Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Sunday Football

"I don't care about two years ago. I don't care about last year.
The only thing I care about is this week" -Tom Brady
Liz & her 2 year-old son Joshua are big-time football fans.
Photo Courtesy of:  Liz McDonald

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: the Clothes Make the Girl

I'm pretty flipping excited to feature one of my favorite bloggers, cookbook authors, and Paleo expert Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan, who writes the blog "The Clothes Make the Girl".

Melissa is on a mission to be a "super fit, well-fed, dressed-to-kill, glossy-haired, Rock-n-Roll, tart-tongued detective", and she is definitely fulfilling all such things.

She has committed to practicing a healthy lifestyle by eating clean and incorporating yoga, meditation, CrossFit, running, and strength training into her daily routine.

Melissa's candid account of her struggle with weight loss (featured in her blog) is very relatable and inspiring. She is the first to admit that she didn't always eat clean:

"My parents were both exceptionally good cooks — my dad owned a restaurant and my mom won almost every cooking contest she entered. I was a chubby kid because I really liked food. And after broken ankles and playground taunts — at a bus stop, I was once unfavorably compared to a whale by one of the neighbor kids — I stuck with reading and practicing the piano and roller skating to the library. I don’t know how many gym classes I missed because I was “sick” or “forgot” my gym clothes. I do know that my P.E. attendance put my otherwise stellar grade point average in jeopardy."

"Even though I avoided sports, I secretly admired the athletic kids. They walked taller than the rest of us. When I was in 10th grade, my dad took me to Annapolis to see the Navy band play a concert, and for about three weeks, I was determined to get in shape so I could apply to the Naval Academy. I abandoned that dream because I was incapable of doing pushups and situps — and I was too embarrassed and overwhelmed to ask for help.)"

However, Melissa did not give up on her mission to get in shape. One healthy hobby she enjoyed practicing was roller-blading. In 2001, Melissa moved to Austin, TX where she met a bunch of other woman who shared her passion for rollerblading. Together they formed the Texas Rollergirls, the original Flat Track Roller Derby that started in Austin and spread across the world! 

Appearing on the Today Show and Good Morning America, Melissa began to create a name for herself in the Roller Derby world. As a result, the publishing company Simon & Schuster published her book she had written about her Roller Derby experiences, titled "Roller Girl Totally True Tales from the Track".

Left: "Roller Girl: Totally True Tales from the Track" by Melissa Joulwan
Right: Melissa (Middle) during her professional Roller Derby days.

In 2007, Melissa began adding Cross Fit classes to her active lifestyle. In 2009, she switched to a Paelo lifestyle. By gaining strength, finally sleeping 8 hours a night, and eliminating dairy and gluten from her diet, Melissa finally "made friends" with food and her body. And while I could go on and on about Melissa and her amazing blog & paleo cookbooks, I will let you all learn a little more about Melissa for yourselves. Below is a Q+A with Melissa: 
Lu: How was the title "the Clothes make the girl” created?
Melicious: I started my blog while I was working at my full-time job for a web development agency. I was bored at work and was a little obsessed with fashion blogs, so I decided to start my own, just as a fun outlet for writing. At the same time, I was also changing my eating habits and training to get really fit. After a while, I realized I wanted to write about those things more than my outfits. Little by little, the "real" blog — where I talk about nutrition, recipes, training, meditation, and how to have an awesome life — emerged. That was in 2008, and I had about five readers. Now about 400,000 people read it every month.

Lu:  What are some of the more notable/ “happier” changes you’ve experienced since switching to a Paleo lifestyle?
Melicious: Eating Paleo has changed my life in many ways, but these are my two favorites: (1) I was a lifelong terrible sleeper. Now that I eat high-quality carbs, sufficient fat and protein, and no junk, I sleep like a champ for 7-9 hours every night. (2) I used to need to eat every 2-3 hours or I'd get cranky and droopy. Now I can go for 4-6 hours between meals, and when I'm hungry, it's simply hunger — not moodiness that makes me feel like I'm going to stab someone.

