Thursday, January 9, 2014

Friday Favorites: Kym Douglas

Kym Douglas is the ever-popular, Hollywood beauty guru and "blissologist." She is the "go-to" beauty expert for the Ellen DeGeneres Show, a best-selling author, and appears regularly on Home & Family, the Doctors, and Fox Good Day LA.
The Ellen Degeneres show is my "go-to" show. I DVR each episode and watch the following morning while getting ready. Right before Thanksgiving I was watching Ellen and applying my mascara, when suddenly my ears perked up. Ellen had just announced that Kym Douglas would be appearing on that particular day's show to share her DIY beauty tips and tricks. I grew excited, as I, like many Ellen viewers, look forward to Kym's beauty & lifestyle segments the most. 

Like always, Kym delivered the laughs, while also sharing some very useful and affordable beauty tips.Within seconds of her segment, I was uncontrollably laughing along with Ellen as Kym dipped her feet into a pumpkin pie, in order to create a foot scrub "on the go." As Kym listed tip after tip of beauty advice, I frantically tried to make mental notes of all the recipes and I was so eager to learn more blissful tips that later that day I logged onto Amazon and purchased her book: "Bliss Happens." 
Bliss Happens: the six-week plan to a happier, prettier, thinner, and richer life by Kym Douglas
Available for purchase: here

Ever since  I purchased "Bliss Happens", I have embarked on a more blissful life. I have followed every one of Kym's easy to follow tips and have achieved numerous results. From healthier hair to softer skin, every beauty tip has worked wonders and is extremely affordable. In fact, I would estimate that 90% of the products used to make Kym's recipes can be found in your households already.

I believe that when you discover bliss it is something that you want to share with those around you. As a result, I have been sharing Kym's recipes with my friends and family. From preparing my mom a "Rise N'Shine Minty Lime" drink at morning-time to helping a friend combat a pimple just before a New Year's party to setting up a lavender steam for my bestie, I have strived to share Kym's blissful, beauty tips with others. 

"Blissful Baking"
While waiting for the cupcakes to bake with my "bestie" Jackie, I prepared her an ooh-la-la lavendar steam to enjoy.

 When Kym enthusiastically accepted my Friday Favorites' invitation, I was ecstatic to learn even more about this successful and blissful beauty maven and to share her tips with the entire Creatively Lu community. Below is my Q&A with Kym, and lucky for you, you don't have to take mental notes of this...

photo courtesy of the Kym Douglas FB page

  • Lu: What is the meaning behind the title Bliss Happens?
  • Kym: Some time ago there was a big trend that  people would go around saying well "Sh*T HAPPENS." It was a saying that was thrown about in a way to diffuse a situation in which life throws you a curve ball. People just started accepting and EXPECTING things to go wrong. Well, I wasn't having it…if you  want to look for something….. then for  Pete sake…... look for something positive not Negative. Jay and his team came up with the title and I loved it. It fit perfectly because if Sh*t Happens then so  does Bliss.      

  • Lu: Do you have a favorite DIY beauty tip you would like to share with the Creatively Lu community?
  • Kym: I love DIY beauty recipes. I feel we  put so much  chemicals,  additives and synthetic products "IN" and "ON" our bodies that I  always turn to the  DIY first but there is not always the time. Two easy time-saving tips are: #1- I use a coconut oil every  night on my nail beds to moisturize them and I help the nails grow and it makes your manicure last longer & #2- I  cut a lemon in half and  dip it in  sugar as a weekly scrub on my face or elbows and arms. 
  • Lu: What is the number one tip you would give to others for finding their bliss?
  • Kym: The number one tip I would give to  others about how to find their Bliss is the hardest question you have asked me. We all have our  own version of what BLISS is to us. We all have our  own paths to find it…but desiring BLISS is universal and we all want it in our lives. My advice…when difficulties strike find a loop hole…what could possible happen out of this that  could be working in your favor? Look for the light that could  come down the line. Maybe God DOES know better than you and he is moving something OUT of your life to replace with something bigger and better. Be grateful in ALL things... the good  days and the BAD days. Find something, anything  positive to focus on and focus on that. YOU bring into your life what you focus on…….. what are you thinking about? Lastly, have a goal and dream…... a purpose and pursue it with all your might. God put it in your heart and mind and its there for a reason…... you are the  only one who can get it for your self so go do it…find your Bliss!

Pretty exceptional woman, huh?!  I am also very excited to announce that Kym will be helping Ellen to get ready for the Oscars this March, in which Ellen will be hosting! So look out for another Friday Favorites post on Kym and her beauty adventures with Ellen during Oscars week! Below is your daily dose of inspiration.

