Monday, December 6, 2021


 Winter is the time of year when I start paying any mind to my scalp.  I have no choice but to pay attention because, every winter, I'm always dealing with excessive shedding and dryness.  Dry scalp is an issue but today I want to deal with a more pressing concern.  

The other morning I was doing a face massage aimed at toning and lifting my cheeks.  That's when I speculated that some of the facial sagging that I was experiencing probably originated at my scalp.  I thought to myself "I wonder if the scalp experiences aging and how it compares to the skin on the rest of my body" (particularly the face). 

Moments later Google informed me that our scalp does indeed age and it does so at a rate much more rapidly than our face.  So while I'm trying to tone and lift my face, the scalp could be losing laxity and strength. 

  Rapid scalp aging could result in unwanted side effects such as sparse, thinning hair and (theoretically) sagging skin on the face.  So now I have to develop an anti-aging strategy for my scalp.  

Fundamentally, one of the potential causes of scalp aging is the reduction of blood flow to that area.  As we age the size of our hair follicles starts to shrink.  With that comes reduced blood flow and fewer nutrients being delivered to the hair strand.  This is the main culprit of age-related hair thinning.  

I've decided to make increased blood flow to the scalp a priority.  In the early days of my hair journey, I incorporated scalp massages and even scalp brushing into my routine.  But once I reached my hair goals, I gave up on scalp massages because I felt that there was no real need.  Now that I'm older, I've come to the realization that scalp massages are even more necessary than ever before.  So now I will dedicate a few minutes a day to promote scalp stimulation using a massage technique that involves moving the scalp vigorously for maximum blood flow.   

Scalp massages are great but I might take things one step further by bringing inversions back into my routine.  Inversion is simply the process of promoting increased blood flow directly to the head and scalp by hanging upside down.  I used to hang my head off the couch or bed for a few moments at a time.  Youtube is filled with videos from folks who've skyrocketed their hair growth via inversion paired with other growth-promoting hacks like drinking bamboo tea

As you can tell, increasing blood flow will be a priority.  Next on the list is lymphatic drainage.  Scientists are beginning to understand the link between a healthy lymphatic system and hair growth.  Fundamentally, proper lymphatic drainage is key to anti-aging.  If you're a believer in gua sha facial massage then perhaps you experiment with gua sha scalp massage. Proper lymphatic drainage will keep the blood vessels healthy which will enhance the results of my circulation increasing activities (scalp massage).

Knowing what we know about how a reduction in blood flow impacts the scalp and hair, it's no wonder that one of the first signs of aging we experience are the changes in our hair.  We wear sunscreen every day to prevent facial aging but what are we doing to slow down aging where it's happening the fastest?

Increasing the blood flow and circulation to the scalp is step 1 in the overall strategy. We'll talk more about the next steps in future articles.  

  

Thursday, December 2, 2021

By now, I'm sure you've heard about using ice to promote healthier skin.  I first discovered the wonders of cold therapy after experimenting with cold showers.   Initially, I got into the routine of taking cold showers as part of my personal development journey.  But it wasn't long before I realized that my skin loved cold showers!  Not only was my skin soft and hydrated, I also realized that cold water directly on my face made me look more vibrant.

I only get access to the coldest water during winter when pipes are affected by the outside temperature.  Once the weather warms up, my water is cool at best.  That's when I turned my attention to the use of tools developed to bring cold therapy to our beauty routines.  

Over the years, I've tried a lot of techniques. 

-I've placed my jade face roller in the freezer to cool before using.

-I've purchased one of these handheld facial ice rollers from Amazon.  They didn't seem to hold the cold temperatures long enough.

-I also bought the glass cryotherapy globes but predicted that I'd break them so I saved myself the heartbreak.

With each attempt at mastering an easy way to bring ice therapy into my daily routine, I brought myself one step closer to finding the ultimate solution....a silicone-based ice facial mold.  
Here's an example of one that makes a perfectly round ball of ice you can use on your face.

Notice how easy that was for her to use?  Silicone protects the fingers from getting too cold which allows time for you to do a proper facial.  I opted to purchase a larger, dome-size mold that holds enough ice for several sessions without having to refill it over and over.

The very first time I used my new silicone ice face roller, I knew I stumbled on something special.  I kid you not, my skin was glowing by the time I completed the very first session.  Even my hubby mentioned my glow when he came home from work.  This ice facial roller is the real deal, unlike other tools that cool stone, plastic, or metal, you're exposing your skin directly to the freezing cold temps of ice.  

BENEFITS OF ICE FACIAL ROLLING.

Since I have found the world's most perfect ice facial tool, my search is now complete.  Every day, I can treat my skin to a simple routine that will enhance blood flow to the face.  With blood flow comes additional oxygen and precious nutrients that keep the skin looking young and healthy. 

