Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sharing a small round up of new goodies that I've recently acquired. 
My  KHairPep samples came in!  Please read my last post on this  product line if you haven't already done so.  It seems to be a very promising product if the claims hold true.  I'll be testing it out this weekend and sharing my review soon.
After experiencing a couple warmer days, I decided to get back on my smooth skin regimen.  My favorite body scrub of all time has to be the Tree Hut Shea Butter Body Scrub.  Used daily, this stuff works miracles on my skin.  I've gotten compliments form a woman while receiving a massage on how soft/smooth my skin was.  There was even a time when a cashier noticed this in my shopping basket and asked, "is that why your skin looks so good?"  If you haven't tried this yet, make it a must.
In a past "Cravings" post, I talked about purchasing a Japanese Facial Steamer.  While looking at other Japanese beauty products on Amazon, I stumbled on an electronic facial roller/massager.  I couldn't find hardly any reviews or videos of this thing in use (with the exception of a promotional video from the company). I stepped out in faith and gave it a shot!  Weeks later, it arrived directly from Japan.  After charging, I gave it a shot for the first time.  In the video, they made it seem like this would simulate the strokes of someone massaging your face (like during a facial). Truth is, even on the low setting, this tool is more intense than I imagined.   After the first use, I though to myself, this thing would make an amazing scalp massager.  On my scalp, it feels heavenly, I tied my hair with a scarf because it has a rotating piece that could cause trouble if my hair got caught in it.  But even with my hair tied, it gave me an amazing massage.  Not just the "my scalp is stimulated" massage. But one that relieved tension in my head.  Afterwards, I actually felt better.  I'm really liking this thing.  I've wanted an electric scalp massager for years and now I finally goit it! I hope to make a video showing how it works so you can see it in action!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm just popping in to share a quick tip that has worked phenomenally well for me this week.  I've been having a blast with this daily moisturizing and sealing challenge I started a couple of weeks ago. But, you know me, always wanting to take things one step further.

So I asked myself, "Self?" What would happen if I could mist oil into my hair that same way I mist it with leave in conditioner."   Although I didn't quite know the answer at the time, I was ecstatic about the possibilities. So I rushed down to my local Sally's to grab a couple more of my favorite min-sprayers.  I love these because they do an excellent job at creating a fine mist.  Honestly, I knew that it wouldn't give me the same level of mist spraying oil in my hair vs. a water based product but I thought it was worth a shot.

After pondering on the most appropriate oil for this experiment, I finally decided on jojoba oil.  Reason being was in case I over saturated my hair with oil, I'd prefer one that my hair loves and would absorb easily into the hair as time passes.  After putting a small amount of oil into the bottle, I commenced to spraying.

I paid close attention to really parting my hair and getting into those areas where I don't normally reach just with my normal way of manually applying product.  Typically, I tend to stick to the outer, most visible areas but not this time.  The best part was when I reach my ends, I gathered them in my hand and saturated them with one spray of oil.  I've oiled my ends dozens of times before but this time seemed much different.  It felt like I finally gave them enough product to notice a real difference. I talked about sealing ends before and this felt like closest I've gotten to effectively sealing them.  Once I was done spraying, I tied my hair in a scarf to allow the penetration absorption to begin.

I gotta be honest, my hair was a little oilier that normal when I removed the scarf.  But I wasn't trippin' because it felt really nice and healthy.  Best off all, I could manipulate to my hearts content with no breakage.  My hair was so lubricated and happy.  By the next day, pretty much all the oil was absorbed fully. So instead of repeating the process, I decided to just mist lightly with rosewater. For the entire day, my hair was ultra moisturized.  It was like the oil in my strands served as a foundation for water based products to remain on my hair longer.  In the beginning, I scoffed the idea of L.O.C. (liquid, oil, cream) and instead recommended L.C.O (liquid, cream, oil). But now I wonder if I was missing something by not giving that method a shot.

This technique will work well when deep into my stretch.  I was able to part my hair, get to my new growth with one spray.  Also good for the day before wash day as a time saving way to saturate the hair with oil.  Today is day four and I'm amazed at how little hair I've lost over the past three days since using this technique. I've engaged in several "high manipulation" styling/detangling sessions without experiencing any broken hairs (does the no broken hairs celebration dance with a series of crotch thrusts and fist pumps).

  As much as I wanted it to come out in as a mist, the oil particles are too heavy. So, go a little light the first time you do it and add more oil as needed.  Once you spray, use your hands to massage it in then move to the next section. Make sure your hair is already moisturized before your apply the oil, that way it seals the oil into your hair AND it can help provide a barrier to keep additional moisture on top of the strand. Try this technique and let me know if you like it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

In last Monday's post, we discussed brining your desires into existence.  Basically, this is the idea of making your current reality look as close to the one you want as possible.  This means taking small, consistent steps to bring what you want into your current experience.  This isn't a one time thing but an ongoing process.  I forgot to mention one thing last week.  When you are engaging in this process, it should be fun!  Challenge yourself to be as creative as possible and celebrate every time do you something that moves you towards your goals.

Today I want to talk about another method I use that's somewhat similar to my "reality creation technique."   I call this other technique "building the ark."  I've talked about this before but today I will go a little more in depth into the process.  The idea is inspired by Noah's Ark.  God told Noah that the flood waters would come and to build the ark to prepare for the in coming disaster.  Although there were no signs of flooding present, Noah was faithful and built the ark based on God's promises.  Building the ark was an act of faith because he believed the floodwaters would come despite the current reality.
I use this technique whenever I feel a drought or stagnancy with regards to my goals.  Basically, it's the process of taking bold action in preparation for the outcomes you want to experience.

Let me give you a few real life examples of how I practice this.

