Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Typically, when I walk through a busy airport, I like to keep my focus on where I'm going.  But every once in a while, I see something out of the corner of my eye that sparks a bit of inspiration.  And that's exactly what happened recently while walking hurriedly towards to my departing gate. Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of a woman who was perfectly styled with fitted jeans a white tee and the most perfect bomber jacket.

In that instant, I immediately placed a bomber jacket on my want list for all.  I have somewhat of a petite frame and rarely find jackets that make sense for my body type.  Often times, the fit doesn't work, the sleeves are too long, or the jacket covers up the outfit instead of complimenting it. The bomber jacket does none of that.  It's a dream come true.


Monday, September 29, 2014

I learned a very valuable lesson last week and I felt compelled to share it so you can avoid making the same mistake. As you read this post imagine me sitting across from you staring you directly in the eyes as I beg you to heed my words.

I consider myself somewhat risk averse.  Simply put, I like to play it safe.  I'd rather save my money than invest it.  Before making a decision I like to weigh all the pros and cons.  And I also tend to hesitate with taking action. Sometimes waiting until it's absolutely necessary before I take a step forward.

Every time I hesitate in taking action, I rationalize that I protecting myself from an undesirable outcome.  I couldn't be further from the truth.  In fact, it is my hesitation that actually creates the undesirable outcome.  Any time that still, small voice tells me to take a step forward, I begin to logically break down the decision to see if it makes sense.  Nine times out of ten, I eventually end up going with my first inclination. And when I do, I realize how much my hesitation cost me.

Listen.  Every time you take a new action, you receive a new result.  Every time you hesitate, you are preventing that new result from coming into your life.  Every time your inner voice tells you to do something....you should consider that message as prompt to move into a new (wonderful) territory.  Forget the reasons and excuses.  Whenever the voice prompts. Ask yourself this question.  What good will come if I do this now?  Chances are, you will experience several benefits if you take that step.  If you don't, you'll lose. Maybe lose is too strong of a word.  Let's just say that there is a cost.  You delay the possibility of something new, wonderful, and amazing from happening.  You prevent yourself from moving forward.

Do me a favor, next time you hear the prompt to take a new action.  Analyze all the potential benefits that may come from moving forward with the action immediately versus putting it off.  Think about how much further along you will be if you start today.  Then go!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

We're on the topic of micro-trimming and how that could possibly be the answer to getting rid of thin ends for ever. I'm committed to taking off about 1/4 of length a month for the next six months (maybe more).  My goal is to cut off my current ends, over time, as my new growth comes in.  In essence, one should not lose much (if any) length using this process.
thick ends inspiration

Honestly, although this method is simple, it isn't easy.  I know that I'll be battling the mental block of having to cut ends that aren't breaking simply for the sake of thickness.  I can almost foresee the need for length taking over, tempting me to go back to my old ways.

I plan to make micro-trimming a dual focused process.  While trimming on a monthly basis, I'll also employ various strategies to promote healthy growth to balance the loss of length.  Wouldn't it be great to have thicker ends AND gain length at the same time?  That's literally a dream come true.

I actually think this is VERY possible.  It's been 1 day since my first micro trim.  When I manipulate my hair now, one very noticeable difference is how much breakage has reduced.  I anticipate a reduction of daily manipulation related breakage + a reduction of detangling related breakage on wash day.  As I remain consistent in the monthly micro trims, this reduction in breakage will be multiplied over time. Meaning, I will retain length simply from having trimmed, healthy ends for such an extended period.  Even though I'm cutting of 1/4 inches of hair a month,  I may actually retain more length in the long run.

But what's most important is that I focus on maximizing growth over the next six months.  Since we are entering into the fall & winter season, I've got to be even more diligent.  As part of my strategy, I will be going back to regular supplementation.  I can't wait for my first shipment of Beautifully Bamboo Hair, Skin & Nails supplement to arrive.  It's a supplement that I've formulated to include everything I've ever wanted in a hair vitamin.  More details on that later but the vitamins should be ready in early October (*EXCITED*).  I've also gotta make sure to eat healthy, drink loads of water and keep circulation high by focusing on cardio sessions.  Obviously, I'll be doing scalp massages and other growth promoting activities as well.  

I remember feeling terrible, a couple of years ago, because of having to chop off several inches of unproductive length.  Although my hair looked great, I was depressed over the whole ordeal.  Micro-trimming should provide me similar results while retaining/gaining length.  That's why I chose an aggressive strategy in the beginning.  Eventually, I'll then my trimming schedule to bi-monthly or quarterly once I've nailed the process.  

Let's do this!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Let me ask you a question.  If you could be the same length as you are now (or maybe a little longer) but instead of tapered, uneven, or thin ends, you can have a full thick ends.  Would you want that?  Of course you would. What if I told you that there could be a way to achieve that. Would you be interested?

Before I explain the specifics let me first set the tone for our conversation.  I have had many internal conversations wondering how those of us who chemically treat our hair can have thickness all the way down to our ends.  It seemed almost impossible short of doing a major chop.  But even after a chop the length seems to eventually return to its former state.  Notice how many people are doing mini-chops after a touchup to eliminate wispy ends.  It just seems like a never ending problem.

