Thursday, March 31, 2016

In an hour, I'll be experiencing my first lash lift procedure.  Basically, it's a viable alternative to lash extensions.  I can't tell you how many times I've read accounts of women who claim that lash extensions were the best thing that ever happened to them.  They save time, compliment your face and give you doe eyes without any effort.

I've had lash extensions before, twice.  But honestly, they don't really compliment my small eyes and hooded lid.  If I had large, almond shaped eyes, I would live in lash extensions, but unfortunately, I have to try another route.  

That's when I heard about the Lash Lift technique.  The woman who will be doing my Lash Lift described it as giving your lashes that post curler lift (all the time).   Simply put, it'll be your lashes, only better and more dramatic.
Actual lash lift results 
The results aren't permanent, they last around 6-8 weeks.  But if I can walk around looking like I have naturally robust lashes, I'll gladly do it.  I love the look of long natural lashes but I could never achieve it without tons of mascara.  That's ok for evening, but I still want visible lashes for no makeup days.   And, when I do use mascara, the lashes will be even more dramatic!

The procedure takes about about an hour and prices range. I've seen some places offer it for $100-$150.  I was fortunate enough to find someone locally who charges around $75.00.  This method is ideal if you have long straight lashes that point outwards.  Unfortunately, I have short, somewhat curly lashes so I'm not quite sure what to expect.  But, if my natural lashes are more visible without makeup, I'll be a happy gal.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

 This morning, while browsing through the gossip sites, I came across a pic of Brandy Norwood looking absolutely flawless at a Lakers game.

Although Brandy is in her mid-late thirties, she looks a decade younger.  I wondered if she had any special products or beauty secrets that we should all know about.  Within minutes of my search, I stumbled on an interview she did with a major beauty magazine.
In the interview, she shared the obligatory "I drink a lot of water" comment.  But then Brandy went on to proclaim her love for Nutra Bisse products.  My first introduction to the Nutra Bisse brand was years ago. As a matter of fact, I was doing research on Beyonce's favorite skin care products.  That was the only brand she mentioned.  Part of me was skeptical about whether she actually used it.  But my questions were put to rest when Beyonce gave a shout out to Nutra Bisse's diamond cream facials in her song "Upgrade U."

Beyonce ain't the only one on the Nutra Bisse bandwagon, Kelly Rowland is another raving fan of the line.  I remember an old Destiny's Child behind the scenes interview where Kelly disclosed that self care beauty treatments were her favorite thing to do.  And, in multiple interviews, Kelly has made her love for NutraBisse's Diamond cream known.  As a matter of fact, I came across an interview of Lala Anthony (Kelly's bestie) who declared that she often receives facials from Kelly Rowland who apparently is a skin care expert.

So now we have Brandy, the woman who refuses to age, declaring her love for Nutra Bisse products as well.  She's been faithfully using their Anti-Aging collection for years.  In her words, she "spends dough on the skin stuff."  Because, to her, flawless skin is everything.  Her investment is definitely paying off.  Brandy isn't just a Diamond Cream girl, she goes all out with the Luxury Cleanse, White Glowing Mask, Extreme Eye serum and the Diamond Gel Cream.

I actually saw Brandy in person a long, long time ago.  It was at a local charity basketball game and I got to see her up close.  One thing that stood out was how much makeup she was wearing.  To me it seemed like A LOT.  Especially for such a casual event. It wasn't a ton of eyeshadow or anything, just a lot of face coverage.  I suspect this has to do with her desire to have absolutely amazing looking skin.

 Can we talk about how celebrities, who seemingly already have flawless skin invest hundreds on skin care products?   Or how both Brandy and Kelly Rowland talk about working out every day although they already have naturally small frames.  This serves as a reminder that we must never rest on our current results.  If we put in the effort, our results can be magnified.  It's the chicken or the egg question.  Do Brandy, Kelly and Beyonce already have flawless skin that they love to care for or do they enjoy skin perfection because they are very willing to invest in the best?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Last year, I stumbled on a book that altered the course of my life.  As a new entrepreneur, I wasn't sure how to allocate the revenue generated from the business.  I remember watching episodes of Shark Tank and listening to the stories of start ups generating 6 figures or more in sales but the owners had yet to take a salary.  That was my absolute biggest fear.  "If they're making hundreds of thousands (or even millions) without paying themselves, how am I supposed to make it?"

The answer to my question were in the pages of Mike Michalowic's book, Profit First.  He basically laid out a clear, concise method to ensure that your business is profitable from day 1.  The book also taught me how to pay myself, set aside adequate taxes and create a profit account for quarterly bonuses.

March 31rst first will mark the end of the first quarter of the year.  According to the Profit First method, April is when I get to enjoy my first profit distribution.  It's not much, but it's absolutely everything!  This is the first bonus I've ever received that wasn't given to me by an employer.  

One of the rules of the profit distribution is that it's meant to be a reward. This means that I won't be using the money to pay bills. Nope, this money will be put to purely personal use.  I hope to see this profit distribution grow over the years. But, since I'm working with a limited amount, I decided to put my money where my goals are.

Last year, I went through a phase where I was investing in lots of self care.  This habit paid off big time and I'm ready to launch my 2016 self care routine.  First priority on the list is purchasing another series of massage sessions.  One off massages are ok but it's not the same as enjoying a 90 minute therapeutic session every other week. The benefits of regular massage are real.  