Lu: If you had to describe a Paleo diet to a newcomer, how would you describe it?
Melicious: The version of the paleo template I follow is based on eating nutrient-dense foods that make me healthier: high-quality protein like grassfed beef and pastured chicken, tons of vegetables and fruits, some starches like sweet potatoes and plantains, and natural fats like coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and nuts for a little treat. It's real food and it's delicious.

Lu: What is one major thing you miss about being a Rollergirl?
Melicious: Oh, definitely bashing into people and making them fall down! And putting on my uniform — it was really fun to pretend to be a glamour girl then beat up on people.

Lu: What inspired you to write the cookbooks, Well Fed + Well Fed 2?
Melicious: Eating paleo made me fall in love with playing in the kitchen, and I wanted to share that with other people. I think cooking can be intimidating for people and I wanted to show that it can be like play time that also provides nourishment. I love cooking because I get to be creative and then I get to eat — two of my favorite things!

Thanks Melissa for taking the time to speak with me and to share your story with the Creatively Lu community! 

 And now for your dose of inspiration, inspired by Melissa.

Melissa during a Cross-Fit workout,
rocking her "Well Fed" socks.
Quote by: Henry Ford

Create a healthy & happy Friday everyone!

*To learn more about Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan and her blog "the Clothes Make the Girl"
Check out her websiteFacebook, & Twitter.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thrifty Thursdays: 3 Day, DIY Juice Cleanse

As a thrifty shopper, I am often searching apps such as Living Social, Gilt City, & Groupon for a good, local deal. Lately, it seems that every single app is featuring some sort of Juice Cleanse. Juice cleanses can be a good way to begin a New and healthier year. Many benefits include:

  • Losing the bloat
  • Boost mental clarity & energy
  • Improve the condition of your skin
  • Remove toxins from the body

In terms of toxins, we consume many chemicals from our food, water, and air each day. From the artificial flavoring in our food products to the chlorine in our water to the carbon monoxide in our air, toxins "build up" in our body, which can cause a weakened immune system, as well create the bloat we feel. While our liver, kidney, and colon are all supposed to rid our body's of toxins, hazards of modern life such as neon colored food products and genetically enlarged produce have had taken major tolls on our bodies. Therefore, I believe that a juice cleanse, on the 1-3 day spectrum are a great way to provide an "extra boost" to filter and expel the toxins. However, ordering a juice cleanse online can often mean a large break between when the juices were made and when the products are delivered. And so in order to preserve the juices, additives are sometimes included. In addition, a juice cleanse online, even with a discount for 3 days, can still be quite steep.

And so I began to research a healthy & beneficial, DIY juice cleanse. As such, I stumbled across the blog A Good Hue written by Amanda Goodhue. A Good Hue is a blog that shares posts on life, style, beauty, and recipes. For more about Amanda and her blog: click here.

On her blog, Amanda featured a 3 Day, DIY Juice cleanse. The 3 day cleanse offered 6 drinks a day for 3 days. The recipes looked tasty, and I was especially impressed by the dessert one which included ground up cashews for filling protein and fat.  Once I had decided that I was going to commit to the 3 days, I printed off my grocery list & headed off to grab my ingredients.

And after spending $60, or $20 a day, I was happy with my thrifty find!

Below are a list of Amanda's recipes, as well as your Thursday dose of inspiration. You can also do this as a 1-Day Juice Cleanse, which my friend Jackie tried. She also felt less bloated after doing the cleanse.

Thanks Amanda for the Thrifty DIY, Juice Cleanse! I think this is something I would do 2-3 times a year, as a way to get back on track with my healthy lifestyle. Having a flatter stomach has made me a little more aware of what I am ingesting, as well as motivated me to eat more greens and workout a little more. In addition, I have continued to drink the lemonade drink as part of my daily regimen.

And now for Thursday's dose of inspiration...

Create a Thrifty Thursday everyone! 

