Motivation Monday | 5 Work Ethic videos that'll kick your butt in high gear


Feeling a little unmotivated lately?  Well you've come to the right place.  If you're one of those people who gets amped by seeing others who are doing their thing, than get ready to be inspired. I've put together a collection of gurus with major hustle and are reaping the delicious benefits of their intense, hard work.  They are self proclaimed work horses who inspire me every time I hear them speak.  So without further adieu, here are my favorite hard work inspirations.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the son of immigrants who came to America with pretty much nothing.  Eventually, his parents saved enough to buy a wine store.  As a child, Gary opened up several lemonade stands before launching a successful baseball card business as a pre-teen.  After being forced to leave his sports card business, to work as a stock boy for his dad, Grant eventually poured ALL of his energy and focus into growing the wine business.  Thanks to Gary's efforts, his dad's wine store grew into a multimillion dollar operation.  I'll never forget the first time I listened to Gary's best selling book "Crush it."  I could tell by the level of passion in his voice that this guy is all about his hustle.  Don't listen to me, I'll let Gary explain it to you for himself.

Grant Cardone had me pumped as I listened to his audio book, The 10X Rule.  Gary intense sales background really shines through in what he does.  This guy won't take no for an answer when it comes to achieving his goals.  Grant holds nothing back and challenges us to increase our efforts to 10X levels so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Will Smith's interview with Tavis Smiley will forever be one of my hard work inspiration videos of all time.  I can probably quote Will word for word, that's how much this interview resonated with me.  I appreciate when a successful person reveals that his life is a result of hard work, not luck.

Here's one last hard work motivation video for good measure.  It has great foundational lessons to help you build an amazing work ethic.

Now, get to work!


Why Cortisol is your greatest enemy (and what to do about it)


For several years I lived in what I considered to be a constant state of high stress.  I'm talking about the type of stress that you can physically feel in your body.  First, I was operating on very, very little sleep. Secondly, the nature of my work was high stress. Essentially, people reached out to me when they had complex issues. My phone was always on. Sometimes I would wake up to a phone call from a disgruntled employee on a Sunday night. Other times, I was on business conference calls that ended at 11:00 pm at night or later. Once I factor in all the traveling involved I'd realized that your lifestyle could actually be affecting your health.

Luckily for me, I didn't suffer any health issues (that I know of) but the signs of stress were very visible to those who knew me.  Friends would often ask me if everything was ok after seeing the signs of long-term stress.  The problem with living a high stress lifestyle is the increase in the cortisol hormone.

I urge you to label cortisol as your number one enemy because of severity of impact it has on your body.  Being in a stressed state doesn't just feel bad, it actually triggers a series of reactions that can have catastrophic effects.

Cortisol raises blood sugar which leads to insulin resistance.  When you're stressed out, you'll probably experience weight gain.  That's 'cause your blood sugar is disrupted because of your constant stress levels. To make matters worse, cortisol will also increase your cravings for sweets. Ever notice that when you're stressed out, you tend to reach for non-healthy foods?  That's cortisol at work.   If you notice that you've been holding on to extra weight that won't go away, take a look at your stress levels.  I recall on episodes of The Biggest Loser when a contestant wouldn't loose weight even though she was exercising like crazy.  Bob or Jillian would interject with their recommendation to deal with the mental factors (stress) stopping their bodies from operating normally.

[Cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and bone]
When we think about eternal youth, one of the biggest strategies should be to maintain healthy bone density + muscle mass.  As we know, lack of muscle tone not only looks bad, but it causes us to burn calories at a much slower rate.  Building and retaining muscle should be at the top of your priorities.  But, every time your body releases cortisol the mechanisms that take place causes the body to metabolize muscle mass. Worse yet, it also interferes with bone formation.  Stress literally ages your body without you even knowing it.   In one expert's opinion, osteoporosis is induced by gut inflammation and high cortisol.

[High Cortisol Shortens Telomeres (cell aging)]
We brought up the topic of telomeres in a previous post on the importance of vitamin D.  Basically, telomeres are an indicator of youth.  The younger (and healthier) you are, the longer your telomeres.  As you age, telomere length goes down.  The good news is that we can actually alter the length of our telomeres through a healthy lifestyle.  It's been proven that regular meditation can actually increase your telomere length.  I heard a doctor explain that a woman can reduce her cortisol levels by 50% if she conducts breathing exercises for 5 minutes in a quite room while instrumental music plays.

