"It works!" Yet another advocate of nail rubbing for hair growth.

12.17.2014

 Years ago, I wrote a interesting story about how promote healthy hair growth using a very unusual method.  A former co-worker of mine let me in on this ancient Indian secret.  His father, he claimed, was able to enjoy thick, black hair even well into his senior years  because he was diligent in his ritual of nail rubbing.  Nail rubbing somehow had the ability to directly affect hair growth and color. 

Of course I was skeptical but I looked into it anyway.  Turns out that the simple act of nail rubbing somehow ignites the blood flow to the scalp thereby promoting healthier growth.  When I shared the technique, I thought people would laugh me off the stage.  To the contrary, I received dozens of comments on my original post filled with various accounts of how people have used this technique to experience real improvement in their hair.  One reader even emailed me her account of how well this practice worked for her.  To this day, I'm still receiving comments.  As a matter of fact, this comment came in this week.
 Hi all,
Finally I've found people who had tried this like me! I am 56. I have been doing this nail rubbing for a year. My hair was getting a little thin, and I was getting a some grey hair. I decided to give it a try. It's free! I have long thick auburn hair. It has been growing so fast in the last 4 months. My daughters finally believe that it works. People ask me about my hair all the time. I tell them what I do and they roll their eyes. Lol oh well. I'm here to tell you it works! I also do face yoga. People think, I'm in my early forties. :) It's awesome! It takes patience, but it's worth the wait!
 Every time I receive one of these comments, I smile.  Then I silently curse myself for not remaining consistent.  If you haven't read my original post on nail rubbing for long hair, you can check it out here.

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Could Silicon Mix + Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor be the next killer combo?

12.16.2014

About a month back, I finished up my bottle of Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor.  This product has been a long time staple.  I told myself that I'd be replacing the bottle one day soon but now I have an even better reason to get it sooner rather than later.

Way before the Silicon Mix and Kanechom craze began, one lone poster on the LHCF shared her experience after mixing Silicon Mix conditioner with Aphogee's strengthening treatment.  Here's what she had to say in a thread aptly titled:  "Silicon Mix + Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor = Bombness!!!!"

Ok so I'm at work and since I have nothing to do, I decided to wash my hair and blow dry it so I can flat iron in the am. I washed my hair with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo. When it came time to condition and deep condition, I decided to just put both the Silicon Mix and the Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor on my hair with a cap and let it sit while I do paper work. 50 min later I washed it out and my hair feels like silk!!!   I sprayed the Aphogee Keratin with Green Tea on my hair along with Chi Silk infusion and Redken Antisnap . I did blow dry and it feels so soft! My coworker was in shock, needless to say I'll be doing her hair tomorrow night while I'm at work lol. Ladies please don't sleep on this! And the crazy part, I didn't even use [direct]heat and the slip was amazing!!! Silk I tell u!!!
Lol happy hair growing ladies!"
@riaseurat | Silicon Mix Pearl Protein + Aphogee Green Tea

First off, could you imagine how convenient it would be to have the opportunity to do a full wash and deep condition while at work?  But back to the topic at hand.  We all fell in love with Kanechom and Silicon Mix duo.  Could this be a new version that can add a little bit of strength to the equation.  Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor strengthens the hair without overloading the hair with protein.   What would it be like to mix all three?  I have all these thoughts swirling in my head right now.

I'll definitely have to do a follow up post once I give this combination a go.  Who's excited to try this?

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Motivation Monday | Breaking the cycle of mindless behavior.

12.15.2014

Let's talk a little more on being conscious of our subconscious behaviors so that you can operate in a way that you want versus acting out old repeated behaviors and thought processes.  Chances are, most of your subconscious actions are not ideal.  Before we talk about what we can do, it's important to note that over 90% of what we do in a day is a result of, or connected to, past thoughts and actions.  In som cases this is a good thing, but for most of us, these old patterns no longer serve us.

