Mindset

Do You Need to Update Your Self-Care Methods?

With all that is going on in the world and in our communities, your methods of self-care and restoration may need adjusting.  What worked perfectly before may not work so well now as things in our lives has drastically changed.  That is ok. 

Keeping in tune with our senses, because we are human beings, you must be attuned to what you let in, how much you let in and for how long.  We don’t want to bury our heads in the sand because it is important to address the issues that affect us, but we have to protect our emotional selves. 

To prevent burnout and mental exhaustion, it’s important to have outlets.  💥Plural- OUTLETS💥.  In many instances, we need more than one way to express ourselves and to release stress in order to live a balanced life.

For so many people it is a struggle because we simply don’t know how to deal with the additional stresses of life.  Here are some great inexpensive ways to help:

Guided Meditation

YouTube has a plethora of free guided meditations available.  Simply do a search a try out a few to see which one works best for you.  Here are a couple I have used and highly recommend:

Calming Anxiety Guided Meditation

Clear The Clutter of Your Mind Guided Meditation

The Daily Calm 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation

4-7-8 Breathing

I wrote an article a few weeks back on 4-7-8 breathing.  If you missed it you can read it here.   There are also guided 4-7-8 breathing sessions on YouTube.  Here are two to get you started, check them out here:

 4-7-8 Dr. Weil Video

 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

Journaling 

Sometimes just getting your feelings out on paper in a safe space helps.  You don’t need a fancy notebook (unless you just want it). All you’ll need is some plain paper, a pen and a place to keep your written thoughts secure. 📒✏️💭

Exercise 

I am not suggesting you go out and get a gym membership or revisit your old gym.  I am suggesting that you get blood flowing every day and move.  Our bodies need some sort of purposeful movement every day.  For some that may mean the gym.  Others may decide to lift weights at home. Take a walk.  Stretch your muscles.  Many movements are quite simple and can be done either at home or at the local park. Again YouTube has all types of health and fitness videos for all levels of fitness! 🧘🏾‍♀️👟🚲🏀

Keep in mind that if you find you are still struggling to cope, need someone to talk to or consistently feel overwhelmed please reach out to a professional mental health counselor. There is only one you and you must take care of yourself – mind, body and soul. 

Until next time…

Beauty and Hygiene

10 Tips to Maintain Excellent Feminine Hygiene

This post is for all women.  Regardless of your age or stage of life, this post does not assume anything.  Consider these tips as a refresher, a talk with a friend or as good ole advice from your favorite auntie🥰.

1.  Bathe head to toe at least once a day 🛁– including all folds and hot spots.  What are hot spots for women?  Underarms, under breasts, under the abdomen (if you have a fold here), vaginal/rectal area and feet).  Ladies there is no way around it.  We sweat.  It’s a fact of life.  You must keep your body clean🧼. Don’t forget to moisturize.

2.  Use fragrance free cleanser on the vaginal area.  News flash- your vagina is NOT supposed to smell like a rose floral bed or spring meadow.  HOWEVER, it should not smell like a death trap either.  I am convinced that summers eve was created by a man who probably had good intention, but seriously missed the mark.  To prevent irritation, wash this area with fragrance free cleanser and only the outer portion of the vagina (Mons pubis, clitoral hood, vulva and labia (lips)), perineum (the area between the anus and the vagina) and anus.  Douching, bubble baths and feminine sprays are also not recommended as it can disrupt the flora within the vagina exposing you to infection and irritation.  ** Ladies if you do develop an odor that is out of ordinary for you or foul smelling, please go to the gynecologist as soon as possible.

3.  Minimize or remove body hair to reduce the collection of odors.  Along with so many other things, coronavirus put a kink in our beauty maintenance.  You may be a fan of sugar waxing, hard wax, soft wax, laser, however with the spas closed, hair in your neither regions may have got out of control.  Some salons are beginning to reopen and if you are brave enough to go, you will be back on track.  For the rest of us, at home body hair maintenance can be done with an eyebrow razor or traditional razor if it does not irritate your skin.  You can cut the pubic hair down and shape up with an eyebrow razor.  Easy peasy!  Use a mirror, you don’t want to cut your clitoris😉.  The odor from the collection of sweat will be minimized. 

Side note:  I am in no way judging women who prefer to keep their body hair.  This tip is to help those who want to remove body hair to minimize odor.

4.  Change panty liners throughout the day and don’t wear tampons for more than a couple of hours at one time and change pads frequently.  The liner, tampon, or pad you put on in the morning SHOULD NOT still be on in the evening.  This will prevent not only odor, but also protect your health. Additionally, if you leak urine, consider using Poise Pads or some other bladder control pad as a part of your routine.  They are much more absorbent and thicker than traditional pads.  Remember there are also so many natural cotton fiber options now to choose from.  Be aware of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a serious condition linked to the use of superabsorbent tampons, contraceptive sponges and diaphragms among other things. More information can be found at this link https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxic-shock-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355384. Ladies, if you ever experience any unusual odor, itching, or discharge please make an appointment to see your gynecologist or doctor as soon as possible.

5.  Scrape your tongue👅.  In addition to daily flossing and brushing, scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper.  It helps keep bad breath at bay.

6.  Clean your ears when you wash your face.  Be sure to clean the folds on your ear. If you wear the same earrings every day, especially if they are studs, take them out occasionally and clean the area around the earring and your ear. Dirt easily builds up there causing odors.

7.  Don’t wear the same bra two days in a row.  Change your underwear EVERYDAY.  Wear cotton crotch underwear.  Please remember when you are wearing non-cotton underwear, your vagina is not in ideal conditions.  Therefore, limit the wear of non-cotton materials.  If you are a frequent thong wearer, it is even more important to keep up your hygiene as the fabric is literally flossing around and can easily spread germs and bacteria.

8.  Wash your feet.  I am so surprised, when people say they do not bend down and wash their feet in the shower😳.  Ladies, you can’t simply let the soapy water run over your toes and call it a day.  Not good.  When in the shower, bend down and wash your lower calves, ankles and feet.  I use a long handled bristled brush to accomplish this.  Not to mention it feels great- win-win!

9.  Use baby wipes (remember these are not flushable) or flushable wipes (check to see if your brand is flushable) and toilet paper 🧻 when you poop💩.  If you don’t have a bidet (which is the cleanest method of all), you need to wipe the rectal area clean with a wipe, then follow up with toilet paper.  Think of it like this- can you imagine just wiping your baby’s butt with a piece of tissue, smearing the poop around, then putting on a new diaper?  Of course not.  Same concept for our adult booties🍑.  Your booty will feel so much better!

10.  Drink water 🚰 throughout the day to keep everything flowing just right and lubricated.  Seriously speaking, dehydration is a fast track to problems.  Make water your primary drink and occasionally imbibe in sugary and alcoholic beverages.  The changes you will see in your skin will amaze you and your body will love you for it!

Until next time…

Mindset

How to Open Your Mind to the Possibility of ‘What If’

Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

Are you always second guessing yourself?  Do you make plans in your head but before you can even get to work on it, you talk yourself out of it?  Let’s talk.

Sometimes our internal dialogue, the conversation we have with ourselves holds us back and we don’t realize it. 

It is more than ok to be scared, apprehensive or nervous about something.  In some cases, it is completely natural.  I mean, starting a business, for example, is scary. Going back to school after a long break, is scary.  Going on a date (if you have been single for a while) or starting a relationship can be nerve wrecking making you nervous.

However, scary does not mean unattainable.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.  Being apprehensive shouldn’t mean you don’t take risks.

There is always going to be a what if.  What if I do go out on a limb? What if they reject me? What if they laugh? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I don’t make it? What if I fail?  What if I don’t, and I succeed!

Use your fears to your advantage.

Use your apprehension to your advantage. 

Here is what you can do.  For all the risks you are aware of- instead of them being counterproductive, use them to plan ahead for the pitfalls you anticipate.  That’s the key- prepare for it.   Don’t allow the ‘what if” to hold you back.

So, what if you do _______ (fill in the blank).  What if you win?  What if you succeed?  What if it prospers or grows?  Be positive.  Don’t stop yourself before you start.

Change your mindset to one of which you tell yourself you are aware of the risks.  HOWEVER, you can still accomplish what you want to do.  I am not asking you to deny your thoughts or feelings.  I am asking you to acknowledge the thought and feeling and then make a choice to choose something different. 

