Fantastic Feet | Essentials for healthy feet all winter long

10.30.2014

Confession.  Every fall and winter, I do something horrible.  I allow the excuse of having covered feet to release me of my responsibilities of caring for them.  They no longer become a priority once I put away my open toed sandals.

Months pass. Then suddenly, my desire for healthy looking feet takes over.  But by then, I've got to work double just make them presentable to the world again.  But this fall will be different. Instead of being neglectful, I plan on proactively carrying out a plan to nurture my feet.  Good thing I came across my new fave, Johnson's Baby Oil Gel.   Shout out to all of you who left comments on my previous post on using the Baby Oil Gel on damp skin for maximum effect.

Then of course there's good ole' fashion petroleum jelly for maximum moisture retention.  Rubbing a little petroleum jelly on the bottoms of your feet then putting on some comfy socks before bed does wonders for dry, cracked heels.  I opt to go for a natural alternative because I think there's something unique the bottoms of our feet. Meaning, I think they have they are likely to absorb chemicals into the body.  I read somewhere that our feet have large pores (that's why they sweat in hot temperatures).  I tried a weird fever home remedy once,  that involved wrapping bags containing raw egg whites around my feet.  

I reluctantly tried it because I was dealing with an uncomfortable fever and I was desperate. Once the bags were on my feet, I feel asleep. When I woke up, the fever was gone.  Although I didn't know what happened, I made the assumption that the bottom of our feet wasn't just old dead skin but was highly permeable.  Think about those foot detox pads.  They claim to remove toxins from the body through the soles of our feet.  Long story short, I prefer to use natural products like pure coconut oil or this Un-Petroleum Jelly, on my heels & the bottoms of my feet, whenever possible.

Last, but most certainly not least, my feet would be disastrous if I weren't consistently exfoliating on a regular basis.  Many thanks to "yasjecon" for her video that inspired me take on the habit of exfoliating every day.  Things haven't been the same since.  Exfoliating with a buffer pad every day in the shower has transformed my feet.  When the weather is extra dry I like to add a little of my Shea Sugar scrub to take things up a notch.  I also realized that I can utilize the Clarisonic Pro to aid in the war against dry feet.  This enhanced Clarisonic system comes with a body brush and extended handle that makes it easy to reach my feet while in the shower.  I realize that Clarisonic came out with a Pedi Sonic Brush system made especially for feet but I'll try this method out first before checking it out.

Next, I'm on to researching ways to create the healthiest toenails I can possibly have.  You bet I'll be sharing my tips on what worked for me once I experience results.

Be blessed.


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Currently Craving.

10.28.2014

I completely adore these lightweight trenches.  They just scream that "fall is here!" Best of all, they perfectly compliment whatever you are wearing without taking away from your overall look.  I need to have one of these before the year is over.  

I keep filling my Pinterest boards with collections of spaces with a simplistic, minimalistic feel.  Just looking at them clears my mind and brings tons of inspiration.  It's perfect timing because this is the time of the year when I like to declutter my space to make room for more.
I'm actually proud of how I've managed to stay disciplined with my handbag obsession.  But, if I were to add a couple more into my collection, I'd go for a Chanel Boy with gold trim.   But before I do, I'd definitely go for the Givenchy Antigona. A couple of years ago, I invested $200 into a quality work bag from  Michael Kors.  That bag has been through absolutely everything and still maintained it's quality.  I'd love to step my game up a little with regards to my business appropriate bags and this is just perfect.  I stopped by the Chanel store a while back and took a look at their offerings for business appropriate bags.  I told the sales agent that I wanted something that could hold my laptop.  He recommended a couple of options then I showed him a pic of the Antigona to which he replied that the Givenchy bag would better meet my needs.  I'd love to add it to my collection in 2015.

If I could find a quality fitted motorcycle jacket that looked as amazing as the one pictured here, I'd grab it in a heart beat.  My goal is to search high and low until it somehow finds its way into my closet.




