Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What to do to make the second half of the year awesome

Tomorrow marks the first day of June.  Although technically, June 1 isn't the middle of the year, I still designate it as the halfway point.  Six months ago, many of us were mapping out the direction of 2016.  Let's not wait until year end to see if we'll achieve our intentions.
Office inspiration + vision board (via Erika Brechtel)
Now is the perfect time to stop and conduct a mid-year review.  I know some of you have heard that term before.  It's where we look at our performance for the first part of the year and make necessary course corrections to ensure we arrive at our intended destination.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

[WASH DAY PROJECT] dpHUE created the Leave In Conditioner of my dreams

Ever since I learned of the wonders of apple cider vinegar and how it helps the hair, I've sought to implement it in countless ways into my regimen.  I've utilized ACV on my scalp to help counter act stubborn seborrheic dermatitis.  Then I learned of how diluted vinegar could serve as an amazing hair rinse, so I tried that.

More recently, I heard of a brand called dpHUE that created an ACV conditioning rinse. Immediately, I fell in love with the idea.  At that moment I decided to create a DIY version by combining my favorite hydrating conditioners with a little bit of apple cider vinegar.  I adored this wonderful concoction and was thankful to dpHUE for offering the inspiration.

But now, I may have come across the ultimate ACV hair product of all time.  You see, for years I've tried (unsuccessfully) to create a home made ACV leave in.  I've longed for the day when I can have a low pH, cuticle sealing leave in conditioner to complete the wash day experience.  Every time I try to whip up a batch, it just never turns out the way I envisioned.
dpHUE ACV leave-in hair therapy
What I desire is a leave in that conditions, strengthens, detangles AND seals.  Is that too much to ask? dpHUE doesn't think so.  Because it appears as if they read the pages of my personal hair diary and have granted my wish.

Friday, May 27, 2016

/Fit Friday/ The Super Detox drink that helped my friend quickly lose 10 lbs

I have a few friends from high school that I still keep in touch with.  We send random group texts to each other from time to time.  One of my gal pals recently revealed her recent weight loss and the secret technique that worked so well for her.

This friend in particular didn't have a history of struggling with her weight.  In high school she had a slim, athletic body. And when we caught up, several years back, she seemed to maintain a healthy weight.  But, life happened.  Stress from life changes caused unexpected weight gain. And before she knew it, she was 40 lbs over her desired weight.

With that much to lose, she opted to start by incorporating one simple habit. That small tweak in behavior has paid off for her in a big way.

All she had to do was incorporate a healthy beverage into her regimen before each meal.  The weight loss drink was comprised of a few simple ingredients. But it changed the direction of her life.  Best of all, 99% of us already have the ingredients needed to make this health drink.
Apple Cider Vinegar (2 Teaspoons)
Lemon Juice (1 teaspoon ) -She uses powdered lemon when she's on the go.
Cranberry Juice (1 teaspoon) -You can also substitute with honey or stevia.
[Optional: add some cinnamon or cayenne pepper]

Thursday, May 26, 2016

/Style Obsession/ The Kimono

Every summer I'm faced with the same dilemma.  How to remain stylish & comfy as temperatures rise.  The crazy heat and humidity forces me to live in tanks and sleeveless tops.  Fall and winter makes it easy to layer stylish pieces.  Just throw on your most flattering outwear and you're set.

But what's the summer alternative to cashmere cardigans and tailored coats?
In my humble opinion, it's the kimono.

As someone who loves to wear basics (in black, grey or white), a kimono is the one item that adds a bit of flair to my wardrobe.  I love the diversity of options ranging from muted tones to the brightest and boldest of shades.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why Japanese Mascaras might be the answer for your tiny lashes

Not long ago, Amazon recommended a product  I'd never heard of before.  The recommendation was probably influenced by my recent purchase of Italy cloths, facial essence, and other asian beauty items.

So when Heroine Make's Volume and Curl mascara popped up as a recommendation, I glanced at the overall rating, and immediately clicked.  Countless customers expressed how pleased they were with the mascara's ability to keep lashes curled all day.  Apparently, the staying power of Heroine Make is unparalleled.

Without much thought, I purchased and hoped for the best.


I have nearly a dozen mascaras in my collection.  As a person with extremely short lashes, I'm desperate to find something that actually works.  I can confidently say that Heroine Make is unlike any of the other brands I own.  When you open the tube and check out the wand, you may notice that it doesn't have a fancy design like we're seeing from other mascaras.  In all honesty, I was a little disappointed.

But the magic happened after application.  Here's what makes this mascara exceptional.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Motivation Monday | Owning the Hours of your Day

This morning I browsed through my large collection of Audible books purchased throughout the years.  I'd like to revisit those titles again.  Rereading books is probably one of the most powerful things you can do.

