Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorites-Fashion Edition: I've Got a Crush

Today's Friday Favorites comes at just the perfect time because it's almost Valentine's day and I have a major CRUSH on the amazing Boston fashion boutique Crush. Let me explain how I came to be matched with my fashion crush..

A few week's ago, I received an email from the fashion startup company, Boutikey. Boutikey is a new mobile app that launched yesterday!  (Lookout for a Friday Favorite Feature on them soon!) that connects fashion boutiques with their customers. It's sort of like an Instagram for boutiques, where there is a fashion trend page, sales and promo announcements, and you can acquire store credit points for shopping.

 Boutikey asked to feature my favorite looks from a Boston boutique on their mobile app and it was a no brainer that I chose my long-time favorite, Crush.

Crush Boutique is located on Newbury Street and in Boston's Beacon Hill. They specialize in providing customers with a well-edited collection of the best in women's contemporary fashion. From celebrity loved lines like Alex + Olivia, J Brand, and House of Harlow to a variety of up-and-comping designers like Yumi Kim and Rory Beca, Crush offers an unmatched, fashion forward experience. In addition to the two stores, they also offer an expansive online store.

As a result, it is no surprise that Crush has received quite a lot of awards in Boston these past few years. From Best of the New for 2008 by Boston Globe Magazine, Boston's Best for Women's Moderate Clothing in 2011 by The Improper Bostonian, Boston's Best for Party Dresses in 2012 by The Improper Bostonian, Boston's Best for Women's Moderate Clothing in 2013 by The Improper Bostonian, and was nominated for Boston Magazine's Best of Boston 2013 Reader's Choice in the Best Clothing - Women's Casual category, I guess you could say that I'm not the only one with a major fashion crush on Crush.

This past week I got to fulfill my fashion dream. I partnered with Boutikey to do a photo-shoot at Crush wearing my favorite outfits from the store. To top it all off, I got to bring along my best friend, Jackie. Talk about two kids in a candy store!

So without further ado, here are my 5 favorite looks from Crush...

Look #1: the Animal Skirt that Makes me Want to Twirl

 Amanda Uprichard Forever Shirt Skirt in Black Skirt and Purple Leopard skirt

Look #2: The Lace Open Back Stunner

Alice & Olivia Open-Back Stunner

Look #3: Comfy,Warm Sweater & Red Infinity Scarf

Dolta Vita Dorid Sweater with 7 for all Mankind leather-like Skinnies
and Paula Bianco Chunky Knit Infinity Scarf

Look #4: Open Back Sweater & Leather Skinnies

Twelth Street Leather Strap Tank, BB Dakota Sweater, & Joes Jeans, The Skinny in Dorothy

Look #5: The Black Leather Maxi Dress & Chunky Cardigan

Alice & Olivia Black leather Maxi and Olive & Oak NYC Sweater with A Mano Trading Pendant Necklace

*For more on Crush, check out their websiteFacebookTwitterPinterest, & Instagram pages.
*Download the Boutikey app here!

Below is your daily dose of inspiration inspired by Crush & Boutikey...

Create a Fashionable Friday!

I also just want to give another big ol' shoutout to my bestie, hairdresser, stylist, and makeup artist Jackie Angelos who did my hair and makeup for the shoot. Below is a closer look at the subtle blonde ombre hair she did.

*If you live in the South-Boston area, I encourage you to visit Jackie at LA Express in Stoughton, MA where she is an incredible hair dresser. You can contact her through Style Seat or via email:
*Now you can follow Creatively LU on BlogLovin' for a daily email notifying you of that day's topic. 
*To follow the Creatively Lu posts daily,  "like" the FB page .
* Follow @Creatively Lu on InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Cleaning Craze

It seems as though the busier I get, the more I feel the need to begin side projects & any other little organizational tasks around the house. Whenever I have a lot of writing to get done, it all of a sudden sudden matters that my laundry is neatly folded into my dresser drawers prior to getting my work completed. And unfortunately for me, there are no magical woodland creatures to assist with my cleaning mayhem...
Courtesy of: Pinterest

 But lucky for you, I have actually tried out many DIY, cleaning tricks & tips and have found ones  that actually work! Below is a list of my 3 favorite, Thrifty Cleaning Tips:

Directions: Cut shoe boxes in half, along the length or width, and fill the resulting compartments with folded briefs, socks, or stacked bras.

About once a month, I end up dumping all of the clothes out of my dresser drawer and refolding all of them. Each month, I set out with the best intention to keep the drawers clean and the clothes folded and put away in their correct drawers. Yet, as the month unfolds so does my clothes. But, I have finally found a solution by cutting up shoe boxes into dresser dividers!