  • For a long time, I held the intention of having a job where I could work from home.  I visualized, I held the intention, I did everything possible to attract the possibility into my life.  Finally, the day came when I had the opportunity to interview for a role that aligned with my intention.  The interview process was long.  Weeks went by before I heard anything. I knew they were interviewing other candidates so I decided to take an action as an act of faith of what was to come.  I invested a weekend, remodeling my spare bedroom turning it into a home office.  After weeks of silence, they called me days later with the job offer!
  • Once there was a time period when sales of Gleau declined.  I wondered if I needed to shut everything down because never had I gone so long with so few sales.  But instead of closing the doors, I decided to "build the ark" and prepare for new orders by purchasing even larger quantities of raw materials.  I ordered thousands of empty bottles and enough product to last for a year.  Guess what happened next? Suddenly, orders came pouring in from all different directions.  
  • I talked about my intention to have an Audi in my last post.  I asked myself "how can I build the ark" to prepare for my vehicle to come into my life?  That moment, I opened a second savings account with the specific intention of saving for the vehicle.  Less than a year later, the vehicle was mine.  Even though I didn't save a ton of money in the account, I believe the simple act of preparing for it in reality made it all possible. 
I'm not sure what happens, it's like God is waiting for me to move so he can open up new possibilities for me.  Every act of faith is met with results I desire. Our natural tendency is to stay within a comfort zone which creates more of the same so I constantly have to ask myself, these two questions:

What is my goal?  How can I step out in faith and do something to prepare and show that I'm ready for it?

With this technique, I find that the bolder the action, the better.  Remember the law of physics that says "every action has an equal and opposite reaction?" I read on site that this law means that "if you push on something, it pushes back on you."  When I push in a direction towards what I want, I get a reaction that is equal (or greater).  So I constantly force myself to take big steps towards my goals hoping that it's stepping towards me at the exact same time.   

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Today's a special day because I'm featuring a guest post from a dear friend of mine.  I admire her fashion sense, creative mind and her sharp wit.  Her magnetic personally is what first drew me to her so many years ago.  We were in a room full of people and when she shared her story, I said to myself "I have to know her."  The rest is history.  When she talked about launching her new blog,  Label Addict, I was beyond excited.  So I asked her to grace us with a guest post.  This should hold us down until her blog launches on March 16th.

Label Addict Guest Post
I'm frugal for the most part and I don't get overly excited about things but this shoe has evoked an emotion.  I can't quite say which one it is....just yet or maybe there are several emotions but I just need to wrangle them in.
There's no denying the beauty and detail of this shoe.  Just look at it.  The craftsmanship and creativity are amazing and so worth the cramped calves and the callused soles which will result from walking the 120 feet from the parking lot to the entrance of the gala to where ONLY these shoes could be worn.  Are they practical, No.  Do we care?  Well, yes we do! Speaking for myself, as I progress in life, there are a few things that have changed.

I used to care about how that one pair of shoes would look with outfit I had in mind.  Now, I need the shoe to serve several purposes.  I ask myself, can I wear it to work?  Church? Will they go with anything else in my wardrobe?  Are they an investment or an impulse purchase?  If I buy them, can I return them after I werk the carpet runway in my house? Side Note: Well, technically, it's not a runway but in my mind, it's Fashion Week  in New York and I'm walking for Tom Ford.  Realistically, it's just a long rug that runs down the hallway and keeps me from walking on the cold floor in the winter months.

This allows me to keep my shoes in brand new condition and return them with no problem once sensibility and practicality wake me up from my dream that I am playing dress up in Olivia Pope's closet. How long can I actually stand in them.  In real life!  Not the 'Oh I'm just going to walk from the car to the event and sit down, life".  I don't know how many times I've told myself that and when I actually went to the event, I was standing most of the night because there were either no seats or no gentlemen (ahem) willing to give their seat up! Either way, I can lovingly gaze at these shoes and admire them on others who don't have to go through the three-point process of whether or not to buy them. I'll enjoy this vintage royalty inspired trend by buying items that can be worn comfortably and over the next few months.

Here are a few pieces that allow you to dive into the trend without breaking your ankles, or the bank.  Have fun, it's fashion!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'm convinced I have a fascination with ugly unusual dresses.  A random stop to some obscure boutique led me to this latest find.  This tiny, out of the way, shop has pieces that I would consider mildly pricey.  But because there are very few places in town with unique pieces, I always seem to return.
Something told me to head directly to the clearance rack, the moment I walked in the store, in case there was a special find awaiting me.  Moments later, I emerged with this "cowgirl meets 70's print" dress. You could imagine my amazement when I noticed the $20.00 price tag.  The quality is admirable and I adore the cut out design in the back of the dress.
 Without even realizing it, I found the perfect outfit to pair with my "Slapper" nail color from butter London.  It really brings out the teal blue accent embedded in the dress' pattern.
Wearing Mustard Seed Dress. Saks Fifth Avenue Sandals 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Is it Friday already?  I'm just blown away by how quickly the week has gone by.  Since last week, we talked about a 7 day "Love Yourself Challenge" How did that go for you?  The difference it made for me this past week was really evident.  I've increased my water intake back to acceptable levels. I enjoyed yummy salads all week as a way of feeding my body and skin. After realizing that too much time passed since being consistent with my lash treatment, I started doing that again.  On top of that, I took time in the mornings to apply a little bit of makeup & got back on the habit of taking fermented cod liver oil before heading off to work.  

Things are great!  Obviously, since this challenge worked so well for me, I'm ready to continue.  I'd love to see how far I can take it.  The only area where I didn't get the results I wanted was in my daily workouts.   My schedule has been beyond hectic lately which made getting to the gym a bit of a struggle.  Instead of feeling bad about myself, I decided to focus on what I could do to within my circumstances.  So I got a Fitbit Activity Tracker! This thing is pretty awesome. It tracks all of my activity including calories burned, number of steps taken, distance walked and stairs climbed.

