Friday is finally here.  I have a new tradition where I plan out my weekend on Friday.  For the past couple months, I've dedicated a portion of the weekend towards improving my environment.  This mainly consists of decluttering and organizing.

 It's an annual process that began years ago.  It's a method I utilize to prepare my life for the new year that awaits.  The goal is to create a "new" environment to attract new experiences in my life.  Little did I know that what I was doing was having a real impact on my brain power.
It started when I decided to that corporate America was no longer for me.  I devised a plan to work all year long and request two weeks off at the end of the year.  But instead of traveling off to some foreign land, I stayed home and did the following:

1. Cleaned/decluttered my home.
2. Worked non-stop on my business.
3. Invested time into my personal appearance.
4. Replicate elements of my ideal life. 

This routine wasn't perfect but it was ultra-powerful.  The process ALWAYS began with a focus on improving my environment.  I found that if my environment was right, a burst of motivation followed.  It was a similar experience to Eddie from Limitless. When he took his brain enhancing pill, the first thing noticed was his chaotic environment.  The moment his space was cleared and organized, all of the sudden he had the motivation to finally grind out that book he had been putting off.

Cleaning & organizing my space was good, but I also felt the need to also elevate it.  For me, this meant purchasing high-quality candles and decor that stimulated my soul and made me feel good. I couldn't explain it, but when my house was on point, something was also happening to me internally.

I can recall a few times when someone has stepped into my home, paused, and proclaimed, "wow, you have a nice house."  What they're commenting on is probably my decor.  It's nothing special, just a few notable pieces that add to the feel of the home.  That's what I strive to achieve...an environment that stimulates at deeper level.  There's a reason why wealthy people invest so much into their dwelling.  They utilize their living space to nurture their abundance mindset and lifestyle.
This morning, I discovered that by enriching my home environment, I could have been stimulating the growth of additional neurons in my brain.

There's evidence that "enriching the environments" of rats increases neurogenesis.  Neurogenesis is simply the generation (growth) of neurons in the brain. When they enriched the environment of the mice (by adding running wheels, colored tunnels, other mice) neurons grew and had a greater survival rate!  Growing neurons is healthy for our brain but they don't always have longevity. Especially if we don't actively use certain parts of our brain.

Keep in mind that once we've something new, the subconscious kicks it to turn it into a mindless behavior.  That's how we carry out most of our day.  We drive to/from work and complete our required tasks based on old information stored in the brain.  Operating on autopilot necessary, to some extent, but it inhibits the growth of new neurons.

If we can leverage the power of our environment to help promote a healthier mind, we must do it!

Those of you working to create new outcomes for your life, consider leveraging the power of being in an "enriched environment."  Maybe that means that you dedicate time to improve your home decor. Or perhaps, you work from places that make you feel good. Just like the mice experiment, enriching your environment also includes the people you surround yourself with.

I remember working out of specific coffee shops because I would be surrounded by real entrepreneurs as they discussed business strategies. Often times, I pretended to be working but was really listening to their brainstorming conversation as inspiration.  That was enough to stimulate my brain into action!

There a bunch of other ways to stimulate the growth our brains and we should experiment with all variations.  But, if we must begin somewhere, start with where you spend most of your time.  Enrich it in the way you see fit.  Never stop elevating your environment. 
The deeper we get into the fall season, the more I panic.  I'm already starting to feel the effects of the drier air and I don't like it.  Every winter, I suffer from this incessant itching that occurs mainly on my upper thigh area.  Since I'm not exactly sure what causes it, I'm forced to attribute it to the low humidity environment.

One of my strategies, this year is to fight against dry skin like my life depends on it.  The other day, I happen to catch an IG live featuring Teyana Taylor.  She revealed that her glowing skin was a result of her "good moisturizer."  Although I never determined the exact brand her holy grail moisturizer, I came up on some of Teyana's other skin secrets that have already transformed my skin.
I've written countless articles about women who swear by coconut oil for healthy skin.  The most recent featured Blac Chyna's nightly routine.  Coconut oil is amazing on its own  but Teyana has found a way to make it even better!

The process is simple!  All she does is combine coconut oil with the most amazing, skin loving ingredient in existence......vitamin E.

I'm talking about the pure stuff, without the added soybean oil or whatever.

If any of you have used pure vitamin E on your skin, you know how nourishing it feels.  Imagine the wonderful outcome of combining the two.  I had the pleasure of trying this mixture for myself.  After my nightly shower, I applied the coco-E oil all over (focusing on my legs and feet).  The next morning, I woke up to my softest skin of my entire life!  No lotion could ever replicate this result....ever.

