Do It Yourself

Take A Sip In A Brighter Direction


I’ve been really trying to step up my health game lately. After a few weeks of my stomach not feeling right, I knew something I was eating was just not doing the trick for me. I eat generally pretty clean, whole foods (I’ve always been an 80/20 kinda girl)  but a bite of the kids mac and cheese here, a few of their animal crackers there and it was all making my stomach not feel great. So I’ve been trying really hard to cut out anything overly processed, ingredients I can’t say, etc… It’s been going so much better! I have been feeling great!

Two huge, HUGE, things I’ve learned in helping set a good mindset for the day, to not just eat healthy but FEEL and BE healthy is to 1. see each day as a whole. Wake up, set intentions for that one day and work towards that. If you eat something you regret, then tomorrow is a new day! No room for guilt! Have an overall health goal, but don’t be so overwhelmed by it. Day by day! and 2. Start the day with a great, empowering, build you up for success kind of breakfast!! I can’t say enough about this. I’ve never been a breakfast girl but over the last year, I’ve totally turned into one. It keeps me from looking for snacks at like 10:30am, it sets me out on the right path for the day, it helps solidify those intentions for the day. Plus breakfast foods are soooo yummy!!

I really love to drink Evolution Fresh® juice in the morning. Almost every bottle of their green juice contains over a serving of veggies. Holla!! It’s so easy to pick some up at the grocery store or at select Starbucks stores. When ever I go through the drive thru (tall misto with coconut milk!) I always ask for them to add a green juice to the order to bring home. Evolution Fresh also cold-presses their juice using high-pressure processing to help protect nutrients and taste, no heating to pasteurize it!  Anyway, I love to pair my morning juice with some overnight oats (sooooo easy) and voila! The perfect way to start the day and take a sip in a brighter direction!!

January 26, 2016, Evolution Fresh launched its first ever National Green Juice Day (NGJD) to celebrate the love for green juice?  This year, Evolution Fresh and Postmates are joining forces and offering free delivery of free green juice to customers on January 26, 2017 starting at 1:00 pm local time and ending when supplies are depleted. You will be able to order 3 free juices per delivery, with a maximum of one 1 order per customer. If you live Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, DC, Miami, Phoenix, Orange County, San Diego get ready to order your free juice on January 26!!! And can we just talk about how jealous I am that you live in a city that has Postmates!! For the rest of us not in those cool cities, make sure you head out and get your own Evolution Fresh green juice to celebrate National Green Juice Day.





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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Evolution Fresh® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Here is the recipe for easiest, most delicious cocao + almond butter overnight oats. In the morning before eating them, I layer in between some organic whole milk greek yogurt or coconut yogurt. Top with banana, nuts and coconut shavings!

The Best 3pm Pick-Me-Up Smoothie Ever! (coffee, cacao and almonds, oh my!

The 3pm hour is rough for me. My eyelids get sooooooooo heeeeeavy! If I could just sit for like 2 quiet minutes, I know I would be fast asleep. Since a nap isn’t in the cards, I treat myself to a little pick me up just about everyday at, you guessed it, 3pm! This smoothie is perfection! It’s coffee, chocolatey goodness and something you don’t have to feel bad about after. I love including superfood ingredients into smoothies as much as possible!! This smoothie uses Graze Cacao powder (and the nibs) which are packed full antioxidants, and contains high amounts of magnesium and iron.


1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
2 Tbsp of Graze Cacao Powder
1 Tbsp of Graze Cacao Nibs (plus more for topping)
2-3 Medjool dates, pitted (soak them in hot water for at least 10 minutes before blending)
3 Tbsp rolled oats
1 Tbsp of almond butter
1/2-1 frozen banana (depending on how banana-y you like your smoothies)
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cups ice
Optional: you can add a scoop of your favorite protein powder if you’d like as well. I usually add a scoop of chocolate vegan protein.


In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend on high speed until smooth. Enjoy!





Thank you to Graze for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. Graze offers the most delicious snacks and their newest superfood collection is beyond awesome! Check them out if you haven’t already.


Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Naan Pizza


Do you guys want to know what one of my most favorite foods are? Pizza! I don’t mean plain cheese pizza though. I’m talking fancy pizza. You know, the kind of pizza with crazy delicious toppings that you don’t normally see on pizza. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza. I’ve shared pizza recipes before on the blog, but today we’re making pizza with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions. Are you ready to have your mind blown? One of my other favorite things about homemade pizza is that it’s pretty quick. This recipe took no time with our oven’s no preheat feature- Ahh I love that feature. I hate waiting for the oven to preheat! Love how it makes cooking a quick dinner, that much quicker! Let’s get started shall we?


