Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Must Have Essentials for Girls with Puny Lashes.

If you're one of those women who aren't blessed with a huge set of lashes, I empathize with you.  Lashes offer such a huge advantage on those days when you want to execute a five minute makeup regimen.  Healthy, lush lashes and a well arched brow can do amazing things for one's look.  Which is why it's imperative that those of us who aren't lash endowed have some tricks up our sleeve to make miracles happen.
Let's start with the absolute basics.  Lashes are just hair.  And as such, they respond positively when they receive a boost in nutrition.  Which is why you should feed your tiny lashes either internally or via topical application.  I've seen the wonders of consistently applying lash serum day and night with my own eyes.  Girls with skimpier lashes than me suddenly had an enviable pair thanks to their consistent efforts.

If you aren't into applying a topical lash enhancer two times a day, opt for an internal supplement or, do like I did and whip up a large cup of bamboo tea as part of your daily ritual.  At first, I wondered why my lashes seemed a little longer than normal until I remembered that I'd been regularly drinkng from a large (gallon size) batch tea that I'd store in the fridge.  Frequent bamboo tea refills have paid off and, suddenly, my lashes are now visible again. Don't take my word for it, check out LA Shopper's recent review on Amazon where she too proclaims the wonders of newly visible lashes thanks to indulging in the silica rich tea.
Now that I've got some lash action going, it's time to take it to the next level.  The absolute best thing you can do to enhance your lashes is to opt for cult mascaras known for situations just like yours.  On one trip to Sephora, I was introduced to Benefit's They're Real thank's to an eager sales girl who insisted that I not leave the store without having purchased it.

Actually, she was right, it was a pretty good mascara.  One reason why I love it so much is due to the unique wand which has a tiny spiked ball on the end. This little mascara ball easily finds those teenie, tiny hairs hiding in the corners.  The wand really helps me to create a more flirty look.  Especially if you're going for visibility over volume.  But then things get interesting when I layer Benefit's They're Real with MAC's Zoom  Lash.  I stumbled on Zoom Lash years ago when Kim Kardashian's make up artist used it to create her signature spidery lashes.  What I love about his mascara is how highly pigmented it is.  The wand is much smaller than "normal" which makes it much easier to maneuver through tiny lashes.  Zoom Lash is a wet formula,which requires you to use a little extra patience and care during application.  But, the payoff from this mascara makes it all worth it.

The trick to getting the most from your mascaras is to layer them for the double the impact.  If you purchased one, and aren't too happy with the results, see what happens when you layer with the other options in your makeup kit.  Another quick tip for making your lash line more visible is to line the inside of upper eyelid with a dark pencil.  This makes the base of your lashes appear darker, which gives them a fuller look.   This is especially helpful if you have a hard time reaching the base of your lashes with mascara.

And when you want to go for even more va-va-voom with your lashes, get a little a help from a lash curler.  Probably, the most well known brand is from Shu Uemura.  As with any purchase, you truly get a quality product for the price.  I invested in one years ago and have been happy every day since.

Curlier lashes are just the start, if I really want to amp up the lash power, I lightly warm up the curler before use, transforming it into a lash curling iron of sorts.  Once done with the routine, you can take it to the highest level by trying out the lash trick made famous by Audrey Hepburn's makeup artist.  Basically, after carefully applying mascara, she'd go back and meticulously separate each lash using a tooth pick. This would allow every single lash the opportunity to shine and get rid of any unwanted clumping.

Then, of course, you always have the option of grabbing a pair of falsies for a quick transformation. But, truthfully, I love the idea of sporting healthy natural lashes that accentuate your eyes, adding a bit of femininity and enhance your natural beauty. Best of all, they can turn you from a doe-eyed baby doll to a cat eyed vixen in just a few short minutes.



Monday, June 29, 2015

Motivation Monday | Put a down payment on your goals.

Welcome to a fresh start of a new week.  Hopefully, by now, you've created your intensions for the next 7 days.  If not, then please set a little time aside to do so.  One thing I'm really conscious of, when I set my goals for the week, whether my actions will point to the end goals that I want to achieve.

If you were to ask me to describe the things I want to have or experience, I'd easily rattle off a 3 or 4 things from my list.  But if you asked me what I did last week that brought me closer to that outcome, I'd probably hesitate for a little bit before coming with a few weak responses.  From my responses, you could easily determine my level of commitment to the outcomes I say I want.

Are you interested or are you committed?

I really want to eliminate much of the clutter from my environment.  That would make me so happy.  I've already identified the areas that I'd like to target. But, when the weekend comes, I do other things and the clutter remains. Or, I declutter small areas instead of doing an entire space.  To me, this implies that I'm interested in living in a completely clutter free environment, but I'm not fully committed to it.  There are other things higher on the list of my priorities.  I have to be honest with myself and really decide if the outcomes on my list of intentions are things I'm interested in or if I'm committed to having them in my life.  Once I've made that distinction, that's when things get interesting.

Let's say I put "take a trip to Thailand" as one of my intentions.  The next question I'd have to honestly ask myself is whether taking a trip to Thailand is something I'm saying because it sounds cool or is that something I really want to do.  If my response is that I really wanted to go, then I'd decide if I'm committed to making this goal happen.  If so, then I've got to move it to the top of the list.  Kinda like when I'm browsing through movie options on Netflix.  Suddenly, there's a movie I'd like to see and I move it into my queue.  The next decision I can make is whether to leave it a the bottom of the queue or move it up.  The higher I move it up, the sooner I get to enjoy it. If my list of movies is already pretty long, there's no telling when I'll actually get to see that movie.

One sure way to give some of your goals priority over others is to put a down payment on it.  A down payment is when you do something in the present that allows you to enjoy it in the future.  It separates you from those who are "just looking" and puts you in the category of "I'm ready to buy!"  Without a down payment, no one takes you seriously (including yourself).  But when you do something in the present that represents what you want to experience in the future, you put some powerful things in motion.

