posts

LATE SUMMER CHEESE BOARD

LK_OHFox_August2015-29I don’t know about you, but it still feels a bit like summer around Chicago. The sun is still warm and it’s still totally acceptable to wear those cute peep toe heels you just don’t have the heart to put away yet. Thanks to Candice & Ashley, we are getting one last squeeze out of summer & celebrating the end of that beautiful season with this gorgeous cheese board! I feel like a cheese board is just about the best way to celebrate anything, so here’s to it! xo- LK


Labor Day weekend was the sweetest, last sip of summer with road trips, grill outs, and long nights (for us anyway!) But the weather hasn’t changed… I’m not quite ready to roast pumpkins or make a big pots of soup.  So recently, when we headed over to a movie night with friends and they served the perfectly seasonal cheese and snack boards, I was dying to share it with you all!  My sweet friend Ashley agreed to have me over and share all of her secrets…

First up, Ashley says it’s the perfect time to serve homemade Italian sodas!  They’re refreshing at a time when you’re over lemonade, but not ready for hot apple cider.

OHFOXLK_OHFox_August2015-7
BLUEBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

1. Boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.

2. Add 1.5 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice) and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

3. Strain. Keep the syrup, discard the berries and voila!

4. Pour over ice and top with sparkling water.

LK_OHFox_August2015-8

Next, Ashley showed me the secret to preparing the most delicious artichokes.  These babies absolutely stole the show!

Artichokes totally intimidated me until Ashley demystified the whole process!

LK_OHFox_August2015-13LK_OHFox_August2015-14ASHLEY’S ARTICHOKES

1. Start with a super sharp knife – if you’ve been looking for an upgrade that won’t downgrade your wallet, I’ve got to recommend these.

2. Quarter the ‘chokes and steam them for about 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Melt 1/4 stick butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan.

4. Then, pan fry the artichokes flesh side down for 5 minutes until brown and crispy.

5. Finish with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice!

LK_OHFox_August2015-33You’ve got your beverage, the ‘chokes are on the stove, now it’s time to prep the most main event – the cheese board!

Pick up late summer fruit – stone fruit like peaches and plums plus fresh figs are perfect.  Halve and quarter into bite sizes with a safe, good knife.  The Edge of Belgravia makes the most absolutely beautiful knives that are incredibly sharp and definitely affordable if you’re looking for a big – girl knife option! I use the precision series.OHFOX2

Add three various cheeses based on softness – buy what you love!  I adore sheep’s milk cheese so my picks were along the same flavor profile, but differed in softness, which allows guests to maximize their favorite combinations.

Include the classics like marcona almonds and a salty olive.

LK_OHFox_August2015-22 (1)Finish with sardines.  I’ve never seen anyone serve sardines like Ashley, soaked in oil and topped with parsley.  But with a dollop of dijon on a cracker, they couldn’t have been better.LK_OHFox_August2015-21 (1)

What do you think – are you inspired, feeling creative?  It’s amazing what simple snacks laid out can do to make company feel relaxed and at home.  Secrets and real life stories flow freely when folks are full and there’s something tasty to drink.  I hope this post gives you that little nudge to invite a few friends over to share real life!OHFOX3


Beautiful photos by Becca EwingCandice Button

MY FAVORITE KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

OH!Fox_17Summer is officially here, and outdoor grilling and easy entertaining are the name of the game!  We’ve been talking a lot here at LaurenKelp.com HQ about minimizing clutter, cutting back on excess, and going after that dream/goal/idea you keep having. So, in the spirit of going after dreams, I spent the Spring designing modern kitchen essential pieces that truly help make the transition from grill-to-table seamless and beautiful.

Taking into account durable materials, helpful shapes and sizes and pieces that can be used for multiple purposes, I decided to make a cotton towels, cutting boards, ceramic vessels, and leather placemats.  If you haven’t read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” but Marie Kondo (which you totally should it’s truly life-changing), Marie talks about getting rid of the things that no longer serve you. There are so many kitchen products out there made from crappy materials, don’t work well, and aren’t worth their weight. When designing this collection, I wanted to focus on quality materials and honest craftsmanship so we could cut down on the clutter and take back some of that coveted counter space.

