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“Paying” for Beauty?

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Nordstrom 2016 Beauty Event goodies!

The Oakbrook Nordstrom Fall 2016 Beauty Trend Show hit the ball out of the park in terms of creativity and content (at least for the most part). As a savvy skin care shopper, Nordstrom is near the top of my list when it comes to product availability, style, customer service, and bang for my buck! Who’d have thunk it? A major department store that gives the customer luxury experience as well as price points for all? They did it right this time when so many major retailers are doing it wrong with such things as “restrictive” coupons, misguided marketing campaigns (a.k.a. bait and switch) poor customer service, and anything less than the luxury experience they claim (i.e. Macy’s).

However, let’s get back to the positives and all that was right in terms of showcasing the Fall 2016 Beauty Trends and the awesome fun-filled experience for the woman who knows what she wants-Nordstrom Oakbrook Center, ya did good! While I don’t always comment on these types of events, this time Nordstrom pulled off a creative event in which most went away satisfied (a dramatic improvement over the Spring 2016 Beauty event) having had the luxury experience that we all need a little of from time to time.

This past weekend was all about being the #PhenominalWomanIBe and appreciating myself as a woman. I often tell my clients, “if you are an empty well, there is nothing you have to give to others”; this is so true and unfortunately too many of us think that if we keep being “super woman” others will eventually find us worthy! That’s an untruth many woman tell themselves as they struggle at the “crossroads” of their lives, trying to find contentment as they spin on that hamster wheel going nowhere. I hate to break it to you my sisters, but if YOU do not see the value and unique beauty that YOU bring to this earth, there are few who will see that special essence that you carry within.

I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade or pander to the negative; I’m only stating a simple truth that comes when you realize that a healthy and balanced life requires that you set boundaries (protecting and respecting your inner core). Ultimately, you must grow comfortable in your own skin, realize that you can’t please or be everything to everyone, and take care of both your physical and mental health. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’m a skin care freak and as such I’m always looking for new tips, tricks and all things natural for maintaining healthy radiant skin.

So what did I DO this past weekend? Well, this #SkinCareFreak was on the hunt,  and I decided not to miss out on attending Nordstrom’s Fall 2016 Beauty Trend Show in at the Oakbrook Mall (Oakbrook, IL)!😘💄 That’s right ladies, my “crew” and I camped out at the Oakbrook Mall in the wee hours of 4am to get first dibs at the beauty trend items (anti-aging, renewal, replenishment, hydration, etc) coming into the season. Needless to say, it was all about protection for the winter, fragrance and yes, cosmetics!💄🙌🏽

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Early bird gift!

As a health and fitness strategist, I believe in creating working strategies for the “WHOLE” woman; not just shedding the unhealthy weight and relationship with food, but also helping EVERY woman appreciate herself and all of the quirks and imperfections that make her uniquely beautiful in her space. In other words, attending this beauty event was not just about checking out the latest in skin care, but about making sure I did what was necessary to “do me”!  That is not to say that one needs ALL these things to feel good about oneself; but what I am saying is, there is something inherently therapeutic about treating yourself to some “me” time, reorienting yourself, and ultimately getting in balance!

Bottom line? A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling great and loving what you see when you look in the mirror! Get fit, healthy, and change the way you see yourself by growing and developing on the inside out!Blessings!😘

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Getting it right, for YOU!

I’ve since arrived at the conclusion that when it comes to weight loss, fitness, and over all toning and conditioning, every woman’s body responds differently. I’m always amazed at all the lies and downright hurtful gimmicks aimed at women! Dang IT! We women seem to be the targets of a lot of negative media and social attacks! Part of it stems from the larger problems within our society that are currently being stirred up and played out on the  socio-political stage.

Given all the shifting undercurrents we are being subjected to as well as marketing aimed at all of our insecurities, it’s no wonder that women across the board are more stressed, overwhelmed and feeling pressured to not just fit every role created for us, but to also live up to standards that have little or no basis in reality! Don’t even mention those that are being forced upon us by segments of society that seek to strip women of all the socio-political gains we have fought for over the years. Am I pissed and ticked off? Duh!! Yes! WHY  you might ask? Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that “THIS” whole “THANG” (forced social, political, and gender roles) has to do with power and “WHO” gets to wield it over some one else.

It’s unfortunate that we still still live in a world and society where there are those among us who seek to subjugate, control and dictate to other human beings simply because “they” will it to be so. I’m on a rant today because we WOMEN are still forced to deal with this crap in the 21st century while the other segment of the population glibly marches on with their “special” privileges. NOW, with that context nailed down, add to the mix an unhealthy body image, a skewed relationship with food, etc-EXACTLY! A life out of balance and on that hamster wheel going nowhere! 

