Sunday, June 26, 2011

Do I Really Want It? Do You Really Want It?

There are a myriad of reasons why people don't ever reach their goals--laziness, doubtful thoughts, fear, negative people around us; a lack of determination, the list goes on.  This is something I've spoken on before and over time, I'll speak on it more and more because it is something that is so important to me. The battle between "yes, I can and no, I can't".  I experience it everyday just as I'm sure many others do.

I'll tell you about my experience this week:

I was amped when I recieved my Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD, because as you know, I'd become bored with my previous workout regimen.  To help keep me on my toes, Chief volunteered himself to be my coach and said that he'd do the workout with me for the full 30 days.  Let me tell you right now that he talked a good talk but when it cames time to workout, he only watched the DVD while I put in the work.  Coaching me all the way but nonetheless, he only watched. 

Today is Day 11 of using the DVD (I'm exercising everyday during the week and resting on the weekend).  I asked him if he was going to do the workout with me today although I knew what the answer was as he'd already become preoccupied with his newest tech gadget.  Just I'd presumed he answered, "Nah, you go ahead.  Not today."

As I stood in the middle of the living room, I heard the thought of not working out creeping up from the back of my mind.  I looked at Chief chilling in the armchair and then looked at the couch. It's comfy cushions calling me to take a load off as I stand clad in my work clothes--shoes already kicked off at the door.  I thought once, I thought twice, I said it outloud, "I should chill." 

And before I could even take one step toward the couch, I was making an about face headed to the room to change into my workout clothes. What happened?

I imagined myself as a more fit and in-shape me and the ultimate truth is that "chillin" on the couch--as cushy as it is--isn't going to get me there.   When I look at my current self, I see progress but I don't see the end.  I want results--not just the progress alone because it's easy to go south from here and I'm not even trying to go there.

It's far too easy to talk ourselves out of things that are good for us--things that we really want.  At times it has nothing to do with any outside influences and it all boils down to how bad we really want to see the change or meet our goals.  We continually think about how much we want to chill or how much we "don't feel like it" instead of how much we really want to "get there".

Instead of saying no, we must condition ourselves to say "yes":  "Yes, I'll work out today." "Yes, I'll make one, two or even three steps toward my goals today."  "Yes, I'll save that money instead of spending it right away." "Yes, I can and I am." 
My goals is fitness but now matter what your goal is at this time, if we really, really want it, we'll achieve it.  Really.

(Images sourced from Google)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Total Fail: My First "Wash-N-Go"

I attempted a wash-n-go over the weekend after a little coaching from some of the natural ladies on YouTube.  I already knew this was going to be a trial & error type of deal but I had high hopes that the first try would be a winner...not so much.

Excuse the expressions but I wasn't too amped about how my hair turned out--and it shows LOL!.

DAY 1:  Lots of curl definition but a little frizzy, maximum shrinkage--my hair felt super dry & hayish.


DAY 2: Even more frizz & shrunken--a little softer after employing the overnight baggy method.


DAY 3: Couldn't take it anymore, put it in a puff for the day but washed it when I came home that evening.


Here's what I used:
Flaxseed Gel
(Followed Naptural85's recipe to the letter)
Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque
(I applied this as a moisturizer/leave-in on soaking wet hair directly befor applying the gel.)


I Need Help With this Wash-N-Go Thing: 

Aside from Kinky Curly Curling Custard, do you have any suggestions on what products I should try to achieve a great wash-n-go?  Right now, I've got my eye on Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Hydrayting Balm, what do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

DIY: All-Natural Moisturizing Facial


Many of us are always looking for the next best thing when it comes to skincare & makeup. Often, the best things can be in our very own kitchens.  Honey & oatmeal are natural foods that are not only good for the body but also offer great benefits for the skin.  By mixing up a little honey & oatmeal, you can make a mask that works just as well as any commercial skincare product.

