IMG_9757Okay party people, it’s confession time. Before this little party, I had no real idea how to make a martini. Sure, I’ve had the drink-your-dessert Java Biscotti Martini & even the seasonal, boozy Pumpkin Spice Martini but never a real “shaken not stirred” martini. But, thanks to these insannnnely cool copper martini glasses from Mark & Graham, we decided to have ourselves a little martini making party.

You know that we love any excuse to throw a party, so why not do it around something fun and totally random! I am usually a gin & tonic gal, but sometimes you just get in the mood for a fancy martini. So, we rounded up some friends, set up a bar, had two easy, but fun recipes, and had ourselves a little party! Feeling inspired to throw your own martini making party? We’re showing you how!

IMG_9683First things first, let’s set up the bar! My biggest hostessing tip is to set up a well-stocked bar that is tucked away but still central to where you want everyone to hang out. People like to get up, walk around, and mingle, but no matter what they will always hang out by the food and the booze.

TIP 1: For your fabulous martini making party, stock your bar with an extra bottle (or two, depending on your headcount) of the main ingredient of your martinis (typically, either vodka or gin).

TIP 2: Pre pour your mixer (in our case, lemon juice) in a fun container – this allows you to keep those ugly drink containers tucked in the fridge & allows your guests to just pour, shake, and serve.

TIP 3: If you are serving martinis with garnish, have a bunch made up & out for your guests to quickly grab. This encourages your guests to garnish their cocktails, plus the look fantastically festive!

TIP 4: Have a little ice bucket (and tongs) out so you don’t have to keep running back and forth to the kitchen filling the cocktail shaker with ice. Fill up your bucket once (maybe twice) and you’ve got a self-running cocktail station!




1 1/2 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/4 ounce lavender simple syrup

Fresh lavender sprigs


1. Fill your cocktail shaker with a handful of ice & add in the vodka, lemon juice, and lavender simply syrup.

2. Shake well & strain into a chilled martini glass

3. Garnish with fresh lavender sprig & sip, serve, repeat!



1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec
Pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
Lemon peel


1. Add a handful of ice to your cocktail shaker & pour in vodka, triple sec, pinch of sugar, and lemon juice.

2. Shake well & pour into chilled martini glass.

3. Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve, sip, repeat!

m&g_2So, your bar is all set & stocked, you’ve got two fabulous recipes to serve up & all things point to a fabulous martini making party! Need some fun goodies to stock your bar? Mark & Graham has loads of fantastic bar & homeware options, plussss almost everything is customizable so they are great for gifts or keepsake items.

All I am saying, is when you have your party, invite me, Mark & Graham, and you’ll be hosting these weekly! Cheers, my friends!



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balloon & tassel by Oh Shiny Paper Co.lavender martini adapted from food & wine


IMG_9580You’ve probably heard about the magic of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon & you’ve probably got a whole tripped planned around visiting this particular spot (hello, dream trip to the spa!) If you have no idea what I am talking about, here is a cliff notes version: the Blue Lagoon is a spa based on unique geothermal seawater properties of the lagoon. The blue color comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight.

It’s basically a dream spa. It’s stunning, helps with a whole host of ails, and not to mention, it’s the namesake of a killer beauty product line – Blue Lagoon.
IMG_9616Since Taste of Iceland is here in Chicago (goes until Sunday – go, go, GO!) we decided to bring the Icelandic spa treatment to us as well. If you are in need of a little spa trip but maybe don’t have the time or are just looking for an indulgent at-home treatment to treat yourself to, this is it.

We sampled their Silica Body Scrub & it has basically transformed me into an Icelandic princess. You see that concentrated look on my face? It’s because I am a 1,000% in love with the scrub. Rub it on your neck, legs, arms, and upper body and prepare to be amazing. Goodbye winter skin, city sledge, and everyday woes, this scrub is kicking them all to the curb.

My skin is always left silky smooth & the fragrance of the scrub is ridiculously relaxing. After a nice long bath or an evening shower, it’s almost better than a trip to the spa….almost. 


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IMG_7330Maybe you haven’t gotten enough of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities or maybe you are just tired of Bailey or Guinness cocktails, either way, this happy little cocktail is sure to kick your celebrations off with a lucky start! Hosting a fun get-together this St. Patrick’s Day? Make sure you stock up on the ingredients below! We used Gin (because I love it so), but feel free to swap it out for your favorite Vodka!


– Favorite gin or vodka

– Elderflower Lemonade (Belvoir makes a great one)

– Tonic

– Ice

– Lemon

– Sugar & yellow food coloring for sugared rim



1. Pack your cocktail shaker full of ice and pour in two jiggers of your favorite gin or vodka & 2 jiggers full of the Elderflower lemonade.