*To find out more about Amanda's Juice Cleanse, head over to the "A Good Hue" blog
*You can follow A Good Hue on BlogLovin', Twitter, and Instagram 

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesdays: Sunset Dreamer

It's Wordless Wednesday's today on the blog,
with a beautiful sunset picture 
from Popoygo, Nicaragua

"It is Almost Impossible to Watch a Sunset and Not Dream"-Bern Williams
Photo Courtesy of: Caitie Sprague
Location: Magnific Rock
Popoygo, Nicaragua 

And now for your dose of inspiration...

Create a Beautiful Wednesday Everyone!

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Tone it Tuesdays: 3 Moves to Get the Most Out of Your Booty

Jenna Klane Nelson of the Training Fix
shows us the 3 staple exercises needed
to master those glutes.
Photo Courtesy of: Jess McDougall
I am excited to feature  Jenna Klane Nelson, personal trainer and owner of the Training Fix in Easton, MA for this week's Tone it Tuesdays post. Jenna is the perfect person to offer tips for safe and effective workouts, as she specializes in posture and movement assessment.

At her training studio, the Training Fix, Jenna  performs postural analysis and functional movement screenings for each new client in order to understand each person's postural behavior and functionality. By correctly finding where the problems lie, Jenna is able to effectively create a unique program for each client that will help him or her to improve vitality and strength.

I, like Jenna, believe that it is absolutely essential to clean up any faulty movement patterns in order to achieve effective strength training. Contrary to popular belief, strength training is an essential component for  weight-loss, as well as toning the body. While cardio can also assist with the weight-loss process, it only breaks down your body's existing tissue, thus, leaving you with that soft, "skinny fat" booty. It is strength training that actually changes your body's composition, giving you that all over toned look.

Today Jenna will explain why we should master  the fundamentals so that strength training can become a safe and effective part of our daily  lifestyle. She will also share why we should love our booty and share 3 videos featuring the 3 essential moves for getting our glutes toned and poppin'.
The Training Fix
"If I am doing a glute exercise, I better feel it in my glutes.  If I don’t then I need to clean it up and get it right.  I think the glutes are big, beautiful muscle.  Mine have been large since I was about 5 years old.  I used to hate it !!! Once I realized they weren't going anywhere I decided to embrace it and make them as nice as I could.  I love doing glute work.  For starters, most of the major lifts that work the glutes really work your entire body ( squats, lunges, dead-lifts, step ups, thrusters) .  Killing two birds ( or ten) with one stone is my kind of workout.   The biggest thing I have noticed with clients over the years is that they weren't really feeling their glutes when they should.  Bottom line is if you don’t feel it, its not turning on… and that's a problem. We are all created differently and sometimes our posture creates compensations in how we perform our lifts.  For myself I am very mobile in my mid and low back.  For years I thought I had great hip extension when I really broke down the movement I was doing the lift from my back and not from my glutes.  That is why I wasn't feeling my glutes.  Seems obvious, but its not always that easy to figure out when you are working out".

"True hip extension gets the glutes to activate to their fullest potential. Strong glutes are a bonus for both men and women for a few reasons:

1. Strong glutes can help eliminate low back pain.
2. Strong , shapely glutes are nice to look at :) better than saggy , weak glutes.
3. When you really get your glutes to engage you will suddenly develop this power in your lifts that you were never capable of before".

"Here are 3 staple exercises we do at The Training Fix that require full hip extension to be done correctly. I have made videos of myself doing each one with both the proper and faulty technique".

1. Hip Thruster

"For the hip thruster you will start with your head and shoulders on a bench.  Your feet will be on the floor directly under your knees.  Driving through your heels you will lift your hips up using your glutes. In the finished position you should have a straight line from your shoulder to your hip to your knee.  The video on top shows me with poor form and the video on the bottom is with the correct technique".
"You want to make sure that you get your hips up high enough so that you get that straight line throughout the body, but you want to make sure you get it by using your glutes and not your low back.  You also want to make sure that you don’t let your rib cage flare up into the air.  I am very mobile through my mid back and would naturally love to do this lift by letting my rib cage lift way up.  It almost create a rainbow shape throughout the torso.  This exercise is very challenging for me and I feel my glutes plenty by just using bodyweight.  Work your way up to 3 rounds of 20 repetitions and at then you can consider loading it".
Hip Thruster Video