The ice also seems to magically erase pores as the surface of the skin constricts in response to the cooler temperatures.  But my absolute favorite benefit of doing at-home ice facials is how firm and taut the skin becomes.  When it's cold out, our body prioritizes blood flow to our internal organs leaving our extremities to fend for themselves.  I believe that lowered blood flow to any area of the body is a precursor to aging.  Maybe that's why our hands and face tend to show signs of aging before the rest of the body.  My mission in life is to promote healthy blood circulation to my face as much as possible....and I can't think of an easier way to do it than using this.

One benefit I've noticed personally is that if I do an ice facial before using a microcurrent device, I can feel the tiny shocks of the current. This leads me to believe that the moisture levels of my skin are higher allowing the electrical currents to better penetrate.  Ice also helps minimize inflammation which is perfect if you're suffering from breakouts.   Someone also mentioned that her makeup stays on longer when she does an ice facial as a priming step.

The benefits are endless.

Cold showers aren't your thing? Get yourself a silicone ice facial massager.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Are you ready to experience your most hydrated lips ever????? If so, you are in the right place.  For so long I've had to fight the struggles of dry winter lips.  But this year, things will be different.  That's because I've devised a 5 step plan that will eradicate all signs of dryness.  

In the past, my lip care routine only consisted of 1 or 2 steps.  That may have worked when I was basking in 100% humidity but it won't cut it now.  Five steps may seem like a lot but it barely takes any time.  Even if you skip a step or two, you'll still have more hydrated lips than if you only applied balm.  

Our lips don't have as much of a moisture barrier as the rest of our faces so it's nearly impossible for them to stay hydrated from lip balm alone.  Low humidity and wind only work to make it worse this is why we have to build a lip routine that can withstand the harshness of winter.  

STEP 1:  The Lip Scrubber

The first step on the road to soft, healthy lips is exfoliation.  If your lips are visible dry and flaky, you don't want to skip this step.  I was first introduced to silicone lip scrubbers by reality star Nikki Saint Claire.  This tiny scrubber was specially made for gentle exfoliation.  With lip scrubbers, your lips are instantly softer and ready for the next step of your ritual.  
 

Step 2: Facial Essence

Once you have been prepped, the next step will be to add hydrating essence to your lips.  Basically, we're going to follow a routine that's similar to what we would do with our skin.  Facial essence has the consistency of water without over-drying as it evaporates.  Plus it has some pretty nifty anti-aging properties that dry lips can really benefit from.  

Step 3: Moisturizer

Next, we move to the moisturizer step.  I first learned about applying moisturizer to the lips as a tip from a celebrity makeup artist.  Adding this extra step changed the game for me.  There is nothing like the feeling of happing truly hydrated lips.  The problem I have is that if my lips feel dry, I start to lick them. And we all know what happens when we lick our lips.  The saliva evaporates quickly making them feel even dryer than before.  I find that by using a moisturizer, that feeling of dryness is gone and so is the underlying urge to lick. 

Step 4: Facial Oil

Now we move on to a critical junction in this 5 step lip routine.  This is a step that I haven't included before.  Instead of jumping straight to lip balm, I urge you to nourish your lips with a couple drops of your favorite oil.   Unlike balm, oil is meant to be absorbed into the lip infusing it with yummy micronutrients and fatty acids.  It's also the first step that seals in all the work you've done so far.  Please do not use a high shine gloss for this step, you need to use an actual plant oil.  Preferably one that your skin already loves.  Lightweight oils like squalane work well but if you live in a particularly dry, cold area, go for a more nourishing option like vitamin E.

Step 5: Lip Balm 

Finally, we move on to the step that we all know and love.  Our winter lip routine is not complete until we break out the lip balm. I recommend thicker balms like Aquaphor, Vaseline, or Glossier's Balm.com.  These products are designed for optimal lip protection. Their job is to offer maximum protection for all the steps the preceded them.  A lot of people make the mistake of applying balm to dry lips thinking that all of their dry lip problems will be solved.  Unfortunately, they find themselves reapplying balm non-stop hoping to experience some semblance of moisture.   If your lips aren't already moisturized  (not with saliva) lip balm can only do so much. 

Try this 5 step routine for yourself and experience what truly hydrated lips can feel like. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

 

 I've been on a lifelong quest to find little hacks that help extend the life of my nail polish. I envy those women who are able to enjoy unchipped nail polish for days or weeks at a time.  Whenever I go to the salon, I try to buy the exact polishes they used in hopes of recreating a similar outcome but never seems to work out for me.  

This afternoon, I looked down at my nails that were painted just days ago and have already started to chip.  Before painting my nails again, I decided to seek the help of the nail polish queens on social media for any bit of advice that could change the game for me....and I think I may have found exactly what I was looking for.

