Friday, July 31, 2015

Insta lately.

Hey!  Glad to see you here again.  Just wanted to let you know that you can also follow my adventures on Instagram.   See you there!

@Lifeasnadege


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nightly Exfoliation | How to wake up looking like you had a facial.

You guys know that I love the topic of exfoliation. We've discussed it time and time again. We've even been inspired by celebrities who attribute regular exfoliation as the key to their glowing, youthful skin.  I thought we've learned all their is to know, until I was given new advice by a beauty expert in the industry.

I was making my rounds in Sephora, hoping to pick up the free birthday gift they so generously provide when I saw this striking blonde woman who stood about 6 feet tall, wearing an all black dress.  Her hair was in a stylish bob and her makeup was perfect.  She just so happened to be near a product that I wished to sample so I asked for her help.  Since she wasn't in the typical Sephora uniform, I first asked a series of questions to find out more about who she is.  Turns out that she represented a company called Korres.  She asked how she could help so I requested a sample of Dr. Dennis Gross' dark spot correcting sunscreen.

The reasons I want to try it, I told her, was because I was intrigued by a sunscreen with active ingredients that exfoliates and fights hyperpigmentation.  She agreed that Dr. Dennis Gross has decent products but responded by saying  "the best time to use products that exfoliate and treat hyperpigmentation is at night."  While you're sleeping, she goes on to say,"your skin is regenerating and going though a cleansing process.  Using exfoliation products at night helps the process."  I thought about it for a moment, and it made complete sense.  I almost liken it to exfoliating in the shower. We're already cleansing so pairing an exfoliation session while showering just seems natural.

When we exfoliate during the day (or in the morning) we then immediately expose our already sensitive sensitive skin to the sun.  But, in the evening, we're giving our skin a chance to recuperate. Wonderful things happen to our skin at night.  I experience it first hand when I use coconut oil on my face or when I take certain supplements at night.  When I awake the next morning something about my skin seems different, renewed.  It makes sense to use products that can aid in the rejuvenation process while you sleep.

The helpful Korres representative happily prepared a sample of Dr. Dennis Gross' sunscreen, along with a sample of Korres' Wild Rose brightening sleeping facial.  I really like the idea of a "sleeping facial."  It got me thinking about how I could create a nightly regimen that produces facial-like results when I awake.  I'll put more thought into it and, if I come up with something brilliant, I'll let you know.  But for now, let's start to experiment with using our acid based products or doing our at home chemical exfoliation routines at night and see if your skin transforms by morning.  Because, hey, who wouldn't want to look like they just had a facial when they first wake up.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hair Botox (at home) part II- Success!!!

Majestic Hair Botox | LV Cles
I'm excited to share the second installment of my feedback on the at home Hair Botox treatment.  If you recall, the first go around didn't go so well.  Unfortunately, the Hair Botox formula I purchased contained formaldehyde and I immediately reacted to the chemicals.  I was down, but not out.  The lure of experiencing a true hair botox treatment led me to purchase a second product.

After a decent amount of research, I settled on Majestic Hair Botox.  Although the product doesn't have many reviews on Amazon, they were pretty much all positive.  I bit the bullet and spent $175.00 on a 10 oz bottle.  The product came quickly and included a free small bottle of clarifying shampoo.

Ok, here we go.  First came the scent test.  I need to make sure the product would not irritate like the last one.  After reading the ingredients and confirming that there was on formaldehyde in sight, I began the application process on freshly washed/air dried hair.  This product smells absolutely delightful.  It sorta sweet and reminds me of cherry candy or something.  Because it smelled so good, I took my sweet time applying section by section.

The product itself has the consistency of a watery "cheapie conditioner."  This made it easy to spread down the length of the hair.  My hair immediately responded to the product. If felt like I was applying conditioner to the hair. In return, my hair softened as I rubbed the product in.  I love products that make an immediate impact on the hair.

The plan was this:  After rinsing the instructions state that we're supposed to blow dry and flat iron.  I didn't want to do that.  Instead, I wanted to roller set, as normal so I can compare apples to apples.  Blow drying and flat ironing might give me a false sense of the true outcome.  Once I had a chance to assess the results from the roller set, I would then flat iron the hair (if necessary) to further seal the product in.    Majestic Hair Botox, in raw form, gave my hair a ton of elasticity and softness.  Although it's a keratin containing product, my hair didn't feel AT ALL like it was saturated in a protein conditioner.

Time to rinse.  Unlike the Kashmir Hair Botox, the instructions didn't say that I can use a deep conditioner after rinsing.  Instead, it advises us to begin the drying and flat ironing process.  I rinsed and sat down to roller set.  I'll be honest, my hair did feel like it needed a conditioner.  But I moved forward like a G.  10-15 minutes in, I noticed something.  My hair didn't seem to have as much bulk as normal.  Upon closer examination, I realized that my texture was loosened.  This took me completely by surprise as I didn't expect the product to straighten the hair. I thought it was a strengthening aid and straight hair would come from the blow drying and flat ironing process.  At first I thought I was mistaken, but the more I examined, the more I was convinced that my hair texture was looser than before.

It wasn't straight in the same way as when I touch up.  The texture just was much looser. Even my new growth (3 months post) was less curly.  I guess one way to describe it is like my hair looks/feels about a month or two after touch up.  Now that I'm aware of how this treatment softens the hair, maybe I'll try smoothing it into the new growth, next time, to see if that makes any difference.  I may also dabble with mixing some with my other conditioners and see what happens.

This product has so much potential.  Currently, relaxers/texturizers straighten the hair by dissolving the natural bonds.  This product loosens the curl, while repairing damage (keratin is the 4th ingredient).  The long term implications are huge.  Stretching relaxers beyond your comfort zone will be much easier.  You may find this product could replace your touch ups altogether.

Recently, someone shared a detailed review of the product on Amazon.  I'll post it here so you can read her experience.
Wow! So far so good. Product arrived yesterday - tried it right away. Took about 4 hours for the whole process. Used on coarse, relaxed, shoulder-length hair with about 1 to 2 inches of new growth. Turns out at least 6oz would have been better - started from the back and may have over saturated, so the front got much less product. Will start from the front next time. Bought this & the clarifying shampoo - they included 4oz of both the after care shampoo & conditioner at not charge. Product arrived fast. 
Really this is just a one application size. Long hair may need the next size up. The clarifying shampoo strips your hair of everything. You have to detangle & dry it as is. Application was easy. Maybe I applied too much product or perhaps didn't rinse it out well enough before the flat ironing, but my hair felt dry & brittle while looking soft & shiny. Very straight after flat ironing. This product seems more of a hair softener than straightener, though it did come out super straight, shiny & soft. The hair felt like it really needed moisture / deep conditioner. The next day (today), washed it with their replenishing shampoo & conditioner (came in the box) - added some jamaican black castor oil to the conditioner, put a plastic cap on & sat under the dryer for 10 minutes. Hair still straight after washing. Put light product in it & sat under dryer as is. It dried in 10 minutes. Could have worn it just like that, but chose to flat iron at 340 for a sleek, straight, shiny look. Hair now feels amazing. Looks amazing.
Will definitely buy again in the bigger size. This will replace relaxing if hair remains healthy, and the treatment lasts for 2 months or more. Very, very happy so far.
She's absolutely right about the product size.  Amazon offers three different sizes.  I purchased the middle size (10fl oz) and used about half the bottle in one application.  Next time, I'll scape together all of my pennies and buy the largest size which costs "a lot of money" but is much less expensive per ounce than it's smaller counterparts.   I know the smallest size requires less of an up front investment, but unless you have very short hair, 4 oz may not be enough.  Plus, with a larger bottle,  I can apply using really small sections (and I mean really small), so every strand experiences the product.