The solution to this issue may come in the form of a method called micro trimming. This is where one trims off 1/4 to 1/2 inches of hair monthly, every other month or quarterly for the purposes of creating thicker, fuller ends.  Essentially, the regular trims will remove my current ends, and, as new hair grows in, my new length will take over the place where my old (thin) ends once were.

This method is one that requires a long term commitment.  No longer will I only be focusing on the short term needs of my hair (such as dryness, breakage, etc) I must also have a long term strategy in place.  Since it's #FearlessFriday, I decided to institute microtrimming starting today.  I actually washed my hair at 6:00 am so I can trim during my roller set.  After my first micro-trim session, I'm already loving how much better my hair feels.  Can't wait until next month until I do it again.

In my case, I think I'll take the aggressive route and start with monthly trims.  Yes. Every month, I'll take off 1/4 of an inch.  I'll do this for at least 6 months then assess my progress. Essentially, my length could remain about the same while my ends appear fuller.  Notice I said,"could" remain the same.  In the back of my mind, I'm devising a plan to achieve both length and thickness!

We'll discuss this more in part II of this post. But for now, I invite you to reflect on your journey to see if this method could be beneficial to you.  Is anyone already doing this now?  Please share your experience.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'll admit it.  After writing the post sharing coconut oil of the beauty secret of the flight attendant with gorgeous skin, I was on totally on board.  I tried that method for a few nights and, my skin loved it!  Then I fell off.

But, I've now found new reason to get my behind right back on track.  But before I tell you what my motivation is, let me first take you back.  Many moons ago, I watched a movie called Class Act with Kid & Play.  One of the love interests in the movie was this woman with amazing skin & gorgeous hair.   I mean....just look at her.

That was 22 years ago.  Recently, she randomly popped into my mind and I decided to do some digging to find out whatever happened to her.  Honestly, I was a little nervous to stumble on updated pics because I've had too many experiences where I'm disheartened by the current state of my childhood heroes.  The last thing I wanted to find out was that time had gotten the best of her and Alysia was now only a shadow of her former self.   Turns out that Alysia Rogers is pretty active on Facebook so it wasn't that hard to find her.

But I was not ready for what I saw when I landed on her page. The woman has barely aged in the last two decades!  Immediately, I went into hyper drive scouring her comments for signs of beauty secrets buried within her skin care regimen.  Turns out that others were just as curious as I was to know her routines as I was.  So when she invited her followers to ask her a question, you know everyone was asking about her beauty/skin care routine.

Here's what she shared:
"I keep it really simple : Its crazy I went through my phases with slight skin problems (pimples ) but I soon realized it was the soda and what I was putting in my body . Start from the inside ...drink lots of water ..even if you hate it !! Wash your face every night and use a mild astringent after. I then take a little coconut oil and use it as my moisturizer ...I know oil but believe it or not Coconut Oil is natures secret to skin, hair and health !!!"

You don't have to tell me twice Miss "I haven't aged in 20 years."   I will faithfully drink ample amounts of water and keep my skin supple with coconut oil.  Going to bed greasy is the truth. Since this is the second time I've heard the message of coconut oil for beautiful skin (in less than a month), I'm once again a believer and vow to stay faithful to this practice for years to come.

Monday, September 22, 2014

We have about 100 days left in the year (yes I am counting down).  My intention is to max out as much potential from these last 100 days as I possibly can.  What I plan to do is leverage the power of small actions to compound and eventually provide a significant impact.  Someone said it best when he stated that every day, we should focus on knocking over the domino.

Take a look at this quick video as an illustration.

I love where the guy said that a domino can knock over another domino that is 1.5X larger.  That is a really powerful message if you think really about it.  Notice how small the first domino is.  Heck, I'm not even sure we can label it a domino.....more like a chicklet.  The largest domino is 100 lbs.  Then the guy goes on to blow our minds by saying that if they had 29 dominos in place (each one 1.5x larger than the last), then the tiny chicklet would essentially have the power to knock over a domino the size of  the empire state building.

Then he goes into the science and proclaims that only a little bit of push is required to bring the "domino" to the tipping point.  Then you get all that energy back again which is more than enough to knock over the next domino.  This is a brilliant example of how massive results can be created from small actions.  When the guy said that we should knock over a domino each day, he was referring to taking one action that creates energy (momentum) to propel into the next action.  Soon all of the energy builds up and we are knocking over even larger dominos than when we first started.  Next thing we know, we have built up enough potential to create the greatest of results.

For the past week or so, I've been applying the 1% rule into my daily actions.  Basically, I work to improve what I do by just a little bit each day knowing that my actions are compounding over time.  My goal is by the end of the day, I've improved in some way, shape of form, over how I performed the day before.  This, my friends, is my way of knocking over a domino.  I take an action, no matter how small, towards goals.

To ensure that I'm focusing on enjoying the process, I celebrate the act of taking action instead of looking for a result. The result is coming.  It's inevitable as long as I keep improving even by 1% .  Can you imagine how big the domino we knock over in 2015 will be if we practice this habit today?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I've been debating on whether I should purchase I white playsuit ever since I grabbed the black one.  All doubts are behind after being inspired by this amazing look.