The most obvious signs of imbalance for us women tends to be an unhealthy image of our bodies (or ourselves in general), weight gain, insomnia, and so forth. How do get off that crazy train? STOP! Do some real soul-searching and then, make a DECISION, get a PLAN, and then, take ACTION! I never said it would be easy, but you’ve got to come to the realization that YOU are WORTH IT! Why we women struggle with self-worth is NOT a hard thing to figure out when you look around the media and society in general. Hmm, I never saw myself as the proverbial feminist before but if that means, NO more trying to please everyone, NO more trying to fit some one else’s ridiculous image of the ideal woman (i.e. shape, color, size, personality, behavior, etc), and DEFINITELY  NO more “trying” to dictate my biology, THEN F***KING SIGN ME THE HELL UP!!

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, “back to the regular programming”, ha-ha! Bottom line, we women need to stop beating up ourselves about what we see in the mirror or how others perceive us, and just focus on our individual truths, places that need growth (and do what needs to be done to get there), realize that we need to put our health and fitness at the top of our own lists (because if you’re unhealthy there is nothing you can do for anyone else if you’re dead!), and engage in those things that will bring BALANCE and FULFILLMENT to our lives. Now, that IS my “WHY” when people ask me about why I do what I do, but the real question is, WHAT’S YOUR’S? ARE YOU finally FED UP and sick and tired of being sick and tired??

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#TGIF: Time to, relax, relate and release!

So it’s Friday and, WHAT? Well, it should mean or translate into a powering down, reconnecting with our inner selves, and releasing (letting go) of the stresses of the week, and the past. LET IT GO! Hanging on to regrets and that old dead “woulda, coulda, shoulda” only leaves you with a sense of failure, frustration and an inability to focus on reorienting yourself so that YOU can achieve your goals.

That’s not to say that reflection isn’t necessary or that regret is all bad; what I am saying these things have their own place within the context of a well-balanced life. If we don’t reflect (in a constructive manner) on where certain things went wrong in the past, we are more likely to repeat those same mistakes. In a similar manner, if we are incapable of feeling regret (again, within the proper context), that speaks to a lack of personal development or growth as well as a lack of emotional depth.

All of that aside, knowing when to a “system shutdown” is part of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Remember, “fitness” and “health” applies to more than just the physical; it’s also about the mental and emotional aspect of who we are as individuals.

Experience has taught me that the fitness journey is more than weight loss, eating clean, exercise, etc. It’s about the mental and emotional components of who we are, coming in to balance and alignment as part of living a healthy and fulfilling life.My advice? Take the weekend to get outside, break away from technology, connect with the earth (a.k.a. get some nature / outdoor therapy) and decompress! Blessings on the journey…👣

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Body Talk…

So you’ve finally decided to dive in, accept the challenge, join the fit tribe, get your program in gear and now you’re…OFF! Well before you get too comfortable, I’m going to put a little damper on your personal party by injecting a bit of reality! I’m not trying to throw you off, i’m simply trying to give you ONE powerful tip as you embark on this lifetime fitness journey.

A lot of times it is so easy to get into a routine and then set our minds on auto-pilot; you have the right program for your fitness level (at least you think you do), your nutrition plan is all worked out, BUT you are MISSING one component that can make or break you (in terms of whether or not you succeed or quit and fail). What is that one COMPONENT? It’s called listening to your B.O.D.Y! That’s right, engaging in a physical self-check of how different parts of your body are responding to your workout routines will go a long way toward helping you avoid injuries and possible failure.

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Diva Skin? seriously?

Yes I have issues with breakouts a.k.a “eruptions”, discoloration , and just general stuff that only I can see, haha ha! Anyway, short of hiding yourself beneath a vail or becoming one of the mole people, the only sane and effective way to love the skin you’re in, is to KNOW your skin. What does that mean? S.I.M.P.L.E.! GET to know the skin you’re in; literally, make a, what I like to call, “a skin diary” in which you catalogue all the things you love about your skin, what you hate about it, and THEN make a list of ALL the products you’ve been using on your skin for the last month (longer, if you can actually recall it).

Once you’ve completed that list (yes, that’s why I said make a “diary” ’cause this is gonna take a minute ), break everything down from what you use on your skin daily as well day vs. nighttime skincare regimes. Believe it or not, this actually WORKS!! So well in fact, that    in my case, I actually started saving money because either I found out that I was doubling up on unnecessary product and or over stimulating my skin; which equaled D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R. for my Diva skin. While I love my skin now (thank you mom and dad, for good genes, plus sage skincare advice from both doctors and a knowledgeable mom-yes natural and ancient / traditional skin remedies that minimally processed win out every time! Boomsies!), this was NOT always the case.

