Interiors

How to Create a Home You Love

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Creating a home is such a process, and a personal one that involves a lot of patience and decisions! I learned so much from decorating my first apartment, and then my interior education only expanded when Jase and I basically started furnishing and decorating our new house from scratch!

A little bucket of tips and tricks:

-always measure & don’t rush!

-create a budget and decide what pieces are worth a greater investment

-pin plenty of inspiration photos prior to purchasing furniture

-buy things that bring you joy and ultimately add to the overall goal of your home

 

The vision words for our house was a place of peace, an oasis, a neutral, calm, and cozy environment with a Cali European casual feel. I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I have the hardest time visualizing how something will look if it’s not right in front of me. Our house before this had lower ceilings and lighter floors; it seems obvious, but what a difference that makes in how furniture looks when you move it into a space that has high ceilings and dark floors. We thought most of our previous furniture would work in our new house, but most of it didn’t. Eeek! This big project accounted for the investment in a designer who we couldn’t love more, Kirsten Grove, who has made choosing and buying the furniture a breeze.

When choosing pieces for your home, it is so important to go with your gut. When I didn’t love a choice suggested to me, we would go back to the drawing board. I realized it is okay to say no. I am also a person that loves to finish a project, so I get very tempted to rush into decisions, but I have really allowed myself to do the opposite. We are still waiting on all of our furniture (the delay is extended because of covid-19), but we are so at peace as we accept the process and live in gratefulness! I can’t wait to give you all a virtual home tour when everything is in place, including what we did in the renovation.

Stay safe everyone! xx

Tips For Hosting Guests Overnight

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This last month has been my version of heaven. My best friend, twin sister, other dear friend, my mother in law, and then my parents have all come into town back to back. These people are my people and time with them makes my heart extra full. It also has been extra nice settling into our home and taking a break from getting on a plane. Not to mention, the sweetest little pup joined our family!

As y’all may know, we are about a month away from our house being filled with furniture and styled. Right now, it is a work in progress AKA the time of waiting and anticipation. For a 9 on the enneagram (me!), the unfinished-ness of our home equates to the feeling of being unsettled, but it has also been really good because I feel like it puts me in the present. It has simultaneously made me realize that people love to live in the present with me; the importance is not on the visual, but rather the sweet time together. Such a learning lesson for life!

All of this had me extra focused on what I could do to make our visitors feel extra cozy and at home. At our core, we all want to feel at home when we are not home.

A FEW TIPS:

  • Put a cozy robe on the back of their bathroom door.
  • Get a suitcase stand so they have a place to organize their things.
  • Make sure there are hangers in their closet.
  • Put shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion in their bathroom. (this saves the effort, space and time they have to take to pack them!)
  • Prior to their arrival, ask what they eat and drink (coffee/tea/kombucha) on the daily and make sure you are fully stocked.
  • Plan the days based on their preferred pace; spread out the activities and make them relaxing!
  • Do things they love to do at home; watch the Bachelor, cook dinner, enjoy a glass of wine.
  • Diffuse essential oils in their room.
  • Put fresh flowers on their nightstand + a convenient phone charger.

What are your favorite things to do when you are hosting someone? And what do you love most when someone is hosting you?

SHOP THE POST:

Organic Linens and Towels You’ll Love

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Moving can most definitely be stressful, but in the midst of the crazy, my favorite thing about leaving a house and settling into a new space is making positive changes. I almost view moving in the same way I do a new year; it’s so nice to reflect on how I want to do some things the same while in the same breath, learning from the past and making new shifts. I believe so strongly that your home should be your oasis. It should be filled with the cleanest air possible, should be so extra peaceful right when you walk through the door, and it should be a space that gives your body a break from environmental toxins and stress.

We can’t control toxins when we are in public places, but we can control the indoor air quality of our home in so many ways. One big change I have been making over the last few years is changing all linens, towels, pillow fills, mattresses, duvet fills, and robes to organic and fair trade products. As y’all know, this can be very pricey, so you truly have to find your pace, but it is the most rewarding and beneficial investment you can make.

Boll & Branch

Meet Boll & Branch. You have probably heard me mention them many times because they are one of my all time favorite reliable companies for all things clean. Their mattress and all things bedding have made our bed a dream. They are a leading designer and retailer of luxury home goods, all of which are rooted in quality, ethically made and sustainably sourced. Because of this, their products help support thousands of factory workers, farmers, and their families. In fact, for each of Boll & Branch’s Fair Trade items sold, the workers earn a premium to invest back in their communities for social development projects and fighting poverty.