This look, or a variation of it with a full length bodysuit, will flatter anyone.  I'm a complete sucker for simple pieces that make a huge statement and this outfit does just that.  Her jacket adds a bit of edge to the soft, feminine look.  Speaking of the leather jacket, can we talk about how perfect it is?  The length is just right. Love the fit on the sleeves.  Officially on the hunt for the perfect cropped leather jacket and I will have one by the time spring rolls around again.

Friday, September 19, 2014

One of my favorite Pinterest boards, that I like to visit quite regularly, is the one that filled with examples of my vision of perfectly flawless skin.  Way before I was on Pinterest, I visually imagined what I wanted my skin to eventually look like. This was during the time that I was suffering from chronic cystic acne, scarring and rough skin.  Things are different now.  I hope to one day obtain this level of skin perfection but until then, I will remain consistent with taking collagen, drinking bamboo tea and lots of water, exfoliating with my Clarisonic Plus, Riiviva and these awesome Alpha Beta Peel wipes.

There are times that I slip up from my routine, and my skin begins to backslide, then I take a look at my inspirations and I get back on track.

After writing that post on courage and wearing the red lip, I began to reflect on the other areas of my life where I am harboring these tiny little fears.  These "fears" are so small that I don't even identify with them as a fear. More like something "I don't want to do." Truth is, I don't want to do them because deep down, it makes me uncomfortable. 
I'd like to rid myself of the habit of not taking an action simply because it's outsize of my comfort zone.  I read online once where a guy, who mentors several people, would deem every Friday as "Fearless Friday."  On Fridays, each of the mentees would select something they are afraid to do (or are uncomfortable doing) and conquer it.  Although I'm not directly a part of the group, I've decided to take on that challenge in my own life!

I've plugged in a message in my phone as a reminder that each Friday, I must do an act of courage.  I don't have to skydive out of a plane in order to meet my Fearless Friday requirement. It could be as simple as doing something that I've been putting off. Another way I will approach Fearless Friday is to revisit activities that I stopped doing because I was not good at it.  It's the fear of looking bad/stupid that made me stop.  Friday is the day that I will set aside any negative self talk and just do it.  Eventually, this will become a way of thinking for me each day but until then, I will practice extending my comfort zone using Friday as a springboard.

I think I'll start by taking a cold shower this morning.  Talk about doing something you don't want to do.  I literally have to fight every fiber within me that wants a warm comfortable shower.  The whole process is an exercise in courage. Back when I engaged in regular cold showers, I noticed that I would display courage in other things I did throughout the day.  It was fascinating to watch experience. 

Let's build the habit of moving forward through our fears hesitations by taking on Fearless Friday as a thing.  We do this because NEW ACTIONS = NEW RESULTS. Who's with me?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guess what I'll be doing before the week is over?  I will be purchasing my very first set of perm rods.  For as long as I can remember, I've been doing the typical roller set using magnetic rollers. Meanwhile I was missing out on the amazing potential of perm rods.
I've always had this view that perm rods would create tight shrunken curls. Probably because I'd only seen people use the smallest size.  Now I know better. My eyes have been opened and I'm ready to run head first into a magical land filled with perm rods of various sizes and colors.
I'd like to take a moment to thank the poster on my Facebook page who made the comment about using perm rods after I posted the pic below.  I am forever grateful.  

Yay for perm rods!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'm a huge proponent of creating a new habit by tagging it on to another action that I do everyday. This makes it easier for the habit to stick.  That way I don't have to worry about remembering to do it because, my mind uses the current behavior as a trigger to completed the new action.

Since taking a shower is an everyday thing, I thought it would make sense to utilize this activity as a spring board to tack on more habits.  So far I've thought of at least five awesome habits that I'm going to try.

Since I'm going to be cleansing anyway, might as well break a little sweat first and get the benefits of a healthier body.  I'm not talking about doing a full 30 minute workout.  We already know that just a few minutes of exercise a day is sufficient to provide benefits, so there aren't any more excuses about not having enough time to work out.  I've been doing quick jump rope sessions since it doesn't take much to get the heart rate up. Oh, and jump roping is said to also help increase/maintain bone density. Within a couple of minutes, I'm already breaking a sweat.  Then I add a few squats, lunges and I'm good to go. 

Dry Brushing.
The act of showering is meant to help cleanse & refresh the body.  This makes it the perfect time to prepare the skin by dry brushing.  If you already gotten in a quick workout, dry brushing will only help to further increase circulation while loosening the dirt on the skin for an even greater cleansing.  Not too mention that dry brushing + the consistent exercise will do wonders to combat cellulite. There are no viable reasons why you should not be dry brushing before each and every shower.  Just make it happen.

Scalp Massage.
If you did a little workout and you dry brushed, why not add in a quick scalp massage to keep the circulation going.  Sanford Bennett used to do a quick session of "scalp pulling" each morning when he woke up.  While the blood is already pumping through our body thanks to the workout and dry brush, might as well direct some of that goodness to your scalp.  Just a few minutes a day is all it takes to invigorate your follicles and stimulate growth.