Now instead of asking yourself – What have you got to lose?  Ask yourself – What could you gain?  Bet on yourself.  Have confidence in yourself. You can do whatever it is that you want to do with hard work.  Don’t second guess yourself.

Until next time…

Mindset

How to Create Your Own Blissful Spa Experience at Home

THE MINDSET OF LUXURY

Nighttime can truly be a luxurious time you look forward to.   At the end of a long day, you can treat yourself to a little bit of luxury in your own private haven.

Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

Luxury doesn’t have to mean expensive.  In fact, I think luxury comes in different forms and different monetary values.  Yes, at first thought we equate luxury with expense, but it is not always the case.  You can create a luxurious mood with products from the drug store, dollar store, Macy’s or Neiman Marcus.  It’s not the label or the cost it is your state of mind and with a little creativity your personal haven can be just what the doctor ordered. 

***Before we get started, take the time to clean your home beforehand.  There is nothing luxurious about stepping over laundry, having a dirty bathroom (including the tub 🛁), looking at piled dishes in the sink, dust on the headboard, etc.  Clean your home and personal space.  It makes a difference.  You’ll be glad you did.🥰

Set the Mood and Create Your Scene

The mood…oh yes, and you get to define exactly what that means.  Moods (Sexy, relaxing/spa, earthy/meditative, etc.)  You choose.  🧘🏾‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️🧘‍♀️ There is no standard, it is what you want and what makes you feel beautiful, relaxed and luxurious.

The key to luxury is to incite your senses –  what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

Here are some ideas to provoke your senses within your home:

  • Use a light dimmer or apply softer lighting in general to create an atmosphere of relaxation and peace. 
  • Display soft throws, pillows, and pretty blankets to make your area cozy and visually inviting.  
  • Try incorporating a calming, peaceful color scheme to your area. 
  • Consider using white crisp towels or pastel colors for the bath – representing not only cleanliness but tranquility for a spa like effect. 
  • A pretty flower arrangement can also bring a sense of being in a spa-like environment.  Flowers can be fresh or silk in an arrangement or single stems in a vase.
  • Spark your auditory senses with soothing sounds created by a bamboo water flowing fountain machine, an app (the calm app or calm.com is fantastic!) or even use YouTube with relaxing soundtracks of cracking fires, ocean sounds or classical music.
  • Consider creating a spa luxury playlist of music you want to hear while relaxing. 
  • Spritz your bed sheets and pillows with linen spray, an essential oil blend or use a light mist of your perfume. 
  • Try aromatherapy, essential oils and scents that infuse your area with tranquility. 
  • Scents to consider- eucalyptus, rose, lavender, patchouli, coconut, jasmine or vanilla.
  • Light simple scented candles to infuse the room with delightful scents.
  • Sip on a relaxing beverage.  For some, this may be a glass of wine.  Stay in line with the scene you have created by pouring the wine in a nice glass flute.  For others, it may be cucumber water, tea or hot chocolate.  Select a pretty mug, preferably one with an inspiring message on it.  
  • If you plan on soaking in the bath, consider using a bath pillow. 
  • While in the bath, use a bath caddy or tray for the tub to hold your book, wine, and snack. 
  • Use a bath overflow drain cover which allows you to fill the tub as much as you’d like.

Begin pampering yourself 🧖🏾‍♀️🧖🏼‍♀️🧖‍♀️

Cleanse your face neck and décolletage.

Apply a moisturizing face mask (with a brush for a spa like effect).

Use an eye mask.

While soaking in the tub, you can use choose anything from epsom salts, bath bombs, bath salts, elixirs, bath oils and bubble baths. 

Remember any of these products and items can be purchased anywhere from your basic drug store to a high-end luxury market.  The sky’s the limit with your imagination and budget!

Thoroughly cleanse your body using an exfoliating towel, bath gloves, loofah, mitt or bath brush. Sugar scrub your entire body and use a scented oil on your freshly exfoliated skin.

Don’t forget to enjoy your beverage.

After toweling off and using your scented oil or lotion, lightly spritz perfume on your wrists and décolletage. 

If you are in the mood, massage your feet with some oil.  Your feet will love you for it. 

Put on the most sensual robe you own.  I know many women own several robes.  Choose the robe that gives you the most luxurious and sensual feel.  (This would not be the robe with the breakfast stains, hair dye stains, or holes in it.  That’s another post all together☺️ -getting rid of such an item).  Choose the robe you feel most beautiful in.

Allow the stress of your day to continue to melt away.  Indulge yourself in this total relaxing experience.

Going to bed

At this point your body is cleansed, exfoliated and moisturized.  Your luxurious experience has resulted into not only clean skin, but skin that is silky smooth and delightfully scented.  Your lighting is relaxing and peaceful.  Your background music is low and brings you an aura of peace and total relaxation.  If you wear a headwrap at night to preserve that fantastic hairstyle, tie up your headwrap in a sexy way.  If you don’t use a headwrap, pin up your hair in a sexy alluring style.  The idea is to not only get in the mood and mindset but keep you in a mood of luxury.  Ask yourself how you would look if you were visiting an expensive, luxurious spa.  You would not have a rag on your head, you would have a stylish wrap.  If your hair was loose you would pin it up stylishly.   

Wear a flattering garment to bed.  Go with your comfort level.  Remember go with what makes YOU feel beautiful.  If you love the feel of satin or silk on your skin go for it.  If you love the feel of cotton use it!  Whatever fabric you choose make sure the garment is in line with your idea of luxury.   Get out that item that you feel absolutely beautiful in and put it on.  Why wait for a “special occasion” or a “special someone”?  Allow that special someone to be you.  Plan to make this a personal ritual to transform your space and thoughts.  Remember being a sexy woman begins in your mind.  Combine the mindset of your sexiness with your environment of luxury and enjoy the rest and restoration you deserve. 

Until next time…

Mindset

How to Stop Making Excuses to Yourself and Get That Thing Done!

Find Your Why

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before you commit to that thing you want to do, you know- the thing that you always seem to make an excuse for which prevents you from executing it, determine your why

What does that even mean?

Ask yourself why on earth you want to do this?  Why is it so important?  What will you gain? What will happen if you don’t follow through and continue to make excuses and fail to get back on track? 

Your why has to be so compelling that when human nature tells you that you are too tired, too hungry, too fat/skinny, too poor, don’t have the time, not smart enough/too hard, or that you might fail at it- you get back on the horse and keep trotting. 

The why must be more compelling than the reasons you make an excuse. 

The drive and compulsion will hopefully prevent you from deviating too far from your goal or plan AND if you do happen to deviate you can get yourself back on track relatively easy.

For example:

Plan/GoalReason for change (this is usually very vague)The WhyPlan to make it happen (make this as specific as possible)
Lose WeightTo fit my bikini. (lol) To fit my clothes better.To improve my cardiovascular health.
To decrease my chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
To improve my overall look.
Meal planning.
Eat foods in moderation. Reasonable and consistent exercise. 
Get Promoted at JobTo make more money.To provide for my family.
To support my children through college.
To travel the world.
Take courses to enhance skills. 
Learn a trade/go to collegeTo make a living.To supplement my existing income.
To provide for my family.
To improve my existing lifestyle.
To travel the world.
Enroll in trade school or college program.
Consider internships/apprenticeships. Practice skills.
Start a businessTo follow a passion.
To find meaning and purpose.
To be innovative.
To invest in yourself long term.
To develop financial independence.
To create an asset and a legacy.
Develop a business plan. Learn about SEO.
Learn about the industry.

Stop Worrying About What Others Have to Say

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

You’ve heard it before.  Opinions are like buttholes…everybody’s got one.  Well it’s completely true.  Everyone has an opinion one way or another and you will not agree with everyone’s opinion, perspective or point of view.  That is OK!  While you are working on your goal, you cannot be sidetracked by what others will say. Sometimes this may include family and friends.😢

There are times when it seems like everyone has something to say about the decision you have made.  If you listen to too many voices, you may become secretly discouraged. Allow the comments and opinions to be just that- a comment or opinion.

One of the biggest issues out there that people give excuses for is weight loss /health improvement. I’ve been guilty of this one for sure!! I know many individuals may feel very uncomfortable walking into a gym and working out because they are worried about what people are going to say.  They may even feel uncomfortable taking a walk around the block or going to the park to do some exercise. That is a horrible feeling to be uncomfortable in your own skin. The worry for some people can become so intense they just give up, despite knowing that exercise is what is best for them.  You can not live life productively always being super concerned about what someone will say. Worrying about what people will say about your size (large or small).  Worrying about how you look in your athletic gear or clothes.  Not being confident in your knowledge about the exercise routine, how to use the weights, or being able to keep up in group fitness. You would miss out while others are out living their best life.

