I'm pretty sure that most, if not all of you have heard of dry skin brushing before.  It's basically a holistic technique where you stroke your body with a huge bristled brush for the purposes of stimulating blood flow while exfoliating the skin.  Sounds good right?

Loads of women utilize their body brushes before jumping in the shower to loosen dirt and hopefully diminish the appearance of cellulite.  Before getting into rebounding, I'd often brush my body to stimulate lymphatic drainage and detoxification.

Dry brushing the body is cool and all, but I think I've stumbled onto something even better.
My newest obsession is dry face brushing.  Actually, I face brushed years ago but completely forgotten about until recently.  Now that brushing my face regularly again, I'm kicking myself for having ever stopped.

What is face brushing exactly? Basically, it's just like body brushing except you're using a tiny bristled face brush.  The same rules apply. You are still trying to stimulate lymphatic drainage while promoting toned, firm skin.

Face brushing does a wonderful job of exfoliating and bringing blood flow to the surface of the skin.  I started dry brushing again after reintroducing retin-A to my regimen.  Retin A always makes my forehead peel.  To combat this, I decided to gently remove the flaky skin with the help of a dry face brush.  It worked like a charm!  Then I remembered how much my skin improved when I dry brushed years ago so I've since kept up the habit.

Dry face brushing is probably one of the most potent forms of manual exfoliation.  I'm my opinion, it's more powerful than scrubbing with microbeads.  If you have dry facial skin, you'll actually see dead cells lift from the surface of your skin.

Beyond the surface exfoliation, one of my favorite reasons to dry brush my face is for the anti-aging effects.  I use similar lifting motions to when I massage.  I believe the skin responds positively to massage and manipulation.  Dry face brushing is a bit more abrasive to massaging the face with your hands.  So in theory, you might experience more lifting and toning than massaging with your hands alone.  It also really helps speed up cell turnover.  And, with the top layer of the skin removed, you create the environment for your products to absorb better.

Who wouldn't want that?

I categorize this as a more advanced level skin treatment.  Meaning, if you have sensitive skin that's irritated easily (or prone to flare up), you may want to sit this one out. Or, at the very least, approach with caution and dip your toes in by grabbing a more gentle brush to experiment with.  Your skin might eventually build up a tolerance so there's no need to go overboard if you're just starting out. I don't face brush every day because I like to give my skin some time to regenerate in between sessions.  Body brushing, on the other hand, you can do on a daily basis.

This is the second post in a series where I gush over the effortless glow of a summer muse.  Last time, we analyzed the root cause of Gabrielle Union's summer glow.  Today, we'll rehash what we know of Kelly Rowland's beauty rituals.
On the surface, Kelly looks like she's a low maintenance type of gal.   But she's far from that.  Although she keeps her look pretty natural, there's a lot of work that goes into her effortless results.  I mean, just look at her.  She looks like a beautiful young lady enjoying a day at the beach.  She doesn't look like a woman nearing 40 years old.  Her body is perfect, her skin is perfect, her hair is perfect.   Everything worked together to create this amazing moment.

One of Kelly's best features is her skin.  We can all attribute her healthy glow to genetics but, in actuality, she puts a lot of attention and invests heavily in her skin.  Kelly has been known to brag about her love for Nutra Bisse products.  Specifically their peel off mask.  If memory serves me, Kelly is the one who introduced Beyonce to the brand.  Like every other celebrity with flawless skin, exfoliation is a staple in Kelly' regimen.  Right now, she's loving Dr. Denis Gross' peel pads.  Apparently, they helped clear an unexpected breakout overnight and she's been loyal ever since. We've already discussed how the key to flawless summer skin involves adding exfoliating acids to your regimen.  If you're serious about glowing skin, don't skip out on exfoliating acids.

Kelly's wearing cut off denim shorts and a simple crop top.  I honestly thought the crop top trend would be over by now but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.  Kelly proudly displays her midsection because she's worked hard for her results.  If you recall, Kelly has been known to knock out a couple of hundred sit-ups a night to maintain a toned core.  She's also faithfully worked out with her favorite trainer, Jeanette Jenkins.  I remember when Destiny's Child first came on the scene.  You could tell that Kelly always had a small frame.  It's easy to think that a body like hers comes naturally, but not so.  The toned legs and midsection come from focused exercise.  Stop thinking that you can live a completely sedentary life and enjoy a toned-fit body.  It doesn't work that way.  The reason why Kelly puts in the work is because she "loves the way her clothes fit."  I'm sure we all want that.  Kelly also loves munching on healthy greens like kale and spinach.  Not only does eating clean contribute to keeping her frame slim, it helps keep her skin pretty as well.