3-4 cups butternut squash, cubed
2-3 cloves of garlic, skin removed, halved
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cinnamon and chili powder
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey
1.5 Sweet onions, sliced thin
1-2 Tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of gorgonzola
1 cup kale leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 pieces of Naan bread


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Add cubed butternut squash and garlic to a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon and chili powder. Toss to coat.
3. Bake for 20-25 mins or until soft
4. While the veggies roast, caramelize the onions. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with butter. Add the onions and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. When done turn off burner and set aside.
5. When veggies are done roasting, transfer to a blender or food processor and add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Adding a touch of water to adjust if consistency is too thick. You want the texture to be spreadable but not too liquidy so that it won’t hold it’s shape.
6. With naan bread, spread the butternut squash sauce down as a base for the pizza.
7. Top with caramelized onions, kale, parmesan cheese, gorgonzola and pine nuts.
8. Turn oven up to 425 and bake pizzas on rack for about 10-15 mins, or until edges of naan are getting crispy and cheese is melted.
10. Slice, serve and eat up all the deliciousness!!








This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional. All opinions and pictures are my own.

DIY Butcher Block Kitchen Island


When we started the kitchen renovation, I searched high and low for a kitchen island that would work in the space. Our kitchen isn’t huge, so I didn’t want something that felt too heavy or took all the attention away from the rest of the kitchen. I had a hard time finding exactly what I wanted, so instead we decided to just build the island ourselves. Lowe’s sells precut butcher block tops which was the perfect start to our island! I loved using the iron pipes for the base. They matched the style of the shelf brackets and the simple design felt complementary to the rest of the kitchen. I think it was the perfect fit! Try it out yourself!! This idea could also be used for a dinning room table or coffee table.


Precut Butcher Block 25”x48”
4 x 1”x30” Black Iron Pipe
6 x 1” Black Iron Tees
4 x 1”x8” Black Iron Pipe
4 x 1”x2” Black Iron Nipple
1 x 1’x36” Black Iron Pipe
8 x 1” Black Iron Floor Flange
2 x Rust-oleum Paint and Primer In One flat black spray paint
Valspar Flat Premium Finish Spray Paint
Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish
Sanding block



1. Gather all your pipes and pipe fittings. Clear an area so you have room to work. Work on attaching all pipe fittings and pipes together to create the base. I started with the middle 36” bar and worked out from there. Although they’re standardized, precut pipe, there is always some variation in threading. It’s a pain but if you know that going in- it helps. Make sure you gently tighten pieces at first, remembering that you’ll need to loosen and tighten some of the connections to get matching lengths later on.

2. Add tee fittings on each end of the 36” pipe. Followed by the 4, 8” black pipe pieces in each end of the tee fittings. Set aside this “I” shaped assembled piece.

3. Work on creating the 4 legs. The order will go flange, nipple, tee, 30” pipe, flange. Repeat this 4 times to get the 4 legs of the island.

4. Attach each leg to the middle “I” piece to finish the base.

5. Tighten or loose connections to make all legs the same height. It takes a bit of finessing!

6. In an outside location, spray paint the entire base with the flat black spray paint. When completely covered and dry (may take 2-3 coats) spray a top coat of the premium finish spray.

7. Place butcher block on top of pipe base. Drill screws through holes in the flanges into the butcher block to secure together.

8. With a rag, follow directions on the Watco Butcher Block oil and seal and finish the butcher block. Will take 2 coats, with a light sand in between.






Note: This makes the island 37” tall. I wanted a slightly taller island for ease of food prep but you will have to plan accordingly for stools. A counter height stool is a bit too low and a bar stool is too high. The answer is a stool with a swivel top! We wanted them anyways because of the kids, now everyone can adjust their stool height to be perfect for them. I like having mine low so I can cross my legs and I raise Finley’s way up so she can be close to the butcher block. Works out great! Our stools were from Urban Outfitters.

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s. All opinions and pictures are my own.

Sweet Potato Pasta with Hemp Seed and Kale Pesto


Hey Guys!

