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.

im-into-fitness_d61d76c8-fa51-4f45-aadf-f0420b435935_632x
(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.

77CFEF88-E372-4ED4-826B-C77CCEF30DBF
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.

EF941A5C-608C-4E14-8E8F-7EB79079134F
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.

HC-picture-2

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).

spending-money-on-food-like-12524529

  • 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.

giphy

  • 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.

tenor

  • 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!

funny-pictures-cash-for-alcohol-research-begger-sign

  • 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.

giphy-1

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!
    IMG_3498
  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
    IMG_3533
  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!

IMG_3664

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.

IMG_7411

  • 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.

KL-2637.jpg

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…

KL-2683

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.)

SourSarah.jpg

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: 

IMG_5892.jpg

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.

IMG_3367

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.

IMG_2916

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

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.)

grumpy cat.jpg

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.

Buddy-The-Elf

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.

IMG_0958
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.

Help I'm Feeling
“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.

IMG_0960

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

5 Tips For Hosting A Halloween Party | Eat, Drink & Be Scary!

5 Tips For Hosting A Halloween Party | Eat, Drink & Be Scary!

Hosting a Halloween party this year? Check out these five easy steps to make your Halloween party BOOtiful and a hit for your guests!

Find A Great Costume


As the host of the party, you want to make sure your costume sets the tone for all of your guests – especially if a costume contest is in the mix! Here are a few of my favorite costume ideas:

  • Danny & Sandy from Grease
  • Hot Zombie | Check out this look with some amazing Zombie makeup from Roxxsaurus here!
  • Marty McFly & Doc Brown from Back to the Future |Friends Jeff & Meag rockin’ it!
  • Hunter & Deer
  • Raining Men | Studio DIY 
  • 50 Shades of Grey | Lady and the Blog 

Running out of time to find your costume? Check out this article from Good Housekeeping on 35 DIY Costumes

Party Paraphernalia 


Pumpkin String lights, jack-o-lantern stemless wine glasses, spooky ghouls, you’ll want to have it all for your Halloween Party. Whether your taste is classy or sassy your house lit up in an orange glow will really make an impression on your guests. Target is your place for all of the ghoul-y goods!

Who doesn’t like something punny? These ‘Here for the Boos’ & ‘Eat, Drink and Be Scary’ one use items are an easy way for your guests to appreciate your attention to detail without you spending a fortune. These were found at Marshalls.

Serve Up The Spookiest Cocktail 


Since this is in fact a PARTY, we know your guests will be HERE for the booze BOOs! There are lots of fun cocktails to make your Halloween Party superb. A signature drink make any guest feel like they want to have 1 (or 3) glasses of it. Get your #basic on with this Pumpkin Punch from Honestly Yum and Poison Apple Punch from Julep My PERSONAL favorite are these Caramel Apple Mimosas. They’ve been a hit at several Halloween parties! 

Your Own Unique Party Tricks

Because we’re too old to hire magicians for parties (still so tempting, tbh) it’s essential that as a host you’ve pulled out some special tricks out of your own hat to wow your guests.

  • My favorite is creating a pumpkin tap and serving beer directly out of a fresh pumpkin. Here are some directions on how to do so, via Kegworks!
  • Use Amazon Alexa to build your best spooky playlist. Your friends will appreciate the ambiance. (Plus you can say things like: Alexa, play Monster Mash when your boozy friends want to dance in your kitchen after one too many Caramel Apple Mimosas.)
  • The ol’ Frozen Hand in the Punch Bowl Trick is a classic party trick. Fill a rubber glove with water and freeze it. Then after you’ve made your special punch (see above) cut the glove off of your frozen ‘hand’ and place the hand in the bowl. Your guests will be equally excited and freaked out when trying the punch!

Games Worthy of a Spooky Time

  • Because we all like to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane, have guests write their favorite Halloween costume from when they were young on an index card. Add them to a cork board and have each guest guess who each costume belongs to. (Bonus: you’ll each get at least one correct, right?) For party and office supplies for these games, look no further than Target.
  • While we may not all be a fan of scary movies – it’s still fun to incorporate them to give your party a haunting twist! Play Guess That Scary Movie! Print out screenshots of scenes from your favorite movies and have guests guess each scary movie. (Editor’s Note: I was too scared to look up any other screen shots except for Saw, so you’re on your own for this one!)

Scary Movie - Saw

  • Grab n’ Guess – Put some slimy/oddly shaped food in a shoe box wrapped in fun Halloween paper. Make your friends stick their hand in the box and guess what they’re feeling. Some good suggestions for this game: Jell-O & gummy worms (guts), peeled grapes (eyeballs), cooked spaghetti put in the refrigerator (brains). Here’s a link to some additional info & directions to this game!