I believe there are diminishing returns for our actions.  When we first do something, there's an immediate impact or benefit so we do it again and again.  The more we do it, the greater the impact.  Then, at some point, the results start to level off and, eventuallu, you start to experience negative returns for the same actions.  Even "good" actions are subject to this which is why it's critcal to always elevate our thoughts and actions.  One example of this diminishing return theory is when people hit plateaues on their fitness journey.  The same actions that brought them outstanding results no longer have the same effect. New actions must be introduced in order achieve the results you want.

This is precisely why we don't want our subconscious leading us throughout the day.  It specializes in turning past actions into habit patterns.  Meanwhile the quality of our lives slowly start to diminish.  Got it?

Ok, so know what do we do?  The First Rule in living consciously is:  BE AWARE THAT YOU ARE LIVING SUBCONSCIOUSLY.  Knowing that we're always defaulting to the path of least resistance is half the battle.  Because now, you are armed with the knowledge needed to transform.  Sometimes I catch myself in a trance like state while bouncing from one website to another without having any purpose.  Before, I could do this for hours on end.  Now, it doesn't take me long before I'm like "Nadege, you're being mindless right now, snap out of it!"

Sometimes those words are enough to make a difference, sometimes not.  Which brings me to rule #2 of living consciously:  CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR AUTOMATICALLY BRING US INTO A CONSCOIUS STATE.  Whenever I see my life entering into a lull, I know that I have to do something different to snap out of it.  Sometimes that means driving a new route to work, or instead of doing what I normally do when I get home, I do one thing different.  This suddenly brings me to a state where I'm conscious and present to what I'm doing.

Rule number 3 of living consciously is my favorite technique and I thing the most powerful.  One thing our subconscious mind is designed to do is conserve mental energy.  It enjoys turning the cruise control settings.  The way to combat this default setting is to EMPLOY YOUR POWER OF CHOICE.  Let's say that every night after work you eat diner then settle in for s night of TV watching and web surfing.  One thing you can do is ask yourself "what else can I do when I get home?"  From there, you may come up with options such as stopping by the gym, research ideas for your business, write down your list of important things to do tomorrow, etc. The possibilities are endless.  The more options you come up with, the more possibilities you create.

The last rule of living consciously that I'll mention today is regarding your environment.  Whoever said that we are the product of our environment was on to something.  I once heard that Steve Jobs worked in an all white office because it sparked the most creativity.  When my office is cluttered, my creativity is stifled.  Nothing good comes from it.  But when my environment is clear, my mind feels free to create at new levels.  Our environment is the foundation for everything that happens in our lives.  Lookout for a full post on this topic in the future. In the mean time start practicing the art of living consciously.

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Countdown to New Year | Time for a mini makeover

12.14.2014

Normally, when New Years Eve rolls around, I'm probably lounging around in my house clothes, trying to stay awake until midnight.  Most times I don't make it but then I'm awaken by the fireworks in the neighborhood, I send out a few text messages, give hubby a kiss and go back to bed.  This year, I'd love to go out and celebrate the new year.

With only two weeks or so left, I'm mapping out a mini makeover strategy to have me looking my best by the time the new year rolls in.   Check it out.

My first priority will be on creating bright/glowy skin.  This is a multi-step process that involves heavy exfoliation. Clear skin is one thing, but fresh, exfoliated skin takes it to a whole 'nother level. I want my skin to have a slight reflective property like in the image above.   For this reason, I'm breaking out my Riiviva Microderm kit the next couple of weekends and will make sure to exfoliate daily using Dr. Dennis Gross' exfoliation pads or Fresh Sugar Face Scrub.

That will take care of the external appearance of my skin but to make the most impact, I've also got to do some internal work.  The plan is do drink plenty of water + lemon water.  I'm also popping a couple of fermented cod liver oil pills after each meal to lubricate from within.
glo teeth whitening system
I currently do nothing to whiten my teeth other than brushing with the obligatory whitening toothpaste. I want to change all that by pairing my toothpaste with baking soda or activated charcoal. If that doesn't work then my next choice would be to try out the glo teeth whitening system that everyone has been raving about.