When you take the information in for a second or third time, you will undoubtedly notice new insights missed during the first go around.  I'm also a different person than when I first listened to the book so I will process the information differently.  I know for a fact that I'll pick up something new.

After searching through several pages of options.  I decided to relisten to The Power of an Hour by Dave Lekani.  This is book the best place to start because if I can create a system for making my hours more productive, I can accomplish just about anything.

The premise of the book is that we all have the same number of minutes in an hour, it's how we choose to utilize our time that will make all the difference.   Most of our time is occupied with responsibilities outside of our control. But everyone can carve out an hour to make a real impact in their lives.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ameriie has a Youtube Channel and says that we all NEED this hair product!

Pop singer Ameriie has resurfaced in the public light after a long hiatus.  I'm a fan of her music so I was happy to see her back in action again.  Unfortunately, she isn't releasing a new album.  Instead Ameriie has decided to launch her own Youtube channel.

This means that we'll get behind the scenes access to her life and beauty secrets.  Turns out that she's a voracious reader and most of her channel is filled with videos of her discussing her favorite book titles.  What's most obvious when you first land on her channel is how amazing she looks. Ameriie is 36 and looks at least 10 years younger.

Since she has really sensitive skin, Amerie has to be selective about the products in her skin regimen. But what really caught my attention is when she revealed her holy grail hair product.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Matte Skin Regimen that will save your face this Summer

Dewy, moist skin is everything...am I right?!?  But with the change of seasons, I'm noticing my skin moving from a luminescent glow to being flat out greasy.  Simply put, my oil production is out of control.

I sorta expected it. The warmer the weather gets, the more active our skin typically is. So it's no surprise that my skin is an oily mess by mid-day.  The theory is that heat revs up oil production.  With warmer weather ahead, we have to get ready!
Last year, I remember picking up some oil blotting sheets.  I somehow thought this would be the solution to all my problems.  Sure, they did absorb some of the oil, but they weren't equipped to give me the outcome I was looking for.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

[Sweat the Technique] How to finally get your nail color to last

Today marks a momentous occasion.  For the first time [in my life probably] I'm removing nail polish, not because it's  become a raggedy mess, but because I'm ready for a change.  This wonderful moment is possible largely in part to me finally learning the technique that extends my polish for at least 5 days.

Ever since I wrote the post on the power of having well cared for nails, I've tried unsuccessfully to maintain flawless nails.  I'd paint them on the weekend, and on Monday, the dreaded signs of chipping would appear.  By mid week, my nails looked completely neglected.  Never in my wildest dreams that I would imagine removing a perfectly decent manicure simply to swap out colors.

What I learned this week is that technique truly matters! I have been doing it wrong my entire life. Finally, I had enough.  I woke up one day and said to myself.  "Today, I will learn how to do this! I will put on polish and it will last!"  The search began.  After reading a few articles, I was hit with the reality that my technique was completely flawed.

The Sun Hates Your Hair! Here's what you can do about it

Summer is weeks away.  This means lots of outdoor activities in your future.  That's cool. But while you're layering on the sun protection to shield your skin, you may be leaving your hair vulnerable.

Ever return home after enjoying a full day outdoors and notice how brittle and dry your hair feels?  That's because, while you were out enjoying the nice weather, the sun was having a field day with your hair.
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Take a look at this image of how hair responds when exposed to UVA + UVB rays and you'll see why we experience dry hair after a long day in the sun.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

[Bucket List] The Hybrid Laser that promises Skin Perfection

Earlier this year, I treated myself to a series of facials.  My intention was to see if regular facials would make an impact on my skin.  Overall, I would say that it was a good move.  Since I chose a hydrating facial series, I was walking around with a constant glow.  The first part of the year was pretty busy, so I kinda neglected my skin. But the facials helped to right all of my wrongs.

While there, I got a chance to ask some of the facialists about what I should do to address my deep acne scarring.  A couple of times I was recommended to consider a laser treatment.  Specifically, Fraxel.

The first time I heard of Fraxel was when Kim Kardashian revealed it as a her skin care secret  on Oprah.  She's meticulous about her appearance so I figured this had to be an effective treatment.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Snapchat Beauty Secret | The clear skin product recommended by Pharrell

What if I told you that I caught a glimpse of a beauty secret revealed on Snapchat? Would you pay attention?  How about I raise the stakes by saying that this beauty product was recommended by a celebrity known for his ageless visage.

You're in for a treat because, while I was mindlessly browsing snapchat, I stumbled on a  pic where a reveal was so good that I had to quickly capture it.  What made this snapshot so valuable is that it was a recommendation made by baby faced superstar, Pharrell Williams.