Another self care ritual I enjoyed was the infrared sauna.  I loved it so much, that I decided to invest in an in home unit. And since I won't be buying any more sauna sessions, I can use the money in other ways.  One option is to purchase another series of skin care treatments.  Last year was the first time I enjoyed professional facials on a bi-weekly basis and boy did the efforts pay off.  Those treatments made up for all the times I slacked on my skin care routine.  I'm ready to get back on track.   Lastly, I have my mind set on a series of cryotherapy sessions.  It peaked my interest ever since I first learned of the unusual experience so I feel like it's finally time to take the plunge.

Hopefully, the next bonus payout will be even better.  I long for the day when I can experience a luxury getaway as a reward for a job well done.  That will be sheer bliss! 

Although this Profit First methodology is primarily for allocating business income, it most certainly applies to your personal finances as well.  Setting up an account to stash a percentage of your paycheck to reward yourself makes a lot of sense.  I urge all of you to start your own "Intentions Account" and create 90 day challenges to push toward your goals.  Every time you successfully complete a 90 day challenge, a reward will await you.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

I've noticed a disturbing pattern happening to me week after week. On Sundays, I think on the week ahead and make these grandiose plans of what I want to accomplish.  But, as I reflect back (at the end of the week), it seems like a lot of what I desired, never actually happens.

A new week starts and I start making promises again. And again, the week ends with little to no progress.  What on earth keeps going wrong? Why do I keep repeating the same patterns over and over?
The answer to my dilemma is simple.  Each time I was to create a new outcome, I fail to take one critical step to ensure the outcome materializes.

That essential step is creating the space new actions to exist.

Let me elaborate.  Every day we are given 24 hours. And every moment of those 24 hours are occupied.  Sometimes, it's occupied with ultra time wasting activities.  But every single minute is fully accounted for.  So whenever I tell myself, "I want to do XXX."  I'm essentially trying to fit something NEW into an already filled space.

But, unless I take clear and deliberate action to create the space for the new actions to occur, I'll be disappointed with how things turn out.  Just because I say that I want to experience XYZ, doesn't mean that XYZ will happen.  As a matter of fact, I just automatically assume that XYZ will not happen unless deliberate action is taken to allow for it.  New can't come in, unless you eliminate the old.

Remember that our current reality is a result of our past actions.  Whenever we set an intention, we are desiring new results which will automatically require a new set of actions.  And in order to implement these new actions, we must create the space.  The way we allocate our time must be changed otherwise, we will continue to experience more of the same.

Whenever I look back at my week and wonder what went wrong, the answer is simple, I didn't do anything different with my time.  I lived the exact same week as the one before.   Grant Cardone said it best in the book the 10X Rule when he said that we place intense effort in certain areas of our lives. Meaning if you allow 3-4 hours to pass on social media, then you are operating at a 10X level of action on your social media time.  Meanwhile, little or no time is used to create results that you deem as actual "goals."

The work we have to do is become experts at creating space needed to take new actions that bring new results.  If any of you have ever seen the the MTV show "Made," you know what I'm talking about.  It's a straightforward method that works every single time.

Friday, March 25, 2016

I have to formally apologize to each and every single one of you.  That's because I've had first hand knowledge of a skin transforming product and took way too long to share the good word with you.  I've mentioned this item once in passing and since then I've enjoyed it fully and have reaped the wonderful benefits.

When I first began my skin care journey, I entered with only one goal in mind.  To one day receive compliments on my skin.  First from the people I knew.  Then, on one faithful day, some random stranger will stop and ask me for my skin care tips.  When that day arrives, I know I have completed my mission.

I can feel myself getting closer to that day.  Because in recent weeks, I've received several compliments.  And there's one product that I think deserves the credit.  Back in January, I invited a couple of friends to join me at The Makeup Show.  I went there for the sole purpose of restocking on this magical skin product, even though I had a nearly full container at home.  Once my friend arrived, I looked at her with a serious face and told her that if our 15 years of friendship mattered to her, she would purchase this.  Having never even heard of it before, she trusted me and took the plunge.  Then, weeks later, she sent me this text.
Kevyn Aucoin's sensual skin enhancer has done it again!  What is Kevyn Aucoin's sensual skin enhancer, you ask?  The best way for me to describe it is like a foundation/concealer with the consistency of a creamy butter.  It comes in a tiny package and it ain't cheap.  But if flawless skin is something you desire, then you absolutely need it in your life.
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a former coworker.  While we were catching up, she must have complimented my skin at least three times.  Why? Because the skin enhancer blurred away my blemishes.  Not only does it even out my face nothing else, Kevyn Aucoin's skin enhancer is the ONLY product I've found that can handle the uneven texture on my cheeks.  Not only is the skin enhancer out here covering acne marks, it's also smoothing out the pitted scars.  Liquid foundation alone isn't capable of creating these types of results.  But this does the trick. And even with the thick consistency, my results are really natural.  I dedicated hours of time watching Youtube reviews before finally purchasing and each one of them talked of the wonders of this miracle skin putty.  Some use it as a highlighter. Others dilute it with their favorite foundation. Everyone pretty much loved it.

And with summer just around the corner, I need a product with a bit more lasting power than foundation alone.  Because it's a thicker consistency, the skin perfecting results last longer.  Sensual Skin Enhancer is a dream come true.  I totally co-sign with the makeup gurus that have deemed this product as "the concealer of life!"