Taking a bunch of extra steps each day has helped shed some of the unwanted weight that crept up on my over the last few months.  Now I want to focus on reintroducing resistance bearing exercises so I can quickly tone up.  While everyone is feasting on holiday meals and carb loaded snacks, I'll be dining on delicious salads and building muscle tone.  Last month I made a deal with myself that if I lost the extra pounds by the new year,  I could reward myself by straightening my hair using my Redken Professional Steam iron.  I've got two intense weeks left so now it's time to get really focused.
Ahi tuna lunch
Speaking to straightening my hair.  The whole thing is still up in the air because I will only use heat if my hair is in good condition.  Which means making sure to moisturize and seal daily while focusing heavily on the ends.  It also means no skimping on the extras like using the steamer on wash days and breaking out my Infrared Conditioning Iron.  I didn't using it the last two wash days and I can really tell the difference in my hair.  I may also try some last minute growth stimulating strategies like daily scalp massages and going back to my ultra green smoothies.


Two weeks may not seem like a long time but, believe me, a lot of ground can be covered in two weeks as long as I'm focused and consistent.  Truth be told, I love using an approaching deadline as motivation to see how much I can accomplish in a short period of time.  The two week timeline creates the right amount of urgency. Every day counts.

Let's get started!


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My 2015 List of Intentions

12.13.2014


I heard a successful business man once say that by the 15th of each month we should already have our goals ready for the following month. With a little two weeks left in the year, I thought now would be a great time look ahead into 2015 and create an intentions list for the year to come.   Next year, I'll be focusing on "who I become" versus obtaining physical items.  If I place full focus on becoming the person I want to be, everything else falls into place.

So far, here are the intentions I wish to experience in 2015 and beyond.  It's kinda like my online vision board.  Take a look.

My first priority for the new year is to place lots of effort on my physical presentation.  I've slacked mightily in this area but I got the wake up call of my life after having an impromptu conversation with a young lady who put everything in perspective.  The post I wrote on always looking your best was extremely well received which means that lots of you also want to invest in yourself. I believe that if we make this a priority for ourselves that our lives will CHANGE.  New people, experiences and opportunities will come our way that wouldn't otherwise.  Let's shift our mindset from seeing dressing well as a "nice to" and make it an absolute must!


I probably should dedicate an entire post to the power of creating an ideal environment.   But for the time being, I  want to declare that in 2015, I will constantly be working to elevate the environment of my home.  I desire a clean, clutter free space that fosters creativity in inspiration.  That is what I will be creating in 2015.



I have high hopes for my hair in 2015.  Microtrimming has been working out well for me and I imagine that I'll see the full benefits of it 6-9 months from now.  This year I'll also try other methods of length retention such as braid outs and satin scarf sets.  And of course, I'll plan to stay heavily focused on moisturizing and sealing. Lookout for an upcoming year in review post where I compile all the great lessons learned in healthy hair for 2014. 



Every once in a while, I'll assign a theme to the upcoming year.  This year will be "The Year of Abundance!"  I'm not just talking about financial abundance. I want 2015 to be the year where I abundantly experience everything I desire.  Abundance of laughter, experiences, creation, joy, giving, inspiration.....all of it!  I just want my life to overflow with abundance.   One way to ensure that happens is to constantly express gratitude for everything.  Everything.  When I remain in a place of gratitude, I receive even more.  To him who has, more will be given.  So I intend to remain in a constant state of being grateful for everything/everyone I have.


Being on an airplane 1-4 times a week has kinda ruined vacation travel for me.  Any my time off, I want to spend at home.  As a result, I haven't really done any "pleasure travel" in the past couple of years.  This year, I want to visit at least one new city (or country).  Better yet, I want to make exotic travel a part of my life.


