It's already getting pretty warm in my neck of the woods.  Which means I have to think about heat-related concerns like underarm sweating.  I don't mind sweating. It's a natural function. What I'm concerned about is sweating related odor.

If you're someone who switched to natural deodorants in an effort to be more health conscious, you know that they aren't as strong as their drugstore counterparts.  Even though I was trying to do the right thing by switching, I was still dealing with the concern of sweating and odor.

I think I may have found a solution that actually works.

Deodorants mask the underarm and try to cover up the odor.  What if there was a solution that actually attacks the smell at the source?

Our answer might be a facial product that I spoke about recently.  Yes, I'm referring to alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids (AHA & BHA).  The same acids that gently exfoliate your face may be the salvation for our stinky pits.

I kinda stumbled on this option last year when I tested ACV on my underarms.  While this did help manage natural odors, the vinegar scent wasn't that much better. What I should have done was switch to acid-based skin products.  They work just as well but without the pungent smell.

The reason why we want to consider neutralizing our underarms with acids is because the acidic environment is not ideal for odor creating bacteria.  Apparently, our sweat is actually odorless when it's released from the body.  But once our sweat interacts with bacteria on the surface of the skin, things go south. If we can manage the underarm bacterial levels, we can essentially control the unpleasant odor. That's exactly what these hydroxy acids are capable of.

Not to mention the exfoliating qualities of AHAs & BHAs.  We know that regular use helps to gently remove dead skin cells.  Perhaps they can also help create smoother, more even toned underarms over time.  What we don't want to use are strong acids that actually cause the skin to peel or burn.  Instead, opt for gentler options like those that you'd use as a daily toner on the face.

This morning, I tried this method before a long morning walk.  I'm happy to report that I had no mishaps even though I skipped out on the deodorant.   This method won't keep you from sweating so if you need wetness protection, you still can reach for your natural antiperspirants.  But, if you want to smell fresher, longer, it's best to attack the problem at the source.

It's already getting pretty warm in my neck of the woods.  Which means I have to think about heat-related concerns like underarm sweating.  I don't mind sweating. It's a natural function. What I'm concerned about is sweating related odor.

If you're someone who switched to natural deodorants in an effort to be more health conscious, you know that they aren't as strong as their drugstore counterparts.  Even though I was trying to do the right thing by switching, I was still dealing with the concern of sweating and odor.

I think I may have found a solution that actually works.

Deodorants mask the underarm and try to cover up the odor.  What if there was a solution that actually attacks the smell at the source?

Our answer might be a facial product that I spoke about recently.  Yes, I'm referring to alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids (AHA & BHA).  The same acids that gently exfoliate your face may be the salvation for our stinky pits.

I kinda stumbled on this option last year when I tested ACV on my underarms.  While this did help manage natural odors, the vinegar scent wasn't that much better. What I should have done was switch to acid-based skin products.  They work just as well but without the pungent smell.

The reason why we want to consider neutralizing our underarms with acids is because the acidic environment is not ideal for odor creating bacteria.  Apparently, our sweat is actually odorless when it's released from the body.  But once our sweat interacts with bacteria on the surface of the skin, things go south. If we can manage the underarm bacterial levels, we can essentially control the unpleasant odor. That's exactly what these hydroxy acids are capable of.

Not to mention the exfoliating qualities of AHAs & BHAs.  We know that regular use helps to gently remove dead skin cells.  Perhaps they can also help create smoother, more even toned underarms over time.  What we don't want to use are strong acids that actually cause the skin to peel or burn.  Instead, opt for gentler options like those that you'd use as a daily toner on the face.

This morning, I tried this method before a long morning walk.  I'm happy to report that I had no mishaps even though I skipped out on the deodorant.   This method won't keep you from sweating so if you need wetness protection, you still can reach for your natural antiperspirants.  But, if you want to smell fresher, longer, it's best to attack the problem at the source.

Several years ago, I was instructed by my facialist to stop using a towel to dry my face after cleansing.   She didn't go into detail as to why I should switch up this part of my routine but I took her advice.  Over time, I found myself going back my old ways out of convenience.