The reviewer also made mention of her hair feeling dry.  Since the instructions don't state that we should deep condition, both us skipped this step.  Notice she stated that this is more of a "hair softener" rather than a straightener.  I agree 100%.  You will not get straight hair with this product alone (although the blow dry and flat iron will help).  For me, it loosens/stretches the curl really effectively. But don't expect bone straight hair.

The day after application I co-washed and steamed using a deep conditioning product.  My hair responded well and looked much healthier than before the treatment.   It's been about about a week
since my initial experience and I'm already excited about my next treatment.  According to their website, the treatment can be used as often as one desires since it contains no harmful chemicals (although the results should last up to 3 months).  I'm contemplating another treatment but leaving in much longer (the instructions say to leave in for 75 minutes but I was in a bit of a rush). I may also experiment with sitting under the dryer to deepen the penetration.

My hair has maintained its softness and retains moisture much easier than before.  Breakage has slowed and my hair responds much better to manipulation (not as fragile).   Overall, I would deem this purchase a huge success.  I look forward to trying it again only next time, I'll deep condition after rinsing as normal.  I've experimented with lots of expensive hair treatments but this, by far, is my favorite.  For such an investment, I expect my hair to be different then before treatment.  Majestic Hair Botox has done it's job.  I'm looking forward to using this product to help extend my stretches while helping my hair retain length.  A lot of you have send me emails asking about my experience and I absolutely give it two thumbs up.

Yes it's an investment, but I'm sure a Hair Botox treatment at the salon is much more expensive.  And this product is ultra gentle so it's fool proof.   It just like applying a conditioner.  Although they recommend using gloves, I applied with a Sprush and my bare hands with no ill effects.  This is good stuff, people.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My anti-aging tools that I've never told you about.


Besides hair products a good amount of my disposable income goes towards facial beauty tools and anti-aging contraptions.  My is collection small but growing.  Ideally, I'd love to invest in expensive machines like one that does at home oxygen facials.  But for now I'm starting small while adding items one by one.
One of my beloved purchases is the cute little vibrating facial wand.  The claims are that this wand eliminates wrinkles.  I don't know about that, I'm more interested in the vibrations which might have a positive effect below the surface of the skin.  Ever since I learned that vibrations can impact bone density, I've wanted something with vibrating power made specifically for the face.  Not only was I hoping that it would increase blood flow to specific areas but I'm also hoping to target specific areas for greater impact.  Especially around the eye area.

 As we age, changes in bone structure  occur.  One of the most obvious changes, to me, is the widening of the eye socket.  It's a subtle difference but it definitely happens. This widening is what promotes hollows and the appearance of tiredness around the eyes. Our eye area doesn't get much exercise as the rest of the face. And were warned to be very gentle when applying eye creams and whatnot.  This could be a contributor to atrophy around the eye socket.  Jumping on a trampoline is supposed to be powerful enough to exercise the elusive eye muscles (which some say can even improve your vision when done regularly).  Along with rebounding, I choose to stimulate the eyes with this tiny little vibrating wand.   Even if the wand has no effect on the bone density around the eye area, it still feels really relaxing when I use it.

I was in a hotel once, watching late night infomercials when suddenly an announcement was made for an at home microdermabrasion machine.  Since I already have the Riiviva, I wasn't really interested in purchasing. But the host said something I would never forget.  As a selling feature, he highlighted the strong suction of the machine.  The suctioning, he claimed, promoted collagen formation in the deep layers under the skin.

I theorize that mild trauma to the skin can promote thickening and collagen formation.  We know this because getting fillers and using derma rollers can produce collagen.  While the plumping affects of the facial suction cups might be temporary (think lip plumping devices) they could help produce collagen below the surface of the skin.  Cupping therapy is based out of Chinese tradition and can provide a multitude of benefits to the body.  When used on the face, cupping massage promotes lymph drainage, and can help firm and plump the skin.  I bought my little facial cups specifically to experiment on the lower half of the face.

When you look close at the faces of women who appear younger than their age vs women who look their age (or older), one of the obvious differences is the amount of volume in the lower half of the face.  We loose fat/collagen in that area and it's a bit challenging to get it back once it's gone.  I don't use my cups on a daily basis but I do think they have helped in thickening the intended areas.  I just place them on either side of my jaw for a few moments to allow blood flow. Then I remove, place them in a new location, and start again.  I definitely feel the burn in the area after a cupping session. Next, I'll get some in smaller sizes so I can practice cupping between my eyebrows and other parts of the face.
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Last on this list is probably my favorite.  Again, in my quest to find ways to impact the facial structure, I stumbled across the Yamuna face rolling kit.  Basically, it's two balls and an exercise video that demonstrates how to use the rolling action to massage your face.  This exercise/massage technique is phenomenal for removing facial tension that you probably didn't know you had.  When I sit in front of the computer, I tense my facial muscles as I squint or whatever.  When we're stressed out, the stress usually ends up in our shoulders, on our face, and in our scalp (that's why scalp massages feel so good).  [Side Note: If you have moderate to high stress, please reward yourself with scalp massages to keep blood flowing to the scalp. Stress causes constriction, we need to counteract the constriction by promoting healthy flow to the scalp again.]

After you finish your Yamuna face rolling session, you immediately feel the tension leaving your face.  Best off all, this ball does an amazing job of lifting the face and giving you a younger overall look.  I may be imagining things, but I notice a reduction in my smile lines and forehead wrinkles when I'm consistent.  Not to mention that I can use as little or as much pressure as I desire.  The more pressure I use, the more bone stimulation I experience.  For people with facial congestions, tension headaches, etc, this ball could provide some much needed relief.  The kit is a little pricey but I highly recommend it. There's even body rolling kits to work out tension located deep within the muscles.  Even if I'm imagining the anti-aging benefits, I still think this is a great purchase to destress the face after a long day.

If you want to see Yamuna Face Rolling in action,  check this video out.

This is only the beginning of my anti-aging goodies.  I plan on amassing many more tools in the future.  As my collection grows, I'll be sure to share my finds with you.  If you have any anti-aging techniques/tools that you love.  Be sure to share them below.





Monday, July 27, 2015

Motivation Monday | Dreaming Big vs. Doing Big

I just happen upon this wonderful comic that I had to share with you.  It details the wonderful lesson of being a producer vs. consumer while reminding us of the rewards of remaining diligent & consistent with our actions.

Take a look.