The simple act of conscious breathing makes a world of difference in our physical and mental state.  Think about it, when we're stressed out, our breathing is short and constricted.  The more relaxed and at ease we are, the deeper and more rhythmic our breaths.  When engaging in deep breathing, we're sending a very strong signal to our brains that we're in strong state of calm.  When that happens, our bodies respond accordingly.

Spending time with friends is another way to reduce stress levels.  When I worked non-stop, I didn't have time to meet with friends, which probably made my situation worse.  We also know that excess cortisol is excreted through the urine so, once again, I beg you....drink your water.

Lastly, please, please follow my advice of creating your feel good routine.  The purpose of the feel good routine is to give you direct access to quickly moving you from a state of stress to a place of elation.  Like, if someone where to come up to you, post feel good routine, and ask you how you are, you'd answer "I'm feeling absolutely amazing!" 

I have a playlist that can alter my mood within minutes.  I'm also aware that watching funny videos will have me feeling good in no time.  Being in an environment that's clean and decluttered makes me feel incredible.  And when I have a productive day, or if I go out for a long walk,  I know I'm producing lots of serotonin (the feel good hormone).  

I want you to live every day knowing how destructive stress is to your health and life.  Even if your day's aren't overly stressful, I believe we have elevated levels of stress operating in the background like an Iphone app left open after using.  It isn't enough to assume that you have low stress, you must actively create "feel good feelings."  I challenge you to be very diligent in creating and making sure you follow your feel good routine as much as humanly possible.



Healthy Hair Resolutions 2016


I waiver back and forth when it comes to my hair journey. Sometimes I'm ultra motivated, other times, not so much.  But because we're in the first part of the year, I thought. "Why not put together a list of actions that, if I do regularly in 2016, will nurture my hair big time?"

Wash Frequently [retention]
As you all know, wash day is the center of our regimen.  Basically, it's the time when we infuse our hair with moisture, protein and so forth.  Last year, I experimented with frequent vs. infrequent wash days to see which method was more effective for length retention.  What I realized was that frequent wash days provided multiple benefits for the extra time investment.  First, my hair was ultra hydrated because of frequent exposure to water. Secondly, I experienced less knots & tangles (the bane of my existence).  Third, less breakage/hair loss on wash day.  Although I prefer to wash once a week, I get so much more out of wash day if I do it more often.

More Agressive Trims [retention]
After carefully observing awesome progress pics of others on their journey, one thing became apparently clear.  Those who trimmed their ends frequently, experienced incredible length retention.  One of my biggest struggles is making sure to trim regularly.  The solution to my dilemma came in the form of micro-trimming.  Actually, micro-trimming worked well for me.  My ends are definitely thicker than before. But I still think it makes sense to trim a bit more aggressively at least 1-2 times a year.  Especially for those of us who don't constantly keep our hair in protective styles.   I sorta used micro-trimming as a way of avoiding a more substantial cut.  Perhaps the middle ground is to continue micro-trimming as usual than take off a just a little bit more once a quarter.

Neglect Not
Sigh, years of a hectic work schedule and constant travel cause me to become ultra lazy with my hair.  On any given day, you'd find me in a simple bun. And not one of those, ultra moisturized, length retention buns.  Mine was more like, a "I had to wake up at 2:30 am to catch a 5:00 am flight" bun.  After careful reflection, I realized that my hair actually does better when I'm not protective styling.  Let me explain. Basically, when I throw my hair in a bun, I pretty much set it and forget it.  By the time wash day rolls around, I'm plagued with tangles, knots and (of course) plenty of breakage.  But, when I'm trying to keep my hair presentable, I moisturize, trim my ends, and do other beneficial tasks to help improve the look of the final result.

*It's very similar to how you take better care of your skin when you wear makeup frequently because flawless skin has a direct impact on the final look. *

Signature Styles
Which brings me to my next resolution.  Years of being lazy with my hair has taken away all of the creativity when it comes to wearing cute daily hair styles.  Which is why this year, I'm building a portfolio of easy to create signature go-to styles.  I'll compile a few style inspiration that I can where post touch up or when I'm several months into my stretch.

