Monday, November 30, 2015

Looking back at my goal achievement history. There were some intentions that I realized quickly and some that lingered on for years.  The older I get, the less time I want to spend waiting for something that could be achieved much more quickly.  The best way to predict the future is to learn from the past. Looking back, the biggest difference between the intentions that I could never seem to manifest and the ones that happened quickly was in how I operated.

To make it simple, we can classify our actions into two categories.

1.  Actions that sustain your current results.
2. Actions that bring about your desired results.

It's that straightforward.
By default, our actions fall into category #1.  What we routinely do creates more of what we're currently experiencing.  If we do nothing different, things will essentially stay the same.  Operating from your current reality will continue to feed your current results.

Someone who really intends to create a new reality should operate from category #2.  Let's talk a little more about what it looks like to operate from category #2.  Essentially, that person is bringing new thoughts and new actions into their life.  Think of your thoughts as fuel and actions as the vehicle.  If you want to get from point A (current reality) to point B (new reality) you will need both.
At times we focus only on positive thoughts and affirmations. That's great, but without the car, you aren't going anywhere.  If you want a different experience, start with new thoughts and beliefs. That will fuel your actions. Next you bring new actions into your daily routine.  The problem is that 24 hours in the day are already occupied in actions that support your current reality.  This means that you have to take explicit steps to allocate time towards creating your new outcome.

Maybe you have to wake up earlier.  Perhaps instead of driving straight home afterwork, you go to the gym, work at a coffee shop or attend a networking event. Anything new that you bring into your routine will generate new results.  That's a promise.  The best part is that you don't have to do much in the beginning.  As a matter of fact, I recommend that you take small, regular action at first then ramp up once you have solid a routine in place.

I'm currently enrolled in multiple coaching programs.  Over and over again, I'm seeing the results of what happens when people operate from their new reality.  It's mind blowing.  Countless lives are being changed simply by focus on "new reality" actions.  It's a joy to watch.  In my own business, I'm constantly trying identify the actions that keep me in my current income levels versus the new actions that lead me into the next level of results.

 When I reflect on my to-do list, I ask myself "am I also working on activities that bring about my desired reality?"  If the answer is no, I quickly readjust.  This makes the whole goal achievement process so much easier to predict. Better yet, this systematizes the reality creation process.

Friday, November 27, 2015

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Hopefully it was filled with lots of love, food, and family bonding.  Perhaps, in the enjoyment and the fellowship, we may have eaten a little more than we wanted to.  Yesterday kicked off the the holiday season. And for most of us, this means the start of holiday eating and inevitable weight gain.

Let's not go down that familiar path.  Instead, let's implement a sure fire strategy that will keep us from gaining excessive weight over the coming weeks.  No one wants to have to cram into an over crowded gym on January 1.  That's why it's critical to implement this no brainer technique starting today.

So here's the fool proof technique.  I call it the "at home vacation."  There are two types of vacations.

You go away to an exotic location, you eat excessively, and lay on the beach all day.  When you return home, you're several pounds heavier than when you left.

You go away to an exotic location, you eat excessively, and you walk everywhere.  When you return home, you are the same weight (or even lighter).

Just this week,  a friend of mine returned from Vegas, the land of all-you-eat-buffets.  They boasted of not gaining any weight even though they ate to their heart's content.  They attributed their succesful results to all the walking they did while there.

We've probably all experienced both types of vacations in our lives.

It's that simple. Just incorporate walking into your daily routine and you won't have to worry about ballooning in weight over the upcoming weeks.  The new year comes brings with it new opportunities and possibilities, the last thing I want to do is start a work out plan.  So I've decided to walk  45 minutes to an hour a day at a nearby park.  Normally, 30 minutes a day would be adequate, but I've decided to up the total time to a hour a day due to all the extra calorie intake.  While there, I'll plan my day, make phones calls, or listen to audio book.  And I know for a fact that I'll likely be fitter at the end of year than I am now.  The "at home vacation" strategy is awesome.

But don't take my word for it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I'll never forget it.  A decade ago, I was watching a string of informercials on a Saturday morning.  Back in those days, the Proactiv infomercials would run on a continual loop.  Puff Daddy (his name at the time) was featured on one of the advertorials. In his testimony, he said something that will forever be seared in my mind.  "It [Proactive] moisturizes my situation and preserves my sexy."

I thought that was hilarious.  I mean, who talks like that?!  I couldn't stop laughing.  Years later, I  realize the wisdom in his now infamous statement.  I was naive for laughing at his tagline (although it's still kinda funny).  He appeared in the informercial 10 years ago and he pretty much looks exactly the same.  So perhaps moisturizing his situation really did preserve his sexy after all.

Sean turned 46 the other day.  Before heading to his all star birthday bash, the mogul graced his Instagram feed with video footage of his pre-party beauty treatments.  Let's check it out.

(click video for sound)

I got a chance to catch up on a few episodes of my favorite shows over the weekend, but now I wished that I did an at home facial instead of sitting mindlessly in front of the computer.  Can you imagine how relaxing it would be to have your facial steamer opening your pores while you catch up on the latest episodes?  Thanks for the reminder Diddy!

"I want it all baby..."

In this short clip, Diddy proclaims his undying commitment to caring for his skin.  His personal esthetician seems to be using what looks like an alternate version of the NuFace Trinity facial tool.  It uses micro currents to ease the tension in your facial muscles while increasing collagen production.  NuFace also claims to increase blood flow to the face and improve facial contours.  Notice how she's targeting the area where we tend to experience deep laugh lines?   That's probably part of the reason he has no signs of jowl formation at nearly 50 years old.