What's even more exciting is this isn't some ultra expensive high end product.  In fact, it's from a brand that we should all be familiar with by now.  You may remember that I recently fell in love with Glytone after trying their gel facial wash.  My skin adores this stuff. In fact, I was so smitten that I wanted to pick up something else from their line.
The item featured in the snap screen shot is Glytone's Acne Treatment Mask.  It's an intense sulfur mask that helps control oil and cleanse clogged pores.  You use it like any other mask, meaning the product is left on for 20-25 minutes before rinsing off.  I like the fact that bentonite is the primary ingredient which means that it can draw out impurities before treating the skin with sulfur.  Back in my troubled skin days I would have loved a product like this because salycilic acid was not cutting it.

But if you're a fan of traditional acne spot treatments, you can still use this treatment first then follow up with a topical medication.  You don't have to look far because Glytone also has an acne treatment lotion  and cleanser that reviews seem to love.   It always makes me wonder whenever I hear about people with perfectly clear skin using acne fighting products.  Is this part of their strategy to "staying ready?"  Perhaps it's a way of staving off random unexpected breakouts. We all know that celebrities have to be camera ready at all times.  That's why their dermatologists recommend products like Glytone to keep their skin flawless.


Monday Motivation | Nurture your Attractions

One amazing thing about getting older is how much we earn about ourselves with each passing year.  After observing myself for the past couple of decades, I'm really getting a clearer picture of what I want and do not want in my life. It's a very freeing place to be.

I was raised by a single mother who worked really hard to provide for my brother and I.  The work she chose to do was labor intensive and low paying.  She also had a limited mindset on money that was always present in her conversations and actions.  Although I probably should have followed in her footsteps, I found myself really attracted to those who had an abundance mindset.  I'll never forget the day I read a passage in one of Brian Tracy's books where he talked about earning five figures in a month.  Before then, I never heard anyone talk about making that much money.  Earning an hourly wage was all I was ever exposed to.  Instantly I knew that I was attracted to the abundance lifestyle.  I didn't really get the grasp of earning five figures a month, but to me it meant not having to limit my experiences and I was all for it.
 I was in my twenties and had absolutely no idea how to make that kind of money. All I knew was that I was drawn to having an abundance mindset.  So I did what I knew to do......I nurtured my attraction.  I sought out to understand the world of the super achievers who created abundance for themselves.  Since I had no one who could teach me in real life, I read interviews and listened to books that could provide me small glimpses into their reality.  It was a journey that spanned years of learning and application.  Although there's still lots more to learn, I'm grateful for where I am now because I was willing to nurture my attraction.

Back in high school there was a group of girls who would come to school totally glammed up.  This was way before the age of Instagram and wearing beat faces for the sake of social media.  Some of these girls were ridiculed for "doing too much" but I admired their dedication to always looking their best. I was drawn to the idea of putting a little extra effort to making sure you feel and look your best. But, at the same time, I resisted the idea. I was afraid of drawing attention to myself so I opted to maintain a plain jane persona instead.

Sometimes, when we're attracted to something, we experience two types of sensations.  One is attraction, the other fear.  As we all know, fear leads to inaction.  But what if I were to tell you that what you're feeling might be misinterpreted as fear when it's actually not.   Look at this way. When you meet someone that you are instantly attracted to, your heart races, your breath is shallow, your palms may even sweat.  In the same token, when you are a in dangerous situation, your heart races, your breath is shallow, your palms sweat.  Two very different scenarios, yet the outward expressions are similar.  Are we fooling ourselves to think that the resistance to our attractions are genuine?   Are you misinterpreting your biological responses and allowing resistance to keep you away from what you are most attracted to?

This idea of nurturing your attractions can apply to every area of your life.  All you have to do is get in tuned to what you are drawn to.   For example, I absolutely love being in environments that are clear, organized, clutter free, modern and beautifully decorated.  But, I tend to create clutter as I work.  If I allow the messiness to go for too long, my mood changes and my work suffers.  Since I'm not a naturally neat person, I have to work every day to keep my space looking the way I desire it.  Otherwise, my energy drains and other areas of my life start to suffer.

Our job is to stay connected to our attractions and to always be moving towards them.  It's a way of getting back into alignment.  When we operate out of alignment for too long, we will suffer the consequences.  If I decide to stay in all week and wear comfy house clothes, I'm operating out of alignment, because deep down, my true nature loves the woman who takes pride in her appearance.  If the types of relationships you are attracted to are very different from the one you're in, then you aren't nurturing your attractions.  If you love scrolling through pics of fitness inspiration on social media, that is what your heart truly wants.  Your subconscious is trying to send you a message. Stop resisting and start allowing. 

Just because your heart desires it, doesn't mean that it'll be easy to manifest.  Getting aligned may take some work but it's so very worth it.
Friday, May 13, 2016

Mastering the Art of "Staying Ready"

Yesterday, while on the phone with a friend, she informed me of a social function taking place that evening and invited me to join.