Teyana's coconut/vitamin E blend may save my skin this winter.

*side note* I have to try this oil combination on my hair as well.
Let's get back to the topic of her moisturizer that's so nourishing that her natural glow was mistaken for highlighter.  Although I can't be sure the exact moisturizer Teyana used, we can still theorize.

THEORY #1
Is it possible the Teyana uses a thin layer of her coconut/vitamin E oil on her face?  Back in the day, I used to go to bed greasy using pure vitamin E.   The compliments I received were never ending.  I walked around with an effortless glow that lasted throughout most of the day.

THEORY #2
Teyana could be using a moisturizer formulated specifically to leave the skin looking radiant.  Don't be afraid to experiment with adding a tiny bit of your favorite liquid illuminator (like NYX's Born to Glow) to your moisturizer or foundation.  #JazzmaTaughtUs 

THEORY #3
Perhaps she creates a hybrid of her favorite moisturizer and carrier oil combination.  Adding a tiny bit of oil helps your moisturizer to "stick" and leaves your skin with a glow.  You may have to play around with this depending on your skin type. Some oils (like vitamin E) are suitable for ultra-dry skin.  For normal, oily skin, you may want to experiment with rosehip which is a much drier oil.

Bottom line, you can have glowing skin by enhancing your daily moisturizer.  All you have to do is get a little creative.

Once upon a time I went to my local professional beauty school for a massage.  Since the services were pretty affordable, I inquired about also getting a facial.  Whenever I go in for a skin service, I like to ask the person which treatment they think would best benefit my skin based on their assessment.

As the student looked at my skin under a bright light, she pointed out some concerns that I was well aware of. There was some acne scarring on my cheeks and dry patches on my forehead.  As we neared the end of the consultation, one of the professors came in to observe.  The student repeated all of the concerns that she identified when suddenly, her teacher responded with "what about the discoloration to the lower half of her face?"

I was a bit stunned.  "What discoloration? What was she talking about? How come no one had ever mentioned this before?"
When I got home that day, I looked into the mirror and, for the first time ever, I noticed that the bottom half of my face was darker than the rest. It wasn't that drastic, but it was there. Most of it is concentrated around my mouth and chin.

Unlike the rest of my hyperpigmentation, the discoloration is much more subtle.  And because it's not caused by past trauma (like acne scars) it's harder to treat.  There's a way to deal quickly address this issue.

And that's through color correcting.

I didn't understand the wonders of color correcting until recently.  I purchased a color correcting palette at a make up show and had no idea what to do with it.  After watching a quick video, I realized that the orange/reddish colored concealer held the secret to neutralizing my discoloration.

Even my most amazing concealers are no match for some of my darkest areas.  This keeps me from creating a truly flawless appearance.  Concealers are great, but they can only do so much.  If we take a second to color correct prior to applying concealers, we can change everything. 

If you have a deeper skin tone, a reddish-hued concealer might make the difference between a mediocre or an amazing finish.

Currently, I have one color correcting product in my possession.  That's not enough.  Since color correcting is the key to creating the flawless skin of my dreams, I must have an arsenal of products in place to get the job done.  I need a slew of color correctors in various forms (pens, liquid, cream, etc).

Best of all, color correcting doesn't require much technical skill, just apply to the dark areas and blend. Color correcting won't produce a cakey result like when you keep applying layers of foundation those dark areas.  Foundation is good, but it could work so much better with the help of a product created for the purpose of neutralizing hyperpigmentation. 

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I discovered the existence of cleansing balms back when Jourdan Dunn first revealed her entire skin care regimen.  Her cleanser of choice was moringa cleansing balm by Emma Hardie.  That was over a year ago.  I vowed to pick up that cleansing balm but never followed through.

Fast forward to this week when I a received notification that Teyana Taylor had launched an Instagram live video.  She was sitting in the back of an Uber, on her way to the airport to meet her idol, Janet Jackson.  Teyana was super nervous that she might miss her flight so she had a somber, serious look on her face.  The weather was cold & gloomy which explained why she cozied up under a dark hoodie jacket.  Even with poor lighting and her serious face, the girl was glowing. 
At the right moment, Teyana happened to look down at the questions and saw that someone was asking her about which highlighter she was wearing.

"Highlighter? Girl, I don't have any makeup on....I'm not doing my face until I get off the plane." She then made a disparaging comment about how to she looked to which everyone responded with overwhelming praise.   Teyana then continued to say "this [is] that good moisturizer." I listened closely to see if she would reveal a brand but that never happened.

Bummed, I decided to do some digging of my own to see what I could come up with.  But instead of a moisturizer, I was introduced to the skin cleanser that Teyana swears by.