2. If you want to rim your glasses, cut a wedge of lemon and rum around the rim of glass. In a food processor or small bowl, pour in some sugar & a few drops of yellow food coloring. Mix or blend until throughly blended. Pour into a shallow dish & flip your glass upside down in dish to rim. Slowly twist the glass back and forth to ensure the rim is evenly coated.

3. Stir the cocktail in the cocktail shaker a few times & slowly strain into each glass. Top off with  bit of tonic & garnish if you wish.

4. Sip, serve, repeat!

* Makes 2 cocktails*


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IMG_7621Hello, hello my lovely little leprechauns! Are you all gearing up for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? Here is Chicago we take St. Patrick’s Day very, very seriously. If you aren’t Irish in Chicago, you are Chi-rish. This weekend is all about parades, parties, and the infamous green beer.

If, on the off chance, you are looking to class-up your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, might we suggest a fun happy hour with friends? The bars & restaurants are always packed, so bring the party home and celebrate from the comfort of your own living room. Not sure how to plan a shamrock-ing party? We can help!

STEP ONE: Get the word out!

Send an email, mass text, write a note, or give your friends a call & put the word out that the real luck of the Irish is at your place this year. If you are nervous about having people over (which, you shouldn’t be, we’ve been over this, your place is amazing!) then ask you friends to bring their favorite beer or libation & that way everyone has a stake in the party.

Think you’ve got it handled (way to go! We are so proud of that party throwing confidence), we’ve got everything you’ll need.


STEP TWO: Booze, baby!

It’s almost sacrilegious to not have a sip of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, but, I prefer to eat my Guinness rather than drink it…more on that later. So, if you guests aren’t big green beer people, it’s nice to have some other festive libations to consume!

Whip up a pot of coffee, throw some Bailey’s in there & voila – Irish Coffee!

Throw some food coloring in with a cup of refined sugar & rim your cocktail glasses in green or gold.

Really, if you whip up a gin & tonic, throw a clover or shamrock in there, you’ve basically warranted the right to re-name it in whatever St. Patrick’s Day saying of your choosing. Here are some of our favorites – the Erin Go Bourbon, Pot of Gold tonic, and Luck of the Irish Margarita. See? Easy!


STEP THREE: Skip the green food!

As cute as green food is, it’s also mostly terrifying. So, let’s just skip it all together & have something that’s still festive, just not dripping with food coloring.

We talked about those of us who would rather eat their Guinness rather than drink it, so for all of my fellow St. Patrick’s Day rule breakers, this Guinness Cheese Dip with Soft Pretzels is so absolutely worth it. Hello, beer dip & warm carbs, what could be better?! Ooh, and did I mention it takes literally 5 minutes to make?

Prefer something a bit sweeter? How about this Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting? Everyone loves a good boozy dessert & this one is even better than you could imagine. Pressed for time? Buy an unfrosted cake at the store and whip up the icing at home. Technically, you made part of it, so I think you get full credit for the whole cake. *high five*


STEP FOUR: Set the table up for success

As much as you love running around and serving people, it’s nice to be able to hang out and mingle at your own party. The key to being a happy host is having the table do all the work for you.

When you are setting up your party make sure that you’ve got all the food in a central spot that isn’t difficult to get to and won’t congest the flow of traffic if people linger. People always congregate at the food table (I mean, I always do), so tuck in a room that has a lot of entry & exit points and you’ll be perfect.

Now the actual set-up of the table is key. Grab napkins, silverware, plates, anything someone might need to enjoy your delicious food (that you whipped up all by yourself because you are superwoman), and put in on the table. Do not run back and forth to your kitchen because people need salt or pepper, get all that back and forth business out of the way & have it all out and ready for people to use.

Booze table! I love setting up a bar because it let’s people go at their own pace. Make sure you have lots of cups (depending on the crowd, plastic is a great option), have a bucket full of ice, and extra bottle openers. How come those things are always disappearing?


STEP FIVE: Celebrate!

Step five is key & many people don’t realize it. If you aren’t having fun at your own party, what makes you think anyone else will? Have a glass of wine (or weird green beer if you are into that) while you are setting up, put on your favorite record, and get excited. Who cares if the guest bathroom doesn’t have a candle in it or if you haven’t mopped the floors before your guests arrive. No one cares & neither should you.

You’ve got all your friends in one place, so have a freaking blast! The dishes & clean-up can wait until the morning. Just make sure you talk to your guests, help with refills, and ensure you have enough food & you’ll be hosting St. Patrick’s Day every year!