Immediately I came up with a reason why I wasn't able to accept her invite.  For the past few weeks, she and I had several similar conversations where I declined to leave the house for one reason or another.  Finally, she called me out on my actions by saying "I thought you said that you were going to stay ready."

The truth hurts.

She was absolutely right. I probably missed out on multiple opportunities to meet new people and make incredible connections simply because I've allowed myself to slack off.   If I keep this up, the invites will come less frequently and so may the opportunities.  It's time I finally follow through on my promise to myself to be ready for any of the wonderful possibilities that life throws my way.

In order to execute my "Stay Ready" plan, I first identify the most common reasons excuses I give for not being ready.  Then I implement systems to make sure this issue doesn't arise again in the future.

Simple enough.
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[PROBLEM]The number one excuse that I use for getting out of anything is my hair.  If my hair looks unkept, I ain't leaving the house.
[ROOT CAUSE] The reason why my hair ends up looking neglected is because I rarely do anything with it.  Working from home allows you to get away with the bare minimum.  Unfortunately, when it comes time to leave the house, I soon realize the error of my ways.
[SOLUTION] My socialite friend doesn't have to worry about this because she has a signature hair style that requires little effort and looks absolutely amazing.  I have what I call a default hairstyle.  This is very different from a signature style.  The default hair style is born out of laziness. It doesn't actually flatter me, in fact, I think it does the opposite.  It's basically a side part and bun.  Don't get me wrong a side part and bun can look really good but, the way I do it, doesn't create the end result I'm looking for.  So I'm coming up with some alternate styles that can work well in any given situation.  For one, staying ready means keeping ends healthy.  Micro trimming has helped with that.  It also means having a variety of to-go styles on deck depending on humidity levels, how much new growth I have, etc.  I also realize that I have a non-existent nightly routine for my hair. I still tie it up every night, but other than that, I don't do much else.  Crafting a nightly routine is definitely on my list of to-dos. If I come up with something brilliant, I'll let you know.


[PROBLEM] Another excuse I have for not wanting to leave the house is that I don't have anything to wear.  Truth be told, the real reason is that I don't want to try on a hundred different combinations looking for the perfect outfit.  It's time consuming and frustrating.
[ROOT CAUSE] Too much mental energy is required to sort through my random selection of clothing to decide the exact look for the event.  Wearing jeans and a tee is much easier.
[SOLUTION] Reduce the amount of options to make the decision making process easier.  For instance, I can limit my decisions to whether I am wearing a dress or not.  If not, do I go with a white/neutral top, or bright colors?  The act of finding something to wear should take no more than 15-20 minutes tops.  Or, better yet, I can pre-select outfit combinations for the week.  Either way, I need to get organized in this department so I never have to complain about not having anything to wear again.

[PROBLEM] Sometimes when I'm getting ready to head out, that's when I notice the chipped nail polish or the stubble on my legs.  How did I let these details slip by?
[ROOT CAUSE] These behaviors are not embedded into my regular routines.
[SOLUTION] Allot time in my everyday routine for the detailed self care actions.  Somehow I seem to make sure I exfoliate my body every single day but have a hard time keeping up with the stuff that I only do a couple of times a week.  Perhaps the solution is to turn these into daily actions.  For instance, once upon a time, I shaved almost daily even though there was no stubble.  That really helped keep the habit in place. With my nails, I'll also be paying them attention on a daily basis.  I'm thinking of bringing back nail rubbing or massaging the cuticles regularly.  And while I'm doing that, I can refresh the polish if needed.

[PROBLEM] Feeling ugly because of weight gain, bad skin, etc
[ROOT CAUSE] Allowing neglect to accumulate therefore creating an undesirable outcome.
[SOLUTION] This is one area that really requires that we stay ready.  Unlike finding the right outfit or painting our nails, weight gain or bad skin can't be solved right away.  This just has to be something we do on the daily.  For instance, your skin care regimen shouldn't be only for cleansing purposes, it should also give you clear, bright, glowing skin.  If that's not the case, then tweak it. One thing I'm proud to say is that bad skin is no longer my excuse not to leave the house.  But it took a lot of trial and error to get here.

Maintaining our ideal weight seems to get harder each year that passes.  The answer has to come from creating a regular exercise routine and eating in a way that automatically creates those results.  I think I've stumbled on a system that seems to be working well for me.  It's still early in the process so I'll continue to monitor results before sharing all the details.  But in the mean time, I want you to reflect back on the times when your body looked and felt the best.  What were you eating back then? Were you super active? What did your daily habits look like?  If you reinstitute some of the same actions, you'll get the same results.

Staying ready isn't all that hard if I put the right systems in place.  There are people who are on "stay ready" status all the time.  And they do it without exerting that much extra effort.  It's all about integrating a few habits seamlessly into our every day.  The next time an invitation comes, I guarantee I'll be ready.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SUMMER SCALP CLEANSE | Your post workout, protective style, pre-poo scalp savior.