Years ago, I invested countless hours playing with my makeup with the help of a few Youtube gurus.  The result? My makeup skills improved dramatically.  Heck, I even received a compliment once from an artist at the MAC counter when I walked in with makeup I applied earlier.  Then, just like any other skill, the lack of application diminished my talent.  So I plan to go back to learning and experimenting again. This time I plan to stay consistent.



Maple Dijon Salmon | Recipe here.
Next year, I will take my cooking skills to the next level.  Lookout for more recipe posts in the future as I put in lots of practice.





Next year being someone who is fearless will be my mantra.  This will provide the foundation for everything else to happen in my life.  You shall see more Fearless Friday posts in the future.

I can add more to this list but this will be all for now.  I encourage you to create your own intention list for the year ahead.  Give 2015 a theme and go from there.  Even if you don't manifest everything, at least you will attract much more into you life than you would if you weren't being intentional.  Oh, one last tip. Don't wait until the new year to start.  Do some or all of it now.  Taking a small action now shows how serious you are about receiving everything you desire.  Lastly, have fun and be grateful for all things.



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Fit Friday | Losing Weight in the easiest way possible.

12.12.2014

2014 is headed to an end.  How did you do with your fitness goals this year?  Me? I didn't do as well as I wanted.  I have no one to blame but my self.  For the most part, my trips to the gym have diminished as time grew more and more scarce.  Last month I noticed that my jeans starting feeling snug as I tried to wiggle into the them.

Not wanting to wait until the new year to commit to being healthy again, I decided to take small, fairly easy actions to get back on track.  Whenever I'm a little over weight the last thing I want to do is run to the gym and start sweating.  Not to mention having to deal with sore muscles, etc.  I wanted to avoid all of that so I decided to take the path of least resistance.

@swmonroe | Fitness Inspo from my Pinterst Boards
I knew that if I did simple things, week after to week to positively impact my weight, I'd be motivated to increase my efforts until I was back in full swing. The plan was simple. With the help of my trusty Fitbit, I would set a goal for myself to reach 10,000 steps a day.  This came from a video I watched of fitness Guru "Yo Elliot" talking about the easiest, fastest fat loss method as a simple 1 hour walk.  On another occasion I was at dinner with a group of acquaintances when one of the attendees (who's lost over 90 lbs of body weight) advised us that for fat loss he recommended walking over running.  Running, he suggested, utilized more muscle than walking. So, in his words, walking would create a leaner body more easily than running.  I'm not sure if that's 100% true but hearing the same message by different people definitely convinced me to take action.
Pictured Above Fitbit One | Fitbit Flex + Iphone App
I didn't actually "go for walks," I simply increased my daily steps.  This meant that I was more active around the house instead of just sitting in front to the computer.  Whatever it took to get additional steps in, I would do it.  As an insurance policy, I implemented the method of rewarding myself for every time I reached my 10,000 step goal.  Soon, reaching that outcome became addictive.  Best of all, I didn't even have to break a sweat doing it.  As predicted, my tiny actions soon lead to greater actions kinda like the domino theory we discussed in this post.  It started with lots of steps, then I picked up my jump rope for the first time in months and began using my at home exercise equipment. As my energy rose, I craved healthier foods.  It didn't take long for my clothes to start fitting like normal again.
 
I'm not exactly where I wanted to be but I'm very happy with the progress considering that I didn't make it a huge deal.  I didn't run to the gym and kill myself on equipment, I made it a simple process. Using this method, I've been able to maintain consistency much more easily than previously. It won't be long until I'm back to my old fitness levels  once again.

  For those of you who have fitness/weight loss goals on your 2015 intention list. I urge you to start now.  Just increase the amount of steps you take a day. Fit in steps where ever you can. Park farther, walk while you're on the phone, put your favorite song on and dance. Whatever it takes. My Fitbit has been invaluable in this process so I recommend that you have a definite way of measuring your progress if you are serious about getting healthier.
As of this morning, I've already logged in over 6,500 steps and, once I reach 10,000, I plan on rewarding myself by lighting this amazing peach scented candle.

