Sunday, December 29, 2013

5 Tips for Creating a Solid New Year's Resolution

Let's face it, we all make promises to ourselves that we don't keep.  Especially around this time of year in the form of a New Year's Resolution. Ugh... the dreadful resolution. A goal or series of goals we ordain ourselves to no matter how dedicated or undedicated we actually may be at the moment of declaration.  But why?  Is it just another unexplained tradition that the masses follow or is it because we have an innate desire to improve ourselves?... Or both?... Maybe neither?  Regardless, here are 5 no BS tips to help you create a solid New Year's Resolution that is sure to up your chances of success when you follow them.

Make It Something You Really Want
I know this seems like a given, but often times I think we all get so caught up in what we think we should be doing or what others think we should be doing instead of solely focusing in on what it is that we truly want. Chances are, if you really want it you will have a lot more motivation and desire to achieve it and make it a reality for you. Ask yourself: "What do I really want?".

Be Specific
The more detailed you are about your goal(s) the more accurately you can begin to execute the necessary tasks and plans you set forth to achieve them. Think of it like this, if someone sent you on an errand to go get the perfect sweater and all they said to you was "Go get me the perfect sweater"... you wouldn't even know where to begin.  It's the same thing with our brains and subconscious level of thinking/  Don't just say "I want to make a lot of money"... declare the exact amount you want to make and the exact time frame you want to make it by.  Don't just say "I want to get in shape"... describe exactly how in shape you want to be and what you want to change... do you want to build muscle? Tone up? Slim down? Bulk up? Gain weight? Lose weight?  How will you do it? Yoga? Pilates? Running? Circuit Training? Everything?  Do yourself a favor and get the description of that proverbial perfect sweater.  

Create a Plan, Set Realistic Expectations, Allow Room for Mistakes
No matter how many goals you set for the New Year... whether it's one or twenty goals or more, you must have a plan to achieve them, be realistic about your approach, and allow room for mistakes.  Now that you know exactly what you want to achieve... it's time to start thinking about how you will go about doing so.  Let's say you really want to get promoted at work and you want to do it in the next 6 months with a $10,000 raise.  That's a very specific goal, but how will it be achieved?  Perhaps write down a few things you can do to make sure the odds are more in your favor, for example: Network with key people at work, sign up to take on more projects, complete necessary company trainings.  Be realistic about your approach by knowing what you can handle, understanding your work ethic, and of course understanding your company's promotion policy to make sure you are even a candidate for a promotion as well as typical pay increase ranges.  Knowing these things can also help you tailor your goal description.  If you notice midway through  that your plan execution isn't working... don't be afraid to change it.  Leave room for mistakes, but don't accept failure... just find a new way. Even if it means extending the goal from 6 months to a year.

So Let It Be Written, So Let It Be Done!
Now that you know exactly what you want and how you plan to achieve it... Write it down!  & don't wait too long either... write down your goals and plans as soon as they come to you. This is a very crucial step in setting any goal or declaration.  This is the first step to physically manifesting your goals. It also serves as an awesome reference tool and guide/outline of your goals so you can always remember and track exactly what you intend to accomplish.  Sometimes it is very easy to forget our goals once the initial emotion of excitement wears off.  By writing it down, we will forever capture the excitement and original intent behind our goals and have a written out roadmap to achieve them.

Visualize and Recite
See it. Believe it. Achieve it. Once all your goals and plans are written down, it is very beneficial to take some time each day to actually see yourself achieving them.  Whether it's right when you wake up, on your ride to work, right before you go to sleep, or while you're in the shower... take some time to visualize yourself as the new successful you.  Recite your goals every day so that they are ingrained in your mind.  It's difficult to remember what you're supposed to do..if you allow room to forget.  Visualize and Recite... every day.  See it, feel it, and be it...until you ARE it.

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The Green Lipstick Challenge

I recently posted about a lipstick color from the Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian Jewels Collection called Emerald. The D&G Emerald color is a shade of green and it’s extremely attention grabbing. Needless to say, I got some mixed reactions on the lipstick color and wanted to test it out on other women. I immediately noticed that this lipstick is all about attitude and wondered how women would adapt to wearing such a bold statement color. I decided to do an experiment with Emerald by D&G on ladies that I know personally. I called this experiment: “The Green Lipstick Challenge” and to my surprise had several willing participants. I got some of my friends together of different ages and ethnicities and had them try Emerald to see if they could work it. It’s a tough color to embrace but they all really had fun with.