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SIMPLE SPRING MAKEUP so fresh & so dewy

IMG_1629Okay, so it might not be spring-time outside, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t pretend. We are breaking down another super fun makeup look that is perfect for that dewy skin look that says, “I just spent a week at the spa and my skin is glowing form the inside.” Sadly, that isn’t my life right now, but a gal can dream, right?

Don’t worry, we aren’t talking about 50 shades of contouring or breaking down strobing (because who has time for that, really?) Just three simple steps and maybe a few new tricks to get gorgeous glowing skin in under 5 minutes. Now that is a makeup routine I can get behind!


STEP ONE: The Base

Start with MAC’s Strobe Cream to add a dewiness to the skin and prep the skin for makeup. Just a little goes a long way, so don’t go overboard!

Next, apply foundation (we used Makeup Forever HD) and conceal where needed. Again, just spot treat.


STEP TWO: Sassy Cheekbones

Next, it’s all about those fabulous cheekbones! Define your cheekbones by brushing Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder and a neutral berry blush (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure) right under the cheekbone going upward.

To highlight, we used (and are obsessed with!) the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop on the cheekbones, brow bone, center of nose, cupid’s bow, center of forehead and center of chin. Highlighting sounds much more complicated than it really is. Don’t think contouring or strobing, just lightly dust the powder on the above areas and see play around with a look that works best!


STEP THREE: The Finishing Touches

Last, but certainly not least, your eyes & lips!

For the eyes, we used the  Viseart Neutral Matte palette with some Champagne Pop in the center of the lids for added light. This is a soft enough color to wear during the day, but moody enough to transition to a fun afterwork activity.

For lips, Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Gel Lipstick in Dusty Rose is the perfect match, as it’s sheer so it can never look too harsh on the lips!

Top it off with a simple three step Dutch braid crown & you are ready for just about anything!


If you are like me & not very savvy with hair or makeup, I more than recommend my gal Mollie at Stylisted. It’s the most amazing service that allows stylists to come to your home & get your hair and makeup ready in no time, plus it’s insanely affordable! Trust me, you’ll love it.

So, think you’ll try it out? Let me know below!IMG_1487

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DUTCH BRAID CROWN because everyone needs hair goals

IMG_1358The Dutch Braid Crown seems to be on everyone’s #hairgoals list – am I right? My hair doesn’t get much action outside of a pony tail these days, so when the girls from The Stylisted said they wanted to de-mysto this look, we were all in!

So, pack some extra bobby pins in that purse & duck out to the office bathroom and give this look a go. We promise, with a good mirror & a little practice, you’ll be a Dutch princess in no time! Make sure you leave a comment below telling us what you think – we can’t wait to hear.


The key to getting that chunky braided crown is all in the way you braid. Typically, if you are going to french braid, you’ll braid the three strands into (or over) each other. For this braid, you are going to reverse that technique, and braid the three straights outward (or under) one another. Make sense? If not, start braiding & then reverse what you normally do. If the braid is thick & stands away from the head (as opposed to that smooth french braid look) then you’ve got it!

Once you’ve got the braiding technique down, part your hair in the middle and grab a section at the nape of your neck on the left side. Start braiding (using that reverse technique you just mastered) up the side of your head, pulling in new strands with each new loop.


You are doing so well! Continue to braid around your head until you reach the right nape of your neck. Once you get there instead of continuing to braid around, french braid (using that same technique) at an angle.

You see how in the picture in Step One Mollie is braiding the hair out towards her but not straight out. Braiding the rest of the hair at this angle will allow you to wrap is around and tuck it under without any bumps or pockets. If you are doing this on yourself, imagine you are braiding the remainder of your hair towards the tip of your left shoulder. That should help nail the angle.


Once you’ve got that down, take the remaining braided hair and wrap it around (on top of the other braid) as far as it will go. Grab some sturdy bobby pins & tuck the tail under and pin away.

Spray with a good hairspray (we love Money Maker, plus it smells good!) & voila, your life as a Dutch princess awaits!

If you are like me & not very savvy with hair and makeup, I more than recommend my gal Mollie at Stylisted. It’s the most amazing service that allows stylists to come to your home & get your hair and makeup ready in no time, plus it’s insanely affordable! Trust me, you’ll love it.

So, think you’ll try it out? I would love to hear what other hair goals you’ve been coveting & maybe we can help hack them! Share below in the comments!IMG_1288


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KISSABLE WINTER SKIN a guide to great skin in the winter

IMG_5301Winter days can be rough, especially on your skin. Since moving from Phoenix to Chicago my skin has had to seriously readjust. Between the daily weather changes and crazy temperature ranges, I am left dryer than a bone most days. And as sexy as super chapped lips are, it’s not my favorite look.

