Saturday, November 29, 2014

This new spray bottle and I have been inseparable ever since our first encounter.  One reason I decided to move away from replenishing my Evian spray bottle stash is because a refillable bottle would allow me the opportunity to experiment with lacing the water with various super ingredients to elevate its effectiveness.  

The very first ingredient that came to mind was powdered MSM.  There are so many reasons why MSM was my first choice.  But I'll just share a few with them with you in hopes of convincing you that MSM powder/water is your very next product purchase.

It all goes back to when I first bought MSM water from the health food store.  The intended purpose was to help nourish my eyes. I found that the best method of doing so was to transfer some of it into a spray bottle.  Then I was like, "I take MSM internally, why not use some of this on my hair?"   This was right around the time I learned of the L.O.C. moisturizing method so it made sense to experiment with my newfound MSM water.   

That's when I realized that somehow MSM water seemed to make my hair feel more moisturized then when using water alone.  Once I realized that my store bought MSM water contained only 2 ingredients, I decided make my own in hopes of increasing the amounts of the active ingredient (MSM) in my formula.  
 MSM water is multifunctional.  Like my Evian mister, I also use MSM water on my face.  Except now,  my skin is reaping the benefits of receiving the MSM which has the ability to address acne concerns by killing bacteria and drying up oil which can lead to flareups.

Not only am I using surfur rich MSM water on my face, I also plan to target my scalp.  Normally, I focus on misting the length of my hair, but now that it's laced with MSM, I want to nourish my scalp to reap some of the amazing benefits.    Using MSM topically could have an impact on, not only the health of my scalp, but also hair growth rate.  I've even read where people experienced healthier new growth texture as a result of using MSM topically.  Not to mention that MSM is also said to help combat dry scalp, dandruff and dermatitis.  May I also add that MSM could have a positive effect on shedding.  They say that MSM could extend the amount of time the hair remains in growth phase. Let's hope this liquid MSM is powerful enough to do just that.

So far I've pointed out how MSM can help create healthier skin, moisturized hair and even better growth.  One last thing I'll mention before I go is how important MSM is for collagen production.  Much like bamboo silica, MSM works synergistically with collagen to keep our skin firm, smooth and moisturized.  So, I always make sure to add some MSM powder to my daily smoothies.

Do you need any more reasons to buy powdered MSM?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Each week I like to assess how it went and take a look at my progress.  The week before last was pretty mediocre (if not poor).  I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I wanted to and, most of the time, I was engaged in mindless, time waisting behavior.  Frustrated, I took time to reflect on what was going wrong.

I realized that throughout the week, I kept falling into these trance-like episodes where I mindlessly surfed the web or kept walking to the fridge to grab something to eat or failed to take action even though my mind kept prompting me to behave differently.  It's like I checked out and was on auto pilot for the most the week.

Here was the issue.  The problem is that we have two ways of operating.

#1. The Default method of Operation
#2. Operating with high Awareness.
Let's discuss the differences between the two.

Default operation is what happens when we are operating from past habits and behavior.  Most of the time we're checked out when in default mode.  We're designed to run on autopilot as a way of saving brain power.  It kinda reminds me of how a screen saver pops up when we're not actively using the computer.  When we are not actively operating from a place of high awareness, we slide into default.

Default is not necessarily a good place to be. Why?  Because unless you've been living a consistently action oriented life, your default actions aren't ideal.  For example, I've been an early riser for years.  So no matter what's going on, I will automatically wake up before 6:00 am.  It's my default time of waking up. No effort is required.  But, because my workout habits have been on and off, my default is NOT to work out (we tend to default to what is easiest for us).  Going to the gym requires effort.  The longer I go between gym visits, the more effort is required.  In the same way, if I'm not ACTIVELY thinking about my goals, my default is to just go through my day without making any progress towards achieving it.

 Reflecting back to last week, I noticed that if the start of my day looked very similar to the day before, it was almost guaranteed that I'd be operating from the default.   I used to get mad at myself for falling into the default pattern but then I learned that this is a natural occurrence.  Airplanes are off course 90% of the time, yet they manage to land at the intended destination on time.  How?  The pilots are constantly course correcting throughout the trip.  If the course corrections never occurred, the passengers would land several states away from where they wanted.

