Sunday, June 30, 2013

After I got my Ipad, I noticed a feature which allowed me to play saved photos in sequence to my favorite song.  Once I knew this feature existed, I created a "playlist" of some of the most inspiring pics I found online.  Most of these pics featured ladies with flawless skin, gorgeous hair, and perfect figures.  Also included were images of my dream car, coveted handbags, etc.

I played those images daily (every morning) while generating feelings of having already received what I desired.  Many of those desires have since come to life.  Thinking back to how effective that practice became, I decided to create a video dedicated to inspiring my health and fitness habits.  But then I said, "why don't I make this a public video so everyone can benefit?"  The purpose of this video is not to make anyone feel bad, guilty, etc about their bodies or eating habits.  My intention is that you view this video so frequently that you begin to impact your subconscious.  The first time you watch, you may feel inspired while your actions remain the same.  But if you continue to stay consistent, you may find that your resistance to eating healthy and exercising starts to subside.  Eventually, living a healthy lifestyle becomes part of you and you start to reap the benefits.  

May I recommend that you watch the video in full screen? While you a watching, feel free to mentally repeat affirmations to yourself like: 
  • "I love my healthy, fit body."
  • "I enjoy working out, I love moving my body."
  • "I have an amazing figure, I'm fit, toned, and beautiful."
  • "I'm so grateful for my body."
  • "I have so much energy and I love eating healthy."
You get the point. The idea is that you feel good while watching. When I would watch my motivation videos, I would smile to myself and feel connected to the images no matter how different they were from my reality.  Don't allow yourself to feel any other way.  Feel good knowing that you are in the process of creating your ideal figure and your ideal future.  

Thanks for watching.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I've got some rather exciting news to share.  Years ago I conducted some online research around the possibility of receiving a hair analysis.  I wanted someone to study my hair strands under a high powered microscope and tell me what was actually going on.  What were it's needs, it's weaknesses? What could I do to make my hair flourish?

Back then, I couldn't find such a service at low cost. I think I found one company that operated oversees. Today, however, is a new day.  I'm happy to report to you all that in a few weeks, I will have undergone a full hair analysis and will receive detailed information on what I could do to address any hair concerns identified. Best of all the company I'm utilizing is minority owned and can speak the language of my hair.

The company I am referring to is Komaza.  I paid around $85.00 for the analysis and a week later they sent me a survey of questions and requested that I send over a sample of clean, shed hair for their review. I like that I can also separate the hair samples based on sections if I'm dealing with damage in a certain area.  After the analysis is completed, they schedule a phone consultation with me and will make recommendations of products & changes to my hair regimen based on my hair's needs.  I believe they will also do a follow up hair analysis months later to see if progress can be seen under the scrutiny of the microscope.

Words can not convey how excited I am to have this experience.   To be honest with you, I know that my hair is struggling right now.  This year has been super-duper busy and my hair has fallen victim to my lack of time, care and attention. I can't tell you the last time I had a decent strand ceremony session. I'm already bracing myself for the results which I know won't be pretty (at all).  I also like the idea of having someone tell me exactly what's going on based on the tiniest details.  Being the bottom line person that I am, I appreciate the opportunity to become much more deliberate and focused on my hair regimen. Especially given the fact that I don't see my schedule easing up anytime soon.

This is the first part of my posts on this experience. Stay tuned for updates (and hopefully pics) as I get further along in this process.  Yesterday I took the first step which involved completing a brief questionnaire discussing my current regimen, how much water I drink, which supplements I take, etc. Next I will send them three different samples of clean, shed hair.  The reason for three samples is because I plan on sectioning my hair into three sections, my left side, right side, and the back.  I look forward to seeing what shows up after close analysis (no matter how bad it is).  And I'm already making my commitment to taking action according to their recommendation no matter what I'm told.

I can not wait to tell you more about the Komaza Hair Analysis experience.  Hopefully we can all learn something from it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm one of those people that always wants instant results.  Which probably explains why developing a consistent practice of working out was such a battle for me.  In my mind, the results didn't come fast enough to keep me motivated.  But then I started to shift my mindset.  Now, when I train, I think about all the benefits that the future version of myself will experience.  This thought process keeps me motivate knowing that even though I don't see results yet, I will.