However.

Here is my genuine gift to you from my heart and I hope it sticks with you. 

NO ONE IS BORN KNOWING ANYTHING.  

We all have to learn whatever it is that we do.  If we do it well, it’s because we have made lots of mistakes and have had lots of practice.  That being said everyone has a beginning.  Including the buff fitness chick or hercules stud watching their bicep curls in the mirror.  The fitness instructor had a first day.  The trainer had a first day and we all start out at different levels.  Just to be clear I am not hating on anyone.  I am just acknowledging that we all start at the beginning.

On a side note, you can believe that there are individuals in the gym, park, wherever, who are secretly in awe of you.  In awe of your dedication, strength, and courage.  Silently cheering you on. That I have no doubts about.

This does not just apply to fitness and physique. In just about any area of your life, you can bet someone has an opinion about it and what they think you should do.  Live for you. Make your own decisions.  It is ok to take advice from trusted advisors or trusted sources, but the final decision must always be made by you, for you and in your best interest.

You cannot pay your bills with an opinion.  So, do what you have to do!  No matter what.  Will there be naysayers? Oh yes.  You can count on it.  You can also count on the fact that there will be people who want to encourage you and will be inspired by you.  There may be times you will have to walk alone (or at least it seems), stand tall and don’t worry about what they have to say. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let go.

Appreciate Your Accomplishments and Acknowledge How Far You’ve Come

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Sometimes human nature will put doubt in your mind.  It may be a negative self-talk you’ve picked up from someone along the way in your life.  It may have been something said to you as a child or young adult when you were very impressionable and it never left you.  It may be a general pessimistic attitude. It does not have to end there however.

Be proud of whatever accomplishments you have made and strive to keep on that path. Keep a record of your successes- not only your failures. Write it in a journal or planner. Look at the milestones you have achieved. It matters!!

Every step forward can be viewed as a step in the right direction. The step can go two ways- a direct path to lead you one step closer to your goal or plan. Or, alternatively, it can be a step that temporarily takes you off course, teaches you a valuable lesson and then you get back on the road to success. It’s your choice in how you choose to view it. There is no real wasted time, only lessons learned. It is about perspective.

Find a System of Accountability

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

This may be a support group.  A trusted friend or family member.  It may be even an official personal accountability system.  The idea is to have someone who can act as an accountability partner or success partner. Hear me out because there is a difference. We all have experience with being held accountable. Our bosses hold us accountable at work. Customers hold businesses accountable for their products.

Accountability partners generally hold your feet to the fire and act as a person you agree to answer to for your decisions and actions. It is not uncommon to discuss your goals and plans with this partner. However, you must be a-ok and willing to accept and listen when they not only applaud your accomplishments and encourage you, but also call you out on your crap and excuses. Whew- that can be heavy stuff, but it’s so beneficial. The accountability partner usually has the same or similar goals and plans which allows you to be accountable to each other.

Success partners on the other hand do everything an accountability partner does plus more. The main difference is a success partner is able to generally launch themselves for success and does not need you to encourage them in exchange for their assistance. These partners are almost like life coaches and may not have a reciprocal personal vested interest in the process. They are there to strictly guide you and help you achieve your goal.

Let’s say you want to start running, start a fitness routine or program.  Working out with a friend can help you stay accountable.  Although I know it is good for me, I loathe exercising sometimes.  Yes, I said it.  I know it is good for me.  My why is solid- I need to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and get my weight under control.  Yet, as a human being I can come up with excuses -temporarily.  Having an accountability partner helps so much.  Personally, I have accountability partners when it comes to fitness (I have two – I’m so fortunate) and I look forward to meeting them and exercising with them.  They are individuals who can not only relate to what I am experiencing but also offer encouragement.  I in turn do the same for them.  It is definitely a win-win situation. 

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers offer similar support.  The support system is on a larger scale with many resources.  These are opportunities that are well worth it and will teach valuable skills for not only achieving your goals but more importantly maintaining your success.

The Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or the wrong choice.  You are human and it happens.  Adjust your course and keep moving.  Realize there will be many days you are full of fear. Allow that fear to motivate you, not paralyze you. Good things take time and consistency is key. The only person you should be competing against is your former self – always making progress and getting better.

You can do whatever you put your mind to and have a plan for. Stop making excuses and start today to get it done.😉

Until next time…

30 Days of Inspiration

25 April – Day Twenty -Five 30 Days of Inspiration

Listening to Other People’s Opinions

Not to be crude, but you’ve heard the expression…Opinions are like a$$holes, everybody’s got one.

When you get past the language, isn’t that a true statement. 

I mean really. 

Everyone has an opinion about everything. 

Like it or not, that “everyone” umbrella includes you and I.

It’s not the fact that everyone has an opinion that is troubling.  It’s the fact that so many people live their lives and make their decisions based on the opinions of others.

The stress we put on ourselves, thinking about what others think of our daily lives?  Should I wear this outfit?  What will people think?  What will so and so say?  Should I get my hair cut in this or that style?  Will others like it?  How does my dress look? I wonder if people will laugh.🙄

I wasted so much of my younger years worrying about what other people thought of me.  SO MUCH TIME.🤦🏾‍♀️ Trapped in my head actually thinking people gave a darn about whatever it was I was worried about.  In hindsight, I realize that they probably didn’t care as much as I convinced myself they did.  People have their own problems and concerns.  Those who did voice their opinions I should not given any attention to because in most cases they were not people I really considered as valuable.  You live and you learn.

Some people love giving their opinions as if it were the law of the land.  People are free to speak, Lord knows we can’t stop anyone, but you must be careful who you listen to.

Family does not always know what is best.

Friends do not always know what is best.

Co-workers do not always know what is best.

Strangers certainly do not always know what is best.

When listening to someone’s opinion about a situation you are facing, you must really consider the source as well.

Does the person come from a place of true concern?  Is it possible the person has an ulterior motive?  Do they have credible knowledge about what they have an opinion about? 

You see, that’s important, asking yourself those questions.  Opinions aren’t fact.  Therefore, if their opinion isn’t weaved with some wisdom or true experience…how much value should you really put into it?  I’d say not much.

When you have an issue that is a cause of concern for you and your life AND you need to make a decision, consider making a list of pros and cons.  I know it sounds so basic, but you would be surprised by how clear things become when you write it out on paper and really look at it.

You are the one who will ultimately have to live with the decision you make so before you listen to the opinions of others ask yourself…

Can I live with this (insert advice or opinion here) if I take this advice/listen to this opinion?

What does this mean for me long term if I take this advice/listen to this opinion?

Will I have true dependable support if I take this advice/listen to this opinion?

Is this really what I want to do, or am I scared of how I will look to others?

So many people mean well. However, they can only speak from their perspective and thought process.

Remember it is ok to consider someone’s opinion and if you value their advice.  At the end of the day,  make sure you are the one making the decision for what is best for YOU!

You will never make everyone happy, so live your life and be YOU.

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

24 April – Day Twenty – Four 30 Days of Inspiration

What a quote, huh?

One day or day one.  You decide.  Author unknown.

So simple, yet so profound.

How many times have we said ‘one day’…with a spark and sheen in our eyes?  Absolute fire and desire.  All excited and expectant – and just left it there.  Flat.  An empty expectation.  A dream. 

Your “one day” could be anything.   Just fill in the blank. 

The key is having a plan so you can follow up the “one day idea” with a day one and be on your way to accomplishing whatever it is you dream about.

It’s about taking steps in the direction toward accomplishing your goal.  Nothing more.  If you simply sit around and continue to wish for things, absolutely nothing will happen expect time will pass.  That you can be sure of. 

Life has a way of adding detours and unexpectant issues.  That is ok.  You may be off track for a minute or two. You may have to set the plan aside, but always come back to it so you can keep striving forward. 

If the time is going to pass anyway what do you have to lose🥰

Whatever is on your heart that you’ve been thinking about and dreaming about- go for it. 

I think so many people die with exceptional ideas and unrealized or unfulfilled dreams.   Don’t get to the end of your life and have regret that you never attempted to reach your goal.  It is better to have failed at it, than never attempt.

That’s the worse case scenario. I like to stay positive.

Ask yourself how wonderful it will feel to have worked toward something and accomplish it.  You’ll never know if you don’t try.  You get to decide if you’ll start today and take the first step.