One of my newest peeves, is stepping out of a shower feeling all fresh and clean only to walk into a room with things scattered everywhere.  I'm not sure why that bothers me, but it does.  So I've decided to take a couple of minutes, before bathing, to straighten up the room a bit so when I return, everything is better organized.   It's like getting a fresh new start and it makes me feel good all over.  Stepping out of a fresh shower and walking into a disorderly room is like putting new wine in old wineskin, it just doesn't make sense.

Focus on your goals
 My shower doubles as my second office or think tank.  It's the perfect time to hash out ideas and think about my action plan for the day.   Something about the running water helps me think clearly.  So what I've decided to do is to remind myself of my current goals prior to stepping into the shower then I brainstorm creative ideas about how to bring my goals closer to reality.  Can someone out there reading this invent a waterproof way for me to capture ideas in the shower? I'll be your first customer.

None of these actions take that long. Just a couple of minutes a day and, before you know it, you've formed a new habit.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A little while ago, I was listening to a podcast interview where a guy who was making tens of thousands of dollars a month from his online store was sharing the story of his business success.  One of the contributors to the results was the novelty of his idea but, there was something even more critical to his amazing results.

He tells the interviewer that his mentor advised him to invest $1,000 a day in online advertising.  When I heard that I flinched.  The thought of spending that much money a day on something that might not produce good returns scared the crap out of me.  He was afraid too.....but he did it.  Guess what happened.  That weekend he grossed over $10,000 in sales. The rest is history.

There was that other time when I watched John Assaraf's video where he tells his story of how his mentor provided him an opportunity to leave his dead end life and become a millionaire.  As part of his journey to wealth, John began making outbound calls to potential real estate clients daily.  Most importantly, John had to call a minimum of 100 potential clients a day.  Allow that thought to settle in for a few moments.

As I study the success stories of people who have achieved great results, I keep finding clues where the person took massive action towards their goals.  They did much, much more than what seems reasonable. You've probably have got some goals you'd like to achieve (I know I do). But are the actions you are taking within your comfort zone?  I can honestly say that I am operating within (or below) my comfort zone.  That is probably why I haven't achieved the level of results I desire.

Can we take a moment to really create the distinction of what Massive Action truly is?  I think of massive action as the level of action that one has to take to exceed their goal.  Problem is that most of us will create a goal and take action at levels well below what is required to achieve it.  Then we struggle to see results and prolong the process much longer than necessary.  We tend to severely underestimate the amount of work and effort required to get the results you want.

Do me a favor. Take a look at your goals.  Then identify the actions you were going to take to reach them goals.....then double, triple, quadruple or 10X those actions.  When the amount of work required  scares you a little, that's when progress is possible.  Wanna reach the level of success of you read or  hear about?  Do A LOT more than you are doing now.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I've been allowing an issue to go on too long and now it's time to get serious.  For the past year or so, my nape area has been struggling bad.  I'm putting it nicely when I say struggling. Actually, my nape area is severely challenged.  I've allowed too much time to pass without taking any action to reverse the issue.  Today, I've decided to draw the line and begin a plan of action to reverse the situation for good.

Before I can do anything about it, I must first understand what I did (or didn't do) to cause the damage.  In my case, I am very clear about what happened.  Out of stress or boredom, I tend to play with my nape. Another reason why I do it is because my nape is the only access to my hair I have when it's in a protective style.  I'm confident that my own hands are to blame because only my left side is impacted (I'm a lefty).  The right hand side is doing just fine.   Since I'm pretty confident about the cause, I can confidently begin working on my strategy.

Here are the rules of the game until I can get my nape back in check.

Rule #1.  Show my nape some love

Before, whenever I moisturized and sealed, I would mainly focus on my ends and various other sections.  My nape was rarely on the top of mind.  That is why it was so susceptible to damage whenever I manipulated it during the day.  I've since learned better and began a practice of beginning my conditioner application with my nape.  Whenever I moisturize, I make sure to mist my nape using Evian Facial spray before applying moisturizer and sealing.  From now own, my nape area gets special treatment.

Rule #2. Protection

When I was much younger I had a pretty bad issue with my entire nape area.  It had become thin and most of the length broke off.  My mom stepped in a recommended that I braid that section and apply a stinky oil (Haitian castor oil) to it a few times a week.  She claimed the oil would grow my hair back.  Truthfully, it probably had more to do with the fact that my fragile nape was now protected from manipulation which would allow it to return to health.  Unfortunately, my hair has broken off to the point where it's too short to braid (think twa) so I've got to come up with a different plan.  My hand still instinctively goes straight for that area when I'm bored so instead of fondling my nape, I'll massage that area instead. Hopefully that works.

Rule #3. Heavy Sealing

Mom applied heavy oil to my damaged nape until the point of saturation.  Maybe she was on to something.  I realize now that I've got to step my game up. I'll save the light oils for the rest of my length and seal my nape heavily.  From now on, I'll opt for oils like vitamin E, castor or perhaps even shea butter when sealing in moisture in the nape area.