Some examples of putting a down payment on your goals can include:
  • Creating a separate bank account to automatically save for your business, dream getaway, new home, etc.
  • Adding glimpses of your future life into your current routine (see weekly massages post).
  • Finding someone who's done what you want to do and get actionable steps on how to create a similar path.
  • Preparing the things you'll need if your goal does manifest (example: updating your passport, creating an ideal home office if you want to work from home, buying clothes in the future size you intend to be and hanging it up as a visible reminder). 
You know when you're getting serious about your goals because there are signs/evidence of your future in your current reality.  If no outwards signs exist, you haven't put a down payment.  Without a down payment, you're like that guy who says he's serious about a future commitment but what you're really doing is stringing your goals along.  You say that you want a future with the vision you have in your mind, but in reality, you're playing games.  It's time to get serious. Time to commit and time to put a ring on it.  
Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gabrielle Union reminds us to step our water drinking game up.

One of my favorite posts of all time is on the topic of how Beyonce, Adriana Lima and Gabby Union drink a gallon of water a day to keep their skin perfectly flawless.  That post resonated with a lot of you and it sparked off a water drinking challenge that would change lives.

You can imagine how elated I was when to stumble on this pic, while scrolling through Gabrielle's Instagram feed.
It depicts Gabby, as she shows off a partially filled gallon of water.  In her caption, she writes about accepting a 30 Day Transformation Challenge which appears to be spearheaded by celebrity trainer Luther Freeman.  Gabby--miss overachiever, is actually pictured with her 2nd gallon of water for the day.  Yes, she's upped the ante to two gallons.  And notice how she's included a couple of lemon wedges to transform the water into an ultra alkalizing beauty tonic.

If there's one tip I'd like you to take away from this post it's this: The bigger your water bottle, the more water you'll drink.    When I first became serious about my water intake,  I grabbed this huge 56 oz drinking bottle.  It was a little cumbersome at first but it definitely served its purpose.  If I could drink two of those a day, I'd reach my goal. And, to be honest with you, it was pretty easy to do.

Then I started using a smaller (regular sized) water bottles for the sake of portability and my water intake immediately went down.  This was unacceptable.  Whenever I needed to make up for slacking on my water intake, I'd drink directly from a 3 liter bottle.  But, what I haven't yet tried, was drinking directly from a gallon.  I really like the idea.  And I love how she includes a few lemon wedges in there as a way of claiming that entire gallon as hers.  Someone as consistent as Gabby is with her water intake deserves to enjoy glowing, flawless skin at 42.  Thank you, Gabby, for reminding us to keep going so we can reap the rewards of ultra-hydration.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Style Obsession | The Kimono

June is coming to an end and soon we'll be in the throws of summer.  Although I love warmer weather, I always seem to have an issue with attire.  It gets crazy hot/humid here which means that it's not uncommon to find young ladies wearing low cut tops and super skimpy shorts.  That's never been my thing 'cause I never felt comfortable wearing shorts in public (weird, I know).  I just don't want to attract any unwanted attention so I choose to cover up as much as possible.

But I think I've found the answer to how to look stylish and modest while wearing cute shorts and camis.  Ladies, I present to you, the kimono.
Charlotte Russe Kimono size S 
First, they make for amazing beach cover ups on your summer getaway.  A lightweight, stylish cover up is what will set you apart from other beach babes.  Even when you're not laying by crystal clear waters, the kimono is versatile enough to be worn pretty much anywhere.
What I love about cooler weather is how easy it is to amp up your look by simply throwing on a leather jacket or whatever cute jacket you have in your closet.  In the summer, things get a little more complicated, especially when you're trying to stay as cool as possible.  That why I adore this as a viable option.  Notice how it transformed my basic cotton dress into something special.
The best thing about these kimonos is how it feels like you barely have anything on. If fact, they generate a cool breeze as you move.  Flowy kimonos make you feel all glamourous like you've got your own personal wind machine.  Oh and I love this full length to add a little bit of coverage when I'm wearing more revealing attire.  I definitely have plans to pick up a couple more. One that stops around mid thigh and maybe another full length.  I'm deciding between this one from Nasty Gal or this one from ASOS.
Friday, June 26, 2015

I've turned my Korean Treatment Essence into a high end facial mist

Hey, good to see you again.  I want to tell you about something I did which just saved me nearly $100.00.  You see, after I became addicted to Evian facial mist last summer, I discovered that Chanel carries a luxury facial mist infused with skin loving ingredients. Evian was cool and all, but I wanted to add a little something extra, beyond water, to my skin with every mist.  I fell in love with the idea of rejuvenating the skin with antioxidants and hydration at any given point of the day.  But alas, the $90.00 price tag kept me at bay.   Y'all know I have no problem splurging on higher end items but I really couldn't see myself putting that kinda money on a 1.7 oz bottle in which the first ingredient is water.

Time passed and I filed away the idea of a nutrient rich facial mist.  I figured that eventually the answer (or product) would eventually come to me.  And, I'm here proclaim that the day has arrived!
You all know how I've been indoctrinated into the Korean Skin Care Ritual.  This intense layering method has exposed me to a new type of product.  Steve Jan made me a believer in facial treatment essence which led to the discovery of Missha's First Treatment Essence.  This stuff makes sweet love to my skin every morning.  I don't know how to explain it...it's like a water that moisturizes (not just hydrates--there's a difference).  It feels like water, but then it sorta behaves like a moisturizer on my skin and it leaves behind this subtle little glow.  It's fantastic.

The other day and had this bright idea.  What if, I get a tiny spray bottle and lovingly pour a little Treatment Essence in it, to carry in my bag?  That way, I can mist my face with the blend of amazing extracts and pro-youth yeast ferment whenever mood strikes.  Let me take a moment of reiterate that Missha's Essence looks and feels like water but there's no water in the ingredient list.  This means that every ingredient is purposeful, yet it feel like you're misting your face with an infused water.

The minute the idea struck me, I ran into the room to see if it was possible.  After grabbing the bottle off the counter and taking a look, I'm relieved to find out that I can easily remove the plastic stopper and have full access to Missha's miracle water.  Because they give so much product in one bottle, I can afford to distribute some into small spray bottle.  Off I went into the land of internet shopping to find the perfect little spray bottle.  My requirements were clear, I needed a glass spray bottle, small enough to fit into my tiniest makeup bag. I chose glass because the original product came in glass and I wanted to stay consistent. Plus a glass mister would make me feel all luxurious, and stuff, every time I used it.
It didn't take me long to find these perfect little misters on Etsy for a couple of bucks.  They're super cute and come in a set of three.  I can use the others for perfumes and whatnot.  If you travel frequently, you'll enjoy these.  It took 2 seconds to fill the bottle and voila!  I had my very own high quality, high end facial mist.  I didn't realize how concentrated the Essence was until I used it as a mist.  It delivers high levels of moisture in an instant.  I think I may create a diluted version (by adding a little water) for those times when I want more hydration and less moisture (if that makes any sense).  Whenever I mist with the pure essence, I take a moment to massage the product in.  If I diluted to include more water, I could just mist and let it evaporate.