Just having that with me has caused me to walk much more than usual.  For example, this morning I didn't do any "workouts" but as I look down to check my activity, the Fitbit says that I've already walked 1.2 miles!  So now I'll set a goal for myself to walk 5 miles and see how I can fit additional steps into my day.  For example, on Monday I had an all day meeting.  We started at 9:00 am and ended after 7:00 pm for dinner.  Normally, I would sit for the entire day. But a coworker, who also had his Fitbit, showed me how well he was doing and I thought to myself, "I can do that too!"  Long story short, before 12:00 pm, I already clocked in over 2.5 miles.  Every opportunity I had, I took steps and kept moving. When I was waiting for copies, I walked around.  During bathroom breaks, I walked the parking lot.  Each step added up.  Best of all it made me more conscious of my movement which caused me to do more without having to get on a treadmill.

This reminds me of a time when I was listening to an author discussing her book on the subconscious mind.  She shared a story of a study conducted using  housekeepers as the subject.  The hotel housekeepers were asked how many calories did they think they burned doing their job. The answers were provided to the people in charge of the study.  Those leading the study then provided them the actual numbers of how many calories they burned on an average work day.  The housekeepers were then asked to keep doing their work as they normally would for the remainder of the study.  Guess what happened.  A large percentage of them actually lost weight over the next several weeks.  Why?  The hypothesis was that once they had awareness to how much physical activity was taking place, the housekeepers viewed what they were doing, not as a job, but as workout, and lost weight as a result.  I'm hoping this Fitbit will have a similar effect as I now have awareness of how much I walked today and will focus on doing more.

If you would have asked me on Monday how many miles I walked (pre Fitbit), I would have said, "Miles?" I've been in a meeting all day, there was no time for exercise."  But because my awareness was higher, I made sure to maximize every opportunity to keep moving.

Want more inspiration? Be sure to check out other Fitness Friday posts from KLP of Saving our Strands, Ebony of Longing for Length and Britt of Oneand20.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I can not tell you how excited I was after reading a email from a reader who wanted my opinion on a product that claims  to have the power to repair chemically relaxed hair from the inside.  Immediately, I wanted to know more.  What is this product? How does it work? And how can I get my hands on it?

The product is called KHairPep and was first mentioned in an Allure Magazine article. What makes KHairPep work is the active ingredient K18peptipe (trademark).  According to their website, this peptide has the ability to penetrate the cortex of the hair, bonding and rebuilding keratin.  The strengthening benefits of the peptide remains in the hair, even after washing.   The results of their clinical trials show that damaged hair can experience an increase in strength and elasticity of up to 85%.  They tested the strength of virgin hair prior to relaxing and after.  The hair lost about half of it's strength after relaxing but was able to regain up to 90% of it's strength with the application of KHairPep serum.  And, with 4 additional treatments, they observed even more strengthening benefits to the hair.
I don't know about you but this type of news gives me life! This level of hair repair is exactly what I've been waiting for.  First we hear that split ends can be repaired, now we have a product that actually repairs the cortex of the hair.  Do you know how game changing this is?  Ever since I started this blog, my goal has been to help uncover ways to bring as much health back to chemically relaxed hair as possible.  It's been a few years but I finally feel like my mission is actually coming into reality.

Let's go back to the first email sent by a reader which began this conversation.  In it, she wondered about the alcohol listed second ingredient in both KHairPep's serum and hair mask.  Her concern was if the alcohol would be drying to the hair.  I conducted a quick search online to what I could find and yes, that ingredient could be cause for concern if dry hair is an issue.  Confused as to why a product that is meant to repair the hair would have this ingredient so high on list, I reached out to them to seek understanding.

Within days, one of the Co-Founders of the brand reached out to me with a plausible explanation.  Here's what they said:

"The alcohol is present in the KhairPep Transforme™ products for two reasons. The main reason is that it helps swell the hair cuticle which facilitates penetration of our proprietary peptide into the hair. The related reason is that it helps dissolve lipids that would otherwise slow the entry of the peptide into the hair.
Some customers may feel a drying effect. However, it is a necessary step in the process and the result is stronger, more elastic hair and healthier hair. Khairpep is a treatment and as a result we purposely did not build in many cosmetic properties. We wanted it to be the best at repairing hair that has been damaged by bleaching, coloring, straightening etc. Once consumers have used our treatment they can apply any styling or conditioning products that you they like - by this time, the peptide will be inside and repairing the damaged hair.
Some of our customers with dry hair prefer the masque which has additional conditioning (compared to the serum).
To summarize, there may be some drying effect, but it is a necessary part of the treatment and the result is worth it for those with very damaged hair."

 It makes sense. We invest a lot time protecting our cuticle layer and sealing it up to prevent further damage. So if they make a product that is meant to deeply penetrate, we have to open up the cuticle to allow it to do it's thing.  Totally understandable.  And like he said, we can easily reapply moisture to our hair following the treatment.  Since I'm continuing the habit learned from my last 7 day challenge, I know I can maintain decent moisture levels.