Typically, I hit you with multiple posts on maintaining a healthy scalp in the winter.  But scalp care is just as important now as it is during the cooler months.

I have this paranoia about my scalp not being properly cleansed.  After receiving feedback from my hair analysis about buildup on the strands, I wondered if the same thing was occurring to my scalp as well.  To remedy this situation, I made the executive decision to add one more step to the pre-poo.

I'm aware that wash days are already an arduous process.  Including one more step only lengthens the duration. But, keep in mind that this step could have the power to promote healthy hair growth in a major way.

Going forward, I'll be toning my scalp prior to applying my favorite pre-poo product.  Basically, I'll do a scalp treatment before every wash and in between wash days (if needed).  The reason why this is absolutely necessary is because buildup on the scalp can block hair follicles.  Blocked hair follicles can lead to slowed hair growth or even hair loss.

To combat that, we need a system to remove dirt, oil and buildup.  I did a little looking around and found a product meant for the job.  Some of you might remember a brand called Seabreeze from the days of old.  They're most known for their skin astringent that keeps the face clean and oil free.  Turns out they also have a scalp toner that Amazon reviewers love.  Prior to washing, you rub a little toner on the scalp for a proper cleansing.

I was almost ready to click the BUY button when I decided to whip up a DIY version.  Sea Breeze contains water, alcohol, some essential oils and ingredients that remove buildup.  I thought, why not try a batch with witch hazel and essential oils.  Witch hazel is nature's astringent.  And by combining it with peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil, I'd have an all natural scalp toner right at my fingertips.
Witch hazel is great because it's completely non-drying. The essential oils add a bit of tingle that I love oh so much.  Scalp stimulation is my jam!  And let's not forget the healthy benefits of peppermint oil, which has been proven to promote hair growth and eucalyptus, which can increase the ceremides of our hair strands.  I don't know about you, but this sounds like the ultimate scalp toner to me.

If you are rocking braids this summer, you'll love this scalp toner.  This tonic could also serve as a post workout purifier.  Let's not forget that we can also treat our scalp with this prior to a circulation promoting massage.  I'll probably whip up two batches, one for in between washes, and one with a wee bit more essential oil for a pre-wash treatment on the weekends. Go easy with the essential oil, that stuff is really strong and adding too much of it could irritate your scalp. Just a few drops is all it takes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Currently Loving | Too Cool For School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack

While walking down the busy streets of NYC, most of my attention was focused on navigating through the crowd of hurried pedestrians.  I barely noticed what was going on around me.  But, a twist of fate caused my eyes to land on a tiny little shop nestled away in the heart of Korean town.

My husband waited outside to allow me the freedom to do my thing.  The friendly sales associate noticed me hovering over the masks and asked if I was looking for anything in particular.   I already have direct access to various sheet masks at my local Asian market.  I wanted to get my hands on something different.  

As our conversation continued, she picked up and handed me an item that she immediately started to boast about.  "It's a sleeping mask, she exclaimed, you wear it at night and wake up with beautiful skin."  
Little did she know that I'd heard of sleeping packs before.  While researching the Korean nightly beauty ritual, I learned that sleeping packs are what's placed on the skin as the final step before bed.  These products have the ability to seal in moisture thereby keeping the skin hydrated all night long.  

Curiosity got the best of me so I immediately said yes to my first sleeping pack experience.  Actually, what really sold me was how the sales associate claims that this overnight product moisturizes and exfoliates. In the back of my mind, I knew that a hydrating product that also adequately exfoliates is a bit unrealistic.  But even if it were to provide superior hydration over night, I'd be happy.

Too Cool For School Pumpkin Pack can be best described as a super-light-weight-ultra-hydrating-lotion.  It's like they infused moisturizer with a hydrating serum and made it into one amazing product.  It easily melts into the skin leaving it soft and moist.  

Sleeping packs are touted as the perfect winter skin care item. Because of this, I had the impression that they were thick creams.  This is lightweight enough to use all year. Unlike the name suggests, the pumpkin pack does not smell like pumpkin spice, or any other variation of pumpkin.  It has a very mild fragrance that some describe like a man's cologne.  That's not what I'm getting from the fragrance but it's definitely not unscented.  
Overall, I like this product as an alternative to going to bed greasy.  Instead of layering oil on at night, sleeping packs offer a really nice alternative.   I also like the generous package size because, lately, I've been using facial care products on other areas of my body.  If Beyonce's makeup artist suggests that we distribute eye cream all over our face, why not use our face products all over our body?  Makes sense to me. 


Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Motivation | Creating a To-Do list that gives you the lifestyle you want.

Get rid of the "to-do" list and start working from a lifestyle list. 
This morning started pretty much like any other.  Once I got settled in and was ready to work, I pulled out a plain note pad and began writing down the things that needed to get done.

