Why Japanese Mascaras might be the answer for your tiny lashes

5.24.2016

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.

The most obvious difference between this mascara and others is the thickness of the formula.  It doesn't create clumpy lashes. But it does coat and saturate the lash like nothing else. And when I touch my lashes, after the formula has dried, I can feel the product.  Asian lashes are typically straight. So when they curl their lashes, normal mascaras aren't able to keep their lashes curled.  This mascara promises to keep the curl all day long.  I hate putting on mascara in the morning, then checking the mirror later to find that my lashes don't look the same.  With Heroine Make, I have no worries of that happening. Because once the product is applied, and the curl is created, it stays firmly put (sometimes for days).


I'm pretty sure there is no other mascara that has more staying power than this one.  Heroine Make is "super waterproof."  This stuff does not come off after I apply it.  In fact, I still have mascara on even after I wash my face.  Apparently they make their own mascara remover  to help dissolve this eternal mascara, but I actually like having on small traces of mascara even if I'm not wearing makeup.   It gives me look that I wanted to experience when I got my lashes lifted.  Lash lifting is supposed to give you the look of having curled lashes at all times.  This mascara did a much better job and for way less investment.
One reviewer said this is her ultimate go-to summer mascara because it stays put even when you're sweating, swimming, dealing with high humidity, whatever.  When she travels, Heroine Make is the only mascara in her travel beauty bag.

Lastly, this is quite possibly thee blackest mascara I own.  Heroine Make's pigment is what really helps make my lashes stand out.  Although it's not a lengthening formula, my lashes appear longer simply because they stand out against my skin.  I love this mascara so much that I also grabbed their lengthening version with a curved wand.   I'd love to layer it with their volumizing formula to see what  happens.  Based on this pic from a happy customer, it looks like I'm in for a treat.
Herione Make Lengthen and Curl super waterproof jet black mascara
If you weren't blessed with a set of long lashes, I invite you to explore Asian brands that know how to cater to people like us.  This may be what you've been waiting for all your life.


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Motivation Monday | Owning the Hours of your Day

5.23.2016

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.

The Power of an Hour discusses a concept called Fearsome Focus.  We all know how essential focus is to achieving goals and making intentions real.  The ability to focus is what separates successful people from those who struggle.  Whenever I find myself in disarray, I know I've lost my focus.  When I'm getting things done and making huge progress, it's because I've maintained focus and entered into a state of flow.  Dave encourages us to set aside 45 fully focused minutes an hour.  During these 45 minutes, you allow ZERO interruptions.  The last 15 minutes of the hour can be used to decompress, answer emails, etc.

Sometimes I have a hard time focusing for extended periods, so instead of working in a 45 minute chunks, I prefer to use 20 minute blocks.  To ensure I stay focused the entire 20 minutes, I use a little kitchen timer.  Knowing that I have a limited amount of time to work really heightens focus.  Those 20 minutes go by really fast. By the time the buzzer rings, I'm actually happy to reset the timer so I have another 20 minutes to work.

A friend of mine routinely texts me to ask how things are going with my business.  Sometimes I tell her that I'm demotivated and not getting much done, other times I boast about how productive my week has been.  The ONLY difference between the two outcomes is MY LEVEL OF FOCUS.  One time I practiced a full week of focus as a personal experiment.  I made the conscious decision to give 100% attention to whatever I was working on.  No multitasking, no jumping from one thing to another.  Just focused attention.  That week was like nothing else I've ever experienced.  I was amazed by what I was able to accomplish.

I definitely want to get back to that place again.  My plan is to dedicate at least 1 focused hour a day on actions that will continue to create results long after I'm done.  Ideally, I'd like to get in at least 4 focused hours a day, but if I can only operate in FULL FOCUS for at least an hour, I'll be very grateful

I love Chris Brogan's quick video on breaking out his day into six major chunks of time. It's simple and easy to replicate.


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

5.21.2016

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.

The item she's holding proudly is Redken's CAT Extreme Treatment.  It's a reconstructor that's formulated to provide "a triple line of defense; proteins that penetrate deep into the hair strands, ceramides that reinforce the cuticle layer and lipids similar to those found naturally in our hair to leave our strands smooth shiny and protected."

It's no wonder the superstar reiterates that "every girl needs this product in their hair arsenal."  I love the story she shares about bringing Redkin with her to the salon to use as a reconstructor after her color treatment.  Because of Redken's CAT Extreme treatment, her hair endured the chemical bleaching with very little breakage.   Even her hair dresser was impressed with how well it worked.  In fact, Amerie beleives that Redken outperforms Olaplex.

Technically, the product should be rinsed out after 15 minutes. Ameriie uses it as a post-wash, pre-deep conditioning treatment.  Meaning, she washes her hair, mists clean hair with the treatment, allows it to sit, the applies the deep conditioner.  Of all the years that I've been on this journey, I have yet to experience a pre-deep conditioning treatment.  And I think I'm ready to try.  Maybe not every wash but it seems to be a great product to use post touch up.  Summer is typically the only time of year where I'm tempted to reach for my steam flat iron.  I love having fortifying products on hand to ward my hair from potential heat/manipulation damage.  This product sounds ideal.

