My Favorite Soup

I think, if the goal wasn’t to be eating “Keto”, I could eat a good brothy soup and a grilled cheese every single day and never get sick of it. Legit. Every. Day. I know, I could make some fancy keto bread… but. Lazy. Let me tell you, the Five Day Soup Diet shindig is my favorite. Even after the Keto choices stopped over the past 18 months, I still used this soup as a base to make all the soups I needed.

I always double it because one person is designed to be able to eat this for five days. My husband is always a willing participant in my shenanigans, so x2, I do. I start by scissoring up a package of the best for you bacon I can find. Then I toss in the onion (and I have sometimes forgotten it). Then I get to chopping all the Magic vegetables that go into this soup. Green beans, yellow squash, turnip root things or rutabagas (both of which I’d never had before this soup, nor had I cooked with… I majorly approve), collards, sun-dried tomatoes. All that gets chopped and put in with a good amount of organic stock and water over time. And I’ve lately been instant potting (for about 12 min) my organic chicken breasts or thighs while I get my soup going. Excellent use of time to voila some cooked chicken.

When all this is done, I have a huge amount of soup. Enough to fill like 10,000 plastic ware containers for leftovers. This time I rationed all the smaller containers I had in advance. Single servings, baby, means heat and eat is even simpler.

Recipe from I Breathe I’m Hungry:

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups celery root, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes (or cauliflower, jicama, radish, turnip)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 2 cups yellow squash, sliced and quartered
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups swiss chard, chopped (or collards – NOT KALE)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions from IBIH:

  1. In a large soup pot, cook the bacon and olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and water, then add the celery root and chicken. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the squash, green beans, and swiss chard and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in the fresh basil just before serving.

No kidding the best soup and the smartest start for me getting my eating habits back to a healthy balance. In one week, I have lost 6-7 pounds. I had gotten so blah feeling leading up to the choice to start back on the Keto path. For me the weight loss matters, but most importantly, it helps balance my blood sugar that causes me to almost uncontrollably crash after I eat almost any amounts of sugar/carbs. My body responds abnormally and Keto seems to help. So here we are. I’m here for it all! Let me know if you try the soup and what you think of it.

Check out the link to IBIH for comments with results and substitutes for specific ingredients.

life, styling

Connections and chit chat

There’s a big difference between a genuine connection with real conversation and chit chat. However, chit chat can lead to a nice connection. A moment of humanity linking two people. I am all for that.

Today, I reached out to a couple people via messenger though I could have easily commented on their content on social media. The comments seem to lack connection and intentionality in communicating. Do you feel that way? I went to reply to a post and found myself tearing up because I was touched that person had that kind of impact on me. I couldn’t do the injustice on connection of dropping that one liner in a comment and walking away. I engaged. This person and I needed to connect on this. It was a serious matter, end of life stuff for family, that’s not always quick comment stuff… right?

I’m not saying I need to personally message everyone on social and start conversing about their lunch selections, but when friends are hurting, when they’re asking for prayers for a loved one, when they’re sharing personal battles, I chose to connect today, and I’m glad I did. I could use that virtual hug sometimes. The pause that someone intentionally opened the door to hug me and wait. Instead of side hug and run on the interwebs. Is it all the same to you?

In terms of chit chat… today a barista complimented my earrings. I appreciated it. I love these rainbow dangles. She asked where she could find them. I told her I sold them. I needed to hurry up and post them! I did. But we ended up connecting over quirky, fun accessories because the interaction didn’t need to be rushed.


Hi, I’m Kayla, and…

Grief is odd. It’s weird and uncomfortable but also probably one of the most natural processes humans go through. There’s no right path, wading the waters of loss. That’s all to say that grief is something I was never prepared to walk in. Is anyone? There’s no book warning people what they’re about to step into when they lose a person. (False: I’m sure there are a number of books… but I sure as hell didn’t touch one prior to loss.)

I think when I meet someone new, there’s a subconscious desire to be known and know them, like not just the surface stuff. I mean, I feel that way anyway. I genuinely like getting to know WHO people are and where they came from and how they turned out this way… (I’m generally that chatty uber passenger, too.)

So when I meet people, I think the inner me, not showing her true cards, wants the new person to know Kelsey, my sister, the one who has been gone for almost three years, the one who it’s physically impossible to meet now… that’s who I’d love to introduce most people to when we’ve just met. Is that odd?