Now I'm ready to ditch the towel for good.  Because I'm convinced of the undeniable benefits.
The first, most obvious reason why you should seriously reconsider towel drying your face is because of the dangers lurking deep within the fibers of your towel.  Apparently, towels make the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.  What's the point of buying specialty cleansers only to wipe your skin with a bacteria-laden towel? This makes no sense.  Especially if you're dealing with skin conditions affected by bacteria (like acne).

The answer is to give up drying our faces with towels altogether.  But what should we do instead? 

Glad you asked. 

We've got options ladies.  Here are some of my recommendations for how to complete the cleansing process without grabbing a towel.

Leave the skin damp.  I watched a video where a skin expert proclaimed that applying beauty products on dry skin was futile.  Basically, the skin isn't primed to receive the goodness of your products in its dry state.  We've all experienced the difference after applying hydrating oils or lotions on wet/damp skin versus dry.   The same applies to the face.  As the water absorbs into the skin, it carries the skin enhancing product with it.  Sometimes, applying lotions on wet skin can be tricky so it's best to work it into damp skin versus wet.

My post cleansing strategy sometimes includes the use of facial tools designed to be used on wet skin.  For instance, my microcurrent rollers work beautifully with moisture because water helps conduct the electrical current deep into the layers of the skin.  This is exactly what we want to happen when using microcurrent tools.

I also find myself reaching for my Ultrasonic pore scrubber. That thing was designed for use on wet skin so it's perfect to use post-cleansing.  As a matter of fact, the scrubber does a magnificent job of drying the skin.  Using the scrubber only takes only a minute or so and is a pro at removing congestion just below the skin's surface.

The last option I offer you is a little more consuming but may be worth it.  In Korea, the women never use a towel to dry their face. Instead, they opt to dry their skin by conducting a mini facial massage.  I'll post a video demonstration below so you can try it for yourself.

I love the idea of executing a facial massage to help dry the skin because it promotes blood flow to the skin's surface. Blood flow brings nutrition to the cells and the appearance of health to the skin's surface.  Not to mention how massage keeps the skin firm and toned.  Plus, your face will still be damp which will allow for the absorption of serums.  Compare that with drying your skin with a scratchy, bacteria-riddled towel.

There's no comparison.

Take a moment and reflect back on the goals you set for 2018.  How's the progress going? Do you feel like you're steadily working towards the realization of your desires?  If this isn't the case.  I'd like to suggest a solution that will unlock your ability to accomplish all of your goals.

The one thing that stands between you and what you want is resistance.  Our job is to identify then dismantle our resistance so it no longer stands in the way of what we want.
Imagine yourself standing in front of a brick wall. And on the other side of the wall is everything that you desire.  As long as the wall remains, you will struggle to experience your manifestation.

People give lots of reasons for why they haven't achieved their goals, but if we take a look at the root cause, we'll see that resistance is the underlying issue.

I'll share a few examples.

  • You're struggling to lose those 15 lbs that you've talked about.  You say you'll work out on a certain day/time. But when the time comes, you don't go.
  • You're working on growing your side income but when it comes to having to market yourself, or your business online, you avoid taking the action.
  • You express a desire to expand your social life but you decline opportunities to spend time outside the comfort of your home. 
  • There's work you've been putting off. You keep saying that you'll do it at a certain time, but you don't follow through.
Basically, anything that you said you'd do (or should be doing) but aren't, is the result of resistance.  It's like the invisible forcefield that holds us back. Our job is to identify its existence, determine what's fueling it, then obliterate (or dismantle it).  

Obliterate and dismantle are two very different terms.  One means to immediately destroy, while the other alludes to a consistent taking apart of something.  Ideally, we should strive to obliterate our resistance but sometimes our hesitation runs deep and eliminating it requires more work.  

So how does one start the process of removing resistance?  Essentially, you have two options.
1. You can acknowledge it exists then decide to ignore it.
2. Or you can work to marginalize its power/control over you.  

Ignoring resistance is ideal because, each time you do so, it becomes less of a factor the next time it appears.  If you condition yourself to go to the gym even if you don't feel like it, you'll notice that resistance will eventually go away.  