Never forget the power of action. Dreams that aren't brought into existence, are simply fantasy.
Saturday, July 25, 2015

5 Reasons to stop wearing bummy clothes around the house

cute + comfy //wearing basics, gold accessories, stylish flats and statement handbag
It's the weekend, and you've made plans to chill out at home, catching up on your favorite shows or browsing through fashion magazines.  Maybe you'll even get some decluttering in or knock a few other chores off your list.  Staying in typically means throwing on a pair of comfy loose fitting pants and a t-shirt.  The only people you'll probably come in contact with are those who don't care how you look.  No problem, right?

I'm here to make the case for why you should give up the habit of wearing unattractive house clothes, even if you have no where to go.  Let me first start off by saying that I've violated this rule ever since I began working from home full time.  And I've suffered major consequences because of it.  At first, I thought it was cool not to have to get up and get ready for work. But, as time passed, I realized that not doing so was not beneficial.  Learn from my mistakes so you don't fall into the trap of looking like a house-bum.

Reason #1: Undetected Weight Gain.
There a  couple indicators of weight gain.  The first is what your bathroom scale tells you.  But, if you've decided not to weigh yourself on a regular basis (like I have), you have to rely on other signs, like how your clothes feel.  Typically, the clothes you change into when you're at home are much more casual and loose fitting.  This allows you to gain a little here and there without causing much alarm.  I didn't really realize the couple of pounds I put on until, I started working in my "normal clothes."  And, the more weight you put on, the more you are likely to reach for loose fitting clothes.  Then the vicious cycle begins.   Wearing my nicer close raises the level of awareness of my body.  Comfy house clothes are designed to feel effortless and undetected.  This could work against you if you spend a lot of time at home.

Reason #2:  You slowly turn into a home body.
When you automatically change into house clothes, you send yourself a signal that you're gonna be home for the day (or weekend).  Your mind goes into "sleep mode."  It's the complete opposite when you dress up.  Especially if you go all out and apply minimal make up and wear your favorite scent.  After you're done with your household stuff, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think to yourself "I'm looking good, maybe I go visit friends, or attend an event."

Reason #3: You're less likely to dress up when you leave the house.
Once I got comfortable wearing house clothes as a daily affair, I'd put very little effort to put myself together whenever I left the house.  Sure I'd dress up if I had somewhere special to go, but if I was making a quick trip to the store, I made little additional effort to look presentable (thank God, I didn't run into anyone from the past).  But, on the other hand, if I invested a few extra minutes, each morning, to execute my signature casual look, I found myself doing even more before leaving the house.  By then, I really looked like I had put in more effort than I actually did.  The absolute best way to practice looking your best on a daily basis is to look presentable even when you're at home.

Reason #4:  You walk around the house feeling uninspired.
Your life consists of (a) the time you spend at work (b) the time you spend at home (c) the time doing outside activities.  You're probably the most productive while you're at work.  The time at home, is likely on the other end of the productivity scale.  You might be thinking that your time at home should be for decompressing and not necessarily for productivity.  But I'd like to challenge your thinking for a minute.  If there are aspects of your life that you want to alter, the only time you can really affect this is when you're at home.  Work time is already accounted for by your employer. So if want to change your life, you've got to use your personal time to do that.  But if you're in "lounge mode" whenever you're at home, you aren't using the time to create your new future.

If you dress well, even while at home, you raise your level of awareness about all the additional time you have available to you.  If you're at home dressed, with freshly painted nails, while wearing your favorite scent, you might think to yourself "let me check out ideas to launch my business" instead of "I wonder what reality shows are on."

Reason #5. Dressing well alters your life.
I have a theory that people who present their best selves (physically) actually have different experiences from others who don't.  I think human beings are drawn to attractive people.  Attractive doesn't just mean being born with the perfect features.  I define attractive as (a)someone who invests time in their personal appearance and (2) someone with a charismatic personality.  People respond to others who present themselves as "attractive."  I've experienced this myself. When I nurture my appearance, strangers are more friendly and attentive. Opportunities seem to present themselves to me.

You've had this experience too.  If not, I urge you to test this theory for yourself.  Imagine what happens when you multiply those small benefits day after day.  Our lives are comprised of what happens to us every day.  Why not experience a life of feeling good about how you look, day in and day out.  Walking around in full confidence and positive anticipation of what's ahead absolutely has an effect on how you lead your day.

When I talk about looking presentable, even at home, I don't necessarily mean that you have to wear formal clothes on your days off.  It's up to you decide what works best for you.  Just try to avoid defaulting to t-shirts and sweats.   Start with the basics like wearing minimal makeup, a light fragrance an your favorite accessories.  From there, you'll find it easy to elevate your personal appearance, even if you have no where to go.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to use steam in your every day routine to increase your hair's moisture.

When I experimented with frequent washing, my hair thrived.  Retaining moisture seemed much easier and I experienced the benefits from increasing the number of conditioning sessions per month.  But, since I fail miserably at air drying and must roller set after each wash, I couldn't keep up with frequent wash days due to lack of time.

Then I got to thinking, "what if there's a way to add deeper levels of moisture into the strand without having to do a full wash?"  After a few moments, the answer came to me. Steam!  Sure, we all do the LOC method of moisturization. But what if we replaced the "L" (liquid) with "S" (steam)?

Some possible benefits of using steam vs. liquid.
  • Steam is water in smaller particles which could mean deeper penetration into the strand.
  • Steam can cover the strands more evenly than spraying the hair manually with water.
  • Steam could open up the cuticles for better absorption of the other moisturizing products you wish to use.
That was enough for me to move to the next step in the experimentation process.  Next I contemplated what form of steam I should use.

MILD: This is where you just use hints of steam of boost moisture levels ever so slightly.  One of the simplest ways to use just a touch of steam to increase moisture is to test out the Greenhouse method.  Really, this method doesn't incorporate steam in the form that you're familiar with. The Greenhouse method is more about water and heat working together to fuse the hair with moisture.

Simply put, this method can be achieved by applying a plastic cap over the hair and allowing your own body heat to do the work.  Sometimes I'll tie a silk scarf over the cap to further trap in heat.  If I leave the cap on overnight, I wake up with very damp hair in the morning.  If I do it for several minutes, my hair feels softer and ready to receive moisturizer/oil.  

Some claim the heat generated from the Green House Effect stimulates the scalp and promotes healthy hair growth.  I liken it to when someone wears a cast find that their arm hairs are darker, thicker, and long, once the cast is removed.  The warmth and "irritation" to the scalp promotes blood flow which could increase hair growth.

MEDIUM: Sometimes, when my hair is feeling extra dry, I reach for my steam rollers.   Seemed like whenever I used my steam curlers, not only was the hair curly, it was a bit more moisturized.  Then I started to experiment by adding a couple drops of apple cider vinegar to the water to lower the acidity, which helps seal the hair (curbing frizz).   I'd love to experiment with using low pH water as an alternate option to see if the results are similar.


HIGH: On the higher end of the scale there we have steamers.  Steamers range from held held tools like the Q Redew to the steamers we use on wash day.  The last couple of days, I've been playing around with using brief 15 minute steam sessions (under the MicroMist) as a way of elevating moisture.