Because I was short on time, I opted to go to Tik Tok. Within minutes, I learned two little tricks that could make all the difference.  

HACK #1. CAP YOUR TIPS WITH POLISH.

Capping is basically the practice of applying nail polish to the very tips (edges) of your nails.  We do this to add an extra layer of protection to the ends of our nails because that's where chipping typically starts.  

I've capped my nails before but haven't really noticed the benefit of doing so.  That's because  I was doing it all wrong.  Check out the video below to see what I'm talking about.  Pay close attention to how she caps her polish.  

@sonailicious

Reply to @natimcmack this is how I do my nails to make my manicure last... ##nails ##diymanicure ##nailtok ##nailtutorial ##diynailsathome ##foryoupage

♬ Fire for You - Cannons
When applying her nail color, she caps the nail first before painting the length of the nail. She follows the same process on the second coat (cap the nail first, then paint the length).  Finally, she applies the top coat using the same process once again (cap first, then topcoat along the length).   

I've always capped my nails last.  I certainly didn't cap my nails with every coat of polish. That's probably why my tips start chipping within 24 hours of application.  When I tried this method of capping my tips first, I could see how bad my technique was.  When I painted the length first, I couldn't tell how poor my attention to detail was whenever I capped my nails.   It's no wonder why my polish chipped so quickly.


HACK # 2// FLOAT YOUR TOPCOAT

I thought I knew how to apply topcoat until I found this wonderful video that rocked my world. 

@ibdbeautyofficial

Try this topcoat technique called floating! This makes your nail polish last longer! 💅🏽 ##nailcheck ##nails ##selfcare

♬ death bed (coffee for your head) - Powfu & beabadoobee
Topcoat floating is the art of applying your topcoat in a way that creates a greater protective layer to prevent chipping.  I had to pay close attention to the video to spot the difference between normal topcoat application and the "floating" technique.  While "floating" she barely presses down with the brush. This produces a thicker layer of topcoat.  A thicker layer means greater protection which leads to longer-lasting nail color.   

I'm hoping that combining these two techniques will change the entire game for me.  Another tip I found while scoping out the comments was to make sure we allow ample time for the polish to dry fully before adding a new layer.  

I'm extremely confident that by combining these tips, I'm extending the life of my polish by at least a few more days. Who knows, I might even join that elusive club of women that boasts of an at-home manicure that lasts over a week. 

Friday, November 19, 2021


It wasn't long ago that I was singing the praises of using body oil, especially during drier seasons, to seal in moisture.  Body oil is a necessary post-shower essential.  I didn't think anything could top it.  But lo and behold, I'm watching Instagram stories and Karrueche Tran reveals her current in-shower lineup.
Nestled comfortably between her Caudalie's  Vivoclean Cleansing Almond Milk and L'Occitane Neroli & Orchid shower gel is a bottle of L'Occoitane's Almond Shower Oil.  

What differentiates Almond Shower Oil from any basic body oil is that this is a cleanser and body oil in one. According to the product description, this oil creates a "silky cleansing milk" once it touches water.  They also boast that it releases the aroma of almonds and vanilla, which sounds amazing.  Someone in the reviews described the scent as "divine."  Shower oil is also the perfect base for shaving.  If you haven't shaved with oil yet, you don't know what you're missing.  

I can only imagine how nourished would feel by using an oil cleanser in the shower and then following up with a lightweight body oil.  Dry skin wouldn't even stand a chance. If the price tag of L'Occotain's almond oil is a little off-putting, you might want to try Nivea's Shower oil which also cleanses and nourishes, but at a fraction of the price. 

Can't wait to try this. 



Wednesday, November 17, 2021


 Sitting on a shelf in my bathroom is a cluster of various cleansers.  I've collected quite a few of the past years because, in the world of modern skincare, bottled cleansers seem to be the way to go.  I love liquid cleansers as much as the next person but, I'll be honest, they don't really seem to make much difference in my skin.  Sure, they're a bit more gentle, which is especially necessary for sensitive skin, but some seem to be missing that special something that only bar soaps can offer.  

I'm starting to see the reemergence of the soap bars and I'm really excited about it. Especially soap bars formulated to target specific skin-related issues. So today I'm here to pay homage to a few of the hardworking soap bars that'll address your skin's concerns head-on.

Clay Bar

When we think of soap bars, the first thing that comes to mind is the kind that produces suds.  But what if we expand our minds to include cleansing bars made of skin-loving ingredients like purifying clay?  Years ago, I was introduced to Fresh's Umbrian Clay bar and fell in love with the idea that I could "wash" my face with a purifying clay mask.  My acne-prone skin rejoiced at the thought of masking on a daily basis to keep pores clear and healthy....and that's exactly what my clay bar did.  Yes, it's pricey, but it's kind of worth it because it actually lasts forever.  And, if you ever suffer the misfortune of dropping and breaking the bar (as I have), you just pick up the pieces and continue to use them as if nothing happened. When I traveled for work, I took this clay bar with me everywhere, no mixing required.  It's a gentle, everyday clay mask that does exactly what it's supposed to do.