The only advice I have for you on the subject of ignoring resistance is to remind yourself that this is what you wanted.  When you start engaging in that action, you will feel a surge of confidence for having overcome internal resistance.  

We've all been there before.  We dread starting on a certain task, but when we actually sit down and do the work, we realize that it isn't that bad as once thought and we're proud of ourselves for tackling it. 

Dismantling resistance takes a bit more effort.  It's like having the task to eat something disgusting, but instead of swallowing it whole, you opt to eat it with a fork and knife bite by bite. 

 Understanding the drivers of your resistance isn't a bad thing, it just extends the process which could delay the realization of your goal.  

Sometimes this means taking baby steps instead of charging directly at your goal.  I've used the method of taking the path of least resistance by choosing to implement small, easy actions instead of the tasks that generate the most internal resistance.  For instance, driving to gym might seem undesirable, so I'll do a few minutes of movement on the trampoline instead.  I haven't fully overcome my resistance, but I still follow through on my desire to get some physical activity into my day.  

Any time you say you want to do something, but you don't follow through, know that resistance is the culprit.  Knowing the source of your inaction is half the battle.  From there, we just have to decide if we will ignore or disarm it.  A great book on the top is Steven Pressfield's The War of Art.  He discusses at length how resistance cripples those who involved in creative roles (like writers or artists).  Anytime you want to create ANYTHING, know that resistance will rear its ugly head.  We can't let it linger too long because that will allow it to gain power.  Its job is to stop you. Your job is to keep moving. 

This week, notice anytime resistance shows up.  Instead of mindlessly following along, try to see what small action you can implement that weakens the power of resistance in your life.  This is so important.  

Resistance is what is standing between the life you have now and the "unlived life" you desire.

  The ability to break down resistance is a skill that will allow you to experience pretty much anything you want. 
I've received a few requests to write about the topic of femininity.  I often hesitated because, growing up, I wasn't taught to nurture my feminine energy.  In fact, I can't recall a single conversation with my mother on the topic, with the exception of the typical talk covering hygiene.

She was the oldest girl in a family of seven. Much of her girlhood was spent helping to raise her siblings.  To her, it was important to be hardworking and industrious.  Those qualities were passed on to me and I'm grateful for that.  But, on the flip side, I was almost completely ignorant when it came to being comfortable expressing my feminine nature.

As a child, I recall examples of extreme feminity on television. Most of them portrayed ultra-feminine as hyper-sexual or how they used their womanly qualities solely for the purpose of attracting a man.  Because I was focused on getting good grades without the distraction of dating, I made the decision to suppress my feminine qualities.  My teachers always praised me for being smart so I took full ownership of that and decided to make it my main attribute.

In the back of my mind, I was still enamored with the idea of fully embracing my feminine attributes. In 10th grade, I transferred from a predominately white school to one with more diversity.  Once there, I was introduced to a whole new world of black women who were fully aligned with their femininity.
These girls always had their hair and nails done, wore makeup and sported super cute outfits.  I was in awe of the amount of attention they placed on looking their best every day.  I observed them from the shadows and learned what I could about femininity from afar.

One thing was clear, everyone knew who they were even without knowing them personally.  We knew their names even though they probably didn't know ours.  They stood out and were like the celebrities of our school. Most of them dated older guys or boys that didn't attend our school so they weren't getting ready every day with the intention of finding a boyfriend. They did it for themselves because they placed a lot of pride in their appearance.

At first, I wondered why someone would put so much effort into their outward presentation. Because let's be honest, it takes a lot of work.  These girls had color-coordinated outfits and hair that was laid to the gods.  On the weekends, while I was fixated in front of the tv, they were probably spending hours at their hair stylist or nail shop.  I woke up in just enough time to get dressed before the bus arrived. They probably planned each look and allowed enough time in the mornings, to apply their signature makeup look.

After observing the life of the woman who invests in herself, I soon came to the realization that they enjoyed a unique life experience as a result of their effort.  I'm not necessarily saying that their lives were perfect. In fact, some of them got caught up with the wrong guy(s) and had their lives change for the worse.  But, I still saw enormous potential from those who applied their feminine energy in a calculated, thoughtful, and purposeful way.

Feminine energy attracts.

