Live From New York: Our SNL Experience

Live From New York: Our SNL Experience

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live. Whether it was with my parents, or in my dorm room at college, or now on the couch with my husband (who just barely makes it to the end without falling asleep). So when we moved to NYC, I knew that getting the coveted tickets to SNL’s weekly show was at the top of my city bucket list.

I read lots of different articles and blogs about getting tickets to Saturday Night Live. I’ll link one of the more helpful ones here, but there is a ton of information online from others that have done it before. During the month of August each year, there is a ticket lottery where you can enter your name in to be chosen for tickets. You don’t get to select your show or the week if you win them, but you are technically in front of the ‘standby’ crowd if in fact you do get chosen. This means seats are more guaranteed and a little better in the studio. Information on that lottery (as well as NBC’s information on standby) can be found here.

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Everything we read encouraged us to show up outside the studio sometime on Friday afternoon (the day before the show). The tickets are given out at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning, but you generally can’t expect to show up at that time and get tickets. The show we were going to was featuring Chance the Rapper as the musical guest and host, so although he is incredible – we figured he wouldn’t draw as big of a crowd as Taylor Swift, Harry Styles or BTS. (These artists drew crowds as early as the Monday morning before the show!) We arrived at the 48th street entrance at 4:30 PM, which is about 15 hours prior to the ticket release. We estimated our spot in line at about 30 or so. While you start at the 48th spot, as of this year, they now move the line at 7PM to the 49th Street NBC Studios entrance. This (as many line goers said who had done this before us) is quite an improvement to where everyone previously lined up. 49th Street is clean, wide and leaves you protected by barricades, which makes sleeping/lounging in the street a little more enticing than being on a busy exposed street.

While many fellow line-sitters around us were able to sleep for several hours of the night, John and I opted for Netflix binging and each only slept for an hour or so. This was fine for us because we had completely blocked off Saturday morning/afternoon so that we could plan to sleep after (hopefully) receiving our tickets. The Rockefeller Plaza concourse (an entrance is located right at 49th street where the line begins) is open from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. This is FANTASTIC because until 11:00 PM, this is where you can find food, coffee and (clean!) bathrooms. (This is also where I got to say hello to Lorne Michaels as he was leaving for the day at around 8PM, so keep an eye out for high profile faces in this area!) For bathroom needs at other times of the night, there is a 24-hour McDonalds (note: you get what you expect, but at least it’s a free facility to use) at 47th & 6th. Other line friends noted that they sometimes used the local bars if the owners were ok with it (sometimes they grabbed a beer quickly, used the bathroom and then came back to the line), and there is a local deli/convenience store close by that sometimes was available too. But your most reliable restroom option was the McDonalds, and Rockefeller Plaza from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM.

To ‘camp out,’ we brought two chairs, two blankets (one to lay on the ground to separate our bags from the dirt of the street), snacks, iPad + headphones, a portable phone/iPad charger, and layers of clothing. At 5PM when we arrived the temperature was mild, but by 4AM it was pretty chilly, so adding layers throughout the night was crucial in staying warm. We brought cash for the dollar store around the corner and in case we wanted to grab a drink or snack off of a food truck parked near by. Our chairs have little pillows with them, which I would recommend if you intend to sleep. Our neighbor in the line used a large black trash bag to lay under her setup, and the people next to her used a tarp. She had a fold out cot that sat off the ground, and a sleeping bag and pillow. She slept for several hours, and her setup indicates that she brings those purposely to do so. (She was super nice and brought her Corgi named Devito. This was her 20th time in the line, and she had made several friends whom she’d been in line with before. There were other people that had seen the show upwards of 50 times or more, which is incredible. One guy mentioned he does this camping out gig just about every other weekend!)

We got through a whole series on Netflix and I finished a movie while we were camped outside. Several people walking by asked what we were waiting for; at times it was fun to talk to people about it, because they were genuinely interested in what you were doing and would stand around and chat for a few minutes. However, we did have just a few bothersome folks who would say things like “I would never do that,” “why in the world are you doing this?” and “you’re literally waiting all night just to get tickets?” So if you can handle the nay-sayers, it really wasn’t bad at all. A tip I had read in other articles was bring a sign to put at your setup, and that way people will read the sign and not bother you with a question. (I didn’t mind chatting with people, so we did not bring a sign with us.) When the clock struck 6AM, we went for a bathroom break into Rockefeller Plaza. We then packed up our camp around 6:45 AM, eagerly anticipating the ticket release at 7AM.

They came out with the tickets at about 7:15AM, which was pretty prompt considering. At this point, you can choose between the Dress Rehearsal and the Live Taping. We gathered lots of intel from people on which one to choose, though we were pretty set on the Live Taping for our first experience. The Dress Rehearsal gives you more jokes and more sketches that eventually may get cut from the live show. This gives you an opportunity to see more of the cast, and more of a behind the scenes in terms of jokes that are written. The dress rehearsal runs a bit longer than the live show, but many say they prefer this because you see more of it. A downfall, however, is if there are celebrity cameos, or special guests, they often won’t perform during the dress rehearsal. Therefore seeing the Live Taping is the most effective way to ensure you’re seeing all of the surprises that SNL has up their sleeves for that week. When we got our tickets, we were number 35/36 in line, and number 17/18 for the Live Taping. This meant that the 30 or so people in front of us chose an even split of Dress Rehearsal vs Live Taping. I read that showing up for the dress rehearsal gives you a better shot at getting in if you are further back in the line, and the night we went about 70 people from the line got in for the dress rehearsal. They were good about telling us how many people had chosen each one when we requested our tickets, so when you request your tickets you can make your decision based on your place in line if you’d like.