"We're here to inspire you baby."

After an intense facial treatment, there's no better way to finish off than a moisture intense sheet mask.  Diddy has come to inspire us.  Sure, he's wealthy enough to be able to afford personal in-home spa treatments.  But we all can treat ourselves with a steam cleansing facial and an ultra hydrating sheet mask.  No excuses.

"I love you....I want to best for you."

Lastly, Diddy completes his day of beautification with a vigorous facial massage.  I've spoken on this topic in the past and believe strongly in the benefits.  As we age, everything tends to head south. You'll notice the woman massaging in an upward motion.  If we're consistent with this practice, our muscles respond.  We notice less sagging causing our face appears more toned.    I mean, look at this video taken just days ago. Does this look like the face of a man who's lived nearly 50 years?

I dunno about you, but  I'm convinced in the power for consistently taking care of your skin year after year.  The results of all that hard work will be very evident and could last a lifetime.  So, I urge all of you to moisturize your situation. Start today!  It'll preserve your sexy forever.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I've never been a big fan of facial moisturizers.  Yeah, I know it's an essential part of the daily skin  routine but I just wasn't completely sold.  But, as the years go by, I know that my skin will need the extra help.  Nowadays I'm used to products that serve multiple purposes and I expect nothing less from my moisturizer.  Instead of investing in a new moisturizer, I'm trying something new.

Inspired by what happened when I mixed my hair moisturizer and oil, I decided to experiment with blending my moisturizer and other beauty products to take things to a new level.

Layering your moisturizer over a serum is what we normally do.  And there's nothing wrong with that. But I noticed that my moisturizer had more staying power when I blended the two together.  This was very similar to the results I experienced in blending my hair moisturizer and oil together.  It's like a shortcut on those days when I don't have time to layer a dozen products before heading out the door.

Speaking of oil and moisturizer together.  This combination saved my skin last year when I traveled like mad and would step off a plane into brisk, cold temperatures.  Without the humidity, my skin freaked out.  Thank God I had a travel size bottle of CapriClear coconut oil with me.  That was the first time I felt compelled to use oil on my skin for non-cleansing purposes.  It was a game changer.
This year I'm gonna continue this legacy by spritzing a small amount of coconut oil into my moisturizer to give it that extra oomph.  Applying an oil/moisturizer mix works extremely well on the driest parts of the body like your hands and feet. Because sometimes, lotion alone just isn't enough.

Summer isn't the only time for glowing skin.  To give my skin a bit of a boost, I'm mixing in a few drops of illuminator drops into my moisturizer.  My first experience trying this technique went really well.  It gave me the most subtle glow without looking like I rubbed glitter all over my face. Unlike during the summer time when I tend to go a little heavy with bronzers, winter is the perfect time for a gentle glow.  Glowing, hydrated is a signature of youth because it speaks to the level of blood flow that reaches the skin.  When it's cold out, the body tends to redirect a majority of the blood flow inwards towards the organs.  Hence why our extremities get so cold.  So we gotta give our skin a little help. Continue on with your exfoliation routine and add this little secret technique so you can keep glowing all year long.

There I was trying to get the last little bit of Iman BB Creme out of the tube, hoping that I had enough to cover my whole face.  Then it hit me.  "What if I were to blend my foundation and moisturizer?"  Wouldn't that be almost the same thing?  Then, in just one step, I formulated my own exclusive brand of BB Creme simply by mixing moisturizer and foundation together.  This works especially well if your foundation is a thicker formula.  Not only is this a time saver but it could save you a little money as well.

Stay hydrated my friends.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The closer we get towards the end of the year, the more I tend to reflect back on the annual lessons learned.   This year was particularly unique because it's the first year that I ventured into full time entrepreneurship.  Several of my friends expressed their interest in living a life of having full control over their time.  But now, over a year later, most are in the exact same position they were in a year ago.
If I had to assess why they aren't closer to their desires than they should be, it's because they spent most of their time fueling the wrong outcomes.  It's critical to remember that our outcomes are created.  We directly influence most of our current outcomes.  We applied to the companies that employ us. We chose to live where we live.  We decide to what wear each day.  Throughout our day, we make thousands of choices which combine (and compound) to create & support our outcomes.

There are aspects of our lives that don't align with what we wish to experience.  We want something more, something different.  Our desires are clear, but our actions aren't aligned.  Instead of entering the creation process, our actions are continuing to feed our current reality.

It's really easy to constantly proclaim that you want something.  That requires very little effort.  The true test of whether you are feeding your desires is to look at your current actions.  Imagine your current results as a tree and your new, desired reality as a seed. When you talk about your desires, it's like holding the seed in your hand and talking about how it can grow into a mighty tree.   But if no actions are taken in reality, your seed remains above ground.

On the flip side, as you continue to act in your currently reality, you are watering and fertilizing the tree.  My advice to you is that you shift your focus to the tiny seed.  The seed will require much more work and attention before it even begins to sprout.  But it too has the potential to become a strong powerful tree.  Every single thing you desire for yourself has potential to become reality.  But if you constantly find yourself in a position where a year has gone by and you are still in the same place, it's because you haven't been doing the work of nurturing your seed(s).

That's ok. Because a seed that has been above ground for years can be planted and can still produce ample fruits.  All you have to do is reallocate your time and focus.  When you make plans for your day/week, how much of your time are you allowing to feed your seeds?  Because seeds are so small, it's easy to overlook them.  Each morning, before you start your day, ask yourself the following questions.  "What do I want for myself?"  Then ask "what can I do today to feed that new reality?"