It went something like this:

Day 1:  My hair was feeling dry and was a bit tangled.  I wanted to see how much moisture the MicroMist would add to dry hair and if it would aid in detangling.  After setting the timer for 15 minutes, I sat under the hood and awaited the final result.  Once the timer went off, I assessed my hair realized that certain areas were damper than others.  The damp areas were really damp (but not wet enough to cause dripping).  Once I was done, I had no definite plan on what to do with the damp hair after the session was over.

Day 2:  After steaming the second day, I braided the damp hair and allowed it to air dry as I completed chores around the house.  When I took down the hair, the waves were defined and moisturized.  The outcome was good, but something was still missing.

Day 3: For my third 15 minute session, I sat on a cushion, to boost me up, so my hair could evenly receive the steam.  This time I decided to mist my hair with Biolage Leave-In (prior to steaming) to take things to the next level.  That was a great move.  Not only was my hair moist, it was conditioned.  This meant that it could better withstand manipulation,  Once the 15 minute session was over, I quickly roller set the damp hair and went to bed.

At this point in the experiment I've identified some clear pros and cons to using steam as part of a daily moisture routine.

PRO: Steam seems to put moisture in the strand vs. normal moisturizing and sealing when we add product directly on the strand.

CON: Steam opens up the cuticle layer of the hair, promoting frizz and volume (not good if you wear sleek hair styles).

CON: Using water alone can have negative effects on the hair, causing dryness and brittleness once the water evaporates.

PRO: My hair is more elastic, it can better sustain manipulation without easily breaking.

Final thoughts:
There are great benefits to using steam, but it requires a bit of thought and planning to make sure you achieve the outcome you want.  Steam is just water in different form.  Just putting water on your hair doesn't respond well. In fact, you might be promoting even more dryness as the water evaporates from the strand. (hydration does not equal moisturization)   You MUST moisturize and seal after you hydrate the hair with steam.  And beyond moisturizing, you have to seal the cuticle layer.  Steam is water + heat which opens the cuticle thereby creating the potential frizz.

The one thing to be mindful of is what you'll do with your hair after steaming.  The easiest way to prevent the frizz is to use steam curlers (correctly).  Or the GHE method for short, measured periods of time.  If you're afraid of sweating out your edges, avoid steam altogether.

The benefits, in my opinion, are worth experimenting until the process is perfected.  My hair went from feeling dry/brittle to moist/hydrated without having to do a full deep conditioning session.   I also experienced increased elasticity which can be quite elusive if you have chemically treated hair.

I'll keep experimenting and tweaking process to make it better. The results are worth it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Motivation Monday | Try this Law of Attraction technique & see if it works for you.

If you're like me, you were super excited about the potential available through using the law of attraction.  After watching The Secret, I was ready to attract all kinds of new experiences into my life.  But, I wasn't quite sure how to do it.  Being terrible at visualizing, I found it hard to get myself to "feel good" about something I wanted to attract.  Most often, the feeling of lack would creep in as I realized that I didn't yet have it.

The practical application of the Law of Attraction can get a bit tricky, which is why I love this video so much.  In it, he describes three, very easy to do steps to elevate your vibration by using a focus wheel to attract what you desire.  The focus wheel helps you to generate the powerful feelings that serve as fuel to attract your intentions.  This easy to do exercise helps transform your affirmations from empty words into belief raising mantras.

Doug asks you to maintain that level of energy (and celebration) for at least 90 seconds.  I may try this with energizing music playing in the background to further increase my vibration.  Once you've completed your focus wheel, it's easy to repeat the process every morning (causing you move into action) until your intentions become reality.


(1.)Write what you ultimately want
(2.)Write out your feeling affirmations associated with what you want.
(3.) Affirm your intentions over and over again (for at least 90 seconds), focusing on your feelings, to raise your vibration.

Check out some of the comments below the video where people share their experiences of how this technique worked for them.
Saturday, July 18, 2015

Frequent vs. Infrequent Washing| Let's Discuss

When it comes to wash day routines, there are people who find success on two opposite ends of the spectrum.  I'm referring to those who wash frequently and those who don't.  Proponents of frequent wash days boast about increased retention while some advocate leaving the hair alone which also promotes length.

Neither option is right or wrong, but let's discuss some pros and cons of both so you can decide which choice is best for you.
If you wash your hair 2 or more times a week, you can consider yourself a frequent washer.  I've written a complete post on the benefits of this type of regimen.  Basically, you expose your hair to water multiple times a week, thereby increasing moisture levels.  The need for daily moisturizing and sealing diminishes as your hair is better able to retain moisture on its own.

Frequent washers attribute their length retention and progress to this method.  I gave it a go for several weeks and my hair approved.  Unfortunately, since I'm a loser at air drying, which meant that I was roller setting multiple times a week.  Yes, that's a lot of manipulation, but as moisture levels rose, I barely lost any hair.  The time commitment involved caused me to go back weekly wash days, but I'm currently experimenting with an alternative method that I'll write about in an upcoming post.

If you have chronically dry hair, frequent washing may be just the answer you're looking for.  The key to success, using this method, is to manage the manipulation.  If you can find a low manipulation way to handle your hair after cleansing, you're as good as gold.  One other pitfall to be aware of is over moisturizing the hair.  When the hair becomes over saturated with moisture it can feel week causing you to lose out on making any progress.

Lastly, let's never forget the issues of some of WEN's customers who claimed to have experienced hair loss from using their cleansing conditioner.  I saw my mother in law earlier this year who raving about how amazing her hair felt after introducing WEN to her regimen. After complimenting her hair, I advised her other's experiences to which she replied "you may be right, I do notice that I shed more hair when I use their product."  So keep an eye on that kinda stuff just to make sure you aren't doing more harm than good.  But, if you hair loves frequent exposure to water, frequent wash days can take your journey to the next level.
I've met people who wash their hair every few weeks and claim that this is their secret to retention. I get it. Leaving your hair alone can have a huge impact on manipulation related breakage.  Back when I'd get my hair professionally straightened, my hair could go two or more weeks without issue.   It required just a tiny bit of finger combing each day. Detangling was a breeze because shed hairs are easy to remove when your hair is so straight.  If I incurred any breakage, I'd just mist with a little It's a 10 with Keratin and call it a day.  At one point I contemplated using this method to promote retention.  But then I remembered how much manipulation and heat was required to get my hair to that point.

There was a girl at the dominican salon who has the most amazing hair.  Her hair was probably close to waist length, jet black, and had so much volume (think Kenya Moore's hair but a little bit longer).  Based on our brief conversation, she seemed to be a regular patron.  I only visited once every 6 months or so.  A couple years passed, and I decided to visit the salon out of the blue.  That day she just happened to be there, only now, her hair was around bra-strap. It still looked good but no where near where it was during her glory days.  That's realized that my hair wouldn't do well if I tried to keep it bone straight 100% of the time.

Another issue is my scalp.  Going without washing for more than a week can be asking for trouble if you've got scalp issues.  I'm sure the people who can endure extended times between wash days have little scalp concerns.  I had to leverage anti-fungal oils like coconut and essential oils to make it through the experience.