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Why do attractive people dress well? I interviewed a random stranger to find out.

10.24.2014

The result of another long layover was the opportunity to allow my mind to play with some of my usual random thoughts.  I reflected back to the post I wrote months ago on the topic of "Being Beautiful."  One observation I've been making lately is that people who are considered above average in attractiveness seem to also be well dressed.  Most of the population tends to wear comfortable attire when traveling.   There's a lot of sitting around waiting to board, the seats on the plane aren't that comfortable. The ordeal might take up an entire day.  It makes complete sense that we generally reach for comfy clothing and not pay much attention to our overall appearance.

But then there are those, who appear slightly out of place.  They're wearing tailored stylish clothing and their hair is perfectly groomed, skin flawless and makeup is perfected.They   stand out most by how they dress.  So I stood there, at a charging station, and watched to see if my theory held true.  Countless people walked by before I noticed a few well dressed people...again, the same people who stood out were those who could be deemed attractive by society's standards.

Twenty minutes in my "experiment" a tall  guy with well groomed hair and a European modelesque look stops to take advantage of the empty space next to me to charge his phone.  With his back turned, I looked him up and down to observe his appearance.  From head to toe, the guy was fashionably dressed with a well fitted somewhat casual clothing.  We both stood there, looking into the crowd as a young couple were reunited.  Since they were completely oblivious to the world around them, I paid close attention to how she perfectly styled her blonde hair into long beach waves. It was obvious, by the way they dressed that both paid close attention to their appearance.  I checked my phone's charge. By the time I looked up again, I caught a quick glimpse of a woman as she walked towards her gate.  She rocked all black skinny jeans and a black fitted bomber jacket.  Her hair was in a long bob that bounced as she walked.  Her look was complete  a designer bag and a pair of nude pigalles to break up the all black canvas.

Finally, I said to myself.  "Instead of speculating, why not ask them why they took the time to "overdress."  Then I was like "that's a stupid question to ask a random stranger."  Then I was like "#fearlessfriday you gotta do it!"  I grabbed my phone and headed towards my gate completely neglecting the fact that I could have talked to the model guy standing two feet from me.  Part of me hoped that my plane would be boarding, giving me an excuse not to take on the challenge.  Then, just before I arrived at the gate, I saw the girl who was in all black, sitting next to a wall. Without thinking I walked straight to her so I could get some answers.

As I sat next to her, I got a closer look. She was probably in her mid-twenties and of Indian descent.  Her jet black hair was perfectly styled. Her winged eyeliner made her large eyes pop.  Her lipstick was the soft shade of pink that perfectly matched her skin tone and manicured nails.  Pretty much everything about her was flawless.  After introducing myself and letting her know that I would be asking her an awkward question, she smiled and said "sure, ask me whatever you want!"

"What made you dress up this way to come to an airport?"  "As part of my business, I plan million dollar weddings, I always dress up because I never know when I need to present myself for a new opportunity."  Then she went on to say that she didn't always carry herself this way.  But after a difficult time in her life, she renewed her faith in God, got baptized and got reconnected with herself.  She went on to share how grateful she was for each day and that she considered dressing well as "a celebration of life!"  "In the mornings" she told me, "I answer to God and then I answer to myself. It's my job to love me and this is how I demonstrate my love for myself."

Then she went to describe the benefits of dressing your best.  "Back, when I didn't take care of myself physically, nothing exceptional really happened in my life.  But once I started to care about my physical appearance, my business skyrocketed!"  Now I have an office in New York and I get to travel to meet new clients......I believe that if you dress in a basic way, you will lead a basic life."
After hearing that statement, I reflected back to a couple years ago, during my vacation, when I invested lots of dedicated time to make sure everything about my appearance was as close to perfect as possible.  Let me tell you my friends, things seemed to magically change around me.  My confidence skyrocketed, people interacted with differently...my thoughts were different....everything changed.  Everything.  But then I went back to work, and my old habits, again.  The girl at the airport also mentioned that a different kind of energy is projected out to others, when you look your best, that isn't the same on an average day.  I believe that energy does exist and is very powerful.  I also believe that this energy, projected day after day will compound bringing new people and experiences into your life that might not have happened if you present yourself differently.  Even Eddie Mora experienced this for himself after his physical transformation.

