If I am being honest – and we are all friends here, so of course I am being honest – this end of winter/beginning of spring in between season always kind of gets me down. Call it the wacky weather or maybe because the skies tend to be more gray than blue, either way, I get bummed out. So, in an effort to simplify things, I am trying to make some small changes with big results. So…for this weeks challenge….

Here are several ways I am trying to simplify my life this week. Some of these might be up your alley, some maybe not so much, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

1 – No more falling asleep with the TV on

I know, I know, it’s a bad habit, but some nights my mind is racing so much that the only thing that will help me go to sleep is watching mindless TV shows (Arrow, anyone?) But, as we all know, falling asleep to the TV doesn’t exactly provide the foundation for rest, now does it? This week, I am putting down the remote and picking up a good book.

2 – No more waking up & checking emails

Do you do this? It’s the first thing I do when I turn the alarm off at 5 a.m. It’s like clockwork. I turn off the alarm, refresh my email, check the news (depressing), and Instagram. Immediately I feel stressed and rushed and it’s no bueno. This week I am putting my phone on airplane mode and giving myself a little extra time in the morning to ease into things.

Airplane mode keeps all your notifications from coming through (i.e. no emails, calls, texts, Instagram notifications, and all the other nonsense you get notified about). Here is to hoping this small change makes a BIG difference.

3 – No more chips and salsa for dinner

Tell me I am not alone in the weeknight meal struggle. Sometimes it’s hard to whip up a meal after a long day, you know what I mean? And once the pizza guy knows your name, that relationship has to end ASAP.

For those of you who meal plan, I envy you. While it’s not hard, it is just a bit time-consuming which is always the hurdle. This week, my goal is to meal plan for three dinners, nothing crazy, just something basic and easy to work into being a fully functioning adult.

4 – No more double booking

Scheduling every moment of every day is exhausting and a fool-proof way to set your plans up for failure. Happy hours and catching up with friends are meant to be fun, not stressful. Try limiting your hangouts and catch-ups to two days or swapping the happy hour for a walk outside or spin class. This week I am opting for a fewer hangouts of higher quality – you in?

5 – No more stuffing & cramming

By no means am I a hoarder, but there are just certain things that I can’t seem to organize. Random match books, receipts, random screws, you know, normal things. And don’t even get me started about the chair. You know when clothes aren’t dirty enough for the hamper, but not clean enough for the hamper — it’s the chair. So between the chair, the random junk drawer, and the other corner piles, something has got to go. This week, it’s time to tackle the chair…

6 – No more elaborate morning routines

When I was in college I was all about the elaborate morning routine. I woke up, stretched, journaled, had some quiet time, made breakfast, showered AND blow dired my hair, plus probably singing to the plants and talking to the birds because that is how much freaking free time I had. Who the eff has that kind of time now? Not I, said the over scheduled fly, not I.

While I am still a huge proponent of a morning routine (we talked all about it here), mine looks way, way different. It is all about waking up 10 minutes early, leaving my phone on DND, meditating for a few minutes, and giving myself a little extra love – maybe some mornings that means actually make a breakfast, or taking time to do my hair, or hey, here’s a big one, trying to make that morning meeting on time.

This goes for evening routines too! 

7 – No more multiple outfit changes per morning

I am notorious for changing multiple times in a morning, are you that way? Even if I think I know what I want to wear, majority of the time I spend half the morning picking out shoes or switching a top – it’s a nightmare. Your decision making skills begin to decline once you’ve made a certain amount of decisions in a day (it takes a lot of energy to make decisions all day and your brain gets tired), so spending a lot of time and energy on choosing an outfit takes away strong decision-making skills from something else.

This week I am giving my brain a hand and selecting outfits ahead of time, that way I don’t have to worry about it!

What about you? What changes have you made in your life to feel less stressed?

photography by Iron & Honey

IGNORE YOUR PHONE wellness challenge

Last week I met a girlfriend for lunch and as I sat there waiting for her, I couldn’t help but notice that someone at every table was on their phone. Everyone either had their phone face up on the table, in their lap, or they were endlessly scrolling away on it. Not just the majority of tables, but every single table had phones out, face up, ready to distract them from a fabulous lunch with someone they wanted to grab lunch with.

I watched as people felt the buzz of their phone, put down their silverware mid-conversation, and replied, scrolled, clicked, and ‘grammed. We are all guilty of this & I get it, it’s easy to multitask, but I had to wonder how, after being plugged in and available to everything/everyone all day, we are able to refill ourselves and…to a maybe larger question…how is it changing us? Is unplugging the new freedom?

You’ve read a million articles, heard a trillion podcasts, and I am sure have had several thousand conversations about digital detoxing, it’s benefits, it’s downfalls, and all the peaks and perils in between. And while I am a huge fan of putting boundaries on your tech use (no phones in the bedroom, shut your tv off by a certain time, etc.), I get that not everyone has that luxury, or that tech serves different uses for different people. But, here is what I want to challenge us to try this week…ignore your phone at meal time. That’s it.