But with all that said, there's some merit to successfully creating a process where the hair can thrive if you only wash once or twice a month.
Many of us, including myself, full under the category of washing once a week.  For me, washing once every 7 days came about out of convenience.  I worked 5 days a week and the weekend was a best time to wash, deep condition and set.  But in all honesty, a once a week wash (in it's current form) isn't optimal since my hair responds better to washing more regularly.  Once a week is adequate but frequent washings would be ideal.  For others who use heavy heat to straighten after washing, extending wash days to every 1.5-2 weeks might give hair hair a much needed break. Or, if weekly is just right, then keep going.

 And by just right, I want you to think of retention as your measure of success.  Retention is made up of how your hair behaves from day to day.  If you're constantly battling dryness and breakage, play around with increasing wash day frequency.  If your hair likes to be left alone to do it's thing, try extending and see what happens. Don't just stick to weekend wash days out of convenience, make sure it's truly adding value to your hair.

I'd love to hear your experience.  Does your hair thrive more when its washed frequently or when left alone?

Shop the Look | Fitted Cargos.

After sharing the "what to wear this weekend post," I received a couple of comments from some of you who are also on the hunt for a pair of olive green fitted cargo pants.  I took the opportunity to do a little searching for affordable options to share with you.  I hope you find the perfect pair.






Friday, July 17, 2015

Style Inspo | What to wear (or buy) this weekend

Happy Friday! Today's roundup features simple pieces that make for perfect weekend wear.
Want to create a sleek, simple silhouette, then go for the bodysuit.  They look great with a pair of slightly loose fitting jeans or shorts.  It screams effortless and put together at the same time.  I'm glad the bodysuit has made a comeback.
Rarely do you see a woman walking around with a clutch bag.  But a clutch is such a statement piece. It requires to you pay attention, to hold it a certain way, and to be more aware of who you are. Wearing a clutch during the day is impractical which is why no one does it.  Which is why you should grab your clutch this weekend and be that one woman who dares.
Cargo pants typically have a masculine silhouette. But when you add feminine touches like the cropping the length, a curve flattering fit,  and nude heels, you have an amazingly stylish (and sexy) pant.
If I could own as many denim skirts as I do jeans, I'd be a happy girl.  I've got a couple in my closet, but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect skirt. The one that fits just as flawlessly on the waist as they do the hips.  The one that's just the right length and makes you look absolutely effortless.
Thursday, July 16, 2015

Korean Layering Routine Part 2 // The Nightly Routine

Yesterday, a thought randomly popped into my head.  "I wonder if Steve Jan uploaded his night time skin care routine."  If you recall from the Korean Skin Care Routine article, I featured Steve Jan's intricate layering routine.  The man is in his 40s and had the skin on someone half his age.  He inspired me to finally invest the time and effort to truly create glowing skin.  In the last video, Steve mentioned his evening routine and promised to give us a glimpse.

Well the day has finally arrived.  I just happened to check his page minutes after he uploaded his evening regimen.  His evening regimen is quite extensive.  As you watch the video, set aside any thoughts about how many steps and products involved.  Instead, let's listen for tips and tricks that we can incorporate into our current routine.  Steve's profession is in the skin care industry, so he knows his stuff.

Since the video is quite in depth, here are some of the highlights for those who can't watch the video until later:

+ Double Cleanse // If you wear a lot of make up or if you're skin exposed to the elements, you want to pre-cleanse (using oil, or makeup wipe to remove surface impurities)

+ Steve teaches a little trick on how to turn a square cotton pad into a nourishing facial mask.

+ Notice that Steve practices facial massage during the product application.  Not only does this help the product to better penetrate, but it also keeps his skin firm and taut.  His face shows no sign of facial sagging.

+ Warm the serum on the back of your hand before apply to the skin.  Warming the product could help the product better absorb into the skin.

Check out the entire video for full details.




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to create a bachelorette type romance in your relationship

Although the Bachelor has been on for many years, I never got into it until a couple of seasons ago.  I just didn't get how one person could (genuinely) fall in love with multiple people at the same time. At first, I thought it was all manufactured for the cameras.  And maybe it is, but I also see how the circumstances could produce the strong feelings of attachment and connection with others.  After watching a couple seasons, I've identified a romance creation formula that seems to work with a high level of success. Unfortunately, when you remove elements the formula, the dynamics of the relationship changes. This may explain why the pairings have such a poor success rate after the cameras stop rolling and the formula is removed.

But even though the show hasn't yet mastered the formula for lasting love, I do think we can learn how to create spark and attraction in our current relationships.  What we have going for us, that they don't, are solid foundations.  The people on the show are just getting to know each other. You might have been with your partner for years. Your foundation has already been formed. Now it's about adding that layer of intrigue and excitement based on the Bachelor's formula from the experts at creating love.

Environment + Experience
One thing The Bachelor show does well is schedule a series of dates, each in a unique and special location.  The lucky couple gets to enjoy breath taking views and new landscapes.  Their dates tend to be centered around a fun activity or a new location/experience.  Why? Because these types of dates generate strong feelings of fun and excitement.  Couple that with the newness of the relationship and you have a recipe for emotions to form.

In your current relationship, think about the last time the two of you did something a little adventurous.  A simple change in environment can do wonders for sparking up excitement and romance.  Speaking of romance, the Bachelor franchise is known for putting together some of the most romantic evenings on television. Evening dates usually involve ball gowns, tuxedos and dinner by candle light.

Ask yourself when the last time you took your significant other on a date that the two of you will talk about for years to come. I heard a young man say once that one key to lasting relationships is creating great stories together.  Great stories are the wonderful experiences that you guys talk about over and over.  Ideally, you shouldn't let too much time go by without enjoying a "story creating moment."  The more frequently you have them, the better.

Attraction
When you fill the room up with attractive people, of course sparks are gonna fly.  Not only are the Bachelor contestants attractive, they look really sharp. Both men and women respond positively to someone who takes pride in their appearance.  Maybe subconsciously, they feel like you put in the extra attention for them and they appreciate it.  If you live with your significant other, it becomes too easy to fall into the rut of lounging around in bummy house clothes and messy hair.  I know that most men say they prefer you when you're dressed down, but don't get it twisted, if you put a little more effort in your physical presentation he'll respond well.  This doesn't mean that you have to wear a full face of make up and a sparkly gown. Just perfect your signature look even for those days when you don't have an adventure planned.

Scarcity
On the bachelor/ette, the couple goes on this wonderful date, then are separated for an undisclosed amount of time until they meet again.  You can pull this off during the dating phase, but if you live with your love, you guys see each other all the time.  Even if you're madly in love, some of the passion will eventually wear off.  To replicate scarcity in your relationship, supplement your life with activities that don't involve your significant other.  This creates a bit of independence which is attractive to men.  Men love the chase, which is why so many of them claim to fall in love with bachelorette. They love the thrill of competition to win the woman's heart.  You too should have other interests so your only focus isn't the guy in your life.  
  