And, surprise!  It's also a cleansing balm. But not just any cleansing balm, it's an even-toned cleansing balm that promises to deliver a brighter, healthier complexion.  Best of all, it's made by brand developed for women of color.  This 3-N-1 cleansing balm has several notable ingredients including oils, plant extracts, witch hazel (for acne control) and acids to brighten the skin.  This is a hard-working product. No wonder why Teyana is so in love.

One of my character flaws traits is my impatience.  I really wanted to try a cleansing balm but I couldn't bear the thought of waiting several days to receive it.  So I'm like "what do I have in my possession to create my own cleansing balm asap?"

HERE'S WHAT I CAME UP WITH:
1. Coconut oil.
2. Shea butter.
3. Black soap

Dassit!  Only 3 ingredients.  Coconut oil would be the base of the product. Shea butter would give it a nice, rich texture. Black soap would feel nourishing to the skin yet would create the "soapy" effect when I rinsed (plus black soap can help even out skin).

I'll be honest with you, my final product was.....ugly.  Hideous is probably a better word. Nothing mixed together properly but I couldn't be bothered with what it looked like.  My only concern was if it would serve its purpose.  And I'm happy to report that it did!

The "mixture" glided over my skin which made it easy to massage. And when it came time to rinse, the black soap came through!  My struggle balm left my skin smoother and brighter looking.  I couldn't stop touching it.  I finished up the routine with an acid-based toner then moisturized.  I'm a happy woman.

*side note* Perhaps if I would have melted the mixture together and allowed it to harden as it cooled, the final product could have looked more like a true balm. But this is only a theory that I will test out when I have more time.*

The DIY serves its purpose for now, but I still want to get my hands on the real deal.   I may write a part 2 to this post because, while searching for the brand of her "good moisturizer," I came up on a couple of Teyana's other beauty secrets.  Stay tuned.

As we all know,  daily action is the recipe for success.  We're officially kicking off the last 60 days of 2017 and there's no better time to start a 30-day challenge then now.   I'm fully committed to putting in the work necessary to drive real results.  And, since time is limited, we have to focus on the type of action that creates our desired outcomes in the fastest ways possible.

Recently, I watched a video on Youtube that featured some network marketing folks discussing their wins.  As one of the participants shared his reason for success, I was instantly inspired to draft this post because his advice mirrored what I did to created success in my business.


The first part of his conversation revolved around the practice of taking daily action.  Without daily action, our dreams will suffocate.  This is a given.  But's it's what he said next that made my ears perk up.  His method to success was simple: track, monitor, and create accountability.

He then shared this quote:

"If you monitor/track your activities, your results will improve."

"If you track/monitor your activities and report them to someone else, they'll improve exponentially."

I'd like to share a story. The same year that I quit my job, I hired a coach to work with me 1 on 1 to help me reach my goals.  One of her first requests was that I do a time log of all of my activities.  Every week, I completed the time log of everything I did, every hour,  and we discussed the record of my activity on our weekly call.

Unfortunately, our professional relationship didn't last too long because I was looking for a coach that would hold me accountable to reaching my outcomes.  But, the best thing that came out of our sessions was this tracking of my activity on an hour-by-hour basis.

Having to report my results to her added an extra layer of urgency to make sure that I handled the important things on my list.  Even though our sessions ended, I kept a mental reminder to always value my time. It's probably no coincidence that the same year I started tracking my activities is when I finally manifested my dream of becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

The guy on the YouTube video said something else that is absolutely critical to this process.  He urged the viewers to track their income-producing activity.  Doing so makes a huge difference in the type of action you take.   All action is not created equal.  Some of the things we write on our to-do list makes us feel good but don't produce any real results.  Get off that hampster wheel and shift your energy towards what really matters.  Even if it feels super uncomfortable.

These next 60 days can be absolutely magical if we put his advice into practice.  I need to get back into the habit of monitoring and tracking my activities.  I've been tracking my results (which is also good) but I've forgotten the fact that the right actions will create optimal results.   Basically, my next steps will look something like this:

1. Identity the outcomes I want to achieve.
2. Determine which (daily) actions will produce these results.
3. Track activity to ensure that I'm following through and taking action.
4. Assess results.
5. Determine if I'm taking the right actions or if I need to course correct.
6. Share results with an accountability partner on a routine basis.

Step 6 is important but if you don't have someone to report your activities, you can still be your own accountability partner.  I do this when I record my results into a voice recorder on my phone. You can also journal the process.  Just make sure you challenge yourself on some of your actions. That's what accountability partners are for. :)

Sixty days left.  Are you going to try this or nah?