How to Take Care of That Summer Hair

The weather’s finally breaking and it’s time to let your hair down, literally. Summer is here and it’s time to ditch the harsh blow dryer and embrace the natural air dryer.  But for some of us, that freedom comes with a little frizz. So we have some expert tips from the beauty guru’s at Strength of Nature to help tame your tresses and keep your carefree day at the beach from spiraling out of control.

Keep up the conditioning: Thick, curly and course hair can be dry to begin with, so during the summer months a little extra conditioning will keep your hair healthy and hydrated.  We recommend African Pride’s Shea Butter Miracle with olive oil and herbal oil extracts. Try refrigerating the conditioner and leaving it in for a refreshing DIY spa feel.

It’s all about frequency: For dry, textured hair, there is a delicate balance between washing too much and not enough. The sweat and chlorine that comes with a day at the pool can irritate your skin, so try just rinsing and then conditioning a few times a week. This will keep the chemicals and bacteria from accumulating on your scalp without over-drying your hair. Try to limit your shampooing to just once or twice a week with the Beautiful Textures line, which is specially designed to strengthen and style mixed-textured hair, tempering anything from frizzy-kinky coils to full wavy curls.

 

Go with the flow, not the frizz: Using heat styling is even more damaging and less effective in the summer. Ditch the straightener and curler for a few months and give your hair time to heal. Using a style sealant like ElastaQP Glaze Plus Silkening Polisher Anti Frizz Serum provides a protective layer over the hair cuticle or the hair strands outer-most covering to prevent environmental damage from wind, water and sun. It also has natural moisturizers that fill the porous holes in textured hair to keep it strong and less prone to breakage.

When you’re in a hurry: Throw on a hat. A straw fedora or floppy sun hat can add style and save your strands from sun. Just like skin, hair is easily damaged by the sun’s rays. Over-exposure can dry out your strands leaving unmanageable frizz and even damage your color or natural hue.

For more products and tips to keep your hair summer chic, visit Strength of Nature.

Don’t Stand in Your Own Way: The Definitive Guide to Self-Confidence

By: Reesa Staten of Robert Half

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

April’s thought-provoking blog entry from Joi Gordon explored the relationship between gender and confidence in the workplace, noting that structural support of the unique needs of working women may play an even larger part than gender in determining whether someone reaches her full potential.

I’d like to stay on the subject of confidence because it’s an important one. In the business world, confidence can propel you to the top of the list of contenders for a job opening. The absence of it weakens your chances of being hired, no matter how qualified you are.

Whether you are looking for a new job, hoping to advance in your current one, or just want to be taken more seriously at work, a little self-assurance goes a long way.

In the course of a career, many things can chip away at our confidence, such as a job layoff, long period of unemployment or being passed over for a promotion. But confidence breeds confidence. If you can maintain your stride — and your positive attitude — in the face of these challenges, you’ll show others they can place their confidence in you.

Research has shown that women often have a more difficult time with this than men do.  An often-cited internal study by tech giant HP found that women applied for jobs at HP only if they were 100 percent qualified. Men, on the other hand, were likely to put their hat in the ring if they met just 60 percent of the hiring criteria. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in us, or the tendency to follow the rules to the letter. For many women, myself included, it doesn’t occur to us that some rules are actually guidelines. The confident person seizes the opportunity to ask for an exception to the rule if he or she can make a strong case for it. In other words, if the job fits, fight for it.

As a manager, I frequently make hiring decisions, and I regularly evaluate an individual’s readiness to take on new assignments or increased responsibilities.  Aptitude is always the first thing I look for, but self-assurance is a close second. Talent and confidence are a powerful combination.

Two books published in the last few years address the confidence equation head on: Lean In. Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know by journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Both books discuss the unique challenges many women in the workplace face as they pursue leadership roles. And, in many cases, we are our own worst enemies.