Rule #4.  No more relaxing

In the past, I would wait until the end to apply relaxer to my nape.  In most cases, this is the right thing to do.  But, unfortunately, my nape is too far gone.  In order to pamper my nape to the utmost, I must forgo applying any chemical relaxer to that area until I am certain it is strong enough to endure.
But for now,  I've got to take extra precautions to ensure my nape has a fighting chance so no more relaxers there until further notice.

Rule #5. Patience

One thing I have to remember during this process is that time and patience is an asset.  By patience, I mean being diligent with Rule(s) 1-4.  Doing it over and over again, knowing that my efforts will be multiplied with the addition time.  Patience is not just allowing time to pass.  Patience is about being purposeful with my time.  I'll do the right things day after day and, before I know it, my nape will be back to normal again.

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's time for yet another compilation of some of the best beauty finds on Instagram.  Take a gander at the latest round up.

June Ambrose is a staple when it comes to these Insta-Beauty posts.  She's constantly introducing us to her beauty faves.  Thank God she shared her love of CapriClear coconut spray.  I've been overcome with joy every since that little gem has come into my life.  You all know by now how much I've been enjoying my Evian facial spay (I can't stop talking about it).  Well, June has introduced to me something different (and perhaps better).  Chanel's Hydra Beauty Essence Mist.  This lightweight mist goes beyond purified water.  Essence Mist also contains Vitamin C + E, hyaluronic acid to look in moisture.  The price tag makes me cringe a little but, I gotta admit, I'm still very interested.  Who knows, perhaps Miss Ambrose has introduced me to my next favorite product.
I've said it time and time again that I'm done buying nude nail colors.  But it seems that I may have to eat my words thanks to @nailcandy101.  When she posted this pic of her wearing OPIs "Don't Bossa Nova Me" I was sold.  But can you blame me?  This color is gorgeous and looks flawless against her skin.
Some of you may seen before and after pics of women signing the praises of fiberlash mascara.  If you haven't, take a look at the pic below.  Basically, these super mascaras have the ability to literally transform lashes from "non-existant" to "are you wearing falsies?"  The leader in this space is Younique Fiberlashes.  I've been debating for a while but I think it's time to take the plunge and try these for myself. I can't pass up on the opportunity to have lashes that captivate simply by putting on some mascara.
I've invested precious time scouring Pilar Sander's page hoping she would share of one her many beauty secrets.  While Pilar hasn't shared any of the products she uses, she has given us a glimpse into the greatest beauty secret of all. Filling the body with lots of nutrients creates vitality from the inside out.  This woman has wonderful hair, skin, and body at over 40 years of age. Do you think her eating habits may have something to do with it?
The final beauty secret comes from a message I received on my Facebook page.  She shared this jaw dropping image of her waist length hair with the caption: 
"I love Beautifully Bamboo Tea!" I have 2 cups a day [for] stronger, longer hair & stronger nails. Someone told me the other day "your skin is pretty, what are you using?"  It's the Bamboo Tea!"

 The moment I finished reading her comments, I walked straight over to the kitchen and poured me a cup.   You don't have to tell me twice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In my Banish Breakage post, I mentioned a little known product by the name of Tiger Protein Reconstuctor.  The moment I saw the price tag, I knew I had to have it.  To me the high end price probably was related the quality of product.  Although I own dozens of hair products. The only thing missing was a super protein leave-in spray.  I had no other choice but to get it.

When my package arrived, I immediately wanted to try it.  But not before I turned the bottle to check out the details.

Product Claims:  Covalent/Permanent Bonding of Protein into hair  + Rebuilds All Hair Types + Strength + Volume + Shine + Color Lock

Directions:  For Maintenance and Repair Treatment apply & massage into clean, damp hair dry & style as usual.

For Maximum Treatment: Apply & Massage into clean, damp hair. Cover with plastic cap & heat for 5 minutes. Remove plastic cap and style as usual.

I just love the fact that a spray leave in can be used as an intensive treatment by applying heat.  The ingredient list itself contains various types of proteins including soluable keratin, hydrolized wheat protein, hydrolized keratin, wheat amino acids, betaine (we mentioned the amazing benefits this ingredient in a previous post) and much, much more.

My first experience was on dry hair.  I misted a little on "dirty" hair to see if I would experience stiff, brittle strands.  Instead of brittle strands, I experienced stronger hair but without the feeling of protein overload.  Mind you, I did layer on some moisture on top of where I misted just to make sure nothing crazy happened.  But overall, I was very pleased.

The second experience was on wash day.   I washed and conditioned as usual then, during the rollerset I sprayed the length of my hair with the leave in.  Again, I experienced none of the "heavy protein"  feeling that I fear so much.  I'm guessing the size of the proteins are small enough to penetrate the strand instead of staying mainly on top of the hair.  Hence, my hair still remained it's old self, only stronger.

I felt pretty good about using Tiger Reconstructor as a final step during the roller set but this week, I had an ever better idea.  Remember my post on using different conditioners during the pre-poo based on how strong or weak the section is?  Well, this strengthening spray is perfect for such a scenario. Currently, I have healthy sections and I have weak sections.  Weak sections are those that, when manipulated, suffer casualties (broken strands).  Strong areas I can detangle without a care in the world.