Another attribute I love about Kelly is that she enjoys the art of self-care. She loves treating herself to various beauty routines & rituals.  I think her entire lifestyle is centered around pouring into herself and feeling good.  She eats a lot of greens because of how they make her feel. She works out first thing in the morning to create energy to last throughout the day.  She invests in herself so that she can be the best version of herself for her family.   It' a wonderful philosophy to have and it's served her very well.

I was scrolling through reviews for a liquid hair supplement the other day.  I then came across a comment that immediately caught my attention.  The reviewer shared her disdain for the product. She then went on to say that taking probiotics and other vitamins gave her better results.

Probiotics? What do probiotics have to do with healthy hair growth?  At first, I thought this woman was sadly mistaken. But then I did some digging and realized that probiotics might play a major role in healthy, shiny hair growth.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the connections between a healthy gut and thriving hair.  The two are very closely related in several ways.

Before I go into detail, I want to remind you how crucial it is that we have a healthy gut biome.  We have about as many cells in our gut as the rest of our entire bodies.  This part of our health cannot be ignored.  Optimal health can't be obtained without a strong focus on healthy gut bacteria.

While searching for the truth, I found a study that determined feeding probiotics to older rats gave them "a glow of health."  These changes produced characteristics typically found in younger mice during their peak.  One of the most obvious side effects of probiotic supplementation in older mice was the growth of "luxuriant fur."  This was in obvious contrast to the control group of elder mice who didn't receive supplementation.  Somehow, probiotics produced shiny, healthy fur in these rodents.  The difference made by taking probiotics is like night and day.  Take a look.
Not only did their hair get shiny, their skin actually thickened as well.  A healthy gut biome also lead "robust hair growth" in mice of both genders. 

Why was this happening?

The reason why eating probiotic yogurt made such drastic changes is because probiotics stimulated their hairs to enter the anagen phase of the hair cycle.  This is the phase where the hair strands are growing and happy.  That's exciting news, but do the same benefits translate to humans as well?

When I did a little digging, I found a testimony on a forum where the person talked about their experience taking probiotics for acne.

"It seems that when I take probiotics I get a lot of vellus hairs growing on my temples where there was no hair before. I haven’t been able to find any info on how probiotics could be related to hair regrowth. Although my hairloss isn’t caused by the usual reasons, it was caused by a drug called Accutane."
In some of the responses, a huge piece of information was revealed regarding the link between gut bacteria and hair growth.  Probiotics produce biotin. Yes, the same biotin that we purchase to stimulate growth is produced naturally in our bodies with the help of probiotics.  Our friendly bacteria also produce folate (folic acid), vitamin B12, and panthenol (B5) just to name a few.  Each of these ingredients can be found in all of your favorite hair vitamins. 

When our gut bacteria is compromised, we potentially lose out on the natural production of these hair-healthy nutrients.  You might say to yourself, "no worries, I'll just take hair vitamins instead."  Yes, you can.....and you should.  But, if your gut isn't healthy, don't assume that your body will properly assimilate the nutrients.  If you want to maximize the absorption of all those wonderful hair vitamins you're swallowing, thee absolute best way to do it is to focus on improving the health of your gut.

A lot us don't even think about probiotics as a "healthy hair supplement" but it is.  Perhaps this is why that woman who left the Amazon review experienced such wonderful benefits.  She addressed the root cause.  If your diet hasn't been that great or you've taken antibiotics over the winter, loading up on probiotics should be your priority.  If you're currently working on your summer body, don't forget to include probiotics as part of the plan. 

Probiotics are the answer to everything. 

We're nearing the end of the first quarter of the year.  Around this time, I like to take a moment to assess my progress in relation to my goals.  In 2018, I'd like to apply the lessons learned from the goals reached in 2017 along with those that I didn't accomplish.

After taking time to dissect the reasons why some goals happened, while others didn't, I've finally realized the ultimate factor in goal achievement.
The differentiator was very clear.  The goals that I reached (or made huge progress on) were the ones where I allocated a bulk of my time.

I know this seems like common sense but you'd be surprised.  On several occasions, I would declare a desired outcome as a goal. But that was pretty much it.  I kept saying that I wanted it but nothing changed in my daily life.

  • We all have 24 hours in the day.  
  • Each of those 24 hours is already occupied with our current actions.  
  • Our current actions produce our current results.
  • A new goal is essentially a desire for a new result.
  • In order to produce a new result, you have to put the time in. 
  • If nothing changes in your daily/weekly routine, you will not likely reach your goal.
  • This is because your current routine is producing your current results.

It's as simple as that.  

I can easily point out the intentions I've set but haven't allocated any time. Those can't be classified as goals. They're more like wishes.  I wish they would somehow manifest without any effort on my part.  Realistically, they probably won't happen.  Not unless I do something about it. 

 On the flip side, I set a clear goal for Q1 of this year.  I've also dedicated lots of focused time and attention toward the realization of that outcome.  I'm happy to report that I'm currently enjoying the fruit of my labor.  