2. Step Ups

"Step Ups are such a simple and highly effective exercise. The problem is I find that most people leave out some of the key elements that make it so good for you.  First off you want to make sure the foot of the stabilizing leg is fully on the step.  Keep it planted and drive trough that heel as you step up.  Make sure to keep a nice, tall spine throughout the movement.  When you get to the top you want to make sure that you fully extend the hip of the stabilizing leg.  It should be a straight line from the shoulder, to the hip, to the ankle.  In this video the video on the left shows me doing this with good technique and the video on the right shows the faulty patterns I discussed above".

3. Planks

"Planks ? Not many people would think of planks as a glute exercise.  Ultimately they would be considered a “core” exercise, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work the glutes as well.  If you do these with good technique at the end of a good workout, you can’t tell me that you don’t feel your glutes.  When doing a plank your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, your legs should be straight out with the knees fully extended.  Your butt should NOT be up in the air. You should have a straight line from your shoulder to your hip.  Take a look at the video below to see two videos comparing good and bad technique. I think its pretty obvious but the top video is clearly being done incorrectly".

"So, whether its for function, for looks, for strength, or for power. You can’t lose by getting the most out of your glutes in the gym".

Thanks Jenna for the booty tips! I will be sure to incorporate these movements into my schedule. And to make sure that I really work on my least favorite exercise, the plank, I have created a 30 day plank challenge:

Create a booty-poppin Tuesday everyone! Below is your daily dose of inspiration inspired by Jenna and her adorable son Henry (who you may remember from Wordless Wednesdays).

Jenna and her son, Henry
Summer 2013

*"Like" the Training Fix Fb page & contact Jenna over on  the Training Fix website
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Monday, January 13, 2014

Make it Mondays: 4 Healthy, ShowStoppin' Sides

Breakfast: Heather's Spelt English Muffins
Lunch: Acorn Squash French-fries
Dinner: Roasted Broccoli 
Snack: Roasted Maple Coconut Almonds

Lately, I have been eating a lot more on the go. The business has been exciting in terms of my career, yet far less exciting in terms of my meal planning. In other words, in the past few weeks, there hasn't been a single time in which I have have laid down a marvelous entree onto a pre-set table and enjoyed a delicious meal. Rather, my dinners have turned into quick breaks away  from my computer, in which I lean over my kitchen island, eat a turkey burger, and  flip through the closest magazine in reach.

One surprising aspect of this "life frenzy" is, however,  how little I've ordered take-out. In the past, when I was very busy, I would order take-out 24/7. Yet, I have continued to  eat 80% of my meals at home. This is due in large portion to the show-stoppin' sides I have been whipping up quickly to pair with  my meals. After all, there are just so many times you can get excited about a turkey burger on its own. So without further ado, here are the sparkling side dishes that have kept my meals exciting...


Printer Friendly Recipe
Recipe Courtesy of: Heather Rose


Printer-Friendly Recipe


Printer-Friendly Recipe


Printer Friendly Recipe

These sides are loaded with veggies & protein, are easy to make, and don't require a lot of ingredients. They are, however, GAME CHANGERS!

These English muffins will make the everyday egg-whites a lot more exciting, while the roasted broccoli is the best I ever had.  I mean, I don't typically eat a whole head of broccoli in one sitting, but with this particular recipe I do. As far as the acorn squash fries go,  I promise you that you will no longer be craving a soggy carton of fries from your local fast food place after trying these. And what's easier than storing a mason jar of almonds in your car's cup-holder to avoid stopping at the tempting take out places?

I hope that this particular "Make it Monday" has inspired you to be more creative with your dinner tonight. And now for your Monday dose of inspiration inspired by the Golden Globes (which I watched while eating a turkey burger & squash fries)...

Create a delicious Monday everyone!

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