I’d love to hear your success stories one day. 

Until tomorrow… 

30 Days of Inspiration

23 April – Day Twenty Third 30 Days of Inspiration

Feeling Unappreciated

Everyone wants to be appreciated. We want to be acknowledged for our successes and accomplishments.  Sometimes we want to be appreciated for our good deeds.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

It’s human nature I suppose. 

We want people to be proud of us; especially when we work hard.

What happens though, when our hard work goes unnoticed?  I mean, when you are working hard but people take it for granted. It can sting.  Resentment can set in.  It usually does not go well. 

I want to encourage you to do your best always…no matter what.  Don’t stop being you. Don’t stop giving your all.     

Do what you do for the right reasons and you won’t go wrong.

You always have options… when you get the opportunity AND the time is right, you can consider going where you are celebrated and appreciated for being you.  However, I would never suggest an impulse move based on your emotions.  Any major changes in your life, should always be calculated and controlled.  Do not allow your emotions to put in a compromising position.

Lastly, learn to celebrate yourself. 

Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader!

Appreciate those around you who give their best.  Appreciate those with good intentions and give effort.  Give honor and accolades when they are just.  People generally want to give their all when they know their efforts are appreciated.

Celebrate yourself and pat yourself on the back when you need to. Be proud of yourself.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Remember, a simple thank you goes a long way. 

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

21 April – Day Twenty-One 30 Days of Inspiration

Today I had to use my own advice and grant myself some grace. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about how important it is to not only forgive yourself, but to give yourself some grace. Do you remember? Hopefully, you read that post📖.

So, a personal thing about me…I am pre-diabetic and insulin resistant.  For years I did not make healthy food choices, did not make healthy beverage choices , did not consistently exercise and I did not manage my stress well.  Yikes. Bad news.

I knew better.

For a long while I was in denial. I did not want to accept that I was really the one responsible for my condition.  No one else.

Now, I’m taking MUCH better care of myself- on the inside.

That’s the thing about caring for yourself holistically- only some parts of obvious to others.  It was easy to see I take great care of my hair, skin and nails.  I dress well👗.  I smell nice🧧.  But I was missing that piece of moderation. I was too often partaking in overindulgence when it came to food.

That is until I started wearing my poor choices around my waist like a heavy tire cloud.   It became quite clear to me that I had to make a change and stick with it!

The human body is amazing though💪🏾💪🏽💪🏻 With consistent care, it starts to heal itself….over time.

So now that I have been making much better choices and taking care of myself from the inside out, I started growing impatient.  Yes, impatient.  I want the results now darn it!

Today, I’ve come to my senses and like I said I’m taking my own advice.  Slow and steady wins the race and I must be patient and consistent.  I’m celebrating how far I’ve come and look forward to where I am headed in my journey.

I encourage you all to keep moving forward.  No matter what your personal battle is.  The feeling of impatience will come to you time to time, but let it pass.  Pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments and keep moving forward. 🧘🏾‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️🧘‍♀️

We’ve got this!!!  One day at a time.

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

19 April – Day Nineteen 30 Days of Inspiration

The Power of a Smile

Photo by Asa Dugger from Pexels

Smiling is contagious. 

I mean, when you walk into a room with a bright smile there is a certain type of energy that accompanies it.  Those around you may not only feel at ease but they will feel a wave of confidence from you. 

This has been my experience. 

Sometimes when I’m nervous I smile.  When I’m kind of anxious about something, I may crack a little smile.  Smiling generally makes me feel better. I also generally feel most beautiful when I smile, and I feel like I look most youthful💆🏾‍♀️. Even with full face makeup, my look is complete when I have a pleasant smile.

Now wait.  There is a difference between a Cheshire cat smile and an authentic one.  I’m talking about the latter. 

A smile that bubbles up from your soul.

Photo by Batel Studio on Unsplash

According to PsychologyToday.com, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress.  Additionally, the article explains that dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin all assist the body as a natural pain reliever, antidepressant/mood lifter and helps the body lower the heart rate and blood pressure.  Whew!  Sign my up.

Smiling also allows others to see that you are approachable.  Many of our relationships, be it romantic, friendship/casual, business, educational or familial all benefit from the power of OUR SMILE.

Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

Improving my mood and reducing my stress is a good enough reason for me to smile.   I hope you are able to find a reason that’s close to your heart to smile today too!

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

18 April – Day Eighteen 30 Days of Inspiration

What Are You Grateful For Tonight?

The new normal is very difficult to adjust too. Everybody is dealing with something and no one is going to be unscathed. Individuals are going hungry or running low on food. Individuals are losing their businesses. The stress of not being approved for the small business loans. Individuals are going to work having to face horrific tragedies and in many cases, they are not properly protected with the equipment they need.

Many questions that simply cannot be answered. Will my child fall behind because they were out of school for so long? Will I find another job if my current job falls through? The list is endless unfortunately. It is too much. A lot of pain. A lot of sorrow. A lot of uncertainty.

Tonight, I am going to be simply thankful and think about the positive things in my life and the life of my family. I am thankful that we are healthy. I am thankful that we are going to bed with our bellies full. I am thankful for having access to clean water and hot water to bathe. I am thankful for my bathroom and having a few rolls of toilet paper lol.

As I wind down to go to bed, I’m going to set my worries and apprehensions aside and just fill my mind with gratitude and positivity so I can rest.

I hope you are able to clear your mind, fill it positivity and rest as well. Even if it’s just for one night. As difficult as it is, strive to keep gratitude in your heart somehow, no matter what you may be facing.

Until tomorrow….

30 Days of Inspiration

17 April – Day Seventeen 30 Days of Inspiration

Beauty is Definitely an Inside Job

As I get older, I realize that beauty is definitely an inside job. No matter how many wonderful eye creams, foundations, moisturizers, or lipsticks I’ve purchased and used, nothing takes the place of the basis of great health. I absolutely love makeup. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way it makes me look.  I get a certain level of confidence and spring in my step when I’m wearing it, but I know the root of it all being brought together is health.   

Unfortunately, we forget about a part that’s even more important than the products-it’s what we’re putting inside our bodies.

Like I said, as I get older, I’ve realized a thing or two.  Things have definitely changed. 

I can’t stuff my face anymore like I did when I was in my 20s with excess sugars and simple carbohydrates like soda, cookies, and cake (ooh la la 🍰) and not worry about bloat or elevated blood sugars.  Not to mention the weight fluctuations because I tended to overindulge with the sweets (hey, just being honest here).  I even discovered a few years ago that dairy was the main reason for the chronic cystic acne I used to suffer from.  Now, in order to maintain my health, which is reflected in my skin I’ve got to be sure to drink enough water daily, I take a slew of multivitamins and generally try to watch what I eat. It has become about moderation for me. It is not a perfect science but it helps!

via Brooke Lark

My skin responds to what I feed my body.  However, I know that no matter what I eat some things are just destined to occur.  Some oily spots are now a little drier, some spots that were never dry are super dry now and need constant attention (my hands and feet).  

via Elle|Styled Stock Society

I realized THAT’S LIFE 🥰.  That’s just part of the BLESSING AND TRADEOFF for continuing to live and I’m not going to complain about it. 

I’m just going to try not to negatively add to the aging process and just embrace and enhance whatever life phase I’m in.   

I’m going to allow beauty to primarily be an inside job for me.

We all know that quality skincare and consistency attribute to having the best skin you can have. When we are living in the best skin we can have, it truly allows the makeup to accentuate our beauty💋.

Here’s to taking care of our bodies by being mindful of what we eat and drink. Here’s to fabulous skin care of all kinds. And my favorite, here’s to luxurious makeup today, tomorrow and forever.💄💋💅🏾

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

4-7-8 Have You Heard of It?

16 April Day Sixteen 30 Days of Inspiration

Have you heard of 4-7-8?  I hadn’t either until about late last spring.  I was listening to different videos on YouTube about mindfulness and gratitude (I’ll link some that I love down below) and I stumbled across a video from Dr. Andrew Weil.

In a nutshell, it’s a breathing technique that helps with relaxation- specifically anxiety and insomnia and a host of other things.  I’ve used it several times since then and it works wonders.  The technique is designed to help you take control of your breathing.🧘🏽‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️🧘‍♀️

According to Healthline, the 4-7-8 technique can give your internal organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost.  Additionally, Healthline states the technique forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, instead if replaying your worries when you lie down at night. 

That’s definitely a win-win in my book!  How about you? 

