Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Favorites: January's Friday Five

I absolutely love my Friday Favorites posts and I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it has been to feature, interview, and meet some pretty fabulous people. As a result, the majority of my "Friday Favorites" posts will continue to   showcase interviews with my favorite stores, companies, authors, bloggers.. and all other types of people I adore. In fact, I am very excited to share with you the "Friday Favorites" I have lined up in the weeks to come. I mean, can we just take a second to talk about the upcoming "Friday Favorites" post on  Kym Douglas, Ellen, and the Oscars in March! 

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I wanted to announce a new "Friday Favorite" series called "Friday Five" where once a month, I will feature the 5 current products & things that I can't get enough of for that particular month. So let's get January's "Friday Five" on a roll...

1. Ashley Sofia's Love & Fury CD

You may remember Ashley as my very first "Friday Favorite". Well, Ashley's debut CD has officially become available on iTunes, as of late last night; and I have to tell you, it's pretty amazing! This is that magical CD you can keep in your car on replay, without skipping  over any tracks.

2. Apple-MacBook Air & Etsy-Case
I recently got the Mac Air and absolutely love it! I have definitely noticed a significant difference in the resolution quality when designing the website, making photos, etc. Definitely is a blogger's dream! The laptop weighs just 2 lbs, making it the perfect travel companion for flying to Indiana. I certainly do not feel like I am missing out on not having a cd compartment, as all of the programs & apps come pre-installed. The adorable case in which I store my laptop in is from Etsy. I call it my "meeting clutch". 

3. Madewell Jacket 
I don't think I've ever been to Indy & not gone shopping with my cousin Kristin while there. During our second shopping adventure of my trip (the first day we went straight to the mall from the airport), I fell in love with the store Madewell. I found this amazing jacket on the clearance rack for $65 & I know that it will be a staple, prized possession in my closet for many years to come. Hopefully February's "Friday Five" can include some kick-butt pants & sparky jewelry to pair with it. 

4. Frozen...yup the Disney Movie!
My cousin and I, who are two grown adults, went to go see this movie at 1pm on MLK day (when kids had the day off from school).  Needless to say, we were the only people in the movie theater without kids. I hesitantly waited for the movie to start thinking a movie rated higher than G may have been a better choice. But from the first moment i started, I was captivated. My feet tapped along as I listened to the song "performances" and found myself sitting at the edge of my seat when the castle did in fact become "frozen". And you better believe I clapped along with the 6 year old sitting next to me when the credits rolled.   
But don't just take my word for it, go out and see the movie for yourself! The songs remind me of the ones from Broadway play "Wicked", and Kristen Bell gives Kristen Chenoworth a run for her money as the cutest princess on the block (even if it is just her voice in the movie). 
5. 1-inch Curling Iron
While in Indiana, my cousin curled my hair one day with her 1-inch curling iron. I was genuinely shocked by just how much longer my hair looked than normal  (hey, I'll take every inch I can get). Typically, I use a 2 inch barrel & while I love the look of my hair curled, it's tough to have to see it "shrink" before my eyes. Therefore, when I got home, I ran out and bought a 1-inch curling iron for myself. This little baby has definitely been added to my daily routine. 

...Kind of a random bunch of favorite things, but then again that's how the Creatively Lu blog, in general, rolls. A random assortment of thoughts that all comes together to create a beautiful and more fulfilling life!

And like always, I'd love to hear what you all think. Maybe you have an item that you think I may like for February's "Friday Five" or a suggested "Friday Favorite" featured person or company. I'd  love to hear from you all; just email me ( or send me a message on the Creatively Lu Facebook page

Below is your daily dose of inspiration, inspired by one of my forever favorite's: Miss Maddie May! Maddie is the daughter of Creatively Lu's new weekly contributor, Heather Rose. Auntie Lu loves you very much, Miss Maddie!

Maddie May, 16 Months
Photo Courtesy of: Heather Rose

Create a Fabulous Friday everyone!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thrifty Thursdays: Workout Gear Deals

Today's Thrifty Thursday post is brought to you by one of my very best friends, Heather Rose. Heather and I have been friends since 8th grade and while the old days of cruising around the mall with my mom's spare keys jangling from my hand so that people would think we could drive have changed to cruising around the children's museum with her 16 month year old Miss Maddie May, we have still remained inseparable.  Heather is an amazing mom, wife, as well as an amazing cook, DIYer, and is a frequenter of the local farmer's markets in her area. Heather is someone I turn to for every lifestyle question from how to boil quinoa to a DIY house project. Therefore, I am very excited to announce that Heather is now a weekly writer for Creatively Lu, writing either a delicious Make it Monday recipe or sharing helpful, Thrifty Thursday tips.