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's been a while since I've done a "New In" post.  I guess this would be similar to a haul video if I were an avid Youtuber.  It's just a small collection of some of my favorite recent purchases. Hope you enjoy.
My shoe collection pretty much consisted of mainly open toed shoes.  Heels, sandals, wedges, everything was open toed.  So I finally decided to stop the madness and invest in a pair of proper heels.  My only requirements were a sexy silhouette and that they were comfy.  My biggest fear of closed toe shoes is pain from the confinement.  After a massive manhunt at all the local shoe stores in a 10 mile vicinity, I finally stumbled on these Stessy heels from Aldo.  The reviews were unreal. Everyone raved about how comfortable and sexy they were.  So I took the plunge.
Aldo reviewer sharing pic while wearing her Stessy heels
I haven't had a chance to wear mine yet so I don't have an official review.  I will say this, these heels seem very wearable. Meaning, they didn't hurt my feet as I wore them around the house.  Also, the black heels are a "softer" leather, so they seem like they'll scuff a little faster than the nude, which are more of a patent leather.  I'm thinking of picking up a second black pair or grabbing the patent leather version which just happens to be on sale at the moment.
My other favorite purchase is this ah-ma-zing blush from Black Radiance.  I have a few blushes in my makeup collection that get no play because they aren't flattering.  I had just about given up my search when suddenly I saw this blush before getting in line to pay for my items.  On a whim, I grabbed it without much thought.  This, my friends, is the blush I've been waiting for my entire life.  Black Radiance's Toasted Almond is perfection. It's like bronzer and blush in one.  It's what my skin would look like if I had the ability to blush naturally.

While on a trip to Walmart, I asked myself "is there a sunscreen out there that can give my skin extra benefits?"  The answer to my question came in the form of Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair moisturizer.  The claims are that it'll brighten skin tone, smooth fine lines, diminish age spots, etc.  Although none of these are a concern for me right now, I like the fact that my sunscreen is doing more for me than sun protection. Don't get me wrong, sun protection is awesome, but if I can get a little more benefit from a product I use everyday, than so be it!
I've already discussed liquid chlorophyll at length in another post.  Since then, I've had a chance to enjoy green water on a daily basis. I drink a little first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. And, when I remember, I drink some in the evening as well. I'm hoping that it can add value to the repair and rebuilding that happens while we sleep.  One benefit I've noticed so far is improved digestion.  Gotta love that.
What you're looking at isn't a tube of toothpaste.'s a hair product.  More specifically, it's a keratin treatment in a toothpaste tube.  The packaging alone convinced me to buy it.  What had happened was that I randomly decided to run into a small Brazilian grocery store for the first time to see if they had new Kanechom varieties.  Instead of Kanechom, I find this small package of "Keratin Recharge."

I had a chance to try it for the first time yesterday.  The product itself is creamy and hydrating (like a creamy leave-in).  I freaking love creamy leave-ins so I was elated when I saw the consistency.  The instructions are a bit ambiguous so I used it to help detangle prior to roller setting.  First impressions: Me gusta!

First, it did a decent job of detangling, which I appreciate. Second, my hair feels stronger and fuller today.   You don't get a ton of product, but a little goes a long way.  And since hydrolyzed keratin is high up on the ingredient list, you probably don't want to go overboard.  I like what one reviewer said about using it mainly on her ends for detangling and strengthening. Good idea.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If you're serious about your hair journey, chances are that you've probably incorporated some type of strategy to boost nutrition in your diet.  Perhaps you enjoy fresh juiced greens each morning. Or maybe you take a couple of hair vitamins with each meal.  Those are all great tactics but let's not forget the power of mighty omega oils.

Sure, I've covered omega fats plenty of times before. But this is the first time I come with documented results from a scientific study.  The research was geared towards women with female pattern baldness.  I was especially interested in it because my mother is experiencing some thinning in her crown.  During a holiday dinner, I shared with my brother how happy I was because a dermatologist was recommending Beautifully Bamboo vitamins to her patients with thinning hair.  That's when his wife mentioned that her mom was experiencing age related thinning.  They purchased a bottle for her mom and, about a month later, he texted me saying that his mother-in-law was happy with the results and wanted to restock.  When I shared the good news with my mom, she finally kicked off her very own 30 day Beautifully Bamboo challenge.

But after reading this study, I'm going back to both of them with even better news!  If they pair their Beautifully Bamboo supplements with rich omega oils and antioxidants, they could be guaranteeing an increase in both hair density and the percentage of hair strands in active growth phase.

Basically, a group of 80 women were selected for the study. Some were premenopausal, some post.  The test group were given a supplementation regimen of fish oil, black currant seed oil, vitamin c, vitamin E, and lycopene for a total of six months. And get this.....the study participants were asked not to take any additional supplements or alter their diet.  The goal was to see if omega oils and antioxidants alone were enough to promote healthy hair.

After six months of regimented supplementation, almost 90% of the women experienced a reduction in hair loss.  They also had a decrease of the number of hairs in telogen phase. That's where the hair is stagnant. It's still attached to the scalp, but not actively growing.  The best part of the results was the increase in percentage of hair in anagen phase (active hair growth).  The control group saw no increase in anagen hair after six months.  

The most exciting news is, after six months of supplementation, there was a "significant increase" of hair density and thickness.  The control group continued to experience a decline in thickness.  They then asked the participants to rate their hair's density, volume, shine and softness.  After 3 months, there wasn't much of a perceived difference.  But at 6 months, the supplemented group really started to reap the rewards of their consistency.