Conversations
On the bachelor, whenever they have an exceptionally adventurous date, there's always a segment after the date, when the couple sits on a blanket and enjoys a loving conversation while sharing a glass of wine.  You will never see a bachelor date where they go to the movies.  That doesn't make for great t.v. and, more importantly, it doesn't allow for those moments where the couple expresses how they feel about each other.  If you're like most couples, you probably end most nights watching t.v. or laying next to each other while scrolling through your cell phones.  If you want to reignite the passion in your relationship, you've got to create opportunities to talk, otherwise you'll slowly morph into that older couple at the restaurant that eats their food in silence. The easiest way to create moments for conversations is to go on a simple walk.  You can also start your morning with great conversation before jumping out of bed.  It's all about sneaking in moments where you can speak to each other, eye to eye, as often as possible.

 When I used to coach managers on how to build a strong team, I'd repeat one mantra over and over again.  I'd ask them to think of their operation as best as complex as the human body.  Communication is like the blood that delivers nutrient rich oxygen to keep us alive.  Without effective communication, relationships die. On the bachelor, all they do is sit around and talk about how they feel about each other.  It's no wonder they fall in love with someone they've just met only a few months earlier.  When your reaffirm how you fell about someone, your feelings for that person grows.  Pair that with amazing experiences shared by two beautiful people and you have the recipe for a whirlwind romance.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ice Facials | The Celebrity Beauty Secret for firm, healthy skin.

Ice therapy is an amazing beauty secret.  A bunch of celebrities finish off their facial cleansing routine by dunking or splashing their face with ice water.  Pharrell Williams says that he finishes off his cleansing routine with ice cold water because his big sis Naomi Campbell taught 'em.  Her super model counterparts like Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista were also fans of using ice water before photo shoots and runway appearances to create firm, healthy skin.
We've talked about the wonderful beauty benefits of taking cold showers. I've even discussed how I used hot and cold water therapy to treat facial blemishes.  You can imagine my excitement to learn that there's actually a facial tool that uses the power of ice to enhance the look and feel of your skin.

Ice facial rollers are handheld tools that live in your freezer!  The roller head is filled with water and gel which retains the cold temp as you roll it across your skin.  A facial ice roller has so many applications.  You can use it to close up the pores after cleansing.  Cold temperatures fight inflammation which is great if you have acne breakouts.  Another great use for the roller is after any treatment that causes irritation to the skin like using a derma roller or after a laser peel.  The cooling feel of the ice roller will calm your skin, helping it heal faster.
I was moments from buying this ice roller when I remembered that I had a couple of jade rollers to experiment with.  I grabbed two rollers, rinsed them with water and placed in the freezer (while still wet).  An couple of hours later, hubby snuck up on me and rolled one on my back.  Not realizing what it was, I jumped back, startled and partially annoyed.  But once I realized that my jade roller experiment worked, I was elated!  Since he was confused as to why they were in the freezer in the first place, I explained my experiment as I tested the roller on my skin.  Success!

The roller felt just as cold as if I were rolling an ice cube on my face, but without the messing dripping.  Since my roller isn't made of the same material as the professional roller, the cold feeling lasted for only about a minute before I had to remoisten and place back in the freezer.  For a few minutes after use, I could feel the lasting effects on my skin as the warm blood rushed back to my face.  As you might recall, cold temperatures on the skin cause blood to flow inwards towards the organs, as a protective measure.  One the surface of the skin warms up again, the oxygen rich blood returns to the surface of the skin,  giving it a nice healthy glow.

Although, the jade roller hack works for now, I'd like to grab one of the ice facial rollers so I can execute longer ice massage sessions.  Even with a professional level ice roller, I'll still use the jade roller for dealing with under eye puffiness using the smaller sized roller.  I remember the days when I'd put ice in a zip lock bag and rubbing it on my skin to enjoy the benefits. These rollers are so much more convenient and quite effective.




Monday, July 13, 2015

Motivation Monday | Are you secretly in love with what's holding you back?

Years ago, when I worked in an office, I became overwhelmed as my responsibilities increased.  Work piled up and I simple couldn't finish it all within a workday.  I sprang into action by visiting my local library and checking out heaps of time management audiobooks.  I listened to hours of advice on how to put first things first, and eliminate distractions while raising my effectiveness to the highest level.  

A short time later, I was elated to find that I was able to finish my work before everyone left the office.  The day had gone so smoothly. But when I look up at the clock, it was only 3:00 pm.  The next several hours were sheer torture.  Although I was a salaried employee and could have went home if I wanted to, the perception of me going home at 3:00 pm would have been detrimental to my career.  The next couple of days I repeated the process and completed my work in record time.  But I became bored with the idle time and secretly missed the chaos of having to rush to get something done last minute.  There's something exhilarating about seeing a challenge in front of you and focusing all of your energy to conquer it.

Here's another story.  I sat across a table listening as a manager detailed the challenge of working with her new team.  She micromanaged them to the point where they needed her for absolutely everything.  On her off days, they'd frequently call her at home to ask the most basic of questions.  She even told me about the time that she slept in her car on the side of the road after working until well after midnight and being so tired that she had to pull over and rest.  Her newlywed husband begged her to quit, we begged her to delegate, but she held on to her old ways.

After listening for a while, I began to coach her.  Through asking a series of questions.  I helped her to see, that even though she complained of poor work life balance, she secretly loved it.  If she were to walk into work and find her employees  taking initiative, thinking for themselves, and solving problems, she'd feel insignificant.  So she ran her operation in a way that feed her need to add value.

Last story.  In sixth grade, there was this kid who constantly made fun of me. Every chance he got, he'd laugh at my name or say something about what I was wearing. It was non-stop.  In science class he sat near me just so I could be in earshot of his constant insults.  Then one day, my science teacher walked up to him and said "Leon, I know you like Nadege, stop bothering her."  "Like!?!?"  The guy absolutely hated me.  But when I looked over at him, Leon was smiling shyly, slightly embarrassed.  I could not believe it. This guy who did nothing but talk bad about me since the beginning of the school year secretly liked me.

You are Leon.

You complain about things that you secretly like.  You say that you hate your current job, but you secretly love the security.  You say that you tired of being overweight but, deep down,  you don't want to give up your current habits.  You talk about wanting to create something new for yourself, but you're doing everything to sabotage yourself so you can hold on to your current reality.

Let me share an insight with you. Every time you get emotional about something, it triggers off an area of your brain.  Emotional can be happiness or sadness, anger, joy, anxiety, excitement. Any type of emotional reaction sends a message to your brain.  If you repeat that reaction enough times, your brain gets used addicted to it.  So whenever I had to work twice as fast to get caught up with my work, a part of my brain received a jolt.  Each time I put something off until the last minute and miraculously get it done in time, I got a rush.  But, when I practiced sound time management principles, everything went smoothly...no drama...no chemical shot to the brain.  And truthfully, I missed it.

In my relationship, there are certain things my husband did that triggered my reaction.  I'd complain and nag about things that seemed really important to me.  He's a bit stubborn so it took him a while to shift his habits.  Then one day, he started doing things differently.  Suddenly there was nothing to complain about.  I found myself almost looking for opportunities to go into my long rants because that's what I was used to.  Once I realized what I was doing, I stopped and shifted to looking for things to praise him for.