In my teens and twenties, I ignored a lot of the advice that was handed down to me and I usually ended up crying and babbling to my momma about my terrible skin, my life was over, blah blah blah; you know the usually teen scream, ha haha. Anyway, once I got over myself and started really caring about my skin, what I put on it, and IF my Diva skin was loving my skincare regime, THAT’S when I had my AHAH moment. Once you start treating your skin like it’s a living thing, only THEN will it give you a break (no pun intended *wink*).

This brings us right back to, exercise, diet / nutrition, and mind-body wellness. I don’t think I need to beat that dead horse again BUT, I will; what you put into your body, whether or not you exercise, mental health, etc, ALL of these “THINGS” impact YOUR SKIN!!!  Stress and poor nutrition will kill your skin from the inside out-Those eruptions you’re so “frustrated” about? Yeah, they’re probably tied to your those ding dongs, burgers and fries you’ve been chomping on at work because you were too harried to pack a healthy and nutritional lunches this week alone. I don’t know about you, but it’s been my experience that when overly stressed, I eat crap (junk food is the panacea of emotional and stress eating), don’t really feel like exercising or engaging in anything productive.

I’m just being REAL about my issues, and maybe it’s something you have or have not experienced, BUT this was an area I felt like ranting about so here you’ve got it! For all of you have “celebrity star” skin, you know, the kind that NEVER seems to have issues; just perpetually PERFECT skin (yeah, STOP lying!), this may not be all that informative to you. But for the rest of us on planet earth, STOP and evaluate your skincare regime, your health and fitness as well as your mental health. Blessings on the Journey!wp-1461196251819.jpg

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No “Expert” required…

Okay, break out the tissue on this one because you might need it after I’m done! Here goes: be honest, I mean REALLY  be honest with your self-do you really think you NEED an expert to tell you you’re going nowhere fast, a hamster on someone else’s wheel, working on someone else’s dream? And do you NOT already know that you’re over-stressed, over-worked, over weight and slowly killing yourself because YOUR HEALTH sucks?!

I G.E.T. I.T.! Really I do know what that’s like! A few years ago I hit a rough patch in my life (relationship and health issues, etc) and though I’d like to say I’m totally over it all, that would be a lie. Yes I’ve grown a lot, but I’m still battling through health issues; the only difference is, I FINALLY got tired of looking in the mirror and NOT liking what I saw. This wasn’t because I was some evil “Borg” Queen (oops, my inner Trekkie speaks again *wink*) out to crush everyone in her path in order to climb the professional ladder, or even just a sad excuse for a human being; my problem? FEAR! It cripples and hinders even the best of us, and if you don’t get a grip on it, it will trap you on an endless cycle of discontent, failure and hopelessness.

In my case, the most obvious symptom was being over weight, unhealthy and stressed to my breaking point. I’m not going to go into a long story or get :preachy” but I will say this, YOU WANT CHANGE? Take ACTION otherwise you’re really not at your breaking point, AND YOU’RE just wasting your time and anyone trying to help you get on track; Yep, I’m talking about me! I CAN NOT help you get to where you want to be unless, YOU DECIDE and COMMIT to the journey too…

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Start Now…
What is perfection?…

What is perfection?…

I took some time the other day to “catalog” all my “imperfections” (yeah, you know the ones you see and can’t see, *wink and sigh*) and it was a bummer! Really what sane individual does that? Well, we women do of course! DUH! Every day we allow others to define perfection for us; for society, media and “tradition to tell us, “if you want to be perfect, to need to be or do…”.

Witness ALL the magazine (and other print and digital media) categories of perfection, societal references, practices and “code” words (i.e. slim, plus size, thick, fair, ethnic, etc) and the infinite list of other such descriptions, and that’s ENOUGH to let ANY woman know that she is a slave to others. That is, until SHE comes into the knowledge of SELF, HER worth in the universe, and HER place in it!

All the diets, and yes “procedures” in the world WON’T and CAN’T change the perspective of an enslaved, unawakened, or uninformed mind and spirit. Neither will spending 3 plus hours at the gym or starving yourself in to a size “0”! In the words of the Borg Collective (yes, I’m making a reference to the Borg from Star Trek MG because I’m an unashamed Trekkie, deal with it! He hehe), “resistance is futile”. The hard truth is that with the such fluid and subjective standards, it’s literally insane that we women even try to live up to this crap!
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Needless to say, it’s exhaustive, toxic and cruel and has been designed to both limit and “keep” us in our place. I’m not even going to try to make the claim that this is a conscious effort by men or society in general (although it may have at some point in time, and has been conditioned and made more complex through the machinations of culture and other factors, etc). All that DRAMA? I’m over it! It took me a while to see it and I must confess that im still on the journey to self-discovery and empowerment, but OH WHAT A RIDE, Boom Shaka Laka, BOOOM!