Nurture from the inside [growth]
Finally, I'm recommitting to being consistent with nutritionally supporting my hair regimen.  Focusing on my internal health has made a world of difference, especially during the times of neglect.  And, as I get older, I realize that my body will absolutely need additional support to remain vibrant.  Another thing I notice, I'm more likely to stay consistent with regular trims when I drink Beautifully Bamboo tea on a regular basis.  It's like I'm confident in the quality of new growth so I allow myself to release those dead ends.  In 2016, I want to promote so much healthy growth that I can't handle it all.

I can go on and on but, honestly, if I just follow these 5 resolutions, my hair journey progress is going to be amazing in 2016.


Craving | Bobby Brown Retouching Pencil for flawless skin on the go


Years of constant traveling force me to develop this desire to seek out all things portable.  Just the other day, I was asking myself, "where can I find a travel size foundation for random touch ups throughout the day?"

I think I may have found the answer.  Today, I stumbled upon Bobbi Brown's Retouching Pencils. Basically, it's a pencil that can even out skin, cover blemishes or conceal under eye darkness.  Lip pencils have been my absolutely favorite thing ever since I first stumbled on the dark nude lip trend.

I kid you not, I probably have around 50 different lip pencils from various brands.  They're all amazing.  I'm really impressed with how companies are creating innovative formulas that give various results.  It was only a matter of time before a pencil-type concealer entered the market.

And I'm so glad Bobbi Brown has released these because they do such a great job of covering various skin tones.  I have couple of Bobbi Brown lip products that I absolutely adore.  A blemish covering pencil is exactly what I've been craving. For years, I've avoided putting liquid makeup in my bag because I know, with 100% certainty, that a spill will happen.  Pencils give me complete piece of mind.
Bobbi Brown Retouching Pencils
My only hope is that this product is buildable and can provide the right amount of coverage. Judging by some of the reviews, the coverage is pretty decent. Imagine how easy it'll be to discreetly pull out a pencil and touch up any visible blemishes, or dark under eye circles in seconds.  That would be perfection.  Since the Retouching Pencils come in various shades, one can pick up a few and experiment with using it as a convenient highlighter as well.

For anyone interested in checking these out for yourselves, these amazing retouching pencils are available at Sephora.


2016 Beauty Resolutions


We're a month into the new year and I'm ashamed of myself for not setting some 2016 resolutions.  This year, I'll do things a bit different.  Instead of setting general goals like "take better care of myself,"  I've decided to set clearer intentions. That way, I can easily measure results and make necessary adjustments.  My resolutions are broken down by categories and today, we'll focus on the beauty intentions for 2016 (and beyond).

{Build a nightly routine}
If I had to choose one resolution to focus on from this entire list, it would be to develop and maintain a nightly beauty regimen.  I'll go into the details in a follow up post but I am completely sold on how much impact a nightly routine can have.  The actions we take at night can transform our skin, improve digestion, and nurture our hair.  My problem is I allow being tired to become an excuse for not conducting an evening self care regimen.  This year, I want to change all of that.

{Drink water first thing in the morning}
The other day, I read an interview where Carmen Electra detailed her morning ritual of drinking two full bottles of water first thing in the morning.  I can't even count the number of benefits one can experience from developing such a wonderful habit.  First, you are starting your day at optimum hydration levels.  Let's keep in mind how hard our bodies work while we sleep.  All night our cells are engaged in the repair process without any food or water.  Since water is considered nourishment for our cells, drinking upon waking is the equivalent of feeding our bodies.  Drinking 1-2 bottles of water in the morning sends a strong message that you are ready to give your body a head start on the day.  It's a great way to detox after a long night of regeneration.  Since I read that interview, I make sure to reach for water as soon as I start my day.