It kinda reminds me of the time my car alignment was off. Each time I drove the car, it tended to veer to the right.  To correct the issue, I had to constantly keep pulling the steering wheel to the left.  If I didn't, I was in danger of sideswiping other cars.  This is just like how our subconscious works.  It takes over for us, moving us slowly off course.   Worst of all, it works from beneath the surface, behind the scenes, and most of the time we aren't aware until we've drifted way off course.

The solution is to either operate in a state of high awareness or train your subconscious to do the things you WANT IT TO DO without any extra effort.  The only way, I know to reprogram your subconscious is to repeat the action over and over and over and over again until it becomes permanent. But in order to get there, you've got to operate with high awareness as you build your actions into long term behaviors.

How do you operate with high awareness?  Great question.  I feel like this topic deserves it's own post.  Which is why I'll continue this conversation with you next Monday.  In the mean time, I want to do remember things:

#1. Your job is to continuously feed your subconscious  the behaviors you want it to manifest.
#2. You are constantly going off course.  This doesn't mean that you are a bad person, it means that you are normal.  Knowing this, your job is to "pilot your life" by consistently bringing yourself back on track (over and over again).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This post is inspired by a reader who left a comment about how to get smooth, even toned skin all over.   I'm so glad this question came when it did because this is the time of year when most of us aren't as concerned with glowing skin.  But, now is the time to develop the routine that will have your skin flawless by spring.

The commenter made mention of how smooth my skin looked and, thinking back,  I give 100% of the credit to my daily exfoliation.  It all began when I decided to take my pumice sponge from my pedicure kit to the shower.   Exfoliating my heels became a daily habit and I never had to deal with dry, cracked feet ever again.

Then I stumbled upon a video where a woman with amazing even toned skin shared her body  routine.  She talked candidly about how vigorously she exfoliated her skin.   Her routine went something like this:

She'd get into a warm shower and allow the steam to open up her pores.  Next she'd vigorously scrub the skin on her body and rinse.  Then she'd do it again (up to several times).  Each time she scrubbed an area she would do at least 10 rigorous strokes. 

(Note this method is for the skin on the body, not the face) When I first tried her technique, I was a bit taken back.  My skin had to get accustomed to such intense exfoliation.   Once  I got used to this method, I'd up the stakes by exfoliating on slightly damp skin instead of on soaking wet skin.  Each time I exfoliated, I focused heavily on my legs and the back of my thighs as a way of warding off cellulite by promoting blood flow to that area. And, of course, I'd focus on my arms and chest  because they were the most visible parts of my body. Basically, I scrub and scrub and scrub until all the sugar dissolves (If I'm rinsing the sugar off of my body before it's fully dissolved then I have failed).

This was around the same time when I began to frequent the steam room/sauna on a regular basis.  I'm a believer that sweating helps to loosen everything up which makes it easier to remove via scrubbing.  The combination of heavy sweating and crazy exfoliation created skin like I had never experienced before.  Not to mention that I was drinking oodles of water each day.

Let me tell you ladies that everyone who came in contact with my skin has something great to say.  Hubby noticed, I couldn't stop touching myself, and when I went for a massage, the therapist kept going on about how smooth and soft I was.   If you use this technique of sweating + exfoliation + water for a week or two, you'll notice smoother skin.  But if you make this a long term habit, you encourage REGULAR cell turnover which means EVEN TOONED SKIN.   Seriously, if you want even toned skin, focus on exfoliation.  And, if you want to move things along a little faster, pair this method with a lotion like Glytone which works really well because it contains ingredients meant to help fade discoloration.