The Benefits:
1. Helps to prevent breakouts, reduce puffiness and calm pores & soothe irritated skin.
2. Contains alpha hydroxy acids, which help to balance oily skin & stimulate collagen production which increases the skin's elasticity and helps to  minimize fine lines & wrinkles.
3. Contains amino acids that help the skin to retain moisture & appear smoother
4. Gently Exfoliates - the lactic acid from the milk and the gluconic acid from the honey are natural exfoliants & skin brigtheners

What You'll Need:
-1/2 cup Organic Oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon Raw Honey
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Milk

1. Grind oatmeal in a food processor or blender until it's of a gritty power consistency.
2. Mix the oatmeal, honey & milk to make a paste ensuring that it isn't runny.
3. Apply the mask generously to your face & neck and leave on for 10 minutes
4. Rinse and apply your favorite moisturizer

This facial mask is great for all skin types but especially great for those with oily/acne prone skin.

Why You Should Use Raw Honey as Opposed to Pasteurize Honey:
Raw honey contains added benefits that pasteurized honey does not such as the enzyme glucose oxidase which when combined with water, creates hydrogen peroxide--an antiseptic excellent for acne prone skin.  During pasteurization, the enzyme is destroyed and the honey then loses its antiseptic qualities. Also, raw honey contains bee pollen which stimulates generation of new skin cells.  Again, pasteurized honey does not contain bee pollen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beyonce for W Mag (Speechless!!!!)

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled program...

There was a point where I thought Beyonce was getting too skinny because her legs were starting to look more thin than toned.  If I had a say--which I don't and that's why I'm blogging about it to make myself feel like I do have a say LOL!--I'd like her to look like the Beyonce referenced in my previous post.  She looked toned and fit but not emaciated and her face still had a little fullness.  Nevertheless, the girl is on point with it and that body just kills!  SASHA FIERCE, say what!?!?! I don't care what anyone says, the girl is just...ahh--just look at the pics, I saved the best two for last.

Yes, I'll have an order of abs for lunch & dinner. Please & thank you.
WERK!

All photos sourced from W Magazine

Edit-July 1, 2011: Beyonce's mini documentary "The Year of 4" video via NecoleBitchie.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recipe: No-Fry Fish Tacos



Yesterday, on the way home from work, I had it all planned to begin my 30-Day Shred program and to make something delicious for dinner.  At the time, everything delicious meant straight up fattening but I knew I had to start my program strong in order to get the best results in the end (granted, I stay consistent with it).

After a great workout, I wanted something light & healthy but pleasing to the palette. I wanted tacos but I also wanted tilapia and I didn't want the same old baked tilapia we'd been eating lately.  Once, I decided on fish tacos, I attempted to recall from memory the recipes I'd seen around before but each and every one of them called for frying the fish.  Since I had an idea of the flavors I wanted to experience during this meal, I decided to wing it and threw in all the spices I love. And boy did I hit a homerun with these No-Fry Fish Tacos.  These fish tacos are a must try for sure.

Ingredients
1 lime
1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno (I took most of the seeds out but for more kick, leave them all in)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups red cabbage, sliced into narrow strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound tilapia fillets
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
8 mutli grain tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese
1 avocado, cut into thin long slices

Note: I don't often measure when I cook, everything is done to suit my taste. All measurements listed are estimates.

Directions

1. For the salsa/pico de gallo: Cut the lime in half and combine tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and squeeze the juice from one half of the lime juice in a bowl.  Mix well.
2. In another bowl, combine & mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice from the other half of the lemon and mix. After thorougly mixed, toss and fold in the cabbage.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Sprinkle tilapia with chili powder, cajun seasoning, garlic powder & black pepper.  Cook 3 minutes and then turn them over cooking for 2 more minutes. The tilapia is done when it flakes with a fork.
4. Place 1/3 of a tilapia filet inside a torilla. Serve with salsa, cabbage sauce, avocado & shredded cheese and enjoy.
Rest assured, this is Chief's plate, I only ate one taco with extra cabbage.  My single taco looked lonely on the plate so I took a pic of his plate instead for presentation purposes.
After dinner, I made a huge salad consisting of Baby Greens, Radicchio & Whole Leaf Spinach topped with matchstick carrots, red peppers & red cabbage (all organic).
This will be lunch for the rest of the week.  Isn't it beautiful?

