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I believe that every woman wants to feel beautiful. So what is the best way to cultivate beauty? I’m glad you asked! Because of my unapologetic love of beauty, it doesn’t surprise many that I’m often asked about such subjects like: how I maintain my skin, how to apply makeup, and how to put together an outfit.

Oh, I love learning about new products, potions, and hacks that help us create outward beauty. In fact, I’m a proud card carrying Sephora Rouge member.

I love to share my knowledge and experiences, however, I always make the disclaimer that I am not a professional makeup artist nor stylist, so I advise that friends and clients take my advice at their own risk. And, I ask the same of you ;).

However, now, more than ever, I deeply believe that beauty boils down to one thing: health and well-being.

The truth is this:

Beauty is about so much more than appearances.

“Beautiful” is a feeling.

It’s an energy that radiates from the inside out.

I am convinced that the most radiant beauty is cultivated when I focus my attention tending to my physical body and attitude with the best care possible.

In order to maintain my healthy lifestyle and a sense of well-being, I do these things daily.

And no, you cannot find them at Sephora.

What are they?

Voila! Here you go:

Here is my Top 10 List of “musts” regarding Radiant Beauty:

#1 – Start the day with Morning Meditation

Nothing will create more havoc on your body, and therefore beauty, than stress.

When breakouts appear on my chin and bags start forming under my eyes, I take a look at my stress levels, and I often find that I am out of my sweet spot (the beautiful state of being when you’re aligned with your vision.)

Unfortunately, stress is a dominant emotion in our society. It’s a useful emotion that protects us from danger. If a bear is chasing you while you’re out hiking, it serves you to go into fight or flight for a moment escape the danger. But, these days, people are driving to their second home in their SUVs to take a week vacation and their adrenals are exhausted because of constant stress.

We’re always worrying, obsessing and fearing the worst case scenario, and it not only wears on us emotionally, but it starts to show up on a physical level, from our health to our beauty.

Enter mediation.

But first, a confession:

I used to make fun of meditation. The idea of sitting still with legs crossed and watching my thoughts seemed silly. I tried to convince myself that I could stay awake while watching an episode of Game of Thrones. Turns out, that wasn’t working for me.

Yet, I could no longer ignore the scientific data. I’m not going to go into the data here, but all you have to do is google “meditation statistics” and find study after study proving that meditation improves health, quality of life, creativity, and productivity.

I also could no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that the most successful people I know meditate daily.

But, the big a-ha came for me when I was hooked up to an EEG machine to look at my brain waves. This type of testing is called neurofeedback.

Thinking I was all enlightened and in a good state, I expected the psychologist to ask for my autograph.

Instead, he informed me that my mind was mostly in beta waves.

Constant beta waves = stressed.

In other words, I needed to calm down.

As someone who believes that the secret to living a beautiful life is to master yourself, I came home on a mission: to calm my mind.

So, meditation has become a part of my morning ritual.

Just 15 minutes daily.

My skin looks better. I have more energy.

But, most important, I’m calmer.

#2 – Consume a scoop of collagen powder daily

Recently, a friend of mine told me that she started using a scoop of collagen in her shake every morning and her skin, hair, and nails had started to improve drastically, so I jumped on the bandwagon too!

A miracle, indeed!

Where was collagen all those years I spent beaucoups of bucks on fancy potions? (And, racking up all those points to become a Rouge member?)

What is collagen?

It’s the most abundant protein in our bodies. You’ll find it in your muscles, skin, bones, blood vessels and digestive system.

Collagen is what aids with skin elasticity and replacing dead skin cells. Consider it the glue that holds our bodies together.

This stuff works!

Now, I know that our bodies age and we’re not going to look like we did when we were 20, but I don’t think this is an excuse to just give up.

There are many things we can do to slow the process through healthy choices.

Within a week of using it daily, I noticed that my hair texture was starting to change and my crow’s feet were starting to plump up.

Each day, I put a scoop in my smoothie and voila!

#3 – Drink a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar daily

My grandmother always kept apple cider vinegar in her cabinet. If I was suffering from a cold, it was one of the first things she’d give me.

Sometimes the best treatments are the simple, ancient ones, the ones our grandmothers used, and so it is with apple cider vinegar.

It has been known to treat everything from blood pressure to support your body with detox. While I don’t know exactly what it’s doing for my beauty, per se, I do feel better when taking it regularly, and at the core, beauty is all about feeling good.

I drink a tablespoon mixed in water once a day.

#4 – Drink lots of H2O

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Tonya, I know this.” But, my question is: are you doing it?

I’m convinced that most people are not consuming the amount of water they need to feel full of vitality.

Have you ever had a plant that you forgot to water? By the time you realize it, it has wilted to the point that it’s knocking on plant heaven’s door. But, miraculously, within minutes of a pitcher of good ole’ H2O, you see it come back to life.

I can tell when I feel wilted. I’m sluggish. My skin is dry. My body aches. My eyes look horrific.

While I try to avoid allowing myself to wilt, it sometimes happens.

So, I’ve learned to work with the knowledge of how vital water is to our existence, and yes, to our beauty.

But, like with all things, quality is critical when it comes to water.

Not all water is equal. We must be aware of toxins that can potentially be in our water supply. For this reason, I invested in an alkaline water filter. Because of our diet and lifestyle, many of us have acidic bodies, which is a breeding ground for disease.

One of the ways that I address this issue is by drinking fresh, super alkalizing water daily. I fill my Swell water bottle each morning with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and make a point to drink at least 3 daily.