Before leaving I asked, "if you didn't have to go to do any business on your trip would you have dressed down?"  She looked me straight in the eye and apologetically answered "no."  Her response led me to believe in how important this ritual is to life.  To her, this is an act of self love and self love must happen every. single . day.

I totally loved chatting with this person who was both beautiful on inside and out.  I would love to interview a few other people and get some different perspectives on this topic.

What are your thoughts? Do you notice the difference when you take the time to show self love in your appearance?

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Beauty Ritual | Creating bright, healthy skin daily

10.22.2014

Lately I've been thinking about how important it is for me to ramp up my daily facial routine.  This stems from my observation of countless faces as I wander through crowded airports.  I see people with dull, lifeless skin and there are others who's skin gives off the appearance of life and vitality.  The difference between them is night and day.

I've made the unscientific conclusion that blood flow to the face is a major factor in the appearance of the facial skin. It just seems like healthy blood flow to the skin brings it to life!  Unfortunately, as time passes, our circulation slows which takes away the look of glowing skin. Healthy, glowing skin is  the end game so I've decided to incorporate a few daily actions to bring about that end result.

My goal is to allot a specific amount of time each day to promote healthy blood flow & stimulation to the face.  I've got some tricks up my sleeve that will make a world of difference. Especially since I've been operating with much less sleep lately.  These techniques will keep me looking well rested and fresh no matter what happened the night before.

Face Massage
Probably the most direct way to drive oxygen rich blood to the face.  Not only does massage help tone the face but it can promote the building of new collagen while delivering healthy blood flow to the skin.  My favorite is Tanaka Massage which also helps to stimulate the lymphatic system (which detoxifies).  When I do this daily, my face seems to appear more toned and lifted.  Best of all the entire process takes less than 20 minutes.  If I don't have 20 minutes to spare, I can always reach for my massage tools to help speed things up.

Steaming/Ice Facial
Hot and cold temperatures have an amazing ability to stimulate the blood.  Back when I took cold showers, my face always seemed to look fresh and healthy.  Our bodies rush blood to the area in an effort to combat the cold.  Let's not forget the fact that ageless rapper Pharrell owes his youthful appearance with his daily habit of using cold water on his face.  Heck, even Sanaa Lathan knows the power of using hot and cold therapy to promote youth.  I may dabble with using an ice cube  after washing my face to close up pores, creating that flawless finish. Another option could be to place my Evian facial water in the fridge before misting.

Yoga Inversions
Then, of course, you can always "force" blood flow to the face by practicing inversions.  Yoga is a perfect way to promote positions where the head receives the most blood flow.  As you may already know, inversions impact both the face and the hair.  Some say they've experienced as much as an inch of new growth in 7 days.  Earlier this year, headstands were a part of my daily routine.  I really need to start doing that again.


Water
Sometimes, when I'm sitting in a dull meeting, about to fall asleep, I reach for my water bottle and take the biggest swig.  Suddenly, I can feel the water rushing through my body and I'm no longer tired. When ever you think of increasing circulation, the first thing that should go through your mind is drinking lots of water.  Without adequate water in the blood stream, nothing can properly circulate.  Whenever I go a long time without drinking adequate water, I like to imagine that my oxygen rich blood is slowing becoming thick and sluggish.  That tends to motivate me to get things flowing again as quickly as possible.  Without enough water in your system, all those other things I mentioned in the post become null and void.   So, for the 15 trillionth time, drink more water.


P.S. The advice in this post should be paired with the exfoliation tips mentioned in this post to create the ultimate in perfect skin.