Your homework for today is to take an honest look at all the things you complain about/focus on.  Ask yourself the question, do I really want my situation to change or am I secretly holding on to it and feeding as one would do if they found a stray animal?

One thing I realized about myself was that I wasn't focusing on what the next step would be once I removed the issue from my life.  Once the issue was gone, I immediately felt a void.  I had to fall in love with the quiet that comes with completing all of my tasks just as much as I loved the chaos.  To free yourself from your attachment to old, negative habits, you have to create strong positive emotions around your new habits.  Don't cringe and make a face when you have a salad for lunch. Enjoy it.  Don't constantly talk about the negative things in your life.  When you do, you turn into Leon.  You're just expressing secret love for it.  You can talk about the actions you're taking, you can talk about what life will be like once it's gone, but you can't keep complaining about.

Every time you complain about an issue, I want to you imagine yourself, sitting in a chair, wearing a t-shirt that says "I am Leon" while stroking a stray cat that's sitting on your lap.  Because that's what you're doing. That stray cat represents the problem that you've identified as your pet.  It's skinny and scraggly looking, but every time you complain, you're feeding it so it gets fatter and more significant.

Don't be that guy.




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Interior Inspiration // Concrete floors

I've fallen in love with the simple, clean look of concrete flooring.  With just a little research I learned of concrete finishing which is quickly becoming a trend.   If When I have the opportunity to design my living space, at least one room will feature amazing floors.  





Friday, July 10, 2015

Fit Friday | Creating a Beautiful, Toned Back

Warmer weather means exposing a bit more than normal.  So naturally we start to eat healthier, drink more water and even work out a little harder to tighten up.  Most often we're assessing our progress by standing in front of the mirror or seeing how our clothes fit. But, most of the time, we're checking ourselves out from the front.

But what about the back?  I, for one, know the dangers on only focusing on what you can see.  I'm currently nursing sections of hair back to health, suffering because I don't see that area on a daily basis.  From the front, things look great, but the the back of my hair isn't as strong as it could be.  The same thing could happen if I don't pay attention to my back.

That's why I'm now creating ritual that creates a sexy and toned back.  First step is to make sure the skin on our back is smooth & even toned so it appears healthy when the light strikes it.  When I conduct my all over body exfoliation, I place the most focus on my back back and chest.  As we sweat on our bodies, the first place we notice perspiration is under the arms. Then, as it continues, sweat starts to run down our backs.  So it's super critical to scrub the back incessantly.   And this should be done daily, especially during the warmer months.

As you work on your back beautification regimen, you should also be thinking about how to exercise your back muscles.  For the sake of the conversation, I'll narrow down the areas to the shoulders (upper back), the latissimus dorci (middle back) and the back of our obliques (waist).

When I work out, I tend to focus on shoulders, but don't do much for my middle and lower back. Which is why I wrote this post to explore what other exercises I could incorporate to get a more complete workout.    This first workout video I'd like to share is focused on the latissmus dorci and helps to get rid of the dreaded bra bulge.  What I like about this workout is that she essentially does a full back routine in just a few minutes.

Don't have an excercise ball?  No worries, I absolutely love this back workout done completely on the floor and set to calming yoga music.  Again, like the first video, she has you engaging the entire back.
Lastly I have to, once again, share my favorite lower back workout of all time. This Tiffany Rothe workout feels fun and easy while you're dancing to your favorite tunes.  But the next day, you'll feel your lower back oblique muscles come alive.  The fact that Tiffany's Waist Workout has been viewed over 20 million times speaks to the amazingness of this workout.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Detangling tips for those with fragile hair.

I clearly remember when the Tangle Teezer first came out.  Everyone raved on how easily it glided through the hair like a hot knife through butter.  Immediately ran into the nearest Sally's store and purchased two of them.  Once home, I tested the teezer on a small section of hair.  Then I examined the plastic detangler for final results.

What I saw was quite disturbing. Broken strands lodged between the Tangle Teezer's viscous teeth of death.  "Maybe I used it wrong", I thought, as I removed the hairs to try again.  I crossed my fingers and went a second round.  Again, more broken hairs.  After (unsuccessfully) trying again a week or two later, I realized that I was fighting a losing battle and finally gave up.  Then I went through a similar experience with the Denman brush.  My hair just wasn't strong enough to endure that type of manipulation.

To compensate for breakage from detangling,  I went to the other extreme and tried to go super low manipulation only to suffer from horrendous knots and tangles.  I'm sure that my struggles with detangling has impacted my retention.  Now I'm ready to change all of that. This post is for those of us who can't just reach for a detangling contraption to solve all of our problems.  We want to detangle safely without having to sacrifice retention.

Step 1: Strengthen the Hair
I can blame tangle teasers and other tools all I want, but the truth is, those tools are bringing to light the weak areas of my hair.  Ideally, I'd like to have hair strong enough to withstand that kind of manipulation.  Weak fragile hair is going to break no matter how gentle I am.  Instead of cursing (loudly) at my Tangle Teaser, I'll express gratitude to it for helping me to see where I have room to improve.  Maybe I need to up the protein.  Or perhaps it's because I've taken too many shortcuts on wash day.  In either case, I know something has to change otherwise I'll go back to avoiding detangling sessions which only makes things worse.  Whenever I experience breakage from normal detangling activity, I always asses the length of the broken hair and inspect hair for split ends.  I also notice if most of the breakage is happening in small concentrated areas of it's a more global problem. All of that information is crucial for me as I implement ideas to bring health back to my hair.

Step 2:  The tools of the trade
No joke, I've probably purchased over 50 combs in my life.  All in search of the perfect one that can handle my hair without breaking it.  My favorites are the ones with double rows of teeth like this one I purchased at Walmart and the one from Ouidad.  Both are great but the only comb I reach for when detangling on wash day is the Mason Pearson Rake comb.  It's not the widest tooth comb in the world but it's ultra gentle.  This thing has fully cured my comb addiction.  Not only is it completely seamless, but it's super smooth making it easy to glide through the hair.  Maybe you're not ready to invest over $30.00 on a fancy comb.  But at least have one in your stash that loves your hair as much as you do. Ultimately, finger detangling should be your most used method but for those times when you need to use a comb or brush, make sure it's as close to finger detangling as possible.

 I'll never stop talking about how well It's a 10 miracle leave in works to melt away tangles.  If tangles are getting the best of you, please give this product a try.


Step 3:  Know When.
If I go too long without detangling, I'm asking for trouble. If I over manipulate my hair for the sake of detangling, I suffer the consequences.  If I detangle my hair without preparing for a successful session, I might regret it later.  What I'm trying to say is that there's a time and place for a proper detangling session to take place.  If not planned properly, the repercussions can last long after the session has ended.  It's critical to prepare the hair for all the manipulation that about to take place.  For example, my hair does much better when I pre-tangle using coconut oil.  The oil provides ample lubrication, helping the shed hairs to glide through.  If I let the oil to absorb first, I allow the protein to absorb into the strand providing additional strengthening.  Which reminds me, let's add the Misto Sprayer to the list of tools that can elevate the way you detangle.  Once upon a time, I bought (and threw away) a "jojoba infused comb."  I liked the idea of having a lubricated comb that glides easily through the hair. Unfortunately, the infused comb turned out to be useless but I notice that my Mason Peason is so smooth that it retains any oil that it comes in contact with.  When I have a little oil on the strands, my comb benefits as well.