We requested the live taping, and therefore had to show up at the NBC studios shop no later than 10PM on Saturday night. (We went home and slept for 8 hours, 10/10 recommend doing that if you can!) When you arrive, you are corralled in a line that is based on your numbered ticket (so there’s no harm/benefit to showing up right at 10 or earlier than that). I love that your spot in line is guaranteed at this point, especially after spending the night on the street. When they take you through the metal detector, you are continuously warned that at any point you can be ‘cut’ from the line, meaning until your butt is in a seat in the studio, you are not confirmed. (We talked to a guy behind us that said one week he made it into the studio, and there were no more seats left and was turned away – talk about crushing!) They make you turn off your phones as you get onto the elevator, so I couldn’t even text family or friends to let them know I was confirmed. It truly is a crap shoot, which was both anxiety-fueling and a little bit exhilarating. When we got off of the elevator, you are instructed to walk down a hallway where finally your ticket is taken. This is usually a pretty good sign of your attendance, but again not guaranteed. Your next steps are directly into the top of the studio (the bottom level that you often see on TV is VIPS, friends of the cast, performers, etc). From this point you give the number in your party and are ushered to your seat (if you are a large group you are split up, so just be leery of this if you go with a large group). We were seats 60A and 60B, and at this point — when our butts were in the seats — we did a little happy dance!

The show itself was incredible. Michael Che served as the warm up for the crowd (if you’ve ever seen a live taping of anything, or even gone to a comedy club, you know there’s a performer who gets the audience excited and hyped — this is especially important to a group largely made up of people who slept on the street the night before!). Then Keenan Thompson and three of the female cast members (Heidi, Ego, and Chloe) warmed us up even further with a performance of Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group which was a fun intro! It was so cool to see the cast hug and laugh with one another and the host before the show. From watching the sets change, to hearing the producers count down to show time, it was an incredible experience.

I want to leave some of the behind the scenes magic out for those of you who might experience this yourselves, but I do have to talk about a hilarious part of the show we did not anticipate seeing. The host is involved in just about every sketch, so they need to be out of one scene and into another very quickly. In order to do this, SNL has one of their producers (or handlers??) quite literally drag the host off set and back on set. It was one of the funniest parts of seeing the behind the scenes. Imagine when your mom was mad at you when you were misbehaving in the grocery store and she dragged you down the aisles; this was EXACTLY what this female handler was doing to Chance the Rapper. It was comical. I’m sure it was necessary, but definitely comical.

At the end of the show, there are barricades set up at the 49th + 6th street entrance for those audience members to meet and greet any of the cast that comes out to visit at the end of the show. We were able to meet Alex Moffat, Melissa Villasenior, Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennet, Aidy Bryant, and Chris Redd. (Just one or two of the other cast members came out after left at 2:15 AM. We learned that higher profile characters, Keenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Chance the Rapper, Cecily Strong don’t typically come out at the end of the show.) We then slept until noon the next day, and had happy comical dreams of SNL.

After sharing our experience on social media, I got some feedback from others that had done it in the past. For example, some say that they have showed up at 4:30AM and have been able to get a seat at the show. For our first experience, I wanted to make sure that we had the best chance of getting seats, so I have no regrets for the camping outside experience. But if you feel like you can gamble, we’ve heard between 3-6 hours before can sometimes still get you into the show.

If you’ve made it to the end – you’re probably an SNL fan who is interested in potentially doing this yourself one day! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out – I’m happy to pass on any knowledge that I can regarding our SNL experience!

Cheers,
KLo

How Fitness Changed My Life (From Someone Who’s Not Selling Anything)

How Fitness Changed My Life (From Someone Who’s Not Selling Anything)

There are two things you should know about me: one) I love food and two)…sorry I got distracted by the idea of food that I don’t remember the other thing. When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to have one of those metabolisms that always kept my eating habits in check. Between playing sports all year round in high school and being so busy with practice, rehearsals and more, I could afford to eat like crap. I’ll spare you the gluttonous details, but let’s just say there were several days a week where a lot of us piled into a car, grabbed Big Macs and headed back for our second round of practice or rehearsals.

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(Author’s Note: Message still applies.)

Because I had that bounce-back-metabolism, I never really had discovered the ‘art’ that is physical fitness. Tennis, softball and track kept me in shape throughout high school, but even in college I attended minimal workout classes (and seriously, they had so many great FREE ones that I’m sure I would have loved). I ate like I had always eaten (frequently + always with a side of fries) and found my love for craft beer. When I met my husband, we were in our early twenties, falling in love and spending the majority of our time in taprooms, snuggled in a booth at a restaurant, or eating take-out on the couch. And let me tell you, it was a BEAUTIFUL time in my life – but I started noticing that foods + beverages began to stick to me in places they hadn’t always before. Even looking back at the photos of our engagement party, I get embarrassed with the kind of shape I was in, and for not realizing it at the time. I advocate fully for the idea that beauty truly comes from within, but I, like any other woman I’ve ever met, also wants to feel good when I take photos, or show up at work events, or meet new people.