Heather, along with Jenna Klane of the Training Fix, will be added as contributors to the Creatively Lu About page once is launched during the next two weeks! There are lots of exciting things going on with the Creatively Lu blog and I look forward to updating you all throughout the next couple of weeks. But without further ado, here is Heather with some thrifty workout gear finds:

Hey guys! We are starting to wrap up January and most of us are in full swing of our New Year’s resolutions. (Check out the Creatively Lu Vision board DIY tutorial as a great way to stay motivated all year). One of mine,  was to exercise more frequently. Being a stay-at-home to a 16 month old with a husband who doesn’t walk in the door most nights until 8PM, I knew this was going to be a challenge. However, I’ve managed to sneak in my exercise here and there. Trying to make it work….. am I right? 
One day I was able to go to my old gym and attend one of my favorite classes with my neighbor. I was so pumped to be out in public, being able to work out without worrying if my toddler was going to set my house on fire or trying to read Jillian Michael lips because I had to mute the DVD for fear that Jillian's screaming tasks would wake my napping child. And so it felt good to attend an exercise class outside of the house. Yet after 20 minutes, I began to  observe the class members around me. The room was filled with woman who were looking pretty awesome with their chic gym hair styles, expensive yoga pants, and stripy shirts. During a water break, I took a second to observe my workout attire. There I was, wearing a frumpy t-shirt showcasing a stain (or two) on it, as well as wearing a pair of worn yoga pants. At least the T-shirt was from a half-marathon I ran so I made sure to puff up my chest a little more  so that the words  "BOSTON’S RUN TO REMEMBER ½ MARATHON" would be shown, with hopes that no one would bother to read the bottom stating the year 2011. 
 I suddenly looked at myself in the mirror and wanted to hide. At home I thought I looked decent enough. It’s the gym after all, not the Oscars. But here with all these women who looked amazing in their cool fun clothes, I felt like a straight up slob. When you work out, you want to feel good. The rest of the time I spent at the gym, I was straight up uncomfortable. My shirt was flopping all over the place. I’m pretty sure you could see through my pants they were so worn (I also go to the front of the class so I’m pretty sure I offended some people. Sorry.) I needed a workout makeover ASAP.

  I grabbed my laptop as soon as I got home to order some new workout clothes. I almost choked on my daughter's cheerios I had been snacking on from her snack cup, when I looked up the price of pants from a popular yoga clothing boutique. A pair of normal looking running capris cost $150. I died. I had been hoping to get a whole outfit for that price. After all, I'm pretty sure that you can look awesome at the gym without having to rob my daughter's college fund. Lucky for you, I have done the research for us. I have found a ton of active wear that will not only look and feel great but will save you from spending a fortune. Below are the details for my thrifty, workout gear finds:

1. Women's Premium Racerback Tank 
 C9 by Champion Workout Collection
Available in  Assorted Colors
Regular price: $26 
Discounted Price at Target: $13.48
 (saves $13.51- 50% off)

Oh color blocking, how I love you. It’s amazing that when wearing color blocking (done right) you can trick the mind into thinking you are 10 lbs lighter with a smaller waist. This type of blocking is so flattering, the lightness of the side paneling draw your eyes to the brighter color and make you look smoking hot. I think we can all agree this is a good thing. 

2. Performance Capris

Fila Sport Collection

Regular price: $40
Discounted Price at Kohls: $23.99 
(save $16.01- 40% off)

I guarantee that you will be just as comfortable in these pants as much as those $150 pants I mentioned earlier. It has the wide band which I love as well as the cool contrast-stitch which grabs your attention. These moisture wicking pants will keep you cool and comfy which is essential to a good workout. 

 3. Cozy Fleece Coverup

 C9 by Champion Workout Collection

Available in  Assorted Colors
Regular price: $29
Discounted Price at Target: $22.49 
(Save $7.50- 25% off)

I’m always freezing when I’m in a studio waiting for a class to start. I appreciate that the rooms are a little cooler so we stay comfortable during class,  however, I always like wearing something to cover my arms while I warm up. This adorable fleece cover up provides the coverage you need and also is cute enough to take your workout clothes from the gym to a lunch date. Multi-purpose pieces are everything. 