Studies show that time away from technology

help improve posture and eye contact

improve short and long term memory

open up new perspectives

makes you seem more trustworthy

improves relationship quality and sense of closeness

makes people want to talk to you more

Don’t pull your phone out of your bag, or nestle it in your lap. Don’t allow yourself the temptation of looking at it every time you feel a buzz or a high pitched chime, turn it on silent. Hey, maybe go crazy and just leave it in another room while you eat at home. What could be the worst thing that happens?

This week, try thinking these three simple thoughts:

I put my phone on silent if I know I am going to be with other people in a social setting.

I leave my phone in my bag, rather than on the table, so it’s harder to access.

I look more open, trustworthy, and friendly without a phone in my hand.

photography by the fabulous Iron & Honey

sources Fast Company & Scientific American


Did you know that your skin is your biggest organ? Now think about all the junk you put on your skin – soap, shampoo, conditioner, scrubs, lotions, deodorant – it’s a lot! Now think about how much you know about all those products? Are they organic? Paraben free? What even is a paraben?

I have had terrible skin since I can remember. Terrible spots, flakes, the works. From 13 to almost 30, it doesn’t get easier to deal with. BUT, a few great things have come out of having shit skin, I have tested almost every product on the market and have become a total nutter about researching the isht out of what I am putting on my body. That nuttiness has migrated from purely facial products to just about everything that falls under ‘bath and beauty.’

There is a crap load of funky stuff floating around in your products that you probably don’t even think about because it’s in a pretty package (I am so, so guilty of this) or because it’s sold at a certain store, and it could be affecting your whole body, not just your skin.

Now I know re-stocking isn’t cheap, but I am taking on one room a month and figuring out what stays and what goes. Join me and take an hour out of your night and go through your bathroom cabinets. Pull out all the product from your shower, under the cabinets, all those samples, and even those bins you keep in the back full of half used bottles and tubes. Grab a trash bin and toss out anything that has the following:

BHA and BHT (commonly found in moisturizers)

MEA, DEA, & TEA  (or monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine)

P-phenylenediamine (coal tar dye) and anything with CI, FD&C, or D&C followed by a five-digit number (found in hair dye or colored products)

Parabens (found in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products)

Dibutyl phthalate (found in nail polish)

Methenamine or Hexamethylenetetramine (found in eye makeup, as well as shampoo and hair conditioners)

If you want help or more guidelines, try downloading Think Dirty or EWG’s Healthy Living. Both apps allow you to scan your products to see where your products rates on the dirty/clean scale.

This week I am taking on my bathroom products. I’ve thrown out a ton of lotions, funky soaps, and countless samples. Here is a list of clean (or more clean) products that I’ve swapped out. Okay, from left to right…

Lime & Coconut Salty Scrub

Palermo Charcoal Soap Bar

Meow Meow Tweet Natural Deodorant

Goodwell Toothbrush

Pacific Mint Toothpaste

Meow Meow Tweet Body Lotion

Ritual Vitamins

What products do you love? I am always on the hunt to clean up my routines & would love to know your favorites <3

Stay tuned for posts on clean lipsticks, beauty products, and lots of other swaps. Here’s to clean cleaning!

TURMERIC IS THE NEW BLACK wellness challenge

Turmeric and ginger latte recipe via Lauren KelpI was at a swank little coffee shop in the West Loop the other day and saw “Golden Latte” on the menu, so naturally, I ordered it because it sounded weird and maybe magical and I have to say…I was very pleasantly surprised!

Little did I know that this fancy latte has a cult following. You’ve heard of matcha lattes, but have you heard of the latest wonder drink – turmeric lattes? From Sydney to San Fran, people are ditching their morning cups of joe for this healthy alternative and swearing by it’s many magical benefits.

What are the benefits you ask?

  • anti-inflammatory
  • potent antioxidant
  • boosts immunity and brain power
  • aids in muscle pain relief
  • helps with digestion
  • reduces cholesterol
  • lowers risk of diabetes
  • helps fight infection, depression, anxiety, and I am sure a bunch of other annoying ailments
  • PLUS it’s amazing for your skin and a great source of natural caffeine

Okay, so here is my health challenge for the week — I am going to swap out two of my weekly morning cups of coffee for turmeric lattes and see how it goes. Join me?

Ginger and Turmeric Lattee
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
Soothing and delicious latte that is packed full of anti-inflammatory properties.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  1. Combine turmeric, ginger, sugar, and coconut oil in a blender and wait to blend
  2. Heat almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.
  3. Pour the hot almond milk into the blender and blitz everything until smooth and frothy.
  4. Serve, sip, & enjoy!