This realization lead to my husband and I going on an intense ‘diet’ and workout plan six months before our wedding to lose weight for our big day. We were running a 5k every morning, and I honestly, sadly, was barely eating at all. I was living on salads and a glass or two of red wine to help fill my stomach in the evenings. I felt happy when I looked in the mirror, but my body was sad. And of course, this strategy did get me some version of the result I was chasing. But although I love looking back at our wedding and honeymoon photos and love feeling ‘skinny’ in them, this part of my ‘fitness’ journey wasn’t fitness at all – it was unhealthy eating habits, obsessing about my weight and a dangerous lack of self-confidence.

I weighed 102 lbs. at my wedding, probably the thinnest I have been since age 15. Obviously, this insane dieting and running every single day was not going to be feasible to continue to live a healthy, energetic, positive life. When we got back from the honeymoon, we gorged on foods that we had skipped out on leading up to the wedding. We stopped running, we drifted back to our evening routines of show-watching and take-out-eating. I was in desperate need of finding something that worked for me that would be consistent, effective, and an addition to my lifestyle rather than constant peaks and valleys.

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I was so unhappy with the way I looked at our engagement party (2014) that I started running every day, eating next-to-nothing to ‘look  good’ for our wedding (2015). Today I eat well, but I also splurge when I want to, + I love working out almost every day.

Around this time, a girlfriend of mine reached out as a new coach for an online workout program. And yes, it was Beachbody and yes, this is the fitness routine that literally changed by life – but no I’m not selling it, and I am not even advocating for this specific program. What I am saying is this is the program that came into my life, worked for me, changed my habits, and has stuck with me ever since. My husband and I (yes, I had a workout buddy, this is so crucial, I think – it’s so much easier to make a lifestyle change when you have a buddy!) began with a 60-day program that was 30-45 minute workouts per day with a meal plan to go along with it. We did not miss a day of the program due to a helpful accountability group, stuck pretty closely to the meal program (yes, those containers you see everywhere!) and truly had some killer results. I had honestly never worked out with weights before (as a 25-year-old woman!) and this was an incredible addition to my fitness lifestyle. I didn’t have to run every day, and there was a variety of options I could go with. My workouts were at home, we could do them at 5:00 AM so my husband could get to work on time, and I had a helpful, easy-to-follow eating program that would help me stick to my goals. Since then, I’ve been a believer in the BB programs. They worked for me, gave me an achievable, helpful, educational way to get to know more about working out, more about my body, and more about fitness + health. And yes, I have always had such a loving relationship with food, meaning I LOVE to eat it – all kinds, all hours of the day. That will never change, so I love that having a constant fitness routine in my life allows me to continue to get the burger, beer + fries (all the fries) when I want to, and learn to go for the veggies at least a few days out of the week. My love of food is not something I am ever willing to compromise, and I love the ‘happy-medium’ state that I have found throughout this journey.

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2014 | 2015 | 2018

I’m not here to convince you to workout for an hour a day, or to cook at home and find joy in healthy recipes, or to find a workout buddy to sweat, commiserate and laugh with. And while I’m SUCH a fan now of all of those things, I’m saying that there’s something out there for everyone that can be such a powerful positive lifestyle change. My workouts now keep me sane, they allow me to eat French fries and drink beer (which believe me I do my fair share of!), they allow me to feel strong and fit and feel good (most days) when I throw on my jeans. I encourage you to take time to find something that will disrupt your routine for the better, and add in a piece of self-care that will enrich your life for the better. Maybe it’s yoga, or the 30-minute spin class with the girls, but whatever it is: find it, do it, and make time for it. Those thirty to sixty minutes each day for me has truly changed my life in the best way.

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What we put on social media is not always what’s going on behind the scenes. Being active is something I’ve loved all my life, but getting in shape and learning to work out and eat healthy specifically for my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing has been much more of a struggle. I’ve shed tears over photos taken of me, jumped for joy when I saw the scale move just a little, felt so happy when I ate a big delicious meal and also felt sad and disappointed in myself, too. I’m learning to be proud of the body I have, and also enjoy the life that I live and the food that I eat without feeling too guilty and wanting to go to the gym right after a meal. I still battle with the image in the mirror before putting on clothes, and honestly, it’s hard not to in a world full of Instagram models flooding our screens. It’s a constant dialogue in my head, a constant fight to stay body-positive and I know I am not alone. But what I want to express out of all this is the idea that we should all be a little nicer to ourselves, more forgiving, more positive. Find something that is good for us, makes us feel good, and make it part of our self-care routine. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and my new-found friend ‘fitness’ helps me carve out some time where I can refill, refuel and feel better. I know it’s not easy – but the more we talk about fighting the good fight together, and sharing our journeys with each other, the less often we’ll feel alone.

Cheers,
KLo

PS: I have a variety of wonderful humans in my life who are coaches, strength trainers, etc. If you’re looking for something to add to your life, let me know and I’m happy to connect you with one of my #kickass #fitnessjunkie friends!

 

Tips for a Successful ‘No-Shopping’ Month

Tips for a Successful ‘No-Shopping’ Month

In March of 2019, my husband and I were trying to figure out ways that we could be saving more money for the future. We have a monthly budget that we create every month, so we are very aware of where our money is going. There are two areas that we as a couple seem to overspend on: out-to-eat and “shopping.” Unwilling to compromise any further on the out-to-eat budget (really, I feel like not going to five breweries per day is a compromise already, but whatever), we decided to cut back on the “shopping” budget for the entire month of March. Because we have a budget, that category was very defined for us. To us shopping is specifically clothing, anything you buy after seeing an Amazon ad on the side of your Facebook, Home Goods décor, new running shoes, jewelry – you get the picture. (Like I said before, we have a set budget for out-to-eat, so we did not include coffee, happy hours, etc in this ‘no-shopping’ month.)

