Lauren Kelp

Lauren Kelp Chicago, IL

Interview with Lauren Kelp of LaurenKelp.com

Need help planning a bridal shower, casual dinner for five, effortless new beauty regimen or just a quick, healthy dose of everyday wisdom? Lauren Kelp and her talented team have got you covered. The refreshingly down-to-earth tone of her popular lifestyle blog stands out amidst a seemingly endless sea of artificial advice on how to create the illusion of perfection. Lauren and the team want you to abandon the idea that ‘perfect’ is necessary and pursue your passion instead. Try a new recipe, throw some new music on and dance, step outside your usual comfort zone and look to other cultures for inspiration, fill your home with laughter….Lauren recently sat down with REstyleSOURCE to give us advice on all this–plus her favorite things to do when she’s in Phoenix–and more!

How did you get started in lifestyle blogging? I actually have no idea. The first incarnation of the site was this terrible fashion blog where I stood in an alley and bribed my friend to take pictures of me by some edgy-looking fence when our boss was out of the office. I look back on those pictures now and die laughing! Fashion has never really been my passion and while I am so thankful for the people who show us what to wear, I (thankfully) figured out early on that wardrobe was not my strength. As far as “lifestyle blogging” is concerned, I think it came about when I moved to Arizona last year with my husband. We moved within a matter of two weeks from our place in Austin so that he could attend this really cool international MBA program and I think it all kind of had its genesis there. Entertaining, I think, is a little bit of a lost art and I wanted to make my stand for why we should bring it back.

Lauren KelpPHOTO: Constance Higley, c/o The Everygirl

I don’t know anyone who has the perfect home, but I have a million friends whose homes are perfect because it is filled with love and friendship.


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PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

What’s your overall mission? Our mission is really about taking the pressure off of people who believe they have to achieve this sense of perfection. Perfect is so boring, and, to be honest, it’s kind of creepy. Our goal throughout the site and our mission as a brand is to encourage people to swap out “perfect” for “thoughtful.” Don’t host a perfect dinner party, host a thoughtful dinner party. Don’t aim for beauty perfection, aim to be happy in your own skin. Who cares if you burn the roast, you tried & that’s half the battle! When you invite people into your space, it is such a mark of friendship; you’re saying, “come, hang out, be comfortable.”

My suggestion for how to work this into your daily life, is to be the change agent. Call up some girlfriends and invite them over for a happy hour after work. Pick a night, grab some friends, try out a new recipe, and, hey, if it doesn’t work out, pizza is a phone call away. Tell yourself, community is more important than my not so perfect cooking skills. You’ll be surprised at how easy entertaining can be if you take the pressure off.

Lauren Kelp

What inspires you? Whose work inspires you? Oh, I love questions like these. I get immensely inspired by my team. Our photographer, Constance Higley is literally a genius. The way she captures things makes you feel emotion, you feel inspired by a dish, or feel nostalgic about a beverage. It’s incredible. Our Assistant Editor & Beauty Guru, Breann Bowman is beyond creative. There have been times where I have described our theme for the month in colors, and she creates the most authentic, creative, and thoughtful beauty posts that tie in perfectly. Outside of that, our contributors are out of this world and continue to blow me away with their interpretations of thoughtful living and mindful entertaining. If I could give anyone one piece of advice, it would be to surround yourself by people who inspire and challenge you. Without this team, LaurenKelp.com would be a series of slightly irreverent ramblings from yours truly. These woman are truly remarkable!

Lauren Kelp

PHOTO: Constance Higley


I believe in the strength of friendship and I believe, more than anything, in celebrating that friendship & community.


Lauren Kelp

PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

What drives your passion? Passion is such a delicate animal. I don’t know if I have one specific thing that continually drives my passion. This dream, this goal, this brand, is driven because I believe in the power of community. LaurenKelp.com exists because there is magic in being surrounded by the people you love & we want to help facilitate that magic. So, I guess you could say my beliefs drive my passion, but almost more so, the people I love drive this vision. Without them, it would just be another website.

Lauren Kelp

PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

I get immensely inspired when I learn and experience different cultures and ways of life. Discovering what community looks like, or what entertaining means to different people is incredibly insightful for me and my work. Also, kindness. I think kindness is the most inspirational thing.