 As we move into the new year, I urge you to fine tune your ability to create.  Let's stop talking about our seeds that still remain above ground.  Instead, lets place them in fertile soil and nurture them continuously until they become our new reality.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

As you know, I'm preparing for my annual end of year ritual in preparation for 2016.  One of my intentions is to elevate my environment.  Ideally, I want my home to energize & inspire me.  I don't just want to live here, I want to feel amazing every time I step into my home.
I've got a long way to go, but I'm ready to take small steps that will allow me to  complete this large journey.  Currently, I'm inspired make over my coffee table.  It's the center of our home and alway should radiate beauty.
Adding delicate lighting to coffee table arrangements infuses a bit of warmth to the living space.  I'd love to have recessed lighting in my living room but this might just be the next best thing.
 Of course, safety is a high priority so invest in beautiful tea light holders to accentuate the soft light.  I really like these 7 hour tea lights that burn for most of the day.

Nothing heightens your coffee table more than candle light and fresh flowers.  Having fresh flowers all the time may not always be cost effective which makes ambient light a wonderful substitute.

Friday, November 20, 2015

 I've craved Kevin Aucoin's Sensual Skin Enhancer immediately after stumbling upon Ashley Weatherford's skin care regimen.  I had no idea what to expect, but the name alone (sensual skin enhancer) made my mouth water.  This stuff is magic on my textured scars.  The consistency is super thick but it melts into the skin like butter.  Which is part of the reason it covers so well.  What I love most about this product is that it can be used in so many ways.  It can be a concealor, a highlighter or a foundation, depending on how you decide to use it.  Some skin enhancer lovers enjoy mixing with primer or moisturizer to thin out the texture.  A little goes a long way, so even though you get a small amount of product, you only use a tiny amount.  Sensual Skin Enhancer is so yummy that I grabbed two shades SX14 (lighter than my skin) + SX15 (an exact match).  I love both equally.

The last thing I needed was another shimmer product but Becca Skin Perfector has brought me out of retirement.  After watching rave review after rave review, I couldn't take it anymore.  Without a doubt this has to be one of my favorite purchases.  What makes Becca's Skin Perfector so amazing is the tiny particle size of the shimmer.  It blends with the skin incredibly well.  Therefore, you will not look like you have specks of glitter on your face.  It's the most flawless glow ever.  The shade I chose was Topaz.  My camera didn't do a great job of accurately capturing the shade. Topez is a much bronzier color, you can see a better representation here
My staple foundation for years was MakeUp Forever HD Foundation.  It did a marvelous job of covering my obvious acne scars.  But, good skin care practices and consistent exfoliation has really changed my skin. So I started looking for a great quality foundation with a more natural finish.  Nearly every comparison review of MakeUp Forever HD vs NARS Sheer Glow gave NARS the advantage.  NARS sheer glow is a perfect match for my skin and looks extremely natural on my skin. It looks like my skin, only better.  I love it as much as the Giorgio Armani foundation which was also on the wish list.  My only gripe is that I don't really like the packaging. I wish it came out in a pump.  Unlike what the name suggests, this doesn't give you dewy skin.  But it's definitely a non-dry formula which makes it a great foundation for fall/winter.  
 I haven't had a chance to use these WrinkleResist24 eye masks yet so I have no initial thoughts.  But Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner stole my heart after I first tried their sample size.  You get great color payoff and long wear for the price.  Definitely one of my faves.
I've already raved about Murad's Invisiblur.  I have needed this product for so long.  Sometimes, I can't be bothered with wearing foundation. I just want to go out, makeup free with only sunscreen.  None of my sunscreens would allow me to do that.  They all had a whitish tint.  Murad goes on the skin FLAW-LESS-LY and leaves absolutely no trace.  The only thing you notice is a slight blurring of the skin, making it look smoother.  Now, you can leave the house with only sunscreen on and look great.  I don't care how much it costs, Invisiblur is my knight in shining armor. What makes me love it even more is that it contains anti aging peptides to actually improve the skin.  In the past, I would put on sunscreen out of wasn't one of my favorite steps in my regimen. But now, I absolutely love applying my sunscreen because it actually ads value to the final look. Because it's also a primer, my makeup looks even better with it on.  I will say that Invisiblur does matte out the skin (without drying it) so anyone with oily skin might really like this.   I mean, what else can I say about Murad?  It's literally a dream come true product for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

For most of my life, I suffered from chronic acne which seemed to get worse the older I got.  The only reprieve I experienced was during the fall and winter months.

My skin seemed to calm down a bit.  I could actually leave the house without feeling embarrassed by crazy break outs.   Fast forward to the present.  Excessive acne breakouts seem to be a thing of the past.  Nowadays my main concerns are primarily around the elimination of skin discoloration and deep scaring.

Because of the shift in seasons, I notice that my skin is behaving a bit more.  There's less congestion in my pores, and it's not as oily as usual.   It takes less work to keep clear.  Could this be a wonderful side effect of my recent bout of healthy eating? I sure hope so. My first thought was of how I could take it easier on my regimen for the next several months because I probably won't experience another major breakout until 2016.

Immediately, I began to challenge my limited thinking.  Instead of sitting back and coasting on my skin care until spring, why not get really aggressive and allocate all of my energy on finally achieving flawless skin? If I won't break out for a few months, then NOW is the time to get aggressive with treating discoloration. This is like invading the enemy camp ground while they're sound asleep.  Victory is a sure thing.