I dedicate this Monday Motivation post to those ladies out there in the process of transforming their bodies.  I can only imagine the amount of focus, persistence and dedication required to create their new physiques.  They inspire me to keep going knowing that every moment invested in their fitness, will pay off.

p.s. A few of the transformations on this page were created thanks to the Black Girls Work out Too program/DVD and clean eating.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

I get so excited whenever I stumble upon a new super food.  Just days ago, I was reflecting on how much rice I eat.  As a person of Haitian decent, rice is everything. I can eat rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner if I had to.  When I gave up wheat, I began to eat even more rice since rice flour is used in many traditional gluten free products like bread, pasta, cookies, etc.   I felt like I needed to do something.  Eating all that white rice couldn't be my best option.  

Then I started searching.  Looking for alternative that could address my desire for a healthy grain.  The answer came in the form of rice.  But not just any rice, black rice.  Some of you may remember a previous post where I showed an image of what appeared to be black rice.  That dish was a traditional Haitian recipe where the rice derives it's color from a dark mushroom. So pretty much, it's white rice dyed black.  But this, my friends, this is the real deal.

Also, known as the "forbidden rice."  This grain has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries.  The reason why it was considered forbidden was due its rare appearance. Black rice was considered the finest grain and served only to the Emperor.  Which is why it was deemed forbidden to the common folks.  

Lucky for us, we live in a time when we can now have direct access to this precious delicacy.  Why do we want to shift away from eating white rice and transition to its black counterpart?  Because white rice doesn't hold a candle to this black beauty.

First off, the reason why this grain is so dark is because it's loaded with anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives super foods their deep red, blue and purple colors.  Blueberries, acai , and other nutritious foods get their rich hue from their anthocyanin content.  But did you know that black rice has more anthocyanin than any other food source?  So you are getting more antioxidants in this rice than in blueberries, but without the sugar. Could black rice be any more perfect?  What if I told you that it also contains 18 amino acids, vitamin E, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and fiber? Then would you understand how amazing this grain is? 

 Wait, I'm not done yet.  I also learned that black rice is anti inflammatory. White rice, on the other hand, can promote inflammation.  The aging process is accelerated when inflammation is persistent in our bodies. Many of the illnesses were hear about nowadays are linked to chronic inflammation.   Do you know what else can occur? Skin issues.  There was a study conducted where 10% black rice bran was added to the diet of mice.  Turns out that this simple shift in diet significantly suppressed allergic contact dermatitis of the skin of the mice.  

If you are still not convinced, I'd like to tell you about why I've fallen in love with this ebony rice.  It tastes so freakin' good!  Seriously, I have no desire to eat white rice ever again because this stuff is so delicious.  The flavor is described as nutty but I'm not sure "nutty" is the best way to describe it.  It's just so tasty and flavorful.  I've cooked mine in broth so I'm sure that added to the flavor profile.  Normally, when I eat white rice, I need some sort of gravy or a meat protein to help round out the dish and boost flavor.  The other night, I decided to eat a small amount of black rice mixed with a ripe hass avocado and had a blast.

Two days later, I had black rice again as a side with my Ahi poke. Amazing.  Here's the thing, I picked up some sushi yesterday at my favorite spot. After eating two rolls, I felt a little different. I was feeling bloated and lethargic.  For some reason, I didn't experience that same heaviness feeling after eating black rice.  Not sure why.

Seriously, I now shun all of the half filled bags of white rice sitting in my kitchen cabinet.  I have gone to the dark side and I ain't coming back.  I understand that it's a bit more expensive than white rice but so are blueberries.  I don't have to worry so much about shelf life as I do with healthy fruits, plus I'm getting even more benefits than blueberries pound for pound.

p.s. I found a 22 lb bag online which I will probably get to share with my mother who professed to eating white rice every day last week. Not too long ago, her doctor told her that she suffered from chronic inflammation. I can not wait to give her something to enjoy that can actually bring benefits to her body.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I have to admit, even though I want so badly to drink up to a gallon of water a day, there are days when life gets too busy.  For a while I was bummed on days when I failed to reach my drinking goal but things started looking up when I came across some help in the form of technology.