*Mental note:  When starting a new regimen, try to allow for at least six months to experience the most optimal results.*
Actual before/after images of the women in the study
By the way, "softness," "shine,"and "increase in volume" received the highest marks by the study participants.  So if you've been battling dry, dull hair....drink more water, and get serious about your omega oil supplementation.  Heck, I stopped typing mid-sentence to pop a few fermented cod liver oil pills which contain high quality omega oils and, all natural, readily absorbable vitamin A, D & K.
From time to time, I get an email from a woman distraught over her postpartum shedding.  Usually I'm giving general advice but I think the results of this study could have great benefits for excessive shedding as well.  I'm also excited to apply this regimen in the fall and winter when hair growth slows and shedding is prolific.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Can you tell how excited I am about spring?  The change in season has given me a new lease on life.  Winters and I don't get along because I feel hindered by the cold weather and short days.  My productivity pretty much tanks and my mood with it.

But as soon as I see glimpses of spring, everything changes.  Nothing makes me happier than glancing at the clock at 6:00 pm and realizing that it's still light out.  I've decided not to waste this extra time.  When I look all around me, I see flowers and trees blooming.  I feel like we should be taking a queue from nature and do the same.
It's time for us to plant the seeds that we'll reap later in the year.  It's no coincidence that we'll get to enjoy longer days over the next several months.  Longer days are a gift.  It allows us the extra time we need to create what we desire.  This means that after work, you can still allocate an our or two towards something productive.

Perhaps now would be a good time to start a new 90 day challenge.  In three months, summer begins.  If you start planning (and working) now,  you'll be amazed by what you can accomplish by summer.  I took a course on how to create powerful 90 day challenges.  One major key to making a 90 day challenge work is allocating time towards your goal(s).  Extra daylight gives us the time we need to stop by the gym after work, grow your side project, or prepare for that dream trip to an exotic location.

When you look back over the past several months, do you notice that you've been in a slump?  I know I was.  And now it's time to leave that slump behind.  Looking forward to reinventing myself again.  First on the agenda is to reignite my inspiration.  I do this by playing a slideshow of carefully selected images to music on my Ipad (as part of my feel good routine).  When I conduct this ritual daily, it really transforms my vibration. Once I'm feeling good, inspired action is flows easily.

 It's time to paint a vivid picture of the experiences I want to bring into my life.  As vivid as the spring blooms that have finally began to emerge.  It's time to spring into action.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Here we are in part 2 of our "get glowing before summer" series.  Yesterday, I shared the secret tonic that has the power to help alkalize and detox internally.  Today, I bring you an even more potent tonic that I've never discussed on the blog before.

As of late, I find myself drinking more water.  Since I'm drinking more water anyway, I might as well lace it with something extra special, right?  And what's more special then the raw essence of vitamin dense vegetables?  This essence I'm referring is chlorophyll.
sipping on some chlorophyll water as I work
They say chlorophyll molecules are similar to human blood.  Only one atom separates our blood's chemical makeup to that of of chlorophyll. Some even refer to chlorophyll as the "blood of plants." To me this means that this green elixir will be easily assimilated by the body for immediate benefits.

So when I heard about chlorophyll drops, my interest immediately peaked.  Basically,  chlorophyll drops harness the power of what makes vegetables green.  All one has to do is add a few drops to your water and suddenly you have access to the high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory power of leafy greens.

Best of all, liquid chlorophyll is a powerful detoxifier.  It actually connects with free radicals in the blood and neutralizes them.  Chlorophyll can also help remove heavy metals, carcinogens, and other toxins.  Not to mention it's ability to oxygenate the blood.

Yesterday, I talked about how lemon water could have a positive impact on body odor.  Well chlorophyll might be an even better alternative.  Also known as "body mint,"  chlorophyll can have a positive effect on both the body and our breath.    Yes, you could actually be freshening your breath with every sip of chlorophyll water.  Back in 1957, a doctor began giving his patients chlorophyll as a way of addressing anemia. But he soon discovered the scent of his patient's urine was greatly decreased.  After more testing, he concluded that between 150-200 mg of chlorophyll taken internally could reduce/eliminate breath and body odor for up to 36 hours.

The benefits of taking chlorophyll aren't just internal.  Some swear that consuming green water helps them achieve glowing skin from within.  It's a given that you should be increasing your water intake to get your skin right before summer.  So why not up the ante by infusing your water with the life-giving blood of dark green veggies.    Today, I added a few drops of ChlorOxygen to my water bottle, which immediately turned a dark green (so green that my water actually appeared black).  Without hesitation, I brought the water bottle to my lips and took a sip.  I could barely taste anything at all.  I'm used to stronger greens (like spirulina), this was way easier to consume.

Oh, one last thing, chlorophyll is also said to help suppress the appetite which can aid in weight loss.  If this isn't the perfect "get ready for summer" drink, I don't know what is.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The warmer it gets, the more I suddenly have the urge to conduct a mini-detox.  Based on some of the info I've read online, supposedly our circulation increases when temperatures rise.  When it's cold, our body circulates blood inwards towards the organs to keep them warm.  But, as it gets hotter, our circulation is rerouted to the skin, as a way to help keep us cool.

But here's the thing, since the circulation process slows in the winter months, once things heat up, our body starts purging toxins through our skin.  I noticed the phenomenon a few years ago after observing people with typically calm skin battling breakouts in the summer.  Once I realized what was happening, I began this ritual of detoxing internally so all the excess sweating and oil production wouldn't lead to acne flare ups.


The very first step in my pre-summer detox ritual will be to reincorporate lemon water into my regular routine.