I'm still experimenting but I had to run in here and share the good news.  If you still haven't tried Missha's First Essence yet, you are missing out.  I went back and reread my initial post where I predicted that my face would improve over time with consistent use, and I was so right.  My skin looks really smooth and more even toned.  I could attribute those results to daily facial exfoliation, but I've read other accounts of others who've also experienced skin altering results from this product so it's not all in my head.
Thursday, June 25, 2015

How to Create Flawless Skin in 7 Days.

I received a comment on a recent post linking to an article on how to get flawless skin in 7 days.  The article was ok, but left a lot of valuable info out. So decided to write my own little "how to create flawless skin in 7 days post".  I'll start by saying it's darn near impossible to get flawless skin in 7 days.  But, you can drastically improve your skin within that period of time.  You just have to adjust your actions to match the level of concerns keeping you away from your goal of flawlessness.  There are times when you've got special occasion coming up and it's imperative that you make an impact on your skin quickly.  Hopefully this guide will help.
Beyonce & her flawless skin.

I'll break this post by severity of issues and how to drastically improve those issues in 7 days or less. But first, we must define what flawless skin means, that way we all have the same idea of what the end goal is.  For the purposes of this discussion, flawless  (1)skin is free of acne, (2)hydrated,  (3)smooth, (4)even-toned, and (5)glows (reflects light).  I like to work on my skin in phases.  For example, when I was troubled with cystic acne, I wasn't trying to create glowing skin. I had to get rid of the blemishes first. And when I did, I realized that I had work to do to get my skin smooth and even toned.  Glowing skin is cool, but if you have discoloration from previous scarring, it takes away from everything.

If you have active acne, clearing it should be your first priority.  If the acne is persistent (meaning, it's not some random flareup), you have to do something drastic to clear it in 7 days.  My recommendation is to focus heavily on your internal environment.  Treating it using only topical methods is like playing whack-a-mole.The name of the game is to reduce/eliminate the inflammation in the most effective way possible.  This means you'll cutting out foods such as dairy, sugar, anything fried, and wheat.  Basically, you want to starve any internal issues that could be feeding your constant breakouts.

To speed up the cleansing detox process, you want to add lots of alkalizing foods into the mix.  Green salads are you friend.  And you should be drinking (lemon) water like a freakin' fish.  If you want results within 7 days, you've got to get serious with it.  When it's all said and done, your skin will not only look better but you'll feel tremendous and maybe even shrink your waistline.  It's a win-win.

  If you suffer from the occasional break out, you also want to follow the advice that I gave above. Your issue may be because you've slipped a little in your water intake. You've indulged in rich foods more than normal and your skin is gently reminding you of your mishaps.  All you have to do is get back on track.  You also want to take a few extra precautions like washing sheets/pillow cases, cleaning your cell phone, not touching your face and the other random stuff that create sporadic break outs.  I'd also recommend you conduct a couple at home facials to help move the purging process along.

 What if you're one of those people who don't really get breakouts but you're skin isn't as fantastic as you'd like it to be.  The good news, since you don't have to worry about dealing with visible blemishes, you can skip directly to the step of trying to achieve glowing skin.  You've got a  couple of options.  One would be to exfoliate regularly, removing the surface skin blocking the world from seeing all of your beauty.

Let me tell you two examples of experiences where my co-workers transformed their skin. One had smooth even toned skin but wanted to take it to the next level.  Her course of action to was feed her skin by doing a 7 day juice fast.  We hadn't seen each other for a few days and when I saw her again, she had the skin of an angel.  She couldn't stop raving about what the juice fast did for her skin and it showed.

Another coworker took a leave of absence for a few months and when she returned, the first thing I noticed was her skin.  She wasn't terribly attractive and her skin wasn't really her best feature.  But when she came back, her skin was suddenly above average.  After exchanging pleasantries, I was like "so what are doing differently to your skin."  Oh, she responded, I don't use soap any more, "I scrub ever day." 

It's that simple ladies and gentlemen, the formula for flawless skin can be boiled down to:
1. Feed the skin
2. Exfoliate to allow fresh skin, gorgeous to shine.





If you're like me and you've got your acne under control but you're dealing with scarring, your options to address this within 7 days are:

1. Find an amazing full coverage foundation.
2. Treat yourself to a facial peel.

My first experience with a peel was awesome and I really need to do it again.  Within a week, years of stubborn scarring had reduced drastically leaving behind baby smooth skin.  Since then, I've been taking the slow and steady approach to reduce acne scars but, in all honesty, I need to get serious and do a peel again.  I'm thinking of doing the VI Peel that claims amazing results, regardless of skin type.

In all honesty, the peel experience wasn't my favorite, watching the top layer of your skin peel off is somewhat unsettling.  My ultimate advice is to maintain regular habits that give you great skin.  For instance, a powerful daily routine will do wonders for your skin (see Korean layering method post). And I can't tell you the number of people who left comments on the blog and on Facebook about how much their skin improved after jumping on the "drink your water" challenge. Anytime you talk to someone with incredible skin, they will likely tell you about their high water intake.

Long story short, do the right things for your skin on a regular basis and you won't have to worry about creating a total transformation.  Don't be that person who has to work frantically to address skin issues, be the one who's known for always having great skin.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The amazing benefits I experienced from regular massage sessions.

A few years ago, I purchased a spa package consisting of four 90 minute massages.  Then I landed a job with frequent travel and neglected to take advantage of the paid sessions.  Once I transitioned to working at home full time, the first thing I did was purchase another set massages.  When I envision my ideal life.  Some of what I desire includes weekly massages and other decadent experiences.  So I thought, "why not experience a slice experience of that right now?"