There is nothing wrong with jotting down a list of tasks that require immediate attention.  In fact, whenever I attempt a work day without collecting my thoughts on a list, I'm never sure of how the day will end.  Some times I'm productive, other times not so much. But I can guarantee that if I  utilize a to-do list, my outcomes will be more favorable.

That's all well and good but I realized that there's a huge aspect missing from my simple list of to-dos.  My checklist typically consists of urgent items that need immediate attention.  They're ultimately just a random grouping of one-off tasks.

What's missing is how they link up to my overall goals.  There is a world of difference between checking off urgent tasks and creating an action plan to achieve your desired income.  Ideally, a to-do list should look like a miniature version of your list of goals.  If I have a goal to earn six figures a year, the actions that I do, day in and day out, should ultimately create a six figure outcome.  If I have a goal to earn multiple six figures, then my to-do action list better be very intentional and aligned.
I was operating subconsciously, this morning, when I compiled my list of things to do.  As I checked off the first item, I started feeling really good about my self.  On to the next one! With a smile on my face, I worked quickly to tackle the next item.  That's when it suddenly hit me.  I asked myself, "If I repeated these same actions over and over again, will I easily reach my goal of earning multiple six figures?"  

The answer was clearly "no."  That's when I re-evaluated my list.  There were crucial (high impact) actions missing that I immediately added.  All actions are not created equal. Many of the tasks I typically do are low impact and low value actions.  Some are moderate impact if I do them occasionally, but, if repeated day after day, will compound over time.  Others, are high leverage and have the ability to create massive results.

The lifestyle creation list applies to every single intention we have, not just income goals.  Your fitness goals should be reflected on your to-do list.  Your skin care goals, relationship goals.....anything you want. If it's not written down on your daily action plan, then you aren't getting any closer.  If you diligently apply this single piece of advice and make it a habit, you could really alter the course of 2016 and the years to come.  A to-do list is something you probably do every day anyway, why not make it the most powerful goal achievement tool you have?
Sunday, May 8, 2016

Who to Follow | The InStyle Editor who is the definition of Fabulous

I'm pretty sure I was on Kahlana Barfield Brown's Instagram feed for less than a second before quickly hitting the follow button.  The woman's amazing sense of style instantly drew me to her.

It wasn't until I stopped to read her bio that I realized Kahlana is an editor at Instyle Magazine.  This made me happy because she's living her dream by working at a company that's perfectly in line with her personal vision.
Although we don't know her, one thing we can quickly tell is that she has a serious appreciation for gorgeous shoes and handbags.  Beyond that, Kahlana is giving us endless outfit inspiration. Her style is both glamorous and classic.  I like that she's not afraid to embellish her looks for that extra bit of drama. I'm also digging her signature shoulder length tresses and red lip she's been rocking lately.  

This look is absolute flawlessness.  You can never go wrong wearing all black with a pair of colorful statement heels & carefully selected accessories. I'm creeping her feed on the low waiting for the day she reveals any beauty secrets, but until then, I'm perfectly happy enjoying her gorgeous fashion pics.  If your feed has been lacking inspiration lately, be sure to check out Kahlana's Instagram or you can read some of her works on InStyle.com.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Angela Bassett wants to help us get our skin right

At 57 years young, Angela Bassett looks amazing.  She's fit, vibrant and has glorious skin. So when I heard that Angela's launching a specialized skin care brand geared towards women of color, my interest was peaked.

To create a quality product Angela paired with Dr. Barbara Strum to help formulate the line.  Their strategy is to target two of the main concerns that they believe plague darker skin hyper pigmentation and inflammation.  The secret ingredient that will address these concerns is an herb called purslane.  Apparently, purslane is one of the healthiest plants around.  It has the highest level of omega 3 of any leafy plant.  In fact, some claim that its omega 3 levels rivals of some fish oils. But it doesn't stop there.  Purslane is also high in vitamin A, E & C which helps combat inflammation and attack free radicals.  All this sounds amazing, right?  But what makes it even more attractive is the effect it had on mice in past study.   The mice were given purslane extract, by needle, for two weeks.  At the end of the two week trial, the mice who received purslane were found to have longer telomere length than their counterparts.  If you recall from a past post, telomere length is an age marker. Meaning, they shorten as we age.  But, the good news is that telomere length can be influenced by our health and diet choices.  The longer our telomeres, "the younger we become." In essence, purslane is an anti aging plant.

Actually, weed is a more fitting term to describe purslane. Because that's what it is.  In fact, I've seen in growing in my yard and, not knowing what it was, I fed it to my tortoise.  Now I'm wondering if I should spend my hard earned money to purchase seeds of the same plant I used to trample on.  Or, at the very least, grab a bottle of purslane extract in supplement form or as a powder for my smoothies.