  • + A single ingredient clay bar that gently cleanses and detoxifies the skin.
  • + Easy to use....no need to mix.
  • + Gentle enough to use regularly to clear out pores.



Kojic Acid

Kojic Acid soap gained popularity because of its ability to clear and even skin tone.  If hyperpigmentation is an issue, and you want to address it with your daily cleanser, kojic acid may be what you've been looking for.  The main active ingredient is derived from mushrooms. I read some reviews on Amazon and saw successes from people using kojic soap to lighten armpits, fade burn scars and even treat acne.  This soap seems to do it all. 





  • + Treats hyperpigmentation & discoloration. 
  • + Skin Brightening.
  • + Treats Acne.





Turmeric Soap

Another formidable soap in the war against acne and discoloration is turmeric soap.  We all know turmeric as an amazing supplement with a slew of internal health benefits.  But when used as a soap it can help beautify your skin.  The other day, I randomly added a pinch of turmeric powder to my liquid cleanser, and my skin absolutely loved it.  Both Tumeric and Kojic acid soap provide similar benefits. If you hadn't had success with kojic acid, maybe it's time to give turmeric soap a try.  




Turmeric Soap

  • + Fades discoloration
  • + Evens out skin tone
  • + Anti-inflammatory for acne-prone skin.



Black Soap

Another wonderful soap for pretty skin is my current favorite, black soap.  I first reintroduced black soap into my regimen after seeing this incredible before and after transformation.  Every time I switch cleansers, I always find my way back to black soap.  As someone who suffers from easily congested pores, black soap has become a lifesaver.  It deep cleans and evens out skin tone over time. Authentic black soap bars are somewhat soft and can get a little messy so if you can find a high-quality liquid black soap I highly recommend.  

+ Deep cleansing 
+ Can help clear pores
+ Evens out skin
+ Antibacterial properties to help treat acne.


Exfoliating Bars 

Last but certainly not least are exfoliating soap bars.  These bars are designed to be used on the body (too harsh for the face) and will put your sugar/coffee scrubs to shame.  They're effective and less messy than using a granulated scrub.  Glossier released a body bar featuring bamboo powder as its key exfoliator. But if you're looking for an exceptional exfoliating bar, you MUST try Crystal Peel Collection.  They somehow figured out a way to get microdermabrasion crystals into a bar of soap.  I can't articulate how much I love their bars.  They offer two varieties that are both excellent. Their original bar is huge, very coarse, and will last forever.   It's a must-try.
  • +  Buffs away dead skin using microdermabrasion crystals.
  • + Leaves your body feeling like a newborn baby.
  • + Helps even our hyperpigmentation.


Monday, November 15, 2021


 There's nothing like the feeling of working hard in hopes of reaching a worthwhile goal. Sometimes we dedicate weeks, months, or even years toward creating the reality we envisioned in our minds.  But once we get there, something unusual happens....

Suddenly we find ourselves in a place of being completely unmotivated to continue.  I noticed this pattern while listening to a group coaching call.  A few of the callers had actualized some of their major goals. One woman up-leveled her lifestyle by moving into the home of her dreams situated in a beautiful neighborhood on water.  Another woman manifested income that took care of all her needs (and then some) for several months.  Both were struggling to stay motivated enough to keep working on their goals.  The woman who just moved into her dream home found herself wanting to enjoy the home rather than work on her business.  The woman who attracted abundance was neglecting her clients that she once relied on.


Both asked for help because soon they would need to refocus on earning income again or they'd lose their current reality. Woman #1 was afraid that she couldn't continue to pay on her new, glorious home, and woman #2 was becoming anxious because the newly acquired funds would soon run low.  


We've all been there, grinding relentlessly until you finally reach the desired milestone, and suddenly your motivation to keep going falls off.  I've experienced it first hand. I wonder if that has to do with why I sometimes slow down my efforts before reaching my goals.  Perhaps I don't want to get to the peak then completely lose steam.


So how do we deal with this? Actually, there are two possible strategies: 

SET NEW GOALS.

After woman #1 moved into her dream home, her goals fully manifested so she spent all of her time enjoying her new life (as she should).  But if she didn't want to lose access to this new lifestyle, she needed to create a new goal to keep her motivated.  The new goal doesn't have to be another upgrade in lifestyle, perhaps she could create a goal to automate her business so she can have more free time to dedicate towards her new experience.   That new goal could motivate her enough to restructure how she runs her business so she could fully enjoy her new living space.  