Turns out that the three remaining sessions from the years prior had not expired.  Immediately, I scheduled them for fear that they'd find out about the glitch and promptly void them.  Since then I've used those sessions and completed several more.  The difference between this time and when I got massages before is the frequency in which I experienced them.  Although, I didn't really expect it, I got some decent results as a reward for my consistency.

The first session was right around the time that I was working with a personal trainer.  My trainer was excellent at working various muscle groups that I didn't know existed.  Unfortunately, we didn't spend as much time stretching, post workout, as needed.  After my first massage, the young lady asked me "do you work out?" "Yeah, why do you ask?"  "Cause you had a lot of tension in your muscles, I usually see this when the person doesn't do enough to stretch out the muscles after exercising."  Although I hadn't felt any real tension in my body.  It was there. And this was at least a month after I stopped working with the trainer.

The next time I visited, the massage therapist performed an impromptu hot stone massage.  Probably because she noticed the tightness I was still carrying.  Tight muscles are not something you want to leave unaddressed.  Basically, it creates imbalances in the body that can eventually affect your range of movement.  Even when I wasn't working out, I always carried a bunch of tension in my shoulders.  This thanks to a high stress work environment. That stress builds up inside of you and just stays there, festering in your body.  But, because of  multiple sessions, my body was easily able to release the tension.  During my last session, the therapist rubbed my lower back and said that most people she massages have tension there that she could physically feel.  She let me know that I didn't have any of those stress bubbles. "That's 'cause I come here so often" I responded.   

Then there was the time I caught a slight cold and requested a lymphatic drainage massage.  I rarely get sick and I have a sneaking suspicion that my cold was a result of the toxins  released in my system post massage.  They say it's good to drink a lot of water after a session to release the toxins from the body. I figured a good lymphatic massage could accelerate the detox.  Days later, everything cleared up and I was back to my old self.  If you ever find yourself fighting congestion and sluggishness, consider massage as part of your strategy to bring everything back to balance.

There was another huge benefit I got from regular massages.  I notice less "popping and cracking" when I move around.  I sometimes hear cracking sounds (especially near my hips) when I moved suddenly or got up after sitting for a while.  Hubby calls me "old lady" whenever he hears the popping sound, and I was convinced that I'd need hip replacement surgery as part of my future. It wasn't painful, just annoying.  Recently, I noticed that popping is gone. There are no more trapped air pockets in my body (I'm assuming). Not sure when it happened, but my movements are now smooth and fluid, thanks to regular massage.

The message I want you to leave with is that regular massages aren't just some luxury deemed for the ultra-rich, they're actually really good for you.  And if you do them regularly, you may experience amazing benefits beyond just feeling relaxed and refreshed.  I did it to feel abundant never expecting tangible benefits.  You might even experience relief from pain, insomnia, etc.  If you're thinking about the cost of regular massage sessions, do what I did and find a reputable school that offers the full service experience minus the hefty price. The price I paid for four sessions was around what I pay for my cell phone bill, and completely worth it.

Now I wanna experiment with regular facials and see what unfolds.
Monday, June 22, 2015

Motivation Monday | Creating your life on a moment by moment basis

One habit I'm cultivating at the moment is transitioning from just living my life to being an active creator. I'll never forget the words my dad once told me that captures this sentiment exactly.  He said, "your life is like your home, you design it in the way you want it to be."  If you don't like how something is, move it around or get rid of it."

I really want to practice active creation on a micro level.  Not just for those big goals but in every moment of the day.  One belief I hold is that the better I get at creating at a small scale, the easier it will be for me to obtain those big goals.
So what does active creation mean? Simply put, it's taking an active role in what my day looks like based on the choices I make throughout the day.  I have this image, this fantasy, of what I'd like my life to look like.  My current reality contains parts of it, but there's a lot of things that aren't congruent.  And many of them are small things that are within my power.  Like in my environment or in how I maintain my appearance, etc.  Sometimes, I only focus on reaching certain milestones but don't pay enough attention to what my ideal day looks like compared to the typical day I experience.

And the best part of it all is how much control I have over my day.  I can determine what time I get up and how I set myself up for the day ahead.  I can load my senses with inspiration from books, images, etc.  I can meditate and visualize my day, I can take extra time to focus on my appearance, etc.  Before leaving my home, I can fill myself up with enough inspiration to last me the entire day.  And in my home, I have the ability to take specific actions that allow each room to elevate my "feel good" energies every time I walk in.

I can make choices to eat foods that nourish my cells, not just fill my stomach.  When I work, I can play my favorite songs in the background to keep my mood in the right place.  I can go on and on.  What's most important is that we identify what an amazing daily experience  looks and feels like to you. Then create it.

 Art used to be my most loved subject in school.  I was pretty talented, and would often receive praise for my sketch work.  Drawing still life was my favorite thing to do.  It required me, as the artist, to pay attention to every detail in the arrangement so I could drawn an accurate replication.  If I didn't look back at the real image frequently, my drawing wouldn't resemble it.  The same with our lives. We've got to look at the life we are actively creating (with a critical eye), and ask ourselves, "does this look like the picture that I've created in my mind?"

If the answer is no, it's simple to make a few strokes to adjust.  Remember that our days, our lives, are comprised of choices just like solid matter is composed of atoms.  New choices are easy to make as long your remain conscious and aware.  So stop thinking of your day as something you live over and over again. See yourself as the artist, creating her masterpiece and see what unfolds before your very eyes.  

A couple helpful tips to make this happen:

  • Affirm what you want for yourself to experience on a daily basis.
  • Spend a few minutes in quiet meditation daily to help raise your awareness. Someone with a low awareness tends to operate on auto pilot and make the same decisions over and over again.
  • Fantasize frequently on your ideal life and ideal day.
  • Set a goal to do 2-3 things a day that cause your day to appear more like your ideal.
  • Know what makes your feel good and focus on doing those things (for example, I once worked in a building with no windows, the environment was depressing. On lunch breaks, I would quickly eat my food then drive to a park nearby, sit on a bench and pretend that I was there because I had time freedom to do whatever I wanted). 
  • When you do this, focus on the smallest little things and work your way up.  It's a bottom up approach. 
Sunday, June 21, 2015

Insta Moments.