So here's the battle plan.  The strategy is to focus on deep exfoliation and intense moisture.  Ideally, I'd like to complete a series of oxygen facial treatments (once a month or bi-monthly) until spring.  Oxygen facials are perfect because they incorporate deep exfoliation and intense moisture at once.  I was watching a reality show recently where Naomi Campbell made a guest appearance before a big fashion show.  While there she made a single demand request that all the models receive an oxygen facial before the big show.  That's how phenomenal & necessary this facial is.

As soon as I run out of my current cleanser, I'm transitioning to Phace's low pH cleanser.  Hopefully this will keep the skin in perfect balance and ward off over drying.  Lately, I've started adding a couple drops of pure mandelic acid to my cleanser to test out the impact of daily chemical exfoliation.   So far, so good.

Of course winter is the perfect time to step our water drinking game up.  Beyond that, I'm committed to making sure I sweat regularly during the cooler months.  I completed a second infrared sauna session a couple days ago and I can't wait to go back. The amount of deep cleansing that happens during a sauna session is real.  Immediately after the intense sweat, I start scrubbing my skin for dear life.   I'm convinced that if I maintain this routine over the winter that my all over body glow will be in full effect by next summer.

So, as you can tell, instead of taking it easy this winter, I plan to go hard.  Now is the time to make huge progress and maybe our results will be multiplied because we don't have to work against our over active summer skin.  It's just a theory but I'm willing to try it out.  If your skin seems to calm down during the winter months, I urge you to take the proactive approach. Instead of easing up on your efforts, multiply them and create and absolute best skin of your life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I have a pretty extensive nail polish collection. Part of the reason is because I was buying random colors that I wasn't really in love with.  Sometimes I would grab a handful of bottles at blogger events.  After filling two storage containers with nail colors I barely used, I changed my strategy.

From that point forward, I would only grab colors that I was obsessed with AND that went well with my skin tone.  No more wild experimentation.  Only colors that I would reach for over and over again.  Here's a list of my favorites thus far:
Essie Sand Tropez
No joke, I've purchased Essie's Sand Tropez at least 4 times.  The first time my eyes laid on this color was when "Basketball Wife" Draya Michelle posted it on social media immediately after her manicure.   Within 24 hours, Sand Tropez was in my hands.  I get the most compliments when I wear this color. Sand Tropez is thee perfect neutral nude.  I have lots of nude polishes but, hands down, this has to be my absolute favorite.
OPI's Taupeless Beach is another color that I purchased after first sight.  The image above caused me to get in car, drive to the store and with the intention of not returning home until I got what I wanted. Actually, I wasn't able to determine the true color of image above.  After a little research, I came to the conclusion that Taupeless Beach was that shade I desired.  I wanted a mauvey-grey polish for the longest.  Every time I wear this shade, I keep staring at my nails.  I totally understand why the woman felt compelled to prop her feet on her car door and snap this pic.  Taupless Beach makes me so happy. 
Revlon// Gray Suede
Random Snap of Revlon Gray Suede
Before Essie's Sand Tropez came into my life, there ways Revlon's Gray Suede.  This is another polish that I've repurchased multiple times.  It's a less gray/more nude version of Taupeless Beach. Unlike Sand Tropez, Grey Suede does have some pink undertones to it.
Speaking of pink. On my want list is OPI's Steady as She Rose.  I love pink nails but I still haven't found my every day pink nail shade.  Steady as She Rose may be the answer.  Since my local beauty supply store didn't have it in stock, I'll have to grab it online.  Is this not the prettiest soft pink shade you've ever seen?

Once I have Steady as She Rose in my clutches, I'll be on the look out for a pink shade similar to the one above.  I can't tell what shade this is so I badly need your help.  What's your favorite soft pink nail color that you can't live without?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Monday!  We're already midway through November.  In several weeks, 2015 will be over and we'll be entering into a new year.  This time of year is really special to me.  To me, the countdown to the approaching year makes me want to step up my level of action.  The procrastinator in me loves deadlines.  Which is why this time of year excites me so much.

In the past, I would work all year long then request vacation the last two weeks of the year.  My supervisors thought I was taking time off to visit friends and family. But in actuality, I was at home working long hours on my side business.

When January 3rd came around, I'd return back to work feeling very accomplished because of all the progress made.  Looking back, I would say that last two weeks of the year have made a huge impact on the results I'm experiencing today.  That simple act of intention is altering the course of my life.

I'm here to inspire you to develop your own End of Year Ritual.  Sometimes we fail to focus on our goals throughout the year.  This ritual helps you make huge progress by placing heaving focus on creating the life you want.  I've maintained an end of year ritual for years.  Some years, I'd dedicate the entire two weeks towards business building.  Other times, I'd create a consistent health and fitness routine.  One year, I decluttered my entire home from top to bottom.  My favorite year was when I invested the two weeks into developing a robust beauty & daily self care routine.

This end of year process allows you to take a look at your current status while identifying the areas in your life where you need to make the greatest amount of progress.  That way you aren't scrambling to make changes in your life on January 1, 2015.  That rarely works.  I prefer making the changes before hand, then making commitments on Jan 1 to continue this behavior into the brand new year.

I'm bringing up this topic a little early because this year, instead of creating the end of year ritual, I'd like to starting "living into" the end of year ritual.  Meaning, instead of using the end of the year to declutter, I'll declutter ahead of time and enjoy the experience of being in a clean/organized environment.  Instead of trying to lose a few stubborn pounds at the end of the year, I'll do it now, then I'll enjoy my new body by picking up a couple of dresses. My goal, the last two weeks of this year, is to live into my desired life for 2016.