Or no? I don’t know. Someone who was so part of my personal history, my memories, and admirations, that’s who I’d like to introduce people to when they meet me… and it stings that my heart and mind work this way.

We all have our Scarlett letters, curses set on us by outside forces, or badges of honor, the things we proudly display with our chest puffed up. Right? Some battle inside demons and Evil would love for these letters to consume your identity and cripple you with fear. I don’t want to live that way.

So I genuinely try not to, and I wade through the sometimes muddy waters of grief. I talk about Kelsey when it seems fitting. That part of me and our story isn’t shelved. The icky parts of life can often be used to help others in their muddy waters, too. So I hope you’ll keep “speaking your truth.” That’s what all the cool kids say… but I see it… don’t hold part of you back because you’re sad or scared or… or… or… that’s what I’d tell myself anyway.


Decluttering and Stuff

I’m a mess. In pretty much every aspect of my life, I’m kind of a cluttered mess. I am thirty, and I’m still not really sure what one should do with mail. You know, like when it arrives, and then after you open it, and then when you’ve seen the contents… where do you put it? I think the trash is probably a good answer. But what if you need it again?

My clothing, my desk, my shipping station… all a mess. Because where do you put things? I’m a professed terrible unpacker and locator of things new home. When we moved to our house, almost four years ago, a sweet woman from our church unpacked my kitchen boxes for me. I’ve talked about it over the years because it was such a sweet gift and act of service. I am terrible at unpacking in a new home and making a space for everything one owns.

On that topic, who wants to pack and unpack my next move? Any takers? Anyone take great joy in that process? Today, I started. I purged through my kitchen, throwing old or expired pharmaceuticals, teas, coffees, and glassware. I really feel like I made equal parts progress and more mess. Can you relate? That’s the thing about organization… I always feel like I make a bigger mess overall, and then I’m left with the feelings of “What do I like next?”

Next on my list is my personal closet, workspace, reading nook, and… everywhere else. It requires a lot of personal reflection as I prepare to donate/get rid of much of the things I’ve help onto for far to long. I’m so excited to turn the page and not feel overwhelmed by the mess. Here’s to productivity this Sunday!

life, lularoe

Motivated and Stuff

Somewhere along the timeline between 2017 and 2019, I lost sight of my goals. Auto-pilot engaged, and I was caught up in the daily tasks that didn’t include foresight.  The daily tasks left out appropriate self-care, soul searching, and dream chasing. The daily tasks focused on the pressures of the month, family balance, and survival.

I’m not proud of what I was or who I became, but THANK GOD for change and a big dose of reality to wake me up. In addition to the splash of WAKE UP, I got a new sponsor for this Lularoe biz, and she and the team that came with that change, has brought new focus and motivation. It’s like a page turned, from the hum drum life and business struggles to being able to reach again.

For months into years, I had forgotten that we really only achieve what we intend to, so when our intentions become a rushed shrug, our results get a shrug of “oh well!”, too. I am so thankful to see that again. I have goals set this month that came with the “April Incentive” for Lularoe. The challenge is to sell 10% more than your best month from January 2018-March 2019. Well that’s a huge LEAP from my sales lately to that challenge, almost to the tune of DOUBLE. But I’m running for it, and I need to keep my head down and sprint.

I’m going to celebrate this victory of a month. Even when I don’t reach that challenge. Do you know why? Because I see that hope again. I feel the growing pains which mean I’m growing again, and that deserves celebrating. I’m already having my best month since January 2018, but selling the amount of January 2018 is a challenge in itself and then to sell 10% more is a stretch. See why I’m celebrating? Something awesome is happening and I’m just stoked again. Here’s to stoking the flames!

life, travel

Time Travel and Stuff

Remind me how that happens again? The time passing what feels like in a blink specifically… I genuinely feel like the first quarter of the year has come and gone, but I was busy LIVING. I just couldn’t… wouldn’t make space for any creative outlets.

In January, I turned 30. My mom and I went to Italy for a week. It was the best of times. Legit, I lived. I coffee’d. I ate. I walked. I saw. ALL. THE. THINGS. No amount of pictures can make my tastebuds enjoy the January coffees again. We went to the island of Capri, saw the sights of Pompeii, and a snippet of Rome. We walked, rode buses and the underground, and thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Napoli/Naples.