Over the course of this (successful!) month, we saved over $300.00! That was huge for us, and honestly we realized all of the unnecessary purchases that we could definitely live without. Sure I would have loved to grab that maxi dress that was 50% off, and when Dick’s Sporting Goods had a sale on golf apparel my husband would have loved to check it out; but we survived, we saved, and we’ve even made the effort to continue on the ‘minimalist’ shopping approach. If you’re thinking about giving this a try for yourself, I’ve compiled some tips that got me through the month of zero-shopping successfully, with only a few very minor breakdowns.

  • Create a budget.

    • It is a good idea to have a budget at any stage of life, but especially when you’re trying to save money. Creating a budget allows you to set goals and track where exactly your money is going every month. While I am old-fashioned and use a trusty excel spreadsheet (can someone get me my cane?) apps like Mint and Acorns can help you track your money and keep a budget on your phone if you’re new to the budgeting concept. We have several categories on our spreadsheet, but our core categories are rent + bills, shopping, out-to-eat, gas, groceries and savings. Our budget holds us accountable; it’s crazy how frequently I would notice “LOFT” come up on my credit card statement – what a reality check! I would often spend $20 here, or $15 there, but if you’re not keeping track of your cash, that can really add up and soon your hardest decision of the day is whether to have chicken-flavored Ramen or beef-flavored Ramen for dinner. (Kidding, kind of).

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  • DELETE, DELETE, DELETE!

    • If you’re an avid online shopper like me, you’re undoubtedly subscribed to 546 stores and websites that are tempting you at all times to spend your hard-earned dough. And they are darn good at it, too! I don’t know about you, but if I see the words FLASH SALE – it is IMPERATIVE that I stop whatever I am doing RUSH to my computer, and by the first five things that make it into my cart. Because who knows if there will ever be a sale ever again, right?! Well, one of my strategies during ‘no-shopping month’ was to not even open those emails and immediately hit delete. In fact, you can add a filter into Gmail that will temporarily (or permanently) direct the emails from your favorite, most-tempting stores into a folder and out of sight. That’s right – you don’t even have to look at them if you don’t think you’re strong enough to manually delete them yourself. Sounds simple, but was so very effective to me. Not one FLASH SALE got the better of me this month and I feel like I deserve a freakin’ medal for that.

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  • Make Notes. 

    • Every time you think you want to buy something, write it down. “Dang this shirt is so old, I need to replace it.” “I love this set of wine glasses from Home Goods.” These are thoughts (at least for me!) that happen all the time and give me the urgent feeling that I need to buy something right away. So I started making actual notes of things I thought I “NEEDED” to have to buy when my ‘no-shopping’ month was over. At the end of the month, I looked at that list and have only bought two of the (many) things I thought I very much needed. Impulse buying and emotional retail therapy are definitely real. I’ve fallen victim to it, and dang it sometimes you just need to! But when you’re trying to save money, avoiding impulse purchases and thinking about your purchases more logically after some time has passed can do you a world of good.

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  • Track your purchases during your ‘no-shopping’ month with a modified cash scheme.

    • Ok, work with me here. The Dave Ramsey method teaches people to use envelopes of cash for specific line items of their budget; while this method is popular and helpful for a lot of people, it requires cash-only purchases for the majority of the month and that part of it is just not for me. I love the points that I rack up using my credit cards (I know that may be problematic if you’re not budgeting and tracking your $$, but last month I got a free flight to Seattle just using points!). So – my version of the ‘modified-cash-method’ is to use cash when you can, but when you can’t, put the receipts of every single purchases in an envelope. The gas station, grocery store, Target, wherever – keep those babies in an envelope and ‘count down’ your spending each month. We put our total-to-spend at the top of a sheet of paper, and literally did old-school subtraction every time we spent money. We knew exactly how much money we had left every time we swiped our credit card, and that was both empowering and also a bit scary. We knew the totals we needed for groceries, gas, etc. so we took that out of the ‘fun figure’ in the beginning. It was helpful knowing exactly how much we had ‘left’ for the rest of the month on fun things, even though shopping wasn’t going to be one of them!

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  • My favorite tip – do it with a buddy!

    • Just like working out, eating healthy, and really any other goal – partnering with an accountability buddy can help immensely in the process of getting through your ‘no-shopping’ month. It’s so helpful having someone to commiserate with, someone to ask the question, “do I really need that?” to, someone to remind you why you started doing this in the first place. My husband really wanted new running shoes, and as a wife I felt bad knowing he’d miss out on them this month. But at the same time, he was there for me when I had to turn down, like, six new dresses that I wanted and we both made it through! It’s all about priorities and having a third party help you analyze your purchases can be extremely beneficial when sticking to goals that are neither fun nor easy.

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I love the feeling of success after making smart decisions with money, so if you have any questions about our budget, or our ‘no-shopping’ month, drop them in the comments below! And good luck to you if you begin a saving journey, or a ‘no-shopping-month’! You CAN do it!

Cheers!
KLo

Girls Night In: Hosting Galentine’s Day!

Girls Night In: Hosting Galentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Some people call it a ‘Hallmark Holiday,’ (which may be true) but I see it as a day and an opportunity to tell those that I love how important they are to me. Whether that be friends, family or my husband, I love any extra chance to spread the love.

So while I couldn’t wait to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th – I wanted to be sure to celebrate GALENTINE’S Day on the 13th with some special lady friends!

Below are a few hosting touches I added for the Galentine’s Day celebration, making sure to be creative, cost-effective, and of course with lots of PINK!