A look back at this week's moments on Instagram. Don't forget to follow me @lifeasnadege.
P.s. Notice the image of Kashmir's Hair Botox.  I made a purchase and had a chance to try the botox treatment at home.  Review coming soon.
Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Fulani Method | Using a silk scarf to infuse moisture into your hair

As I type these words, I'm sporting a dampened silk scarf, why? Because I'm trying the Fulani Silk Wrap Method.  You may have heard of moisturizing and sealing your hair.  But have you considered moisturizing and sealing your scarf?

The Fulani Method is a tradition of the Fulani women who hail from Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.  The method is quite simple.  You simply moisturize and seal your scarf before tying around your hair.  You heard me right, you moisturize and seal your scarf.  The idea is that your scarf will infuse your strands with moisture as you sleep.  Or, if you're like me and wear your scarf around the house, you'll experience a moisture boost all day.  I see great applications for this method on when you're out in the sun all day or for instant replenishment whenever your hair is feeling extra dry.

You'll see a video demonstration below.  JoStylin immerses the scalp in water and dips in in oil. This morning I tried a modified version in which I misted the scarf with a spray bottle. This time I didn't include the oil component because I wanted to see how my hair responded to the damp scarf alone.  When I do use oil, I'll apply using the Misto Sprayer.  After a few minutes of sporting a lightly damp scarf, I removed it to assess the results.

Instantly, my hair felt more moisturized.  The little bit of dampness from the scarf allowed my hair to lay down quite nicely. It was like moisturizing the hair with half the work.  I love that I can modify the amount of moisture depending on what hair style I'm wearing.  If I need more moisture, I can lightly wet the scarf under running water. If I want to moisturize the hair without over saturation, I mist the scarf.  This method doesn't take the place of your regular moisturizing and sealing regimen, but it's a nice addition. Especially for those lazy nights when you just want to tie a (damp) scarf around your head and fall asleep.  Thumbs up for the Fulani Method.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fit Friday | Summer Fitness Inspiration.

When our motivations are strong, our actions will respond accordingly. At the moment, I'm focused on feeding the habits the bring about a fit and healthy body.  I keep this desire "in existence"by filling my senses with various images for inspiration.  Today, I'd like to share a few of those inspo pics with you.  And since summer is around the corner, I figured that I'd theme this entry around various summer inspired shots.





However you decide to spend your summer, it's worth the effort to make sure you look fabulous doing it.
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Style Obession | Dressed in Denim

If I could fill my entire closet with only one type of outfit, it would be the denim dress.  I've owned nearly a dozen denim dresses over my life. Each one unique and special in their own perfect way.  A dress made of denim gives you the same casual, comfortable feel as your favorite pair of jeans but with a feminine feel.  Jeans are fun, but essentially, they're just a pair of pants.

The denim dress however, can quickly go from ultra casual loungewear to a fabulous, night out dress.  Just as Rihanna who recently attended an event wearing a tailored dark denim a-line dress. Notice how easily the dress accentuates her crimson nails and printed chain bag.  If you love to showcase colorful accessories, the denim dress provides the perfect backdrop.

I've already picked up a couple of denim dresses to wear during this summer. Now, I'm inspired to grab a dark denim structured dress thanks to Rihanna.  Dark denim is perfect because it pairs well with gold or silver jewelry.  I think the best think about a dress made of denim is that it's pretty timeless.  Heck, I was wearing a jean dress when I met my husband 10 years ago.  A dress that can be worn for over a decade is a fashion staple that everyone should have one their closet.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Case for Exfoliating Your Eye Area

Things are going pretty well with this updated skin care system that I've been implementing.  The Korean layering method infuses my skin with various nutrient rich serums, which keeps it glowing.  And moving my favorite skin care products to the shower adds that level of consistency, brining great results.

Yesterday, I glanced into my sun visor mirror to see how my skin looked in natural light.  Skin looked decent but I noticed that my eyes weren't as fresh and bright as the rest of my face. Sure, my first thought was to attribute it to not being in my 20 anymore.  Maybe father time was finally catching up.  But the logical side of me wanted to get to the route cause of the issue.  "What's missing from my regimen that's causing my eyes to look like this?"  The response was immediate.  I was exfoliating all of my face except my eye area.
Now I'm sure that everything you've ever heard or read has warned you repeatedly to avoid exfoliators near the eyes.  They say the eye area is delicate and fragile, like a newborn baby duckling.  You're only supposed to use the lightest touch with the tip of your pinky finger, if you ever go near your eyes.  I understand where they're coming from. We want to protect the eye area as much as possible.  But are we missing on a huge opportunity by staying away from the eye?

Let me first address the idea that the skin around the eye is too fragile for exfoliation.  I'm of the belief that any part of the body that's neglected will start to atrophy.  If we don't use our muscles, they shrink.  When astronauts go weeks without walking, they lose bone mass.  I think that part of the reason why our eye area shows our age so quickly is because we allow it to atrophy.  I've read online accounts of people who claimed to have thickened the skin around the eye area through a vigorous massage technique that includes pinching and rolling of the skin. They say the skin responds well as blood flow to the area increases causing increased collagen production.  The result is a brighter, more youthful looking under eye area.  We layer mascara, concealer,  and eye creams without much thought of how to properly remove all the unwanted build up.

So I looked online and found several articles urging us to exfoliate our eye area. So we can enjoy youthful glowing skin over our entire face!  This morning, I nonchalantly walked into the bathroom to experience this for the first time.  Keeping in mind that if I happened to get an exfoliant grain in my eye, my day would be absolutely ruined.  For this reason,  I purposefully chose not to use any products that are too grainy.  Because, Fresh sugar scrub is extra thick, the likely of any sugar grains going astray is minimal.  Please, never use an exfoliant that has crushed almond shells (or anything of the sort) near your eyes.  If something goes wrong, water can't dissolve it like with a sugar grain.

First I massaged my skin with oil to loosen dirt below the surface.  Then I dampened the skin with water and scrubbed with a tiny bit for Fresh exfoliant. As I got near the eye area, I used a high level of caution.  In fact, I didn't really go near my eyes with the scrub, I just remained in the area surrounding the eye (outer orbital bone). But it was closer than I'd ever gone before with granules.