During my pre-poo, whenever I came across a weak area, I sprayed a little bit of the reconstructor into my hand and distributed throughout the section.  The reason I misted into my hand was so I can be intentional about where the product goes. I also use less product this way.  After applying the reconstructor, I layered some moisturizing Kanechom and moved on to the next section.  Once done, I steamed then jumped into the shower to rinse.  My breakage in the weak areas reduced dramatically!  I'm beyond pleased with the results.  I love Babyface Pure Protein for an all over strengthening treatment but this gives me a laser-like focus to target my weakest areas.  I also remembered how Yahya mentioned targeting her ends with protein because to aid with retention.  I tried that over the weekend and today, my ends feel stronger as a result.

This type of product was exactly what was missing from my regimen.  Someone, like me, who over manipulates their hair needs a product that can help neutralize my potentially damaging actions.   How on earth did I go so long without it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Long ago, whenever I had to be away from home, my skin suffered.  The change in weather meant dry scaly skin.  My unhealthy eating habits created dull congested skin.  Long days with little water intake created breakouts.  By the time I returned home, I'd have to conduct multiple skin treatments just to correct all of the issues that resulted from my neglect.  I'd have to scrub, masks, steam and whatever else it took to bring things back to normal.

That was then.  Now things are completely different.  Today I have the power to conduct any skin care treatment from the comfort of some random hotel room.  Best of all, only a few products are required.

Deep Cleansing
Prior to recently, I took my Clarisonic with me on the road.  But, unfortunately,  when I returned home, I still had to employ the magnificent power of the Clarisonic Plus to really give my skin the once over.  I finally had to draw the line and bring my super powered Clarisonic with me.  My skin was tested recently on a 10 day trip.  There was very little sleep and not a lot of time to take care of my face. Thank goodness my Clarisonic Plus was there for me.  When I came home, my skin was the least of my worries. Where would I be without this wonderful piece of machinery?

It's pretty humid in my neck of the woods.  I take for granted the benefits of the additional moisture in the air.  After a few days in drier air, my skin starts to flake.  Dry patches pop up.  I've never been big on using moisturizers. They just don't seem to have any staying power.  But....when Evian + Capriclear came into my life, dryness went away.  When I hydrate and seal my face with this amazing duo, I have no other worries.

After three days away from home, the first thing I would do was exfoliate.  First I'd do two rounds with my Clarisonic then I'd break out my Riviiva to really attack the surface layer.  Now, I take my exfoliation treatment with me.  The Alpha Beta Peel pads are the best thing that every happened to me.  So easy to use and so portable.  In two minutes, I've done a mini exfoliation. It's that easy.

Anti Aging
I wake up super early.  The first thing I do when I arise is break out a bottle of water to start my day.  Now that routine has been paired with my Collagen capsules.  Of all the supplements I've taken, I've been the most consistent with collagen.  I'm afraid all of these long days and frequent travel will catch up with me unless I take something to combat the aging process.  Collagen is so easy to take that I can't pass it up.

Last but not least, my favorite purifying treatment of all time. The small jar makes it extra portable.  And we all know the Clearing Mud is uber powerful.  It feels good knowing that if a pimple were to rear its ugly head, I'll be ready and waiting.

Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 has been a great year.  I've made huge progress in some areas of my life, and not as much progress as I would have liked in others.  Although we are only in the early part of September, my mind is already focusing on 2015.  In particular, I'm thinking of the new goals/experiences I wish to establish for the upcoming year.  One thing for sure, I want to utilize the last few months of the year to complete, or make major progress, on any of my outstanding goals.

We have 114 days left until the New Year. This gives us enough time to complete three 90 days challenges.  This means we can elevate our financial situation, we can transform our body, we can make new friends, we can learn a new skill, we can make major progress on our hair goals.  Whatever we want, it is possible. We just have to become intentional about it.

There are some goals that I've carried around with me for years.  It's like I've gotten comfortable with the act of trying to achieve them instead of actually achieving them.  So now I'm ready to get laser focused on two of my goals so I can achieve or make major progress on them within the remainder of the year.

I'm aware that if my actions look like they have for the past 9 months that my desired outcomes will not likely manifest.  There has to be a new level of focus and intensity.  Most importantly, there must be a new set of actions.  There must be a new set of DAILY actions.  I've got to do something everyday that contributes to the outcomes I want.  Along with the actions. I need some method of accountability whether it means hiring a Life Coach or using a daily journal to track my progress or even a time log to document my actions.  I don't know about you, but sometimes the idea of a 30, 60, or 90 day challenge seems daunting. That's why I prefer repeating a 7 day challenge over and over again. Technically I can do sixteen 7 day challenges between now and the end of the year.

Think about what's worked for you in past when setting goals.  Employ all of those tactics and techniques to set you up for success.  Think about the game of volleyball. Once the ball goes over the net, one person in the back volleys, then someone in the middle sets up the ball for a spike.  In these last 100 days of the year, you can set up your goals or you can spike them.  It's up to you.  I want to achieve one of my two goals this year (spike it) and I want to make great progress on my other one (set it up for 2015).