{Glow from the inside}
I think we've all had the experience where we ate well and stayed hydrated for a short period of time.  Our skin and body probably really benefited from it. Others even noticed and showered us with generous compliments.  But then, we backslide and start indulging in unhealthy foods again.  My intention for this year is to maintain that healthy glow as much as humanly possible.  Perhaps this means I should go back to drinking 1 gallon of water a day again.  Or maybe I'll reinstitute juicing in the mornings.  
{Smell amazing always}
I'm one of those people who only wear fragrance when I'm going somewhere special.  Every once in a while, I'll pass someone on the street wearing an intoxicating scent.  Each time that happened, I said to myself, "dang it, why didn't I wear perfume today?"  That's when I decided to stop hoarding my fragrances and actually enjoy them.   After identifying, a couple of staple scents, I started wearing perfume daily even if I had no where to go.  I did it as part of my feel good routine.  Whenever my mood started slipping, I'd take in the scent and immediately shift my energy.

{Enjoy a weekly pamper day}
One habit that I really let slip was the weekly pamper day.  On Sunday's I'd conduct an extended skin care routine.  Being consistent with this practice helped keep breakouts at bay and really made an impact on my acne scars.  Then I got complacent and soon the blemishes started to reappear.  Next thing you know,  I'm plagued with discoloration and now I'm paying for professional peels to bring things back in balance again.  This year, I want to leverage consistency with pamper days to create the best skin of my life. 

{Pay attention to the details}
Sometimes I watch a Youtube makeup tutorial and observe as a beauty guru takes like 30 seconds to apply mascara.  I loose patience just watching it because I can't fathom putting that much attention and focus on applying something as simple as mascara.  But, I guess that's why her lashes look amazing after application.  When careful attention is placed on the tiny details, the results shift from being mediocre to becoming exceptional.  It's about paying special attention when you paint your nails, groom your brows and style your hair.  Sure, it takes a little extra time in the beginning but in actuality, you're engaged in deliberate practice.  You're paying close attention to creating the exact outcome that you desire. Eventually, you can replicate the same amazing results in a fraction of the time. 

What resolutions have you set for yourself in 2016?


Monday Motivation | Focus. Focus. Focus.


In 2016, I'd like to accelerate the time it takes to create massive results.  In my limited experience, there's one key factor that has the ability to multiply results by 100% or more.  This factor is what I would consider a success lever.

A lever is basically a tool used to move a heavy object.  Or a tool used to create an intended result.  Today, most levers have been replaced by switches.  We essentially flip a switch (or press a button) causing multiple operations to take effect.

What if there were an internal button we could push that could cause intentions to manifest.  If there was a button, or specific action, that could easily multiply your results, would you harness it? Would you make it part of your daily ritual?

If there was one success habit I'd advise you to develop in 2016, it would be the ability to focus.

I heard somewhere that we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.  The average amount of time we focus on something before shifting our attention is 8 measly seconds.  Basically, we have a hard time focusing on an idea or task long enough to bring it into existence.

For the most part, I toggle between periods of heavy focus and times where my mind is all over the place. When I'm operating with an unfocused mind, I get behind on work, my house looks messy and I stop caring about my appearance.  Basically, everything falls apart around me.

On the flip side, whenever I cultivate the habit of nurturing intense focus, it takes little to no effort to accomplish massive results.   I'll never forget the story I heard in a book on mindfulness where the author details the account of the time when he tuned a piano using all the focus he could muster.  This type of work usually took him hours so he allotted for extra time because of the added attention to detail.  He meticulously went through all the steps required to complete such an effort. And, at the end of his focused session, he was astonished to realize how fast he completed the task.  Taking away all distractions allowed him to complete his work in a fraction of the time.

Back when I had a desk job, I recall leaving for work at the end of the day feeling like I hadn't accomplished anything.  Juggling a bunch of open projects without finding resolution was draining.  I was stressed out and felt like I was drowning.  The solution?  Total and complete focus.  I challenged myself to work single mindedly on a task refusing to change gears unless absolutely necessary.  With my to-do list before me, I worked on one thing on my list until I could cross it off and move to the next.

At the end of the day I felt stress free and filled with a feeling of accomplishment.  The only problem was that I was done with my massive to-do list at around 3:30pm.  Just like Thomas, I accomplished my intentions well ahead of schedule.  If the ability to fully focus allows us to reach our task related results faster, imagine what effect focus has on our achievement long term.  You can become one of those people who seem to always reach your goals with very little effort, or as the author puts it, "without a sense of struggle."