Kym Douglas and Ellen Degeneres
 November 2013

*Check out the Kym Douglas website & follow Kym on Twitter, FB, Instagram, & Pinterest

Create a blissful Friday! 

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Thrifty Thursdays:Kristin's DIY Framed Song Lyric Art

It's a DIY themed edition of Thrifty Thursdays with guest blogger Kristin Haus, of the blog Polish & Pepper, sharing how to make beautiful wall decor with song lyrics. 
My guest contributor for the Thrifty Thursdays feature today is Kristin Haus. Kristin is the blogger and creator of polish and pepper, a style blog dedicated to all things fashion and beauty. In my opinion, Kristin serves as a liason between my Pinterest and the real world. So often, I pin certain outfits, makeup ideas, and accessories that are drool-worthy, yet unattainable. Kristin makes such pins a reality by offering tips and tricks to create beautiful looks that are "pin worthy." Not to mention, this chick finds such staple items at a bargain price. If there's a sale anywhere, Kristin will be sure to find it. The DIY love lyric sign she shares with us today, like all other things Kristin creates, cute yet affordable.

Kristin and her hubby, Derek, have been married for over 4 years, and have been together for over 8. They are a super fun couple. Just look at their Halloween picture below... I mean that is obviously a couple who brings the fun wherever they go.
The "Incredible" Couple
Derek and Kristin
Halloween, 2013

Kristin recently decided to preserve the lyrics from her wedding song "Lucky" into a beautiful  framed, statement piece in her home.  In the step-by-step tutorial below, Kristin shows us just how she made her lyric art. 

"You’ll need some white cardstock (for printing the verses of your song) that’s 8.5×11, a solid color for the letters, and a printed cardstock for the background. You’ll also need scissors, scrapbook stickers or glue, and a shadowbox frame (you can also use a regular frame. I did a square 10×10 version from JoAnn Fabrics."

"I googled the lyrics to our wedding song, 'Lucky' by Jason Mraz and Colbie Calliat, and copied and pasted them into Photoshop in an 8×8 inch document and played around with the font type. I then continued to paste the lyrics over and over until I filled the space. You want the letters to go right to the edges of the white paper."

"After printing, I used my Cricut paper cutter to get clean edges, but you can use scissors, too. Just make sure you trace lines with a ruler first."

"I then traced the shape of the cardboard insert from the frame onto the back of my printed paper and cut it out as well. It should measure 10×10 inches so it will show from beneath the lyrics. I drew and cut out our initials and a heart from the red cardstock and assembled everything using my scrapbook stickers."
"And then put it into the frame. I also bought a little easel so it could sit up on a shelf."
"Not only is this adorable, but I also got to relive our wedding day. Reading the words to our wedding song brought back all those memories of the day I decided to spend my life with someone, and that’s something I’ll never forget!"

Kristin and Derek Haus
Wedding Day: September 9, 2009
Martha's  Orchard, Indianapolis

Thanks Kristin for sharing such a beautiful and easy to follow project! With Valentine's day coming up,  this would make the perfect "love gift" for that special someone. It would also be a great gift for best friends or parents. I would print out the lyrics to a song that reminds me of them & add their initials over it. For instance, if I were to make one for Kristin, I would use the song lyrics from "You Can't Stop the Beat" from the Broadway-show Hairspray. Whenever Kristin and I get together, we put on full out musical performances.
Kristin and I in the car (where we do all our best singing)
Indianapolis, Summer 2013

 Below is your daily dose of inspiration. Create a great Thursday everyone! 

To follow Kristin and her Polish & Pepper Blog: Check out the Polish & Pepper website & Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, & Printerest

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesdays: Listen for Awhile

it's Wordless Wednesdays today

"Lot's of people talk to animals. Not very many people listen though, that's the problem" -Benjamin Hoff
Photo Courtesy of: Becca Duffy
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photo Courtesy of : Becca Duffy
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tone it Tuesdays: The 8 Essential Steps for Living a Healthy Lifestyle

With the New Year, we awake from our food comas having overindulged in holiday sweets & treats. We feel more ready than ever to remove those clothes hanging from our treadmills and lace-up our new pair of sneakers. Yet, with the introduction of extremely strict meal plans and intense workouts into our routines, we go from one form of overindulgent extremeness to another. And, just like the holidays, there comes a time in which we feel “burnt out.” We hit that point where we've had enough. 