How can you increase your self-confidence? Start by setting yourself up for success. Here are five suggestions:

  1. Don’t assume there is someone more qualified than you for the job. It’s easy to talk yourself out of applying for a promotion or a new job. You may tell yourself it’s not worth your effort because someone out there surely is more qualified. But what if you’re wrong? What if you are the right one for the job? You won’t know unless you put yourself out there.
  2. Work on your presentation skills. Make sure you are communicating with confidence, whether you are sharing your ideas in an informal setting or speaking before a group. Can you make your case articulately, concisely and with passion? Demonstrating self-assurance inspires others to want to follow you.
  3. Don’t assume others know how great you are. I have a friend who applied for a promotion at her company. She lamented that during the interview when she shared her many accomplishments with the hiring manager, he was surprised. He had not realized how hard she had been working and all she was contributing. Make sure you are getting credit for your good work so managers think of you first when new opportunities surface.
  4. Start small. Little victories are still victories. Volunteer for small projects at work and give 100 percent of your attention to them. By completing these tasks successfully, you’ll build up the confidence to take on more. And you’ll be showing others you can deliver exceptional results. Positive feedback from coworkers and customers is a proven confidence-builder.
  5. Walk the talk. Make sure your words are backed up by action. Being overly boastful or making false claims is just as damaging to your career as a lack of confidence. Always present the best version of you — and stay true to yourself in the process.

The next time you feel your confidence wavering, don’t let it get the best of you. You would be surprised at how even a little self-assurance will open doors for you at work and in your personal life. You have everything to gain from reaching for that next opportunity — and so much to lose if you let fear stand in your way.

Reesa Staten is senior vice president of Corporate Communications and director of workplace research for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Staten has been writing job search advice for more than 15 years and oversees Robert Half’s extensive workplace research program. Write to her at reesa@roberthalf.com.

 

Tracy Anderson on How to Create Your Space in Any Industry & Own it Authentically

It doesn’t take long to see why Tracy Anderson is such a household name in fitness. And not just because she has a laundry list of Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Lopez as clientele or an international following, because she does, but it’s Tracy’s integrity and character that form the cornerstone of her brand. Over the last 20 years, she has built a methodology that is loyal to science rather than branding. Working in an industry that thrives off of quick fixes and gimmicks, this authenticity has taken her far, including scoring business partner Gwyneth Paltrow, who was so convinced by her results that she wanted to help Tracy share the method. We sat down with the woman who would never follow a business model to find out just how she became the entrepreneurial model.

At only five feet tall, Tracy’s ambition far exceeds her physical size and strength. She dreamt of becoming a dancer like her mother and was well on her way, even attending school on a dance scholarship. While working out multiple times a day, she immersed herself in everything from Pilates and aerobics to specialized weight training. Yet, despite the intensity of her workouts, she gained a significant amount of weight during school and fell into an unhealthy pattern of crash dieting and over-exercising that eventually led her to abandon dance altogether.

“I realized from a young age that just because you have a passion for something and a good work ethic doesn’t mean you can make it your career,” Tracy says confidently.

Frustrated with all the fitness regimes that favored one part of the body, she craved the only element that was missing from years of training and desire. Balance. If you could sculpt a slender dancer’s body or a T-shaped swimmer’s torso, then why couldn’t you make yourself perfectly proportionally? Through trial and error, Tracy found this hole in the fitness industry simply because she kept falling through it.

At the time, Tracy’s then husband, a professional basketball player, was receiving treatment for a back injury in Puerto Rico. There, she met a doctor whose life’s work focused on strengthening smaller muscle groups to support the dominant, overworked few. With his support, Tracy embarked on a four-year research crusade to develop what would become the crux of her methodology.

Though she has no formal education in fitness training, she’ll be the first to tell you, that’s because she’s not a trainer at all.

“I’m a teacher, I’d say. I knew early on when I was doing my research that part of the reason why people get injured all the time and don’t reach their goals is because that kind of training [a formal trainer certification] creates imbalances in the muscles and that was not what I was trying to do,” she explains.

With her fifth studio set to open in the Hamptons this summer and a widely successful video streaming service launch at the beginning of this year, Tracy’s method is so sustainable because she focuses on the mental and physical connection necessary to create a balanced body. She emphasizes the importance of developing internal strength before building external.

“People are so focused on getting from point A to point B in their workout that they totally detour around connecting to themselves internally. If you’re internally clear, you can manage the steps, the feelings and the connections that are vital to get your body where it needs to go,” says Tracy.