Consider this an advanced technique. If you have sensitive skin on your body, ease into it. Don't just rush in and try to scrub the skin off your body.   It's a process. But one that will pay off dearly if you are diligent.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I was going to save this find for an Instagram Beauty Secrets post but I got too excited to wait.   As I was bobbing and weaving through various pics, I stumbled upon an image that immediately grabbed my attention.  Not sure if it was a beauty or hair product so I checked out the caption to  see what she had to say about it.
via @troprouge Instagram
"I swear by this stuff. It's made my hair grow incredibly fast!! It's called Alter Ego Hair Lotion."
Ok. So a couple of things happened at this point.
#1. I immediately recognized the name of the brand from back in the day when I frequented Dominican Salons.  Then I remembered that I tried (and loved) their garlic conditioner mask to combat excessive shedding.
#2. I mosied on over to Amazon to see what others had to say about it.  Over 100 reviews with nearly a perfect 5 rating.

People who've tried the energizing hair lotion say that it tingles the scalp when applied (which is a sign that blood flow to the area has increased).  Some mentioned that they found this product via a recommendation from a hair loss specialist.  Many of the reviewers noticed an increase in their hair  growth rate.  Happy reviewers mentioned how this product helped bring their edges back to life.  Heck, a few people even boasted of stronger hair and less breakage from this wonderful hair lotion.  I also appreciate how quickly people said they started seeing results and new growth.

I could go on and on.  Point is that this miracle in a bottle seems really promising. Especially during this time of year when seasonal  shedding starts to rear it's ugly head.  Not to mention that hair growth starts to slow during cooler months.  This is definitely on my wishlist but I probably won't wait long to get it.  Especially since I'm working on reviving my nape back to it's former healthy state.  I cant totally see myself applying the lotion to my scalp once I've braided by hair in sections to moisturize and seal.

Who's as excited about this hair lotion as I am?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've been feening for a white blazer for the longest.  Ever since I featured this "Love Her Look" white blazer date night outfit, I've harbored the desire for chic white blazer that would be perfect dressed up or down.

There are just too many black blazers in my closet, it's time for something fresh and new.  Looks like the day has finally arrived 'cause I've stumbled upon some promising options.  I'm really looking forward to wearing a crisp, fitted white blazer over dark colors to break up that all black looks. I've put together a collection of my favorite white blazers below in case you're on the hunt.  Which one is your fave?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Psssst.  I want to let you in on something.  It's a new technique I've been using lately to moisturize and seal my hair.  From my first couple of days with experimenting, I think I will use this technique for life.  I'll start by saying that I had done a poor job of moisturizing and sealing prior to learning about the L.O.C/L.C.O technique.  Once I got hip to that, my life changed.  Then fate led me to the Evian Facial Spray mist which changed the game.

Just recently,  I found and fell in love with these mini aluminum misters which I adore.  It seemed like everything was darn near perfect.  How could they get any better?  That's when I took a hard look at my technique and asked myself "what do I need to do differently?"  Currently, my biggest struggle was evenly moisturizing my hair.  I tend to focus on the hair I can see. As a result, some areas suffered.  I'm in the process of gingerly nursing it back to health but it takes a bit of effort for me to focus on those areas.
Rachie | Lade | Me

The solution to this problem (of evenly moisturizing in little time) was so simple I can't believe I haven't done it sooner.  All I did was section my hair into 6 or 7 loose plaits.  Once sectioned, I was able to quickly mist the length of each braid.  When braided, all the hair in that section is very accessible.  There aren't tons of layers hiding under each other.  I no longer have to lift my hair or move hair out of the way to access the deeper layers.  It worked flawlessly. It saved me time and it was really effective.  Not too mention that, overall, this technique requires less manipulation than if I were to moisturize in small sections without braiding.

Some nights, I left my hair braided and unraveled the braids the following day. But if I'm not going for the wavy look, I could easily unravel once I've completed the moisture replenishment session.  Call me crazy but my hair seems to hold moisture longer ever since I've been using this technique.  Perhaps it has something to do with my new little aluminum sprayer.  The water particles are smaller than from the Evain spray bottle.  I'm of the belief that smaller water particles are easier to absorb by the hair follicle.  This combination of deeper moisture plus the enhanced technique has been pretty amazing.  Would you like to try?

p.s. Naturals typically use this method before twistouts/etc which I think contributes to their length retention, among other things.  I'll create a post on that topic in the future. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

I was holding a coaching conversation the other day with a person who was having difficulty managing her emotions. She was practically in tears as she explained the situation that led to her breakdown.  I listened intently for her concerns so I coach her to find her power in the circumstance at hand.

