CANYON0001The lazy mornings and sleepy afternoons of summer are slowly winding down, but we aren’t ready to give it up just yet! Fall is an awesome season (by far the best in Chicago, in my opinion), but there is something so fun about skipping out early on work, rounding up some friends, and heading out of town to the lake for a quick get-away!

Because we are all about celebrating the little moments, the random itches to get out of town, and the well-fed adventures, we are grabbing a few bottles of K-J AVANT, packing a delicious, no-fuss spread, and getting out of dodge — come join us!
CANYON0004So, I know most “lake day” food is comprised of hot dogs, potato chips, and other (fabulous) junk food that just tastes better when you’re out on a lake, but here is our case for a “fancy” spread – it’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s way less work.

I know it looks high maintenance, but this spread couldn’t be easier. We call it the “anything goes” spread. For the full how-to details, and a DELICIOUS melon skewer recipe, see the details HERE!
Lake Day 3 CANYON0006No one likes to be bogged down by logistics when you are trying to get on the road, so trust me when I say, this combo of vino and munchies is a slam dunk. There is no clean-up, no plates required, and everyone feels good because they’ve been snacking on peach slices instead of a million chocolate chip cookies.

What is not to love?! Grab some easy plastic wine glasses, along with a big board to serve your goodies on, and your basically the Kardashians of the lake.
Lake Day 4Also, let’s talk about something really quick – this wine, I love it. Especially for things like this! The whole “no corkscrew needed” element makes it the perfect grab and go bottle of wine & it pleases every palette!

Typically, I am not a white wine gal (much to my mother’s displeasure), but a glass of cool K-J AVANT in the summer hits the spot every time. CANYON0013Here is what I love most about a lake day getaway – the fresh air. It’s perfect and it does something to make everyone relax and have a good time. The pup is happy in the water, friends are having a great time, everyone is well-fed, it’s basically the perfect retreat.

Summer schedules are hectic, and they are about to be even more manic, but if you can swing it – be the instigator. Badger those friends so they can’t say no, call in sick from work, grab some bottles of celebratory K-J AVANT, round up your spread, and soak up the last days of summer! Lake Day 2So friends, it’s time. You’ve got the roadmap for a blissful day and the lake, what’s stopping you! Show us your spread!! Tag @LaurenKelp and @KJWines and show us your fabulous, no-fuss day at the lake!CANYON0021

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


DIYGARDEN0015Today we are upping our foodie game in the best way. Earlier this summer, we went to Sonoma to visit the gorgeous grounds of the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Garden. The trip was nothing short of magical and one of the major highlights was visiting the properties Culinary Garden. It was gorgeous, beautiful, and totally got us in the mood to try out green thumb out at home.


Now, as much as I would love to live on acres of land perfect for farming, we live in a high-rise in the middle of downtown Chicago, so my gardening options are pretty slim. But I am not letting geography get the best of me, hence DIY herb gardens! They are simple, easy to maintain, and totally customizable depending on your lighting, climate, and palette. Best part? We’re giving you your first home-grown dinner recipe straight from your (soon to be planted) garden! DIYGARDEN0010So, first things first, you need to plot out the perfect spot. If you’ve got good, consistent light from a window, I recommend getting a long herb box that fits on your sill. If not, terra-cotta pots are the way to go. They are easier to move around and chase the light, plus, if you don’t have luck with a particular herb, nothing major is wasted.

If you ask me, terra-cotta is the way to go. They are great for herbs because the porosity of the clay allows air and moisture to get in, while absorbing excess moisture. It’s a win, win! Plus, they are a beautiful really pretty color 😉 DIYGARDEN0002

Next steps are a total breeze! Grab some dirt, a dish to place under your pot (this catches the excess water & allows the herb to drink more when it’s thirsty), and go gangbusters with your herbs!

Find your favorites and try something new. We recommend basil and rosemary – two tried & true herbs that won’t steer you wrong and they are super versatile. As your wild card, grab some lemon verbena. It’s fragrant, it’s divine, and it just so happens to pair perfectly with basil in our homemade pesto!DIYGARDEN0008

As far as planting goes, it’s best to follow the instructions on the back of your herb packet. Typically, you will fill your container two-thirds up with good, rich dirt. Then you will sprinkle the seeds in, making sure to evenly space the herbs and not over-crowd the container. From there, sprinkle some dirt on top to cover the seeds and VOILA! Your culinary garden is off to a great start!

So, re-cap so far:

  1. Decide to amp up your foodie game
  2. Run to your local gardening store and grab some terra-cotta pots
  3. Find the herb aisle and go nuts!


Read all about how to harvest your herbs and how to make this delicious Lemon Verbena & Basil Pesto dish after the jump! Happy planting!


Brought to you in partnership with Kendall-Jackson Winesconstance



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


KJW0170Happy Monday, friends! How have you liked our week in Sonoma County? We’ve strolled in the culinary gardendiscovered what makes a good winelearned all about the relationship between best friends wine & food (not to mention this killer recipe), and dined in the vineyard.

With such an incredible trip, it’s hard to say we’ve saved the best for last, because, truthfully, it’s all been pretty remarkable. We did, however, save something noteworthy for last – environmental stewardship – and there is no one better to explain why sustainability is cooler than you might think than Kendall-Jackson’s Sustainability Project Manager, Julien Gervreau.
KJW0166Julien and his team work to increase Kendall-Jackson’s environmental stewardship by reducing the negative impact they have on the earth. Making wine produces a lot of waste & is a stressful process on the vineyards. Did you know that it takes an average of one-third of a gallon of water to make a single glass of wine? That’s 37.5 ounces to make that after-work glass of wine you have been dreaming about.

Where does it all go? Well, that water is used to wash the wine barrels, water the grapes, help with the fermentation process, and in various other critical points of the process. Think about it – if you have four glasses of wine over the course of an evening that would take 3,150 ounces or 196 pounds of water.

Thanks to Julien & his team, they have reduced that number to single digits across many of the Kendall-Jackson wineries. The barrels get cleaned and the vineyards get watered, they are just more judicious with their use of water in the process. By utilizing processes like drip irrigation & a high-powered bacteria killing laser, they not only get the job done, but encourage better stewardship and cut their footprint across the board.

KJW0195Something that you should have picked up on by now is that Kendall-Jackson takes a generational approach to winemaking. Their primary goal is to make sure they are taking care of their land and maintaining the health of their vineyards and farms for future generations. One of the perks of being a family owned & operated company is that Kendall-Jackson can make decisions based on the things that matter to their value system (sustainability, environmental impact, & stellar wine) as opposed to a market or investor agenda. That means they can do things like use green cleaning agents and work with Tesla.   KJW0173That’s right, Tesla. Julien and his team of environmental masterminds have worked with Tesla CEO Elon Musk to create (quite possibly) the world’s coolest battery.  This advancement will help reduce environmental impact, put energy back into the grid, and have high yielding cost-saving affects – not just for businesses, but for residential homes as well.
So thanks to Julien and his team of rock stars, we now have more sustainably grown wine that uses less water (all you California readers can get behind that!), a super battery that could change the energy game, and a dedication to the earth to try to leave it better than we found it. KJW0174

constanceThis post is sponsored, but all opinions & thoughts are our own.