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Monday Motivation | Using your pain for your benefit

10.20.2014

A few years ago when my life coach told me that I was more motivated (into action) by pain instead of by pleasure, I was taken aback. Suddenly, I began to resent the fact that I don't take massive action unless I'm trying to avoid a consequence.  I wanted to be one of those self motivated people that just wakes up everyday and charges directly towards their goals.

I wanted so badly to change this aspect of me. But doing so proved unsuccessful.  So I've decided to stop resisting and leverage this "strength" head on.  If I instinctively respond more to avoiding pain than to achieving pleasure then I would own it and use it to my advantage.


There are things in my life that I wish were different. Then there are things that I WANT to be different.  The things I WANT to be different cause a higher level of "pain."  Before, whenever I was dealing with an undesirable situation, I would just complain about it.  Complaining is like taking an aspirin for an open wound.  The pain might be dulled, but the bleeding is still there.

My new strategy is to deal directly with the source.  Meaning whenever I have a "bad day" or I'm experiencing something I wish were very different, I take MASSIVE action towards making the situation different. For example, you can come home and complain (once again) about your boss or you can use that same energy to send out 50 resumes or start your own side business.

Let's say you already have a side venture, but results aren't what you expected.  You can give it up and declare yourself a failure or you can do something outside of your comfort zone to create new results.  It's quite simple really.  Just use whatever causes you pain as a trigger for the action needed to transform the situation.  Had one of those days where everything you tried on didn't fit right? Take out your frustration at the gym.  Can you imagine how quickly you can turn a situation around if you used this method consistently?

 Whatever you do, don't let those valuable feelings of frustration go to waste.  That stuff is grade A fuel for powerful action. And please, stop allowing feelings of frustration to make you do things that will make you feel even worse.  All that does is perpetuate the cycle of dealing with unwanted situations.  Be honest with yourself, do you want to keep experiencing the same problems over and over again?  No?  Then next time you have a bad day, do something different to turn that situation around.

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Currently Loving | Johnson's Baby Oil Gel

10.19.2014

One thing I will be doing much more often is stopping random people in street for skin and hair care recommendations.  If I hadn't had the courage to ask the beautiful flight attendant for her skin care regimen, I would never stumbled on this wonderful little gem.

If you recall, the stewardess was gushing over how much Johnson's baby oil gel softened her skin.  After gliding my finger across her forearm, I was sold.  At the very next opportunity, I skipped on over to the store to pick up a bottle.  Quite honestly, I was a bit taken a back when I first looked at the product.  It kinda reminded me of hair gel.  The last thing I wanted to do was rub hair gel all over my body.

But I stepped forward anyway.  Squeezing a little into my hand and rubbing along my dry skin.  Knowing that the driest months are ahead, I was hoping this could provide deep moisture where I need it most.  Johnson's Baby Oil Gel did not disappoint.  Yes, it's thick but somehow manages to glide on easily and evenly.  Once rubbed into the skin, the gel leaves behind a really nice shine. A little bit really goes a long way. And yes, my skin is left soft and pretty like the gorgeous flight attendant.  I adore Johnson's baby oil gel.  It eradicated my horribly dry skin in just moments and left it feeling moisturized for a very long time.

If you battle dry skin each winter, do me a favor and grab some of this.  Your skin will thank you.


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Two techniques to eliminate puffiness and under eye bags.

10.18.2014

This post is a result of a special request from one of my beloved Facebook group members.  She's checked out my past "celebrity secrets" posts and wondered if I came across anything regarding to under eye circles and puffiness.  I was delighted to receive that request because, as a person who often goes with little sleep, healthy under eyes are constantly on my mind.

As far as celebrity secrets go, I'm sure many of you have heard the recommendation of using Vaseline under eyes to help ward off wrinkles.  I think there's value in keeping the eye area lubricated.  If you think about it, that part of our face moves more than any other.  All of that movement is bound impact the surrounding skin if we don't take precautions.  After reading of the amazing skin benefits of using coconut oil, I think that could serve as a viable alternative to petroleum jelly.