It’s All About the Quality

One of the reasons why we love this company so much is their stand for quality. The bedding is designed to last a lifetime and gets even better with every wash. The company takes pride in their products and creates long-lasting sheets with maximum durability and softness. Not to mention, their styles are timeless, so you can mix and match then all year round. My favorite part of course: almost all of their products start with 100% organic cotton.

The Gift of Hosting

Hosting visitors in our home is one thing that brings me so much joy, and I love making their temporary home feel extra cozy, clean, and comforting! A fun little fact: I love taking mental notes whenever we are staying in a hotel on things that made me feel extra cozy and at home. I wanted to mimic those things in our guest rooms as well as our own room of course. One fun little extra is hanging an organic robe on the back of every bathroom door. This is a bit nostalgic for me because my mom has done this since I was little on the back of my door, and it is one of the things I look forward to most now when I visit them in Dallas.

 

In addition to this, we always have a fresh stack of soft B&B organic towels in each bathroom, and their bedding is an absolute must. Jason and I have used Boll & Branch bedding for a few years now and the comfort, quality, and purity have completely won us over. Even our new puppy loves to get snuggly in it!

Boll & Branch is so sweet to give an exclusive code for 20% off your entire order. The code is: 20LAUREN. Happy shopping! DM me on Instagram if you have any questions. xo

What is your favorite tip to help visitors feel extra cozy in your home when they visit? I would love to hear in the comments below!

What is your favorite tip to help visitors feel extra cozy in your home when they visit? I would love to hear in the comments below!

The Non-Toxic Mattress We Love

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One of the biggest yet most important shifts to make in the nontoxic living journey is your mattress. Did you know we spend at least one-third of our lives in bed + your body is renewing the most at night? So, it is the most important time for it to be in a pure environment! In my opinion, it is one of the most valuable investments for your health.

According to Wellness Mama, mattresses can be a major source of chemical exposure. Mattress companies are not required to disclose all of the chemicals they use and are required to withstand an open flame from a blowtorch for over a minute. To accomplish this, many companies (over 90% in a recent survey) douse mattresses in flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether, better known as PBDE. These chemicals are highly toxic and do not have to be disclosed! They can accumulate in the body through skin and inhalation exposure and are associated with hormone, brain, and reproductive damage.

Mattresses can also contain harmful compounds like:

  • Formaldehyde – Commonly used in mattresses, especially as an adhesive in mattresses made from polyurethane foam (a toxic petroleum-based material).
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – Can cause lung and skin irritation and are often found in the glue in many mattresses.
  • Decabromodiphenyl Oxide and other Brominated Flame Retardants – These are linked to hair and memory loss and are listed as possible carcinogens.

These facts above always break my heart and initially made me want to run to the store and immediately replace our mattresses. And to add on to this, mattresses off gas, which in turn puts chemicals into the air we are breathing in our home. Off gassing is a term that refers to releasing chemicals from the object they reside in (in this case, a mattress that is not free of toxins).

I am so thrilled to tell you about a brand that I first came to love because of their bath mats. On my what felt like a lifelong hunt for comfortable and thick organic bath mats, my mom told me about Under the Canopy and I was immediately hooked. Then a few months ago, I saw they released mattresses and I was so excited. As we settle into our new home, my mission was to find the best mattress to replace in our guest room beds, and after reading through the quality and ensuring comfort, I knew these were the ones!

The fun little bullet points that I geek out over: these mattresses contain zero GMOs, toxins, chemicals or flame retardants. The natural silica exterior and the Joma wool top layer actually acts as a natural flame retardant and provides structure at the same time.

The Hybrid Organic Latex Mattress is designed to give the perfect amount of support and comfort for all sleeping positions. It is crafted with individually encased recycled steel coils with an organic latex layer and topped off with an incredibly soft pad made from organic cotton and Joma wool. This all makes a soft, sustainable, and durable mattress that provides both support and comfort.

Other fun facts that gives even further peace of mind:

  • 11” Organic Latex Hybrid Mattress
  • .5” Joma Wool Pad
  • .5” Organic Coconut Husk Pad
  • 2” Organic Dunlop Latex
  • 8” Coils made from 95% recycled steel
  • Surrounded in eco-friendly silica sock for natural flame retardant
  • No GMOs
  • Made responsibly in the United States

The mattresses are made to order in small, American factories, which limits waste because they are just created only when there is a need. And who else loves to know the time it will take to get to your house as much as I do? You will receive your mattress within 14 days of ordering. Also, these are available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Another important note: mattresses are expensive, and nontoxic ones can cause a bit of sticker shock. As I discuss in The Clean Sweep, it is so important to take this journey at your own pace. Also, I think it can be so fun to set goals and set aside money each month specifically to save for a nontoxic mattress as it is one of the most rewarding and health-benefitting purchases!