I'll tell you a story.  Last year, I met a friend at a local social establishment almost on a daily basis.  As soon as I sat down, before we started working, I asked the server for a lemon, cucumber water.  While there, I would consume several glasses of room temp lemon water before heading home.  Soon I got into the habit of drinking lemon water even when we didn't meet.

Then, one day, I finished off a workout session on my mini trampoline and, before jumping into the shower, my other half came over and said something that I would never forget.  Basically, he told me that my perspiration had a mild citrus scent.  At first I was taken aback.  But after a moment of reflection, I recalled all of the lemon water I'd consumed  days prior.  I'm not sure if there's any merit to this, but if drinking adequate amount of lemon water somehow influenced my natural scent, then I'm all for it. At first, I didn't know if he was being serious but after finding this testimony online, I knew I had stumbled onto something.

"I have been suffering from very bad body odor all my life. I have to wash twice a day and use antiperspirants (which I am not so comfortable with). Then a friend told me about lemon water and it works wonders. First thing in the morning mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with a cup of water and drink. Make sure you don't have anything before it. Basically what it does is detoxes your liver so it has to be the first thing through your system. After a couple of days the odor was gone! No more antiperspirant! I do this everyday. If I miss a day, the odor returns. I have been doing this for about 8 months now and it is still just as effective."
Typically lemon water results in more restroom breaks for me vs. drinking water alone.  I figured this was part of the internal alkalizing process.  But neutralizing body odor is an added bonus! When it heats up outside, I typically reach for light fragrances with citrus notes.  You can imagine how excited I am about the possibility of recreating that effect all naturally.

But wait, there's more.  This is just Phase One of my pre-summer internal cleanse routine.

I'll share phase II tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring is around the corner.  The other day, a friend and I discussed getting together to create mood/vision boards.  I thought it was a magnificent idea.  The only thing is that most magazines I flip through don't have the kind of aesthetics that I seek.
Instead of a traditional vision board, I opted instead to create a spring mood board to showcase my intentions for the season ahead.

Spring is an amazing season so a multitude of reasons.  First of all, it brings the first hint of warm weather after months of frigid temps.  For this reason, I believe spring is a season to celebrate.  Because this time of year is filled with beautiful, low humidity, days, I plan to take full advantage.  I promise to incorporate wonderful lunches + brunches at various outdoor cafes at least a couple of times a month before it gets too muggy.

I'm also inspired to take part in a little bit of spring cleaning.  I want my house to have that light, clean feeling and the easiest way to do that is to get rid of excessive clutter.  As a reward for my hard work, I'll fill the home with fresh flowers as a sign of the new season.

If all goes well, I hope to incorporate more travel into my life this year.  Last year, I said the same thing, but I waited too long to plan.  Time passed and next thing you know, the year was over.  Not this time.  My new intention is to enjoy a getaway at least once a season.  Even if it's only for a couple of days.
Spring bring with it lots of styling options.  It's not hot enough yet to dress for comfort.  It's not so cold that you have to worry about freezing.  Which is why spring is the perfect time to wear bright colors and bold accessories.  Another intention of mine, this season, is to re-engage in my self-care routine.   Most of this winter consisted of me huddled under the covers,  complaining about how cold it was.  Now that it's warmer, I'm filled with a new level of energy. It's time to correct some of the areas I've been neglecting all winter.  The first priority on this list was to start taking care of my nails again.  Nails are such a small detail but they make a world of difference.  Whenever I want long, strong nails, I sip on some Beautifully Bamboo tea.  Seriously, within a couple of weeks of being consistent, my nails are unrecognizable.  They're long, healthy and so strong that I actually have to trim 'em down.

And, of course, I'm thinking ahead about my hair regimen.  Spring & summer marks the beginning of what I like to call "hair growing season."  As temperatures rise, so does our hair growth rate.  I'm thinking ahead to see how I can do my best to retain as much as possible.  One option I'm considering is experimenting with clip ins while keeping my hair braided underneath.  We'll see how that goes.

Have you created your intentions for spring yet?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Most of us have a love hate relationship with flat irons.  On the one hand, they have the ability to create sleek styles.  But every time those hot plates touch our hair, we cringe a little knowing that damage is occurring on some level.

I've searched far and wide for healthy flat iron alternatives.  First, we learned of the steam iron, which had tiny water reservoirs and produced moisture enhancing steam with each pass. Then, came the discovery of the conditioning iron which uses the power of infrared technology to help the hair maintain moisture and overall health.
Now there's something new.  A "flat iron" made of ice!  We talked extensively in the past about the ability of freezing temps to create powerful results.  We know that cold showers promote moisturized skin and sleek cuticles.  What if you can expose your hair to cool temps without having to deal with the discomfort of ice water.

The Inverse Hair Conditioning system looks very much like any other flat iron except that it's cordless and the plates (ice cores) are ice cold!  That's because, instead of plugging it into an outlet to heat up, you place it in a freezer.  According to the founder of the company, once frozen these plates have the ability to lock in moisture.  They also claim that this frozen plates create healthier hair and, in the long run, "make the hair less susceptible to damage and breakage."  There are even some nifty before and after pics, on their site, of the in tact hair cuticle from a customer who's used the Inverse Hair Conditioning system for 30 days.
I should also mention that, like the conditioning flat iron, this ice iron is not meant to straighten hair.  Which means that girls with curly hair can still get the benefits of a sealed cuticle without compromising your curly style.  The company recommends that you air dry after using the Inverse system so you don't reverse the benefits of the ice cold plates.  I would make so much use of this iron during the summer months.  I think it would be a nice treatment after a day in the hot sun to help soothe the strands.