Here’s a peek if you’d like to see the collection…

OH!Fox_10OH!Fox_8

The first essential is the perfect cotton towel that can be used as a napkin, hand towel, or even placemat. You can wipe down your counters with it or hang it over your stove to dry your hands.  I love having cotton linens on hand to dry the dishes, too.  The uses are endless!

OH!Fox_7OH!Fox_6OH!Fox_14

The next essential is a cutting board.  This one is made from Texas maple, Peruvian walnut, and bloodwood which are beautiful woods that will age over time.  I use ‘cutting boards’ to serve cheese and charcuterie, make a beautiful snack plate, or just as a surface to prepare a sandwich.  Here, I simply laid out stems I picked from the garden to arrange a small bouquet.

OH!Fox_1OH!Fox_2OH!Fox_15OH!Fox_16

One essential that I didn’t even realize I loved is a multi use vessel!  After using the same cups over and over for wine and vases on different occasions, I knew the collection needed an industrial, modern take on the glass. You can use these in place of stemware for a  cocktail, as mugs for coffee or dishes for a yummy scoop of ice cream.

OH!Fox_5Last up is a leather placemat.  I honestly use a placemat most of the time when I sit down at the table – it transforms daily meals into a special time.

Now I want to know – what are your essentials?  What several pieces do you use over and over in the kitchen to keep it uncluttered but beautiful?


Dreamy photography by Becca Ewing

Candice Button

INSPIRED BY: TRAVEL

Last weekend, I flew to South Mexico to source interior decor for several very special clients – a spa and a global interiors brand just to name two!  While trips and long days tire me in one way – knowing a region and its makers intimately requires an immense amount of time – it’s such a fun ride!  I always return home eager for a good night’s sleep, but also brimming with new ideas.  Today, I wanted to catch y’all up on my adventure but also break down how to be inspired by travel.

Pink.ConcreteWhile the interior design of the spa is characterized by neutral tones and harsh edges, I was on the look out for ways to soften the space and bring in complimentary textures.  I noticed this wall on a walk to dinner, and the way the softness of the pink seemed to belong right next to the concrete absolutely intrigued me.  Later, at a gallery, I bought a set of very light pink bowls that guests might use for rings or small jewelry prior to a massage or other treatment.

terracottaAnother afternoon, we drove into the mountains towards a famous swimming hole.  In fact, the swimming pool was a natural infinity pool on the edge of this small piece of the world.  This space encouraged me to embrace the reality of the elements.  While I found textiles to soften the spa’s hard lines, I was reminded that the rough, untouched pieces of earth are beautiful precisely because they are harsh.  Later, I picked up a few unglazed terracotta pieces that might be used for storing herbs in the steam room or serve as a dish.

watery blueAfter returning from the swimming hole, these beautiful blue bottles caught my eye inside a glass shop that night, and I obsessed over their color.   At first I criticized myself because I thought, How are my followers or clients going to ever going to respond to something like this – it’s not bright or characteristic of the region.  But they stayed with me, and I knew I had to buy a set and share them.

pink and greenThe global interiors brand charged me with a few design tasks and sourcing the very best market finds .  The chosen pieces had to fit in with current collections but stand on their own design strength. Here, the color story stayed with me – orange-y pinks, cactus greens.  While walls and homes in South Mexico are often brightly painted with fuschias and brilliant blues, this palette is frequent, too, on a worn down corner or just outside of the square.  And I decided to center the market finds around it.

And finally, I’d love to know – what does inspiration look like to you?  Is it elements of travel that stick with you?  Experiences?  A layout in a magazine that your tear and save?


Snapshots from OH! Fox Instagram and styled photos by Minette Hand.

Candice Button

 

WDC | CANDICE DEPRANG BOEHM

IMG_1848 (1)

You might recognize her as the face of our Interiors column, but Candice DePrang Boehm is also a master business women with impeccable taste. Candice is a mastermind in two worlds – the creative world & the business world. As the main scout & creative director of Oh! Fox CreativeCandice knows her way around the markets of Morocco & the flea markets of Round Top. Need help finding that perfect rug you can’t seem to track down? Follow her instagram for the best finds! Trust me, Candice is going to be your favorite “go-to” interiors guru.