If you launched a business that's suddenly doing very well, perhaps you consider staying in your current lifestyle for six months to a year before suddenly increasing your cost of living.  This allows you to save several months' worth of rent or mortgage payments.  If woman #1 had done this, she could enjoy her new place for a while before having to try to motivate herself into working long days once again.  Instead, she'd probably have to work harder than previously just to sustain the income that corresponds to her new lifestyle.  

When new income enters your life, try to sustain it for as long as possible so that it becomes your new normal.  


SWITCH FROM MOTIVATION TO DISCIPLINE. 

There's motivation and then there's discipline. Both women didn't really feel like working on their business because they didn't really have to (for the time being).  If they allowed their feelings to continue to rule their actions, they'd find themselves suddenly motivated to take action out of fear of losing out on their current lifestyles.  But if they focused on developing new disciplines, they could potentially avoid experiencing worst-case scenarios.  


When you're developing the art of discipline, you take action for the sake of consistency, not an outcome.  People who work out several times a week even though they're already fit are doing it as a discipline.   Discipline is doing what needs to be done whether we feel like it or not. When things are going well and you aren't motivated, it's time to develop disciplines.  

I'm assuming that both women no longer carried out fundamental habits that probably led to their positive outcomes.   Whenever you are unmotivated, focus squarely on developing habits that will carry you forward.  Motivation comes and goes, we can't rely on it to always be around to fuel our actions.  

Discipline is a much more reliable and worthwhile strategy to ensure that your new results become truly sustainable.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

 


It's fall so that means I've been scouring my closet for long sleeve shirts.  Until it's officially sweater weather, long sleeve shirts have come my go-to.   My collection of long sleeve shirts is small but they serve their purpose.  They keep me warm enough to deal with chili temps while still appearing effortless.  

There's just one problem...none of my long sleeve tops have any semblance of style.  They're all plain and basic which works for grocery store runs but what if I want to wear a long sleeve top to meet with friends or grab dinner?

The answer is to go long sleeve + backless. 


There's something intriguing about a blouse that features an unpredictable element.  The open back is sort of a nod to the end of summer.  It's a bold style element that makes the blouse more feminine, elegant, and interesting. The long sleeves give the right amount of balance to the exposed back.  

I'm picking up a few of these blouses for those cool fall days where you can dress up without worrying about long sleeves causing you to sweat.  They're perfect day or night.  Pair them with slacks or dress down with jeans.     It's a must-have silhouette for fall. 




Friday, November 12, 2021


Winter isn't even here yet and my skin is already going crazy.  I live in a high humidity environment so any slight change downwards sends my skin spiraling.  Every year, I suffer from excessively dry skin on my legs and feet.  

Although I routinely oil my face and hair, I've never seriously explored the possibility of becoming a regular user of body oil.  After quickly running down the list of all the benefits of body oil, I had no choice but to join the body oil brigade.

Body Oil Helps Our Skin Retain Moisture Longer. 


The #1 and most obvious reason why we all need to find the perfect body oil for winter is because oil is the ultimate moisture retainer.  Nothing else seals in moisture better than plant oils.  Sealing moisturizer on our hair without oil is unheard of. The same philosophy applies to our skin as well.  Applying a body oil right after stepping out of the shower is the best decision you can make this winter.  

I love the feel of using oil directly on slightly damp skin but if your loyalty is with lotion, feel free to mix your favorite lotion & oil to create the perfect hydration-nourishment combination.  Oil actually helps lotion spread better on the skin and will allow the hydrating ingredients to stay on the skin longer.

Body Oil Helps Your Fragrance Last Longer 

Another, little-known secret benefit of body oil is that it helps your favorite fragrance to last longer on the skin.  Fragrance oils are touted as having the ability to stay on longer than traditional spray perfumes.  When you prep your skin with oil, you help elevate the performance of your perfume.  With the body oil + perfume combination, you get softer feeling skin that smells amazing.  What more can you ask for?

Body Oil for Deeply Nourished Skin 

Lotions are cool and all but they can't compare to the nutritional content of plant oils.  I'm talking about antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and such.  Our skin absorbs everything we put on it. Think about how much lotion we've "ingested" over the years via osmosis.  Plant oils, on the other hand, have actual nutrients that are beneficial to the skin and its cells.  Oils actually can make our skin healthier, unlike lotions which only coat the skin.  We'd be silly not to treat our skin to yummy plant oils on a regular basis.


Use Body Oil as An All Over Beauty Treatment.

One more reason why applying body oil is an absolutely essential practice is because some areas of our skin benefit highly from oil in a way that lotion can't compare.  For instance, when applying body oil, I make sure to focus on my elbows knees, and feet.  I also dab a little oil on my lips, fingernail cuticles, lashes, and hairline. By the time I'm done, I feel like I'm nourished from head to toe.  If you use the right oil, your skin will soak it all up so you don't have to worry about feeling greasy.  

I love formulas with vitamin E to help fade discoloration over time.  Some brands, like Bio-Oil even claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.  Supergoop has a body oil with SPF 50.   Whichever body oil you decide is up to you. Just make sure you don't go without it. 



Monday, November 8, 2021


 We're close to wrapping up another year.  Perhaps you've already spent some time reflecting on your goals and intentions for the year ahead.  I want you to be as successful as possible in all of your endeavors, so I'm sharing a bit of advice that could have a massive impact on your results.  


There's going to be one thing standing in front of you and your goals.  And that one thing is....you. 


More specifically, your perfectionism.


I remember back to my very first corporate position.  Just when I got the hang of my job responsibilities, my supervisor landed a role at another company.   On her last day, she sat me down to share her parting words.  She praised me for how quickly I acclimated and said I had a promising future ahead of me.  What she said next has stuck with me for over a decade.  She informed me that I had the habit of holding back on executing necessary tasks because of my desire for wanting everything to be perfect.  


Even though she warned me against it, I still held on to that crippling habit until I quit corporate America.  Working in a corporate environment fed my need to want everything to be perfect because we're judged immediately for everything we do.  But Corporate America often has strict deadlines that push us out of our desire to procrastinate.  


Once I left, I quickly realized that my reluctance to take risks and execute had a direct effect on my earning potential.  Nowadays, procrastination and self-doubt can hinder my livelihood so I can't allow them to linger for too long.


This week, I listened to an interview by productivity master, Tim Ferris.  He's talked to countless thought leaders to learn about their paths to success.  The interviewer asked Tim about how to overcome procrastination and Tim's advice was priceless.  In simple terms, Tim tells us to "lower our expectations."


Having high standards in certain areas is great but sometimes it can be a hindrance, especially if you're engaging in a creative endeavor.  So in the example of someone with writer's block, instead of holding yourself to the standard of having a fully polished written piece, you create a new expectation of writing 3 sentences by noon.  Suddenly, the goal doesn't seem as unachievable.  Chances are that you'll probably write more than 3 sentences because once you get in motion, resistance will crumble.  


Tim also shared the example of IBM, a computer mega-giant in the '80s.  Part of the success started for IBM was the result of having the lowest sales quotas in the industry.  Why? Because they didn't want their salespeople to be afraid to pick up the phone (to place cold calls). Their methodology was to motivate their sales team to strive for easily achievable goals.  This resulted in a sales force that constantly exceeded their goals.   


Tim goes on to explain that the best use of this strategy is to set low quotas on a daily basis while also establishing higher expectations on a quarterly or annual basis.  This idea of setting low daily goals and high quarterly goals might seem counterintuitive but, remember,  it only takes a small amount of daily, consistent action, to activate the compound effect.  The Compound Effect can literally change everything.  


If we set our daily expectations at levels that are too high, we trigger our performance anxiety causing us to become immobilized.  When we do nothing, we achieve nothing.

 I honestly believe that this is one secret to goal achievement that no one talks about. Setting daily micro-goals will lead you to the big milestones you'd like to reach.  

Friday, November 5, 2021


As the weekend approaches, I'm making a mental note of a few self-care activities to indulge in.  Included on my to-do list was setting aside some time to try out a new makeup look.  I've had my eyes on a modern take on eyeshadow application that I can't wait to try.  

Instead of cut creases and multiple shades, we've now entered the age of the monochromatic lid. This is basically monotoned eyeshadow makeup that can be worn on a night out or as part of an everyday look. what I'm loving about this trend is that both the glam girls and those who prefer a more toned-down look can both participate.    It also seems like it requires a less precise application technique than we've seen with previous eyeshadow looks with detailed shading and blending.  This means that we all can master it with a little practice.  


For your first attempt, you can follow this MAC tutorial featuring a very wearable version of the monochromatic lid.  


Once you've got the hang of the everyday monochromatic eye, it's time to experiment with a more dramatic look.  


If you have smaller set eyes, this technique makes your eyes more prominent.  I have tiny eyes and the everyday monochrome look was really flattering.  If your eyes are on the larger side, going monochrome will make them look unreal.  

So now the fun starts. Experiment with different shades of pink, orange, burgundy, or browns and see which monochrome color palette works for you.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

 I've struggled for years to successfully incorporate Retin-A into my routine.  Years ago, an esthetician urged me to use Retin-A after I paid her a compliment on how youthful she looked.  Not too long after, I saw a video on YT where a lady described meeting a woman with incredible skin who owed it all to retinol. 


Shortly thereafter, I got my hands on a couple of tubes (of varying strengths).  After using a tiny amount all over my face, I began to experience the infamous Retin-A side effects.  My skin was dry, flaky, and peeling like crazy.  Immediately, I stopped using it.  Conventional advice says to push through that awkward period where your skin is getting used to Retin-A but I didn't listen.  So I fell into this cycle of trying Retin-A, experiencing the side-effects, then stopping immediately just before arriving at the promised land of perfect skin.  


Then came the emergence of retinol, a gentler form of Retin-A that quickly gained popularity in the beauty industry.  Although I was excited about the news, I didn't immediately jump on the bandwagon.  In the back of my mind, I still wanted to conquer my battle against Retin-A so I didn't give retinol the chance.  


Finally, I broke down and tried The Ordinary's Retinol 2% Emulsion.  I really wanted to like this product...I really did....but I'm just not a fan.  I'm sure it probably does a decent job at promoting cell turnover but I didn't notice much difference because I didn't like the product enough to use it consistently.  The fluid it's in isn't hydrating and kinda has a strange smell therefore I wasn't motivated to keep using it.  


Then, one day, I learned of Ordinary's Squalane & Retinol.  At first,  I thought I was dreaming.  Is it possible that someone combined my favorite oil ever with retinol?  I couldn't contain my excitement.  Once my order finally arrived, I inspected the contents closely.  It looked just like my other bottle of squalane, except it was infused with an anti-aging powerhouse.  So far, I've used this retinol oil with absolutely no side effects.  It's only been a couple weeks but I'm very pleased with how smooth and refined my skin looks so far.  This morning, I learned that The Ordinary is on sale on Deciem's website so I took the plunge and upgraded from 0.02% strength to 1%.   If you haven't incorporated retinol or Retin-A into your skin routine, I urge you to do so. People who use it for years literally look a decade or 2 younger.  The sooner you start using Retin-A/retinol, the better.


Ordinary's Retinol-Squalane is one of my favorite recent purchases because it marries an amazing, lightweight oil with the ultimate skin refining ingredient. Match made in heaven.     


Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Yesterday was like any normal day.  After contemplating for a few minutes on what I should have for dinner, I finally decided on spaghetti and meat sauce. While cooking, I finished up the rest of my cooking oil and made a mental note to grab a bottle next time I'm at the grocery store.  Because the prices of just about everything have gone up, I decided that I'd purchase a much larger size bottle to pay less per ounce.  But the thought of having a huge bottle of oil on my kitchen counter was really off-putting.  


Minutes later, I'm watching IG stories while doing the dishes, and suddenly I'm introduced to the solution to my first-world problem.  The story featured a woman's hand which was holding the cutest olive oil dispenser I've ever seen.  My first thought was "this would look so good sitting on my counter."  I have a small kitchen and would like to keep the counter space as clear as possible.  For a long time, purchased smaller bottles of cooking oils in order to preserve space. By investing in a designer oil dispenser, my countertop would be less cluttered/more stylish.  And since, I'd be purchasing larger bottles of cooking oil which cost less per ounce, the glass dispenser would eventually pay for itself. 


Win-win.

@alexandra_bunch

The exact brand of the bottle she's holding is the Cube Borosilicate Oil Bottle by Ichendorf Milano.  Ichendorf offers a range of designer olive oil dispensers in various shapes and sizes.  I also found some cute options on Amazon for slightly less.   If your kitchen is the centerpiece of your home, perhaps it's time to graduate from plastic store brand bottles to quality glassware that makes your olive oil look like it's in a high-end fragrance bottle.  

Monday, November 1, 2021

The pandemic changed a lot about our everyday lives.  One obvious impact of the global pandemic is the supply chain issues which resulted in an unusually high rate of inflation.  I'm sure you've noticed that prices have gone up.  Gas, groceries, used cars, just about everything we need in our daily lives cost much more than prior to the lockdown.   What's worse is that there's no telling if this is a temporary blip or if this rise in the cost of living will continue to go up.  Economists are still not sure how long rising costs last but most of them agree that prices most likely won't go back down for a while (if ever).  


For most of us, our wages and income probably hasn't increased to counteract the inflation spike.  This means that our money has less buying power so, in essence, it's like we received a pay cut. 


So what do we do?


There are a lot of videos on Youtube that discuss the recent inflation and give advice on what type of investments to make that can outpace rising costs and the falling dollar.  Sure, putting your money in the right type of investments is absolutely the right thing to do but it assumes that one has disposable income readily available to make such investments.  


Having disposable income is the ultimate goal because then we can make informed decisions on where to allocate our money so it works for us.  A salary increase helps to create more disposable income but those only happen once or twice a year.  So we need to create an artificial salary increase by reducing expenses.  Take a look at your spending habits and see where you can intentionally cut back.  Are paying for too many subscription services?  Eating out too many times a week? Have you been doing a little too much online shopping?