Last week I traveled out of state for work and decided to pick up a gallon of water to last me over the next couple of days.  My coworker, who also was in search of a gallon, casually mentions to me that his water intake was darn near non-existent until he took action.  He found an app online that helped him track his daily water intake.  I immediately thought of our water challenge and decided that I had to share!

Waterlogged-Iphone (Free)

Waterlogged was the first app I looked into.  Based on the features available, this is the one that I'll likely download and use.  What I like about this app is the "take a pic of your bottle" feature which allows you to track your water intake based on your specific bottle.  This works well for me because I you guys know that I have that cooky looking water bottle which I love so much.  

Another thing I like about Waterlogged is that I can set my own goal and the free version has a reminder prompting me to keep drinking. By the way, you have a selection of reminder alerts available that are various versions of water sounds.  There's also a premium version of this app with special perks like unlimited interval reminders throughout the day.

Water Your Body Lite-Iphone (Free)

Water Your Body Lite is what introduced me to this whole "tracking your water" game.  This app works by allowing you to add your body weight so you can achieve a goal of drinking half your weight.  Some of the reviewers of the free version mentioned that they would like the ability to accept water consumption entries after reaching the pre-determined goal.  

Water Your Body -Iphone/Android ($0.99)

The upgraded version of the Water Your Body App has some neat features. For one, it asks questions about your lifestyle that could affect your water intake. Breastfeeding mothers and those who exercise frequently need to drink more water and this app accounts for that.  A few of the reviewers of this app compare it to "playing a game" which keeps them excited about what they're doing for their health.

I hope this post is helpful for those of you who struggle to keep drinking water throughout the day.  These are just a few suggestions, there are more options available on the App Market.  You now have a digital accountability partner to help you win this water challenge journey. Drink up!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's been way too long since I've hosted a giveaway here.  I'm ready to make things right by giving away a full 8.5 oz bottle of Mizani Cleansing cream.  Those of you who've read previous posts know that I'm such a fan of conditioning cleansers over typical shampoos that can over strip the hair.

My love began when I first tried Hair One then went to a new level after my encounter with WEN.

Now and forever, cleansing conditioners will always be a staple for me.  If anyone out there hasn't experimented with a cleansing conditioner, I urge you to enter this giveaway!

According to the label, this product is a "mild, low-lathering foam [that] gently cleanses as it helps restore the hair's natural moisture/protein balance and refreshes the scalp.  To remove buildup, use it as a between-shampoo conditioning wash."

Enough about that, let's talk about how you can get your hands on this thing!
  • Follow my blog!
  • Send me an email to [email protected] with the words "Mizani giveaway" in the title. 
  • This giveaway is open to those in the U.S.
  • The lucky winner will be selected on June 23, 2013.  
Thanks for participating! I wish everyone luck. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's been a while since I've posted my current craves.  When I first wrote the original posts, I did it as something fun and lighthearted.  Little did I know that those posts would turn out to be an online vision board of sorts.  Most, if not all, my past craves have manifested into my reality.  Most notably are my Micro Mist steamer, my Chanel slouch bag and my dream car which has been on my physical vision board for many years.
Since this process has proved to be so powerful, I thought I'd keep this train rollin' and put some of my current craves out into the universe.  Who knows, maybe they'll part of my reality in the near future.

The first object of my affection is the Cortex 4 n 1 curling wand.  Immediately after seeing this video. I was obsessed with owning a curling wand for myself.  Because my thirst was so great,  I didn't make the right choice and order  my desired curling wand online. Instead, I learned that one could be purchased within the next hour at my local Target store. Hours later, I had the Remington wand in hand started to experiment. Although my hair looked nothing like the Glam Twin, I really liked the results.  So far I've used it twice.  What I love about my curling wand is how long my curls last.  Seriously, the curls stay in for days.  I paid around $20.00 for my wand but I'm looking to take it up a notch.  I like versatility of the 4 n 1.  Also, the fact that there are four sizes to chose from and variable heat settings.  The product description also boasts of infrared technology as well. Trust me, this won't be in my Amazon wish list for long.