IMG_1934Full name: Candice DePrang Boehm

Location: Austin, TX

Current title/company: Creative Director, OH! Fox Creative

IMG_1811

How long have you been a full time Creative?

9 months – maybe that’s why OH! Fox still feels like a baby!

What is your day-to-day work routine like?

It differs daily, and to be honest, I prefer structure so I try to start the day with early meetings.  To shoot totally straight with you (and now all of your readers..eep!) most of the time I roll out of bed throw, on one of my many gray sweaters and a pair booties and deem the combination suitable for an outfit. However, I feel so much better when the alarm is set a little early, my clothes are laid out,  and I eat breakfast…all of the little things you know you should do but don’t always!Meetings and errands usually take up the morning time, and in the afternoon I work on real, brain necessary work – not email or phone calls. In fact, it’s the opposite. I usually log out of email and plug-in my phone in another room.

Focusing on one project for about 25 minutes at a time is called the Pomodoro Technique and I swear by it. I usually allocate two rotations to one project.Dinner rolls around before I know it, and because I deeply enjoying cooking dinner, I’ll slow down around five. Even if I go back to work later (and I almost always do), these few hours help me to unwind and process the day.

IMG_1905Best part about being a business owner?

Can I name two?!  1) Traveling without asking permission.  Owning a business is really, really tough work.  But on the days when I need to travel, I just book tickets and that makes all of the mile counting and receipt logging so, so worth it.

2) The people I work with.  I cannot say enough about or brag on the men and women that make the OH! Fox shop one of their regular destinations when scouting cool stuff.  Knowing my clients and building relationships with them is a special part of my work – maybe the best part.  And it’s so interesting because I would have never known them without this business.

What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started

Don’t quit your day job! Being a business owner means constantly learning (and failing); while that’s part of the journey, it can get hard. Having a work rhythm, even part-time, can really offset the hard days.

IMG_1951 What is the key to making a fool-proof, creative, yet professional outfit?

Copies of the exact same piece! I’m not super stylish – I have girlfriends that sit behind computers all day but have style in spades compared to me.  I dress boring, but having a ‘uniform’ helps – there are so many decisions to make as a business owner, I can’t spend all morning staring into my closet.  So, I stash my favorite pieces and buy well made versions of them  – caramel colored booties in suede, caramel colored booties in leather, gray sweater in wool, gray sweater with leather elbow patches, gray sweater in cashmere… you get the idea.  Feeling professional almost always comes when I spend five extra minutes smoothing out my curls, and when I can, getting a red manicure.  Red nails make me feel polished and more like myself.

Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?

Ha – see above.  Only have a well balance closet if you want one (wink wink!).  I say get a mani/pedi instead!

IMG_1840

 

Photos by the lovely Kim Jones.


lauren

THE BEST CAREER ADVICE

unnamed-7Last time on the blog, I wrote about a new way to think about ‘networking’. Make friends, I said! Especially if you’re uncertain about your career, reach out to someone working in a different field, do a little research, and then invite them to coffee. Ask the most powerful questions you can come up with.

What’s next, you ask? Write a thank you note. And if you think I’m kidding, I’ll say it again and swear that it’s the best career advice you’re ever gonna get: write a thank you note.

unnamed-8Never mind that gratitude makes you happier, (don’t take my word for it, Harvard said so), everybody loves a little snail mail.Fotor1105202938

Here’s what I do:

1. Make a list by reflecting on the past week. Who did I ask to lunch? Oh! The Howells had us over for dinner. And I reached out to Amy about her career journey and we had such a great conversation.

2. Make time. I usually arrive at a coffee meeting 30 minutes early to write thank you notes.

3. Pack stamps, a great pen, and about 5 cards. After 5, I notice my handwriting going downhill…

4. Get started. No more than 5 lines and those should be direct and sincere.

“Dear Amy, Thanks so much for meeting me for coffee last week. One thing that really stuck with me was the way you gathered people around you during your career transition and reached out to friends to read over your resume. I’m inspired by your journey – thanks again for sharing it with me.

Warmly, Candice”

unnamed-5That’s it! What do you think? As you make time for gratitude, I know it will impact your personal AND professional life. And what better season to start?


Candice Button