Although the iron would be pretty need to have, it's quite an investment.  I wonder if there's a DIY workaround that I can try?  If I do find a way, I'll certainly let you know.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

One of my favorite beauty staples is the facial mist.  I've been known to purchase stockpiles of Evian spray in the summer months.  At any given moment, I'd spray my face, hair, and body with tiny moisture particles.
"It's a light refreshing mist with a powerful punch, the second you put it on, your face glows."  -Amazon Reviewer
Then a chance encounter with Chanel Hydra Essence had me wondering if I invest in facial sprays with more than just water as the sole ingredient.  Not long after, I stumbled upon Missha's First Treatment Essence, after learning about the Korean Skin Care regimen.  Once I experienced facial essence, I immediately decided that this product was born to be a facial mist.

After formulating a few DIY versions, I learned of SK-II's Mid-day Essence facial spray.  Without hesitation, I searched to see if Missha too had their own mist on the market.  My efforts were rewarded.  As soon as I located Missha's First Treatment Essence Mist, I was sold.

The moment I received the package, I took the beauty mist for a spin.  My first observation was the difference in the spray.  The mist itself is light, smooth and comes out evenly.  Not too much, not too little.  It releases less product compared to Evian, so it doesn't leave your skin feeling too damp (an issue I sometimes encountered with my DIY spray bottles).  I love how evenly the product covers my face.

But the reason why Missha's Mist is an instant favorite, and the reason why I will continue to purchase over and over is because of the "instant dewiness effect" it gave my skin.  Ever since the start of winter, I've craved a dewy glow.  But the dry air wouldn't let me be great.  Missha's Mist is the answer I've been looking for.  As soon as the mist hit my face, my skin starts to reflect light in the most beautiful way.
I know some of y'all might be thinking "I've already got Missha's Treatment Essence, I'll just put some in a spray bottle and I'm good."

To that I say, could do that....but you'll be missing out.  First, you must experience this spray bottle.  It serves it's intended purpose in such an incredible way. Because the mist is so light, you can refresh (or use post makeup application) without the fear of saturating your skin.
Secondly, I checked out the ingredients, and this isn't simply First Treatment Essence in a spray bottle.  Sure the main ingredient (anti-aging yeast) is exactly the same but there are a few goodies in the Essence Mist that you're missing out on.  The first thing that stood out was fermented lactobacillus extract.  Lactobacillus is a good bacteria and we already know that probiotics can have a positive impact on managing acne breakouts.  High on the ingredient list is licorice root extract which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  May I also add that licorice can be effective in improving dark spots and hyperpigmentation.  There are a couple other herbs on the list with anti-inflammatory properties as well.  There's even bamboo extract which is known for it's high silica content.  I'm guessing they wanted to develop a really soothing skin mist and that's exactly what they did.

I love this dewy skin creator so much that I had to grab a second bottle in a travel size.  I will never be without it.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A little while ago, I talked about the release of Face Touch Up Sticks by Bobbi Brown.  These nifty little tools would give us the ability to correct flaws instantly and on the go.  Immediately, they made my list of must have purchases.

But then, I received a comment on my Instagram feed from a reader who purchased the Bobbi Brown's  retouching pencil and was pleased.

Of course, I headed to the Bobbi Brown counter at Neiman Marcus and to Sephora only to return empty handed.  Sephora said they'd have them in store at the end of the month so I've marked my calendar.

I have little patience once an item hits my "to purchase" list so I had to appease my urges with a drug store concealer stick from Black Radiance.  Let me tell you, this has to be one of my favorite acquisitions  in a long time.  I can't believe how useful it is.  The True Complexion stick does so much more than conceal.  Let me share how many amazing ways this little gem is adding value to my life.

(1). First and foremost, it's perfect for concealing in a snap. Sometimes, I don't feel like doing a full face, I just want to blur the discoloration that plagues my cheeks.  This does just that.  The coverage is enough to create the effect I'm looking for.

(2). Once I'm done covering the scars, I then move on to my eyes.  First I conceal the dark under eye, then add a little to my lids.  This concealer is a boss at evening out my dark eyelids.  Sometimes my lids get a little shiny. When that happens, I just reach for my trusty concealer stick and...problem solved.  Finally, I run the concealer stick along my brow bone. This gives my brows instant definition even though I haven't actually done my brows.  

(3). Once I've perfected the eye area, I move on to my lips.  Yep.  Having two-toned lips is a struggle.  The solution to this dilemma is to even them out with the help of a concealer.  Before my beloved corrector stick, I would apply a little foundation to my lips to create the same effect.  Only problem with foundation is that it's a bit drying.  This creates a similar result but without the unwanted side effect.  Sometimes, I just rub a little on my lips, finish off with balm and, voila, I have the most natural shade of nude lips ever.

As you can see, this so much more than just a mere concealer stick.  It's an all-on-one beauty essential.  Perfect if you want to pack light and still have everything you might need.  The Black Radiance concealer is great but I've reserved a special place in my heart for Bobbi Brown's Retouching Pencil.  Once I've had a chance to try both, I may do a comparison review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Even though it's not technically spring yet, I'm already enjoying 80 degree weather.  Warm weather in winter is great, but on the other hand, it leaves little time to get summer ready.  This means that I have to work fast to shed the extra pounds.

Recently, I've talked about high intensity interval training as a means of activating stubborn abdomen fat cells.  By working out in high intensity intervals for 15-20 minutes a day, we can create results much faster and more effectively than other forms of exercise.