Now, let's talk about puffiness. I'm of the belief that other concerns could be related to under eye bags.  Obviously lack of sleep is a huge factor.  Whenever I'm sleep deprived, I feel it most around my eyes.  They feel strained, like they're stressed out. Aside from little sleep, I've actaully experienced greater under eye concerns when my diet is off.  Eating wheat gave me huge eye bags. I'm sure all the inflammation in my body had something to do with it.  Once I move towards more of a plant based diet, things shifted.  The first tip in minimizing under eye puffiness is to do whatever you can to promote an alkaline pH and manage inflammation.  This means minimizing sugar, fried foods, stress, wheat etc. You can further counteract inflammation by drinking lemon water, eating greens, drinking smoothies and lots of water. 

Now let's get to the nitty gritty.  I have a couple of techniques to address current under eye circles, puffiness and even wrinkles. 

Technique #1: Lymphatic Massage
Lymphatic massage saved my life whenever I woke up with puffy morning face.  My favorite is Tanaka Massage.  There's a part in the video where we do lymphatic massage on the eye.  This helps to drain any fluid that collects under the eye.  The whole experience helps move toxins away from the face where it can eventually be eliminated.  Try this technique as your regular morning routine.  Trust me, you will notice a difference.


Technique #2:  Pinching Massage
This technique is a little more aggressive than Tanaka Massage.  Here's the thing, all of your life you've been told to be gentle around the eye to avoid causing wrinkles.  I'm of a different belief.  There are those who have noticed that rigorous massage round the eye actually can help promote healthy blood flow to that area (which can help eliminate dark circles).  Not only does the blood flow improve, but this "pinching massage" is said to also have the ability to actually thicken the skin around the eye by promoting the formation of new collagen.  The result?  Fewer wrinkles, and more youthful looking eyes. 

I am an avid user of the pinching massage technique.  Unfortunately, I don't have any video demonstration so I'll try my best to explain.  Basically, I take my thumb and middle finger (or thumb and pointer) and pinch around my eyes.  I take a little skin and roll it between my finger tips(NOT USING MY NAILS).    I also do it on my eyelid to promote thicker skin.  I pay special attention to the corner of my eyes to avoid crows feet when I smile.  When I first began this practice, I was gentle around the under eye and, as time passed, I was able to increase the amount of pressure.  Don't go crazy until your skin gets used to it. You do not want to cause any bruising to the skin.

This method counteracts traditional advice out there telling you to use only your pinky finger to gently pat that area.  I'm of the belief that everything atrophies unless it receives the right amount of blood flow and stimulation.  Stimulation promotes life!  This eye pinching technique works extremely well for me.  But alas, if I'm not consistent, things start to go back to the way they were.

I'm drafting a post on stimulationg the entire facial area as part of a daily beauty routine.  Make sure you don't miss it!

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The one time when protein overload may be a good thing

10.14.2014

For the past week or so, I got a little lazy with my moisturizing routine.  In an effort to save time, I skipped a few steps. Instead of applying liquid, then moisturizer then oil, I only did two steps.  First I misted my hair with Evian Facial Mist spray then finished up with coconut oil.  This routine was pretty much repeated daily since I traveled all week.

While all of this was happening, I wasn't thinking about the eventual outcome of using coconut oil every day.  As you might recall, coconut oil is said to have the power to provide the hair strand with protein.  Each day my hair was essentially absorbing protein. By the time the week was over, my hair was feeling stiff and didn't absorb moisture as well.

On Sunday I decided to touch up my roots (p.s. my last touch up was about 3 months ago. Normally I like to wait 4 months but I experienced quite a bit of growth from taking bamboo tea regularly during the late summer months) .  At the start of the relaxer process, I put a little coconut oil on my hair to help protect the hair from the relaxer run-off.  It wasn't until half way through the relaxer process that it dawned on me that the stiffness I was experiencing was probably a result of all that layering of coconut oil.  But here's the thing.  By the time I rinsed the relaxer out, I realized just how great my hair felt.  The stiffness went away but my hair still felt strong and resilient.