I have a diverse group of friends which only made this experiment more interesting. My homies range in age from 20’s – 60’s and are of different ethnicities. It was really interesting to see that once D&G’s Emerald was applied and they got a look at themselves, many of their attitudes changed. It was like the lipstick took over and temporarily altered their personalities releasing their inner diva. I’ve attached some shots of my girlfriends and myself wearing the color. What I think is cool is that the color looks different on everyone, they were even fighting over who wore it best, lol. See for yourself!
Erica, a 20-something Caucasian woman
T., a 30-something African American woman
Rosa, a 40-something Latina woman
Anna, a 50-something Caucasian woman
Grace, a 50-something Latina woman
Angie, a 60-something Afro Latina woman

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Friday, December 27, 2013

DIY: Yogurt and Green Clay Mask

All I can say is I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to come up with this easiest of face mask ideas. I’ve known for a while how beneficial honey is to the skin (it makes it SO soft and helps retain moisture), and had heard about yogurt’s positive effects too. The two combined? AND with some green clay powder I had lying around thrown in? How could this not be a good thing?

I purchased one of the small snack size containers of Fage a week or two ago and still hadn’t gotten around to testing out my mask idea. This week, when I finally whipped it up (in literally about 30 seconds), I couldn’t stop marveling at what a dum dum I’d been. You guys, this yogurt mask feels so wonderful on the skin. If you mix up the mask with yogurt straight out of the refrigerator, the mask feels incredibly refreshing and cooling and just fan-freaking-tastic. This is the perfect thing to whip for yourself and a girlfriend after work one night, or if you’re having a weekend ‘spa afternoon’ together.
If you can’t find the green clay (I get mine from either Whole Foods or local natural foods stores, but you can also get it online here), you can simply omit — the yogurt and honey will be beneficial enough. I also found this article that lists some other recipes and mentions some of the more science-y benefits of yogurt when topically applied to the skin. But, all you need to know is that it will feel really good on your face. Here’s how to make it:
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of green clay face mask powder, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix together well with a spoon, then apply to your face. I carefully put some under my eyes, just because the cooling effect felt so good after a night without enough sleep. Let sit for 15 minutes, until the mask sets, then rinse with tepid water.
A note about the yogurt: I used the 7oz container of Fage 2% yogurt. I chose Greek yogurt because it’s so thick and I knew it’d be supremely spreadable. If you had regular yogurt around, I’m sure that would work too – the most important thing is that it’s cold. This mask recipe easily makes enough for two people, so grab a friend and enjoy!
And in case you want real proof that I put this on my face…

[Article courtesy of: VMac&Cheese]
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It Ain't Easy Being Green!

Leave it to Dolce & Gabbana to create a lipstick in a shade of *gasp* GREEN! The color is called Emerald and it’s a part of D&G’s Sicilian Jewels Collection. Now you know I’m from the Bronx so I gotta keep it real…this is not an easy color to rock.  Not by a long shot! I think that the secret to wearing this color is that you have to own it, this lipstick can smell fear. If you are hesitant in even the slightest way Emerald will eat you alive, so you have to be brave. It ain’t easy being green honey!

My business, Metro Look, did a lip bar at the Essence magazine holiday party and I was gifted D&G’s Emerald. While I was too much of a punk to try it myself, a few ladies at the holiday party “manned up” and tried the shocking green color. Most of them didn’t think they could pull it off, but every now and then I would find that elusive girl who embraced her inner Rihanna and loved it! The Beauty Director at Essence loved the color so much that she says she wore it around the office for several days.

Personally I don’t know if I have enough swag to pull it off but I’ve attached some photos of me wearing D&G's Emerald lipstick for fun. You can form your own opinion from there.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Four Minute Total Body Workout

Want to tone up, but don't have the time or space? Here is a total body work out using nothing but your own body, and it only takes four minutes! I have chosen four of the most efficient exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck!

Since you will only have one minute per exercise, limit your breaks between sets to only a couple of seconds.

1. Jumping Jacks are a great warm-up exercise that engages your entire body while getting your heart rate up. Getting your heart rate up at the beginning of your activity helps the blood flow and will enable your work out to be more intense and beneficial.

Muscles Worked: Shoulders, core, hip abductors, glutes

How To: Start in a standing position with your hands at your sides and feet together. Jump up, landing with both feet spaced wide apart. During the jump, bring your arms out and overhead, meeting at the top. Jump again, this time bringing your arms and feet back to the original standing position.

Sets/Reps: 1 Set/60 Reps

2. Push Ups are an amazing exercise that simultaneously works all of the muscles in the front of your body, and even your backside if you squeeze your glutes!

Muscles Worked: chest, triceps, deltoids, core, quadriceps, chins, back

How To: Get down into plank position (you can modify this exercise by going into plank position, but going down onto your knees rather than your toes). While keeping your core tight and back flat, lower your chest down to the floor, and back up to plank position.

Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps with a 2-3 second break in between. Advanced: Perform push ups for one minute straight or until failure.

3. Squats are the best exercise for your lower body, especially your gluteus maximus which is the largest muscle in the body. Having a fit lower body can help you in performing many other exercises. Be sure to keep your core tight, and squeeze your glutes when you come up from the squat for ultimate results.