One thing that was very evident was her self defeating language.  When she described what was causing her so much pain she'd say things like "they're attacking me"...... "I feel victimized"......  "I feel like they gang up on me"......  After a while I had to interrupt her conversation and call attention to the words she chose to use to describe the situation.  "The reason you are so emotional over the situation, I said, "is because you think that you've created yourself as a victim in the situation. You're feeling bad  because you see yourself as being powerless.  In situations where others are ganging up and attacking someone, that person has  no power.....the attacker does.

But who in reality is establishing those individuals as powerful attackers? She was.  And she was doing it solely through her language.  Actually, no one attacked her.  Sure, words were spoken, but when I asked her to tell me exactly what was said, she repeated a set of questions that were asked of her which she interpreted as an attack.  In actuality, the questions were valid.  The other parties were asking her if she was going to follow through with statement she previously made.  Nothing about the question was an attack....but it was perceived as such.
The solution to her emotional distress, in my opinion was to call attention to the language that she was speaking.  Her language was that of helplessness and defeat.  To make matters worse, she was backing up her words with strong emotion (crying).  Even though she didn't want to cry, she couldn't change her reaction.  Luckily for me, she was familiar with the Law of Attraction so when I told her that she was attracting her experience partially through the language she was using, she agreed.

We have to remember that our description of our situations and circumstance is a direct reflection of how we view it.  Our actions are directly connected to how we view a situation.  She viewed the situation as an "attack" which led her to the emotional outpouring.  Let me give you an example, one person walks into a room and sees a pit bull dog and instantly becomes afraid. Another walks into the same room, sees the dog and wants to go pet it.  What's the difference?  Person A says to herself that the dog is dangerous, person B calls the dog adorable.  It's what the person is saying to herself that creates her reality.

 It's absolutely critical to be aware of the language you are using in every situation. Language will provide you a first hand look of whether you see yourself as having power or being powerless.  If you want to start your own business but often use language that demonstrates doubt, you will remain in a place of inaction.

Powerful language is not typically a default way of speaking.  It must be cultivated and practiced. Speaking in a power-full way involves focusing on what you can do in any given situation to turn in around.  Maybe you can't fix it just yet, but there's always something you can do to impact it.  The goal is to shift the direction of your thoughts and emotion to a place where you can find your power.  Some people might use the term "positive language" but sometimes, when the situation seems dire, it's hard to be positive.  In such cases, the goal becomes to look for any sign of defeating language and CHOSE not to engage.

Whenever things aren't going the way I want, the first thing I do is ask myself "what can I do about this?"  Sometimes it takes just one new thought or action to shift things around.  The end goal is to change the direction your are headed in.  It's like if you're driving then realize that you are going the wrong way (if you are speaking negatively about a situation, you are going the wrong way).  What do you do next? Do you push on the gas and keep going down the wrong street?  No, you stop, put the car in reverse and turn around.

If you'd like to inquire about 1 on 1 coaching with me to help you reach your goals 2015 contact me so we can discuss.  I'd love to work with you!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Most weekends, I'm closed up in my office working on outstanding items from the week prior.  This weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the MakeUp Show.  It's an amazing experience to be in a room with hundreds of professional makeup artists and beauty experts.  Not to mention the exposure to dozens of brands who are the heavy hitters in the makeup industry.

Every year, I visit the event in hopes of discovering new staples. It's were I first found and fell in love with Gleam Body Radiance and Grandelash MD.  Normally, I invest most of my time between grabbing new makeup brushes and loitering at the Makeup Forever booth.  This year,  I decided that I'd branch out of my comfort zone and get familiar with some new brands.  

