This year, I’ve taken on a different belief with my goals than I’ve had in the past.  Before, I would have this grand vision, relish it, then allow tons of time to go by before I started taking any action.
This week, as I was taking a walk, I started visualizing an outcome that I wanted to experience.
In the vision, I was enjoying some time off in a warm, tropical destination.  The images in my mind were of a slightly different version of me.  I was more toned & fit in the vision.  My hair, slightly healthier.  Skin glowing in the sun.

Once I snapped out of it, the first thing I did was start to plan the actions required to turn this daydream into a reality.  It was as if I was absolutely certain that I’d end up on this beach at a future date.  My job was to ensure that I took actions that align current reality to the vision.  I had work to do and it felt great.

I realized this was a different approach to my goals than I had in the past.  Before, I was stay in the vision stage way too long.  Instead of trying to quickly merge the two worlds, I’d keep them separate. I’d live in reality, then go (mentally) escape to my intentions from time to time.

Lately, I’ve had the desire to bring my vision into reality at a much faster rate than ever before.  The reason why this is happening is very simple.  I attribute this new mindset to shift in belief.  Instead of just indulging in my desires, I actually start to believe in their possibility.  And, the greater the belief, the faster I move into action.  What did I do to grow my belief?

I participated heavily in what I call “mini-manifestations.”  Basically, I try to manifest small things on a very consistent basis.  When I say manifest, I don’t mean it in a magical or mystical. I mean, wanted something to get done and doing it. Wanting something small to happen and doing everything in your power to cause it to happen.   The smaller the better. The more consistently, the better.  The reason why I kept the intentions small is to increase my success rate.

The most critical aspect of mini-manifesting is making sure you acknowledge everything you’ve done.  Let’s say you tell yourself “alright, I’m going to the gym today.”  At this point, you’ve officially set an intention.  If you go through with it, you’ve manifested your intention.  If not, you’ve not honored your word.  By not honoring your word, you chip away at your self-trust.  Next time you say you’ll do it, your subconscious may not believe you.

To reach your intentions quickly, you should operate as a mini-manifestation machine.  Tell yourself that you’ll do something (small) then do it!  If this becomes a habit for you, then your subconscious has no reason to doubt you when you wish to manifest something greater.  You’ll start to develop the mindset that visions can easily become real and your actions will correlate with this new belief.

This week, take on the challenge of setting small intentions and following through.  Each time you do it, make a big deal about what you’ve accomplished (and how easy it was).  Manifest with ease then start to move towards those bigger visions that you’ve always been afraid of.  Go ahead….your destination is waiting for you.

As we get closer to 2016, my mind is constantly racing with ideas of what I can do to help usher in a fresh, new year.  You see, I have a strong believe in certain year end rituals to signify the new beginning.  One of the most powerful ways to create the right environment for the new year is to start with your home office.

Why?  Because the home office is where we create.  We’ll write our best selling book, launch a new business and establish our destiny in our home office.  It’s the space where we overcome resistance. The place where we express creativity.   The place where an idea transforms into reality.
But, in order to get the most out of our time in the office, we must first set the environment that sparks the highest level of creativity.

Steve Jobs was said to prefer working in an all white space in order to avoid visual distractions. Creation can easily flow where there is space for it to do so.  Think about it, if I gave you a canvas that was already covered with various colors, you’d have a difficult time imagining a new picture.  But, if I were to give you a blank white canvas, the possibilities of what you could create would be endless.  Without a doubt, I operate with a higher level of focus and productivity when my office area is clear of clutter.

Once you have that blank canvas, you can start to layer in pieces that nurture your imagination.  Truthfully, one can only create freely when they are in a happy, relaxed state.  We get in this state by incorporating a few items in your space that spark joy.

Perhaps you light a gorgeous candle with an intoxicating scent.  Or maybe you’ve incorporated inspiring images that depict the future lifestyle you want to live.  I like to keep my favorite fragrance nearby to mist lightly anytime I wish to elevate my mood.  Lastly, you can consider adding some fresh flowers or motivating quotes to keep you inspired.  I keep a list of my goals and corresponding rewards nearby along with a log of the accomplishments achieved so far.  I like balancing my drive for results by looking back and expressing gratitude for progress made thus far.

Whatever you decide….have fun with it. Turn your office into a space where you don’t mind waking early to go and build your vision.  

As far as facial cleansers go, I really didn’t pay them much attention.  Once I was able to manage my dermatitis with the help of coconut cider vinegar, I shifted my focus towards cleaners that also address discoloration.

Unfortunately, those cleansers typically strip the skin as they attempt to lighten blemishes.  I’ve since realized that the cleansing step may not be the most effective time to fade acne.  Instead of stripping, what if I could actually nourish the skin while cleansing?

Skin is at it’s happiest when it’s pH balanced.  Studies show that if your skin’s pH isn’t within the ideal range, you are more likely to experience breakouts.  A few years ago, I cleansed my skin using acid water that I was able to pick up from a local alkaline water store in town.  I vividly remember how well my skin and hair responded to the low pH water.  After the shop closed down, I seriously contemplated picking up an alkalizing machine at home.  But until then, it’s nice to know there’s a cleanser that can give comparable benefits.