  1. Keep it budget friendly!
    Target is my BFF. (I mean, that’s what everyone says, right?) I was able to score some great decor, plates, favors + more for under $50.00. Throwing a party at your house doesn’t have to be expensive, little touches can go along way. PRO-TIP: I couldn’t do this because I hosted the day before Valentine’s Day, but if you wait until after Valentine’s Day to get your girls together, you can get all of the decor and goodies on super sale after the 14th has passed!
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  2.  DIY Decor
    While I did get some of the decor at Target, I also added some fun touches at home that cost me little to nothing. I used frames I already had hanging around my house, and printed cute sayings in them, all themed around love and gal pals! I was channeling some serious Carrie Bradshaw vibes, she’s the best when it comes to finding cute quotes about girlfriends!
  3. Easy, affordable party favors!
    Sutter Home makes the adorable four packs of Rosé wine (4 pack for 6.00 at Target!) and added little tags on to them as the party favors. With $1.99 ribbon and homemade tags, this was a very affordable way to send a sweet message to your guests as they leave the party! I added all different sayings to the gifts, but my favorite saying might have been “Sip Me Baby One More Time.” #BritneyForever
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  4. K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, sweetie!
    (Ok, in middle school they used to say ‘stupid’ instead of ‘sweetie’ but that’s just not very nice.) I did light snacks and wine as my food & drink. No matter how much, or how little food I make – I always seem to have too much! I created a platter for 10 people and it worked out really great. I made heart shaped brownies, and heart shaped sugar cookies with cream cheese icing and strawberries on top. I also made a popcorn (SO easy) with white chocolate and sprinkles that was a hit. Especially when hosting girls, keeping it simple and sweet is definitely the way to go! We also tried a sorbet mimosa, which is just a lump of sorbet with champagne poured over top. SO yum. I’ve linked the recipes below.

    Pillsbury “Fruit Pizza” 
    White Chocolate Popcorn 
    Sorbet Mimosas 

  5. Girlie Games & Activities
    Since Galentine’s Day is within the first few weeks of the year, it’s still within the realm of goal setting for the year ahead. I asked the girls to bring magazines, and I provided the paper, scissors and glue for some vision board creation! It was super easy and super fun, and is a great way to get creative together without spending a lot of money or time on a game. We all could work at our own pace and come back to the vision board station throughout the evening. Also a hit, MASH! Remember playing in middle school? Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House, future car, future spouse, future career? I found these great templates on Studio DIY and printed them out. It was a super fun way for us to get to know each other, but also a perfect homage to our childhood!

I’m so thankful for the ladies in my life, and had a great time celebrating them on Galentine’s Day! I hope these tips and tricks come in handy the next time you get your girls together!

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Cheers!
KLo

Friendsgiving: Festive Recipes & Fun Touches

Friendsgiving: Festive Recipes & Fun Touches

It’s that wonderful time of year when friends and family start gathering together (around a table of delicious food!). My girlfriend Sarah (and her fiancé Trevor!) hosted us for Friendsgiving this year, and she was the hostess with the most-ess! We all got to play a little role in this fun Friendsgiving, so if you’re in need of some ideas, recipes or a new tradition – look no further!

The Food

Who is around the table is always more important than what’s on the table, but can we all agree that the food is a pretty close second?! Here are some of the fabulous recipes that we cooked up this year for Friendsgiving (Sarah’s pumpkin muffins will be the staple dessert at your next gathering!).

  • Charcuterie Board 
    • We chose soppressata, salami & prosciutto for our meet & cheese board, and paired it with honey goat cheese (the MOST delicious!), brie, and a sharp cheddar. We served this with traditional water crackers, as well as Blue Diamond nut thins for the gluten-free friends in the house (my husband actually preferred these to the other crackers).
  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus 
    • You will need: 1-2 bunches of asparagus, 1/2 pound of bacon, olive oil, salt & pepper
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Slice one strip of bacon into two, vertically
    • Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, season with salt & pepper
    • Wrap stalks of asparagus with strips of bacon, lay on greased cookie sheet
    • Bake for 12 minutes; flip over using tongs; bake for 15 minutes; serve!
      • Recipe note: as a *slightly* healthier option, we wrapped 3-4 stalks of asparagus in one strip of bacon, so that each ‘bunch’ was more asparagus than bacon. You can certainly do a 1-1 ratio for more bacon in each bite, but you will need to buy 1 pound of bacon!
  • Deviled Eggs 
    • You will need: 1 dozen eggs, 1 tbs of mayonnaise, 1 tbs of mustard, and 1 tbs of pickle juice
    • Hard-boil the eggs; carefully slice eggs in half and scoop out yokes
    • In bowl, mix yokes,  mayo, mustard & pickle juice
    • “Scoop” mixture back into egg whites (pastry bag method is key!)
    • Sprinkle paprika lightly on top
  • Turkey Meatballs (a recipe from Sarah’s kitchen!) 
    • You will need: 1 pound ground turkey, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg (whisked), garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper (spice amounts = enough for seasoning), 3 tbs olive oil, 14 oz red sauce, mozzarella cheese
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Combine turkey, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, egg, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and form into ball shape
    • In a separate bowl, combine olive oil & red sauce; spoon 1/3 of this mixture into your baking dish; place meatballs on the dish, and then spoon the remaining mixture on top of meatballs
    • Bake for 15-20 minutes
    • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top, and bake for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese
  • Pumpkin Muffins (a new favorite of mine from Sarah’s kitchen!) 
    • You’ll need: 1 box yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 vegetable oil, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 15 oz can pumpkin, 1/2 bag mini chocolate chips
    • Combine ingredients in bowl and evenly dish into muffin tin.
    • Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

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  • Sangria 
    • 1 750 ml bottle of Red Wine (I prefer a dry red, but this is up to you!)
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 2 apples (cut into squares)
    • 1 orange (sliced)
    • Optional ingredients: brandy, sugar (we did not add these!)
Side note: My husband is definitely more of a beer drinker than a wine drinker, so I grabbed him some beer for this festive occasion. My two favorite holiday beers right now are Victory’s Winter Cheers and Samuel Adams’ White Christmas! 