Women are attracted to other women who care for themselves. Men are attracted to these types of women as well.  I've experienced it first hand when I conducted my "being pretty" experiment.  There, I was granted access to the world of the woman who is fully aligned with her feminity....and it was fantastic!  If you think that putting in extra effort in your appearance is not worthwhile, you're sadly mistaken.

When most speak on the subject of feminity, it's often linked to attracting and seducing the man you want. But I think it goes deeper than that.  I believe that a woman who embraces her feminine side puts herself at an advantage.  Various social experiments have already "proven" that attractive people are the recipients of preferential treatment in our society.  Overwhelmingly, people respond positively to good-looking people.  As a result, they often earn more than their less attractive counterparts.  Just look at social media. Highly attractive people often have a slew of followers which means that the influencer is privy to higher paying brand partnerships.  Actors and models are some of the highest earners in our society.  It's even said that supermodel Gisel earns more than her husband who is one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history.

Society is primed to reward and elevate attractive people.  This way of thinking is embedded into almost all of us.  A guy who wrote a book on the economic advantages of being beautiful said that beauty is scarce so most people value their interactions with attractive people. 

As someone who embraces and nurtures your feminity, you're tapping into the potential benefits that attractiveness brings.  Most of us suppress our feminity because of the attention it brings.  I'm guilty of that.  But, in doing so, are we allowing ourselves to a less than ideal version of our lives?

Beauty bias is real. The best part is that the benefits of being beautiful are accessible to every single one of us. You don't have to be born with flawless features in order to experience it.  By embracing your feminity, you enhance your personal attractiveness.  People are drawn to others who place importance on their appearance.   If you don't believe me, try this out for yourself.   Notice how much more attention you receive. There will be more glances from others. People will be friendlier and go out of their way to conversate with you.

Confidence. Confidence. Confidence.
More importantly!  A study found that personal beauty raises happiness.  Not only do attractive people earn more, they also tend to attract higher earning mates.  Women, in particular, seemed happier because they found joy from looking in the mirror.  Think about how many times you look in the mirror a day.  Now that I'm home all day, I'm in the mirror more often. And, when I'm not taking care of myself, I get a little depressed every time I see the condition I'm in.  But, when my skin is right and I've done my hair, I get a jolt of feel-good vibes every time I see my reflection.

I have total control over whether I feel amazing or embarrassed every time I look in the mirror. I'm also fully aware that if I look my best and feel good all the time, I ignite the law of attraction. Being more attractive has tangible benefits and if we don't try to take advantage of this, we're selling ourselves short.

But if you aren't used to presenting your best self to the world each day, the attention you'll receive may be a bit overwhelming.  When I did my attractiveness experiment, I was shocked by how different life was on the other side.  But, soon, I was fully accustomed and began to expect it.  When people stared at me, I no longer felt self-conscious. I have a friend who's naturally beautiful.  She places a lot of attention on presenting her best self.  When we are out in public, people are constantly staring at her and she barely notices. Why, because this is her reality.  It's so normal that she doesn't even realize it's happening.  Yet, she enjoys luxuries and experiences that most others don't and I'm certain that her appearance has a lot to do with it.

Ideally, it would be great if we presented our best selves to the world daily so we can take advantage of the compounding effect of being consistent.  All of the individual positive experiences that we receive as the result of the "beauty bias" would multiply.

I'm guilty of backsliding big time when it comes to my outward appearance. But, spring is around the corner and I'm ready to try this again.

 A while back I did this experiment where I got ready every day (head to toe) even though I had no plans to leave the house.  My husband would ask "where are you going?" And I'd answer, ''nowhere."  After about a week of this, I noticed something interesting.  Suddenly, he started wearing Polo shirts around the house instead of plain white tees.  This isn't something I asked or suggested he do, it was a result of him being around a woman who was more attractive.  He suddenly felt like he needed to step his game up.  If my experiment impacted a person who I've lived with for over a decade, imagine what it does for people you just met.

When the topic of femininity comes up, there are lots of rules spewed out about one should and should not do.  Some of those rules do have merit, but I realize that one size does not fit all.  That's why I'd like to share multiple examples of the various types of femininity so you can find inspiration that best fits you.  More to come.