4. Women's Quilted Puffer Vest

 C9 by Champion Workout Collection
Available in  Assorted Colors
Regular price: $29.99
Discounted Price at Target: $23.99 
(Save $6.99- 20% off)

For those days you want to run outside but you need a little something extra to keep you warm. This fitted vest is just the thing you need to get you through those chilly morning workouts.

5. Athleta Tempo Run Cap

Athleta Accessories

Available in Assorted Colors
Regular Price: $22.99
Discounted Price at Athleta: $10.99
(Save $12.99-48% off)

Super lightweight with full thermal insulation that still wicks sweat and keeps you dry? Check! Shade for those really bright winter days? Check! Ponytail opening to give your hair somewhere to go? Check! This hat has it all for this price.

6. Health & Fitness Yoga Kit

Sunny Health and Fitness
Regular Price: $26.99
Discounted Price at Kohls: $21.99
(Save $5.99- 20% off)

I love doing a quick yoga session at home. This kit is a great Yoga starter skit! It includes yoga straps, blocks, and a mat for the regular price of the mat itself!

7.  Metro Gym Bag

Gaiam Yoga & Fitness Available in Assorted Colors
Regular Price: $24.98
Discounted Price at Gaiam:$19.99

I love a good gym bag. This bag is a great toss around bag that can be used for the gym or even just running around town doing errands. There are outside pockets perfect for storing your water bottle and other essentials. There's also even a place to hold your yoga or fitness mat!

Thanks Heather for the amazing finds! We look forward to your next article for Make it Monday & can't wait to cook up the delicious, healthy recipe you share! 
Create a "Thrifty" Thursday everyone!

Below is your daily dose of inspiration inspired by healthy living.
Ashley stretching before exploring the Grand Canyon
Cross Country Road-Trip, September 2013
Photo Courtesy of Road-Trip Companion: Caitie Sprague

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesdays: Happiness is First Tracks on Fresh Snow

It's Wordless Wednesday's today with a beautiful picture of 5 month old Bella enjoying the snow.
Photo Courtesy of proud parents: Chris and Krissy Russell

And now for your daily dose of inspiration, inspired by the winter months. 

"In the midst of winter, I found there was,
within me, an invincible summer"
Quote by: Albert Camus
 Union College, Schenectady NY, Winter 2012
Photo by: Tory Elizabeth Stone

Create a beautiful Wednesday everyone!

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Tone it Tuesdays: Pre & Post Workout Routine

The following nutritional advice is from my guest Tone it Tuesday's contributor for the month of January, Jenna Klane of the Training Fix. I'll be sharing Jenna's workout and nutrition advice throughout the Tone It Tuesday series. In today's post, Jenna will be sharing how to properly fuel yourself before and after your workout...

Hey everyone, its Jenna Klane Nelson, the owner of the Training Fix in Easton, MA. There is no doubt in my mind that eating whole foods, improving posture, exercising often, and resting often, are the key ingredients to living a life filled with vitality ! Today, I am going to focus on the first ingredient: eating whole foods.  After-all, a clean diet is non negotiable if you want to reap the full benefits of your workout. 

When you spend time and effort at the gym to reach your fitness goals, you better be sure you’re refueling your body or else you may be wasting your time and energy. Think about the stress you’re putting your muscles under. You need to recover from the losses that you went through and the best time is right after your workout- within an hour.
Recent studies have found that low glycemic foods, which are digested more slowly, eaten before exercise may contribute to increased performance by increasing the availability of nonessential fatty acids during exercise. Examples of these carbohydrates include plain yogurt, strawberries, and oatmeal. Carbs are essential during exercise because it’s the body’s preferred fuel source. Therefore it’s important to not only eat them before a workout but also after to replenish glycogen stores.
 Endurance and resistance training exercise both stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is enhanced if protein is consumed around the time of the exercise. Eating protein immediately after exercising helps in the repair and synthesis of muscle proteins. If you’re looking to lose weight, then protein intake can help preserve lean muscle mass and allow weight loss to come from fat rather than the lean tissue. Protein not only repairs muscle, but also helps stimulate the development of new muscle tissue.
Different types of protein are better at different times. Whey protein is easily digested and is known for its ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Casein protein is slowly digested and can last in the bloodstream a few hours. If you’re looking for optimum muscle building then one would suggest casein-based protein prior to exercise and whey-based protein during and following exercise. The body has a limited capacity to use protein to build muscle so it’s important to not be excessive in protein consumption. The average person requires .8-1.0kg/body weight and athletes need 1.2-1.7kg/body weight.
One thing you want to steer clear of in your post-workout snack is fat. Fat slows down digestion, and this isn’t something you want after a workout.
If you’re new to exercising then this can seem like a lot of info that you’re not necessarily looking for, but it’s important to have an understanding of why we want you to eat before and after a training session; to maximize your results.