#5 – Sweat it out in an Infrared Sauna

Sweating is an ancient healing treatment used by many cultures — from the ancient Greek and Romans to Native Americans who participated in sweat lodge ceremonies.

The skin is our largest organ and its ability to sweat is one of the best ways to detoxify our bodies.

With modern lifestyle, we are more toxic than ever. From pesticides on our food to the cleaning products full of chemicals to yes, our beauty products, our bodies face operating under toxic loads. When our toxin bucket fills up, it spills into our bodies and our immune system reacts creating inflammation. This becomes a domino effect that can create many problems within our body from achy joints to autoimmune disorders.

This understanding is why I decided to invest in an infrared sauna last year.   I started to look at our lives through a keen eye of eliminating as many toxins as possible.

Infrared saunas use both heat and light to penetrate deep into our tissues to induce sweating and dissolve harmful substances that have accumulated in your body. The process helps to vitalize your cells and metabolism.

What I’ve noticed since using it for 60 minutes 5x/week (infrared not swedish sauna only!)  is the following:

  • More relaxed
  • More energy
  • Fewer aches
  • Clearer skin
  • A greater sense of well-being

Y’all, it feels good to sweat!

#6 – Eat & Lather up with Coconut Oil

When you live at over 8,000 feet, hydration is an issue, especially in the winter time.

I no longer use store bought lotions on my skin but turn to Mother Nature for natural solutions for my beauty issues.

Hello, Coconut Oil.

I slather it on my hair as a mask. I mix it with sugar to create a body scrub. I keep a jar in the shower, and right before getting out, I slather all over my body, do a quick rinse and I’m done.

But, I don’t just use it on my body. I cook some things in coconut oil. I also throw a tablespoon in my smoothie each day. (FYI: my smoothie has become a concoction of beauty ingredients.)

#7 – Soak in a Detox Bath

By this point, it may seem that I’m turning into a hippie, right?

But, I’m all about living healthy from the inside out, so let’s move onto one my next secret.

Once a week (maybe two), I take a detox bath — 2 cups of Epsom salts with a few drops of essential oils (usually lavender).

Essential oils provide antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, not to mention they turn an ordinary bath into a luxurious one. Claims have been made that Epsom salt flushes pulls out impurities from the body.

Being a former critical care nurse, I love to know the scientific validity of claims. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find published studies on the efficacy of detox baths. With that said, I’m disenchanted with the lack of funding for studies that support a holistic approach to health.

So, I started doing these detox baths about 9 months ago. While I don’t know if they’re drawing out toxins, what I do know is that I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated after having one, so for this reason alone, I’ve listed it here.

#8 – Eat an Omega-3 rich diet

To me, feeling beautiful starts with a beautiful mind. Fortunately, there are lifestyle choices we can make to improve our cognitive function, one of which is ingesting more Omega 3s.

Scientists have observed that cultures that consume a lot of Omega 3s in their diet suffer less from depression. Of course, I’m sure other factors are involved here, but it’s interesting, don’t you think?

However, the benefits don’t stop there. Studies have also shown that Omega 3 fatty acids can improve eye and heart health, reduce inflammation, fight age-related mental decline, improve bone and joint health, and yes, it can also enhance the health of our skin.

With such convincing evidence, it’s a no-brainer for me to make a point to get an adequate amount of Omega 3s in my diet.

I take a daily, high-quality supplement and make a point to eat wild-caught salmon once a week.

#9 – Get moving

It’s not rocket science that we need to exercise for optimal health (and yes, beauty). Stand in line at the checkout, and you’ll see magazines full of reasons to exercise. It improves circulation, helps lower stress and creates overall well-being.

So, if we know it’s so good for us, why don’t we do it? I think it’s because we’ve developed a dysfunctional relationship with something that’s vital to our health and beauty.

Most women exercise out of fear, not love. We fear to gain weight, aging and not being good enough, so we approach movement as a form of punishment instead of an act of self-love.

What if you looked at exercise as a gift of beauty to yourself? As a way to generate beautiful thoughts, feelings, and results? Looking at it this way changed everything for me.

And, you don’t have to be radical, spending hours in a gym every day. It could be walking your dogs every morning, signing up for dance classes, doing yoga in the evenings or simply moving in your daily life more (however that looks for you).

What’s most important is that you get moving.

#10 – Celebrate every single day!

Since we’re talking about beauty, I can’t neglect the truest form of beauty: your state of being.

I’ve noticed that the most beautiful women I’ve known are those who live in a state of gratitude and joie de vivre.

Instead of focusing on lack and what’s missing (which only creates more stress and wreaks havoc on your emotional and physical well-being), they are always celebrating their blessings and what’s abundant.

The chain reaction that happens to their beauty and health is a bonus, but the biggest gift is how they get to feel every day.

Gratitude is a practice. And, to cultivate inside-out beauty, it’s one of my favorite ways to create an inner state of well-being, which, in my opinion, is what beauty is all about.

And, if you’re reading this, there is something to celebrate. Always!

To feel beautiful, look for the beautiful things, the good things, the blessings that are all around and celebrate it!

(Disclaimer: Remember, our bodies are all unique with different needs, so listen to your body and check with your doctor before taking any supplements or following advice. I’m merely sharing what has worked for me.)



Now, it’s your turn.

I’d love it if you’d share with the FKL community in the comments below your favorite beauty secret from the inside out.

3 Days of Extraordinary

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