I'm gonna trust her on this one and take the plunge.  A product with proteins, ceremides and MEA-18.....that's the holy trinity of healthy hair ingredients.

 I can not pass this up.

But don't take my word for it, check out her video for yourself.  She highlights Redken's Cat treatment at the 6:25 mark.




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The Matte Skin Regimen that will save your face this Summer

5.20.2016

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.

What I really needed is something that can absorb the oil before it rises to the surface.  Off I went to Sephora to find the solution to all of my problems.  Since I went on a weekday afternoon, the store wasn't buzzing with people.  After making a few rounds, I finally decided to ask someone for help.  "I'm looking for a product that absorbs oil."  But instead of making an immediate recommendation, the sales associate responded with "what type of moisturizer are you using?"

To be honest, her question caught me off guard.  Why are you asking me about my moisturizer when I'm inquiring about a product?  She went on to reveal something that would alter the course of my life forever.  "If you wan't to focus on oil control, you have to build a regimen around it. This means that the first product that comes in contact with your skin has to be mattifying and all the other products you use as well."

Whoa.....

Was she telling me that I should steer away from an ultra hydrating moisturizer and move towards a mattifying one instead? Are mattifying moisturizers even a thing?

Turns out that mattifying moisturizers are a thing.  In fact there's a whole slew of them out there.  And their sole purpose is to add moisture to the skin while keeping oil at bay.  She gave me a few to sample.   First she rubbed in Korres Balancing Cream-Gel moisturizer then Cane + Austin's Facial Moisture Cream.  The first thing I noticed was how they both fully absorbed without leaving any trace of shine.  Although my skin was hydrated, there was no visible evidence of the product on the surface.

At this point my mind started racing.  I thought about all the products I currently owned that could be recruited to be a part of my new mattifying regimen.  I could hydrate with facial essence and matte moisturizer.  Then I'd mix a little of Skinceutical's SPF with foundation.  This SPF 50 formula is the most mattifying product I know.  The product description even says that it dries to a powder finish.   Too drying to use in the winter, but perfect for this time of year.  Then there's also Murad's Invisiblur which also promotes a matte finish.

If I wanted to get really serious, I could even grab a matte foundation but I think Skinceuticals and Murad might do the trick.  Especially if I set the foundation lightly with a little powder.  I'll play around with different combinations until I have a grasp on how many oil control products I should layer at a time.  Perhaps I go full matte if I'm attending an outdoor summer event and do less when I'm in an indoor, climate controlled environment.

[ The key, she said, was to make sure the product that's in closest contact with my skin be mattifying.  Murad's Oil Control Mattifyer is already in my shopping basket, ready to go.]

This knowledge of fighting excess oil where it starts really excites me. I look forward to fully perfecting a matte skin regimen by summer.


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

5.19.2016

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.

For years I simply grabbed my polish, did my nails, and automatically assumed the color would magically stay on.  Now, I'm realizing the error of my ways.  I've gathered information that lays out  the technique of how to achieve a 5 day(+) manicure.  So here goes:
OPI's Steady As She Rose
1. BASECOAT- So here is the most important step of this entire process.  Without your base coat, you will end up with chewed up looking polish.  Apparently, base coat sets the foundation and creates the right environment for the nail color to stick to. When it comes to long lasting nail color, base coat is your friend.  In my case, I used OPI's Nail Envy because it acts as both a top coat and nail strengthener in one.

2.  POLISH- Once the base coat is set, you can apply your color.  Here's where the technique part comes in.  You have to paint your nails using thin layers.  The thinner, the better.  Do not over load your applicator with polish otherwise your color will be more likely to chip and peel.  Instead, go for 2-3 ultra thin coats.  Another important key is to make sure you ALLOW EACH COAT TO FULLY DRY before adding the next layer.  This is an absolute must.

3. TOPCOAT- Now that your polish has fully dried, you are ready to apply the top coat.  This will further protect your color while adding a nice shine.  The technique you want to use while applying top coat is to first apply top coat to your tips as if you were giving yourself a french manicure.  Don't forget to brush the outer edge of your nail as well.  Once your coated tips are completely dry, you then proceed to apply top coat to the entire nail as you would normally.  This ensures that you've protected the entire nail while giving a little extra attention to the tips where we tend to experience the first signs of chipping.

[OPTIONAL] One site recommended that we reapply top coat on a daily basis.  I didn't do that this first round because I wanted to see if the three steps alone would make a difference.  Next go around I will reapply top coat 1-2 times in between manicures just to make sure my nails are pristine on the daily.