Admitting it took her until she turned 40 a few months ago to really experience this clarity for herself, Tracy believes psychological barriers are the hardest to overcome on the road to self-improvement. She attributes this to what she calls the “lunchtime liposuction” mentality.

“I think we’re so inundated with a projection of what’s beautiful that we either give up or obsess about it all day,” she says.

This quick fix mindset is universal in our society and applies to more than just our physical appearance. It influences our daily lives through trends and fads that push a uniform model to success. Instead, Tracy believes in being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, explaining; the same reality that led her to give up her dreams of dancing also fueled her entrepreneurship.

Another reason Tracy has cultivated such a loyal following is because of the transparency with which she developed her method. She gains her trust through both the physical and psychological evidence she’s collected to back it. To create an adaptable workout that could be tailored to each individual, she tested 150 women with different body types over a five-year period. These women became the first to dub their experience as the official “Tracy Anderson Method.”

Despite being advised by numerous professionals to ditch the namesake to ensure a scalable business model, Tracy now views her name as a testament to her ability to remain the active content creator behind her method rather than the figure head.

“I’m not afraid of being a different model because I think it has only given the business strength in the 20 years of me fighting to be the trusted source behind it,” she says.

Now with an apparel and whole food line in the works, Tracy’s priority is protecting her authenticity.

“If I can change someone to make them faster, better, smarter, healthier, I’m going to do that first before signing a pair of leggings any day,” she says.

Known to abort ship on anything she deems a “bell or whistle,” Tracy has dumped branding offers before.  She pulled the plug on her first food line offer when told she could cut costs by substituting an “organic” label for “natural.”  Never one to be swayed by buzz words or gimmicks, Tracy is careful not to dilute her brand and only signs on to projects that reflect both her values and work ethic.

“At the end of the day if anything is going to get in the way of a person’s hopes and dreams of what I can do for their body, I have a problem with that,” she exclaims.

In a generation where it’s hard to keep up with which juice or exercise class is in style, Tracy has remained relevant not for her sculpted body or monogrammed swag, but the respect she cultivates from her clients. Her model is simple: be real in who you are, honest about where you’re at and be an achiever, and no one, including you, will question your worth.

The Success Diaries: Misty Copeland

Dear Misty:

The world of classical ballet is where you know you want to belong. You are hopeful, full of dreams, and excited to potentially perform on the very same stages as the famous ballerinas who, until this point, you’ve only read about.

As you go along this journey, I want you to always remember this feeling of excitement. I want you to hold tight to your dreams, especially when they seem so far away and unattainable.  Classical ballet is a world of tradition filled with artists overcoming extraordinary obstacles in their careers every day. The road will, at times, be difficult, disappointing and uncertain.

But Misty, be patient. Know that your moments of doubts and fears, not feeling that you belong, will only push you to be your best. Following your heart is the right thing to do. Believe in your instincts and accept the support being offered to you. Having a strong support system around you will lift you up when you think there is nowhere to go but down. That circle of love and empowerment will keep you going when you believe that you’re at the point of no return.

I would not be honest with you if I did not tell you that there will be hard times ahead. What you’re experiencing now, the learning curve of getting to know ballet, understanding everything that being a classical ballerina entails, pales in comparison when you’re told that you’re not good enough, not lean enough, not deserving of certain roles. In those times, you must have the inner strength to persevere. Know that you love what you do and that you were born to do it.

Do not let others’ words of hate deter you. You are unique and beautiful. Stay open and don’t lose your inner light. Own who you are and be proud. One day, not so long from now, you will blossom into a Firebird and Swan. And regardless of what a few naysayers may believe, you’ve worked hard and earned it every step of the way.

Love Always,

M

In 2007, Misty Copeland made history by becoming the third African American female soloist and the first in two decades at the American Ballet Theatre.  Born in Kansas City, MO, and raised in San Pedro, CA, Misty took her first ballet class at 13, an advanced age to begin this traditional art form.

At age 15, Misty won first place in the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight awards, prompting the LA Times to name her the Best Young Dancer in the greater Los Angeles area. Her roles in the American Ballet Theatre include: Firebird – The Firebird, Gamzatti – La Bayadere, Muse – Duo Concertant, and Gulnare – Le Corsaire, just to name a few!  Find out more about Misty at MistyCopeland.com!

Photo credit: Gregg Delman