In his video, Dr. Weil states it can not only calm you, but with regular practice can help with cravings, slow heart rate, improve digestion and deal with stress/irritations that just happen with life (like when someone cuts you off in traffic).🤦🏾‍♀️🙄

Check out Dr. Weil explaining the technique in this quick 5 minute video.

Dr. Andrew Weil 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

Here is a list of great mindfulness and gratitude videos that are free on YouTube that I love:

Daily Calm |10 Mindfulness Meditation| Be Present https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZToicYcHIOU

Morning Gratitiude Affirmations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEDGFaXYIX8&t=120s

528 hz |I Am Affirmations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icXsnHd_Vdk&t=5s

Affirmations for Health, Wealth, Happiness, Abundance 21 Days https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnWlERK0UJc&t=2481s

Mindfulness Meditation Guided 10 Minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p_yaNFSYao

I hope you give it a try. Remember it takes practice.  Let me know what you think!

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

14 April – Day Fourteen 30 Days of Inspiration

3 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Confidence P.S. You Can Do This!!!

So, you wake up and you just aren’t feeling yourself.  Or, perhaps you are in a little confidence slump lasting a few more days than you’d like. Read on for my suggestions to put some pep back in your step.

1. Get out your lingerie and put it on!  Yes, I mean that teddy, bustier, or lacy bodysuit.  Take it out of the drawer.  Lightly spritz it with your favorite perfume and put it on.  Here’s the thing.  You don’t have to have an audience to wear lingerie.  You don’t need a significant other to wear sexy lingerie.  You can and should wear it for you!💋👠  Wearing a little lace and satin (cotton crotch of course) underneath your clothing can be such a confidence boost.  All day, as you sashay around, be it work, the grocery store, or just lounging around the house you’ll know just how pretty it is underneath it all. 😉

Photo by Uliana Kopanytsia on Unsplash

2. This is tried and true but it’s worth mentioning again.  Play up the features you love.  Draw the attention away from the features you consider or perceive is a flaw.  For example, my abs section is wider than I’d like it to be.  However, I think my rack is to die for😘.  Soooo, what do I do?  I wear blouses, tops, and dresses that accentuate the bust and it  works every time.  I try not to focus on what I don’t like or what I wish I had.  Instead, I just work with my body shape and what I’ve got.  On the other hand, you may want to play up certain features in your face.  Work with your makeup to play up your assets.  If you have beautiful lips…get out that beautiful lip liner and lipstick💄 (hello NYX Urban Cafe and NARS Rikugien)!  You have eyes that are mesmerizing, get out the eyeshadow palette, mascara, liner and lashes and get to work.  Remember you want to play up your features to look like you, not someone else.  Be the best version of you!

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

3. Finally, find a quiet space to just sit for a minute and calm yourself. 🧘🏾‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️🧘‍♀️  Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings.   Then, give yourself a pep talk.  Look in the mirror and repeat some affirmations to remind yourself that you can make it through today.  You are beautiful.  You are important.  You are loving and worthy of love.  You are working toward your goal.  Everyday is a step closer to that goal.  Mistakes are ok as long as you learn from them.  Tomorrow is another day.  There are many affirmations out there.  Do some research and write a few affirmations that resonate with you on a card.  Recite them often, put it where you can see it and when you need that extra reassurance it will be right there. 

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Remember, if you find yourself in a prolonged sadness or a slump that won’t go away please reach out to a trusted friend or a professional counselor for help.  Take care of you. 

Until tomorrow…💋💋💋

30 Days of Inspiration

13 April – Day Thirteen 30 Days of Inspiration

What’s in your makeup bag? 🧐💄💋

If you’re like me you’ve probably been strolling through sephora.com, nars.com, amazon.com…just shopping away.  As I’m getting my goodies every few days, my heart is filled with joy.  On the other hand, I quietly say to myself…where are you going to put this?  Did I already have a shade like this? 🤦🏾‍♀️ Oh my…not again…the clutter is back.

Have you read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art Of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo?  I read it last year and I really enjoyed the ideas and viewpoints she discusses about clutter.  It really is a marvelous read📖.  What shall I part with to make room? I wonder…..

So, here is my makeup bag at home….

What’s in your makeup bag?  Are you throwing away items to make room for the new stuff?  When I really looked in my makeup bag, I declared that I needed it ALL. It’s my glamour kit, my everyday kit, my retro look kit. YAY💄💄💄😉

However, my makeup drawer is a different story. It’s packed with brushes, eyeliners, lipsticks, lip liners, more foundations, blushes, eyeshadows, primers…you name it. I had a quite a few products that I realized I could toss because I really hadn’t used it.  Then I found some items that were probably past their expiration date, so I erred on the side of caution and got rid of it.

Is my makeup bag and makeup drawer completely clean and neat? No.  Are there still items in there I probably should throw away?  Yes.  The most important question…Is it less cluttered and messy?  YES! YES! YES!   I’m satisfied with that for today😉.

I think I’m going to go play in my new colors…

So tell me…what’s in your makeup bag?

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

11 April – Day Eleven 30 Days of Inspiration

6 Ways to Include Olive Oil in Your Beauty Routine

Not all beauty treatments are luxury boutique purchases.  Sometimes you can find efficient, practical treatments that work right in your kitchen pantry.

Makeup Remover

If you wear long wearing foundation, it is highly likely you double cleanse at night. If you are not familiar with double cleansing, it is simply using an oil, balm or cream base to remove the makeup (including eyes) and sunscreen before you begin washing your face.  In the past I have used Clinique Take it Off Balm, Banila Co-Clean it Zero, Cleansing Balm Estee Lauder and DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.  All three are outstanding products, but I have found that Olive oil (you can mix a little avocado oil in too) works even better! 🙆🏽‍♀️🙆🏼‍♀️🙆‍♀️

The idea is like attracts like, so the oil, balm, or cream breaks the makeup down.  I rub and massage the olive oil on my dry face and then remove with either a wet warm microfiber face cloth or a very soft washcloth. Sometimes I repeat this step.  It also breaks down eye makeup wonderfully and I know my lashes are getting a quick condition too!  After I have removed the makeup and oil I then go on to wash my face.

Body Oil

After exfoliation, a shower or bath, try slathering on olive oil head to toe.  It will make your skin so soft and help seal in moisture.  It can be a delightful experience right before bed.  I apply a light coat of my favorite scented lotion (Philosophy Amazing Grace) on top and zzzzz. 😴🛌

Hair

Olive oil is great as a light scalp oil, pre shampoo conditioner, or hair oil.  Use a VERY light amount on hair or scalp so you do not weigh down your hair.  I like to warm the oil and apply to my scalp then massage it in.  Ooh la la 💆🏾‍♀️💆🏼‍♀️💆‍♀️

Cuticle Care

Dry, ragged, and unsightly cuticles.  Try applying a few drops of olive oil on your cuticles before you go to sleep.  If possible, wear cotton white gloves to get the maximum effect! 💅🏾💅🏼💅

Heels

If your heels look or feel like they need some TLC, olive oil maybe able to help.  Olive oil can soften the skin on your feet and your heels.  If your heels are cracked and very ashy the olive oil will work best when used in conjunction with daily exfoliation with a pumice stone in the shower or bath.  Scrub lightly a little each night and over time you will see the wonderful results. 🦶🏾🦶🏼🦶Wearing white cotton socks to bed after the treatment help too.

Remember the most important thing to any beauty routine or regimen is consistency.  Stay beautiful and loving.

Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration, Mindset

10 April – Day Ten 30 Days of Inspiration

Practice The Pause

Lovelies! I’m sure you’ve heard of this phrase…. practice the pause🤫.

Always practice the pause

As we go through our daily lives and we interact with others, it’s inevitable that we will come across some unsavory or less than desirable characters.  Although we are all human (which means we as feminine ladies have our days too), it is SO wise to practice the pause. 

We can’t deny that there are some really mean, cruel, jealous and vindictive people out there. 

Instead of reacting to situations (which is often knee-jerk) we can pause, breathe and think.  It allows use to respond instead of react.  At times the proper response is no response or absolute silence.  This gives you choice.  It also allows you to maintain control.  I hear your inner voice and I hear mine too🤦🏾‍♀️.  This isn’t easy and it’s not for the weak.  That’s why we must practice the pause until it comes naturally. Some people really know how to push those buttons, some people are asking for it and really deserve it, but what will it cost you?  How much of your peace will be gone or spent on someone who really doesn’t deserve your energy and focus?