Anyone LOOOOVE pasta out there? I am a huge pasta fan. It’s for sure my comfort food. Until this year, I was really hesitant about the whole spirializer trend. I mean, a zucchini is no pasta dish, even if it’s in the shape of spaghetti. But then I ended up getting one and oh man! It’s a game changer. My favorite thing to turn into noodles is by far a sweet potato. It’s the perfect kind of al dente noodle. We have this recipe below at least once a week. It’s so easy and quick! Don’t be intimidated by making the pesto either- so quick & easy. You don’t have to worry about needing a food processor; a blender works great.

Sweet Potato Pasta with Hemp Seed and Kale Pesto
Serves: 2-4 | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 10-15 mins


1/2 cup hemp seeds
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 cups of chopped kale
3 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 1.5 lemons)
1/4 cup of olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I used plain, unsweetened almond milk)
2 large sweet potatoes
1 package of cherry tomatoes, halved
Optional: grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil for garnish
Optional: Add some chicken for the meat eaters in your life



1. Make the Pesto: In a blender, add the peeled garlic and hemp seeds and pulse together. Add kale and pulse again.
2. Add lemon juice, olive oil and generous amount of salt and pepper and pulse again.
3. Scrape sides and blend into a smooth paste
4. Transfer to a small pot and heat on cooktop over low heat. Add non-dairy milk a little at a time and whisk together until it’s your desired consistency. I like to thin out and make a creamier sauce.
5. Sweet Potato Noodles: With a spirializer, make noodles with your sweet potatoes. You could use a julienne peeler – it’s tedious, but it can be done.
6. Add noodles to a large skillet or wok. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss with tongs to coat. Continue to toss with the tongs every minute to prevent the potatoes from burning or becoming stuck on the bottom of the skillet. Do this for 5-10 minutes. The cooking time will depend on your preferred texture of the noodles. If you love a little crunch, cook for 5 minutes. If you like a softer noodle, cook for around 10.
7. When the noodles are at the desired texture add the pesto sauce and tomatoes. Toss to coat.
8. Serve in bowls and top with chopped basil, freshly grated parmesan and sprinkle with a few hemp seeds.
9. Enjoy!










Cooking Tip: In a rush for dinner? Add a tiny bit of water to the pan when cooking the noodles. The high heat of the PowerPlus Burner on the Frigidaire Professional Cooktop will help steam the noodles and cook them in a jiffy.

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s. All opinions and pictures are my own.

8 tips For Creating Successful Open Shelving (and a pantry)



We love our new open shelving and pantry! It’s everything we had hoped for! It totally opens up the kitchen and I love the modern look of it all. When I posted the picture of the kitchen reveal last week, I got a ton of questions about how to create open shelving, how to make it function well in your kitchen and what we did with the rest of our stuff! I decided it would be a good idea to go into the nitty gritty of it all so you can feel confident if you are thinking about making the switch in your own kitchen.


Metal shelving brackets
Drywall/wall anchors
2”x10”x8’ wood cut to shelf lengths
Minwax Weathered Oak Stain
Foam brushes
Masonry drill bits
Various glass jars/containers



1. Take all the measurements for how long you will need each shelf. When you don’t have all the tools, Lowe’s is there to help! They cut all our wood for us to the exact measurements we needed. I wanted a thicker shelf so we went with 2” thick wood.
2. Stain each of the shelves. We used a Weathered Oak stain and I love how it gives it a reclaimed wood type look without the hassle of finding reclaimed wood. It’s the perfect stain color.
3. Take measurements on your shelves where you want the brackets to go and screw in each bracket to the shelves. I decided on placing the brackets 7” in from each end of the wood.
4. For the pantry area, we used heavy-duty dry wall anchors. I didn’t like where the studs where in relation to where I wanted to place the brackets, so the anchors let me do whatever I wanted. TIP: Measure twice! Drill once. haha. Learned that lesson a few times.
5.With a level, measure out all your spacing for your shelves. For our pantry, the shelves are 16” apart and for the kitchen, they’re 12.”
6. Drilling into tile is intimidating!! We watched soooooooo maaaaaaaany YouTube videos (anyone watch the videos with Shannon?). What helped us the most was to get a masonry drill bit, make an “x” with masking tape to give some texture for the drill bit to stick to, and using a sponge, drip water on the drill bit while drilling into the tile. We used these anchors to hang the shelves over the tile.
7. Start organizing, styling and putting your new shelves to good use. You will love how open it makes your new kitchen!