Next on the list of goodies I'd like to attract is tiny little handbag by the name of the Chanel mini.  I'm taking this opportunity to confess that I have acquired more than enough of these gorgeous bags but something in my soul won't let me settle until I find a small bag back to complete my collection.   Since I don't want to make any hasty decisions, I've decided to steer clear of the boutique for the time being.  But, if I could blow out a candle and receive a wish, I'd have one of these darlings before 2014.

Last year, I noticed one of my friends suddenly had these long, amazing lashes.  After inquiring, she shared that she achieved those lengths with one simple visit to a lash specialist.  Fast forward a year and I see her again with the same super-long lashes. This time, they look a bit more natural.  I'm thinking that she asked her stylist for a natural look.  Instead, she informed me that she was sporting her real lashes thanks to the help of a new product she was using. I was floored.  You see, my friend is Asian so prior to her experiment, her lashes were non-existent.  Now, this girl got lashes for days thanks to using Grandelash twice a day. When she revealed her long last secret, I was shocked to learn that I have the same product at home.  I purchased it from the Make Up Show event I attended last year.  When I first met her, my lashes were longer than hers. Now she has twice the length as I do because she was consistent with using Grandelash while I was not.  Ever since running into her last week, I've been diligent with using my Grandelash twice a day.

The biggest thing on my craving list is my dream house complete with an in-home sauna cool dip pool.  Currently, I enjoy the benefits of a sauna when I visit my gym.  I found several selling online that are small enough to go inside someone's home.  Best of all they use infrared technology which is said to be more beneficial.  The idea of wanting a cold dip pool came after learning that Sanaa Lathan uses the hot & cold therapy technique to contribute to her glowing skin.  Last month I visited an upscale gym and did the tour.  While in the ladies locker room, I got a glimpse of their cold dip pool which is set below 50 degrees.  Stepping into a cold plunge after a session in the sauna is the ultimate promoter of circulation.  The warm sauna helps draw blood to the skin surface, while the cold temperatures cause the blood to move towards the internal organs.

I'm going to take the next couple of moments to send vibes of intention & gratitude out so they may return to me in the form of my desires.   Oh, when I get the Cortex wand, I'll let you all know what I think. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

I'm really excited to share a little about a book that I've been reading.  If I consistently apply the principles shared in this book, my life will be changed forever.  Because of this, I feel compelled to dedicate a Motivation Monday post  on the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

Part of what excites me most about this book is the timing.  You've seen me write posts in the past on developing consistent daily habits.  You can check out of few of them here, here, and here.  My mind has been obsessed with the idea of maintaining daily habits yet my body (& my self discipline) wouldn't allow it. Over and over again I would start a new routine, do it consistently for a period of time, then find myself falling back into my old behaviors.

Then came a turning point moment when I conducted my first 7 day challenge. Having committed myself to working out for 7 days was extremely powerful.  It taught me that it could be done.  It taught me how to overcome resistance.  From there, the doors were opened and the soil was prepared for this amazing seed (in the form of a book) to take root.  So what is the Slight Edge all about?

The Slight Edge teaches us a very important message.  The lesson is that the daily actions that we chose to do (or not do) makes little or no difference today or even tomorrow. Nothing bad happens if I have a second piece of pie today.  I don't gain 3 lbs the minute that last bite goes down.  Because of this, I continue to make choices that seem to have no obvious, immediate consequence. What happens if this type of behavior continues? The negative consequences begin to appear. But not only that, they are amplified because I've been consistent with my poor choices.

Think about your decisions like deposits you are making into an interest bearing account.  Even though you put a certain amount in, you will receive more in return.  Make poor decisions day after day, and you experience a greater negative impact.  Make good decisions consistently and the rewards of your choices multiply.  The author of the Slight Edge reminds us that we're making decisions on a daily basis anyway.  We are already making deposits into our future through the actions we take today.  Knowing this, it only makes sense for us to make the right decisions so we can adequately fund our success.

What I love most about the book is how Jeff talks about how easy it is for us to do and, not to do, the right things.  That's when my mindset shift occurred. I began to look at good choices as being easy to make.  When I started thinking this way, my actions quickly followed.  Since starting to read this book, I've been able to maintain consistency with my workouts, with my daily meditation, personal development reading, etc.  Not only that, I find myself wanting to do a little more each day to compound my efforts (and my results).  Another change I've noticed is letting go of the need to see an immediate result from the actions I take.  This, I believe, was the culprit whenever I started something new and gave up soon afterwards.  Now, I move forward knowing that my actions will create my intended result if I just keep going.  If I continue to operate for the remainder of the year, 2014 will be phenomenal. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Up until recently I have always been a lipgloss kinda girl.  For some reason I thought I'd never find lipsticks that would compliment me.  One trip to the Makeup Show changed all of that for me.

The first of my purchases were two lipsticks. One in a shade of red by the name of Diva and a neutral called Velvet Teddy.

Honestly, I hesitated with Velvet Teddy because the swatch was not the color I had in mind when I asked for a nude.  It looked to bright for my tone.  The guy doing my makeup sensed my hesitation so he summoned a brown skin girl my way who just so happen to be sporting Velvet Teddy.  It looked so great on her that I couldn't resist.  So I sampled the lipstick using MAC chestnut lip liner, applied a little gloss and fell in love with the final look.  I wear it pretty much daily now. Normally, I'm without anything on my lips but when I rock Velvet Teddy, I still have the look of bare lips but with a little extra oomph.

(wearing a light layer of diva and gloss)

Then I was like "what the heck," lemme get a blush while I'm at it.  I've always wanted a blush for those days when I want to do a full face but had the toughest time finding one that isn't too red, pink, or whatever.  My salvation came in the form of Sweet as Cocoa which is a lovely skin toned blush with just the right hint of shimmer.  It's says, "I'm not wearing blush," I just have lovely cheeks (that makes no sense).  But you get what I'm saying.  Sweet as Cocoa is subtle and oh so pretty.   It's perfect for me.

Now that I have these new purchases in hand, I'm challenging myself to take on some new habits.  I want to cultivate the practice of wearing naturally flattering makeup on a daily basis.  I came across a quote this week from Andre Tally who said something to the effect that getting dressed, doing your making and staying inside is the epitome of decadence.  And I'll never forget reading a magazine article years back when a woman challenged herself to wear red lipstick daily for specified period of time.  She shared an account of how much of a difference it made in the way she felt and how others related to her. I, too, would like to practice being intentional with the way I look on a daily basis.

I tried this as an experiment years ago.  On Sundays, I would lay out my outfits for the week. I set aside extra time in the mornings to make sure I carefully applied my make up, I would adjust my make up and hair during bathroom breaks.  The outcome?  It felt like I had a new field of energy surrounding me.  Almost everyone I encountered treated me completely differently. My confidence soared.  I'd hear comments from folks saying things like "you always dress so nice."  Funny thing is that I hadn't purchased any new items of clothing but no one said anything before about how I dressed until I purposely started "styling myself."

I'm a people watcher & observer by nature.  One thing I noticed lately, in my observations, is that "attractive" women normally are wearing flattering makeup and are dressed pleasantly even though they technically don't "have to."  They too seem to be surrounded by that higher energy force field that I remember enjoying in days past.  This goes back to the question I asked myself at the start of my fitness journey.  "These people are fit and healthy", I thought, "why do they need to go to the gym?"  The same way of thinking could be said for "attractive" people who dress nicely and wear makeup.  If they're already beautiful, why do they even need to focus on those (what I consider) extras?

Then I realized the huge flaw in my way of thinking.  What about the fact that, the actions they're taking was directly contributing to the outcome.  Instead of scratching my head and asking, "why does Kelly Rowland need work out daily?" or "why does Gabrielle Union need to drink a gallon of water a day." I could see their actions as a tool that created their amazing results.  I'll talk more on this topic in the future.  I'll also begin a 7 day challenge focused on actions that take me out of my comfort zone.  Maybe a "wear a dress daily" challenge or something like that.  We'll see.

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