 Living into an experience is a powerful tool in the creation process in so many ways.  I know the end of the year is super busy. The holidays are in full effect, you've got family in town, you're cooking meals for 100 people.  I get it.  But if we aren't careful, that time slips by and, before we know it, 2016 is here and we feel no closer to our goals than at the start of 2015.  Let's try something different this time and live into our destiny.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I haven't talked much about dating and relationships on this blog.  Although I have a bunch of thoughts on the topic, I'm not an expert.  But, there's one piece of advice that I've repeatedly given out to friends, family and co-workers that I must share with you.

I came to this conclusion as a result of my past profession.  Over my career I've interviewed and hired hundreds of candidates.  Sometimes the process works well and, other times,  we recruited what we thought was a great candidate only to find out that we made a serious hiring mistake.

Tired of repeating the same cycle over and over, I decided to approach the process differently.  My new process worked so well that I had to tell the other hiring managers.  Each manager that implemented my recommendation noticed improvement in hiring the right person. They were all grateful for my advice.

The advice I gave out was actually dating advice applied to the hiring process.  Because, in my mind, interviewing and hiring was similar to dating and getting married.  Now, I share these words of wisdom purely as dating advice.  In fact, I actually had a conversation with a guy yesterday who recently got out of a bad relationship.  As he was sharing the story of what went wrong, the red flags jumped out at me.  The first thing he said, after I gave him my world famous advice, was "I wish I would've heard this earlier."

Here it is......Here's the dating/relationship advice that could change your life.  Listen close.

When you are dating/courting.  The natural tendency is to identify what we like about the person, or what we have in common.  Once we've identified those traits, we tend to only focus on them to the point of ignoring (or explaining away) any of the negative traits.

My advice is this.  When you are dating, make a list of the "negative" traits you see in the person.  Negative simply means traits that don't align with what you want in a partner.  In the case of the guy I was talking to yesterday, one of her negative traits was that she wasn't a communicator.  He loves to talk and wants someone who can engage in lively conversations. But the woman he was engaged to would communicate via text versus having robust conversations.  You're probably asking yourself, "why would a guy who loves to communicate propose to a woman who barely wants to talk?"  Because he committed a common dating mistake of only focusing on what he liked about her.  When I asked him to really articulate what he loved about her, he couldn't give me any substance.  The answers were extremely shallow and he realized that once he tried to verbalize them in a way that made sense.

Instead of focusing on everything you like about a suitor, I invite you to take inventory of the misaligned traits that peak out during the dating process.

Once you have a list of non-aligned traits, I want you to multiply them by 10X!

After you've multiplied the undesirable traits by 10X, ask yourself, "am I still willing to accept this in a partner knowing that I will have to deal with this issue times 10?"  If the answer is yes, then you are clear to proceed.

Let's say you are dating a handsome guy who seems really into you.  He's super funny, cute, open to new experiences and loves being around you.  But you see faint signs of a few traits that you aren't fond of.

1. He gets so excited that sometimes he doesn't let you finish your sentences before he starts talking.
2. His car is a bit messy which bothers you slightly because you're a clean freak.
3. He sometimes will cancel last minute to go out with friends.
4. He avoids conflict and doesn't like to talk about his feelings or things that really concern you.

Those are just a few things you notice.  They're not serious enough to break up with a person over.  Now you multiply each trait by 10X which could look like this.

1. He's so into his opinions that he always interrupting you mid-sentence.
2. He's a total slob which means that you have to pick up after him all day, every day.
3. He always puts friends and family over you when it comes to his free time.
4. Your relationship is empty and void because the two of you don't discuss important matters.

I realize that the list above is an exaggeration and might not happen.  But, I want you to think like it can and WILL happen.  Why? Because as the dating euphoria wears off, the negative traits will grow in intensity.

But, if you look at the list (multiplied by 10X) and you say, actually, I can deal with these issues, then feel free to move forward.  Please note, there is a difference between "I can deal with... and "I can change this about him".......

Please, please let go of any thoughts about trying to change a person.  That's a losing battle that will require lots of time, energy and emotional power.  It's draining and almost never works.  This is not about changing a person, it's about what you are willing to accept.  What if you say to yourself, " I can't accept having someone always interrupting me and not allowing me to express myself."   Now, you have a decision to make.  Do you break up with the guy right now? Maybe.

You can also continue to date and observe whether you see signs of the non-negotiable trait(s) becoming worse. It's a good idea to let the person know, in a calm manner, that you noticed sometimes he doesn't allow you to finish your sentences then see what happens.  If he makes a real conscious effort to shift his behavior.....great!  But exerting tons of effort to change a person is not the answer.

I've seen too many people completely ignore red flags then enter into long term commitments only to break off because of a sign that existed since day 1.  Don't waste time and energy on a "unqualified candidate" when there are tens of thousands of people who meet your minimum requirements.

Use this method as a way of preventing unhealthy relationships and, essentially, wasting your time.  Nobody's perfect and this isn't about finding the perfect person. It's about recognizing which "flaws" are tolerable and which are a no-go.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I chose to share this image because of how powerful it is.  The two mice in the first image are the exact same age.  Months later, the same two mice were photographed again.  But this time, there is a stark difference in the appearance of one of the mice.  The poor thing seems to have aged at a highly drastic rate in a short period of time.  What's the difference?

In image 2, the mouse is highly deficient in vitamin D.  One of the most obvious differences between the two is drastic loss of hair.  Next we see excessive wrinkling of the skin and loss of volume.  Basically, the VDR KO mouse has aged rapidly.

If this doesn't open your eyes to the possible consequences of vitamin D deficiency, I don't know what is.  Luckily most of us don't have a gene that stops the body from absorbing vitamin D but, many of us are vitamin D deficient.  If you live in cooler climates, you're not absorbing enough D through your skin. And if you are African American, you could also be at risk of being vitamin D deficient.