Then I went on to ask a few additional questions like the difference between this amazing peptide and functional keratin which we just learned about recently.  And whether this would make for a good reconstructor after a relaxer (prior to neutralizing).  Here's what he said:

"With regards to functional Keratin, it is extracted from wool.  It is a bigger protein that sticks to the surface of the hair fibre.  It can be removed by friction/abrasion under normal conditions...  Our peptide actually penetrates the hair. With regards to your second question, we have not tested Khairpep products after relaxer and prior to neutralizing.  However, our products need to be applied at neutral-acid conditions.... It therefore makes sense that it should not be applied before the neutralizing.  (I believe that relaxing is done at high alkaline levels?). In terms of when to use our product, we recommend using after hair damage (e,g, after bleaching, coloring, relaxing, etc).  Use it 2-4 times depending on hair damage, the next times that you wash your hair.  Maintenance is typically once every 1-2 weeks but depends on personal preference too.  The pertide leaves the hair slowly over time. Note that you use KP products after shampooing while the hair is still damp, but BEFORE the application of any conditioner or styling products because these will block entry of the peptide into the hair."
So there you have it.  The functional keratin is useful for surface level damage while this peptide can take care of things from beneath the surface.  I thought this would be a great product to use directly after a relaxer but it seems to be a better option as a just after the hair has been neutralized but prior to deep conditioning.  With all the info given, I was excited and ready to place my order but, before I did, they generously offered to provide me samples of both the conditioner and the serum and I humbly accepted.  I can't wait to test them out and share my thoughts with you.  Summer is around the corner and I have a clear vision of where I want my hair to be by then.  This product came right on time.

Stay tuned for my update.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Welcome back to another installment in our "Avoiding Setbacks Series."  Please, pour a cup of bamboo tea and make yourself at home.  So far we've talked about the importance of consistency and making sure we "act fast" whenever see signs of damage approaching.  Today, we are going to focus on acting preemptively to keep setbacks from happening in the first place.

The lesson for today is:
In a previous lesson, we noted that essentially, there are two main types of setbacks.  The kind creeps up on you ever so slowing and the kind that can happen in the blink of an eye due to excessive trauma to the hair.  Most of the time, the traumatic setback could be avoided or minimized if we proactively prepare for any issues that could arise.

Whenever we are going in for a chemical service, we should be taking the proactive approach. For instance.  My last relaxer yielded less than stellar results.  Why? Because I didn't take adequate amounts of pre-caution to limit the impact of the chemical processing.  Sure, I poured a capful of Pure Protein and silk amino acids into the cream to prevent my new growth from over processing, but I didn't do a good job in protecting my previously relaxed hair.  In the past I would use Preservo Serum on my dry hair as a means protecting the hair even further.  Just imagine how things could have been if I used the serum to protect the length of my hair and pure protein/silk amino acids for new growth protection.  I'd leave almost no room for mishaps to occur.  Instead, I moved forward, knowing I didn't have my beloved serum and hoped for best.

Hoping for the best in the exact opposite of what we should do in our hair journey.  Whenever we are faced a situation that could go "either way" we should always be over prepared.  Situations can include but are not limited to:

  • Relaxer Touchups.
  • A visit to the stylist for any reason whatsoever.
  • A major detangling session.
  • Prior to heat styling
  • Other chemical process like coloring/bleaching the hair.
  • Trying something new with your hair like a clay mask or something your hair has never experienced before.
Those are just a few examples to get you thinking.  Pretty much, whenever we are about to enter in a situation where something could go wrong, always prepare for the worst.  Take extra precautions to over prepare your hair so you limit the number of casualties.  If you are going to detangle stubborn knots, make sure you have the best product on the market to help you.  If you will be using heat, protect your hair like never before.  Planning on doing an intense protein treatment?  Figure out how to balance with moisture as quickly as possible.  You get the picture.

The point is that whenever your are about to undergo an experience with your hair, always, always think of the worst case scenarios and plan to address them accordingly.  Got it?  Good! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

While strolling through my inbox, I stumbled upon an email from Sephora urging me to spend an additional $72.00 so I can reach VIP status in their frequent shopper's program.  Instantly, I knew how I would divvy up the purchase.  One product in particular was itching to get off my wish list.  The moment I learned of Oscar Blandi's heat protectant spray, I wanted it.  Having run out of my Kerastaste Fibre Architecte just recently, I knew the time was right.

Also on my list of potentials was LORAC's Pro Palette, and Kat Von D Lock it Foundation. Unfortunately, they were all out of the Pro Palette.  Although I wanted desperately to fall in love with the Lock it Foundation, I couldn't find an exact color match.  The coverage on this foundation is insane. I see why there are so many glowing reviews on YouTube.  Although I couldn't get most of what was on my wish list,  I was completely happy to find the item that brought me there in the first place.  Plus I also walked away with NARS NARSisisste palette, Sephora's Lip Last in #24 (Cocoa Passion), and a product called The Heathy Deodorant which has no aluminum, dyes or parabens.

On Friday, I reached for my Sedu iron as I was preparing to try the spray heat protectant for the first time.  After spraying sections of my hair, I proceeded to iron on a relatively low heat. Although the Oscar Blandi spray promises protection up to 450 degrees, I prefer to use a much lower heat setting even if the outcome isn't bone straight. One thing noticeably absent as I flat ironed each section was the sizzling sound one might hear as the water in our heat protectant quickly evaporates.  No sizzling sound was heard because I misted lightly and waited a few moments for the particles to sink in before applying heat. I'm hoping this means that my hair was experiencing less damage this time around.

My absolute favorite thing about this product is how light and airy it is.  Those of you who like lots of movement when you blow out and flat iron will love this.  Honestly, it felt like my hair had no product at all.  It's an obvious contrast from serum-type heat protectants.  My Kerastase serum did, however, give my hair a noticeable shine.  I dunno, I think I prefer the weightlessness of the Oscar Blandi spray.  Perhaps I can use the spray when flat ironing and apply the Kerastase serum afterwards as a finishing serum.  Because it has a greater water content, it can also rehydrate my hair after the flat ironing process.