Tips for having open shelves and pantry:

1. Clean and purge! You will be surprised about how much you have when you empty your kitchen all out. I ended up donating about half of what we kept in our kitchen. I only kept the things we use everyday.
2. Find the balance between function and decoration. When you take your upper cabinets down, the shelves need to be functional, as well as look good. For us, we kept all our dishes a single color (white) or clear glass so it didn’t look messy or overwhelming.
3. Maximize the storage in bottom cabinets. Look into organizational items, like wire racks, that can really help organize every inch of space. It really makes a huge difference if you aren’t wasting space!
4. A closed-door pantry. We are lucky enough that we actually have a pantry with two doors. We moved the items that we didn’t want on the open shelves in there (i.e. kids plastic cups and plates). We also have our large bulk items from Costco in there. Everything else gets put into the glass jars on the open pantry shelves.
5. Dry goods. I love the bulk section at our local co-op. I get most of our dry goods from there and keep them in large mason jars on the shelves. It makes for a perfect open pantry – they all look so beautiful with their subtle colors and interesting textures. We keep an array of nuts, seeds, flours, sugars, oats, shredded coconut, cranberries, chocolate chips, etc… in our jars. We store our packaged snacks/food in cabinets to help keep an organized and minimal look.
6. Transfer all your spices to clear glass jars. I love these spice jars from Amazon and how they look on the shelf together.
7. Get creative, use hooks under the shelves to hang mugs, or try hanging bowls/baskets for fruit.
8. Have fun! That’s the best part of having open shelving. You get to rearrange and decorate anytime the mood strikes. Let your creative side go wild!







This post is in partnership with Frigidaire Professional, but all words, opinions and styling are my own. A big huge thank you to Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s for helping our kitchen dreams come true.

You can see the full kitchen reveal post here!

Kitchen Renovation | The Planning




So if you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (you can find me both under @jenloveskev) you know we’ve been neck deep in a big ol’ kitchen renovation project since February. We basically ripped everything out and started fresh with new everything. It was the biggest renovation project, well it’s actually the only real renovation project we’ve ever tackled before. We usually just freshen everything up with a good can of white paint (Valspar Du Jour in case you’re wondering what color white I like). We were sooooo nervous because we are not that handy. I can style and paint a room, but when it comes to construction, Kev and I both kind of fail in knowledge. We do however make up for it in motivation and YouTube watching ability. Honestly, how did anyone do anything with out YouTube before?? It ended up being totally manageable and came out even better than I had hoped for. It was a true labor of love and we are so proud that we were able to complete it by ourselves (of course with a bit of help from some great friends too).

I am going to share the big reveal very soon, but today I wanted to talk a bit about the planning stage and how we got started. It can be a bit daunting to take those first steps! I started by doing LOTS of looking around Pinterest. What a great place for inspiration!! We also teamed up with our friends at Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s for this renovation and we knew ahead that the beautiful Frigidaire Professional Collection appliances would be going into the kitchen. I let their modern, professional-grade look drive the design of the kitchen. From there, I created a mood board with all the items I wanted to help set the look of the kitchen…



I wanted the overall feel for the kitchen to be bright, light and airy but with an industrial chef’s kitchen sort of feel! I loved the idea of having open shelves to give a more open feel to our very dark kitchen. I wanted to subway tile from the counter to ceiling to brighten things up a bit too and then have industrial touches with the style of the track lights and use of iron pipes for the island. We decided to replace our old countertop with a new beautiful piece of quartz. With the countertops gone, it was also our chance to change the cabinets. I wanted a nice white cabinet to keep with that overall bright look. The best part is that the Frigidaire Professional Collection is made to have that professional-grade look, but still fit into the standard- sized spaces most kitchens have for appliances. My favorite part was that we could switch to a wall oven and cooktop that would fit perfectly where are range used to be. This is great for us newbies because we wanted to keep total costs down and keep the overall footprint of our kitchen the same. 
We will be showing you the final kitchen reveal soon, but wanted to leave you today with some progress shots. What a journey! Demoing your kitchen with 3
small children is no joke guys. We did most of the work late at night after the kids went to bed. It was a rough 2 month, but oooooh was it worth it! The new kitchen has me all heart eye emojis over here. 














More to come soon!!

Thank you to Frigidaire Professional for sponsoring this post. All opinions, words and styling my own.

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev