Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm what some people consider a "goal oriented" person.  I'm always thinking about what I want to create and accomplish.  Some of my goals I achieved long ago and some I have yet to experience.  The goals that I have difficulty reaching are what frustrates me the most.  This morning I heard a bit of wisdom that I think may crack the code of accomplishing seemly impossible goals.

In order to consistently stay in the right frame of mind, I like to listen to inspirational/motivational teachings.  This morning I received something so powerful that I felt compelled to share with you today.  The speaker was talking about goals and, in his message, he said these words,

"Your goal (what you focus on) is always what's directly in front of you."  

He clarified by saying that we sometimes set outlandish or grandiose goals for ourselves which can set us up for failure.

  Examples can include:
-"I want to lose 50 lbs."
-"I want to make 100,000 year."
-"I want to find the man of my dreams and get married."
-"I want to have waist length hair by the end of next year."

The list is endless.  Most often, we likely won't be successful at these so called goals. Why? Because, in stating our goals as the end result we want to achieve, we neglect one of the most important aspects of manifesting, which is the consistent action required to create the outcome we want.    The "goal" we set for ourselves is so big that we find ourselves not knowing where to start and, as a result, we accomplish nothing.

One term I like to use instead of the word goals is "intentions."  I'll often say things like "my intention is to have XXX amount in savings by the end of the year."  When the end result becomes my intention, then my goals can become the next steps needed to take to manifest those intentions.  In other words, the goals are the very next actions steps that lead me closer to my intention.

So for example:
Person A has an intention is to lose 50 lbs.  Her goals (next steps) might be:
Goal #1. Join a gym on Friday when I get paid.
Goal #2. Meet with (and hire) personal trainer at the gym to discuss training plan
Goal #3.  Write out a weekly meal list every Sunday.

Notice how when we shift the meaning of goals to intentions, her actual goals then become simple action steps that can be done easily and consistently to bring about her intention.

Person B has an intention to earn $100,000 year.  Her goals (next steps) might be:
Goal #1.  Write down at least 10 ways I can earn money online.
Goal #2. Check out books at library on creating wealth. Select three ideas from the book to implement.
Goal #3.  Discuss ways to increase salary with supervisor on Friday.
Goal #4. Brainstorm talents/skills I have that can create an income for me on the side.
Goal #5. Once I've brainstormed ideas, select two and begin the process of monetizing my skills.

Person D has an intention to achieve waist length by the end of next year. Her goals (next steps) might be:
Goal #1. Identify current issues with hair and establish ways to address them.
Goal #2. Elevate moisture/protein balance by using the best products that address current issues in step 1.
Goal #3.  Purchase hair support vitamin
Goal #4.  Schedule time to do daily scalp massages.
Goal #5.  Write out a detailed weekly wash day schedule that addresses needs identified in step one.
Goal #6. Commit to protective style weekly until next touch up.

Those are some simple examples that help us identify the next step that is in front of us which eventually leads to our intentions.  Once these steps(goals) are accomplished, new ones appear.  All of the sudden, we become high goals achievers instead of being one of those people who dream big and accomplish little.

Did you notice how clear and actionable our goals become when we use this new method? By using these technique, I can accomplish goals quickly on a weekly or even daily basis. This further builds a momentum that allows us to keep reaching our goals. Soon we find ourselves moving at a rapid pace towards realizing our original intentions.   Accomplishing goals consistently helps build confidence and further strengthen your belief in your desired outcome.  Think of this technique as being similar to a soccer match.  The intention is for the players is to win the game. Ultimately, the winning team is the one that scored the most goals.  Without the goals being met, they do not achieve the intention.  I don't know about you but I'm one of those people who gets a kick out of accomplishing tasks on my list which is why I love this method.

Stay motivated.

Friday, October 26, 2012

This post is long overdue. I've been selfish girl,  enjoying this amazing cleansing treatment all to myself.  You may remember this post where I denounced many of my long-term loves for something new.  Some of you who read this blog regularly know that I can be a fickle girl at times so I wanted to make sure this was the real deal before the big reveal.  Now that I'm pretty much convinced, I wanted to tell the whole world! 

Before 613 came into my life, I was perfectly content with using my WEN Honey Fig Cleansing conditioner for the wash, and deep condition with one of my staple conditioners.  Then the day finally came when my Honey Fig ran low.  I had a choice to make at that point, "would I be willing to invest nearly $80.00 in a cleansing conditioner instead of replacing my Honey Fig?"  For days I mulled over my options until finally I just said "screw it, let's do it!" 

Let's backtrack a little bit so I can help you understand why I made this decision.  First, I was very pleased with the Honey Fig Cleansing Conditioner but, from what I read about WEN 613, I knew this would take everything to the next level.  Just check out this product description so you can see what I'm talking about:

What is it: Using an innovative and modern approach to hair care that he began in 1993, Chaz Dean has infused his Six Thirteen Daily Cleansing Treatment with a blend of 11 amino acids to help restore strength and elasticity to hair. The unique combination of more than 25 natural oils and extracts helps to nourish your hair and scalp, making Six Thirteen perfect for those with sensitive skin. Full of luxurious ingredients, Six Thirteen is the indulgence your hair has been waiting for.
 Who is it for: Six Thirteen is designed for all hair types and can be used on people of all ages. Why is it different: Six Thirteen is ideal for cleansing and hydrating the scalp and hair. 
How do I use it: Rinse your hair thoroughly and completely with cool water. Apply enough Daily Cleansing Treatment to thoroughly coat your hair from scalp to ends. Make sure you are using enough to saturate the hair and scalp. For short hair, use a minimum of six to eight pumps. For medium-length hair, use a minimum of eight to 10 pumps. For long hair, use a minimum of 10 to 12 pumps. For really long hair, use a minimum of 12 to 14 pumps. Add a splash of water--this is very important to help evenly distribute the Daily Cleansing Treatment through your hair. Comb through with a wide-tooth comb and clip up hair for the remainder of the shower. To ensure maximum cleansing and conditioning, Chaz recommends that you cleanse, rinse, and repeat, using half the pumps for the first cleanse and the remaining pumps for the second cleanse. The longer you leave it on, the better. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and apply a dime-sized amount to soaking-wet hair from mid-shaft to ends as a leave-in conditioner. 
Average Customer Rating:
4.553 out of 5

 out of 
(866 Reviews)

There are nearly 1000 reviews of this product online and the average rating is almost a perfect 5.  To me, that says a lot about what we're dealing with here.   But enough about what other people think. Let me share a little about 613 from using it over the past several weeks.  Both the good and bad.

First off, let me start off by saying that this product, to me, doesn't look or perform like any of the other cleansing conditioners I've tried.  In fact, if the words "Daily Cleansing Treatment" weren't on the bottle, I would have never put it in the same category as Hair One or Honey Fig.  Chaz Dean 613, to me, has deep conditioner written all over it.  In fact, it looks and performs so much like a deep conditioner that I have decided that this replaces some of my main DC products.

Why do I say that 613 is like a deep conditioner?  Well first off, it's thick.  It's really thick. So thick, in fact, that I dilute it to get optimal results. When 613 first arrived, I didn't use the handy, dandy, pump that came in the shipment. I just tried to squeeze the conditioner out of the bottle opening. It was honestly a struggle to get the product out and when it did, the conditioner maintained it shape in my plastic bowl.  That's when I decided that I needed to use a really watery conditioner to dilute it.  My first thought was Suave's coconut conditioner. By the way, when I actually started using the pump, the product came out much more smoothly and evenly

Diluting the 613 with the Suave (or water based) conditioner works really well for two reasons.
#1:  It brings the cost per ounce of 613 down quite a bit.
#2: The water based conditioner further elevates the moisturization properties.

If you read my #2 reason closely, you might be asking yourself, "why would this product need greater moisture, isn't 613 the holy grail  moisturizing product?  To answer your question honestly, I would say "not really."   My favorite things in the world are moisturizing conditioners. I love them more than anything.  But I'll be honest with you all and say that (on it's own), this cleansing treatment isn't what I consider a high moisturizing product. Chaz 613 is more of a high nourishing product.  So now you may be saying "Nadege, what's the difference, in your mind, between moisturizing and nourishing?"

I'll try my best to give share with you the differences from my perspective:

Strengthen|| verb: to make or become stronger
These are the conditioners that come into play when we are experiencing excessive breakage. Protein is the name of the game when it comes to strengthening conditioners.  Normally, after use, we require a moisturizing conditioner to bring back balance and elasticity.

Moisturizing|| adj: to impart moisture or make less dry
These conditioners offer lots of slip and leave the hair feeling soft and less dry to the touch immediately after use.  Moisturizing conditioners are generally more watery in texture than strengthening conditioners. 

Nourishing|| adj: containing substances necessary for growth, health and good condition. To me, this type of conditioner offers the best of both worlds.  After use, the hair feels strong, moisturized, and balanced.

So that's what I mean when I say that Chaz Dean is nourishing.  It leaves my hair totally fulfilled and lacking nothing.  For this reason, I was able to move away from both my ultra moisturizing conditioner (Kerastase Nutri-Thermique) and my strengthening conditioner (Aveda Damage Repair).  613 does it all. The only thing I wish 613 had is more slip when I rinse out.   For the past few weeks, I've been using this product mainly as a deep conditioner. Meaning I sit under the dryer for at least 20 minutes to intensify it's impact.  And, as a deep conditioner, it performs nicely.    Since I ran out of the Honey Fig, I've been substituting with other moisturizing shampoos.  So even though I have been "shampooing" my hair again for the first time in years, my hair still pretty amazing after deep conditioning with a cleansing product.

Let's talk for a moment about the cost of 613.  At first I classified it as the most expensive hair product I've ever owned, but when I looked a little more closely, I realized that I was mistaken.

Kerastase Nutri-Therminque|| According to the Kerastase website, a 6.8 ounce jar of Nutri-Thermique is $61.00 or $8.07 per ounce.

Aveda Damage Remedy||  I bought a 1 liter bottle for $72.00 (pre-tax) which totals around $2.13 per ounce.

Chaz Dean 613|| A 32oz bottle on the QVC website goes for $61.00 plus $7.22 S&H.  Without the shipping costs, 613 costs around $1.90 per ounce.  The total price rises to $2.13 per ounce once I factor in the shipping.

After breaking down the cost factor, I got over the initial sticker shock and became comfortable with my decision. Plus I also realized that even with the insane amount of conditioner I use each week, a 32 ounce bottle of product usually lasts me a very long time.  Plus, ever since I've been using my pink Sprush to apply my conditioner, I noticed that I've been using less product week after week.

Finally, I'll leave you with the greatest determining factor of why I finally took the plunge.  The ingredients, where the proteins are light and the oils are plentiful. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Panthenyl Hydroxypropyl Steardimonium Chloride, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vanillin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Organic Evening Primrose) Oil, Marsh Mallow/Althea Extract, Lotus Corniculatus Flower Extract, Loquat (Eriobotrya Japonica) Leaf Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Honey Extract, Ginseng Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Neroli Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Borage (Star Flower) Seed Oil, Polysorbate-60 (Plant Derived), Glycerin (Plant Derived), Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Extract, Amodimethicone, Sodium PCA, Citric Acid (Naturally Derived), Hydrolyzed Quinoa (Chenopodium) Protein, Sodium Lactate, Menthol (Analgesic), Arginine (L-Arginine), Aspartic Acid (L- Aspartic Acid), PCA, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Tetrasodium EDTA, Glycine (Naturally Derived), Alanine (L-Alanine), Serine (L-Serine), Valine (L-Valine), Soluble Collagen (Marine Kelp), Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Organic Olive) Fruit Oil, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernal (Argan) Oil, Abyssinian Oil (Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Extract, Proline (L-Proline), Threonine (L-Threonine), Isoleucine (L-Isoleucine), Propylene Glycol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-70, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Phenylalanine (L-Phenylaline), Histidine (L-Histidine), Glycogen, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum).

If I were to compare this product to Hair One and Honey Fig, I would say that there's no comparison. In fact, I will be re-ordering some more Honey Fig to complete the package.  I don't even think there's a need for me to do a battle post between Honey Fig and 613 because they are different (in my opinion).  I wouldn't deep condition with the Honey Fig and I wouldn't co-wash with only the 613.  Hopefully this was helpful.  If any of you out there were thinking about this product, I would say go for it. I can't imagine anyone not liking it.  If you do purchase, try it in various ways to see how your hair enjoys it most.

613 will be a staple of mine for a long time to come.  


Sunday, October 21, 2012

I took a personality assessment earlier this year and one of the comments made about me that I tended to act on impulse. In other words, when I want something, I have a hard time waiting until later to experience it.   I must say that I'm totally aligned with that assessment of me.  I hope to one day get stronger in my ability to delay gratification but, until that happens, I'd like to pass the next several moments with you sharing what's on my current crave list.

 Babyliss Steam Flat Iron

For a while now, the desire for a steam flat iron has been on my mind.  At first I wanted a Maxi glide Steam flat iron but I wasn't sure about the little teeth on the plates.  I believe our actions are cumulative.  The teeth may only cause a few strands to break at first, but over time, those few strands add up.

Then, during my online search, I stumbled upon an alternative steam iron by Babyliss.  The reviews on Amazon were phenomenal.  After the 20th person exclaimed that this was the best flat iron they've ever owned, the instant gratification monster within me took over and I quickly purchased it.  Currently the iron is in transit and once I've had a chance to try, I'll do a full review.
Micro Mist Hair Steamer 

Next on my "things I crave list" is the Micro Mist Steamer.  You might remember me discussing this steamer-extrodinaire in a previous post.  This steamer from heaven is destined to be mine one day.  The only thing standing in the way of me and my future steamer is the outrageous price tag.  At over $2,000, this steamer is truly an investment. I connected with a young lady online who currently owns one. I asked her for her feedback on the steamer and she exclaimed that she loved it!  I can not wait until the day my Micro Mist dreams transition from being a fantasy into a reality. I first wrote about the steamer nearly a year ago. If I planned properly and set up some automatic savings draft, I could have had this steamer by now.  So now I know what I have to do.

Hair Jewelry

Ever since I picked up those cute hair cuffs, I've been on the lookout for fabulous hair accessories.  I'm loving the hair chain trend that we've been seeing a ton of this year.  Since I'm horrible at protective styling, I'd like to experiment with integrating fierce hair jewelry to help make protective styling more desirable. I've already put in a couple of bids on some very inexpensive pieces on Ebay.

Inphenom Treatment, Cuticle CMC, & Cortex CMC

I stumbled upon the Inphenom brand a while back when I was researching products with MEA-18.  Inphenom was developed to help restore the health back to chemically treated and colored hair.  What attracts me to Inphenom is that it contains both ceramides and MEA-18.  There aren't many reviews of these products online but I've been intrigued ever since our first encounter and they've been on my Amazon Wish List ever since.   This brand is a premium Japanese product so the price is a little up there. Maybe I'll treat myself to the brand, one product at a time, in 2013 (see, I can wait).

I'm actually proud of myself for having such a short list of hair related items I'm craving at the moment.  I feel like I'm maturing just a little in my hair journey my insatiable desires are starting to slow down. Of course you all know that I can be a bit fickle so this list can grow and change at the drop of dime.

Can't wait for the flat iron to arrive.....

Friday, October 19, 2012

Since we're on the topic of healthy edges, I thought now would be a good time to give away the Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges gel.  We just wrapped up the Hair Vitamin give away and I want to keep this baby moving!  I've got lots of products to giveaway so keep entering. 

This product is from Creme of Nature's Argan Oil line.  It is not a edge regrow product. Perfect edges helps you create smooth looks by helping you style your edges.  So if you want a piece of this action,  here's how to enter:

  • Follow the blog
  • Send an email to [email protected] with "Perfect Edges" in the title
  • I'll randomly select a winner  and notify that person via email on October 28, 2012.
Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The other day, I received an email with a wonderful question on creating healthy edges that inspired this post.  Looking back over my archives, I realized that I haven't written any posts on healthy edges.  So I figured that now is as good of a time as any.

The internet was a buzz not too long ago when Toya Wright posted this picture of her hair au natural on Instagram.

The ooooh's and aaaaaah's over Toya's luscious lengths were short lived once folks started noticing her edges.  Judging from how she normally wears her hair, my guess is that she relaxes her hairline so her real hair can blend in effortlessly with the straight weaves she normally wears.  Obviously, there's a texture difference between her edges and her length but what's most striking is the difference in length.  

If I were to rank the most fragile areas of our hair, the ends, our edges and the nape would be my top 3. Those are the areas most susceptible to damage.  In most cases, severe damage in those areas could be devastating and take a long time to recover from.  These issues, much like any other hair related damage, can be resolved by following a simple series of steps which I will now go over with you.

Step 1:  Identify root cause

The good news is that it's pretty easy to narrow down the causes of thinning ends.  Most often it has something to do with these factors:

  • Styling// Excessive strain on edges caused from tight ponytails or braids.  Some weave styles can also cause strain on edges as well (just ask Naomi Campbell).  Excessive heat is included as a major contributor to thinning edges.
  • Manipulation// I'm very guilty of this.  When I'm bored, I usually start playing with the little coils on my nape or around my edges.  The higher my stress or boredom, the more I manipulate. The more I manipulate, the more my edges & nape suffers.  
  • Neglect// When I stepped back and quietly observed my behaviors, I realized that when I moisturized, applied deep conditioner, or conducted any other type of nourishing activity, I rarely  paid attention to my edges.  No wonder why my edges were always dry and brittle, I never gave them any attention.
  • Overprocessing// "Oooh, my edges need a touch up."  I remember the days when I was touching every 6-8 weeks because I had to keep the edges looking right.  Since our hairline clearly displays signs of new growth, we often will start the relaxer application process with the edges and nape.  Once the relaxer is completely applied, we then invest an extra block of time smoothing the chemical into our hairline to achieve the straightest look possible.  I'm speculating, but this appears to be the case in the pic above.  Over time, this practice is sure to create thinning.
The above list isn't all inclusive.  There are other factors that can contribute to week edges but this gives you a good start.  Another thing that thins out my edges is when I have a dermatitis flare-up.  As my scalp peels and flakes around my hairline, I'll loose hair in that area. Doing all I can to keep my flare-ups at bay is critical if I want to maintain full edges.

Now that we've identified some of the causes, let's look into what we can do to address the issue.

Step 2:  Bringing Your Edges back to Life!

 When are edges begin to thin, take it as a message from your hair saying "You're doing the wrong things!" So most often, the solution is as simple as stopping the behavior that's causing the thinning and beginning to implement things that promote the regrowth of hair.   Those things include:

  • Supplementation// Promoting new growth is key to filling in the hairline. Starting a regimen of taking a great Hair, Skin, and Nails vitamin daily will help quickly promote healthy growth.  
  • Massage// Manipulation is bad but massages are good!  Sometimes, our edges suffer due to lack of blood flow to that area. Adequate blood flow is a must because it nourishes the hair follicles. Often time, I find myself having to massage my hairline, and my nape, after removing my satin scarf in the morning.  I could tell that I tied the scarf too tightly which constricted blood flow to that area.  Massage is like you saying to your scalp, "focus your attention on growing more hair here." 
  • Powerful Oils// One of my all time favorite posts is the one where I discussed various plant oils and the benefits of each for scalp massages.  In that post, I mentioned castor oil and emu oil as powerful growth promoters.  Anyone struggling to regrow their edges or nape should have one of these oils as a tool. 
  • Leave it alone// Giving your hair a chance to grow back means that you'll have to lay off on all of the tension, manipulation, and stress we put on our hairline.  Long ago, I would start my relaxer application by applying it to my hairline. Now, I do this as my final step.  When I'm bored and I catch myself mindlessly playing with my nape, I stop and do something else.  
  • Nourish your edges// Once I realized how much I was neglecting my hairline and the back of my hair, I adapted my habits when I deep condition and moisturize to include my entire head, not just my ends and length.  When I moisturize and seal, I start with my edges then work my way to my ends. 
Finally, be patient and take some pics along the way to measure your progress.  Consistency will help you in this aspect of your journey more than you know. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I can confidently say that every year of my life is always better than the last. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that New Year is my favorite time of year. Now I know that it's a bit early to talk about new year but I believe in creating a powerful transition from one year to the next.  Plus soon, holiday season will start and we'll be enthralled will all the commotion that surrounds the Holidays.  I'd like to start preparing for the year ahead while there's still time.

I take great joy in my annual ritual of mentally preparing for the upcoming year.  This is the time to leave unwanted things behind and bring forth new experiences into our lives. I like to start this process by reliving all of the glorious happenings of the present year.  Sometimes we ask for things, get it,  and miss out on the fact that we've received because we're so focused on the next thing we want.   I'm grateful for all I've received (good or "bad").  After I've filled my entire being with the feeling of gratitude and abundance, then I can prepare to establish new goals.

I'm starting this process months before the end of the year because it entails both a mental and physical process.  Last year, I invested a two week's worth of time off to purge my environment of all of the clutter and random items that accumulated over the years.  Most of these items no longer served their purpose.  All they did was take up space.  The more space that is occupied, the less energy available for creation.  A blank canvas provides the space for the greatest possibilities.  If a picture is already painted, then nothing new can be created.

I watched a program once where Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) shared these powerful words. "if you want to change your life, change your environment. Your environment is more powerful than you are."  Those words resonated with me immensely.  When I placed my focus on changing the environment of my home the last two weeks of last year, it was like I was surrounded by such a powerful energy as I glided from room to room.  The way I felt was indescribable but it came only after I invested days altering my current environment. The same will go for this year.  As I did before, I'll create a plan of action on which areas I'll declutter and seek out sources of inspiration on how I will create my new environment.   Once that is completed, I can begin the work of aligning my goals.

I'm starting this process in the month of October so that I can build new habits even before the new year begins. While everyone is just figuring out which "resolutions" they'll be creating for the year on January 1rst, I would have already begun bringing my intentions into existence. It's my way of getting a head start.

One day, as I laid in my bed partially asleep, I dreamt that I encountered a wise, successful man who had achieved financial abundance. This man seemed very busy and I knew that I only had enough time to ask him one single question.  My question to this man was concise. I asked him "what is the one thing that separates successful people (like him) from the "unsuccessful."  The turned to me, and quickly responded "their decisions" (choices), then walked away.  Immediately I woke up and muttered to myself "it's my choices." 

So as the new year approaches, I will quietly observe and scrutinize the choices I make on a daily basis.  These choices make up my current reality. I'm not just talking about those big decisions that require us to reflect or ask our friends and family for sound advice. I'm talking about the seemingly minuscule decisions we make every moment of the day, from how I chose to spend my time, to how I chose to interact with my husband, how I chose to think, how I chose to start my day, spend my money, what I chose eat, how quickly I chose to take action......all of it!

I'll start by identifying those choices I consistently make that I think are the most destructive.  And by destructive, I mean to say the choices that create outcomes that aren't aligned with my goals.  If my goal is to have a toned, firm body, then I can't achieve that by choosing to surf the web (or do whatever else) instead of going to the gym. If I desire to create greater financial abundance, the choices I make starting today must be similar to those who already are living abundantly.  Once I identify my currently destructive choices,  I can begin the process of formulating alternative choices I'll make that bring me closer to my intentions and goals.

I absolutely love new experiences and new beginnings and nothing makes me happier than the start of a new year.  The great thing about starting this early is that I still have 2.5 months to make a huge impact and finish 2012 strong. From there, I can be certain that the year ahead will be phenomenal. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Those of you who are regulars here know that I always have a strong desire to take things to the next level.  This time isn't any different.  I've written about taking cod liver oil several times on this blog.  I thought I was doing my thang when I stumbled upon Nordic Naturals, one of the highest quality fish oil brands on the market.  I didn't mind investing a little more for this product because I knew I was getting what I paid for.

Then one day, I was cruising through the mean streets of the internet and stumbled upon what may be the next level of fish oil goodness.  Ladies, let me tell you a little bit about fermented cod liver oil.  Throughout history, fishermen traditionally would take wild caught fish, place them in barrels (with sea water), and allow the fish to ferment for months before extracting the oil.  The outcome of this fermentation process creates a, raw, highly nutritious product high in vitamin A, D, EPA, & DHA.  Unfortunately, today's unfermented fish oil is extracted through methods that involve heating the oil allowing it to be mass produced.  Some say that many of the naturally occurring nutrients are destroyed during the process.  As a result, synthetic versions of the vitamins are added to enhance the nutritional quality of the today's fish oil product.  Before learning of this fermented oil, I had no idea that the vitamin A & D in our current fish oils were synthetic.  When I heard this, I immediately thought of our breads which are deprived on nutrition through the production process, then "enriched" with synthetic nutrients.  Learning this pretty much convinced me that fermented cod liver oil was the way to go.

But wait, there's more!  Not only does fermented cod liver provide all of the omega 3 benefits of other commercial cod livers but many who have tried it have also boasted about improved dental health, more specifically, re mineralization of cavities after taking this product.  This probably has something to do with our bodies receiving all natural raw forms of vitamin D which is said to stimulate the absorption of calcium.  Many have shared favorable results in their dental health simply from adding this product to their routine. I first heard of fermented cod liver oil (FCL)  while browsing an online forum.  A poster on the forum shared that they were taking FCL and had experienced an elimination of their acne as a result.  This has everything to do with the access to natural vitamin A.  Many of today's high potency acne treatments, such as Retin-A and Accutane receive their power from vitamin A.  Those taking fermented cod liver oil aren't as susceptible to vitamin A toxicity because our bodies are better equipped to process naturally occurring vitamin A over the synthetic forms we are commonly exposed to.   

After reading the great reviews online, I purchased my first bottle of fermented cod liver oil from the one company that seems to offer it, Green Pasture.  My bottle hasn't arrived so I don't have any personal experience to share as of yet.    Once I've a taken it a while, I'll report back.  If you decide to do a little research online about the fermented fish oil, you may also notice that butter oil is also mentioned.  Butter oil is created from the cows who graze on rapidly growing grass.  The butter extracted from these cows contain high amounts of vitamin K2 which works synergistically with the FCLO for better absorption of the naturally occurring nutrients.

So if the claims of this product is correct, I should see benefits to my skin, teeth and hair.  This product was too intriguing for me to pass up.  I couldn't wait to share this find with you all and I hope at least one person can benefit from this.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I received a really great question the other day from someone inquiring about penetrating oils versus non-penetrating oils and which ones I thought were better.   The question was so good that I decided to address via a blog post.  So lets talk about this for the next few minutes shall we?

First off, when we talk about penetrating oils, what we mean is how great the oil's ability to penetrate the hair shaft and permeate into the cuticle layer.  I wrote on this subject long ago in this post.  Basically, the individuals who studied this phenomena were looking to determine how much of the oil was absorbed into the strand after time elapsed and through the use of heat.  Based on their findings it was determined that coconut oil and other mono saturated oils performed (or absorbed) better into the hair shaft than their poly saturated counterparts.

Once the news got out, everyone and their momma went clamoring for coconut and other penetrating oils (rightfully so) but in the process, other oils that penetrated more slowly (or not as deeply) were shunned.  In the case of my friend who asked me the original question, she mentioned that she was dealing with some breakage and thought it would be best to focus on penetrating oils like coconut to help nurse her hair back to health.  I completely agreed.

As a matter of fact, whenever my hair starts miss behaving, I often will reach for coconut oil as an overnight pre-poo remedy.  This way I know that my fragile strands are receiving beneficial proteins all the way down to it's deepest core.  Doing this definitely makes a world of difference for me.

But let's talk about the other side of things.  The oils that don't get as much love because because they don't penetrate as quickly or as deeply.  Should we shun them away completely?  I say no.  The topic of conversation came up because she was in the midst of deciding whether to purchase Gleau or opt for coconut oil instead.  My response was that this was not an either or scenario but one where she should choose both.

Reason being is because plant oils all have various God given attributes.  Just because it doesn't penetrate as quickly as coconut doesn't mean there aren't any benefits.  There is a time and place for oils that penetrate a bit more slowly especially if the oil will be used for sealing purposes.  I'm not sure if coconut oil is the best oil for sealing in moisturizer because, as time elapses, the oil moves inside the strand.  What about oils like wheat germ which contain the all wonderful ceramides that our cuticle layers need so dearly?  Let's not forget about jojoba oil which mimics sebum so closely that it protects our hair strand with lubrication like our very own scalp produced it.  Then there are oils like meadowfoam which partially penetrates so some of the goodness enters the strand and some is left to protect it.

Moral of the story is that it's best to be in a position where we can have our cake and eat it too. There is a place for oils that fully penetrate deep down and there's also room to invite others that will also take care of the outer strand.  Although I don't experience really cold winters, I do sometimes travel to cities where the cold weather can be brutal.  Luckily, for me, those trips are short lived but if I had to endure cold, brisk winds, I would certainly opt to incorporate thicker, heavier oils into my regimen during winter time.  I would want a layer of protection against the drying winds at all times.  Long story short, I advise everyone to freely incorporate penetrating oils like coconut, avocado, and olive oil.  Use them to treat the hair and to battle against breakage but don't forget that to incorporate other oils into your routine that can also be beneficial to your strands as well.

Be blessed. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm so excited to have been invited the Make Up Show coming soon to Florida. This event is catered to professional make up artists and has previously only been held in major cities like LA, NYC, Chicago, and even Europe. I can not wait to attend!  I consider myself a bit of a makeup newbie even though I have quite a bit of it at home.  I'm looking forward to picking up lots of tips and techniques on makeup application plus I also hope to pick up some goodies that I can hopefully giveaway on the blog.

I can't wait!  Here is the official press release for the event:


Beauty brands and top makeup artists are standing by to share their newest products and beauty secrets on November 4 and 5

NEW YORK, NY (October 2012) - The Makeup Show Orlando is excited to bring beauty, inspiration and education to the Sunshine State in less than one month on November 4 and 5.   Top beauty brands will congregate under one roof for two days to launch new products and offer exclusive pro-only discounts.  Amongst these brands are Diamond Sponsor MAKE UP FOR EVER, Platinum Sponsor Crown Brush and TEMPTU PRO, Supporting Sponsors INGLOT, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry, On Makeup Magazine, and The Powder Group.  Other brands include Stila Cosmetics, Embryolisse USA, Kissable Couture, Kevyn Aucoin, Senna Cosmetics, Cinema Secrets, and Graftobian Makeup Co (to name a few).   In addition, many of these brands will be hosting seminars and sharing their secrets on the main stage and in the Keynote & Business Forum.  A few of the Keynotes you will not want to miss include:

A Career in Makeup with AJ Crimson
From celebrity clients including Fergie, Estelle, Hillary Duff, Keyshia Cole, and Missy Elliot to his lip gloss brand Kissable Couture, and his own eponymous AJ Crimson brand, AJ has managed to make a name for himself in multiple areas of makeup artistry.  In his first time as a featured keynote at The Makeup Show, AJ tells us the truth about building your own name, branding yourself as an artist in diverse areas.  AJ will take you through his techniques for flawless application and reveal his secrets for success for the red carpet, for real women and everyoccasion in between.

The Journey of Special Effects Makeup with The Wolfe Brothers – Brian and Nick Wolfe (sponsored by Graftobian)
Identical twins, Brian and Nick Wolfe, take to the stage and show you the artistry they have become internationally recognized for while sharing their story about how two young men made a name for themselves in Florida theme parks.  Watch and learn as these masters show you what you need to know about body art. 

Also, taking the Main Floor to educate on the trends of the industry from bridal to airbrush include INGLOT Cosmetics, Stila Cosmetics, MAKE UP FOR EVER, Naked Cosmetics, Crown Brush, Mehron, Senna Cosmetics, TEMPTU PRO, Alcone Company to name a few.  For a complete list of Main Floor Seminars and times, visit the schedule here

The Makeup Show Orlando is held on Sunday, November 4, 2012 from 9am to 6pm and on Monday, November 5, 2012 from 9am to 5pm at The Peabody Hotel Orlando, 9801 International Drive. For a complete list of participating brands, educational speakers, schedule of events and prices, please visit

About The Makeup Show
The Makeup Show is owned and produced by Metropolitan Event & Production and travels internationally from LA, NYC, Chicago, Europe, and Orlando.  Bringing each destination over 60 beauty brands, and unique convergence of artists and community, where beauty professionals are sure to find an artistic energy that will inspire any beauty buff, from the passionate beginner to the seasoned professional.  Each show offers an unparalleled lineup of education and appearances from top beauty professionals and focuses on career building and networking within the makeup community.  The show provides a unique experience for the makeup professional to network directly from the best in the business. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I've taken on a new hobby lately which involves scouring through my instagram feed with the intentions of finding beauty products and skin care secrets of pseudo-celebrities.   These people aren't your typical beauty gurus who are always going on and on about the products they love.  What I look for are the little gems that show up when someone who normally doesn't focus on beauty reviews, flashes a pic and gives us a quick glimpse into their secret world.

Would you mind if I shared these with you today?

Fantastic!  Let's get started.......

The Instagramer who posted the pic below isn't a celebrity.  Based on what I learned off her page, she's a MAC makeup artist.  But I was really inspired by her eyelash progress pics after using GNC Hair, Skin and Nails formula.  She captioned the pic with this message to her followers: "Had to share! Noticed my hair becoming fragile so I began supplementation.  I've been taking them for almost four weeks and noticed an unexpected fullness in my lashes."  In both the before and after pic, the user stated that she was wearing the same mascara (MAC Zoom Lash).  I really liked this pic because my intention when I began taking GNC Hair, Skin and Nails was to make an impact on my puny lashes.  So far I'm seeing really good progress.

If any of you have paid attention to my Facebook feed lately, you've noticed me sharing pics of celebrity stylist June Ambrose.  One feature of hers that you can not help to notice is how flawless this woman's face is.  June, (who is probably in her 40's) looks amazing in every bare faced pic she uploads.

(miss Ambrose receiving a decedent lavender, kelp, peppermint & honey scalp massage)

Recently, June posted the pic below where she shared how she creates moments of serenity in the morning by drinking her tea while allowing her eye cream to soak in.  Followers were so taken aback by her perfect skin that they practically begged her to share what she uses to promote her skin's health and glow. 

June was gracious enough to share this pic below of her using her beloved Clarasonic Mia with the caption that states: "You have to work our your face like you do your body! Here's how I keep it clean and firm."   I already owned a Clarasonic, but for some reason or another, I had stopped using for a while.   You best believe that after seeing these pics, I promptly located my Clarasonic and reintroduced it to my morning regimen.  My skin is definitely thanking me for it.
Many of you have probably never heard of Sheneka Adams.  I hadn't either until recently.  From what I gather, she seems to be an aspiring designer who's very involved in the urban club scene.  Most of the pics she posts are shot after shot of her hanging out with her friends or boyfriend.  But one day, she just so happened to share a rare photo of her barefaced skin.  Her dewy freckled skin appears quite healthy.  Along with the pic, Sheneka shared these words of wisdom:  "One of my beauty secrets! The cucumber face peel mask! Keeps my skin oh so beautiful! I rarely post pictures of myself because I look crazy, but this is for those that keep asking! Cucumber Face Peel, try it!!!"

Many years ago, when I was still living with my family, my brother went through this phase where he was determined to take care of his skin.  Each night he would go through this ritual which included (among other things) applying a peel off mask.  Night after night he remained consistent with his practice.  Months later, he successfully created the most amazing looking skin I'd ever seen.  He would get compliments all the time.  Soon, that brand of face mask was discontinued and he slowly stopped following his strict routine.  To this day, he and I still bring up the time when he was deeply into skin care and the amazing results that he achieved.    Sheneka confirmed that she uses a basic drug store peel off mask to keep her skin on point.  I'm making sure to pick some up next time I'm out and about.

I stalk model/actress Lashontae Heckard's instragram with hopes that one day, she'll share at least one secret to her perfect complexion.  So far, I'm coming up empty but she did manage to give us one of her beauty tricks that I jumped on right away.

The one beauty secret she leaked was how she manage to create her perfectly striking eyebrows.  Lashontae posted this pic below with the short message: "my eyebrow tools" to her followers.  I immediately began to search for the name of the product and learned that she used MAC Spiked eyebrow pencil.  Checked out some reviews on Youtube and found many others raving about this product.  Now, MAC Spiked is a staple of mine and I'd recommend it to any and everyone!

Jennifer Stano has developed a strong fan base online.  She's married to a billionaire and runs her own swimsuit line.  Her instagram feed is littered with dozens of pics of her living a fabulously lavish lifestyle.  One would think that she rubs handcrafted creams made up of ground up diamonds on her skin but this isn't the case.  Not too long ago she let the world in on her latest favorite all natural skin care product.  Jennifer gave this message to her followers regarding Herbal Aloe Force:  "One of my new favorite all natural products I've been using on my face day and night as well as on my neck and chest!  I'm obsessed!" Jennifer also mentioned that she "definitely feels like this tightened my skin and pores and is super soft after you wash your face."  

I purchased this product after reading great reviews online.  I've used various skin gel type products in the past so I knew that I would probably like this.  What I like about this product over other Aloe gels I've used is that Aloe force uses the whole leaf (rind and gel) in it's formula and also combines other great herbal ingredients such as burdock root, slippery elm, green tea, ionic silver, hyaluronic acid and more. And at under $20.00, you don't have to be married to a billionaire to try out this product.

Someone else posted this pic in their instargram feed with the message:  "Beauty Secret! Ladies are always asking me "how do you get your skin so smooth?" "How do you get your skin tone so even?"  I found this out from an online blog and decided to try it.  It works wonders I loooooove loooooove this soap."
I thought back to the time when I tried a Kojic Acid soap once before but I don't remember being as estatic about it as she was.  Then I did some more research and found that most people who received the full benefits would allow the soap to remain on the skin for a couple of minutes (to allow the acid to work) before rinsing off.  Since I didn't follow the instructions the first time I decided to have another go and see if I can create that even tone skin this time around.

Finally, I'd like to share with you my official face polish.  Again someone (who doesn't normally talk skincare) shared this online telling us that if we didn't use this face polish at least twice a week, we were crazy".   I already use the Fresh's cleanser every day so she didn't need to tell me twice before I looked into this product further.  I'll be honest and say that this Sugar Face Polish from Fresh is pretty expensive.  I almost didn't buy it but the reviews were all favorable so I thought, '"what the heck?"  I strolled over to my local Sephora where I received samples to try before I buy.  The samples were pretty generous.  As a matter of fact, I'm still using the samples and haven't even cracked open my jar yet.  At this pace, I figure that I'll have this amazing face polish for at least a year or two.    This face polish is high quality and smells delicious.  I'm so glad someone mentioned this otherwise I probably wouldn't have come across it.  I've also been using it on my hands to exfoliate and I absolutely love the results. It keeps my face and hands so smooth and uber moisturized. I'm in love. 

So now you all know how I've been occupying some of my free time lately.  I'm super excited about all of these amazing gems and look forward to sharing more of these types of posts in the future.

p.s. feel free to leave a comment and share any of your amazing beauty finds with us as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Time for another giveaway my sweets!  I'm especially excited about today's giveaway because it's a little different from what I usually do.  Not long after I wrote my post on starting a supplement regimen I received an email from the good folks at who bring us Nourish Hair Nutrition Vitamins.

I'm supposed to do a review and give away after I finish my bottle but just I couldn't wait.  I've been consistently taking these for a few weeks now and here are my thoughts.  First off, I like the fact that these aren't huge horse pills like some other hair, skin, nails supplements.  They are pretty much the size of most of my other vitamins so those of you who don't like swallowing large pills can rest easy.

Another thing I notice about these are how quickly they begin to dissolve in my mouth.  They don't seem to be coated with anything so the moisture starts to break them down almost instantly.  At first I was a little turned off by that but I thought about it and decided that rapid breakdown is a good thing! I want the Hair Vitamin goodness to enter my blood stream as quickly as possible.

For those of you who are excited to learn more about the ingredients of this product, well here you go:

So let's talk about how you can get your hands on your very own bottle of these Nourish Hair Vitamins. 

  1. Follow the blog!
  2. Send me a quick email to [email protected] the words "Hair Vitamins" in the subject
  3. You must be 18 years or older to enter
  4. The Winner will be notified via email on October 14, 2012.
Good luck everyone!
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