Most of all, don’t forget to EAT, DRINK & BE SCARY! We hope you’re Halloween Party is SPOOKtacular!
Cheers,
KLo

 

Cooking For A Cause (with just a little Bourbon)

Cooking For A Cause (with just a little Bourbon)

There are a few things that I simply cannot turn down: yummy food, cooking with my hubs, and giving back to our community. So when the Washington County Arts Council invited John & I to be Celebrity Chefs for their annual fundraiser event, we were thrilled to say yes.

The Washington County Arts Council hosts a unique fundraiser each year called The Art of Cooking. This event invites community members to a lavish evening of trying local couples’ favorite recipes prepared by the Fountain Head Country Club kitchen experts. The celebrity chef couples demonstrate their recipe in the kitchen, as if on a cooking show, and then community members in attendance are served each recipe plated at their table. This event perfectly ties together what we all love about cooking, which is putting a unique spin on a recipe, and truly showing the audience that there is an art behind the food. [Author’s note: the art may in fact be the ability to not set each other on fire in the cooking process.]

Celebrity Chefs

Over the course of six months, five Celebrity Chef couples met to discuss what our version of this event would look like. Over monthly meetings with dinner and drinks, we brought our favorite recipes to the table (literally) and together concocted a full-course dinner menu that would flow and keep guests’ pallets intrigued. The menu included passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour, followed by an appetizer and soup before the entrée and two side dishes, finished off with a delectable dessert.

The menu items chosen by the Celebrity Chef couples unfolded as such:

Ceviche – Chef’s Sam & Dana Wright
Pumpkin Soup – Chef’s Steve and Susan Wood-Haines
Pul Ko-Kee Korean beef – Chef’s Art & Marianne Schneider
Mushroom Ragu over Handmade Pappardelle – Chef’s Dale & Pat McCleary
Brussels, Bacon & Bourbon – Chef’s John & Kelsey Lorman

Each course was perfectly paired with a champagne or wine chosen by the wine aficionado Mr. Mike Johnston. Local celebrity emcee Lou Scally and & lovely co-host Heather Guessford entertained the 160-person-audience between courses and introduced each of the celebrity chef couples.

Lorman Chefs

Not only did the chef couples have to demonstrate their talents on screen in front of the audience, but we each also tried to come up with something that made them laugh before they enjoyed the meal (the wine will help with the morale of the group as well, am I right?) This included getting mic’d up and staged in the prep-kitchen, and mixing together our recipes as if we we each had our own show on the Food Network. With a quick change of set between each couple, we were thrown into the spotlight with hopes of not dropping, spilling or cursing (all things that happen in my kitchen regularly). Each couple took a fun spin with their time on-screen, including an apron that said “This Shit is Going to Taste Delicious”, a visit from “Hillary Clinton,” and in our case – two extra shots of bourbon to make our recipe taste extra special. [Author’s note: The shot of bourbon made me turn away from the camera for a split second, but I was trying to spare the audience of my ‘party-girl-in-a-bar-taking-shots’ face. It was really for their own good.] Plus, there was bacon in our recipe (because, duh – my husband won’t eat his veggies otherwise); I think anyone could agree that brussel sprouts, bacon and bourbon could very well be three of the best B’s in the kitchen. [Author’s note: Oh, also bread, let’s all take a minute to appreciate that ‘B,’ too.]

Entree & Side Dish Couples

Prepped In Kitchen

As the last couple of the night, I had hoped our shots of bourbon on camera would be enough to keep the audience entertained (especially through their previous three pairings of wine). Not to mention I started our segment with a selfie – the true key of success in any kitchen. Though I’m no critic, of food or comedic sketches, I believe each of the couples entertained the audience and left their pallets satisfied.

Cooking Selfie

Though we all had a great time, made some new friends, and found some new recipes, the big ‘win’ for the celebrity chefs was that we were able to attract an attendance of 160, raising $20,000 for the Washington County Arts Council.

Friends & Family

It was a night of eating, laughing and drinking (over-indulging in at least two of three areas, I might add) and most importantly a night of giving back to the arts in our community. Thank you to the Arts Council for having us, and for giving me the opportunity to feel like Rachael Ray for an evening.

[Final author’s note: After-dinner drinks at the bar across the street are always a good idea…. in theory. You may pay for that decision the next day. See the group that made it to the end, and literally closed down the bar, with us below.]

The friends and family who made it to the end of the night!
Cheers,
K Lo

For more information on the Washington County Arts Council and the 2017 Art of Cooking, check out these Herald Mail Media Articles, and the Washington County Arts Council website