As I begin cleaning, I tend to find a TON of hair elastics lying around my house & car. One major solution that I have found is to carry a keychain around in my pocket. As I find the elastics, I quickly snap them onto the bungee clip  and I'm good to go. For me, I have found no other solution that has worked better. If I just pick up the elastics and put them in my pocket as I go, I tend to find those little suckers in the washer machine later. 

And speaking of washers, I have finally found an easy way to clean the washer machine that really works, thanks to  Dawn Monroe of the blog, Frugal Mom.

I hope that some of my cleaning tips have inspired you to create a clean space for you. Working from home, it's important to me that I set up in a clean work space. 

I can certainly say that things have been very busy for me lately and I find that cleaning is the way in which I prepare my space "to get to work". One reason for which I have been very busy is that I am in the midst of moving Creatively Lu over to the self-hosted site: and look forward to launching that shortly! In addition to writing for Creatively Lu, I have also started a job with Kym Douglas. Kym is a Hollywood Beauty expert, best-selling author, and regular on the Ellen Degeneres show, The Doctors, Home & Family... and a past "Friday Favorite"  feature.  

I am now working with Kym as a Show-Segment Creator, Product Promotion Account Specialist, and am the official Blogger for the beauty blog "A Kiss of Bliss" at (On the Bliss Blog,we are currently running a Bliss Beauty Basket Giveaway filled with $300 worth of beauty products if you want to check it out).

When I interviewed Kym regarding her book "Bliss Happens", we really hit it off. Right away she felt like a really cool aunt I've always been close with. She is all about spreading bliss & celebrating beauty and I just feel so lucky to get to work with her. Talk about a creative outlet!

On the very first day that I spoke with Kym she said; "Lu. be careful what you wish for because it will happen!" and I have to say it really has! So today, I dedicate this post to all of you. If you believe in yourself and create the life you want to live, you will make beautiful things happen! Maybe that first step simply involves, cutting up some shoe-boxes to create a did for me.

Create a Thrifty Thursday Everyone!

Below is your daily dose of inspiration...
Photo Courtesy of: Ashley Sofia

*Now you can follow Creatively LU on BlogLovin' for a daily email notifying you of that day's topic. 
*To follow the Creatively Lu posts daily,  "like" the FB page .
* Follow @Creatively Lu on InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Wordless Wednesdays: All You Need is Love

Photo Courtesy of Photographer: Dan Phakos
February 14, 2012

And now for Wednesday's dose of inspiration...
"Every test in our life makes us better or bitter, 
every problem comes to break us or make us.
The choice is ours whether we 
become VICTIM or VICTOR".
-Author: Anonymous
Photo Courtesy of: Tory Stone

Create a beautiful & WARM Wednesday everyone!

*Now you can follow Creatively LU on BlogLovin' for a daily email notifying you of that day's topic. 
*To follow the Creatively Lu posts daily,  "like" the FB page .
* Follow @Creatively Lu on InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Tranquil Tuesdays: When The Deck is Stacked Against You

A few months ago I indulged in the TV show Survivor and I was surprised to find that a lesson I learned from a reality show has stuck with me so strongly.
In this particular episode, there was a challenge in which 2 recently voted-out contestants (a male and a female) had the opportunity to return to the game. For this particular challenge, the eliminated players had to form the tallest structure by stacking cards one by one before the time ran out.
Survivor Blood vs. Water- Episode 12
Photo Courtesy of:
As the minutes ticked by and the stacks grew taller, sweat began to pour down the two contestants’ brows as they nervously placed yet another cards atop their wobbly structure. 
The female contestant had taken a substantial lead against the male player until suddenly, during an attempt to place another card on top, the entire tower plummeted. Cards flew everywhere. She let out a huge sigh of defeat, and with less than a minute left on the clock, knew it is unlikely that she could catch up to the other player’s 7 foot tall tower.
Other contestants yelled out words of encouragement such as “Nice try”, making it clear they thought it was over.
But the female contestant continued to plow on.
The camera zoomed in to the determined and passionate look on her face. She proceeded to hurriedly pick up the cards and began to build a new tower. Slowly, her stack of cards began to rise to one foot…and then higher. Not once during this time did she look over at the other player’s far higher tower next to her.
Seconds remained when, unexpectedly, the other contestant’s stacked tower completely crashed to the ground. The woman miraculously won the challenge with her 2 foot high stack of cards! She smiled widely, relishing in the notion that she got to stay in the game.