That's what I got.  I think it's really important to focus on #1.  Because it's a lot more fun to detangle when the hair is strong and healthy.  There's no anxiety about about all the broken hairs on the floor. And you can leave the session feeling like you've actually accomplished something--not made it worse.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Motivation | What are you doing to stimulate your growth?

Over the next several months, I'll be (re)implementing a series of actions aimed to stimulate massive personal growth.  The main reason I'm doing this is because I'm ready to experience a new level of results.  The current version of me isn't capable of bringing out those results.  So I have to expand in order to achieve this new level.

After writing yesterday's post on rebounding and how it stimulates the lymphatic system, I got to thinking about how it's an analogy to life.  When we're born, our DNA has all the necessary framework to foster our physical growth.  The first 20 years of our lives we're constantly changing, constantly growing.  It's much like how our circulatory uses the heart to pump blood throughout the body.  Delivering nutrient rich blood to the organs doesn't really require much effort from us.  Our heart pretty much takes care of everything for us.  The lymph system, however, needs active involvement (in the form of movement) otherwise, things stagnate.  If you're passed the teenage years, your physical growth has pretty much peaked.  Now it's time to focus on your personal growth.

But, unlike physical growth, your personal growth doesn't happen to you.  You have to cause it to come into existence.  You have to get up everyday and contribute to your evolution.  If no action is taken on your end, your growth stalls.  Things become stagnant.

I firmly believe that the results I'm experiencing now is the direct result of the work I've put into my personal growth up to this point.  I realize that in order to double and triple my current results, I've got to multiply my growth.  The place to get the most leverage, when it comes to personal growth is in the morning ritual.

Now that I work full time from home, my morning aren't as productive as they used to be. Most mornings consist of waking up and checking emails from the night before.  Once that's done, I go to the office to check stats and start the workday.  Most days I do a little meditation with hubby before he heads to work and I try to listen to a motivational video while working but this won't foster the kind of growth I need to create the kind of transformation I'm seeking.

I've decided to reinstitute the hour of power.  This is where I intentionally wake up earlier than normal and begin a series of actions that nurture personal growth.  After waking up, I'll drink water, then oil pull while search for motivational videos to listen to while rebounding.  Then I reconnect with my vision by reciting affirmations and visualizing my intentions.  Once all of that is complete, I'll capture thoughts and ideas on paper (via journaling), read scripture and pray.  Then I'll get clear on what to create for the day ahead.

I anticipate to raise the level of clarity about the specific actions that align with my intentions.  I also expect to go throughout the day feeling exhilarated after having completed the morning routine.  Then there's the compounding result of exercising every morning and daily visualization.  Beyond  the morning routine, I plan on incorporating a couple other growth measures like attending a business/success seminar in the month of July and possibly taking on business coach to work with 1on1.

Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, tells a story of how he lost half his business, and his home, during the economic crisis of the early 2000's.  Desperate for help, he called a friend for business advice and instead his friend asks Hal, "are you working out every day?"  Hal was a bit caught off guard by the question because he couldn't see how exercising could make any difference in his business.  After the conversation, Hal Googled the habits of millionaires, CEOs and other successful people and found the common thread--the morning routine.  Hal then made the decision to implement his morning routine by waking up at 5:00 am the next day.  Two months later, Hal doubled his income, improved his health and shared his experience with others.  Hal saw his results replicated by others who implemented a powerful morning routine and felt inspired to create the book.

Hal also talks about implementing a 30 day challenge with the new morning ritual so that we stick it out long enough to see the long-term results.  If you feel a little stuck in a rut, take a moment to reflect on how you start your days.  And if you're acting, thinking and feeling the way you did a year ago, maybe it's time to foster your personal growth.  Time to evolve.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Update | The benefits I experienced when I consistently rebounded.

You may remember a post I did a while back after first getting my rebounder.  The plethora of benefits was the motivator for my investment.  But after I had it for a while, the novelty wore off which put my mini-trampoline in danger of becoming one of those long forgotten pieces of exercise equipment.
Bellicon Trampoline
Sometime last month, I decided to really put my rebounder to work, especially since I didn't have as much time to make it to the gym.  When I came consistent, I started noticing a some really wonderful benefits, so I thought I'd share.

We all know that the main benefit of rebounding is to the lymphatic system.  This system help the immune system by removing waste, dead blood cells, cancer cells and toxins from the body.  Our lymph fluid, unlike our blood, only moves in one direction through our body.  Since the lymphatic system has no pump to move it upwards, it requires motions of the muscles and joints to pump the liquid upwards.  Since we have 3X more lymph fluid in our body than blood, it's important that we pay careful attention to make sure our lymph system doesn't become stagnant.

Whenever I rebound, I find it necessary to take my hair down.  That's because I always sense a small movement of my scalp as I bounce up and down on the trampoline.  They say rebounding exercises every muscle in the body.  I like to think that I'm strengthening my scalp muscles whenever I rebound so I focus my attention and intention to increasing blood flow to that area.  It also helps me relieve tension from wearing tight hairstyles.

Most times, I only jumped on the trampoline for short sessions of a couple of minutes each, but when I started using it for longer duration, I started noticing interesting results.  First benefit was improved digestion.  There's no doubt that jumping up and down on a trampoline sparks full body circulation.  It stimulates all of your internal organs, including the digestive system through the stimulation and contraction of the digestive track.

Beyond digestion, I experienced a deeper level detoxification.   I noticed that my sweat from rebounding differed from doing other exercises.  The rebounding sweat seemed stronger,  like it was a true detoxification.  It was a interesting experience to say the least.  That's when I knew the power of actively working out the lymphatic system.  Another benefit I'm now noticing is a reduction of cellulite in the back of my legs.  Rebounding and regular massages are the perfect combination for smooth, flawless legs.

Then I learned about therapeutic rebounding which involves jumping on the rebounder for 1-3 minutes every hour.  This method is used by cancer patients to super charge their immune system.  Since our white blood cell count increases short a short period of time, while rounding, it makes sense to bring our body to this place of elevated immunity 10-12 times a day.  I'm definitely going to rebound much more frequently now that I'm hip to therapeutic rebounding.

Unlike my weighted hola hoop and other random exercise equipment I have lying around, the rebounder gets used regularly.  It's so easy to do that it hardly ever feels like working out.  The benefits have been phenomenal.  When I think about the elements that promote youth, the first things that come to mind are oxygen, water, and detoxification.  On a cellular level, water and oxygen are nutrition. Without them, the cell dies.  Cells also need an efficient way to get rid of waste otherwise, it can not survive.  The mini-trampoline takes care of two of the three.  Drinking adequate amounts of water is up to you.
 

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