food for blog

Food Ideas:

  • Banana with almond butter
  • Plain greek yogurt with fruit
  • Tuna on Ezekiel/whole wheat bread
  • Sliced turkey and hummus wrap
  • Protein shake with banana
  • Rice cake with almond/peanut butter
  • Hard boiled egg and apple
  • Sweet potato with plain greek yogurt
  • Quest or Rise Bar
  • Chocolate Almond Milk with strawberries
Now that you have an understanding of what and why you need to properly fuel yourself you should be sure that your workout really requires the post-workout snack/meal you’re consuming. A 15 minute leisurely walk, a 30 minute light strength-training session or 30 minutes of stretching aren’t the moderate to high intensity workouts that burn up your muscles and deplete your blood sugar levels to a level where you need a snack to recover. So be mindful of the snacks you’re choosing based on your workout.
Your workout can never make up for a bad diet, so make sure you’re not “rewarding” yourself with a post-workout snack because “you deserved it.” Give your body the proper fuel it needs!
Create a toned Tuesday everyone! Below is your Tuesday dose of inspiration. 
*"Like" the Training Fix Fb page & contact Jenna over on  the Training Fix website

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Make it Mondays: Spaghetti Squash, Turkey Chorizo, & Brown Butter Sage Casserole

Recipe & Photo Courtesy of: Ashley Klane of Redefining Rich
I first discovered spaghetti squash last April when I did the Whole 30 program. Spaghetti squash is by far the best substitute I have ever found for pasta. It is buttery, tender, and has a light flavor perfect for soaking up any sauce you put on it. Spaghetti squash is especially delicious as the "noodles" in a casserole. It bakes wonderfully. 
Photo Courtesy of: Steamy Kitchen
For a step by step tutorial on how to prepare Spaghetti Squash: click here

So when I saw that my friend Ashley made a delicious looking spaghetti squash casserole made with turkey chorizo and brown-butter sage, I knew I just needed to have her share the recipe with the Creatively Lu community.

You may remember Ashley from when I featured her as a Friday Favorite for her blog: Redefining Rich. Last year, Ashley's New Year's resolution was to choose a different charity each month to support & bring awareness to. The year prior, Ashley's resolution was to cook a new and exciting recipe every week. This year, Ashley has decided to combine the two and share other feel good things on her blog. This spaghetti squash recipe is one of the new recipes she has made and I am excited to share it with you all. So without further ado, here is the recipe.

 Spaghetti Squash, Turkey Chorizo, and Brown Butter Sage Recipe

*Recipe adapted from Bacon and Legs


1 spaghetti squash
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 lb. turkey chorizo
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, diced
1 ½ cups Jarlsberg cheese


Preheat oven to 375.
Slice the spaghetti squash in half. (Use a sharp knife). Scoop out the seeds and place "cut-side" up in a baking pan.Drizzle the squash liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, or until outer edges have browned.  Let the squash cool for at least 5 minutes.
Heat a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Remove the turkey sausage from its casing and crumble in the skillet. Cook until meat has browned (Roughly 10-15 minutes). Place the sausage into a large bowl.
Drain grease from the skillet, but do not clean. Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into the skillet and add mushrooms and onion. Cook the veggies until slightly browned (Roughly 8-10 minutes). Place the veggies into the large bowl (containing the sausage). 
Return the skillet to stove and add butter. Stir the butter frequently until it has melted down and looks foamy. Keep cooking it. Once the butter has browned and omits a nutty-smell, stir in the fresh sage. Pour the brown-butter sage over the sausage, mushrooms and shallot.
Once your spaghetti squash is cool enough to touch, use a fork to shred out the noodles. Add the spaghetti squash noodles to the bowl. Toss all of the ingredients together. Add salt & pepper if needed. 
Return the whole spaghetti, sausage mixture to your baking dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before scooping out and serving.
Create a tasty Monday everyone. Below is your dose of inspiration for today.

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