Now the work begins.  Today is the first day of the week which will mark the beginning of a new 7 day challenge.  My first action is to identify what I will do every day this week that will move me closer to the two outcomes I desire. At the end of each week I will assess my progress and make adjustments needed for the week ahead.  This process will be repeated week after week until the New Year begins. 2014 is going to be an amazing year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

After a week away from home, the first thing I wanted to do was a little grocery shopping to stock up on the things I needed.   Once I completed my  shopping at the neighborhood supermarket, I decide to check out this tiny little Brazilian grocer to see what's the haps.
I pretty much knew that I'd be coming out of there with ample amounts of Acai but I was not ready for what was to come.  Immediately after walking it, I made a beeline to the back of the small store towards the refrigerated items.  After moving aside boxes of oranges, mangoes and other random fruit, I was finally able to get to reach in and grab a couple packets of frozen Acai.  Before walking away my eyes landed upon a 5lb tub of the tropical superfruit.  Although I was tempted to buy a lifetime supply, I came to my senses after remembering that my freezer space wouldn't allow for it.

Acai Smoothie
On my way out I thought it would make sense for me to stop by their small beauty product section so I could take a look at their hair products.  Immediately, my eyes landed on the jars of Silicon Mix Pearl Protein which is one my faves.  Before I got a chance to compare prices with what I normally pay, I saw something that I could hardly believe.  There, right before my eyes, was an extensive collection of Kanechom conditioners. Yes, the same Kanechom that I've been in love with ever since our very first encounter.  

Not only did I have full access to multiple varieties of Kanechom conditioners but I was also blown away by the retail price.  Only $4.99 for the full size container.  A few moments went by as I stood there in shock.  Is this for real?  Suddenly, I snapped out of it and began to grab what I could.  My strategy was to go for the varieties that I've always wanted to try but hadn't had a chance.

First was the Kanechom Liso Intenso which claims to have a straightening effect on hair.  If that promise holds true, I can get a lot of use from it when I'm deep into my stretch.  Next was the Kanechom Shea Butter (my all time fave).  The packaging looked completely different from the one I currently love. The scent varied a little as well. I suspect this is the actual formula they sell in Brazil because nothing on the package was written in English. I'm curious to see if it performs any differently on my hair.  Lastly, I picked up Kanechom's Flora Brasileria. Although I couldn't translate anything from the package, I took a leap of faith and decided to get it anyway.  Heck, at these prices, I could afford to take a little risk.

I'm not finished yet, I think I'll go back for Kanechom Crystal Bath which claims to be able to "penetrate the hair fiber, protecting the hair from frequent external aggressions."  I'm extremely excited to have stumbled upon such a gold mine.  Kanechom is everything and now I have a lifetime supply available at rock bottom prices. Check out your local Brazilian markets to see if you too can find your little Kanechom Conditioner oasis.

I think I'll do a Kanechom Kraziness Part II post once I have had chance to try them all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Every so often I will be delighted by an email from a reader who shares the progress of their journey with me.  Not so long ago, Rachie did just that.  Her email proclaiming the achievement of waist length hair made my freakin' day!  I had no choice to but invite her to come to the stage to share the lessons from her journey with the rest of us.  

Ladies, meet Rachie.
Tell us about your hair (relaxed, texlaxed, natural, hair type)?
Texlaxed 4abc hair :-)

Congrats on reaching waistlength! How does it feel?
Pretty cool actually, I sometimes don't fully believe it because for sooo long I never thought it was actually possible for me :-)

How long have you been on your hair journey? What was your starting length?
I started my hair care research about October 2012, and then after I gathered enough information to make a “Hair-Plan” for myself, I officially started my hair care journey in January 2013.
Early on in her Journey

How do you care for your hair daily?
  • I try my best to keep my hands out of my hair as much as possible during the week. Most times of late I've had my hair in braids/plaits on a weekly basis. I redo the braids or plaits once a week.
  • I Moisturize and seal my hair daily with mainly Profectiv Mega Growth Daily leave-in Strengthener and a Grapeseed Oil + Castor Oil Mix. Of late, I've been using Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus KIDS Extra-Moisturizing Detangler as a spray-on moisturizer for my braids which is quick and easy to apply in the mornings before work, and I seal with a tiny bit of Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk.
  • I do the GHE/Baggying method on alternate nights
  • I always tie my hair with a scarf (satin) at nights. I'm looking into getting silk pillow cases so I don't always have to wear a scarf, I'll see.

What is your weekly regimen?
  • I wash with shampoo once a month (Design Essentials Moisture Retention Shampoo), and Co wash once-twice weekly with any Moisturizing Conditioner I have in my stash: Mane and Tail Deep Moisturizing Conditioner is what I'm using at the moment (A big bottle was on sale, LOL).
  • I wash with my braids in tact to reduce tangling and breakage.
  • I air dry my hair with braids intact also. If my hair is loose (ie not in braids – usually the first 3-4weeks post Texlax) I'll air dry using the Scarf-method.
  • I Deep Condition once to twice a week depending on how my hair feels, Mainly with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner.
  • I tend to Oil Rinse also: When I'm about to rinse out my deep conditioner I'll apply a handful of coconut oil to the length of my hair over the conditioner, then rinse it out with warm water. I found that adding coconut oil prior to the rinse helve A LOT with detangling. It also leave my hair feeling very soft after the rinse out while keeping some of the moisture locked into my strands.
  • I do ACV rinses after each wash.
  • I use a Denman brush to detangle my hair, finger detangling hasn't worked of late since my hair has gotten Longer.
  • Once every week or 2, I'll apply an essential oil + grapeseed oil mix to my scalp, very tingly and smells lovely :-)

How often do you trim?
I trim whenever my hair needs it, I may trim soon actually, but in general I trim once every 6-7months.