Hitting the Wall of Limitations

Photo Courtesy of: The Huffington Post
The next day while in yoga class, I too felt as though I was no longer in control of my stack of cards.
My peaceful mind suddenly began to roam wildly when my back unexpectedly experienced an intensely painful muscle spasm. I began to grow upset as I had done everything I was supposed to do in order to prevent the pain from occurring that day. After all, I had drank plenty of water, had slowly and patiently worked myself into each yoga posture, and even heated/iced my back prior to arriving for class.
For the past year, I have had terrible back spasms, some so crippling that I have had to miss out on many important events. I have worked furiously to feel better by going to many specialists such as a chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist, and spinal surgeon. 
In addition, I practice at least 30 minutes of yoga daily in order to improve my flexibility and remain physically healthy.
Yet, some days I still feel as though I am experiencing day 1 of excruciating pain all over again. While one day I may feel incredible in a yoga posture, experiencing a sense of painless openness; other days may require a lot of blocks and modifications in order to get into the same pose.
On this particular day in yoga class, my back hurt even while lying down in Savasnasa. As everyone around me lay there calmly, slowly sinking deeper and deeper into a feeling of tranquility, I continuously squirmed around, hoping to find a comfortable way to lie down that would eliminate the intensely hot pain I was experiencing.
Suddenly, my mind went back to the woman on Survivor and how she dealt with her toppled structure. And so I turned over onto my stomach, slowly inhaling and exhaling. While my back sure didn’t feel like a strong and sturdy tower, I knew that I should be proud of my effort to get to yoga class. By staying on my yoga mat and working through the pain, I too was choosing to stay in the game.

Dig in and Dig Deeper

So the next time you feel defeat setting in, I urge you to push past it. Going to yoga for me is like getting my car washed: I know that is a helpful and necessary part of my routine.
If you don’t nourish your body and mind regularly, all of the “muck” that you didn’t wash off prior to the next storm will get stuck there even deeper. So do yourself a favor and take control of your hand of cards.

Below is your daily dose of inspiration....

Create a Tranquil Day,

*Tranquil Tuesdays will be the first Tuesday of every month. 
*For one of my favorite yoga-stretching YouTube videos that helps me to find back relief, click here.
*For more tranquil related articles, read the article "A Novice's Tale of Yoga Journaling" that I wrote for the Yoga or check out November's Thankful Tuesday series: Parts 1, 2, & 3

Monday, February 3, 2014

Make it Mondays-Whole 30 Edition: Chocolate Chili

Hey guys, Heather here! Another Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone. All of the food, commercials,  halftime show, and game itself makes for a fun night I look forward to every February. This year was a little different for Lu and I. We have decided to commit to the Whole30 for the month of February. (Learn more about the Whole 30 Program here).
Courtesy of: What I Wore

This forced us to get a little creative when it came to Superbowl food planning. It's pretty hard to sit back and watch everyone devour nachos and cookies while you sit and eat a healthy salad. From my experience - it can't be done. Trust me. So I scoured the blog community to find some delicious game-time snacks that were not only Whole30 compliant - but satisfied the tastebuds of everyone around. 

The chili recipes I have to share with you all will knock your socks off. Give this to anyone, and I guarantee that they would never know they were eating a "clean" dish. My husband, Jake, is a non-Paleo person, and ate bowl after bowl. Yup, it was THAT good!
Jake, Maddie, and Puppy Guppy watching the game.
When Melissa Joulwan of the Clothes Make the Girl (as well as a past Friday Favorite) first posted this recipe onto her blog, I was a bit of a skeptic. I thought; "Chocolate and chili, how can this possibly be good?" Yet she swore that this was her favorite chili recipe and  I must admit that "chocolate" sounded tempting. I was on  my 3rd day of Whole 30 with a "chocolate hangover" setting in. As such, I was desperate for chocolate in any form. 
Courtesy of WAHM

 So I gave it a shot. I did make a few substations to Melissa's Chocolate Chili recipe, like substituting half of the beef for pork. I also browned the meat using duck fat in place of the coconut oil. Animal fat is encouraged during the Whole30 and duck fat is definitely the

Chocolate Chili 

*Adapted from the Clothes Make the Girl 

  • 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound ground beef (organic grassfed is best)
  • 1 pound ground pork (again local free range pork makes all the difference)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 cup water 
Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the duck fat. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.

In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least two hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons.

This chili was out of this world. It's flavor had so much depth. I made a huge pot with the plan of using leftovers over the week. Chili omelet or chili burger anyone? 

Create a delicious Monday everyone! 

Thanks Heather for a whole-30ified edition of Make it Mondays! I am just finishing up the final touches to and very excited to have Heather as a weekly contributor for the new site! Below is your daily dose of inspiration, inspired by Heather's little chef-in-training, Maddie!
Heather's daughter Maddie "cooking" in her kitchen like mom.
See you all tomorrow!

*Now you can follow Creatively LU on BlogLovin' for a daily email notifying you of that day's topic. 
*To follow the Creatively Lu posts daily,  "like" the FB page .
* Follow @Creatively Lu on InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.