NARS Train Bleu + Palais Royal Velvet Lip Pencil
You guys remember when I grabbed the NARS Narsissist palatte?  Ever since then, I've been longing to try out others products from the line.  As expected the NARS booth was pretty packed.  I stood on the outskirts for a few moments before one of the NARS makeup artists walked by and said, "I love the color of your shirt."  I thanked her for the unexpected compliment.  Later, she returned and said, "would you mind if I put some blush on you?"  "Sure" I responded not knowing that she'd reach for this bright coral looking color called Exhibit A.   "It's inspired by the color of your shirt" she said as she applied the bright color to my cheeks.  I expected the worst but the color actually worked well on my skin tone.  
From there she and I began to try one different lip colors to she what would work. The entire time she worked on my face, the only thing I could think about was how amazing her lashes were. Finally I had to ask "what do you use to get you lashes like that?"  "Grandelash!"  she responded.  "I'm wearing an $8.00 drugstore mascara, and I'm Asian, these lashes are because of Grandelash."  She went on to tell me her secret.  "You gotta use it twice a day [morning and night]"  I was instantly reminded of a conversation I had in 2013 with someone who also got amazing results by using it 2X a day.  Guess, what I did last night before bed?  You guessed, I reached for my Grandelash. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

When I look at my small collection of shoes.  One thing becomes strikingly clear, it's that I'm pretty safe when it comes to my shoe choices.  Everything I own falls under the two categories either black or nude (neutral).  Just goes to show you how predictable I can be.
Which is why I was stoked when I stumbled upon these Ralph Lauren Serrata platform sandals in navy blue with gold hardware.  The moment I saw them, I knew they could easily take my boring uniform of jeans and a tee to a new level. Weeks prior to discovering these shoes, I silently told myself that I needed a pair of well made, attractive, comfortable + fashionable heels that I can wear on my dress down days.  This is to avoid my habit of reaching for flats.  the moment I slipped these heels on, I knew.
[ULTRA] Comfortable and stylish would be the two words I'd use to describe them.  I read a few reviews of these heels online and others echo my perspective on how comfortable they are. Plus I love the fact that I didn't get them in black.  Blue just makes them that much more interesting.  And, yes, I do understand that Navy Blue (and gold) shoes don't exactly go with everything. Which is exactly why I decided to grab a second pair in light brown.  The neutral pair are definitely within my comfort zone.  In fact, I have a similar pair of shoes in that color that isn't as well constructed.  I grabbed these because the difference in quality between what I currently own and these was  really evident.
When I started buying designer handbags a couple of years ago, the initial motivation was so I could be rough with them and not have to worry (as much) about wear and tear.  When I took that philosophy towards investing in quality shoes, I noticed a real difference.  If I find a great pair of shoes I love, I need them to last.   That's why I'll be investing in well crafted shoes from now on.  Plus, gorgeous shoes are like a well made bag.  They can make the outfit thus saving you money on clothing in the long run.

It's not too often one finds an amazing pair of navy blue heels. I had to snag 'em and I'm so glad I did.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When I first discovered Evian's Facial spray, I got so excited that I immediately made multiple orders.  Some, I gave away. But I kept most of them for myself. Yes, I used them frequently as a facial spray. But I got the greatest benefit by incorporating Evian in my L.C.O routine.

The other day, I walked over to my stash of Evian sprays only to discover that I had only one 1.7 oz bottle left. How could this be? Have I used that many bottles?  After a few more minutes of searching, I conceded knowing that I had indeed almost run out.  That's when I realized that if my usage continues at the same rate, the cost could really add up.  My next thought was to find a way to make my own version of this wonderful mist.  A couple of searches online led me to these nifty little aluminum misters.  I like the fact that they're easily refillable and they're made of the same material as the Evian Facial spray bottle. 
Here's why I got three of them.  Do you remember my Instagram Beauty Secrets post where I featured a high end facial spray from Chanel?  Well, I actually took a trip down do the mall to test it out.  Chanel incorporated moisture binding ingredients to extend the duration of moisture.  Water on its own will evaporate pretty quickly so I appreciate that they took their formula to the next level.     
I too would like to experiment with various formula's since I now have complete freedom to do what I please.  One will be purely water but I will test out various hair mist blends as well as an enhanced facial mist.  By the way,  these bottles are ultra affordable and their mist game is on point.  As a matter of fact, they actually create a finer mist than the Evian.  I love that.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I am beyond inspired by Karrueche's look of modern simplicity paired with edgy accents.  Where do I begin? Her white Top Shop blouse is perfection.  I adore the crew neckline and the slightly accented shoulders.  If that weren't enough, it features a split on the side which makes the blouse even more interesting.