So, am “I” perfect with this way of responding? ABSOLUTELY NOT.  I have been guilty in the past of allowing people to get me off of my game.  I actually would lose focus and put energy into getting someone back. 

What a time waster!  What did I gain?  What did they lose? In both instances nothing.     

That’s why we must practice the pause until it comes naturally.  There is no requirement to give an immediate response to someone’s comment or question.  Don’t feel compelled to rush your words.  Remove the emotion for a quick minute and ask yourself these questions-

What is this person really asking me?

Are they coming from a pure place with positive intentions?

Are they trying to be funny – and it just bombed?

Or was the “joke” malicious or backhanded?

In addition, I think we can (with time) consider having a little compassion for those who are hurting and haven’t healed which in turn causes them to make the CHOICE to hurt others.  Yes, I said it…they have made a choice to hurt others. Within that same compassion, we may have to decide to love from afar, or possibly completely cut ties from them in order maintain our personal peace and self-respect.  Hard choices I know, especially when it is someone you love or really care about.  But as a wonderful friend of mine always says, “You must protect your peace”. Hi Steph!😊. That is something I really take to heart.

Composure is the state of being calm and maintaining tranquility.  It is very difficult to regain your composure once you have lost your balance.  It is also very hard to regain your leverage and respectability once it has been lost.  Whether we want to believe it or not- image is everything.  Let’s be careful to preserve and protect the image we work so hard to build.   Focus on the bigger picture so poise, femininity, and class can shine through.

Until tomorrow.

30 Days of Inspiration

9 April – Day Nine 30 Days of Inspiration

All this time at home can bring on a lot of self-reflection, which is not a skill that is easily mastered.  While we are in deep thought and reflection remember to give yourself grace. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Give yourself grace for your past mistakes.  Grace for doing the best with what you had. Grace for making the wrong choice when you knew better.  Grace for not loving yourself more.  You get the idea.  Give yourself grace for the past.  It’s over. Forgive yourself and find a way to move forward. 

The most important part of this is to realize that you give grace to others all the time…as we should.  But don’t forget to give a little bit of grace to yourself as well.

Until tomorrow

30 Days of Inspiration, Nails and Feet

6 April – Day Six 30 Days of Inspiration

Are your hands super dry, tight, thirsty, or crying for moisture?  I get it.  With all the additional handwashing it can quickly take a toll on our skin.  Applying lotion alone may not be enough.

Here’s a quick easy to make DIY hand scrub to get some of the dead skin off and allow your favorite moisturizer, lotion, or cream to penetrate better.

DIY Recipe

1 tsp coffee grounds

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp – coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil

Mix together and rub (massage it in) on dry hands.  Pat dry and apply your lotion.  You may also want to consider using a thicker sealant during this time to keep the moisture in such as Eucerin, Aquaphor, or Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream.

Final Product

If possible, apply a thick layer of cream on your hands at night and apply white cotton gloves. 

This treatment can also be used on the feet.

Now you have clean, soft and moisturized hands. By the way don’t forget that sunscreen! It’s great anti aging protection from the sun.

Until tomorrow…..be safe and soft👐🏾👐🏽👐🏻

30 Days of Inspiration

5 April – Day Five 30 Days of Inspiration

How can I help?  Who can I reach out to today to give a hand to?  Who can I encourage?  Times are very tough right now.  That is the God’s honest truth.  We are ALL affected one way or another.  I was thinking about how many people I know who are immunocompromised or ill.  The people I know who are battling cancer, survived cancer, or going through radiation treatments.  What about those with asthma, diabetes or some other health risk? Some of us were interacting everyday with people we know quite well but have no idea of the personal health struggles they may face.  I think about the elderly, the single parent with young children, or the physically handicapped where mobility may be a problem.

Today, for whoever came to mind when you asked the question, “How can I help?”, reach out and ask the question.  Offering help and assistance is always a gesture of care and love.  Remember it doesn’t have to be big or cost anything.  Sometimes all someone needs is a familiar voice and to know someone still cares.

Keep love in your heart.  Protect yourself and until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

4 April – Day Four 30 Days of Inspiration

Greetings everyone.  Just a small reminder that although there are a lot of things out of our control, we do control what we put in our mouths and how often.  It is just so tempting to binge watch a show or movie and binge eat at the same time.  Chips, cookies, ice cream, pizza.  What about homemade cocktails and wine?   Yum and delicious!

It is all about moderation. Please remember…

Nom Nom Nom…Choose wisely! Until tomorrow…

30 Days of Inspiration

3 April – Day Three 30 Days of Inspiration

Hello everyone.   Just something small to think about, but it is oh so very important.  What have you done to take care of yourself today?  I’m sending peace, love, and relaxation your way. 

Until tomorrow….✌🏾💌🛀🏾

30 Days of Inspiration

2 April – Day Two

Photo by Finn on Unsplash

Hello lovely people.  Today’s inspiration is strictly internal.   I’m talking about mental health.  We are all stressed to some level because we are certainly not living a life we are accustomed to, as it is a very uncertain time. 

If you are in the situation to be home, sheltering in place, or participating in social distancing perhaps this is an opportune time to refresh and recharge.  Maybe 👍🏾. Maybe not 👎🏾.

As we know, not everyone is will have the luxury to be home resting, working on long lost home projects or binge-watching Netflix 😎.  We probably have literally hundreds of thousands who must leave their homes every day.  For those who are considered essential personnel…our nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, mail delivery, custodial workers, truck drivers, sanitation engineers, food delivery workers, even some school personnel we thank you for your sacrifice and dedication to your profession.  I know that many of you do not have what you need to adequately protect yourselves- that in itself is highly stressful.  I am not a medical professional; however, I urge you to consider temporarily decompressing the moment the opportunity presents itself.  Please take of your mental as well as physical self the best way you are able to, considering the circumstances.

Then there are others thinking about how you and your family will eat- especially if you have been laid off or furloughed.  Thinking about if your small business will survive once things return to normal. Thinking about how you will pay the mortgage, car note, or utilities. Not to mention all the newly widowed, the caretakers or families now without a provider or loved one who has died from this virus.    

Here are some ideas to help you temporarily decompress and give your mind an opportunity to escape for a minute:

– read that book you’ve been meaning to read
– choose a book that sparks your interest and finish it
– unplug from any news source for a while to refresh and refocus your mind on something positive
– consider listening to an audiobook or podcast
– open your window and take a few deep breaths a few times a day
– write a few personal goals that are long term (personal, professional, spiritual, social) then make a flexible plan on how you can accomplish it
– meditate, stretch or do yoga
– journal
– listen to relaxing sounds (try the calm app, try googling sound therapy, or relaxing sounds on YouTube)
– rest
Decompress your mind and soul
Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Yes.  I said rest.  Some of you were running nonstop before this virus struck.  If this is you, and you now have an opportunity to get some rest- do that.   However, when you are rested don’t forget this can be a great time to do the things you didn’t have time to do previously.  Do whatever you need to do to be ok and get through this challenging time!

At the end of the day take care of your mind.  If all you can think of right now is today, then do that✌🏾🧘🏾‍♀️.  Don’t beat yourself up because you are comparing your mental state and journey to others.  Wherever you are, whatever your situation, do what is right for you, but do something to decompress and give your mind a rest.  Until tomorrow…..

Nails and Feet

How to get Summer Ready Feet 🦶🏾🦶🏽🦶🏻…Hint: There’s Still Time!

While we are all at home practicing social distancing and self-quarantine we can be getting ourselves ready for the next season. The coronavirus has stopped almost everyone in their tracks with lots of time at home. We can take advantage of this unfortunate time and get our feet summer ready!

Look down at your feet.  I mean really look at them.  What do you see?  Do you see vibrant polished color on your trimmed toenails?  Do you see moisturized skin?  Do you see smooth heels?  Or do you see chipped toenails, dry skin, and cracked/dirty heels?  Are there lint pills on your sheets at the foot of your bed because your heels snag the sheets at night?  Be honest.  What do you really see and feel when it comes to your feet?

Now ask yourself if your feet are ready?  I know some of you may be thinking “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready”, but when it is cold outside, and everyone is bundled and covered up with thick socks, heavy boots and warm leggings foot care can easily become afterthought.

It’s almost (just about) springtime and sandal season with cute open toe shoes and flip flops around the corner!  Many women will start flocking to the nail salon to resume their summer pedicure regimen.