I forgot to mention… PIZZA. The birthplace of PIZZA is where we stayed. We had pizza once or twice a day and it was glorious. It was eye opening and pure. Oh. My. Pizza. Is there pizza like this in the States at all?

I’m already itching to experience  that city again. I didn’t get the tattoo I attempted to schedule, as the artist cancelled due to his prior booking, and I’m not going to lie… that SUCKED. It didn’t ruin the trip though.

My mom had a couple things she really wanted to do in Italy, and seeing the Vatican was on the list. Between the Archaeological Museum in Naples and the Vatican Museum in Rome, we were overwhelmed with culture, history, and all things beautiful. There really are hardly words for the experience.

In addition to the coffee and pizza (and desserts), the other perk of our trip were the people. The guides that knew more than a handful of languages and were experts in history and always pursuing more information were just mind-blowing. On our Capri tour, my mom and I became fast friends with another family on the tour, a priest, his mom, and his aunt. They were from Spain, visiting the priest who now works in Naples. I love meeting new people while traveling.

I’ll attach photos shortly. Because words are difficult. I’ve got to wrap this up, but I’ve never felt so in awe as I was that week. I’m not convinced time travel isn’t a thing, but I think I will pause the LIFE BUTTON, and write again soon. Maybe.


New Year’s Day

This year seems to be louder. It’s not bad, but there’s so much loud motivation on social media the last couple days and today. And it’s fabulous and slightly overwhelming. I’m swaggering into the new year with confidence that it’s a clean slate of a year and an opportunity for growth. I’m hoping for new blessings and focusing in on new goals. That’s the plan… to make a plan.

I hear having a plan for success is the best way to succeed. So I’m getting to planning and not relenting on that focus. This. Is. The. Year. I don’t let myself down. I’m going to be a better friend. To myself. And to my friends. It’s hard for me, if I’m being honest.

Another thing I’m working on is pursing God-given interests, talents, and heart-tugs for more knowledge by reading. That means you’ll find me here writing and sharing art and nuggets of joy in my reading. This  is  the plan. 66CC5E04-A3CB-4E4B-9605-17E1AC53B7DD

What are you focusing on for your new year? I must know.

life, Motherhood

Death by Paper

I am drowning.

I am drowning in my children’s school papers. Every day, they each bring home a handful of papers that I can most assuredly tell you I have no idea where to put them. I collect a pile on the counter and I proceed to NOT look at 90% of them. I’m just being transparent. But only sort of because that number is probably 95%…

I would never want to give off an ungrateful vibe. I have four amazing kids. They bring home so many papers from their awesome school, that I’m also thankful for. But I am up there on my list of people I know who are the LEAST organized folks. So what does a mother do?

I need all your best organizational contraptions and ideas for maintaining this new organized lifestyle, that I’m half-committed to implementing long-term. I need a system that is easy to keep up with and specific instructions on how to present or store it in a pleasing to the decor kind of way. Basically, I can’t be told to buy a plastic box for each kid without telling me where to “put it” (AKA hide it).  I am like the un-Pinterest Mom. I can’t be inspired by Pinterest pictures and set a plan in action. I wish that were me, if I’m being honest.

I really need to add in pictures for dramatic effect, but also because it’s the drowning reality. I have no idea how to keep up with all the things regarding kids in school. There are so many other school-related things I can’t keep up with and have to shrug off as “not in this season”. Any other mothers in the trenches or seasoned masters of this school stuff? Impart wisdom, please!




life, lularoe

I’m not always shy

Perhaps, the hardest thing for me to do is to talk to people I don’t know. You know what’s also hard? Talking to people I do know. Like really spilling it. People who knew me for years were shocked when I started Lularoe and had to be convinced that I did, in fact, talk for hours on end for my job.

I’m an introvert with a capital I. Additionally, I’m shy. Like really shy. So I like to be alone, I live for those times, but I’m also not a very open person without invested time of peeling back layers. But something happened when it became my job to not be in my natural turtle shell of a state; I stretched when needed. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not to sell Lularoe, but I have to be me in rare form. That rare form is a semi-outgoing Kayla who is very talkative and friendly and just… happy.

It’s not to say I’m not those things with people I’m closest to, but it’s just that… people I’m closest to don’t make me feel like I might be judged for something I say or do. (Typing this kind of brought about this new realization of what really is going on. YAY Blogging!) Basically, I have to skip ten friendship steps with my online audience and extend the trust that it’s okay to be transparent and free and me. I’ve never talked through this and realized what was actually happening.