I had this old way of thinking that whenever I wore all black and white, I'd pair it with silver jewelry. I've shifted that mindset after seeing how well the simple gold chains compliment her look.  Speaking of compliment, can we talk about black bag and how it works perfectly with what she's wearing? The simple strap pairs well with the basic top. But then we have this amazing rocker look with the fringed leather that balances the edginess of her amazing boots.  Her Tom Ford lace boots are beyond amazing. At first I thought they were too much but Karrueche does a fantastic job at making them the centerpiece of her outfit.  If I were to recreate a outfit inspired by her, perhaps I would were some shredded black skinny jeans for a more wearable look. The pairing of basic sophistication with edginess  just really works.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Last weekend, just after I finished applying deep conditioner to my damp hair, I asked myself "should I deep condition with heat or with steam?"  Normally, I just go for the steam because steam conditioning is the ultimate in healthy hair....right?  Any other day, I wouldn't have given it a second thought but this time I felt it made sense to deep condition with heat.

Part of the reason was because I didn't feel like wheeling out the MicroMist steamer from it's resting place but, more importantly, I felt like my hair might actually benefit more if I sat under a hooded dryer. Why did I say that?  Well because things  had gotten pretty hectic with my travel schedule which meant that I was not able to pamper my hair, in the previous weeks, like I should have.  I felt like my hair need a deep conditioning treatment, not just a boost a moisture.  I wanted my strands to be saturated with the product alone without the added water particles to potentially take up valuable cuticle space.

I figured that direct heat would open up the cuticle layer and help the conditioner and protein blend better address my strands.  Then I considered that without the steam, perhaps there would be less swelling of the hair strand from the absorption of water. My hair was already feeling a little weak so I wanted to keep things from potentially getting worse.  Not to say that steaming is a bad thing. On the contrary, steaming the hair has a ton of amazing benefits. But it's our job to know what's best for our hair at what time.

Perhaps whenever we are doing an intensive strengthening deep conditioning treatment, we should allow the heat to do it's thing.  But when our hair is in dire need of a moisture boost, we reach for the steamer.   Or, in the case of next weekend, I might experiment with doing both.  Maybe I start off under the hooded dryer for 15-20 minutes then head over to seal in the conditioner with a layer of intense moisture.  The end result could be interesting.

So if you're wondering whether you should steam or use direct heat at your next deep conditioning session, consider what your hair truly needs.  Perhaps the first couple of weeks after a relaxer you might want to go for heat focused deep conditioning, then towards the middle/end of your stretch, it can benefit from the added moisture.  I know that some of us have completely moved away from conditioning with heat ever since we got our steamer. But consider that you now have two wonderful options to better treat your hair. Why not utilize both?

Which is your favorite way to deep condition?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Yesterday, I met a couple of friends at Panera Bread for breakfast.  Before chatting we each something to eat.  I thought I'd do the honorable thing and order a healthy option to start my day.  My meal consisted of an egg with avocado slices placed on a bed of spinach and a green kale smoothie.  My friends, on the other hand,  each chose to indulge in chocolate covered pastry.   One of them looked over at my smoothie and asked "...a cold drink in the morning?"

I knew exactly why that question was asked.  They are Asian and, in their culture, it's best to start the day with a warm beverage.  This practice of drinking something warm in the morning brings multiple health benefits including boosting our metabolism, kick starting our digestive system, detoxification, increased circulation, etc.  If you think about it, warmth tends to open everything up. Steam opens up our pores and the cuticle layer of our hair.  Warm temperatures increase circulation and sweating.  All of this is really good for us.