Muscles Worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, hips

How To: Stand with feet a little further than shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent. Bend down, leaning your backside back as you come down, as if you are coming down into a chair. Bring your hands up into "prayer position" with elbows out as you come down, or hold your arms out straight in front of you. Come back up into starting position.

Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps with a 2-3 second break in between. Advanced: Perform squats for one minute straight or until failure.

4. Bicycle crunches are by far my favorite ab exercise. If you do them extra slow, you will certainly be feeling the burn!

Muscles worked: abdominals, obliques, hip flexors

How To: Lay down on your back with your knees bent. Raise your upper back off the floor with your arms behind your head. Remember to keep your neck straight and relaxed. Bring your left knee and right elbow in, meeting in the middle. As you do this, your right leg should come straight out. Repeat on the other side, going back and forth in a slow motion.

Sets/Reps: 1 set/60 reps

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Gorgeous Pin Up Hair From My NY Post Shoot With 3 Buff Beauties!

I recently had one of the coolest hairstyling gigs ever; I got to turn 3 strong and athletic women into 1940’s pin up girls - love doing vintage hair! I was booked by the NY Post to do hair for Massy Arias aka @MankoFit, Lita Lewis aka @FollowTheLita, and Sohee Lee aka @SoheeFit . All of these fit ladies have strong social media followings and represent beauty in healthy way. I’m going to explain how to recreate these timeless hairstyles from the 40’s using Not Your Mother's All Eyes on Me Shape & Shine hairspray.

Sohee has a ton of thick hair so there were no extensions necessary, but if you need them for volume go on and pop a few in. I started out by spraying the hair with All Eyes on Me and curling her entire head with a 1” iron in the direction going toward her face. Next I made a square section on top of her head in the center (how large or small of a section you like is up to you). I gathered my top section and started to roll the hair around two of my fingers starting at the ends and continued to roll down until I got to the root. You can place your roll in the left, middle, or right of the section but I chose to place it on the right. Once your roll is shaped the way you like, pin it into place from the front and the back of the roll.  Give the hair a final spray to hold the style together. Place a flower of your choice in front of your ear on either and pin it down so that it won’t budge and you’re done!

Lita has thick shoulder length hair but I popped in a few extensions for length. First we sprayed all of the hair with All Eyes on Me. Using a ¾” iron I curled all of her hair going in the direction away from her face and brushed through the curls. Next I made a deep side part (you can part on whatever side you prefer). I then twisted the hair at the nape of the neck over to the heavier side (the side of the part with the most hair) and pinned in in place so that all of the hair rested on one shoulder.  Hit the hair with a final spray to keep curls in tact. Finish by placing a flower in front of the ear of the side with no hair on the shoulder.

Massie has long bangs and we wanted to give her Betty Page style bangs, so I utilized clip in bangs. First we sprayed All Eyes on Me throughout her hair and brushed it through. Her whole head was curled in the direction going toward her face with a 1” curling iron. I sectioned her hair horizontally from ear to ear, then I made a vertical part in middle of that section to divide it in two. Next I made victory rolls with both sections by rolling the hair around two fingers starting at the ends and rolling until I reached the root. When my rolls where in place I pinned them in place in the front and back of the rolls. Then I placed the clip in bang in the center of the part to hide the part completely  and cut them down a little. Spray the hair once more to keep the hair in place. I completed the look with….you guessed it a flower! In this style the flower can be placed on whatever side you prefer.

Vintage hairstyles are way less intimidating than they seem, and having the right product makes them that much easier. The All Eyes on Me Shape & Shine hairspray gives the hair curl memory, adds shine, and has a nice touchable hold.  

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Secret Weapon for Dark Circles!

Dark under eye circles can be really annoying (especially for women of color) but thankfully they can be concealed rather quickly and easily with the right products. As a member of the dark circle tribe, I was constantly looking for ways to make them go away but was unsuccessful in my attempts; so I just hide them. What is my secret weapon? Orange corrector! Yes orange - it's amazing. Concealer alone is not enough to combat the darkness, utilizing orange underneath the concealer completely masks the darkness. If you don’t have an orange corrector you can use orange lipstick as a corrector, but it has to be a flat orange without shimmer or glitter in it.
Start out with a clean face that has been moisturized.

Place a THIN layer of the orange corrector underneath the eye and blend out with your finger, a damp sponge, or a concealer brush.  The orange immediately cancels out the darkness. Make sure that you do not neglect the corner of the eye, it's very import to brighten that area as well.

Apply your concealer on top of the corrector under the eye and blend it by using a patting motion with your ring finger. The under eye area is very sensitive so the ring finger is best to blend with because it’s the weakest finger on your hand.

Using the color orange as a corrective color cancels out the darkness and simultaneously brightens underneath the eye.

A great orange corrector that I like to use is the Deep Brown Corrector from MUD and a nice lipstick alternative is Maybelline Color Sensational in Electric Orange.
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