Allow me to explain how vitamin D could be related to aging.  At the end of our DNA strands are caps which are called telomeres.  Think of them like the plastic caps at the end of a shoe lace that protect them from fraying.  They basically help protect the cells from degrading.   Here's the thing, telomeres can range in length.  The longer they are, the better.  But, with natural aging our telomeres shorten.  Meaning, if you look at the telomere length of an older person, it'll be shorter than if you were viewing that of a younger individual.   Telomere length is a biological marker of age, kinda like looking at someone's dental records and identifying how old they are.   Living an unhealthy lifestyle can actually speed up the rate of the shortening of the telomeres.  If you smoke, don't exercise, eat horribly, or have a stressful lifestyle, you are directly making an impact on your telomere length and, essentially shortening your life.

A study was done were the telomere length of twins were measured. If one twin had a higher vitamin D level in the blood than her expected lifespan was expected to be higher by around 5 years.  Why? Because her telomere length correlated with someone who was 5 years younger despite starting with the same telomere length as her sister at birth.  I want you to associate the example of the twins with the image of the mice above.  Even though they're the same age, the mouse on the left is  is aging much more rapidly than it's buddy who is the same age.  But why such a drastic change in appearance when only one factor was impacted (vitamin D absorption)?

Because vitamin D is responsible for over 1000 physiological processes in the body.  Which means if we're deficient, a huge percentage of our body's functions are impacted in some way.  When over 1000 processes are involved, a lot can go wrong if you don't have the proper nutrition.  This goes way beyond healthy hair and skin.

This time of year, I seem to crave the addition of fish oils into my regimen. I think it's a biological response to the reduction in sunlight.  Since most of us are not getting enough vitamin D through sun exposure, and our melanin/sunscreen usage further blocks absorption of this much needed nutrient, we have to supplement.

I'm going hard on the fermented cod liver oil this fall and winter. But along with that, I'll make it a point to be outside for at least 15-20 minutes during the day whenever possible.  And, for the first time ever, I plan on getting my vitamin levels tested just to see if there are areas where I need to supplement.

Knowing what we know now, I think we need to take this vitamin D deficiency thing a bit more seriously.  It's time to supplement our diets with vitamin D3 if we aren't already doing so.  Adding fermented cod liver oil not only gives you natural vitamin D, but combines with with vitamin A and omega 3s to make it a complete superfood.

If anything interesting comes out of my vitamin testing, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My newly healthy fridge
It's been about two weeks since I've had the pleasure of experiencing life with meal prepping containers.  I fell in love with the idea of meal prepping for a couple of reasons. First, it's a way of making healthy eating systematic.  Whenever a system is implemented, it's fairly easy to predict create a desired outcome.  Secondly, I wanted to save time and guesswork.  Overall, I felt like acquiring the simple containers was the best decision I made in a long time.

And boy was I right!  I love them so much, in fact, that I have a second set on the way.  Let me tell you all the great benefits I've enjoyed because of healthy meal prepping.

The first time I made a set a salads, it took longer than I imagined.  I had no system set up yet, so I was figuring out the best method as I went along.  But, in the end, the time invested was worth it.  Because in the days to come, I saved a boat load of time by having ready made salads in the fridge.  Having the luxury to be able to reach in the fridge, at any time, and grab something healthy is like nothing else.  It takes the stress of always having to thing about what eat.

By the way, if you struggle with exercising will power around healthy eating.  The absolute easiest way to overcome that is to remove decision making from the equation.  If you have to decide what to eat, then you have rely on your will power.  That's not something you want to do when you're hungry.  It's a setup for failure. Having healthy choices readily available is a no brainer.  
My first meal prep attempt
One of the initial benefits I noticed after my first or second salad, was a burst of energy during the time in the afternoon when I typically feel most sluggish.  Instead of wanting to take a quick afternoon nap, I felt energized and ready to start the second half of the day.

After consistently enjoying delicious salads, it happened.  Suddenly, clothes weren't fitting as snug as they used to.  About a week before I the containers arrived, I stepped on a scale that read 137 lbs. I'm about five feet tall so 137 over my ideal weight.  On Sunday, I weighed in on a similar scale which now read 131.5.  Here's the thing, I didn't go on a carb free diet.  In fact, I still ate rice and beans like I normally do, the only difference was the ADDITION of robust salads into my meal rotation.
I never felt deprived.  If I wanted to eat something unhealthy, I did.  But I made sure to stick with eating at least 1-2 salads a day.

There were other benefits as well. For instance, the increase of energy meant that I was more active.  But I purposefully avoided starting a regimented exercise program to see if healthy eating alone could have a positive impact on my weight.....and it did.

 Now I can start working out regularly again to tone up.  Meal prepping also gave me a flatter tummy, thanks to improved digestion and a shrinking stomach.  Yes, I said a smaller stomach.  You see, these meal prep containers regulated portion control.  At first, I felt like the containers were too small to hold enough food to satisfy.  Now, I require less food to feel full even when I eat from my normal plates.  My stomach as adapted very well to this new way of eating.

Oh, and having a fridge stocked with bright, healthy salads makes you look like a superhero to other members of your  household.

These meal prep containers are a no-brainer.  Even if you don't want to eat pre-made salads, you can still use them to pack your regular lunches and save money.  At the very least, it makes a lot of sense to have a few meals waiting for you ready to enjoy when you don't feel like cooking.  Make this a part of your personal self care, feel good routine.

