First of all, this is the first #tinykelphouse post!! That is a big freaking deal. We bought our little 700-sq.ft loveshack in New Buffalo just before Thanksgiving and are just now, JUST NOW, able to sleep in their with running water, a functioning bathroom, no doors yet, but hey…it’s no longer yellow and it’s ours! We did about 80% of the renovations ourselves (which…plaster dust is not for the faint of heart or those looking to test their relationship) and while I now go shopping for power tools more than shoes, I can honestly say it was way more fun than not.

Besides the dramatic impact of the house no longer being yellow, these blinds are INSANE. They legit make the house.
First of all, they come with a magical remote control.

Okay, wait, wait, wait…let’s back up to the beginning.

When researching blinds I came across The Shade Store & feel in love. Fast. If you live in Chicago, you’ve probably heard of them or seen their showroom at the Merchandise Mart and let me tell you…it’s magical. I worked with Carol (or as I like to call her, the magical unicorn) at the showroom and she answered all of my questions. Like, “I feel like window treatments are an adult purchase?” Also, “how the eff do I get started?”

We walked around the showroom, talking about paint colors, I showed her pictures of the space, a general design plan for the house, and the overall vibe of the place. Ultimately, we decided on these gorgeous linen roller shades for the living room and kitchen french doors. Guys, they are magical. I mean….LOOK AT THEM.

They are a perfect “not aggressive white but calm white” shade of linen, they keep out the heat of the sun without blocking the light completely, and they roll up to almost nothing. Besides that narrow bar at the top, there isn’t anything to them. No cords or thick bars, just narrow little strip at the top that rolls up like nothing.

Best part? Besides making my house look finished, refined, and totally chic? EVERYTHING IS ON A REMOTE!

Our magical installer programmed all four roller blinds on to a combined channel, so now if I want to roll all of them up or down, all I do is hit “0” on the remote & magiiiic. They each have their own channel too, so if I wanted to roll the main front door shade up, but keep the rest down, I hit channel “2” – WIZARDRY I TELL YOU.

Here is the deal – if you are looking to update your window treatments or just want to give your home a refresh – hit up The Shade Store. They are beyond helpful, kind, and informative plus the shades are absolutle magic. If you are local, ask for Carol, she is a wizard.

thanks to the shade store for sponsoring this post

BLUE BIRD BRUNCH plus a Le Creuset giveaway

Is there anything better than a warm weather brunch? The sun is out, every one is in a good mood, the champagne is flowing – it’s just magic all around. As you know, I love any (and all) excuses to throw a get together and hosting a brunch around a fabulous new serving dish is right up my alley. This weekend it was all about this gorgeous new Fleur Cocotte from Le Creuset.

Normally, I am very minimal and utilitarian about my dishes, but there is something about the embossed flowers on the lid and base of the cocotte that I couldn’t resist. Plus, it has a lovely matte finish that makes me feel all sexy and European when I am cooking.

IN FACT, I love it so much we are going to GIVE ONE AWAY!! Hop on over to @Lauren_Kelp and enter to win.

That way we can be cooking twinzies and make all sorts of delicious fun things in our fancy new Fleur Cocotte

Speaking of delicious things, have you tried a carrot ginger soup? Sister, I am hooked! We made one a few months ago and they have been on steady repeat ever since. I love this recipe (don’t worry, it’s below) because it’s light, fresh, super good for you, and wildly easy to make. PLUS, it is a dream for entertaining. It’s pretty and tasty – what could be better?

Keep scrollin’ on down for the recipe…

Recipe type: SOUP
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pound carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives
  1. Heat ½ cup broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in ginger, carrots, potato and remaining broth and heat to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. In batches, carefully puree in a blender.
  5. Add water or broth if needed to thin to desired consistency.
  6. Reheat soup if necessary. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with chives.

Are you convinced yet that you need the Fleur Cocotte in your life? Don’t forget to head over to @Lauren_Kelp for your chance to win one! Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!) and we will be picking the winner tomorrow!


thank you Le Creuset for sponsoring this post. all thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own


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

KALE & AVOCADO SALAD lovely for a spring housewarming party

Party people, what’s happening?! Is this warm weather not the absolute best? Every time spring rolls around all I want to do is entertain. The windows are open, the grill gets fired up, and it’s a non-stop open house!

We recently moved in to a new space, so naturally we had to throw a housewarming party! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE housewarming get-togethers. Home ownership is a big deal and so it absolutely deserves to be celebrated and y’all know how I love to celebrate. But I also think that moving is a big deal and should be celebrated (congrats, you made it through a move….real life, that’s a big deal) so why not throw a housewarming party for a new apartment?! All the house parties!!

We are sharing four fabulous tricks to hosting a stress free housewarming party over on the Kendall Jackson blog, so head on over and get you some pointers. Real talk though, housewarming parties shouldn’t be stressful – don’t let them be. Who cares if you haven’t unpacked all your boxes and if the house isn’t perfect? There is something charming and refreshing about a space that isn’t perfect, you know?