Turmeric and ginger latte recipe via Lauren Kelp



Deep breathing for anxiety via Lauren Kelp

Maybe it is the season or the current state of affairs (can we just get one day without a CNN alert, puhhlease), but I have become increasingly more and more anxious. I have never considered myself someone who has anxiety but recently I find myself becoming stressed more easily and overwhelmed more quickly – which is gross and super not fun. So, this week I am trying to give myself a minute to take some deep breaths whenever I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Join me?


1. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale through your nose for five seconds

2. Exhale through your mouth for good five seconds

3. Now repeat and count to 10 (an inhale is “1” and exhale is “2” and so on)

4. If you need another go, count to 20 or until you feel more zen

I have started doing this when I get overwhelmed with work or in rush hour traffic (sans the closing eyes bit) and it has really helped take the edge of the situation. Do you find deep breathing to be helpful? Excited to be working towards a less anxious week with you!

Deep breathing for anxiety via Lauren Kelp


image185New Year’s is always the time to make resolutions, set goals, and re-commit to life changing habits, but I always feel that way about Spring. The snow has melted, the birds are started to chirp, warm weather is slowing sneaking in, and I always feel re-energized to set goals and make things happen.

This season, we are all about wellness. Not wellness in terms of the latest fitness trend, but wellness in terms of mind, body, and spirit. We are trying to take time for ourselves, put healthy boundaries around commitments, and do things away from our computers that inspire us. So, naturally, I wanted to share five ways we are focusing on our wellness!


ONE: Schedule some “you time”

Personally, I love baths. I love alone time & I love taking 20 minutes to slip into a bath, away from screens, and unwind (a glass of wine doesn’t hurt the process). But, much like you, “me time” is the first to go when things get busy & life gets hectic.

I encourage you to make “me time” as important as those happy hours with friends. Without dedicated time carved out in your schedule to be alone, pamper yourself, or indulge in something (a good book, a dance class, lunch at the museum, etc.) there is a tendency to burn out, get stressed out, or exhaust oneself. Cut that terrible cycle off by making time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a ton of time, maybe just 15 minutes a day just doing something that you love. Try it out & see how it changes things.

TWO: Feed your body well

Natalie, our fabulous Health & Wellness contributor talks a lot about checking in with your body after meals & asking yourself how you feel after eating. To me, this is better than any dieting trick because when you choose to feed your body well, your body feels really good & wants to keep going & kicking ass right alongside you.

A lot of times we are so busy thinking about other things that we don’t realize how we feel after we eat.  If you take a moment after a meal to notice how you feel it can be extremely informative. This will allow you to make choices in the future based on feeling rather than guidelines that you follow. You will know that after you three slices of pizza you feel bloated and tired and after you eat a salad with salmon and avocado you feel satiated and energized. Therefore the next time you are presented with the opportunity to choose what you want to eat you can remember how you felt after you ate that specific thing. Making a decision is a lot easier when it comes from a place of feeling as opposed to from remembering what’s on your list of “yes” foods and “no” foods.


THREE: Simplify your beauty routine

Rethinking your beauty routine might seem like an easy one to skip, but hear us out! Replacing those products on your counter with clean, non-toxic options will help your skin in the long run & ensure a healthy body inside & out. Ditch your trendy face wash full of ingredients you can’t pronounce with clean products like JĀSÖN Gentle Basics.

Their Gentle Basics Facial Cleanser is ultra-mild, hypoallergenic for dry, sensitive skin and doesn’t cause redness or irritation. Great for exfoliating all that icky winter skin away & it’s free of parabens, so your skin will be looking healthy & radiant, naturally!


FOUR: Be intentional

If there is one thing I want to improve in my wellness routine, it’s becoming more intentional about my time & less anxious about my to-do list. Okay, well technically that’s two, but, to me, they go hand in hand.

We are pulling a page out of Yoga’s book and trying to set intentions for our day. Meditating on these intentions throughout the day help with emotional stability (meaning, they calm our anxious minds) and stress reduction. It is important to set an intention rather than a goal, because intentions happen from the inside where goals are more external. Intentions can be anything from, “I intend to make someone smile today” to “I intend to let myself be happy.” Coming back to those intentions when things get out of hand, hard to handle, or so messy you just want to give up, will help center you, re-focus your mind, and give you the calming kick in the butt to keep going that you needed.

FIVE: Fill your mind with good things

 It’s tempting to come home after a long day & turn on the TV and zone out a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Netflix binge-watch session, but sometimes it’s better to turn the TV off and fill your mind with things other than the latest House of Cards season.

Pour a glass of wine, slip into something more comfortable, and spent the night reading something good. Whether it’s the latest New Yorker or something random off your bookshelf, it’s important to expose yourself to new things. Boost your imagination and creativity, get inspired to do something new, or indulge in a little self improvement, no matter the reason, reading allows you to unplug & unwind while stimulating your brain in a new way!


This post was sponsored byJĀSÖN Gentle Basics. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make new content possible!