My friend was right.  If I had a choice for my morning beverage between something hot or cold. Hot is a better option (especially during the cooler months).  So this morning I decided to make a "warm green smoothie" at home. Basically, I wanted similar benefits to the green morning smoothie while kickstarting my bodies' internal detoxification and stimulation systems.  I warmed water on the stove and removed it before it reached boiling point.  Then I added a little collagen powder knowing that the warm temp of the water would dissolve the powder in a flash.
Then I blended in a green powder fusion that is highly alkalizing.  I'm actually experimenting with this green powder blend because it will soon become a part of the Beautifully Bamboo family.  It contains super greens such as wheat, barley, alfalfa grasses and sea greens (spirulina, chlorella) along with kale and bamboo silica.  I'm still formulating so the final product may contain even more amazing ingredients when the green blend actually goes live.

Then I added a little lemon to take this blend to the next level.  Lemon also works to alkalize the body and the vitamin C works synergistically with the collagen powder and silica in the bamboo extract to help stimulate the production of collagen.
Everything blended together so easily, which is exactly what I wanted.   Best of all, the green fusion is extremely mild which makes it easy to drink without mixing it with juice.  I just add the powder to water and I'm ready to go.  Now I can have my "green smoothie" in the morning  as a way of waking up my body and flooding it with powerful nutrition in a highly absorbable, liquid form.  There's no better way to start the day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Many moons ago, when I was much younger, these things called crochet braids started to gain popularity.  But, back then, people for whatever reason, opted to by these tiny crimped braids that were made of black and yellow hair that looked like multicolored Ramen noodles .  They were just awful.  But despite my disapproval, my best friend still insisted in installing them and, since she didn't have the ability to braid, I learned how to install them hooked her up with a head full of tiny, serpent-like crimped braids.

One good thing I could say about crochet braids were how easy they were to install and remove.  Plus they protected her hair much better than the glued in tracks she was so addicted to.  Fast forward many years later and crochet braids have made an incredible come back.  But this time, they are highly versatile and splendidly fabulous.  In fact, they're so perfect that I'm now dying to try them.

Can you believe all these gorgeous looks are the result of these easy to install braids?  It's been a while since I handled a crochet needle so I need a bit a practice.  Good thing for us there are plenty of tutorials for us to (re)learn from.  I love this style as an option for the winter time when drier air and fuzzy hats threaten to rob our hair of moisture. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Having been on the road for many weeks straight, I relished in the opportunity to wake up in my own bed this weekend.  I'm one of those people who rarely eats breakfast but today I chose to do something intentional with the extra hour provided.

Whenever I head down for breakfast at a hotel room, I usually end up grabbing a mini yogurt and filling it with sliced almonds.  This time, I wanted to take that experience to the next level.  So I threw a few ingredients together and put together this min breakfast parfait as an after work out treat.

+ Frozen Acai
+Vanilla Yogurt
+Kind Granola 
+ Sliced Almonds
+Organic Blueberries
Then  I got to thinking about the time change and remembered back to a time when I was asked "if you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it?"  To me, this time change is like getting an extra hour.  Sure, we can catch up on some much needed sleep.  But, what if we set aside that extra hour to do something intentional.  The possibilities are limitless, we can work out, read, work on our goals, dedicate that hour to growing our business, anything!  

Consider setting your alarm for 6:00 am (if you normally wake up at 7:00 am).  Technically,  because of the time change, you wont actually be getting up any earlier.  We have just under 60 days left in the year. So much can be accomplished by dedicating 60 focused hours to reaching an end goal.  These 60 days will pass anyway, would you rather be glad that you made the decision to be in a better place 60 days from now or would you rather sleep through those 60 hours? Neither of the choices are good or bad, it's just a choice.  Both yield different results and you have a choice about which result you would rather create.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Now that swimsuit season is over, some of us might be less inclined to make it to our workout sessions.  The motivation to stay fit might wane as the holidays approach and we turn to layered clothing to keep us warm.  So I thought it might be a good idea to keep in mind the many other benefits we receive  from being active (aside from a fit body).

You all have heard me talk numerous times about the multitude of benefits to be gotten from sweating and increased circulation.  When it's hot outside, we get a little help from mother nature.  The sweltering temperatures alone are enough to help induce perspiration.  But, now that things are chilling out a bit, we need to switch to being proactive in maintaining proper circulation. Don't let things get stagnant this fall/winter.  Start to see physical activity as a detoxification & cleansing ritual.  Increasing the circulation of oxygen rich blood is a gift that your body relishes.  Give yourself that gift every day.