But what if there was one type of high intensity exercise even more powerful than others.  If you want to burn fat fast, you definitely want to add this to your workout regimen.  The exercise I'm referring to is jump roping.  Once upon a time, I made it a habit to jump rope on a regular basis.  I think I was doing it more for cardiovascular health than fat loss.  After sticking to my regimen, I noticed something while getting dressed.  For the first time ever I could clearly see my obliques.  Perplexed, I wondered why this was happening.  Core work was not a part of my routine.  Why were my abs visible?

Little did I know that my newly visible abs were a result of the fat loss brought on by consistent jump roping.  After checking out some videos on Youtube, I was made fully aware of the fat burning power of jump roping.  Once I learned the facts, I did a little test for myself.  Using a FitBit, I tracked the number of calories I burned after jumping rope for 1 minute.  A minute of jumping was around 10 calories. Some studies claim that jumping rope can burn around 13 calories a minute.  This means that we can burn 100 or more calories with only 10 minutes of work.   And because jump roping is considered high intensity, we'll continue to burn calories at a higher rate even after the workout is complete.

The past several days, I've started my morning with a jump roping session.  My motivation for staying consistent comes from my past results and listening to the testimonies of others who claim that they had to stop jump roping for fear that they were loosing too much weight.  Boxers love this type of workout to meet stringent weight class requirements.  If you want to see results fast, consider jump roping as a viable option.

If you have concerns with your joints or if you aren't fit enough to start jumping rope right away, your other alternative is rebounding.  I measured the amount of calories burned in a minute of rebounding and realized that it was around the same as jumping rope.  Ten minutes of bouncing while watching streaming tv was equivalent to 1000 steps/burning 100 calories.  Let's not forget the additional lymphatic benefits of bouncing on a rebounder.   Here's a testimony I found online that illustrates why rebounding is so awesome!
"Within only two weeks of rebounding, I saw positive changes in my body that the last three years of having a personal trainer had not achieved. The first things I noticed was my skin becoming tighter and toned on my whole body, including my face. My flexibility, coordination, and balance immediately improved. As I continued jumping, approximately 15 minutes a day, my considerable cellulite significantly diminished. The redness on my chest and neck has greatly diminished, and my skin now has a firmness and radiance that it had lost. It completely relieves the shoulder and neck tension that builds when I work on the computer, and has greatly reduced the frequency and duration of my headaches. The most recent discovery I've made is the significant lessening of the spider veins on my legs.I believe many of these improvements are due to the anti-inflammatory effects of an efficiently stimulated lymphatic system."
A piece of exercise equipment that also gives you beauty benefits is a must have.  I'll sometimes alternate between bouncing on the trampoline and jumping rope.  Both are similar exercises but jumping rope requires more physical effort because you don't have the bouncing effect to push you back up.

If any of you are considering getting a gym membership to shed winter pounds, perhaps you can get results faster by grabbing a $10.00 jump rope.

Monday, March 7, 2016

I still remember the feeling that flooded my body right after watching The Secret.  Suddenly a whole world of possibilities was opened up to me.  The Law of Attraction was life changing and I vowed to use it every day to make all of my dreams come true.

Then, life happened and, as time passed, I found myself being caught up in the concerns of real life.  Soon I fell into a state of reacting versus attracting (or creating).  It felt like all of my creation power was diminishing and I had no way to change it.

That's when I decided to alter the situation.  I had to go back to that place when things seemed to manifest with the greatest of ease.  The road back to manifesting at a high level wasn't difficult. I just had to be intentional with my actions.  Here's what I do whenever I want to re-activate my ability to manifest powerfully.

Thee very first step to get back on the road to creating new realities is to focus on what I want.  The mind is interesting in that it loves to dwell on problems, drama, and what's not going well.  It finds an issue and feeds on it.  That becomes all we think about. And as we focus on it, the concerns seem to grow.  This fixation on my problems is the first thing I address whenever I wish to create a new outcome.  The only thing I allow myself to focus on is WHAT I WANT.  If something was happening in reality that wasn't aligned with what I want, I would pay it no attention.  It's almost like cutting off the oxygen source to a candle.  The flame quickly dies down.

As I focus on what I want to experience, I'm reacting to my intentions the way a mother responds to her toddler's efforts.  When a baby tries to take it's first steps, his mother is overcome with joy and makes a big deal out of it.  That's exactly what I do.  If I see even small signs of my intentions manifesting, I can barely contain myself.  As I focus on the birth of my intention, it grows quickly.

Another technique I employ in the creation process is to set the right environment for my intentions to flourish.  There are many levels to this.  You can focus on your internal environment by visualizing. This helps build your belief.  After working on my internal environment, I like to work on the immediate external environment by cleaning and organizing my home.  Next, I spend time in an environment that correlates with what I want to create. 

 Example: (1.) I would often work at coffee shops so I could be alongside other entrepreneurs when my intention was to work for myself.  (2.) When I was in the job hunting process, I would visit potential employers multiple times and imagine myself working there. (3). Test driving my dream car several years before I finally purchased it.  

These are all examples of altering your current environment to make it look like the outcome that you wish to experience.

Another step to the creation process is to constantly reflect on the things that exist because of an intention you once set in the past.  Whenever I do this, I'm reminded of how effective this process is.  In doing so, my belief grows even more.  Plus, I'm igniting the feelings of abundance and gratitude.  Feeling grateful and abundant will bring ease to the creation process.