Other than a real desire to be healthy and fit ( it was actually a necessity if I wanted to actually live longer and stronger ), I embarked on this journey because I recognized that being fit and healthy on the OUTSIDE requires that I ALSO be “WHOLE” on the inside. The irony? Getting PHYSICALLY fit is actually a lot easier than internal stuff, ha! My take away? Damn, I’m SOO WORTH IT! The question you’ve gotta ask yourself is, ARE YOU? Boomsies and get on the journey to fitness, health, and wholeness…👣
P.s. follow my fitness journey here and on facebook👣
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Learn to Color Outside the Lines…

Learn to Color Outside the Lines…

Hey, hey hey! It’s that time again- time to see what all the fuss is about  or not! So the other day I thought I’d make my day off a “spa” and outdoor therapy session 💄🌞 Can I just say, EVERY one needs time to recharge and release stress and negativity on a daily basis.

Anyway, I picked up some skincare goodies😉 along the way, as I get ready for the glorious intensity of summer (*skincare freak alert*) and just, YEAH!! I know, I admit it, summer is my favorite season and I’m going to spend most of it outdoors🌞

I loaded up on some goodies from LUSH , Kiehl’s Fresh, and few odds and ends from my local Fruitful Yield. The big surprise disappointment? The ultrabland fave cleanser! 😕 It was greasy, unwieldy and called for waay too much drama than I was prepared to deal with at the end of the day. Yes it was hydrating, but the clean after the CLEAN UP? NOT worth the drama; look, I might have diva skin, but my skincare can definitely NOT be diva in kind😥
As for the shower gel (it’s called beautiful, still not sure why)? Meh! They discontinued my favorite one so my LUSH journey continues.

Another surprise (in a good way) came in the former of an awesome organic black soap by Alafia. I always get a kick out of seeing beauty secrets from back home getting the spot light 💄🌞😂. I remember my aunties using black soap for literally every skincare mishap, and remember thinking , “wow! This stuff is ugly but it’s like magic)😂

Anyway, given the diva nature of my skin, I decided to try the commercial version with a few drops of my vegan essential oils and, BAAM! AWESOME! This is now on my list of skincare faves💄Uh did I mention it only cost nine dollars and some change for that awesome bottle, plus it’s WAAY cheaper than the LUSH brand of shower gel that left me feeling less than impressed!😉

Bottomline, investigate and find what works for your skin and DON’T be afraid to try something new-color outside the lines for a change….Boomsies😉
P.s. I’ve got tons more stuff to check out so laters😉
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Nature Girl!

Nature Girl!

Yay for Saturday nature day!! I love the sunshine and all that it signifies-life, renewal, vision and direction. That’s what I think of when I see the sun light streaming in through my windows and for me, that’s hope finding it’s way to me and guiding me on my journey. A little corny but, that’s how I feel about it so there ! *sticking out tongue* 😀

I’m thinking farmers markets setting up shop, tulips stretching out their leaves as their petals unfurl, yeah, yeah, that’s right I’m feeling a little poetic so sue me….these are just some of the things that come to my mind when I think of Spring and later, Summer.

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I get really energized, especially for my workout mindset, when the sun is shinning and there’s a balmy breeze blowing in through the balcony doors; awesome. RIGHT?! Who can’t visualize the magic of a beautiful day filled with the sights and sounds of nature even as you add your own tone to that sacred melody, just, WOOOW! I’m grateful for fellow fitness sojourners teaming up with me for a brisk hike at the Indiana dunes and forward unto….the next adventure!👋🏽😂🌻👣wp-1461008071326.jpg

Another Saturday bites the dust…

Another Saturday bites the dust…

I still wonder why Saturdays always seem to go by so quickly.Sometimes I literally feel like I’m trapped in some alternate universe (I’m feeling a Star Trek moment coming on) where time speeds up in front of you, and slows down once you’ve passed that point. That just might be a sign from
above telling me to get on with the business of living too!

In any event, what ever thoughts are whirling around in your head driving you this side of nutty remember,YOU can not live and fully experience life to the fullest if YOU’RE not healthy and whole. Now that would be the real tragedy of the day wouldn’t it?

IMG_20160101_195043I’m not saying workout till you look like Arnold or aspire to the ridiculous image of a plastic Barbie doll, all I’m saying is taking the time to care for your OWN body, mind and total wellness is not an if or a maybe; it’s literally a matter of life and death. Too many women are dying from heart disease and other conditions related to an unhealthy lifestyle and it’s time to get off that crazy train that’s headed off that proverbial cliff! To be healthy and well is to be able to truly live and fulfill the potential within. Don’t selfishly deny your family or the world of that gift…just keeping a little bit of perspective here…