The one word I’ll use to describe this cleanser is “gentle.”  No matter how hard I tried to create a little sudsing, it just wouldn’t happen.  Massaging into my skin had a similar feel to oil cleansing.  I felt like I was adding to the skin, not taking away.

The instructions say massage onto wet skin for a minute before rinsing.  And, for deeper exfoliation, the cleanser can be converted to a mask by applying it to clean, dry skin and leaving on for 3-5 minutes.  So basically, you have a skin healthy cleanser and an exfoliating mask in one amazing product.

As of now, I’ve use Phace Bioative cleanser twice.  It arrived yesterday afternoon after I already cleansed my skin for the day.  That morning I cleansed with Alba’s Brightening gel cleanser.  Immediately, after washing, I practically ran into the room to grab my toner because of how tight and dry my skin felt.  With Phace Bioacive, my skin felt toned post wash.

The one word I’ll use to describe my skin after cleansing with Phace is soft.  Incredibly, soft.  It’s I-can’t-stop-touching-my-face-soft.  This is a great cleanser.  After applying serums, my skin feels even better!  Sure, this isn’t the most budget friendly cleanser around, but a little goes a long way, and the way your skin feels afterwards is unlike any other cleanser you currently own.

At the very least, this should be everyone’s winter cleanser because it leaves the skin feeling so hydrated and nourished.   Ashley mentioned that this cleanser could possibly ward off wrinkles down the road.  I’m guessing because pH balanced skin helps maintain moisture better than traditional cleansers.

A cleanser that can prevent acne causing bacteria, doubles as an exfoliating mask, all while keeping the skin soft and nourished.  Does it get any better than that?

If I were to pile all of my lip balm products together, I’d probably have a couple of dozen brands.  Why?  Probably because I’m still in search of thee perfect lip balm.  That’s when I realized that the perfect lip product is one that not only protects with petroleum/beeswax, but one truly hydrates.

So I went searching and I actually found a few lip balm products that incorporate hydrating ingredients like, water, aloe vera, and coconut water.

Here we go!

NIVEA HYDRA CARE

  • Offers SPF 15 protection
  • Includes water & aloe vera in the list of hydrating ingredients.
  • Leaves a light and soft feeling on your lips.
  • Also contains shea butter, castor oil, and glycerin to seal in moisture. 

OES COCONUT MILK LIP BALM

  • Cult Product in the beauty industry.
  • 99% natural with  shea butter, vitamin C &E
  • Moisturizes with olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and water.  
  • OES coconut milk actually contains water as an ingredient while their other OES varieties do not.  

 ALBA BOTANICA LIP BALM

  • 100% vegetarian formula.
  • Coconut oil is first ingredient!  Great for those who don’t like petroleum based lip products.  
  • Also has aloe leaf extract, rosemary extract, vitamin E.
  • Smells like yummy coconut. 

        SHISEIDO WATER IN LIP (the name itself says it all)
  • Asian Beauty product available in the U.S.
  • Contains squalene which is a moisturizer and emollient.
  • Has water and vitamin E
  • Contains lemon for its astringent properties.

These are a few options for you to start with.  Maybe a lip balm with real hydrating ingredients is just what you’ve been missing.  I can’t wait to pick up a few of these.  Since I switch out handbags pretty regularly, I like to keep a lip balm in each one that way I’m never without.  Anytime I leave the house without a handbag, the only two products I truly miss is my lotion on lip balm.  
Anytime we reach for a lip balm, it’s ’cause our lips are dry.  Does it make sense to slather your dry lips with petroleum? Maybe, but why not hydrate, moisturize and protect?  
But always remember that true lip hydration only comes when you are consuming adequate amounts of water.  So, take a huge swig of water, moisturize your lip with one of these babies, and feel fabulous.  
//Shop Hydrating Lip Balms//

If you and I were to bump into each other this past summer, there’s a high likelihood that I would be wearing a button down dress that stopped somewhere around the knee.  Button down dresses have become somewhat of a uniform because wearing dresses are the absolute easiest thing on earth. It requires no thought of outfit coordination.  Sometimes trying to match a shirt and top just takes more effort than I’m willing to give.
Summer uniform: Buttoned Down Military Style Dress

Which is why I adore dresses. In just a few moments, you look completely pulled together without having to invest much effort.  Almost every dress purchase I made this summer had one thing in common, the single column of buttons dividing one half of the dress from the other.  The only exception to that were the few maxi dresses added to my collection.

via SongofStyle

But none of my traditional maxi dresses were as classy as the button down.  Most often, maxi dresses give off the laid back, casual vibe reminiscent of a tropical vacation getaway.  But we sometimes forget the more grown up, feminine version.  The one that can be worn to dinner or a social event. The one that makes you stand out from a sea of others wearing distressed skinny jeans.  There’s something inherently alluring about the woman in a full length dress with just a hint of skin showing.


Best of all, this type of dress will never go out of style because it’s not a trend. It’s a staple the every woman should have in their closet.