My final verdict is that this product is keeper.  I really like it and would definitely repurchase.
Butane, Disiloxane, Propane, Aqua/ Water/ Eau, VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, PVP, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, DMDM Hydantoin, Propylene Glycol, Quaternium-26, Parfum.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I want to share a story with you.  About two years ago, I was walking around a city park located downtown.  At the time, I was struggling with the lack of progress with my goals and intentions.  It seemed like I was struggling to achieve the things I wanted in my life.  Then suddenly, I was stuck with a thought that changed the course of my life forever.

As my walk was coming to a close, I glanced to my right and saw my dream car, an Audi A6, near a parking meter.  Just ahead of me where a group of school children taking part in an outdoor activity.  One of the chaperone's/teachers was a young lady who embodied some of the qualities I wanted to have.  Her hair was long and healthy, her skin glowed, she was fit.  Within seconds, I was confronted with an image of my dream car and of how I wanted to look and feel.  As you could imagine, I started feeling down on myself because none of it rang true for me.  "Why can't my life be like that?" I started to think as I focused on all the lack in my life.

 Then, as quickly as I focused on what was "wrong," I started to realize my power in the situation.  Suddenly, I asked myself, "what can I do to bring what I want into reality today?"  Meaning, even though I did have the outcome yet, I could still do things today that would make my current reality look more like the one I wanted.

That very day, I went home and went to work.  Immediately, I did everything within my power to make my current environment look like the one I wanted.  I didn't have my dream car and wasn't in the position to buy one at the moment so I asked myself. "What can I do to make it feel like I have a new car?" The answer to that question was to clean and organize the one I was currently driving.  And that I did.  I made sure that every time I stepped into my car, it would make me feel as good if I were stepping into my Audi.  After caring for my current car consistently for weeks, I decided to bring it up a notch by visiting the dealership, taking a test drive, and buying an official Audi keychain.  This was my way of bringing my future Audi into existence today.
My former Ipad lock screen
 I made my Ipad lock screen an image image of a bouquet of flowers sitting on the passenger side of an Audi A8.  In bringing it into reality, I would regularly purchase fresh flowers, place them on my passenger side and rest my Audi keychain in plain view.  I'd take pics of it, trying desperately to recreate my vision in reality.  Over a year later, it became real.

Then, I thought about the vision I held for physical myself and decided to immediately put new habits into practice.  I painted my nails, gave myself a facial, did my hair and made the decision to look my best every day (whether I felt like it or not).  I had one job to do, and that was to make my outer appearance look like the vision I had for myself.  This mission also led me through an intense skincare journey which created results I would never have imagined.  This theory of bringing my desires into reality was also put into practice with my fitness journey.

Lately, I realize that I haven't done this much.  My results were so amazing last year that I allowed myself to lose focus on the process.  Having realized this, I'm ready to get back on track.  My focus, this year, is to paint my life's picture so it's mirrors my vision.  For example, when I looked at inspirational images of beautiful hair, I noticed that most all of them had trimmed, healthy ends.  In reality, my ends needed trimming so I aligned myself by dusting off the parts that didn't appear as it did in my vision.  On my Pinterest, "Dream Home" board, I collect images of ultra modern high end homes.  Again, I am not (currently) at a place where I can purchase a home like those. But I can mimic it in my reality today.  Perhaps I purchase a plant like I see in one of those pics.  Maybe I invest an hour decluttering to recreate the minimalistic look.   Or I could invest in high end candles that make my home smell like a million bucks!  The reason why want to do this is because it creates THE FEELING OF HAVING IT NOW!  I felt just as good when I took those pics of flowers sitting in the passenger seat of my 1997 Toyota as I did when I re-enacted that picture with my real Audi.  They say that "feeling as though you already have it" is crucial in evoking the Law of Attraction. For me, creating those feelings from a simple visualization is a little difficult. Visualization may work well for some, but I struggle sometimes.  So I do this technique as a bridge to join what I want with the current reality. Vision Boards are great tools but I see this process as bringing it one step closer to making it real. This method of bringing it into existence works like a charm.

 I also practice another version of this method that I will discuss in a post next week.

Have you ever tried something like this?  Please share.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Last week, I was fortunate enough to take a quick trip to L.A.  Since most of the trip was dedicated to work, I only had a few hours to dedicate to exploring the city.  I had to act fact so I reached for my Yelp app and searched for the nearest "boutiques" and found Shopaholic Sample Sales.
Quickly, I made my way over there hoping I'd find something I'd be able to afford.
After perusing the sales floor for a few minutes, I stumbled upon some must have jewelry items and a few potentials for my wardrobe.  My bliss was interrupted by a super friendly sales girl who inquired about whether I was ready to try on my selections.
Once I let her know I was ready, she led me to a "community dressing room"  where several women were trying on clothes.  Never in my life have I tried on clothes in an open room with others so I was taken a back by the experience.  I tried to play it off by acting as if this was a normal occurrence for me.  
After the shopping was done, I once, again asked my trusty Yelp App for  sushi recommendations.  Much to my delight, the was a location nearby that featured black rice sushi!  Ever since I was first introduced black rice, I've been on the lookout for a local restaurant that offered black rice as an option, with no luck.
Luckily for me, Slowfish gave me the chance to have my wish.

I enjoyed two black rice rolls as a perfect ending to a wonderful afternoon.  Having seen black rice sushi with my own eyes, I have the confidence to recreate them at home.  Can't wait to go back.

For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Friday everyone & Happy Valentine's day!  Hopefully your day will be filled with loads of love and appreciation.  Today is also (Health &) Fitness Friday.  Since today is a special day,  I'd like to engage in a conversation with you about love.  More specifically, loving yourself.