Monday, November 9, 2015

As many of you know one of my success rituals is to listen to various motivational and inspirational videos on Youtube.  They range in topic.  Sometimes I watch entire seminars and other times, I'm listening to someone share their story as they talk into their cell phone camera.

Recently, I noticed a certain book being mentioned over and over again in a lot of the videos I've been watching.  Heck, even one of my business coaches boast of this book as part of his strategy for success.  I tried to ignore it, but everywhere I turned people kept referencing Gary Keller's The One Thing.

You may have heard of Keller Williams Reality.  Gary founded that company over 30 years ago and helped grow it into the largest real estate company in the US.  The tag line for his book, The One Thing, is The Surprisingly Simple Truth behind Extraordinary Results.  Opening up a Real Estate firm in Austin and growing to become the largest in the city within two years is extraordinary.

Since so many of the people I listen to were inspired by his book, I decided to grab it for myself.  In his book Gary asks a question that changed his life and could certainly change ours.

What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? 

The book is chock full of powerful information but if I had to grab the one thing from The One Thing book, it would this question.  I've got a multitude of goals I'd like to accomplish. It often feels like I'm juggling to keep all the balls in the air.  So I asked myself, "what is the ONE Thing I can do, that by doing it, everything (all of my goals/intentions) will be easier or unnecessary?

The answer came much more quickly than I anticipated.  For me, the one thing is my meditation/focused concentration practice.  Why? Because when I'm consistent with this practice, I glide through life.  Everything becomes effortless, I feel amazing, my awareness & clarity is incredible and I operate like Eddie after popping a limitless pill.  I know for a fact, that by focusing all my efforts on this one thing, everything else will be easier or unnecessary.

So that's what I've decided to do, my one priority for the rest of 2015 is that I execute my one thing.  Now the ball is in your court.  First, I highly recommend you get the book.  It's a must if you are on a success journey.  Secondly, even before you buy The One Thing, I ask you to answer this question for yourself.  You can ask it on a macro level, or on a micro level.  For instance, I can ask myself "what's the one thing I can do (TODAY OR RIGHT NOW) that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

Friday, November 6, 2015

Earlier this week, on a whim, I searched online for local spas that offered an infrared sauna experience.  Years ago, I joined 24 Hour Fitness specifically because the location offered a steam room and sauna.  At first, I only took advantage the steam room. But one day, hubby urged me to also use sauna. When he was a child, his mom married a man from Scandinavia. His stepdad built an in home sauna and every morning, they would jump in the sauna after a workout.   I was aware of the steam room benefits but had no experience with saunas so I was a bit skeptic.

After my first time in the sauna, I was hooked.  There was something magical about allowing the body to sweat.  Several sessions later, my skin improved and I began to incorporate scrubs and coarse bath cloths to further remove excess toxins from the skin. Life was good.  That is until I learned infrared saunas.

Infrared Saunas, unlike traditional traditional saunas, utilize infrared rays to penetrate the skin at a deeper level.  The result is a greater detox at the cellular level.  I enjoyed the gym sauna so much that I explored byuying an infrared version for the home.  I did some research online and found that the prices were somewhat reasonable.  Time passed and not action was taken.

Suddenly, out of the blue, I decided to experience an infrared sauna once and for all.  It didn't take long before I located a spa nearby that offers sessions at $1.00 a minute.  I set the appointment for the following day.  The two person sauna was really inviting.  After stepping in, I took in the experience and tried to identify the difference betweens what I was currently experiencing and the gym sauna.

First, the heat was much more bearable.  I'm someone who loves the feel of the sun on her skin.  That's exactly what the heat felt like to me. The warmth was really comfortable the entire time. Unlike the gym sauna where the heat was uncomfortable, making it difficult to breath.  I could only stand about 10 minutes in the gym sauna before I can no longer take it.

About 5-7 minutes in, I began to sweat. It was a bit slow at first but the sweating intensified as time went on.  Soon, I was literally covered in sweat.  Much more than when compared to the gym sauna.  Moments later, I heard beeping from the timer notifying me that my 30 minute session was nearly complete.  Instinctively, I added an additional five minutes because I didn't want the session to end.  Unlike the gym, I felt completely refreshed and rejuvenated once I stepped out of the sauna. This was the moment that I realized that I was immediately addicted.

Once complete, I jumped into the shower to wash off the toxins.  I really wished I brought my Shea Butter scrub to really take advantage of the detox process.  But even without it, my skin felt absolutely baby soft afterwards.  I kept touching my face on the drive home.  The whole experience was exhilarating and I instantly craved more.  Luckily, I grabbed a bunch of additional sessions thanks to Groupon.  But, realistically, it makes much more (financial) sense to eventually own one.  I spent most of last night reading and listening to dozens of reviews of people who invested in an at home unit.  The one message I heard repeated over and over was "I should've got it sooner."

 An at home infrared sauna would be a dream come true.  Currently, I do a mini morning detox which includes drinking room temp water at the start of the day then bouncing on the rebounder to ignite the lymphatic system.  Adding a 20 minute sauna session would be like icing on the cake.  This may be a bit too much info, but I showered at home immediately before my appointment, then showered as soon as I was done and yet the towel I used to dry off post 2nd shower appeared "dirty" because of the surface toxins.  That's how powerful the experience is.

 I'm really recommending the infrared sauna experience to everyone reading this.  Do a Google search for places in your town and treat yourself.  And if you want in corporate a full body cleansing into your daily routine, I invite you to looking into investing in your own in home sauna.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

When this image graced my Instagram feed, my eyes immediately fell on the bottle of Sunday Riley's Good Genes serum.  The only reason why I was even aware of this product is because Beauty Editor Ashley Weatherford mentioned it as the product that gives her skin an "instant glow."