Angela and her team are aware of the nutritiousness of this wonder weed which is why it's a feature ingredient in the line.  Angela's products will target hyper pigmentation and work against the ills of inflammation.  Fun fact, Angela is a loyal client of the infamous skin care expert to the stars, Mamie.  So we know that she's serious about flawless skin.  She's also a fan of Kevyn Aucoin products. If you haven't been brought up to speed, Kevyn Aucoin is the creator of the best flawless skin care product ever!
When the brand launches, it'll retail for between $58.00 and $300 depending on the item.  I love that Angela brought a line to market with quality ingredients made especially for darker skin tones.  If you want to find out more, you can check out this article.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

[ Beauty Files ] YOUR DIY DAILY GLOW

The other day, an image of Tom Ford's Soleil Blanc body oil came across my feed.  I admit, I was tempted to swoop right on over to Sephora's website to immediately close the deal. I'm enamored with the idea of adding shimmering body oil to my everyday routine.

A slight shimmer on the skin is something we should all covet. Light reflection is the epitome of radian, healthy skin.  We should all hope to create natural light reflection through adequate exfoliation.  But couldn't we all use a little extra help?
The woman who considers such things as shimmering skin has risen above the ranks of mediocrity.  Everyone applies lotion, but who among us thinks to showcase their skin in the best light possible?  What if light reflecting skin became part of our new standard of excellence? Radiant, glowing skin transcends the beach.  If done right, you'll always carry the essence of having just returned from an exotic getaway.

Just as we apply shimmer to the high points of our cheeks to create the illusion of a defined bone structure, so we utilize the magic of shimmer to instantly appear more toned and firm.  To create this experience for yourself, one could simply combine an illuminator with your favorite body oil.  The ideal product for this type of thing is MACs Lustre Drops.  Since it's already in liquid form, it blends quite easily with oil.  I love the tiny tip at the end of the bottle that allows for careful application.  The last thing anyone wants to is to go overboard.   Gleam by Melanie Mills was made to create the most flawless glow imaginable.  Simply put, bare skin looks better with it on.  No wonder why celebrities of all skin tones reach for the stuff when competing on Dancing with the Stars.

Although liquid illuminators blend best with your favorite body oil or cream, you could still use a powder bronzer and none would be the wiser.  I actually tested it out yesterday by scraping off a little from my LORAC Tantelizer Baked Bronzer and mixing with oil. A similar result was achieved although it was a bit more work than using a liquid formula.  As an alternative, I tried blending a loose bronzing powder with oil and it worked just as well.

Let's be amazing this summer. Going forward we shall both moisturize and illuminate! Why just show off your skin when you can showcase it?







Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday Motivation | How to be 1% better every day

If you've invested some time learning personal development principles, you may have heard the Rule of being 1% better everyday.  The idea is that improving by 1% daily will activate the compound effect and, eventually, that small daily shift will transform your life.

Here's the thing, although lots of people are encouraged to improve by 1%, rarely do they go into detail into what that looks like in practice.  In some cases, the "better by 1% rule" makes sense, like in the case where you are measuring  quantifiable results.  For instance, if I want to improve the number of steps I take every day by 1%, all I have to do is some simple math and my daily goal is easy to calculate.

But what about the areas that aren't so objective.  How do you know that you're improving by 1% daily?  If you have any goal you're trying to reach, the 1% rule is how you'll get there easily.  Here are some ways to apply the 1% improvement rule to pretty much any goal you want to reach.
[ Give it Your Time ]
If you can't quantify your results, measure the time you dedicate to the action or goal.  By increasing the amount of allotted time, by only a few minutes a day, your results compound quickly over time.  If I normally engage in X activity for 15 minutes a day, adding an extra couple of minutes might not seem like much, but believe me, it is.  And by steadily increasing the amount of time, you're increasing your focus. And we all know that focus is the secret sauce of our success.

[ Include New Actions ]
Improvement occurs when we veer outside of our comfort zones.  If you are already consistent in your actions, perhaps instead of improving by 1%, you are flatlining.  To combat this, I urge you to ask yourself, as frequently as possible, "what can I do to make this just a little bit better?"  Slight improvements done over and over again can push you forward by leaps and bounds.  I have experienced more growth and success in my life from the many small tweaks than when I tried to take some bold new action. Bold actions are great but they come with a lot of fear and resistance so we tend to retract. Retraction is the opposite of what we want so let's stick with incorporating consistent small, actions that stretch us to where we need to be.

[ Spend time with other One Percenters ]
If the people you hang around with aren't improving, it's easy to get complacent.  That's why it's a must that you constantly seek out & spend time with others who are on their own journey to elevate themselves.  This not only motivates you, but it gives you a little insight into how to be better at what you do.  When I read about people who worked tirelessly to achieve their dreams, it gave me the incentive to work harder because I knew I would be better as a result.  I can't be around people who are experiencing success without looking at my actions to see where I can improve in my own life.