Telling someone you love them is one thing, but showing love and appreciation takes it to another level.  Too often we fail to demonstrate love to the person who needs it the most....ourselves.  Life gets super busy and we place all of our energy on fulfilling the needs & demands of others.   Sometimes this happens at the mercy of our own well being.  Today I'm here to preach the message of showing love to oneself.  One of the most common ways to show you love someone or something is by taking great care of it.

Sometimes when I think if my fitness journey, I see it through the lens of "I need to get my body right!"   Rarely do I say to myself "I haven't been taking care of myself lately."  Same thing when my water intake is low.  I start thinking, "I got to drink more so my skin can get better" not "I haven't been putting myself first." When I don't sleep enough it's "I need to sleep more because I'm starting to look really exhausted."  I can go on.  But the point is that I realize that my actions are fueled by the desire to "fix" a situation rather than from a place of true care and concern.  If I truly did what I did from a place of love, my actions would be consistent. I'd act proactively and consistently.  No more reacting to outward signs of neglect.
So I'm ready to participate in a 7 Day Love Myself Challenge!  My last 7 Day Challenge was an amazing success so I'm maintaining that habit and layering a new one.  For the next 7 Days (and beyond),  I will do "the things I know I should do" out of love and care for myself, not merely out of obligation.  I've  set a daily reminder on my phone that reads:

"I love you!"  I will care for you by drinking water, exercising and making sure I look my best.  My goal is to create a mindset shift so I wake up every morning thinking of ways to love myself.  To love my hair, my skin, my mind, my body, my environment, my financial situation, my life! Would you like to join me in a 7 Day Love Myself Challenge?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

As a follow up to my 7 day moisturizing & sealing challenge, I want to let you into the part of the story I didn't share in that post.  I sang the praises of how daily moisturizing preserved my hair  during the pre-poo manipulation process.  I was so happy with the results, I thought nothing could go wrong.  After pre-pooing, I jumped into the shower to wash and prepare for the deep conditioning. Once complete, I stepped out of the shower, allowed my hair to partially dry and began to apply the conditioner section by section. 

Here's where things seemed to go wrong.  With every application of product, I would look at my hand and find broken pieces of hair. Some short, some longer.  How in the heck did that happen?  Just minutes prior I was patting myself in the back  for a wonderful experiment which seemed to create the most amazing outcome.  Now, suddenly, I was brought back full circle. 

The first thing I did was analyze why this was happening.  Why was my hair responding poorly to a simple thing like applying product.  The only answer the came to me was the possibility that my, already moisturized hair became over saturated with moisture after the wash.  All the conditioning/protective product was washed out when I shampooed, leaving swollen strands of hair.  Then, as I applied thick conditioners, my fragile damp hair succumbed to the pressure.  I'm not sure if my theory holds true but I'm willing to practice rule #2 in setback avoidance and act fast!  After I rinsed the conditioner from my hair, that breakage I was experiencing seemed to go away. It was like the product protected my hair during the wet manipulation.

The very next wash day, I'm going to conduct a dry pre-poo/deep condition.  Meaning I will apply product to my dry hair, then steam and use my conditioning iron.  Then, I'll step into the shower, rinse, and use cleansing conditioner.  For my scalp, I will apply some essential oil during the pre-poo step when I have the most access to my scalp.  If this works out, every 2nd or 3rd wash I will clarify to keep product build up at bay.  Actually, dry deep conditioning was something I did previously but somehow, I gravitated towards the more traditional approach.  But after last week's experience, I think I'm ready to go back to the non-traditional route.  Keep you updated!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The other day I thought back to my first 7 day challenge. Basically, I picked an action and challenged myself to do it every day for a week. My first challenge was pretty successful.  I made the commitment to work out daily and followed through on my promise no matter what it took.  At the end of the 7 days, I felt a strong sense of accomplishment and knowing that anything was possible.

So I said,  why stop there? Why not keep this going with other challenges?  After a few minutes of contemplation, I decided to partake in a daily moisturizing challenge.  My motivation was to recreate a time, long ago, when I would apply a small amount of oil to my hair a couple of times a day.  After a while, others noticed that my hair appeared healthier and the compliments poured in.  Since that time, I've strayed far away from that habit.  In fact,  when I was bunning almost daily, it was not uncommon  to go days without moisturizing. 

My first action was to grab my trusty Iphone so I could create a daily reminder. A total of 3 daily reminders were set.  One in the morning, one midday and a third in the evening.  If the timing was right, I would moisturize and seal up to 3X daily.  But, honestly, I was happy to do it even once a day.  A week has now past and now it's time for reflection.

 Because of the frequency in product application, I chose Gleau oil blend which is light enough not to weigh the hair down. As  expected, my hair looked and felt better overall by the end of the week. Normally, by wash day my hair is pretty dry. But this past weekend, things were different.  Overall my hair still retained moisture and had some "hang time" even on wash day (which never happens).  The best part of this experiment came as I conducted my pre-poo session.  Since I don't do much combing during the week, my pre-poo usually results in lots of broken and shed hairs due to all the manipulation.  Not this time.  In fact, this was probably the most successful pre-poo to date.  I've never lost this little amount of hair during the pre-poo before.

I can't deny results like this.  Even though a week has come and gone, I will continue this practice as much as possible. It's definitely a keeper for me.  One thing I will do differently going forward is part my hair in sections when I apply product so every strand receives the benefits.  Another opportunity missed, that I will do more, of is seal my ends every 3rd day or so to further protect from all the manipulation.  Since this 7 day ritual was so successful, I've begun thinking of future experiments to  conduct.  Maybe a 7 day inversion challenge or a 3 liter of water a day challenge.  Who knows? The sky is truly the limit.  If you are battling chronic dryness, I urge you to try this for a week and see how your hair responds.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I told you that I'd pick up IMAN's CC Creme when it came out, didn't I?  After several trips to the makeup aisle and coming back empty handed,  you could imagine my surprise when I finally stumbled upon it on a random stop at the drug store for bottled water.