The Details 

What is a Friendsgiving without some festive decor? I found this adorable ‘Happy Friendsgiving’ sign at Home Goods, and Sarah had adorable cupcake toppers, napkins and plates to add to the festive mood. Target, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby & At Home are all great places to find these festive touches!

The Fun

We played games like Clue and What Do You Meme. Added favorites like Farkle, Sequence or Cards Against Humanity also make for a fun post dinner activity when you’re looking to laugh, despite being too full to move!

(Food photo credit: The Beautiful Sarah Morrison – pictured below.)
Special thanks to Sarah & Trevor for a fun Raleigh weekend, and for hosting a perfect Friendsgiving! 

 

#BossBabe Sarah: Connector-in-Chief

#BossBabe Sarah: Connector-in-Chief

I’ve always been inspired by women who support other women. Perhaps now more than ever, we as women need to be raising each other up and empowering one another. I’m so thankful to have the kind of #BossBabes that I do in my life, so I wanted to take some time to appreciate those girlfriends that I am so grateful for. Especially those whom I’ve had the privilege of spending time with since moving to a new city almost a year ago. They are #BossBabes at their job. The are #BossBabes as humans, wives, and friends. They are the #BossBabes in my life.

So, in this first installment of #BossBabes, meet my friend Sarah.

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I first met Sarah Williams-Scalise at a networking mixer while working as a Fashion Stylist in Charleston. The first thing I remember about her was a delightful, dry, sarcastic sense of humor – a dead giveaway that she was a ‘northerner’ like myself. “Yea, we get each other,” I thought to myself. Little did I know that this beautiful, undeniably intelligent human would become one of my closest, most cherished friends in my new home of Charleston, SC. I told her when we were taking these pictures that this shot embodies how I feel about her – I’ve been leaning on her since the day we met.

I truly believe that if Sarah and I were on a dating app, Tinder definitely would have matched us. (I definitely would have swiped right — have you seen her?!) I know this because of the continuous similarities I keep finding out about Sarah and myself. We both love a good spreadsheet (specifically when it’s travel related); we both love working with people – I call her my connector-in-chief, but more on that in just a little; and finally we both are married to handsome bearded men who like sports, breweries and the occasional whiskey drink. Sarah is that kind of person who can sit in a room with you chatting effortlessly, while putting in the genuine time and effort to care about you, your backstory, your goals.

Not only will she take time to get to know you, she’ll go a step further and think about who she can introduce you to, and how they would benefit your life. In fact, many of the #BossBabes who I’ll be featuring here are connections that Sarah is responsible for. Talk about a “what would I have done without her” moment…

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Sarah said to me over a (delicious!) beer at Edmond’s Oast Brewing Co. that although it was never a necessity in a previous job to be out and about in the community utilizing her natural connection skills, she’s fallen happily and successfully into the role of connecting people at her current place of employment. As an Insurance Agent at Blueprint Insurance Group, she’s great at working with people, representing her business, while also giving back in so many ways to the community around her. She is the first to step up and help, the first to take charge in something she believes in, and the first to support you when you ask for help.

Sarah is involved with Creative Mornings as well as WeRise Charleston, and recently I got to see Sarah fiercely support our local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of her Mom. She rallied a team of wonderful friends, raised some serious cash, and without a doubt would have made her sweet Mom very proud. When you see someone who is strong and smart support a cause so fiercely, it is inspiring. The size of her heart matches her ability to get sh*t done, and she impresses me every day with her ability to care, and thoughtfully connect those around her. In fact, I think she needs business cards with the “connector-in-chief” title. In my last professional role, I was very involved with community organizations, and I’m so grateful to Sarah for helping me bridge that gap in my new community here.

Just about the only thing Sarah and I disagree on is our affinity for sour beer, and our football alliances. I’m the sour beer lover, and she’s sour about my love for the Patriots. (See below.)

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Sarah inspired me to begin this #BossBabe series. She is a true friend, a true boss, a true babe. She is the best example of women supporting other women. She’s one of those people that if you don’t know her, you’ll wish you did. And I know I’m thankful that I do.


Big thanks to the beautiful & talented Keely Laughlin for these photos. (And yes, Keely is another bonus babe that I got out of Sarah’s friendship!) Here is Keely looking like the cutest photographer in the game: 

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And some behind-the-scenes blogger/photographer/friend ‘inception’: 

Stay tuned for more #BossBabes!
Cheers!
KLo

 

Holiday Party Looks For Every Festive Occassion

Holiday Party Looks For Every Festive Occassion

Christmas is right around the corner and that means the 14-day-Christmas-party-marathon is upon us! Between friends and family, we attend (and host!) so many Christmas/holiday parties this time of year. If you’re looking for some great styling tips for what to wear to any kind of holiday party, I’ve complied four looks that I loved showing off this weekend during a few of our Christmas & Holiday Parties!