Sure, I had to switch some things around in my routine to make it happen.  But it was worth it.  Going into this second quarter, I will follow the same process.  I'll take a look at my list of goals and ask myself "which of these areas would I love to experience the most progress?"  I'll then select the top 1 or 2 goals and make a plan to allocate adequate time towards executing actions that lead me directly to that result.  

It's Monday.  A great activity to try is to review your actions over the past 7 days.  How much of your time last week was allocated towards reaching your goals? Not much? No worries....we have this week.  And with longer days ahead, we have fewer excuses to get the wheels in motion.  

Pick out your focuses for this week and establish a plan to ensure you are proud of yourself by the end of the next 90 days. 
Many years ago, I took a finance course as a part of my college curriculum.  I was already working in my career field by day while taking classes at night. I'll never forget the guy who taught the course.  He was an investment banker who taught college courses in his off time.  A portion of the class was dedicated to reviewing required coursework. The rest of the time, he would show us how to find high-performing stocks and mutual funds using resources online.

This guy was a bit of a genius.  He often boasted about being the youngest person to pass the Series 7 course in our state.  Because of him, they developed a law that no one under the age of 18 could take the test.  At at the age of 17, he couldn't legally sign binding agreements with his clients although he was technically licensed.  He loved his job and gladly gave out free investing advice to the entire class.

On the last day of the course, one of the students raised his hand and asked for permission to speak. He then stood up and thanked our professor for the advice he graciously provided about how to pick out high performing investment opportunities. This student immediately applied the technique taught to us.   His picks performed so well that it provided him the income to purchase a boat.  I sat in my seat in complete shock.  We were all given the same knowledge. But he was the only one to apply the stock picking advice.  And he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts.

From then on, I made a vow to apply any financial tips and strategies that came my way.  Today, I'm here to share a small tip that 100% of you can and should apply ASAP to start earning more money right away.
This is a strategy that I started implementing over a decade ago.  Before I started investing, I developed a habit of saving.  I was very adamant about saving several months of salary in the event that I found myself without a steady paycheck.  Then, one day, I saw an infomercial encouraging people to pull equity out of their homes and place it into an investment account this company was offering.

I had no equity at the time, but I did have a nice cushion of savings.  I was pretty convinced the company on the infomercial was a scam so I looked for an alternate way to make money work for me.  After searching around, I found a few FDIC insured online banks that paid out high returns on savings accounts.  Much more than any traditional banks.  Months later, I was pretty pleased to see the interest deposits coming in.  Instead of earning pennies, they were depositing dollars.

It wasn't a ton of money, but those deposits encouraged me to save even more.

Currently, the economy is strong and interest rates are creeping up again.  That means that it's more expensive for us to borrow money.  But, if we become the lender, we have the upper hand.  This year I learned that American Express offers a savings account with rates higher than any of my current banks. Soon after discovering this piece of information, I moved some of my money over.  On February 8, I made a deposit and on February 20, I received my first interest payment of $51.30.   

Over fifty dollars for doing pretty much nothing.

 And now, I'll earn interest on $50.00 that was essentially given to me for free.  Soon the compound effect will come into play and the money will continue to multiply, especially if interest rates continue to rise.   Everyone reading these words should immediately consider opening up a high-interest savings account. They cost absolutely nothing. And they give you free money!

This is one of the easiest ways to generate passive income that I know.  Most other "passive income" opportunities require some form of work. This is a no-brainer.
The other tip I have for you is to apply advice that you receive from people you trust.  Particularly people who are already wealthy.  A few years ago, I used to watch an internet show from a couple of young tech millionaire entrepreneurs.  During the unscripted show, they would sometimes discuss shares of stock they purchased.  I listened without taking action. Many of those stocks are so expensive now. If I would have invested back then, my current net worth would be so much greater.

After learning my lesson, I decided to invest a small chunk of money into a stock that a mentor of mine recently purchased. I never heard of the company before but I really trusted his advice. Actually, he wasn't giving advice, he just casually mentioned that he acquired this specific stock and I followed in his footsteps. Several months later, the shares have already generated $500 in revenue. That's not enough to retire on but, hey, it's free money.

As the economy grows stronger we have to become financially savvy.  Opportunities abound. We must identify and take advantage of them.  If you're thinking about launching a business,  consider launching it sooner rather than later.  Your potential customers have disposable income now. Once the economy shifts, it might be a different story. Set a goal for how much savings you'll have and what your net worth will be by the year 2020.  When you're exposed to sound financial advice, make a move. Don't let these opportunities slip by. Be like that guy who took immediate action and was rewarded with a nifty boat.  Who knows how much money this guy has by now.

There's no time to waste. You gotta make moves now.