Lastly, creation will not work unless you are able to focus on it.  That's the biggest challenge for me.  Somedays, I easily maintain my focus on manifesting. Other days......not so much.  The first rule of of becoming a master level creator is to stay engaged in the creation process at all times.  Every day, we set our intentions and align our actions accordingly.  And everyday we acknowledge the progress made.  Acknowledging is a form of collecting evidence that what you desire is truly unfolding.  And once you know that it's working, nothing can stop you.

Like they say, we're always in the process of creating. Our job is to bring intention into the process. Instead of allowing things to happen, we need take on an active role. And, we'll be rewarded handsomely for our efforts.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ever since June Ambrose put me on to CapriClear coconut oil spray, I've been in heaven.  CapriClear was the answer to the burning question of "how do I carry coconut oil with me when I travel?"  I've successfully integrated CapriClear into my beauty regimen almost on a daily basis.

But, deep down inside, I still wish to have access to a portable version of unrefined, virgin coconut know, the one that turns solid in cooler temps.  CapriClear is fractioned coconut oil. Meaning, it stays in liquid form all year round.   Obviously, this makes a lot of sense (especially in the winter), but I still wondered if there was a convenient way to have virgin coconut oil on hand at all times.
Well, I think I may have found the answer.  I picked up a couple portable salad dressing bottles for this experiment and I think they might be the perfect fit.  These tubes are meant to be on the go so they're specifically designed to keep the contents from spilling.  Because of the flip top, we don't have to worry about constantly twisting off the cap.  This is probably when most mishaps happen.  Once the flip top snaps shut, it seems to be firmly in place.
Today, I gave it a go using virgin coconut oil in a semi-solid form.  The squeezable bottle makes the cream-like oil easy to access.  It was like squeezing toothpaste from a tube.  Best of all, I don't have to touch the contents which means the product inside the bottle stays germ free.

 I haven't tried this method using liquid coconut oil yet, but I suspect it will work just fine since this type of bottle was technically meant to carry liquids.  Plus, the reviewers on Amazon raved about how these bottles warded off leaks even when carried inside a purse.  So basically, we have a portable container that can handle your coconut oil in both liquid and semi-solid form.  What more can you ask for?

If you want to try this for yourself, you can find these nifty salad dressing containers on Amazon.   Or, if you want to use branded bottles, check out a company called CoCoTube  which offers the same bottles but with a cute little logo.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

This winter was rough for me.  The biggest challenge I faced was dealing with the ultra-dry air.  My skin was dry and itched like crazy.  While upping my water intake did help some, I needed to find something even more powerful to increase moisture.

A few weeks back, I visited my gym's steam room.  I purposefully chose to stay in for only a few seconds.  When I stepped out, I felt my skin.  It was dripping with moisture and felt revived.  At that moment, I knew what I needed to do.

My next course of action was to head on over to Amazon and pick up small humidifier. I could no longer live in a low humidity environment. Within days, a portable unit arrived.  This unit can be plugged into a USB so I have it going while I work.   I also plan to take it with me on long plane rides. Although the humidifier is small, I felt the benefits on night one.  My skin wasn't as itchy and sleep was more comfortable overall.

But then I was like, "I wonder if humidifiers can also benefit the hair?"  Off I went into the land of the internet to find answers.  What I discovered was several accounts of people who boasted of wonderful skin, hair, and scalp benefits after using a humidifier on a nightly basis.

Here's an excerpt from Trisha's blog post after purchasing her humidifier:

"Honestly, I’m obsessed with this thing! My friend said that she used humidifiers as a kid when she was sick. But for me, this is my new secret (or not so secret because I’m sharing it here) beauty weapon."

Why is it her secret beauty weapon?  Because her hair and face seemed to be infused with added moisture, thanks to her humidifier.  

My plan is to purchase a larger unit to experiment with how best to impact the hair.  I'm thinking that I should also run the humidifier during the day while I'm working (since my hair will be under a scarf at night).  If any of you work in an office environment, a portable humidifier might be just what you need.

 Although we're sound asleep, our body is hard at work repairing and rebuilding.  I suspect that added moisture in the air can really contribute to the repairing process.  I don't know about you, but the idea of waking up to hydrated skin and hair without having made any additional effort sounds like a dream come true.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Last year, I invested some valuable time reorganizing and discarding old clothing using the Marie Kondo method.  My intention was to reduce clutter but little did I know that I would uncover my weird propensity for tank tops.

The more drawers I sorted through, the more tanks I found.  After folding dozens of various tank tops into neat little stacks, I swore to myself (and to a friend via text) that I would never buy another tank for as long as I live.

It's time to take my love of comfy undershirts to a new level.  Last year, I started the transition away from jeans as an every day uniform.  Dresses are just easier to deal with. And, they make you stand out a little bit from the crowd since hardly anyone wears 'em.  So it only makes sense to start forming a collection of amazing, easy to wear tank dresses.

Tank dresses are casual and very not-so casual at the same time.  They require confidence and a bit of boldness.  I love how they create the perfect canvas for us to accessorize in any way we please.  I'll probably match mine up with ultra chunky gold chains, a denim jacket and casual footwear.  Their sleek silhouettes pair perfectly with a dainty cross-body bag, stylish clutch or an oversized tote (as pictured above).

Tank dresses are the most perfect way to keep cool this summer while still appearing feminine and effortless.  I know it's little early to start thinking about tank dress but, let's face it, some of us have to tighten up before rocking a tank dress.  I know I do....which is why I'm already planning my moves.  By this time next month, I hope to have several of these staple pieces in every neutral shade imaginable.

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