Body Challenge Check-in #3

Current Stats: (This post was drafted & the pics were taken 5/16/11 but as of today, my measurements are the same as they were on that date.)

The Stats
Bust:   34.25in./ (Starting 36.5) actual back measurement
Waist: 30in. (Starting 32.5)
Hips: 42.25in. (Starting 43.5)
Thighs: 24.25in (Starting 25).

I am going to keep it consistent and wear the same thing in every check-in post so my progress is easier to  measure visually.
Top Left--I could grab double that amount at the start of the challenge; Top Right--My shorts are getting looser but I still have some work to do in the mid-section; Bottom Right--Obliques have a little definition, they're always the first to show when I start getting in shape; Bottom Left --no more rolls for me!

I should be further along in this body challenge but let me tell you first hand: I fell of the wagon for a few weeks. Between Easter, & MJ's Birthday, there were pies, cakes, pizza & baked macaroni and cheese every which way I looked.  I did my best to avoid most of the cakes but sweets aren't my weakness.  When it comes to pizza however, well, that's another story.  And as well when it came & the Thanksgiving-like smorgasbord for Easter, I went all in with absolutely no shame.

To make matters worse, I only exercised 5 times between Easter & the 14th of May--horrible.  But I got back on it on the 15th and took these pics before my workout to remind myself that even though I've made some progress I'm not at all where I'd like to be. No, not nearly.

Since then I've done only 30 minutes of cardio every other day with a circuit of light weight training & I've taken all that nonsense eating back down to a minimum.

Yesterday, I started the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred program.  With my cruise just 30 days away, this should prove to at least tighten my body up a little more than what I've got going on now.  I went grocery shopping over the weekend and stocked up preparing to do battle.  Strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, spinach, chicken breast & all kinds of other healthy goodies.

Right back down to business--no more games.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I was awarded the Stylish Blogger Award by my girls Kiki at Natural Becomes Her, Nia at MyKink&Curls & Kay LoveNWright.  A triple whammie I'm so humbled! Thanks ladies!

So again, with this award I must reveal 7 things about myself.  If I was awarded by three people does that mean I have to reveal 21 things?  Naaaw I'm not going to expose all my goodies at once ;-)

7 Things About Me:

1. I used to hate my name (Veronica) and often thought of changing it to Alexis but now that I'm older, I find it incredibly sexy and I love it.
2. I have an alter ego.  Her name is Nicci (pronounced like Nikki)--which is also my nickname but she's pretty fierce.
3. I have sort of a lamb/lion personality.  I used to be a really nice/passive girl but when I noticed people would take my kindness/quietness for weakness I became this "mean girl' as a defense mechanism.  However, as I get older, I'm learning how to be nicety (nice/nasty) and I'm finding that it's much more effective than just being a mean ass all the time because that's not whoe I am at heart.  I only give "nasty" those that "jump out there". Otherwise, I'm silly and jovial. 
4. I'm an army brat which caused me to have a nomadic spirit of sorts.  I love to travel, visit different countries and experience cultures different than mine.  I don't like to stay in one place for too long.
5. I have a habit of reading magazines starting at the back cover working my way to the front. I do that because all that I want to read is usually toward the middle & back of the publication.  That way, I get my fill first of the real content and read the ads last (usually most are in the front portion).
6. I love to dance and in my mind I'm the best damn dancer around...LOL
7. I have a special kind of condition, more like a syndrome that I call "musical tourettes".  Someone can say a trigger word(s) and then I will break into song with those lyrics if they happen to be in a song that I know.  I didn't realize it until my nephew pointed it to me a few years ago that I sang a song containing the last few words of his sentences.  It's hilarious!