Human Growth Hormone Production
When we're young and vibrant, our pituitary gland releases ample amounts human growth hormones (HGH) into our bodies. These hormones are responsible for our lean muscle, our youth and vitality.  But, unfortunately, the amount of growth hormones decline as we age.  That's when we start noticing changing in our body, energy levels, etc.  Some have gone as far as to take these hormones orally (or via injection) as a way of replenishing lost stores.  Fortunately for us, there are other ways to promote the production of these youth hormones. One really effective method is through vigorous exercise.  Apparently, the body secretes these hormones when we engage in intense work outs.  So instead of thinking to yourself "I'm going to work out to get thin," you might say "I'm working out today to produce more anti aging hormones and keep myself young."

Hair Growth
If a fit, toned body isn't enough to motivate you to work out regularly, perhaps healthy hair growth will.  Now that we are entering into that time of the year where hair growth slows, you might want to use exercise as a way to keep your hair journey on track.  Why does exercise have an effect on hair growth?  Not sure, perhaps it could be due to the increased blood flow we mentioned earlier. Or maybe the increased growth hormones released in the body.  I checked out a couple of hair loss forums where men who were taking HGH were elated to see their hair grow back again.   Don't forget to pair your workouts with healthy eating to get the most benefit.

Now that the days are getting shorter, most of us will be exposed to less sunlight. Some say that less sunlight and colder temps could dampen our moods.  We just don't feel as good as in the warmer months.  One way to battle that is to make sure you take your vitamin D enriched fermented cod liver oil.  Once you've got that covered, take advantage of the feel good endorphins released during exercise.  Yesterday I decided to rewatch The Secret (for the 100th time).  What stood out for me was the constant reminder to make sure that we are feeling good,  throughout the day, to better attract our desires.  I'm of the belief that we should use as many techniques as possible to increase how good we feel.  Imagine how powerful it would to visualize your goals while your brain is being pumped with endorphins.  On top of that, regular exercise will lead to greater energy levels which also make you feel good.   One of the best feelings ever is going to work, knowing that I've worked out in the morning.  That feeling of accomplishment is incredible and my entire day is ultra productive.  There's nothing like it.

Bone Density
If anything, consider the benefit of increased bone density as a benefit of regular exercise.  I know that bone density may not be on the list of your aesthetic concerns. But consider that our bones are the structural support for our bodies.  When our bones are strong, our bodies (and faces) look strong and healthy.  My aunt recently flew in from Haiti to visit my mother. She's younger than my mother but she was astonished to see how great my mother's body was compared to hers.  My mom is very active and works rigorously in her garden.  My aunt, however, has had several house maids for as long as I can remember, and I suspect she doesn't do much physical activity.  My aunt naturally slimmer than my mom.  But lack of rigorous activity may be undermining her bone density and muscle tone.

Healthy bone density is crucial. I may not feel the urge to work out because we keep our weight under control through healthy eating.  But being slim isn't enough to ward off the long term effects of inactivity.  If we aren't working to maintain a strong internal support system, don't worry about spending your hard earned dollars on expensive skin creams.  Think of your beauty ritual from an inside out approach.  It may look something like this:
CELLULAR LEVEL (drink water, supplementation, circulation, oxygenation) >> BONE STRUCTURE (resistance training)>> MUSCLE TONE (physical activity)>> HEALTHY SKIN (exfoliation, sun protection) 
This is a more complete (and long term) way of looking at a beauty regimen.  Once you have those bases covered, everything else just falls into place.  The past few months have been insanely busy for me with 6-7 day work weeks complete with absurd amounts of travel.  Miraculously I've managed to maintain my weight through my eating eating habits. But, I haven't had a decent work out in months. Now I realize that working out isn't just for shedding pounds. The benefits go way beyond that.

Reflecting on all the extra benefits motivates me to work out even if I'm not trying to fit into a bathing suit.  I'm here to experience so much more than that.....but, I'll also take the flat abs.  :)

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