[ Always be Assessing ]
If you aren't always assessing your progress and results, how do you know if you're getting better or worse?  One of the coaching programs I completed last year required us to do daily assessments of our results. Each day we were to give a numerical rating regarding certain areas of our lives and our business.  I took it one step further by doing an informal mid day assessment. Basically, by about 1:00 pm or so, I do a small recap of what's going well so far and what do I need to do differently for the rest of it.  It's my version of course correcting for success.  If you recall from a past conversation, planes are off course most of their time in flight, yet they still make it to their intended destination.  That's because the pilots are always assessing and course correcting.  It's a process that continues until the flight is completed.

Wanna make sure you reach your goal every time? Master this 1% improvement method and see how quickly and easily they manifest for you.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Interior Inspo | Metallic Accents.

I seem to be drawn to a muted color scheme when it comes to home decor.  I tend to buy staple pieces that I hold on to for years.  Those items always in a neutral tone. My philosophy when it comes to creating an ideal space is to create a simple canvas while allowing a few select pieces to shine.
I've always placed more value on the accessories than the main show pieces.  It's through a few select items that you carefully craft the mood of your environment.  Like jewelry, home accessories add a critical layer of personality and vibrancy that you can't create with furniture alone.  
Lately I've drawn inspiration from metallic pieces.  They're both modern and rustic at the same time.  Metallic accessories come in a myriad of textures and tones.  There's something about the combination of metallics and texture that reminds me of far away places.  
These gorgeous pieces are reminiscent of the type of gems one would find at an artesian marketplace halfway around the world.  You may haggle a little with the vendor a little, but in the end, you walk away with a one of a kind statement piece that'll serve as the center of your living space and the topic of conversation for years to come.  

#MAYGOALS.

A new month begins.

I think it's important to start the month off by setting intentions.  Some of the goals for this month will be a continuation of what worked well in April.  Other intentions are there to bring something new into my current experience.  But most of all, this practice for setting monthly intentions is so we can become an active creator of the month ahead instead of being passive participants.

So let's get started shall we?

One area that I've been focusing lately has been my fitness journey. At one point last month, my weight crept up to 136 lbs which is my highest ever.  Even though I wear the extra weight well, I'm still technically overweight for my height.  This morning I weighed in at 133.1 pounds.  I've been testing a new strategy that's working out really well for me.  I'm not dieting, I'm eating my normal diet in a different way.  In fact, this week I ate blondies, fried foods, burgers, french fries, and still lost weight!  So in  May, I'll continue to implement this new method until my weight goes back down into the one-twenties territory (which I haven't been in a long time).  Once I've mastered this technique, and can confirm that it works, I'll share the exact details.  My fitness goals for May are to burn an additional 5 or more pounds of body fat and to purchase new workout attire.  I typically work out in frumpy lounge wear. Although, it's pretty comfy, I notice that I'm much more motivated to workout when I have on real exercise clothes that actually look decent.
The last couple of weeks of April were awesome!  Those were the most productive that I've experienced in a long time.  One thing I can attribute to that experience was deciding, on Monday morning, to start my day with a "Learning Walk."  Basically, a Learning Walk is when you listen to something educational or inspiring while on an outdoor walk.  That one act at the start of the week had such a domino effect on everything else.  In May, I would like to incorporate a Learning Walks at least 3X a week.  While on these walks I'll alternate between watching key note speeches and listening to audio books.  One book I'm revisiting is Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  This is a personal development classic that talks about the power of the mind and how to utilize visualization techniques to create.  Visualization is one of those things I should be doing, but I'm not really that good at it.

But, there was a time when I practiced visualization twice a day and, like any skill, I eventualy became better at it.  This month, I'll begin this habit again while combining it with manifestation journaling.  Basically, by pairing the two, I'll be putting more energy into the outcomes. Writing it down is one thing. But clearly picturing it in my mind & putting my intentions on paper is being hyper-focused.  I suspect this will have a tremendous impact on how quickly things manifest going forward.

I also need to include personal care into my intentions for the month because, if I don't do so, that aspect of my life is neglected.  One of the actions I've taken is to reinstitute regular massages into my routine.  I'm hoping to enjoy one every two weeks to reap the health benefits vs just going every once in a while for relaxation.  
Another experience I'd like to incorporate from now on is the "Random Escape."  This is where I go on a mini adventure one day in the week.  I left corporate America because I wanted every day to be like a Saturday.  Meaning, I would have the freedom to go to the beach on a Wednesday morning if I so pleased. Or maybe start a Monday morning several cities away in a completely new environment.  I have two random escapes planned for May.  If all goes well, this will be a part of my normal experience from now on.

If you haven't planned your intentions for May yet, today is the perfect day to do it.


 

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