Then I thought, perhaps the additional protein within my strands added another layer of protection during the chemical process.  Typically, after a touch up, I go through this rebuilding phase where I pamper my hair with protein rich products to put strength back into my hair.  This time was different.  I should mention that I still did the responsible thing by adding a little pure protein + silk amino acids to my relaxer mix.  Everything worked together to create a wonderful symphony of strength.  Heck, I didn't need to break out my Tiger Reconstructor spray

I will definitely pay close attention to my protein levels prior to relaxing in the future.  One thing I'll do differently next time will be to provide as much protein lovin' to my roots as to the rest of my length.  After all, that's the hair closest to the line of fire. A day or so has passed and everything is just peachy keen.  Now that my hair feels pretty balanced, I'll go back to my regularly scheduled moisturizing routine.  At least now I have a strategy for when next wash day comes around.



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New In | Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails gummies

10.11.2014

Immediately after featuring this product in a past Instagram Beauty Secrets post, these interesting looking biotin treats were placed on my wish list.  A little time passed but I'm happy to say that I finally have a these biotin rich gummies within my clutches.


Let me just start off by saying these are REALLY good.  Too good to be considered a nutritional supplement.  I'm ashamed to say that I have taken way more than the recommended dosage.  Not because I'm trying to ramp up my nutrition but because these gummies are so good, I can't stop eating them.  Honestly, I can't tell you which tastes better, these or NeoCell's Beauty Bursts. Actually, they're both perfect.  

I'm just happy to have go to options whenever my sweet tooth kicks in.  Not only do they satisfy my cravings but they help support my hair regimen as well.  What more can I ask for?


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#Fearless Friday| How being Fearless Changed My Life

10.10.2014

I hope that some of you have taken on #fearlessfriday as a mantra.  This tiny little slogan has pretty much changed my life.  Although it first began as a means of making tiny, uncomfortable choices that I would otherwise avoid, somehow the idea of taking fearless action has now seeped into other areas of my life.  Through the practice of #fearlessfriday, I became very aware of how hesitation in my action was causing pain in my life.  Once I realized that, things everything changed.  This week, I made a decision which will essentially change my life.  My life in 2015 will look very different from the past four years.  I have a multitude of possibilities ahead of me simply because I was inspired to practice walking towards my fears.

I apologize for the cryptic nature of this post.  My intention is to inspire you into doing something small today that will cultivate the feeling of power and courage.  There is so much available for you if you take being fearless as your own personal challenge.  Remember, we're not talking about jumping out of planes (yet).  We're talking about doing small, ego building actions that will eventually lead to dragon slaying.  I slayed a massive dragon on Monday. But only because I stepped on a few insects first.  I know there are other, much larger dragons that will be coming my way, so I will continue to practice insect squashing each and every day.


Speaking of dragons, you know how in old school video games, there was always this huge dragon or monster that protected a princess or pot of gold or something?  I think real life is like this.  We all probably have this huge goal (one of mine is to become financially independent).  But along the way, there are a myriad of minions that must be defeated.  After all the obstacles, you finally get to the place where you find your princess.  Problem is that she's being held captive by a massive beast.  This beast is your biggest fear.  Good thing you went through all the trouble of defeating his minions because you were able to collect extra points, additional powers and learn fighting techniques to conquer the dragon.  Imagine how frustrating the game would be if you had to face the dragon right away.  No, instead, you go through the process.  One reason why we don't achieve big goals because we haven't built up our powers.  We can not rescue our princess without successfully completing level 1.  That is what #fearlessfriday is all about.  So if you haven't taken the idea of #fearlessfriday as mantra for today, I invite you come play.  Let's slay that dragon!

(*No animals were harmed during the writing of this post*)

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