Can't wait.



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How to create the deep nude lip (it's much easier than you think)

12.11.2014

Yesterday I talked about my obsession with finding the perfect shade to pull off the deep nude look.  I had some prospects in mind including MAC's Verve and Photo.  I was even going to make a stop at the drug store to see what other options were available.  I imagined myself building a new collection of darker lip colors in hopes that eventually I would stumble upon the exact shade that worked perfectly.

Then I headed over to Youtube for some inspiration.  After sitting through several videos, I had an epiphany.  That perfect shade I'm looking for might already be in my makeup bag.


You see, many of the ladies created that dark nude look simply by filling their entire lip with their lip pencil.  This provides that monochromatic effect between your lip and your lip color.  Once filled you can choose to add a little bit of moisture by using your favorite lip balm.  I absolutely love Aquaphor to add a little moisture without going overboard on shine. Once I apply, I dab my lips with a paper towel to wipe off the excess.  And if you want a bit more color, you can add a tiny amount of your favorite gloss. Not too much because we want to the outcome to be matte.
MACs Chestnut works well if you are deeper skintoned. I also love Cork which isn't as deep as Chestnut. Now I'm on the lookout for a brown-mauvey lip pencil. On my to-do list is to check out NYX's lipliners.  Take a gander at the tutorial below to see how she created this deep neutral look.  On her lips she paired two pencils. Jordana's Rock and Rose and Jordana's Coco Loco.

Oh, one last thing, if you are going to experiment with this look, make sure to exfoliate your lips using a sugar scrub and drink lots of water to keep your lips soft and hydrated.



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Beauty Obsession | The Deepest Nudes

12.10.2014

wearing MAC Chestnut Lipstick
What girl doesn't love a nude lip?  I can't tell you how much I've invested in various lip colors in search of the perfect nude.  The problem with me is that I have two different colored lips.  When your top lip is darker than your bottom, lipstick can look perfect on one lip and ashy on the other.

I thought I was destined to having to compromise forever until now.  I've finally found the nude that works perfectly for me.  Nudes have now gone from pale neutrals to warm earth tones.  Not only does this look compliment every skin tone but it really enhanced the lip in a ultra flattering way.
wearing MAC Chestnut Lip Liner
I visited the MAC counter yesterday and found some great deep nude shades that I can easily apply without the need for liner to even things out.  I love how provides the full coverage of wearing lip color without being overly dramatic. It's pretty much the perfect everyday look.  Yesterday I tried and fell in love with MAC Verve lipstick and I'm definitely on the lookout for more.

Is anyone else loving this trend as much as I do?  Also, please be sure to leave recommendations of your favorite deep nudes.


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All the Celebrities are doing it! The Case for Daily Exfoliation

12.09.2014

This weekend I decided to catch up on new episodes of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  In one of the episodes, Cynthia Bailey celebrated Her 47th birthday with the girls.  Just three years shy of 50 and this woman looks absolutely stunning.  I've actually seen her  (up close) in person several years ago and, I tell you, she showed no signs of being a woman in her mid 40s.

Whenever I see a woman looking absolutely amazing, I immediately want to know the tips and techniques they swear by to stay fabulous. So I went hunting and Cynthia made it perfectly clear in a past interview that her  secret for amazing skin is daily exfoliation.

 According to a Stylist article, Cynthia explained that "I exfoliate daily and I definitely highly recommend it just to keep the glow.  And it keeps dull skin off your face.  So don't feel like you have to do it once a week, just do it every day, no matter what the tube says!" 

Then I reflected back to an article where TLC's Chilli talked about regular exfoliation to "get that dead layer of skin off".  Heck, the woman even told me to my face that "It's all about exfoliation."  Having witnessed her and Cynthia's skin first hand,  I'm a complete believer.