We’re overspent, both physically and mentally, and so we shift back from the winter health phase into the food phase again. Ready to indulge in the upcoming Valentine's Day chocolates; only to shift back to the health phase again, as preparation for our spring vacations. Like a never-ending, game of ping-pong, we go back and forth between the two forms of extreme. 

Marketing campaigns recognize this vulnerability and quickly time their ads accordingly. For example, the big discount chains adorn their shelves with alluring, Christmas-themed cookies and candies, as preparation for Christmas time. Yet, when we return in January to those same stores, the shelves have been restocked with workout tanks, water bottles, and even “healthy” cookies.

Rather than following a “quick fix diet” or participating in the latest workout fad, I encourage you to finally finish the ping-pong game and simply follow a healthy lifestyle. Call me crazy, but I believe that life is meant to be lived, rather than endured. 

 By “toning up” a little more each week, you will create a healthy body that feels good both on the inside and out.  And so it is with great pleasure that I kickoff the first of the Tone Up Tuesday series with the 8 essential steps you need to know for beginning (and maintaining) a healthy lifestyle.

 I want you to feel like you can go on vacation and not panic that you couldn't transport your kitchen and gym with you. Read and follow these 8 steps with you often for the next week. Pin it, snap a picture, whatever you need to do. Soon, they will become healthy habits. Then we will meet back here next Tuesday to expand a little more on the workout portion of the plan. Until then, here your dose of inspiration to keep you feeling motivated.  
Photo Courtesy  of: Kristin Haus
Brown County State Park
Nashville, IN

Create a great and "Toned-Up" Tuesday!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Make it Mondays: The Soup that Started the Blog

 Roasted sweet potatoes and acorn squash with a coconut milk base give this soup a rich & creamy flavor. This soup is colorful, comforting yet nutritious, and is an easy way for you to get in your daily amount of vegetables.
*Printer-Friendly Recipe

Soup is often treated like the ugly step sister of meals. It is often passed over when reading a menu; or on rare occasion when it is chosen, it is to be paired with a sandwich  or endless amount of salad and bread sticks

 And so, like you my best friend Jimmy and I, never chose soup as the highlight of any of our weekly dinners. Each Monday, during the season of the Voice, Jimmy would come over for dinner and to watch the show. Prior to this past season, Jimmy had never watched the Voice. Yet by the end of this season, I had created a monster. There in my living room, Jimmy had taken on the role of the fourth judge, making comments such as “poor song choice” or  “Wow, what a voice!”

Jimmy, like a lot of guys,  has a very specific palette. He loves buffalo chicken, pizza, and chicken Parmesan; and if something looks particularly "leafy” or extremely healthy than it is most likely won’t be consumed.

 Needless to say when I asked Jimmy each Monday if he would like to order take-out or have me cook something; before he responded, he would apprehensively ask the question; "What were you planning to make?"  When I would respond with meal ideas such as a leafy green salad and vegan lasagna, he would offer to pick up takeout on his way over. 

On one night, however, I decided  not to tell Jimmy any of my  “meal ideas.” Instead, I simply told him to come over for dinner. Jimmy had called me on his way over, declaring that he was "stahhhving" (he has a Boston accent); yet when he arrived that was no longer the case. He had taken one glance at the very colorful, orange soup, and said "I'm not very hungry". It was clear that Jimmy had begun silently brainstorming what drive-thru he would pass on his route home.

Jimmy apprehensively walked over to the dining table , where I placed  a gigantic bowl of the bright orange liquid in front of him. Rather than begin eating,  he slowly got up from the table to retrieve a small mug from the cabinet. He then sat back down and began to dish out a very small amount of the soup from the large bowl into the mug.  When I questioned his odd behavior; he once again, sweetly replied; "I'm just not that hungry."

Yet something miraculous occurred after that. Jimmy  began eating bite after bite of the soup. He would dish out more from the bowl into the  mug, until finally he had dished out its entire contents. Once he had finished, Jimmy declared; "If you can get me try Vegan food, then you can get anyone." He went on and on about how delicious and creamy the soup tasted, how healthy he felt, and even stated that he could eat it every day for lunch.  

Jimmy and I, November 2013
Kings, Dedham, MA
Over Voice commercials that night, I told about Jimmy how I had cleaned my oven that day by making a baking soda and water  paste that I then painted onto my oven with a paintbrush. It had worked really well, removing all of the grease. That's when he pointed out how all of my little tips/ tricks and recipes could be very helpful for a lot of people, such as his sister Nicole (featured in the Wordless Wednesday photo here) and had recently bought a house with her fiancĂ©.