For the work holiday party: 
You can’t go wrong with a black skirt and cute top for a business-casual work event. Cranberry is so in right now, so I went with the burgundy/cranberry family for my look. My WAYF top is trendy but still professional with long sleeves, and I’ve added some H&M tassel earrings for some on-trend flare. I paired my accessories with some pop of color shoes to finish the look!

For the fancy Christmas dinner: 
My husband’s company celebrated their holiday party with a lovely dinner at a local upscale favorite, Volt (a Bryan Voltaggio restaurant). As this was more of a dressy event, I went with an accordion skirt from New York & Company with an H&M off-shoulder top that I could tuck into the skirt. Paired with a flashy BaubleBar necklace from Target and I was all set! This entire look cost under $100.00!

For that classic Ugly Sweater Party: 
I love a good Ugly Sweater Party; traditional red and green, tacky lights, outdated knit patterns – I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT. My husband and I took a bit of a different approach to a classic tale this year upon stumbling on some fabulous finds at Target. His suit was $60.00 with the matching pants, jacket and tie and we just really couldn’t resist. I went with an adorable (and so comfy!) sweater with a big red bow on the front, paired with red tights and nude knee-high Steve Madden boots. To us, these options were ‘mullet’ types of options: business & party at the same time! I bought the SM Boots last year, and my sweater & tights cost $40.00 from Target.

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For your casual holiday gathering with friends: 
For our annual friends holiday gathering, I knew there would be just a little lots of wine and food, so I wanted to be comfortable but still festive & cute. I found this adorable floral jumpsuit by LUSH at Alicia L, a local boutique in Downtown Frederick, and paired it with a Kendra Scott statement necklace, also found at Alicia L! It worked perfectly with a pair of heeled booties, and ‘Divine Wine’ Maybelline lipstick! (It also perfectly matched all the red wine I consumed!) The belted detail at the waist and slits in the side of each leg added to the flare of this stylish piece.

So no matter what your occasion, don’t be afraid to be bold with your colors and turn up the festive! After all, this is the only time of year that Christmas ornament earrings are socially acceptable! 🙂

PS: Looking for a good gift to bring to all of those holiday parties? Check out these gift guides for a round up of my favorite gifts!

Cheers, and Merry Christmas!
KLo

Gift Guide Round-Up For Those Last Minute Gifts!

Gift Guide Round-Up For Those Last Minute Gifts!

If you’re like me (SOS!) and you’ve got some hard-to-buy-for family and friends that you’re running out of time to buy for, check out some of my favorite gift guides for everyone on your list.

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For your #BFFs (who run the world! GIRLS) I posted a guide for every type of girlfriend on your list. Check out my Pop of Life original gift guide here!

The perfect stocking stuffer for your sister, Mom or bestie is something pretty, shiny & super fun! Check out She Smiles All Day‘s awesome list of everything aesthetic here!

Sometimes the best way to go when your stumped on what to get someone is to put together a little special something true DIY fashion. You’ll often save money, and give a gift that is truly unique to your friend. Check out Happy Stylish Fit‘s DIY Gift Guide here!

Spring is around the corner and you know what that means, #weddingseason will be upon us before we know it. For a great gift guide on what to get the soon-to-be brides in your life, check out Darrian Michelle‘s Bride Gift Guide here!

Food is life, right? We all definitely have that #foodie friend, so check out Happy Stylish Fit‘s Foodie Gift Guide for clever gifts that your foodie will love!

Loverly Grey has got some amazing gift guides – two of my favorites are the key to perfect, affordable stocking stuffers with her Stocking Stuffer Ideas with Walmart gift guide, as well as her list for the perfect home & hostess gifts!

And as we know, the gentlemen in our life can sometime be the hardest to buy for! Check out The Small Things Holiday Gift Guide For Guys for some great ideas for the men in your life!

Happy Shopping!
Cheers,
KLo

A Gift Guide For Every Friend On Your List

A Gift Guide For Every Friend On Your List

Every year, we spend so much time deciding on the perfect holiday gift for those closest to us. But when our friends don’t need another spa gift card and we can’t bring ourselves to resort to ‘homemade coupons,’ it can sometimes be hard to shop for them. So I’ve put together a gift guide of gifts for every kind of friend on your list; gifts so good, in fact, you may just want to keep them for yourself!

For your workout buddy:

After all, they are the real MVPs who get up with you at an ungodly hour, listen to your drama from the day before, and put up with your sweaty self. They deserve some lovin’. When you’ve worked out HARD, but you know you’re going to spend those calories on wine later, self affirmation is helpful for her.

“I Did My Best” Gym Bag 

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And who doesn’t want a chic water bottle that they can use for water at 6:00 AM, and booze at 8:00 PM? Dual function, ladies – it’s what it’s all about! Help your gym buddy get psyched over spikes.

Spiked Water Bottle 

spiked water bottle

 

That foodie friend of yours: (Aren’t we all?!)

Trust me when I say you’ll want these gifts for yourself. A combination of Star Wars and sushi, a combination of pizza and the beach – what more could anyone ask for?

Star Wars Chopsticks

(Seriously, can you even with these light sabers?)

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Pizza Beach Towel  

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For your boozy bestie:

She’s fun, she’s wild and she’s always got the best cocktail recipes. Reward her with something for Christmas that’s right up her ally: something fun, and something that allows her to take her boozy ways on the go.

Carry on Cocktail Kit

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Wine Condom (It’s always best to use protection.)