Although my nails still look pretty decent, I wouldn't say they're perfect.  I blame this on my attention to detail.  Like I could see polish fading from the outmost corner of my nails because I didn't do a good job of making sure the top coat covered every square centimeter of nail.  Secondly, I think I only did one layer of top coat, when I could have covered a little more.  Thirdly, someone recommended that I buffer the nail bed prior to painting to create a smoother surface for the product to stick to thereby making the manicure last even longer.  Lastly, I noticed more chipping on my left hand (the one I use the most) so next time I will place extra attention on that hand versus the right.

There you have it ladies. If you are as frustrated with 2 day at home manicure results as I was, you have to try this technique for yourselves and experience the difference.

Be sure to check out my favorite nude nail colors of all time.



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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.

I want you to take this in.  If the image of what happens to textured hair after extended sun exposure doesn't completely freak you out, then your heart has grown cold.    The first thing you might notice is that our hair reacts differently to UVA and UVB rays.  UVB, the most damaging to our hair, is in full effect from April to October,  between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. That means the dangers of sun damaged hair currently is upon us.

Those of us with darker skin tones may enjoy some sun protection thanks to melanin but, as you can see, our hair isn't so fortunate.  I'm aware that exposing our hair to UVB rays for 12 or 48 hours straight isn't likely. But, that doesn't take away from the severity of damage that can occur even with limited exposure.  

Now that we know, it's our job to be proactive.  Sun protection has to be on our mind just as much as skin protection.  The easiest thing to do is limit the amount of time your hair is directly exposed to the  sun.  But, if you must be outside, you want to take the right precautions.  The good news is that plant oils do offer up some level of sun protection.  Olive oil and coconut oil rank highest on the list at 7.5 and 7.1 SPF.  Adding oil is a good idea because UV rays strip away the lipid layer of the hair.  This is why our hair is so dry.

Natural oils are great but it also makes sense to have products specifically made to provide sun protection.  I've got my eye on Aveda's Sun Care Protective Hair Veil.   It's claims are that this sun blocking mist creates an invisible screen that protects from sun exposure for up to 16 hours.  It's a must have beach bag item if you have plans on enjoying an exotic getaway or attending lots of outdoor events this summer.  Let's not forget our peeps at Kerastase who've create their own protective spray that have both UVA & UVB filters, along with hydrating macadamia nut oil and shine enhancers.    

There's a park near my home that I like to frequent.  One thing I will not do, is go for a long walk without covering my hair with a satin scarf.  I may not look so glamorous, but it's a must.  Since I'm getting exercise, I don't really stress much about how I look but if I were attending a social event or an outdoor concert protective styling, and using sun protection products would be a top priority.  Let's never leave the house again without placing as much importance on protecting our hair from the sun as we do our skin.


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[Bucket List] The Hybrid Laser that promises Skin Perfection

5.18.2016

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.

So I ask the facialist why Fraxel would work well for me.  She tries to explain the process but thought it would be more convincing to offer up images instead.  So she grabs her phone and flips through her pictures before revealing her screen to me.  What I saw were very up close images of her very troubled skin.  There were a few cystic acne and lots of obvious scarring.  The scarring was much more severe than mine.  When she revealed that these were her pics, I was shocked.  Then she went on to explain how recently the pics were taken and I was even more floored.

The woman I was looking at had skin that was nothing like what was portrayed in pictures.  That's because she took drastic measure to create remarkable results.  Laser treatments cause micro trauma to the skin. When this happens, our skin works over time to rebuild and repair by stimulating new collagen production to smooth out lines and wrinkles.  The final results could be compared to having a "real life Instagram filter."  I was seeing the proof of it right before my very eyes.

The only thing is.....the jury's still out on whether laser treatments are suited for darker skin tones.  One unwanted side effect of laser treatments on dark skin is post inflammatory hyper pigmentation Although the facialist I was seeing was a woman of color, she had very fair skin.  It appears that we're making progress towards treating diverse skin with lasers.  Because there's a new alternative that representents the evolution of lasers.  The Halo treatment combines the mighty powers of Fraxel and C02 lasers.  As a hybrid laser, the amount of post procedure down time is minimal.  Just a few days compared to a week or more with other treatments.  Halo also requires fewer sessions to be effective.  And because Halo gives the option of modifying the strength of the laser, it can be adjusted to suit darker skin tones.

I qualify this treatment as a bucket list item because one treatment is quite an investment.  This isn't for everybody but if you have seriously troubled skin, or if you want perfected skin that makes wearing makeup optional, the investment might be worth it.

My ultimate goal is having "make up optional" skin.  This means I need to focus more on resurfacing activities.  Mild, daily exfoliation helps, but it's time to take this thing  a little more seriously.  I'm on the look out for alternative resurfacing treatments that are lower cost or can be done at home.  Will share what I find in a future post.

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Snapchat Beauty Secret | The clear skin product recommended by Pharrell

5.16.2016

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.



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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.
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Mastering the Art of "Staying Ready"

5.13.2016

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.


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