Without even thinking, I snatched the box right up.   I couldn't wait to give this powdered corrector a try. One of the coolest things about this product is it's packaging.  You get a small compact jar of what appears to be loose powder.

  I'm really digging the little pop-up top that protects it from spillage.  Honestly, I appreciate the size and the bit of extra attention paid into making sure the powder doesn't spill. I fully intend to take this CC Corrector wherever I go. It feels good knowing that I likely won't reach into my bag one day only to find it covered in cocoa powder. I've spilled foundation in my bag before and you would have thought I lost a loved one the way I wailed in sorrow. No more worrying about packing a liquid foundation with me because this amazing powder provides a pretty decent level of coverage.

As you can see above, I conducted a little test on a scar located near my wrist. I used the applicator sponge to apply the CC Corrector directly on the scar to gauge it's level of coverage. Although it's a powder, it feels more like foundation. It doesn't turn liquid or anything, it just sinks into the skin real nicely, providing a smooth finish. After application, I read the back of the box where it states that it's most effective when paired with the BB Creme. So I grabbed it and gave the duo a try. As you can see from the last pic, the level of combined coverage is pretty impressive. Best of all, it feels so light & weightless on the skin. Definitely a great combination. If some of you have the BB Creme but don't love the light sheen it provides, this CC Corrector should take care of that. This may not totally cover extremely obvious scars but it's perfect for everyday. I was actually on the lookout for a new pressed powder but I think I'll hold off now. These two gems are exactly what I needed.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Monday!  I'm practicing the habit of seeing Monday, as a fresh start to a new week as opposed to the dreaded day of horror I used to see it as.  I'd like to utilize Monday as the day where I set new goals and get connected to how I make each day of the week count.  Prior to the start of 2014,  I watched a seminar on Youtube that focused on how our lives are crafted by simple, consistent action we take day after day.

Taking action is a great thing, but before action there is something that happens which is even more critical than the action itself.  The reason behind its importance is that it drives the action.  The "thing" I speak of is....CHOICE.

This year, I am committed to making as many choices that support my ideal life as possible.  The realization that helped drive this commitment, is that my day is pretty much a sum of the thousands of decisions I make.  And my life is the sum of the millions of tiny decisions I've made throughout all of my days. Reminds me of how solid objects aren't really one single item but a sum of all the atoms that make up the whole.  Meaning, if we really look at our lives under the "microscope" we can see all the factors that led us to the outcomes we experience today. Actually our choices have a compound effect that either catapults us to where we want to be or not.  

If my pants are feeling a little too tight, I can trace it back to my decision(s) not to exercise while saying "yes" to unhealthy snacks.  If I'm feeling overwhelmed, it's likely because I decided not to plan my day and utilize time management strategies to stay on task.   Choices are everything.  You might remember me sharing a story of when I was just waking from an afternoon nap. I was still in that phase when not yet fully awake.  Suddenly, I had a dream/vision where this man was standing surrounded by a large group of people. I could tell the man was very successful and highly sought after. Everyone around him was vying for his attention. Just before his departure, I quickly ran up to him, navigating through the crowd of eager onlookers, and asked him to give me the one piece of advice that would create success.  The man looked at me and replied......choices, before turning around and disappearing.  As soon as I heard him speak, I woke up.  

That's when I realized that if  I weren't making the right choices at the smallest level, my life may not turn out as I imagine.  Here's the kicker, most people (including myself) tend to make the same choices day after day (good or bad).  Our brains are wired to create rituals/routines so it can delegate most of our waking hours to our subconscious minds.  Yes, most of the decisions we make are on the subconscious level. Meaning we don't even realize it's a choice. The only issue with that is that our subconscious prefers to "make choices" based on a pre-written program.  Meaning, if we made the choice on a few occasions before, our subconscious minds now select it as a default action for future situations which are similar in nature.

So how does one break the cycle of "bad" or unconscious choices so she can actively choose options that support the life she wants?  Three things:


Awareness is the first step that breaks us out of our zombie-like state.  Otherwise we repeat the same day over and over again.  If our awareness is high, we can see all the options available to us in any given situation.  When the options are clear, we don't fall into the trap of repeating the same behavior over and over again.  There are a few ways to increase our awareness.  One way is through meditation.  We've talked about the benefits before.  Meditation has a direct impact on our awareness.  Another tip I have comes from a book I read years ago.  In it the author describes conducting studies to help raise the awareness levels of participants.  One of the exercises she prescribed was for participants to think about all the options they had before making any choice.  For example, instead of just reaching for eggs and bacon for breakfast, the person would ask herself, "what are my choices" and list out all the options.  From that place, she was more likely chose a different outcome.

Action is the next tool you have.  More specifically, action outside your comfort zone.  For instance, if you volunteer to make a presentation, even though you afraid of speaking in public, you are literally creating a new possible future for yourself.  If you repeat that action of taking opportunities to practice public speaking, you are taking active part redefining yourself.  Same thing happens if you repeatedly take any action that isn't what you normally would do.

Finally, one must have a safeguard from keeping themselves from operating out of the same habit loop over and over again.  The safeguard is dedicated time for reflection. At the end of the day, I can ask myself questions that raise my awareness about the choices I made.  Reflection doesn't only happen after the fact, I should also take time to reflect on the day prior to happening.  Opportunities also exist to reflect numerous times throughout the day.  Sometimes, I might randomly ask myself "how did I manage my time in the last hour?"  "Is there anything I could have done differently?"  or "I've got an hour before my next appt, how can I best use this time?"