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

There is nothing wrong with getting pedicures- in fact it’s lovely self-care and guaranteed peace time.  However, be aware that the key is the maintenance at home.  Ever notice that when you rely solely on salon pedicures your feet are never totally ash free.  You simply cannot go twice a month and expect smooth soft feet every day.  Here’s a plan to help you get your feet ready for the summer!  (Don’t worry this plan is totally manageable.)

Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

The Plan

Step 1:  While there’s still time to keep your feet under wraps, do an extensive foot peel.  Once applied you can expect your feet to begin peeling after about 3 days.  This peeling will continue for up to 14 days. The process is not pretty, but the results are phenomenal. You are required to soak your feet in the exfoliant solution baggie for approximately one hour.  I place my feet in the bags and cover the bags with socks.  I sit down and read whatever book I’m currently reading, or I watch a tv show I’ve recorded.  Either way it’s totally ‘me time’ to relax and just be at one with myself.  I don’t move until the hour is over and it is time to rinse my feet. 

I’ve used two extensive foot peels:

Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel (Most expensive one I’ve used (about $25USD) but with excellent results every time!)  (Purchase at Amazon, HEB (in Texas) or Ulta.)

Lavinsco Foot Peel Mask (Amazon purchase)

My humble advice:  Do not rush the process and peel the loose skin. 

Step 2: Once the peeling process has stopped use a double-sided pumice stone on your feet every night before you leave the shower.  Use the fine grit daily and the coarser grit once a week.  Add a few drops of soap to the pumice to not only get rid of dead skin but to clean the bottom of your feet.

Step 3: Use a thick moisturizer on your feet before bed.  I know many women sleep with socks over the thick moisturizer to enhance the absorption however, I can’t stand anything on my feet when I’m in bed, so I just use a thick moisturizer that absorbs quickly such as Vanicream, Eucerin or Aquaphor. These products have all worked wonders on my feet.

I have safely done the exfoliation peel once a month or once every other month for maintenance.  Depending on how much dead skin you have on your feet, you may need to do this once a month until your dead skin is removed or at least at a manageable level.  I have found it is much easier to moisturize and hydrate my feet when I don’t have layers upon layers of dead skin to penetrate.   Although this skin is thicker, we should not have cracked heels and white, ashy, crusty feet lol.  Remember, there is no judgment here, just a method to get your foot game under control.  I have also found that when I do go to the nail salon for a pedicure, the results last much longer along with my home maintenance. 

IMPORTANT!!! Remember to clean your feet every time you shower (you would be surprised how many people really feel that letting soapy water run over their feet constitutes washing).  You can use a foot brush for the top of the feet and ankles and use the fine grit pumice (nightly) coarse grit (weekly).  Apply lotion or foot cream EVERY time you bathe- not just when you want to wear cute shoes.

Toenails

Along with beautiful, smooth, ash free feet come vibrant toenail color.  Whether you paint your toes to match your fingernails or polish them a different color apply nail color that compliments and accentuates your skin tone and of course your mood! Paint those toenails and you will be on your way!

Photo by: Sarah Pflug

Step 1: Remove old polish

Step 2: Apply cuticle remover cream/gel.  Ensure you read the bottle. The brand I use states not to keep the cuticle remover for more than 15 seconds on the skin.

Step 3: Remove old cuticle with cuticle nipper tool.  (You can find these at any drugstore, Amazon, Ulta, or Sephora)

Step 4: Rinse and dry feet.

Step 5: Clip/Shape toenails.

Step 6: Use cotton ball soaked with alcohol over nails.

Step 7: Use base coat, color, then top coat.

Image by moni quayle from Pixabay

Remember although pedicures are wonderful, they cannot be the only care our feet receive.  I know most of us have busy lives, stand on our feet most of the day and are just tired and exhausted. I promise you that if you put in the effort to take care of your feet, your feet will continue to take care of you. Our feet support us every single day and deserve a little daily TLC and YOU deserve the self-care.  Until next time…stay lovely!

As a reminder I was not sponsored for this article and all items referenced were purchased with my own money. Any opinions are strictly my own.

Blog Feed

Could You Write Yourself A Love Letter…

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

It’s much more difficult than it sounds.  If you had to sit down and write about all the things you love and value about your husband, wife or significant other, most of us could fill the page.  We are so conditioned to express our love to others (which is a great thing).  But what about the greatest and longest love affair you will ever have?   You know- the one with you.  That beautiful loving relationship needs to be developed, cultivated and ultimately celebrated. 

When you love and respect yourself it pours out to others so they can benefit as well and more importantly, they in turn learn how to love and treat you.

Have kind words when you reference yourself.  Seriously.  Would you walk up to your best friend and tell them they are stupid, fat, ugly, or worthless?  Of course not.  As a good friend with the best intentions, you would be filled with encouraging words and uplifting comments.  You never want to say something negative to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend. When you write this love letter or love note to yourself try not to drudge up all the old, painful mistakes.   Only discuss something if you can reflect on those situations and celebrate them as lessons learned and personal growth.  Celebrate your strength in overcoming that setback.  Look at the ways you are able to motivate and help others.  Think about the humor you bring to situations.  Do you see the beauty in others? In nature?  In your surroundings and life in general? 

Self-care is a form of self-love.  What are your nonnegotiable self-care acts?  What do you do, that demonstrates your love and care for yourself?   How do these things make you feel inside?  How can you express that feeling of love you feel within yourself when you rejuvenate and recharge?

Tell yourself you are worth it.  You are valuable.  Your worth is not determined by the opinions of those around you.  Tell yourself you are beautiful regardless of where you are in the stages of life.  There is beauty in youth.  There is beauty in middle age. There is beauty in the senior years.  You are beautiful with stretch marks, thinning hair, varicose veins and love handles.  You are beautiful with scars.  You are beautiful as an amputee or after your mastectomy.  Without comparing yourself to others look at yourself then discover and celebrate the beauty of what makes you who you are.  DISCOVER the whole you- the physical and mental combined.

Remember YOU are the best lover you will ever have.  Develop that love relationship and all other relationships will fall into place.  Start that letter today.

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Love and Care For Yourself Where You Are

It’s painful sometimes as we wait for change. We fall, get back up. We have setbacks, then overcome. While we are waiting to get to that so called “finish line” the process can be less than desirable.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Aim to be sexy and confident no matter what stage you are in. Here me now… that’s not being complacent. You don’t have to accept whatever state you are in if it’s not what you really want, not appealing to you, or simply just not healthy. Lasting change does not come overnight. It comes in small increments and doses. Therefore, as you are working toward your goal- love yourself enough to be the best you can possibly be – right now. You don’t have to walk around frumpy and dumpy while you transition. If your clothes no longer fit (ex. they fit for your old body size), pick up a few items to tide you over in your current size so you can still look fabulous. Ill-fitting clothing is not cute on ANY body regardless of your weight and body shape.

Our self esteem can really suffer when we look at ourselves in the mirror and hear the negative self-talk playing on repeat in our head. I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past. I have come to terms and I realize (and more importantly I fully accept) that I’ll never be what my mind or society has deemed to be perfect. You will never be “perfect”. It’s just not possible and you will always find something you think you need to fix about yourself – that’s human nature unfortunately.

It’s not perfection we should look for. We should simply keep striving to be the best versions of ourselves. my honest advice…start small. Pick one think about yourself that you absolutely love and hone in on that one thing. Ask yourself how can you improve this area to make it a focal point? Creating a new focal point- one that you can control, is a great way to reinvent yourself and increase your positive body talk. Simultaneously, you’ll be increasing your body image which leads to eventual better self-esteem.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I’ll use myself as an example …

I really wish my waistline was smaller. Not just for aesthetic reasons, but my waistline when compared to my other dimensions is simply not healthy. I can remember when I was more physically fit and had more curves than lumps 🤭. It really was not that long ago. Anyway, as I work toward getting healthier and leaner, I am redirecting the focus while I am a work in progress. One way I draw the attention away from my wider midsection is to bring it up to my face. I do this with makeup and accessories. Makeup enhances the beauty you already possess in your face. I wear makeup EVERYDAY, and literally don’t go anywhere without it (unless I’m going to the gym then I’m totally barefaced). I frame my face with my eyebrows, use complementary eyeshadow colors and foundation that matches my skin! I keep my lips exfoliated and moisturized. Truth be told I’ve loved makeup forever since I was about 19. The way I wear makeup now is a more deliberate, classic, and semi glamourous look (at least that’s what I’m going for !👄💄. The point here is I enjoy makeup and I try to keep my face and hair laid right. It gives me that extra boost of confidence that I look great!