This week, I encourage you to begin the practice of developing your level of attention.  In a world of multiple distractions, cultivating focus will require conscious effort. All you have to do is be fully present with what is in front of you, or the goals you've set for yourself.  If you feel overwhelmed when it comes to experiencing results, try mastering the art of focus and watch your intentions manifest right before your eyes.


Master your metabolism and burn fat like a 20 year old.


All my life, I've been a petite girl.  Although I always enjoyed working out, I didn't have to do it to stay slim.  Exercising was more about making sure I didn't get winded climbing up a flight of stairs.   I could eat whatever and not have to worry about a thing.  Life was good.

Then my thirties hit and I noticed something strange happening.  Although I stayed relatively the same size, my legs weren't as toned.  Suddenly, my food belly wasn't going down hours after a meal like it used to.  The more closely I examined my body, the more I noticed what was occurring.  Slowly, muscle was being replaced by fat.

For a while, I played it off. I still tried to squeeze into skinny jeans and fitted tops, but there was no denying the change.  So, I made some changes, and noticed the positive impact.  But the moment, I slacked, the pounds came back on.  Finally, I had to accept once, and for all, that my metabolism (my once trusty friend who never let me down) was slowing.

In my younger days, my metabolism was on over drive!  I could eat from a drive through 5 days a week and suffer no consequences.  'Cause my beloved metabolism always had my back.  But now I realize that it needs my help to rev it back up again. No longer can I neglect it and still expect it to perform at optimum levels.  My metabolism was always there for me and now it needs my help!

Are you over 25? If so, your metabolism has been slowing down by between 1-4% every year.  Not 25 yet, well enjoy these last few years of worry free eating because it won't last forever. Luckily for us, we can do something about it.  If we make conscious decisions that speed up our metabolism, we can be burning mega calories even while at rest.  Let's talk about how to do that.

One of the foundational tips to improve metabolism is to eat more often.  But immediately, my mind starts to think "but if I eat more, won't my body store more calories?"  The important distinction to make is that eating more DOES NOT MEAN  more of what you currently eat.  You're not supposed to be consuming 5-6 plates of food a day.  When the fitness experts say eat 5-6 meals a day, what they really mean is "shrink your meal size and spread it throughout the day instead of eating 1-3 large meals."  Or eat small meals and include healthy snacks in between. This is to make your body think that there's a steady flow of calories all day, so there's no need to store it.  The idea is not to allow yourself to get too hungry.  This will also keep you from binge eating or having to battle crazy cravings.
My tip regarding this technique is to practice mindful eating.  Once upon a time, I took on the challenge of chewing my food until it was nearly liquid.  I hated to do it but I wanted to experience the potential benefits.  Let me tell you, not only did I get full on less food. My digestion improved and my stomach flattened.  The only change I made was to eat with single minded focus (not eating in front of tv, phone, etc) and chewed way more than normal.  I'm convinced that combining mindfulness eating with multiple small meals a day will improve your metabolism.
Improve your resting metabolic rate.
Let's say you're awake for 14 hours today.  And you work out for an hour before work, for less than 10% of your day, you increase your calorie burn.  But what about the other 90% of your day?  If you work in front of a computer, then you come home, eat, and catch up on your shows, you're sedentary for most of the day.  That work out has to be pretty awesome in order to impact how you burn calories all day while you're at rest.

Eating 5-6 small meals will help, but if you want to make a MAJOR IMPACT ON YOUR METABOLISM, you need to increase your resting metabolic rate (basically, how many calories burned while you're inactive).  This, my friends, is the key to getting the metabolism of a youngin' in their twenties.  

Simply put, the most effective way to increase resting calorie burn is to have more lean muscle.  MUSCLE EATS FAT!  Maintaining muscle requires more calories than maintaining fat.  So if you are serious about boosting your metabolism, you need to be strength training on a regular basis.
Adding muscle shrinks you!
I started incorporating strength training in my exercise routine a few years ago.  Not only did I not bulk up, my body was sculpted in a way that was way greater than in my 20's.  Then I experienced a wonderful side effect of adding muscle....increased energy.  And when I have more energy, I move more, which means burning more calories.  Best of all, muscle takes up less room than fat so I was able to enjoy having a slim body again.