Immediately, I scanned the comments to see what others had to say about the products in the image.  The first comment, left by @alxgaliero, really caught my attention.  "Adore Sunday Riley. Good Genes is a God send."  

That's quite a testimony. So I hopped over to her profile to see if her skin bore the fruits of this amazing product.

The girl's skin is amazing. But could it all be the  result of careful editing and deceitful filters?  Click on the video below and you'll see her skin in action.

Why would a person with beautiful, healthy skin need a product like Good Genes?  I mean, she looks like she was born with good genes herself.   I think the better question to ask is whether Good Genes contributed to the natural glow that both she and Ashley seem to have in common.  Since she referred to the serum as a "God send," one can only assume that it's had a tremendous impact on her skin.  I read a couple other reviews where people raved how they experience skin transformation within days (or after first use).

This product ain't cheap.  In fact, be prepared to invest just over $100.00 for 1 ounce of product. I gotta admit, I cringed a little at the price....actually I cringed a lot.  So I went hunting for a cost effective alternative.  Sadly, I couldn't find one. Apparently, there aren't that many lactic acid serums on the market.  Based on the reviews I've come across, this serum might be worth the investment.  Even the person who gave a mediocre review on Youtube said that she would still repurchase because she noticed the change in her skin after she stopped using it.   Someone else called it addictive!

They way I look at it, this product is the same as investing in 2-4 basic facial treatments. A single exfoliating treatment at a spa will easily go for more than $100.00.   I'd love to use Good Genes as part of my nightly facial regimen.  If I do purchase, I'll make sure to share my thoughts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

By now, you probably have your skin care regimen down packed.  You exfoliate regularly, give yourself amazing at home facials and even developed a rock solid layering routine.  Feels good right?

Unfortunately, there's one area in our beauty regimens that many of us could be neglecting.  And, years from now, we'll kick ourselves for not doing it sooner.  Everything we do to maintain our health and beauty will keep us looking way younger than our years.  But, our hands will be a dead giveaway if we aren't careful.

Hands that look older than our face is a woman's worst nightmare.  And, since our hands are almost constantly exposed, there's always a reminder of the unfortunate consequences of neglecting to take care of them.  Today is the day, we put an end to the rapid aging of our beautiful hands.  For today, we will develop a routine that keeps them young and beautiful for years to come.

Here's the thing, our hands are always exposed to the environment.  Then you consider how many times we wash them daily and it's no wonder the appearance of  our hands start to deteriorate so quickly.  Let's talk about an anti-aging eternal youth hand care ritual that we can easily implement now.

The basis of youthful looking hands is hydration.  The foundation of hydration is our water intake.  There were times in my life, where I wasn't drinking enough water. The first signs of dehydration showed up in my hands and feet.  When it got really bad, the palms of my hands actually started peeling.  A couple of days of increased water intake, and the peeling vanished.  My unproven theory is that our bodies ration the allocation of resources during times of lack.  Water is considered nutrition for our cells.  So when there isn't enough of it, our hands & feet fall low on the list of priorities.

Dehydration shrinks.  Hydration expands.  Want shriveled looking hands?  Make sure to skimp on your daily water intake.

 Once you're drinking adequate water, you can move to the next steps. Healthy, youthful hands have ample volume.  Of course, as we age, our collagen levels deplete. Which is why I am adamant about taking collagen supplements on a daily basis. I'm also incorporating bamboo tea  adequate silica is absolutely necessary for the production of collagen.  Nowadays, people are paying good money to have fillers injected into their hands to replace lost collagen.  The before and after pics are proof of the importance of collagen.  When we loose volume, old lady hands are an expected side effect.

 Don't forget to include other supplements like fermented cod liver oil to keep the skin supple from the inside.  If you are really serious about your collagen production, consider investing in one of these light therapy machines.  I read a testimony online where a woman uses Baby Quasar regularly after applying a hydrating product.  Thanks to LED light therapy, she's experienced an improvement in the volume (plumping) of her hands.

Next we want to nourish and protect our hands. Since they're constantly exposed, we've got to actively protect them.  This means treating our hands like the delicate skin on our face.  Do you recall my post on Japanese Facial Essence?  According to legend, the discovery of essence was the result of the amazingly youthful hands of the workers who came in constant contact with the yeast. What does this tell you?  Basically, we should be applying skin saving products on our hands as well.  Missha's Time Revolution Essence comes with a lot of product.  There's more than enough for you to put in a small spray bottle to use as a face and/or hand mist. I've tried this myself and my hands really absorbed the product (and felt instantly softer).

After misting my hands with Missha, I reach for my bottle of Capriclear coconut spray to seal everything in.  This makes them incredibly smooth and keeps them hydrated much longer.  Feel free to include anti-aging hand creams like Supergoop Forever Young (spf40), Neutrogena Norwegian hand cream (spf30), or Debra Lipman's Rich Girl hand cream (spf25) which is formulated with shea butter, avocado and jojoba oil.  I read the beauty routine of an 18 year old celebrity who wears sunscreen on her hands daily.  If an 18 year old is disciplined enough to care for her hands to keep them eternally youthful, we should be too.  If you really want to get fancy, you can slather some vaseline (on top of serums) before bed and cover them with a pair of moisture gloves for overnight repair.

From this day forth, do you promise to include your beautiful hands into your daily skin care regimen?  Do you promise to drink adequate water, protect them from the sun and remoisturize after you wash your hands?  If you do, these simple disciplines now will pay off big time in the years to come.

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