Lauren Kelp

PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

Any trends out there right now that you love? Ooh, to be honest, I might be the worst person to ask about trends! Trends in dining or home décor are fun, but, to me, they are a lot like fast apparel. They are in for a month and then fall apart, you get tired of them, or they fade. In terms of timeless trends for dining, I am a big proponent in designing a table based on a color palette. I am really intrigued by neon pastels, so we have a whole Tablemakers concept launching this spring using color as inspiration.

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PHOTO: Constance Higley

Lauren Kelp’s Perfect Day in Phoenix

ppmPhoenix Public Market – A big cup of coffee and a plate of their delicious chickpea pancakes can help a gal move mountains.

 

Urbanaurb – I would meet up with our photographer, Constance Higley, here at our favorite shop, to pull props and brainstorm our latest Tablemakers shoot.

 

La Grande Orangelgo – Time for a little snack at my favorite neighborhood grocery & pizzeria, LGO, and—more than likely—another cup of coffee!

 

Posies Floral posies– This is the part of the ‘perfect day’ when my favorite desert-based florist would arrive with a gorgeous table arrangement, and our fantasy Tablemakers shoot would be made complete.

The absolute dream ending to this perfect day would be one where I was surrounded by some of the most brilliant, creative, and kind friends, eating dinner, and enjoying each other’s company at a big Tablemakers dinner!

Lauren Kelp

PHOTO: Constance Higley

What do you love about owning your own business? One of the best life lessons I have ever learned was the importance of setting boundaries. It sounds hard, but setting boundaries will prevent burn-out, keep things fresh, and allow you to have a life outside of work. Allow yourself to develop a schedule and keep to that. For instance, I have two nights a week where I schedule my calls with our contacts in different time zones. We have a structured editorial calendar and posting schedule because it allows for freedom in other areas. If everyone on my team knows that their work is due at this time on this day, we are free to brainstorm, collaborate, and scheme the rest of the week without the pressure of a deadline. Outside of that, everything else you hear about owning your own business is true – the schedule is great, you choose your clients, and you are your own boss. That comes with a lot of heavy lifting, but no one would trade pursuing their passion for something less involved.

Lauren Kelp

PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

“Passion and persistence are what matter. Dreams are achievable and you can make your fantasy come true, but there are no shortcuts. Nothing happens without hard work.” – Diane Von Furstenberg


Lauren Kelp

PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of the blogging world? Well, I think the very nature of blogging can be difficult. You are putting a piece of yourself out to the internet world and hoping that people respond well. It can be a scary thing to say, “Hey, I believe in this” or “this is something that is important to me and I think it should be important to you as well.” There is also this pressure to be perfect and as much as we would all like to have huge homes, our sommelier license, and perfect, unblemished skin …it just doesn’t always happen. So my attitude towards the weird parts of blogging is to acknowledge where it’s weird or maybe uncomfortable and to stay true to our mission. If it doesn’t fit, it’s not going on the site. If it’s not authentic, there is no place for it on our site.

Lauren Kelp

PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

What is something you have learned in the business that you didn’t expect? I have learned an invaluable amount since embarking on this journey. Besides the technical stuff or pitfalls I’ve learned to avoid–after falling into them many, many times–I’ve learned that celebrating a victory, no matter how small, is vital! What we are doing isn’t new, but to us, it’s incredibly important. We believe it and we believe that thoughtful living has the potential to change and enrich lives. So celebrating wins, exciting new partnerships, or a great shoot, is really good for the life of the idea. Outside of that, hire a bookkeeper. It will literally save you years of your life. I am a huge proponent of celebrating the professional and to me that means hiring a bookkeeper.

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PHOTO: Half Orange Photography

Do you have a favorite entertaining/design/style tip for us? Do I ever! We dedicate a lot of time on the site talking about our favorite entertaining tips, debunking myths, and encouraging our audience to foster community. Out of all of the tips, tricks, and advice we give, my number one piece of advice is to have fun! Kick off your shoes, pour yourself an extra big glass of wine, and celebrate…you are about to be surrounded by people you love, what could be better?

To check out more tips like this, we hope to see you over at LaurenKelp.com!

Lauren Kelp
PHOTO c/o LaurenKelp.com

Chicago, IL

Lauren Kelp is the editor-in-chief of LaurenKelp.com, an entertaining & lifestyle website for the savvy gal on the go. Featured by ELLE, Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy, LUXE Magazine, and various other online publications for her entertaining and lifestyle advice, Lauren loves sharing her dinning and decor expertise. After calling Austin & Phoenix home for the past 10 years, Lauren and her husband have moved to Chicago where she hopes to convince him that they need a French Bulldog named Frida.

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