Ensuring the Purest Air in our Home: Austin Air

514 686 Lauren Kennedy

NEW YEAR

First of all, happy 2020 to you all! We are incredibly grateful for the community that has developed on LSK. It is truly one of the greatest highlights from this past decade! As you guys probably know by now, I am so passionate about living a clean and nontoxic lifestyle. My life experiences, personal research and wellness journey has all led me to where I am now, which I am ultimately so grateful for!

NEW HOME

Okay, so…I have so much to fill you in on. We have been in a bit of a holding pattern as this past year was wild yet exciting, challenging, and quite adventurous to say the least. I will get into way more detail in blog posts to come, but a small portion of this year was digging into the renovation and remediation of our new home! 

MOVING FORWARD

Long story short, we were in escrow on a house we fell in love with, and it happened to be in the Woolsey Fire 4 days before we closed. We first made sure our house was still there as the house next door burned down, prayed if we should continue forward, felt extreme clarity to do that, and then the remediation and renovation process began! What an intense learning curve this last year has been. We truly had no idea what we were getting into, but I must say, it ultimately has been so rewarding and worth it. 

NONTOXIC RENO

We aimed to do a fully nontoxic renovation + made sure to remove all toxic contamination in our home caused by the fires and smoke damage. We installed a special HVAC system, we painted the interior of our home twice with non-toxic, no-VOC paint, had several deep cleanings, replaced insulation, installed a whole house water filtration system, and did multiple toxicity examinations with solutions to follow.

CLEAN AIR

Even though we installed a rare and highly productive HVAC system to filter toxic air that could remain, I felt like there was more we could do to make sure we had the cleanest air circulating through our home. This has been my top priority. I did extensive research to find the most effective air purifier , and through many recommendations and research, Austin Air takes the cake. We chose to get the HealthMate Plus because it removes the widest range of gases, chemicals, VOC’s and formaldehyde. This broad-spectrum adsorption makes it the best choice for anyone exposed to smoke from wildfires and people living close to busy highways. The HM+ filters the broadest range of pollutants, so it totally won me over.

HEALTHY HOME

We run our filter 24/7 as they are designed to do. I love to know that our air is being filtered all day; it is the most settling feeling! They have three different levels of filtering strength, and we love turning it on high when we are out of the room or house so it’s extra productive when we are gone. At night, we put it on level two. For max health benefits, it is so great to run the unit in your bedroom when you sleep. And the best part is, it’s so easy to move, so we run it in other areas of the house during the day, but we always do it in our bedroom at night.

THE BENEFITS

My favorite part is seeing how pure air inside our home, thanks to Austin Air, physically affects our health!

-Eases headaches and reduces nausea related to chemical exposure

-Strengthens the immune system

-Eases coughing, wheezing and sneezing

-Reduces dry mouth and runny nose

-Sounder sleep

-Reduced snoring

-Lessens night time allergies and asthma attacks

Another bonus: it actually filters viruses and bacteria! What’s not to love?

THANKFUL

Jase and I are so thankful to have this running in our home. It is worth the investment as the air we breathe is one of the most important aspects of our wellness. Also, Austin Air is so kind and is offering a code for you to use to receive 15% off your purchase!! Use code: LSK15 at checkout

If like me, you’d like to clean up the air in your home, check out the Austin Air HealthMate Plus here. And its free shipping if you order direct with Austin Air. And thank you, Austin Air, for this collaboration! 

Five Things On My Christmas Wishlist

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I shared my gift guide recently of 100 gift ideas for those you love and hope that it has been a good resource for you during this season of gift shopping! Today I am  sharing a quick list of five things on my Christmas wishlist this year. Keep reading to find out what they are…

 

CASUAL-COOL SWEATSHIRT

I love the Anine Bing brand and this sweatshirt would be one I reach for on repeat with denim or sweats

BEAUTIFUL CUTTING BOARDS

These boards would go perfectly in our new kitchen and not to mention, V useful

PERFECT FLEECE PULLOVER

I absolutely love to be cozy in the winter, especially when spending time in Idaho, so this fleece is a must

NEW POTS FOR THE NEW HOUSE

Must-have pots for home-cooked meals now that we are settled in our new home

A VERY PRACTICAL AIR FILTER

Pure air in the home is so important and these are the best filters out there

What are you wishing for this year? Let us know in the comments! 

 

 

 

 

 

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