Truth is that you can find additional income if you make changes to your spending behavior and reallocate that income in an intentional way.  


Cutting back spending is a necessary first step when the prices of everything are rising.  But that doesn't address the elephant in the room...the drastic drop in the value of a dollar.  We combat this by raising our earning power.  The advice I bring to you today is to reallocate the funds you've saved by cutting expenses into investing in yourself.


Investing in yourself and your potential earning power can impact your cash flow in the immediate future.  If you're an entrepreneur, this means investing in ad spend, courses, seminars, or outsourcing certain activities so you can focus on income-generating actives.  If you work for an organization, perhaps you pay a service to review and upgrade your resume or take online courses that further expand your skillset.  


I worked in corporate America for around 7 years, during that time, I received multiple promotions and pay increases.  I went from making less than $10.00/hr to earning a healthy salary complete with quarterly bonuses, a company car, and spending account.  Looking back, the one thing that helped contribute to that outcome was to consistently invest in myself.  Every week, I went to my local library and checked out audiobooks on various topics. I listened to books on the topics of leadership, building confidence, personal productivity, goal achievement, financial literacy, etc.  When my job required me to present in front of large audiences, I invested time and money into developing a powerful stage presence (I even hired a voice coach to help me project in a large room without the help of a microphone).   I was constantly learning, growing, & developing myself...and the right people noticed.  Looking back, this process of self-development boosted my career path much more than my actual degree.


Investing in yourself is a move that will absolutely pay off in the future.  It has to become your top priority as we head into the new year.  We can't sit by feeling helpless as the price of everything goes up.   You are your biggest resource and it's time to invest in that resource in a way that achieves maximum returns.    

Saturday, October 30, 2021


  A few years ago, I decided to develop a supplement regimen designed to create glowing skin from within.  I literally went to Amazon and sought out various supplements that I theorized would have a positive effect on my skin.  One of those supplements was hyaluronic acid.  I didn't even know that hyaluronic acid supplements existed.  I just automatically assumed that the only way to experience the hydrating powers of hyaluronic acid was to absorb it through the skin.  I had oodles of hyaluronic acid-based skin products sitting on a shelf but never thought of the possibility of taking HA in supplement form.  


Nevertheless, I took the plunge and purchased pure hyaluronic acid powder.  Once I got my hands on HA powder, I got sidetracked by the idea of making my own hydrating serum at home. I also wasn't a fan of how HA powder thickened my drinking water so I gave up on ingesting hyaluronic acid altogether.  


Today I learned that I should've taken hyaluronic acid supplementation more seriously from the jump.  


That's because emerging research supports the oral intake of hyaluronic acid to moisturize the skin from the inside out.  According to this study synopsis,  when HA is taken internally, it increases moisture levels of the skin, making it an effective dry skin fighter. That's not all....they also found that ingesting hyaluronic acid also promoted cell growth (proliferation) in our connective tissue.


In a separate study that lasted 12 weeks,  40 men and women (aged 35-64) were asked to consume 120 mg of hyaluronic acid or a placebo.   Positive results became evident as early as 8 weeks.  Water content (moisture levels), skin elasticity, and wrinkle reduction were just a few of the documented results achieved thanks to a faithful hyaluronic acid supplement regimen.  


I'm ready to get serious about hyaluronic acid supplementation this winter.  But first, I peeked to see what people on Amazon were saying about their own experience taking HA.  Most of the reviews are from those who take hyaluronic acid to treat joint-related issues only to realize that they also experienced skin (and even hair) benefits as a wonderful side-effect.   


Here's what I mean:

5.0 out of 5Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2020
"I bought this product because of my knee pain and to improve fines lines.

I've noticed that skin on my face has improved...lines have not been like before "prominent", 
they are plumping slowly...also my hair it seems to be shinny...

I've noticed also...my nails...are growing faster and strong..

My knee hurts but not like before.

Will keep buying this product...

Highly Recommended"

Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2021

This is my 2nd bottle! I have arthritis in my right hand and it has helped considerably.
 Although I bought this for skin hydration and dry hair. I can say this has been an amazing addition
to the vitamin b complex I take. And I do already see (believe it or not) new baby hairs growing in. 
My lines have softened on my face. 
I have received a lot of compliments on my skin and hair in the last month
 and it got me thinking what am I doing differently? It’s the Hyaluronic  Acid with C.
 I will not go without this!! Love it!!! 

________________________________

So basically, when we ingest hyaluronic acid, it's distributed throughout our entire body where it's used to lubricate our joints and address areas of injury and pain.  Hyaluronic acid is also disseminated to our skin to moisturize it from the inside out. 


I will not be without hyaluronic acid supplements this winter.    


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