Do you do anything to care for your hair from the inside?
I was VERY big on juicing (carrots, beets, bananas, strawberries, aloe vera juice) especially in the beginning. I fell off the bandwagon of late with work being so busy/stressful. But my hair skin and body on a whole loved it! So I'm definitley trying to get back in the juicing game! I try to exercise for an hour every other day at least, I drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day and I take Vitamin Worlds Hair skin and Nails Vitamins daily (again of late I haven't been the most consistent). I also used to take fish oil, horsetail capsules, zinc, vitamin C and cod liver oil tablets. I have not been the most consistent with these of late either. But as I said my hair loves them.

Did you have any setbacks along the way? How did you deal with them?
YESS!!! I did a Cassia treatment in late November/ early December last year which I may have done wrong; It left my hair in LARGE DRY CLUMPS, I cried and cried and cried. Lol. I lost half a dust bin of hair, my fiance' had to help me cut out large clumps of hair. It was devastating. In fact that was when I started to put my hair in plaits/braids to reduce manipulation and keep what hair was left on my head ON MY HEAD, lol.
And that was when I started co-washing very often too, to put moisture back in my hair. It felt dry for months. The braids and co-washing really saved what was left of my hair.

If you had to start your journey all over again, what would you do differently?
Nope! I've made mistakes, I've learned from them and I've enjoyed doing so. It's a journey, it can feel like a race in the beginning but after you start to see your hair health improve and you get confidence in what you are doing, that in itself was a major reward for me.

If you're stuck on desert island and can only bring 3 hair related items or products, what would you take?
Hmmm... tough one. I think I'd take my satin scarf, HEHH Conditioner, and Grapeseed oil. Awww man, can I take my Denman brush and my Profectiv daily strengthener leave-in conditioner too? Pretty pleez? Lol.

You meet a stranger on the street who begs you to share with her the tips & tricks so she can too have waistlength hair, what tips do you share with her?
I'd strongly emphasize BEING VERY GENTLE and Reducing Manipulation as much as possible to avoid breakage; a satin or silk scarf at nights to avoid breakage, and keep the hair well moisturized again to avoid breakage! :-) Length retention is key! Everyone's hair grows, its just to figure out how to keep it on your head. My hair strands being very fine are prone to tangling and breakage, so low manipulation is a must!
Moisturizing and sealing is a must too, to reduce split ends and thus reduce the number of trims that you have to do. :-)

Nadege, thank you soooooooo much for featuring me! You have been such an INSPIRATION! Seriously, your blog helped me immensely, especially in the beginning when I was just starting out and wasn't fully sure what a hair-care regimen was exactly. I feel like I've come full circle, to think I'd be featured on the very same blog that helped to inspire me to start my hair journey in the first place! Thanks so much again,
Rachie :-)

After studying Rachie's regimen, I was reminded of the power of low manipulation.  I love how she was able to turn a devastating set back into a method that enabled her to achieve her length goals.  I also like her idea of applying coconut oil over conditioned hair for additional deep conditioning benefits.  Will definitely have to try this. 

You want more of Rachie's hair journey and regimen details? Be sure to check out her blog as she makes her way to hip length. 


Monday, September 1, 2014

One of the most powerful lessons I’m learning this year is the idea of shifting my focus from achieving an outcome to enjoying the process.  Process pretty much consists of all the times when we get up and do something over and over again.  It's the road we have to travel before reaching our intended destination.  Often times, the process is repeated dozens or hundreds of times without enjoying any result.  Although nothing changes, you go back and do it again anyway.

For years, I’ve loathed this cycle.  Nothing gets me more excited than experiencing results.  Results are everything.  Doing something without an immediate reward was the most frustrating.  But, what I realized was when I focused only on the results, they would pretty much evaporate without the process to support its growth.  Over time, I was left with neither the results nor the process.  Then I frantically go back to taking lots of action in hopes of regenerating some type of result. 

 I now know this is a fool’s game.  I’ll even go as far as to call it immature.  Why would I want to keep avoiding the very thing that gives me exactly what I want?  Why get up in the morning and dread working out if it gives me the body I desire?  Why shun the same daily routines that provide the results I long for?  Why not love the process as much even more than the results themselves?    

The process could take weeks, months, years or a lifetime.  I choose to love the process because the process brings me results.   Not only does it bring me results, but it also builds my character, discipline and determination.  So whenever I venture into a new endeavor and I see all the “hard work” that lays ahead of me, I will look at the road ahead and smile to myself because I am excited about the process.
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