I know from the start of this Lularoe thing in my life, I connected with people on live sales. People would come back and relationships were built. I was never phony but I know I was me in rare form. I like that phrasing; I’ll keep using it. This rare form isn’t natural for me when I’m not selling Lularoe, but doing this business has shown me that with practice, even the shyest introvert can sell the mess out of some dresses to strangers.

I hope there’s a shy person out there who feels encouraged to do the hard thing and put on the brave face next time life calls for it. With practice and the proper motivation, we can do what isn’t natural for some time and do it really well. It can become so comfortable to be positively you without the fear that shyness beckons as needed. I think that’s ultimately where the shyness comes from, comfort in being quiet and fear of judgment from those unknown. It’s hard to succeed at something new when comfort is the focus.   Perhaps comfort is something we should make an effort to stray from on the regular to keep stretching into humans that do new things, uncommon things. Oh, the things we’re capable of when we stretch. What is hard for you naturally, but you push through for the better?

How about that? I learned something new about this process and how it works by explaining it…. I can dig that. Stretch on!

life, lularoe


I think it’s important to know why you do what you do and how it’s significant to you and others. I have learned throughout the last two years that knowing why and sharing it, speaking it, living in that why is how I keep understanding my drive, joy, and passion for my “job.” Why do you do what you do? I challenge you to think about that. It has helped me keep my head down and persevere on hard days and been a cheerleader to me in the victories.

I found Lularoe at a middle road in my journey. No major highs or lows, and nothing so tumultuous, it just seemed like a good opportunity at a time when I wanted a little something more for myself to do and enjoy. I didn’t see the road ahead for what it was, but I finally committed to signing up at the beginning of a major growth in the company and a huge turning point in our lives. Luke was medically discharging from the military and we were going to be self-employed 100% with our first company and now the hobby.

I learned a lot about myself in the beginning of the Lularoe journey. I learned that I do not half-do anything. When I start something, and I think I can do it, I DO IT. I am a competitive goal-oriented person when I believe in what I’m doing, so when I started Lularoe and I loved it, I DID the dang thing. I built relationships without really knowing what I was doing, and quickly found that I loved going live and interacting with women from all over the country. I loved selling clothes to people on Periscope and ordering more and more and more clothes.

Lularoe became our primary source of income, and a team of women banded  with me and I never expected that. I had my socks BLESSED OFF. I say blessed intentionally because there was no seeing what was coming months later in 2016.

My sister had stage four Melanoma for years. At this point, nine years in June 2016, and the cancer had spread to her brain a year prior, but emergency surgery and radiation gave a lot of hope and a good year before the cancer started spreading and growing again. We didn’t know the radiation wouldn’t work and it would be found to have spread to her brain stem the next month, and seizures would happen and… and… and… so many unexpected things in my Kelsey’s life (my youngest daughter is also a Kelsey, but we’re talking sister Kels). I traveled for my first Lularoe event in July 2016, and bebopped up to Iowa the following week just in time to witness Kelsey’s first known seizure and spend several days with her in the hospital. And while it was not how we expected to spend my visit, it was seriously some of the most precious time we had. (Edited to add photos and our first discovery of the Snapchat that week.)

I spent about 1-2 weeks of each month the rest of 2016 being able to travel or carve out time for Kelsey. Without Lularoe, I don’t think I could have done that and my little family would have suffered financially. We had no clue we needed Lularoe in that season, and that is what fueled my fire for it. Freedom. Freedom to provide for my family and spend those precious moments where I needed to.

My sister won her battle December 12, 2016. I am so thankful for every single moment spent with her in 2016. Her last wish was to travel to see my family, at my house, in Louisiana, and she did in October. It was a great time with her and her daughter, Emily, and I still want to breathe in those moments often.

My job has been such a blessing the last couple years and remembering that it provides so much opportunity for the Kerley fam renews my passion to persevere on the days when the live sale flops or no one seems to see my posts on my VIP group. It allows me to be a creative individual and know that I’m more than any of my single roles as mom, friend, business owner, but I’m Kayla. I get to be entirely me, no facade, and people who have never met me have come to know and love me through this business and I’m eternally grateful.

This is my why. I’d love to know why you get out of bed. Why is what you do important to you?