Photo by loly galina on Unsplash

     Another area that I use as a focal point that gives me a huge confidence and self-esteem boost is fragrance.  I love to smell good and I don’t believe in smelling good only on certain occasions, I think perfume is for every day.   Saving the “good stuff” for a special time is something I don’t choose to do.  In reality everyday I’m breathing is a day to be not only grateful, but to be celebrated- as tomorrow is not promised to any of us.   Fragrance is such a mood booster.  I mean scent can really put you a wonderful mood.  It can even reconnect you to some wonderful memories.  Some scents are sensual and sexy, some are classic, light and feminine, while others are simply fresh and clean. Knowing you are not only clean but smell amazing can put some pep in your step or allow you to let the sensuality you have that’s hidden within freely flow out. 

Photo by Fahad Waseem on Unsplash

When you are home, don’t stop the drive to maintain and elevate your confidence and self-esteem. Walking around the house in “woah is me” outfits is a quick way to lose that beauty you were sharing with the outside world! You deserve to relish in your confidence, sexuality and femininity. I know some of this will be a huge step for some women. Take the opportunity to get comfortable in your own skin at home. Get comfortable and confident in your beauty and sexual appeal before you share it with the outside world. Consider buying some nice, well-fitting lounge wear and undergarments. Beautiful lacy bras (even ones with support for us busty gals), bustiers, panties, and thongs- you name it, comes in ALL SIZES. If what you own has holes in it, stains on it, looks worn and tattered, or is the wrong size – GET RID OF IT! Wear something pretty to bed- even if you go to bed alone. Use a scented cream or lotion on your skin after your shower before you go to sleep. Set the mood as you are loving yourself and develop a ritual for winding down that includes self care. I even give myself a light spritz of perfume. Ladies- your perfume is made to be used and not just look glamorous on your nightstand or bureau. Do you own a robe? Is it pretty? Is it functional? Again, if it is ratty, stained and torn you know what to do. Maintain your items and if it’s time to get rid of it- toss it. Pass it on or throw it away if that’s where it belongs. Wear pretty, sexy clothing at home even if it’s just for you! Are your bras and panties fitting as they should? Many stores offer free bra fittings so you can be sure of wearing the right size. This may be a hard thing to do but take a really hard look at the clothes you wear most often. If you are in between your normal weight and your goal weight take a good look at how your clothing fits. Chances are it’s either a bit too small and you’re “making it work” or it is swimming on your new frame. Do they still fit well? Are they stretched to the max at the seams? Are the inner thighs worn thin to the point you can see your skin or even worst there are holes? Can you properly close your blouses or tops? Can your pants be zipped or buttoned without giving you indigestion or the dreaded super muffin top? If you said yes to any of these things, it’s time to reevaluate your wardrobe. Trust me you’ll be glad you did!

Cost is often a reason people believe they cannot update or improve their wardrobe. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars at the larger department stores to get some sexy functional undergarments.  Sometimes you can find really nice sets at Target, Walmart, Ross, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls.  Remember to always check the clearance racks!. 

When looking for everyday clothing shop the sales! Consider visiting a thrift store or consignment shop. The nicer the zip code/area, the nicer the finds, so you may have to travel a bit, so take a friend and make a day of it! They even have luxury consignment shops if your budget allows you to spend a little more!

At the end of the day, I’d love for you to leave with this…you don’t have to be frumpy and dumpy.  No ma’am!  You can be classy, sexy, sophisticated and confident no matter your size or where you are in your journey.  If you are unhealthy, I urge you to continue to work toward what is healthy for YOU.   Remember while we are working toward our goals we still have to live our lives and maintain our confidence, sexiness and poise until we arrive.  While you are on your health journey adorn yourself at each stage and each step of the way.  Until next time, stay strong and beautiful!

Mindset

No Resolutions Just Strive to Be Your Best You

So here we go guys….  The anticipated then dreaded “New Year’s Resolutions”.  If you aren’t familiar with New Year’s Resolutions, it is nothing more than a time in the beginning of the year when people make a commitment to something or resolve to make some sort of change.  

The changes can be very small such as drinking more water each day or grand such as pledging to lose 100 pounds this year- you get the idea.  Problems start when we become so fixed on the finished line that we don’t break the task down and make a reasonable and realistic plan we can live with.  We jump right in full force subconsciously expecting immediate results and eventually we burn out or just give up.  This is all while having the best intentions to make change in our lives.

It’s here…2020!

This year I’m not falling into the New Year’s Resolution trap.  Instead, I’m just going to strive to be the best me.  I’ve heard through the years that any plan that is not written down is simply a dream.   It’s time to follow that notion.  I’m writing on paper what my long- and short-term goals are for 2020 and more importantly I’ll check in periodically to make any necessary changes and to celebrate the small victories along the way.

I remember taking an organizational management class when I was in college and we  learned about goal setting.  The acronym is S.M.A.R.T. goals.  I know there are different variations but the one I remember was – Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely.  Many successful businesses use it.  The military uses it.  We can use it as well.

To start:

Get some paper and divide it into four sections

Fold the paper into four sections.

You can also transfer the goals you wrote on paper to a large poster board to create a vision board. Under each goal write a short outline of HOW you plan to accomplish it. 

For example:

I want to lose some weight to improve my overall health and lower my blood pressure.

Goal:  Lose 24 pounds in three months (by 31 March) Approximately 2lbs a week.

Plan:   6-8 hours sleep (even on weekends)

            Drink minimum of 64oz of water

            Show up to gym classes 4x week

            Meal prep nutritious meals for the week

            Manage my stress levels

Schedule 1: Ask yourself how you can make the plan a part of your routine in order to support your goal.     

Schedule 2:  Make time for reassessment and celebration

See the difference?  My plan is not vague, it is quite specific.  I didn’t leave the amount of weight I wanted to lose blank- instead I have a very specific goal.  I also have written down some specific steps I need to take to make this goal a reality.  I’ve paced myself giving appropriate and realistic time to reach my goal, checking in on my progress once at the end of each month. 

Other Goals to Consider:

  • Better physical self-care
  • Healthier eating
  • Healthier lifestyle choices (smoking, alcohol use, excessive processed foods)
  • Consistent exercise
  • Improved mental health (seeking professional help when necessary)
  • Being able to say ‘NO’
  • Resting more
  • Taking time for yourself without guilt
  • Sexual/reproductive health and screenings
  • Financial literacy/ independence/ security
  • Declutter your home, mind, workspace and private space
  • Work/Life balance
  • Work on your bucket list or create one
  • Read more books for entertainment and self-improvement
  • Nourish or mend relationships worth mending
  • End relationships that need terminating
It is all about balance.

Things to Remember While You Are Striving to be Your Best Self

  1. Set some tangible goals with an actual schedule for yourself.
  2. Check in with yourself to see your progress and determine when/if you need to make changes.
  3. Celebrate the small victories and declare the mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.
  4. Make your own path without competing with others.  Everyone has their own race.  Stay in your lane, worry about clearing your own hurdles and everyone gets to the finish line without getting hurt.
  5. Set boundaries with those who are in your circle.   Consider cutting those people off who threaten your peace of mind and self-respect.
  6. Determine your why.  Why are you pledging to make this change?  Is it for you or someone else?   
  7. Consider getting a trusted accountability partner.

REMEMBER SELF-CARE IS NOT JUST THE FRILLY FANCY STUFF LIKE MUD MASK FACIALS AND MASSAGES.  THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF SELF-CARE IN MY OPINION IS TAKING CARE OF YOUR MIND AND MANAGING YOUR STRESS LEVELS.

Take the pressure off of your yourself and remember you are human.  Will our plans be easy?  NO!  Will we be challenged? OF COURSE!  Anything worth having is worth working hard for.  We can see our goals to fruition if we make a plan, check in and stick with it.  Here’s to perseverance and see you all at the finish line. 

What are your SMART goals for 2020?

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About Me

Hi, I’m Shawn, owner of Modern Feminine Life! Thanks for stopping by my blog🧘🏾‍♀️.

Modern Feminine Life is a channel about personal growth, mindset, and femininity. Femininity is an art as well as a way of life. I’m a lifestyle blogger and femininity consultant. I help women wherever they are in their journey and help them develop to the level of modern femininity they are comfortable with within their lives.

I inspire women to be confident, resilient and empowered to take control of their lives and be their personal best.

✨Be Polished. Be Alluring. Be Elegant. Be You.✨