That's when I decided to use another means to really exfoliate the under eye.  With my eyes firmly shut, I grabbed the Clarisonic and proceeded to cleanse my face. This time I also scrubbed my upper and lower lid (eyes closed).  I even allowed the electronic brush to remain on the eye for a few moments before moving to the next eye.  I emerged from the experience completely unscathed.

As I began to layer on the serums, I made a conscious effort to apply Misha's Essence serum and my glycolic acid serum to the under eye.  After I was done, I looked in the mirror to assess the results. The difference was noticeable right away. I also look forward to the cumulative benefit as well.    Exfoliation allows you to put your brightest, freshest skin on display, it only makes sense to exfoliate your entire face.  If you feel weird about using scrubs near your eyes, try a brush, a mild chemical exfoliant like Cure Gel or an exfoliating serum to see what works best for you.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Damaged Hair? Maybe you should try a Hair Botox Treatment.

As the weather gets hotter, the only I can properly wear my hair straight is to have it done professionally.  Whenever Marie straightens my hair, the results can last for weeks.  But I'd love to try an option that could last much longer.  Oh, and if the procedure could actually improve the condition of my hair, I'd be elated.

In the past,  the options available were Keratin straightening or Japanese straightening. Both are viable choices but there may be a new hair straightening system in town.  Well it's not actually new but I'm just hearing about it for the first time.  I'm talking about Hair Botox.  When I first heard the term, I was like "are they sticking needles in our hair now?"   But actually, Hair Botox is a procedure not unlike a Keratin Treatment but with a few minor differences.  The biggest difference Hair Botox proponents highlight is that it contains no formaldehyde or any of it's potentially dangerous derivatives.  One site stated that even though a Keratin treatment product claims to be formaldehyde free, it could contain ingredients like aldehyde or vanillin which could turn into an inhalable version of formaldehyde after coming in contact with heat from your blow dryer.  And lastly, the Hair Botox treatment leaves the hair softer and shinier than a typical Keratin Treatment.

Hair Botox, on the other hand, only boasts of amazing ingredients that rid the hair of damage you've accumulated over the years, brining it back to it's youthful self.  I mean, who wouldn't want to have your hair infused with caviar oil, vitamins B & E, a collagen complex and natural acids?  Another feature of this process is that it doesn't completely remove all the curls from the hair like Keratin Treatments and it's not permanent like Japanese straightening.

I've talked about healthy hair salon treatments in the past. But this is the first one that I seriously want to try for myself.  If I could get similar results as a fresh touch up without having to break the bonds of the hair.  And, if the Hair Botox process actually repairs the weak areas of my hair, it would save time and money on the back end.  Theoretically, I wouldn't have to invest as much on expensive hair repair products if my hair responded well to the treatment.  I also like the fact that it could leave a little texture in the hair which might mean that I can still rock braid and wave outs whenever the mood struck. They say the treatment lasts 2-4 months but I suspect those of us with tightly curled new growth may need more frequent touch ups.  But, if the claims of Hair Botox being completely healthy for the hair are true, redoing the treatment every 6 six weeks or so isn't out of the question since it doesn't damage the hair.

Then I got to thinking, "is there a version of this product that one can do in the comfort of their own home?" The answer is yes.  L'Oreal has a line called Fiberceutic Hair Filling treatment. I've been eyeing these products for ages although I had to knowledge of the Hair Botox process.  But now that my eyes have been opened, I'm looking at these products with even more lust.  Thank God L'Oreal makes affordable, at home, versions of the treatment. really want my first experience to be a professional level product.  It does appear that Amazon does carry some professional level hair botox products (judging by the prices).  

I'm sold. I definitely want to try this to help tame summer frizz.   Even if it doesn't really straighten that well, I'm still very excited about it's hair restorative potential.  Who knows, maybe this could help me reduce (or eliminate) the number of times I relax per year.    If anyone has experienced this treatment, let us know what you thought of it.



Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Motivation | Life Lessons from Tom Cruise's Movie Live-Die-Repeat

The first time I saw the trailer for the Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live, Die, Repeat), starring Tom Cruise, I immediately, hopped on over to Netflix and added it to my queue.  I'm a huge fan of Sci-Fi  movies and this looked quite interesting.  When the movie arrived days later, I thought I'd be enjoying a couple of hours of escape into a world of fantasy and adventure.  Little did I know that Live, Die, Repeat would be bursting at the seams with life lessons on creating the life you want to achieve.

Here's a preview for those of you who've never heard of it.


Tom Cruise plays William Cage, a former advertising executive who's taken a PR role in the Armed Forces.  He is then ordered to serve in the war against alien invaders.  The battle is a catastrophic event as the soldiers are no match for their powerful enemies.  Cage, who is ill prepared for such an experience, fumbles his way through battle as he watches others die around him.  Somehow, me manages to kill one of the large alien creatures called "Mimics" and dies in the process.

The next scene open with Cage in the exact same location before going to battle the day before.  From there everything repeats itself exactly as he experienced it.  William tries to warn others of the impending disaster that awaits the combat team but everyone thinks he's crazy.   He has to relive the battle all over again.  This time, Cage is aware of some of what's about to happen and tries his best not to die again.  But, unfortunately, he does.

The rest of the movie consists of Private Cage repeating the same day over again over again, dying numerous times in his quest to defeat the enemy. Each time we wakes up again, he does so with a growing sense of assurance (and awareness).   Cage tweaks his actions in order to experience different outcomes. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  To me, the most powerful aspect of the movie is when he partners with Sergeant Rita Vrataski.  She's aware of what he's experiencing and begins his combat training to defeat the enemy.  She knows that Cage will wake up the moment he dies, to start the day over again.  She has absolutely no hesitation in killing Cage to reset the day as many times is necessary.  Cage, on the other hand, is somewhat attached and is hesitant to "die," even though he instantly wakes up again like nothing happens.

The reason why I connected with this movie so much is because I see this story as an analogy for our lives.  Each morning, we wake up at the same location (just like Cage).  Chances are, you do the same thing every morning (just like Cage who had to go through the same routine each time he woke up).  You probably have a goal (just like Cage who's mission was to kill the enemy).  And you probably fail to reach your goal(s) each day (just like Cage did).

But here's what Cage did to change the course of his life.