Then there's the Queen herself.  It's almost impossible to find first hand interviews of Beyonce sharing her beauty secrets.  But here's what we know so far.  We know that she drinks at least a gallon of water a day (with lemon).  We know that she adheres to the "Go to Bed Greasy" philosophy.  Thanks to her dermatologist, and makeup artist, we learn that she likely exfoliates several times a week and perhaps even daily.  And if I were to bet on it, I'm sure celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Gabrielle Union, and (for sure) Meagan Good exfoliate on the regular.

I'll admit that I've slacked off a bit on my exfoliation routine. After a while I noticed that even though my skin remained relatively clear, it still didn't have that look of health and radiance that I once enjoyed.  Every day in the shower I use a pumice stone on my heels.  And everyday I realize that even though I exfoliated my heels the day before, there's still dead skin that needs to be removed.  Same goes for the rest of my body and perhaps also applies to our faces as well.

I went into detail about daily exfoliation in this post but I have some new tips to include so look out for a follow up article.


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Monday Motivation | Reward yourself for everything!

12.08.2014

I know that I owe you a part 2 to the post on the dangers of not being conscious but I have something special to share this with you. Last week I practiced a new technique to motivate me into action that worked so well that I had to tell everyone.  You may remember me mentioning that I'm motivated by pain avoidance rather than pleasure seeking.  I've been racking my brain trying to understand the reason behind this.  Then I heard a presentation by Darren Hardy on the Compound Effect.  In it, he talked about how if we do eat a piece cake, we are rewarded with the pleasure sensations of consuming the yummy chocolate.  But if we drink a cup of water, there's no (immediate) reward.  This is the reason why we keep eating not so healthy foods while shunning habits where the reward is delayed.

Then I thought back to the book The Power of Habit, where the author describes a scenario where a chimpanzee is rewarded with a treat each time it took a desired action.  As soon as the chimpanzee recognized that he'd be rewarded for taking an action, he was very complaint.  When the handlers stopped providing the treat after the action was taken the monkey had withdrawals.  They also talked about how Americans developed the habit of brushing daily AFTER mint oil was added to the ingredients.  Mint provided a clean mouth feeling as a reward from brushing.  It's the reward, my friends, that keeps us going back for more.

That's when I realized that my problem with staying motivated comes from the fact that there's no immediate reward for what I have done.  The reward comes much later after days, weeks, or even years after repeating the same behavior over and over again.

My first move was to immediately implement a system to reward myself for reaching milestones with my goals.  If I reached milestone #1, I would treat myself to a pedicure, milestone #2, a massage.  Milestone #3, lunch at my favorite sushi restaurant and so on.  Just the act of writing the rewards down next to all of my goals was invigorating.  I was so excited that I wanted to implement the same technique to motivate me to doing things that I'd been putting off.  After washing the dishes, I rewarded my self with a cup of bamboo tea.  Once I cleaned the bathroom, I lit my favorite candle.  Pretty much anything could be paired with a reward to motivate me into action.    Once I did the thing, I immediately rewarded myself.  This allowed me to associate pleasure with taking action on boring tasks.  It didn't take long for the desire for the reward began to drive my behavior into action.

When I wrote down my to-do list, I would jot down a reward next to the to-do.

I love this technique because
#1 It seems to work well as a daily motivator
#2 It's a method I can use to generate internal, self motivation
#3 It's pretty simple.

I'm not rewarding myself with crazy expensive things, just simple gestures to acknowledge the effort I put in.  Applying this method, I've been able to motivate my self to log 10,000 steps a day using my FitBit.  I've also attacked some things from my to-do list that have been haunting me for months.  Previously, I would buy myself something because I wanted it.  Now, I ask myself "how can I use this item as a reward for taking some sort of action?"

Give this technique a shot to help kickstart your goals that you want to achieve in 2015.  Break it down into tiny steps and reward yourself for every step taken.

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