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Flexi-Wine Cups

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For your friend who’s a little bit extra: (Re: Aren’t we all?!)

The perfect selfie, the perfect outfit, the perfect… well, everything. We’re all a little bit extra so let’s celebrate the friends in our lives who just ‘get us’ our extra tendencies.

Phone Photo Lens & Light 

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Marble Phone Case

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Chevron Phone Case

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For the teacher-friend in your life:

They work hard, they wipe snot from kids’ noses, they sing rhyming songs all day every day. If our teacher-friends don’t need something special in their lives, I don’t know who does.

French fries can make almost anyone’s day a little brighter, so why not remind them of a little treat right on their desk. This gift might even help them cope when their students borrow those bright yellow pencils and don’t give them back…

French Fries Pencil Pot 

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Stellar teachers don’t just need any stamp, they need a glamorous rotating stamp with insightful words and positive vibes. This Kate Spade rotating stamp is perfect for your bestie’s desk where she will be dropping some serious knowledge on our youth. (Careful: this item is low in stock, so order fast!)

Kate Spade Rotating Stamp

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For your hostess with the mostest who’s all fun and games:

That friend who hosts the parties, the household that hosts those monthly get togethers, you’ll want to spoil them with something they can use during all of those game nights! Here are three great options, pair them with a six-pack or bottle of wine to finish off the gift!

Drunk Stoned or Stupid

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What Do You Meme

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Social Sabotage

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Bonus: Order a few of these as great stuffing stockers for your entire list of friends! Champagne anything is perfect for the holidays!

Sugarfina Champagne Bears

Champagne bears

Happy Shopping!
Cheers,
KLo

 

4 Reasons My Holiday Spirit Comes Early

4 Reasons My Holiday Spirit Comes Early

It’s often a topic of discussion that we can’t avoid: the matter of how early is too early for Christmas. Stores jump from displaying pumpkins to displaying Christmas Trees and our Facebook friends get annoyed thinking that Thanksgiving is being completely skipped over. (‘Tis the season to be jolly salty?) While I may agree that the commercialized side of the Christmas spirit can be overwhelming, the idea behind why this time of year is so wildly popular, I believe, has a very compassionate meaning behind it. (Despite what some of your friends, The Grinch and Grumpy Cat might think.)

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The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather. Everyone is a little nicer to one another. Clothing and food drives for the less fortunate are abundant because during this time of year, we’re thinking a little more about those around us rather than just ourselves. We spend loads of time finding just the right gift for those special people in our lives; we make plans to get together, to laugh, to share stories as the year draws nearer and nearer to a close. What I’m saying is, there are lots of reasons I deck my halls early this time of the year – and why I’m not ashamed to do so. Go ahead, call me Buddy the Elf, I can take it.

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Christmas creates a magical nostalgia. As children we believed in Santa Claus and stayed awake until our little eyes forced themselves shut, wondering what he would bring. Do you remember the last time you had that much faith in something? And the moment you hear your favorite version of “Let It Snow,” or “Silent Night” your mind is flooded with memories. I’m the girl in my car (and in the office) who starts blaring Christmas music the first chance I get because those Christmas songs that I remember singing as a little girl remind me of family, of fun, of baking, of playing in the snow. And if you tell me that you don’t tap your foot when you hear “Run Run Rudolph,” then go back to your fairy tale, Pinocchio.

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Every Christmas Eve, my family heads to my Aunt & Uncle’s home for dinner, (in the past, often sporting matching family vests).

Christmas means passing on traditions, and making new ones. Whether you’re a new wife or husband, or a new mom or dad, or are just celebrating new friendships – letting traditions, old or new, engulf you is one of the most exciting parts of the holidays. Whether that means an outing to cut down your Christmas tree, stringing popcorn, taking photos for the family Christmas card, or baking a favorite recipe, those traditions make this time of year special for any family. And I don’t care how early it is, I will never complain about seeing a photo of a cute baby (or a cute dog) in a Santa hat sitting next to a Christmas tree, or wrapped in Christmas lights. And YOU shouldn’t either, ya Grinch.

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“Help me, I’m…. FEELING!”

[+++ Plus, why not spend more time doing other fun festive things in December?! Tbh, I’m a procrastinator so decorating in November helps when I’m scurrying around for last minute Christmas gifts! December is also full of holiday parties, you don’t want to have to worry about staying home because your house isn’t decorated yet.]

I guess my feelings are, it’s never too early to spread love and happiness. It’s never to early to tell your friends and family how important they are; it’s never too early to help those less fortunate around you; it’s never too early to make new memories and celebrate old traditions. So if putting up your tree in November makes you happy, then do it! And if singing at the top of your lungs to that Mariah Carey Christmas classic (you know the one) starting on October 31st makes you happy, then do it! And if going to Starbucks three times a week to drink your coffee out of this year’s holiday cup collection (guilty!) makes you happy, THEN. DO. IT!  Life is too short to not live in the moments that make us happy, and I personally think we could all use a little more positivity not just this time of year, but all year round.

And so, while I love the music, the trees, the Starbucks cups, and the twinkling lights, it’s the meaning behind those things – the love of one another and time spent together – that makes me want to deck my halls on November 1st.

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So grab your eggnog and your jingle bells, because whether you’d like to begin celebrating on August 1st, November 1st, or December 1st this too-eager-overly-excited-about-Christmas girl will be there to celebrate with you no matter what time of year makes you happy. I’ll bring the Starbucks!

(Spreading Holiday) Cheers,
KLo