1. Candy @ Taylor & Demolish
2. Marina @ Fashion.Makeup.Lifestyle
3. Sincerely @ Looms, Lids & Layers
4. Dee O. @ ThatGoodGoodBlog
5. GP @ Glamor Puss
6. ES @ ElectrikSunset
7. FR @ Fashion Rehab
8. Bajan Beauty @ Curves & Confidence

The rules of the award are as follows:

Thank and link back to the person that awarded you this award
Share 7 things about yourself
Award recently discovered great bloggers
Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

You've got to know that I'm so stoked and I'm flattered that these 3 wonderful ladies thought enough of lil'ol me to put me on their lists.  Ladies thanks so much again!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kreativ Blogger Award

I was given this award by Candy over at Taylor & Demolish.  I really like Candy's style and I think you will too! Check her out if you haven't already!  I suppose I'll also take this time to dish that Candy is a fellow alum.  It's coincidental that we attended the same college and partially during the same years.  We didn't know eachother but it just goes to show how small the [blog] world really is!  Thanks for the award, Candy! I'm honored!


Now, for being honored with this award, I must tell you 7 things about myself.  Are you ready?

1.  I was on a semi-pro cheerleading/dance team for two years.

2.  I wanted to join a ladies football team last year but when I found out it was flag and not tackle, I changed my mind.  It's the tomboy in me that wants to rough some stuff up.  I can't help it.

3.  I'm fanatical about skincare.  I have a habit of analyzing people's skin while they're talking to me.  I think, "wow, she/he has gorgeous skin" or "she/he should exfoliate" or "she/he needs some extractions performed...oh I'd love to do it!" I don't know why but I can't stop.

4. I have a burn on my left arm that's about 3/4 of the length of my forearm. It's shaped like South America.and even the Andes mountains are topographically featured.  It's pretty freakin' cool.  When people ask about it though, I say it's a birth mark so it doesn't lead to more questions.  Not that anything traumatic happened but it keeps things short & sweet.
 
5. I have a shoe obsession.  My shoe style is more playful & colorful than extravagant & over-the-top when it comes to details.  I also like to check out other people's shoes to see if I can guess their shoe style as well.
 
6.  I'm a Young & The Restless addict. Some of my friends call me an old lady because of it but I love this show.  I always DVR it and wait until there's at least 2 weeks worth of episodes and then I'll have a Y&R marathon while I wash, pamper & style my hair.

7.  I still have a Shani doll (Asha) from the early 1990s sitting in my closet.  Call me weird but I even went and bought her a new outfit last year because the dress she had on was tattered & just as old as she was.  She needed an upgrade and no, I don't play her.  She has sentimental value and just chills on top of my shoe boxes in my closet. :-p

I'd like to give this award to (some of my favorite blogs!):

LoveNWright
IntellectualElegance
Miz's Write for Life
Linka Living
Think & Grow Chick
RivaFlowz

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Frizz, Fluff & Foolery (Lots of Pics!)

 So, yeah, I decided to go on and straighten my hair.  This coming after my hair acting up during the change of climate between the end of March and mid-May.  I'd style my hair and it'd come out just the way I wanted it, but within a few hours, the style would be ruined becoming frizzy and extra fluffy.  I'd grown so sick and frustated with the foolishness that I'd made up in my mind to just cut my hair.  Oh yes, honey, I was going to cut it all the way off--as in 1/2-inch-of-hair-off. 

I'd planned it all out, I was going to go home on May 20th and break out the clippers and dye it blonde.  Sounds hella extreme, but I'm a no nonsense type of girl,  I have come to love primping and preening but when something becomes a task and/or uncooperative, I'm not with it.  I don't ever what to have to do too much fussy of some hair of all things.

After a talk with my friends (who are also fellow naturals) I was convinced to try straightening my hair for a while. I'd been thinking about it already but continually put it off.  And that's exactly what I did on May 23rd.

The following Friday, Chief, MJ & I traveled up to Buffalo, NY where the weather was a little wetter than here in D.C. so as you will see in the latter pics, my hair began to frizz a little.  It was fine after while because I was able to get it to straighten back out by oiling my scalp, brushing and wrapping my hair and keeping it tied up  for a few hours.





Lol! I wasn't ready for this one!


A week later, checking out my bangs (and the frizz)


My hair has lots and lots of layers which I'm hoping to grow out by next year, also my bangs are shorter on one side than the other so I'll be monitoring the growth of that short side. And before I wash my hair, I'll be taking this opportunity to clip my ends. Whew! Boy, do they need to be clipped!