From that Monday night on, I have felt truly excited and passionate about Creatively Lu. Each morning when I wake up, my fingertips hit the keyboard and it’s like they have a mind of their own. The ideas simply flow.  

My biggest goal out of this whole little venture is to help you, the reader, create something extraordinary in your day. To experience moments in which you are able to create a delicious meal that someone (including yourself)  raves about. Knowing that my recipes are being made in your kitchen, DIY activities from Thrifty Thursday are being conducted in your home over the weekend, or simply that a quote of the day has been able to bring you inspiration is the best feeling in the world. 

One quote that has been a guiding force for Creatively Lu  is; "You can't use creativity. The more you use, the more you have." There is never a day for which I feel the need to” save “a recipe for a different week, or that I hesitate in sharing a "special" tip in order to ensure that I have one for next week. This is due to the fact that every recipe and tip I share with you is special because it is inspired by you all. 

I am grateful that I never have to wonder how  I will ever think-up yet another idea for a particular post thanks to the engaging, Creatively Lu community that has been created by you all. And so I write this post and share this special recipe in dedication to all of you. I'd also like to give a big shout-out to Jimmy McCarthy, my best friend of 9 years, who has put up with A LOT and has supported me every step of the way. Love you Bud! 

Below is the soup recipe, as well as your daily dose of inspiration for Monday. Create a wonderful week everyone! 

 For a heartier soup: Saute ground turkey in a skillet with a little olive oil.
Add in the turkey at Step #5

Roasted veggies are delicious on their own. So roast up a double batch and eat the rest throughout the week.
I even throw them into my omelets in the morning.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Creating Morning Bliss

This Sunday morning, I woke up feeling overwhelmed by the day ahead. I knew I had a lot of things in which I needed to get done today and anxiously wondered where I should even begin. So what did I do first? I laid in bed, spending a few more moments before reality was forced to strike. I lazily began to scroll down my Twitter Feed, where I came across an article from Mind Body Green titled; "5 Life-Changing Ways to Start Your Day."

 Now it is rare that I ever click on a link to an article on Twitter, but I clicked on this one. I knew that this article would serve as a reality check for just how much my "not so great" morning habits were impacting my day. 

To be honest, when I awake each morning and instinctively grab my phone, I get a subconscious feeling that this is not my best choice for starting my day. But because of habit, I have ignored it.  The article, however, did not:

So what happens when we fill this soft, vulnerable time with the loud sounds of the electronic world? And I'm not talking only about literal sound. I'm referring to the soundless chatter that emanates from scrolling through Facebook and absorbing the images and words of other people's lives; the silent cry of news stories that scream the latest tragic headlines onto your screen; the boiling up of feeling that churns from reading a friend's response to the email you sent last night; the rise and fall of self-esteem as you learn about news from work.

As we awake from our sleep, we are in our most vulnerable state. Therefore, by  beginning each day by scrolling through my Newsfeed on Facebook, for example,  whatever comments I am reading are the first words that break the silence between sleep and starting my day. 

From this day forward I plan to break the morning silence with feel good vibes. This is not some major declaration that I will rid myself of the smartphone. In fact, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t check my email over breakfast. But what I do plan to do from now is begin each day with an energizing, "feel good" music playlist, rather than by reading a political rant on Facebook. 

The same effort can be made towards your morning commute. How do you spend your time headed to work? Is it by blasting angry talk radio? Or maybe you spend your morning drive by returning phone calls that you don't really want to return? Or perhaps you are you catching up with your bestie, while she tells you about her horrible date she had last night (I'm sure I have negatively impacted someone's morning with this phone call in the past. Sorry Jackie!) 

I thoroughly believe that music can create the most positive vibes towards your day. For nearly two years, I taught a 5am spinning class at the gym, and my class continued to come back each Monday (Yup, MONDAYS!) for the awakening, feel good music playlist.
And so I have created an energizing and blissful morning playlist for you to break the silence between sleep and your day

I have arranged the playlist, so that it doesn't "shock you." It begins with some calming/feel good type of music and then slowly heads into some faster, uplifting beats. From Hall and Oates to Nappy Roots to B.o.B, I think there is a little something on there for everyone. Not to mention, its includes two past Friday Favorites: Ashley Sofia and J.Lye, who are pretty fly. 

Spotify Playlist: Morning Drive
Account #1244030766 (Lindsay Opper)

Create a great weekend everyone! Below is a daily dose of inspiration in honor of starting your workweek with a good mindset tomorrow morning. 

Photo Courtesy of:Tory Stone

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