If you are ready to kickstart your metabolism boosting journey, I recommend you start strong by incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine.  This is a serious fat burning technique that helps you see results fast.  Basically, you exercise in short high intensity bursts coupled with less intense recovery periods.  Another benefit of high intensity training beyond faster fat loss, is increased human growth hormone levels (which slows down as we age).  While people are paying for human growth hormone shots, you can produce your own all natural version with high intensity training.

This morning, I completed a high intensity burst session on the treadmill (after strength training).  My session wasn't long (only 15 minutes total) but it was powerful.  There's  an obvious difference in my energy levels compared to when I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes the day prior.  I feel amazing.

Just knowing that an HIIT session can burn fat (for up to 36 hours after the workout) and spikes human growth levels is enough to me motivated to continue.

 Looking forward to having my old metabolism back again.

3 Ways to take your pre-poo to the next level


Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I tend to get a little lazy when it comes to the pre-poo step.  Subconsciously, I'm not looking forward to the amount of time dedicated towards wash day so I try to cut corners where possible.

Lately, I haven't been investing much time into pre-pooing.  I know from past experience that when I invest in what happens before the wash, I'm rewarded handsomely.  But, if I cut corners, my progress is stunted. To make sure I have a successful 2016 hair journey, the pre-wash step must be in full effect. But slapping on some product before jumping in the shower is just the beginning.  Let's discuss some ways to amp up our pre-poo.

June Ambrose enjoying a lavender, peppermint and honey scalp massage.
One technique that I tried (and loved) was applying a little essential/carrier oil blend to my scalp prior to washing.  June Ambrose inspired me to try this technique after sharing her experience on Instagram.  In my mind, the essential oil blend is loosening buildup and preparing the scalp for a proper cleansing.

The Clarified Pre-Poo
A while back, I brought up the idea of pre-pooing on cleansed hair.  That way the strands are free from build up. This is especially useful for those times when you wish to pre-poo with coconut oil for additional protein absorption.  As you may recall, coconut oil has the power to penetrate the hair.  Whenever I experience a few more broken stands than normal, coconut oil is my go-to.  Applying it to clean, mostly dry hair before deep conditioning seems to raise it's effectiveness that much more.

Deeper conditioning pre-poo
At first, I didn't see the need to waste quality conditioner on dry hair, knowing that I would be washing it out with shampoo.  My belief was that pre-poos only happened with cheap conditioners.  But, everything changed once I experimented with a thicker, richer, pre-poo product.  The premise of deep conditioning before the wash is that the hair could benefit from the amazing ingredients before coming in contact with water.  As you know, water will take up space causing the strand to swell. That swelling could be what causes wet hair to break so easily.

If I'm not careful, I could loose more hair than necessary with all the manipulation happening on wash day.  The absolute best way to prevent some of that breakage is to adequately prepare the hair. Say it with me... no more pre-poo short cuts.

Fab Skin DIY | Try these mini-peel pads for an everyday glow


When I was younger, a brand called Stridex filled the airwaves with commercials depicting acne ridden teens wiping their faces clean with medicated pads.  A teen smiles directly into the camera as she moves the damp pad in circular motions.  When finished, she flips the pad towards the screen revealing visible dirt instantly lifted off her skin.

Of course, I immediately ran to the drug store and grabbed several boxes. Those medicated pads took the place of a toner after washing.  This may not have been a good idea because, with daily use, it dried out my skin.  Eventually, I transitioned to using apple cider vinegar on soft cotton pads as a toner.

But then, Dr. Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Peels came into my life.  I fell in love with the idea of giving myself a mini-chemical exfoliation with just a swipe of a pad. While convenient, Alpha Beta Peels are a bit pricey.  And since I've been in a DIY mood lately, I asked myself, "is there a way to create these mini-peel pads myself?"

The answer is yes!  All I had to do is get a hold of a gentle acid.  In my case, I use Mandelic Acid because it's effective, yet gentle enough for pigmented skin.  Prior to my DIY experiment, I applied the Mandelic Acid using a cotton pad.  I quickly figured out that this method was highly ineffective.  Cotton absorbs too much product.  I needed a plain "Stridex pad" like Dr. Dennis Gross uses.  
Immediately, my search began.  A short while later, I stumbled on a brand called Theraderm that offers dry exfoliation pads!  That's right.  You apply your own exfoliant or toner for a fraction of the cost. 