1.  He did something different.  After reliving the same day/same outcomes repeatedly, Cage made the decision to break the normal routine and shift his environment.  That's how he meets Rita who helps develop his skills in battle.

2. He works with a coach.  When Cage tried to defeat the enemy on his own, the outcome was predictable.  One Rita started training him, the progress he made was pretty astounding.

3.  He used his fears to motivate him.  I wrote this Fearless Friday post before I watch the movie, but there was a scene in the film that illustrates my point perfectly.  William is disheartened by going into battle day in and day out only to lose his life in a new and unexpected way.  He's unmotivated and decides to leave the base and head to town for drinks instead of going off to battle.  What he doesn't realize is that, by not showing up, he then allows for the enemy to easily defeat the humans then invading the town and taking innocent lives.  To Cage, this outcome is unacceptable, and when his day "resets." His level of intensity and motivation to kill the enemy is at an all time high.  In the same way, you have to focus what will happen if you don't move towards your goals and use that as fuel to push you forward in a powerful way.

4. He resets, he resets, he resets.    This is my favorite part of the movie.  The message is clear. If things aren't going the way it's supposed to, then you've got to reset.  Have you ever promised yourself that, in the morning, you're gonna work out.  Then the morning passes and you've done nothing.  You start feeling bad about yourself and proceed to eat a fatty lunch because, hey, you've already messed up so it makes no difference.  This movie taught us to think in a new way. If things aren't going right, reset.  Tom Cruise had to "die" to reset his day.  I practiced reseting by simply realizing when things weren't going as planned, and making immediate adjustments in my actions.

Once I realized that I'd missed my morning meditation, I'd reset by setting some time to do it now.  When I looked around my office and noticed the environment was a bit disorganized, I immediately took a couple minutes to reset it to look the way I wanted to.  Realize that you can change things that you don't like at any time and all the time.  We're making decisions all the time.  Let's keep resetting and making new decisions for ourselves.  We already know what the outcome will be if we keep heading down the dame path.  Why not try something new each day to see what happens.

I also want to point out that every fail that Cage experienced helped him for the next day.  That's how he continued to make progress.  The lesson is to reflect on the day before and what you learned about what to do and what NOT to do.  Think about last week, what lessons did you learn that you can use to help you make this week even better.  I've already identified what didn't work for me last week so I can avoid them this week.  If it doesn't work, I'll reset.    Even if things go well, I can always ask myself,  what I can do to make my results better.

Even without the life lessons, this movie is pretty entertaining.  Highly recommend.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Instagram Beauty Secrets Part 7.

Who's ready for another round up of Insta-Beaty secrets?  For those of you who new to this series, it's basically where I stalk scour feeds in search of random sharing of their favorite beauty tip/product.  I'm not talking about the paid posts for teeth whitening or "skinny teas."  These are the real products they use everyday and swear by.  Let's get started.


@astrog1rl
Astrog1rl's Instagram feed is filled with flawless faced selfies. It's no wonder why people would bombard her with questions on what she does to create her everyday face.  Here's what she had to share:

"I get asked everyday what foundation I use so I thought it would be best to just make a post.  I use Makeup Forever Mat Velvet foundation #80 then I use Makeup Forever Duo Mat #218 powder as a finish.  This is the best foundation I've EVER used and yes I tried MAC (it's too heavy IMO).  This is just right for normal/combination/oily skin types."

I'll throw my 2 cents in and agree with her on Makeup Forever foundation.  It gives decent coverage while looking natural.  Since adding it to my regimen, I've never looked elsewhere. That is....until now.  I have the HD Foundation (which is perfect) but I like the idea of a mattifying foundation since I don't use a powder at the moment.  Especially now in the warmer months when oil production is sky high.  
 @sharshar_xo

Sharshar is a living testament to the lesson we learned on going to bed greasy.  Her flawless skin prompted lots of questions from her followers on what foundation she used to create her natural glow.  Here's what she had to say:
"For all the lovely ladies asking me what foundation I use. I don't wear any makeup.  I use this on my face and body twice a day."

We've heard that coco butter is notorious for helping to even out skin tone.  It makes perfect sense that this young lady keeps it simple by using something every day that promotes healthy and vibrant skin all over.   If coco butter is too heavy for you, we've seen great results from people who use coconut oil on the skin day/night.  Play around with it and see what works best for you.

@themelyssaford

I always get a excited when a celebrity shares her beauty secrets.  Today were featuring Melyssa Ford who never shared her go-to skin care products.  Looks like she's loyal to a certain brand.

"These are truly some of my favorite products.  I get questions on what I use on my skin and my two favorite [product] lines are Origins and Olay.  I don't believe in spending a grip of money on designer skincare when these two lines are more than comparable.  And Origins smells so yummy!  Please give them a try!"

If you've been on Instagram for any length of time, you may have run across before and after photos of fiber lash mascaras that use tiny fibers to create dramatic extra long lashes.  Well, it looks like I may have stumbled upon a DIY version to create extra long lashes.  Take a look.



Lily Ghilichi is known for going full glam on a daily basis.  She makes no excuses about wearing big hair and a full face, thanks to her personal team of make up artists.  Most of her page consists of advertisments for her or other products, but recently, she shared this little nugget.

" I get SO many questions about my under eye concealer. Ladies, this truly is THE BEST concealer I've ever used, it has changed my under eye life.  It's by @tartecosmetics and I'm obsessed."
Sounds like Tarte Creaseless Concealer is worth checking out. 

@thisissymphani 
After taking a break from WEN Honeyfig and going back into the world of shampoos, I learned that one of my favorite brands, Biolage,  has a cleansing conditioner for coarse hair.....and now I need it.  Don't get me wrong, I still love Keracare's SLS free shampoo, but I really miss the hydrating power of using a cleansing conditioner.   At first I was like "Nadege, you don't need another shampoo" but then @thisissymphoni said this:

"This is my new fav conditioner. It's a cleansing conditioner. Non stripping, no harsh salts, no parabens.  It makes my hair feel so clean and soft afterwards."

The reviews are awesome so it's secured a VIP spot on my list of Craves.   I'll pick up a bottle on my next visit to Ulta.
Friday, June 12, 2015

Fearless Friday | You've been looking at your fears all wrong.