Luckily, we’ve teamed up with alligator skin saviors, Vaseline, to share our most Chicago-approved life hacks to keep your skin feeling happy & hydrated this winter.


Well, by wine, I mean water, but you can sneak a glass in there too. We won’t tell!

This one sounds super easy, but if you are like me & are on the go must days, drinking water throughout the day is actually kind of tricky. I pop a straw in my water bottle, throw it in my bag, and voila – hydration on-the-go at it’s finest! Keep that skin soft and smooth by staying hydrated throughout the day & treat your fabulous self with a glass (or two) of wine at night. Seems logical to me 😉


Talk about the perfect excuse for an at-home spa night! Any reason to indulge in a new body scrub is a-okay in my book. Get those winter blues off by spending a little extra time in the shower and exfoliate.

Coffee scrubs are fabulous in the morning or if you are more of an evening shower gal, something soothing and lightly fragrant is wonderfully calming. Exfoliating helps kick that dry skin to the curb & let’s that new healthy (& hydrated!) skin shine.


Like I said earlier, chapped lips aren’t my favorite look and, to be honest, they are a total pain. Step outside in dry, winter weather and it’s like all the moisture from you lips just disappears! I started using Vaseline’s lip tins (don’t worry, you can find them at Target) and I am a new woman. They are magic! And yes, while you might think I have to say that, but it’s true! (the part about me being obsessed with them)

They have found their way into every purse, desk drawer, and car cupholder. The tin is sneaky and small & the Rosy tint makes it look like your lips are just naturally rosy. Plus, no more gross, dry winter lips!



But let’s get real, sometimes it’s just too dang cold to go outside. So stock up on healthy snacks & sweet treats, get that humidifier next-day shipped, and snuggle up with your fabulously hydrated skin, because sometimes you just need a day off!


lauren buttonsylvia buttonThis post was sponsored by Vaseline. I am obsessed with their lip tins & have them stashed in every bag, at my desk, and in my makeup bag. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make new content possible!


IMG_1932There are always a lot of His & Her’s round ups, gift guides, and the like around Valentine’s Day, and while those never really grab my attention, this pairing is something I can absolutely get behind – His & Her’s Valentine’s Day cocktails!

Something sweet and romantic for the lady & something a bit more bold for the mister. It’s a match made in heaven! So before your VDay plans are complete, make sure you add these lovely libations to the list. Can’t wait to see what you think. xoxo, LK



1 cup fresh squeeze grapefruit juice (trust me, it’s better fresh!)

1 cup sparkling water

4 tablespoons vodka

3 tablespoons St. Germain

Honey or a natural sweetener



1. Add a handful of ice to your cocktail shaker & add in ingredients (wait until you’ve tried your cocktail until adding in the honey or sweetener).

2. Shake until shaker is cold & pour into a fabulous glass!

3. Garnish with a thin slice of grapefruit or another citrus (we used a blood orange from the recipe below!)

4. Serve, sip, repeat!



1 ½ ounces dry gin (we love Farmer’s!)
3 ounces blood orange juice (save the peel)
1 tablespoon thyme simple syrup
4 ounces tonic water
Thyme (for garnish)


1. For simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add thyme sprigs, stir in gently. Allow to cool for 20-25 minutes and remove sprigs before serving.

2. In a low glass, fill it with a few cubes of ice, gin, blood orange juice, and thyme syrup. Top off with tonic & stir gingerly.

2. Cut off a peel from one of your used blood oranges, twist, and add in for garnish. Top cocktail off with a sprig of thyme & serve, sip, repeat!

IMG_1930So what do you say, lovebirds? Are these going to make it on your Valentine’s Day menu?! Since whipping these puppies up, I have to admit, they have been on repeat in our house. The are just so delicious! Anything with blood oranges has me weak at the knees already, but the two as a pair are out of this world.

Can’t wait to hear about your weekend & if you mix these up, let me know! 


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IMG_1698Hello my little love bird! Can you believe Valentine’s Day is this weekend? If you are anything like me this holiday has totally fallen off your radar and now it’s crunch time! Besides the man, there are lots of friends and loved ones I like to give presents to, so we’ve rounded up a fun little gift guide of pretty things your ladies will love!
IMG_1693Mermaid Perfume: It’s light & refreshing and perfect for that “Why isn’t it summer yet?!” friend. Don’t worry, we all have one!

English Rose Hand Cream: This lovely little hand cream is perfect for the lover of romantic things in your life. Mr Darcey, anyone?