These DIY pads make it so easy to exfoliate on the regular.  It's as simple as moistening a cotton round.  Because these pads have somewhat of a rough texture, I still experience physical exfoliation even when I saturate them with toner instead of an acid.  I noticed the Mandelic Acid seemed much more effective when used with Theraderm pads versus with a cotton round application.  What I love most about these exfoliation pads, is that they seem to have the ability to easily draw out additional dirt and oil.  They are going to be a must have during the summer when oil production goes haywire.  And since the pads are dry, there's barely any waste.  You use as much product as you need. No more no less.  
If you've always liked the idea of giving yourself a mini-facial peel with little effort, these Theraderm pads are a dream come true.  

(p.s. If you're exfoliating more often with these convenient pads, make sure you stay consistent with daily sunscreen).  

Now go get your glow.


Monday Motivation | The Monthly Success Check-In Process


We're in the last week of the month.  January seemed to just fly by.  It wasn't long ago that we were making promises to ourselves of the new habits we'll bring into the new year. are things going so far?  Are you having an amazing month to kick off the new year?

If you're not staying on track, perhaps you can benefit from incorporating regular checkin's into your routine.  What are check ins?  Basically, it's taking time to assess and measure your actions & results.  In corporate America, annual performance reviews are considered check ins.  But, the problem with them is that they're too far apart.  Once a year is to infrequent.  By then we've missed out on a year of potential course corrections.

Seize the day poster
I used to absolutely HATE having annual performance review discussions with my supervisor.   So glad I never have to do those again.  Instead, I do monthly check ins with my personal goals.  Basically, I review my progress on the major areas of my life.  I reflect on what's working well, and what strategies I need to adjust.

This has been a monthly ritual for years.  I can say with certainty, that the monthly check in method has directly impacted my life.  All I do is record a short update on the Iphone while on a long nature walk.  In my recording, I discuss all of my current intentions, my outcomes for the month, and what I'll do differently to create new results in the month ahead.  This ritual keeps me focused on my goals because otherwise, the days & months will slip by and nothing has changed.

This strategy is so effective that I'm ready to step it to the next level.  Ideally, I'd like to incorporate bi-weekly updates to review my activities (good or bad) over the last couple of weeks.  And to make it that much more interesting, I'll include a method to measure activities.  One thing I'm motivated by is seeing results in black and white. When I used to track my personal finances, I easily reached my financial goals.

My tip for everyone is to find a way to break down your big goals into measurable activities.

For instance. Your goal is to lose 10 lbs by March.  Measurable activities include:
1. How many days you went to the gym.
2. How many steps you take daily.
3. How many clean meals eaten per week.
4. How much water you drank.

If your goal is to make huge progress on your hair journey, measurable activities can include:
1. How many days you consumed your hair vitamins.
2. Tracking daily scalp massages.
3. How much water intake.
4. How many times a week do you moisturize and seal.
5. Tracking wash day activities.

These are actions that can easily be tracked and measured.  Measuring monthly is good, weekly is better. But daily is best!  Ultimately, I want to get to the level of conducting daily check ins.  I know for a fact that daily checkins could accelerate success by 10X!  Steady results are good. But growing results exponentially would be amazing.  As I write my daily to-do list, I'm making sure to include specific actions which are directly linked to my goals.  

If daily check ins seems a bit much for you, then start with this process monthly.  Without the monthly check in, I wouldn't be where I am today. It's simple, all you have to do is reflect on your intentions and take a look a where you are on your progress.  You can do a voice recording, write in your journal, or record a video.  Whatever you decide, it's important to stay consistent (even when the results aren't good).  Consistency is the blood that gives this process life.

Since we're starting the last week of the month, give this method a try.  Start by incorporating goal related actions into your daily to-dos and measure your results at the end of the week. Then, on January 31, 2016, do your first monthly check in.  Keeping this habit up for the entire year will ensure that 2016 is your best year ever.