Last week we hosted our little housewarming bash and I made my absolute favorite seasonal salad. I call it seasonal because it sounds like it won’t always be there, but truthfully, we have it in the dead of winter, so it’s really an all year round salad, it just tastes better in the spring-time. Meet the kale & avocado salad!

It’s got delicious chickpeas, yummy kale (that you rub a lemon vinaigrette on the leaves and it tastes like magic), and lots of avocado (because, hellllllo). It is perfect for a crowd and tastes like absolute heaven with a glass of crisp white wine. That is why we served K-J AVANT by the boatload. Salads and wine are like the grown up peanut butter and jelly and deserve to be enjoyed just as often.

Here is what I love about pairing a really healthy, delicious salad with K-J AVANT the earthy taste from the salad is sweetened by the vibrant fruity notes from the wine. The Chardonnay is crisp and cool and when it meets the avocado and chickpeas it is like a magical garden party. Plus, the price point is wildly affordable, so I always have it on hand for parties so we never run out!

Kale & Avocado Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 8 cups Kale (rinsed and chopped)
  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 ripe Avocado (diced)
  1. For the dressing, combine lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Once thoroughly mixed, slowly add in the olive oil while whisking until creamy.
  3. Add your kale to a large bowl and pour the dressing over the leaves and gently massage the dressing in to the leaves (this takes the bitterness out of the leaves and ensures a nice lemon flavor with every bite)
  4. Rinse and drain your chickpeas and dice your avocado into little cubes and gently fold in to the salad.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate util ready.

So, what do you think? Ready to host a fabulous stress free housewarming party and with a delicious salad and Chardonnay pairing as the menu? We thought so!

this post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson, all thoughts and opinions are my own

I DRANK COLLAGEN and heres what happened

If I was a betting gal, it would be easy money to say that you and everyone you know is taking about collagen. It’s the latest super supplement and it’s popping up on every heathy list imaginable – but what is it all about?

I wanted to see what all the hype was about, so naturally I dove right in, headfirst, and went gangbusters for a week. I ate, drank, gargled (jk, I didn’t do that), and breathed collagen (by only by accident because I sneezed while scooping some out….oops) and there are legit some amazing benefits…

Here is why everyone is loving collagen:

Great for your bones, joints, and muscles

Helps with digestion & is great for anyone with acid reflux, IBS, or leaky gut

Does wonders for your skin (goodbye wrinkles), teeth, nails, and hair

And, rumor has it, it supports a healthy nights sleep

After doing some research, I ordered Dr. Axe’s Multi-Collagen Protein and started adding two scoops to my morning smoothies. This particular mix is a high-quality blend of bovine, chicken, fish, and egg collagens, providing collagen Types I, II, III, V and X (hence, “multi” collagen).Types I and III are amazing for your skin, hair, and nails while Type II collagen, which  supports gut health, joint health and healthy immune system function.

This mix is great because it’s super high quality, easy to absorb, tasteless, and has absolutely no smell (which, to me, is a big win). Smoothies are a super easy way to work collagen in, but I have also mixed it in to my cup of tea in the evening, and lots of people use collagen in their recipes!

I’ve been drinking collagen for about two weeks now and I can tell that their is a difference in my skin, energy levels, and my hair feels more healthy. It’s so easy to work in to my morning routine and with noticeable results in such a short time, it’s definitely become a beloved part of my health regime.

What do you think? Would you try working collagen in to your routine?

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

GIN OLD FASHIONED for the non-bourbon drinker

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktailsGang, how is it not the weekend yet? Jeesh! I have been crushing hard on this gin twist on the classic Old Fashioned and I cannot wait to share. I had a gin based Old Fashioned at a bar downtown Chicago and was OBSESSED! It’s crazy good & if you are like me and just starting to dip your toes in to the whiskey well, this is a refreshing way to get the flavor without going crazy. So, how do you make it you ask? SIMPLE!

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktails

So the simple, 30-second recipe is this: Grab your gin, tonic, and the Cocktail Crate Old Fashioned mix and voila!

If you don’t know Cocktail Crate, you should. They are honestly the best pre-made mixers around (& no, this isn’t a sponsored post). We have a few on hand at all times and they are always a hit. You just add in your ice, gin, a bit of the mix, and a splash of tonic to make it bubbly & heyo, it’s party time!

For the more living room mixologist friendly recipe, see below. Both are great & I promise, you’ll be obsessed!

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktails

  • 4 Oz Good Quality Gin
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 2 Sugar cubes
  • Zest of an orange or lemon
  • Ice
  1. Divide the sugar cubes into 2 glasses.
  2. Saturate with bitters - give it a good couple shakes or so.
  3. Top with 2 shots of gin and muddle until the sugar breaks down and begins to dissolve in the mixture.
  4. Add as much ice as makes you happy and stir for about 45 seconds.
  5. Run the zest of the citrus along the top of each glass. Twist and squeeze to release some oil and drop into the mixture or skewer with blueberries and place on side of the glass.
  6. Bottoms up.

gin old fashioned via lauren kelp | 30 second cocktails