Happ & Stahn’s Jasmine Rivera: For the dainty design lover, this land lotion is total eye candy, not to mention really having the most delightful fragrance.

Sugar Berry Lip Tint: For the, “I am not really a lipstick kinda gal.” This stain is remarkably moisturizing, wears well, and has just the right hint of color to ease her in to wearing lip color.

Moon Flower Noir Hand Cream: Another immaculetly designed package that is perfect for that glam goddess in the friend group. Did I mention it smells like magic? It’s divine!

Dior Addict Lip Glow: We’ve all got a Dior junkie in the bunch & if she doesn’t already have this, her collection is incomplete. The balm changes to match your chemistry to create the perfect color that lasts all day. Talk about a match made in heaven!

Barr & Co. Honeysuckle Hand Cream: A classic for a classic friend. Who doesn’t love a good Barr & Co. product and this one smells ever so slightly of honeysuckle – perfectly balanced, like your most classic friend!

Laura Geller Iconic Lipstick (in Tan): A personal favorite of mine, this lip shade is subtly bold. It takes a lot to wear an almost khaki lipstick, but for the bold ladies in your life, this is a slam dunk. Plus, it’s fantastically hydrating!

Royal Apothic Lilly Hand Cream: In case English Rose wasn’t her cup of tea, we’ve put in her sister, the Lilly hand cream as well. Delightful yet slightly more grown up, this hand cream carries a fragrance that says, “I am sweet, but also pack a punch.” For all those gals in your life, this is for them.

Benefit Lip Stain: For the gal who likes a little quirk, this posey cheek and lip stain is just the thing. Smudge proof (hello, we’ve all been there) and delightfully cheerful, this stain is perfect for the gal who has no idea what contouring is yet loves to look her best!

Mermaid Candle: Some people just aren’t beauty counter people, that’s why this candle is a sure-fire every time. Light, refreshing, and perfect to lite once out of the shower or tub, it’s a fun way to treat yourself without  going to far out of your wheelhouse.




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IMG_1420Well, hello lovelies! Are y’all getting your Valentine’s Day plans in order? While it’s not a holiday we really celebrate around the Kelp household (we usually order pizza & watch movies in a fort), it is a great excuse to get all dolled up! Whether it’s for drinks with the gals, a hot date out on the town, or in your living room in a fort, it’s fun to get gussied up a bit.

Thanks to the mad skills of Stylisted, we’ve got a fabulous Valentine’s Day beauty look that will have you out the door & looking fierce in 5 minutes! Plus, this hairstyle is my current obsession. See what we mean & get the deets below. xoxo, LK


For this effortless tousled look, it’s best to start by curling the ends of your hair. Ooh, if you thought we would make you spend 30 minutes in front of your mirror curling sections of your hair, you couldn’t be farther from the truth! We are all about quick, easy, and fabulous here at Lauren Kelp & this curling wand has changed our lives.

Star by pinning the front left and right section of your hair up (this will be the section we braid later). Grab medium size sections of hair (starting from the underside and working forward) and use the bubble wand to curl. It’s totally worth the trip to Target because this little guy perfectly curls hair in sections. No weird hand twisting or wonky curls – it’s super easy and crazy practical if you like the look.


Remember those front two sections we pinned up? Now it’s time to have some fun! Unpin the left section and start to loosely braid until you have about two inches of hair left. Pin across the back of the head & repeat with the right section.

PRO TIP: When you braid each section, instead of braiding down, pull the braid around the back of the head so it lays flat.

Once you are finished braiding, the braids should be sitting on top of each other. Grab the left (top) braid and tuck the end under the right (bottom) braid & pin. The goal is to have two braids sitting on top of each other & wrapped behind the crown of your head. Untuck the tails & let loose to create a full & effortless look.


Go ahead, go crazy, it’s Valentine’s Day! I am a huge fan of a rich red lip & now is the perfect time to play around with it. I mean, why not?! Mollie, our fabulous Stylisted stylist, used Stila’s Stay All Day liquid lipstick in Beso and we couldn’t be more obsessed.

You know that Kylie Jenner matte lip look? Well this is it but better and more fabulous because it’s on you! The color is a fabulous red and it stays on all day. But for real. You can eat, drink, and make out all night long and your lips will still stay full and lush looking. Magic, right?


Look at that! Three easy steps & you are out the door on you way to something fabulous in no time. Whether it’s date night with that special someone or drinks with the girls, you are ready to knock ’em dead.

If you are like me & not very savvy with hair and makeup, I more than recommend my gal Mollie at Stylisted. It’s the most amazing service that allows stylists to come to your home & get your hair and makeup ready in no time, plus it’s insanely affordable! Trust me, you’ll love it.


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