It's been a while since our last discussion on Fearlessness, so I thought we'd talk about it today.  I'm starting to have a new outlook on the things  I'm "afraid of," that'll alter my actions in a major way. Fears, in essence, exist only in our minds.  We create them and we react to them.  But I believe we've been focusing on the wrong aspect of fear.  And if we rechannel that "fear energy" in a new way, we can become the type of people who "feel the fear and do it anyway."

Most of the time we fear something, our thoughts usually consist of the following:
1. We are afraid having to go through the initial experience.
2. We are afraid of a painful outcome (failing, embarrassment, etc).

But there's one HUGE aspect that we fail reflect on.  Not only is it huge, but it's critical to how you look at the situation. This can easily alter your view of your fear and turn it into a situation where you are POWER-FULL.
What we don't focus on is what will happen if we continue to avoid our fear.  I'm not referring to your fear of alligators- you should definitely continue to avoid them.  I'm talking about the fears that transform you to a different person if you were to overcome them.  I'm also referring to those things you've been putting off doing.  You may not look at them as something you are afraid of, but fear is the reason you remain in inaction.

When we think of our fears, the frightening images that flash through our minds are usually process and outcome related.  We think of the daunting process ahead of us and we start to avoid it.  Or we think of the worst case scenario outcome if we did it (and failed) and we put it off.  Rarely do we think about the negative outcomes of not moving forward.  You have a dream inside of you and don't think, "if I don't do this, it'll cause me more pain in the long run."

I'd like us to begin a new way of looking at the things we've been avoiding.  Write 'em all down and, one by one, determine what will happen if you do nothing.  What are the negative outcomes of continue avoidance.  Maybe you're 15 lbs over your ideal weight, but the idea of having to sweat and be uncomfortable at the gym turns you off.  So you keep putting it off.  But have you really thought about the consequences you are bringing into your life as a result?  You have the desire to switch careers and do something you love.  But you see the process ahead of you and realize it's easier to stay at your current job.  But have you counted the cost of having to work at a place you hate for next 10 years.  THAT SHOULD BE WHAT SCARES YOU!

If you really think about it, you are creating more of what you fear when you avoid through inaction.  You'll gain even more weight if you keep putting things off, you'll be even more shy if you keep avoiding social situations.  You'll spend more time in that dead end job if you are afraid to move out of your comfort zone.  Please, I beg you, go through this exercise of listing the things you've been putting off.  Then look at them from a completely different lense.  Be afraid of what your inaction is costing you then work your butt off to avoid that outcome.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

In the shower | Taking your beauty ritual to the next level.

Typically, if you were to peek inside my shower, you'd find several bottles of random shampoos, conditioners, and protein treatments.  But something happened the other day, that would change all that.  There I was, taking a shower, just like any other day, I dipped my fingers into a jar of TreeHut's Brown Sugar scrub to conduct my all over body exfoliation when suddenly, by accident I start scrubbing my face.

The instant I realized what I was doing, I freaked out.  Thoughts like, "these grains could be to large and could scratch your skin" flooded my mind.  But after the panic subsided, I realized that scrubbing my face with it wasn't the end of the world.  Then it hit me like a light.  Why don't I keep my face scrub in here?
Keeping shampoos and conditioners in the shower seemed to make sense.  The only problem was that I only use those products 1-2 times a week.  But, on the flip side, there are beauty products that I should be using daily, that'll bring much more value if they were in the shower with me.  So I switched out my hair products for those that benefit the skin.
Texture shot of Treehut Sugar Scrub vs the finer grains of Fresh Sugar Facial Scrub.
First on the list was the jar of Fresh's Sugar Scrub. You've heard me mention it several times before. This stuff is ridiculously expensive and worth every scent.  Fresh's umbra clay bar also made the list of products moving into the shower. It's a clay mask shaped like a bar of soap.  Great if you want a simple daily clay mask in an easy to use form.  I alway find that the damper my skin, the easier it is so apply, so using it the shower is a no-brainer.  Then I grabbed my bottle of Palmer's Coco Butter Moisturizing Body Oil off my dresser and moved it to where it makes more sense.  The only time I use it is after a shower so why not keep it in the bathroom to apply while my skin is most damp?
Here's how it all went down.  After jumping in the shower, I grabbed the clay bar, applying it all over my moistened face. While waiting for it to dry, I scrubbed my body with soap and a Salux cloth then proceeded to exfoliate my body using the sugar scrub.  After shaving, I check on the clay mask which only dried 85% because of the moisture in the shower (or because I go through my shower routine pretty quickly. That was fine by me, I just need it to draw dirt and oil to the surface in preparation for the cleansing routine.  I removed the mask by gently applying Fresh Sugar scrub to my skin using gentle circular motions.  What I love about this scrub is that it leaves behind traces of the natural oils on your skin, so it never feels dry or stripped.  Finally, I grabbed the Clarisonic Pro brush for a proper cleansing.  After I scrubbed my feet, I was done and ready to go. But before I left the bathroom, I rubbed a little of the coco butter oil on my damp skin to retain all of that lovely moisture.
Once I got to my dresser, I began the ritual of beautiful skin.  Here's the thing.  When I applied the glycolic and hyaluronic serum to my skin, I felt a slight tingle.  This wonderful little tingle is a sign that my skin was properly exfoliated enough to let the product do its job.  The smirk on my face said it all.  This could be the thing the completes my skin care regimen. Why hadn't I thought of this sooner?  Now I can actually exfoliate every day without fail (extends left hand in the air to give you a high five). I woke up this morning after trying the full routine for the first time last night and I couldn't stop looking at and touching my skin (sorry Lady Dee).

I'm still debating on whether I'll use the exfoliating scrub twice a day or just once.  I've got a small collection of facial scrubs and Fresh is the only one that could be used 2X a day without scratching or over drying my skin.  I'll test it out and see how it goes.  The reason why this is so awesome is because I've already developed rituals that are engrained. Therefore pairing these new actions, with what I already do, should be quite easy.

On thing I'll need to do is create a little more space and organization in the shower.  It's a wonderful beauty ritual and should be presented as such. That's why I've got my eyes on these teak wood shelves to display everything in a neat and attractive way.

What beauty items do you keep in your shower?
 
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