If you inject awareness, action (outside of routine), and reflection throughout the day, you suddenly find yourself making new choices throughout the day. New choices create new realities.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It's been a while since I've shared my craves.  I'm happy to say that while my current list isn't long, everything on it is near and dear to my heart.  After seeing a few pics of gorgeous aqua nails, I immediately become obsessed.  It's just the right color to usher in spring.  I asked your recommendations for the perfect shade on the Facebook Fan page.  Suggestions included China Glaze's For Audrey, Essie's Turquiose & Caicos, and Naughty Nautical.  I can't wait to try 'em.

  It's also worth mentioning that I'm on the lookout for a couple more eyes shadow palettes.  On my hit list is Lorac's Pro palette. By the looks of it, I may get more use from it than my Naked or Naked 2.  The color options are flawless an I'm such a sucker for rich brown tones. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out before I finally place an order.  

It wasn't that long ago when I was contemplating my future handbag purchase.  If you remember correctly, I have my eye on the Boy Bag.  But, if the stars were aligned just right, I would also own the Givenchy Antigona tote.  I have a soft spot for large bags.  Too often, oversized handbags don't have the structure that you'd find in the smaller counterparts.  I love the clean lines and timeless appearance of this bag.  My secret fantasy is to work at some fancy high rise office in New York.  Each  morning, I would step into the elevator, wearing tailored clothing, designer shoes and my Givenchy Antigona.

Not too long ago, we discussed the distinction between your typical keratin protein and functional keratin.  If you haven't read that article, I highly recommend it. At the time, the only commercial product I could find on the market was Paul Mitchell Awapuhi.  I promptly picked up the deep conditioning treatment.  That's when I also realized that also available was Keraplex Treatment in vials.  There's something about a hair product in vials that get's my heart racing.  It just screams "highly concentrated  power!"  I think back to the wonderful experiences I got from indulging in Biolage's Cera Repair.  So, of course, I'll have to get my hands on this Keraplex Treatment.   And finally, the newest addition to my current craves.  As I mentioned earlier, I thought Awapuhi was the only functional keratin product available to us.  I was wrong.  One of my amazing readers did her research and found yet another source of this rare keratin.  Global Keratin actually boasts of having functional keratin right on the label. My curiosity has gotten the best of me, and the price is right, which leaves me no choice but to grab it

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I simply love a wardrobe pieces that are highly versatile and stylish.  Today I'm featuring a staple piece that each one of us should have in our wardrobe.  I picked up my first long sleeve denim shirt early last year and I've been tempted to reach for it every time I look in my closet.

I've been pretty consistent with rocking my denim shirt with dark or light colored pants.  Lately, I'm really inspired by the denim shirt + skirt pairing.
Guess Long Sleeve Denim Top on Sale ($23.99)

Even though I already have a denim shirt in my wardrobe, I will promptly acquire 1 or 2 more in various shades and fit.  To me, the denim shirt is an understated classic piece that will never go out of style.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy Friday! Today I'm bringing a dose of motivation via a "Fitness Friday Post!" I'm partnering with a few other bloggers to bring this feature to you each Friday. Since we last talked I reminded everyone that "Summer Bodies are Made in the Winter." Over the past few weeks I've been operating under a new mindset. Before, working out was something I fit into my life when convenient.
early morning workout session posted on my Instagram

 My huge "Aha moment" came after realizing that I couldn't successfully operate under that way of thinking. In that same instance, I decided that keeping fit and healthy would be a priority and not something I did if time permitted. Since that shift in mindset occurred, things have been pretty amazing. Now, when I wake up in the morning, that great debate about whether I have time to work out or not doesn't exist. I just do it. So far, that's been working out really well. Even during my hectic travels, I realize that I can't afford to allow my commitment to waiver.

 This morning I got a call from my brother who was feeling a little down about his progress. A couple of years ago he would run several 5k races a year and even ran a half marathon. Today, he was feeling uninspired about his lack of physical exercise and subsequent changes in his body. After asking a few questions we talked about how he could "batch" his physical activity with other things that took up his time. In his case, the evenings were spend on the phone with his long distance girlfriend. After exploring his situation further, I suggested he work out (walk or run) while on the phone with her. Just a simple shift in how he normally does things could create a totally different outcome for him a few months from now. Who knows, he might be back to running marathons again. I share that story to tell all of you that "there is always a way." And besides, there is never a time when after working out I say to myself "I shouldn't have done that," or "I could have spent my time doing something better." That NEVER happens. But I can't tell you how many times I've regretted not working out.  So I chose to live a life with no regrets.

 If you would like to stay inspired with me, please check out my Get Fit! board on my Pinterest Page.

Check out these other Fitness Friday posts below.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm welcoming back an old friend into my regimen.  After re-reading my first experience after using Silica gel regularly for 30 days, I was once again inspired to pick up some more.  In my post, I gushed over how much my nails flourished and how well my skin responded to receiving an abundance of silica in a readily absorbable form. 

So, in my true form, I decided to go all out and take advantage of the special offer on Amazon of 3 packages for a special  price. My reason for doing this is so I have enough to last for the rest of the year.  This will prevent me from taking it for a month, experiencing the benefits, then falling off again.  Three packages makes sure that won't happen.

My plan is to incorporate the gel into my already loaded smoothie.  Along with all the green powders, collagen, gelatin, etc, my body will also get to experience this silica gel.  I'm super curious to see what will come from having both collagen and colloidal silica in one shot.  Silica helps our body create & maintain collagen levels so I anticipate great results from combining the two.

I know that purchasing 3 bottles at a time is quite an investment. But ever since I started to focus on creating healthy skin through nutritional support and lots of water, I spend next to nothing on skin care products which has freed up my resources to get more good stuff like this. The reviews are undeniable, this stuff really works. It's just a matter of investing in the results I want to achieve.

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