Just a note to say hello!

(Photo is from my last Europe trip. Here I am enjoying a coffee in Paris)

Good morning!

I hope everyone is having a great week so far. If you are in an area that has been affected by any of the recent natural disasters, my heart and thoughts are with you. We arrived back home from evacuation last week and we are thankfully safe and sound. Our building did not sustain as much damage as others and for that we are very grateful. Our power was restored by the time we got home so we really were not inconvenienced much. Many people here in Miami are still without power and many traffic lights are still out but they are working each day to get everything back to normal.

I just wanted to pop in this morning to say hi as it has been too long since I updated my blog for you. I also wanted to ask for you to send me any questions you might have because I have been getting a lot of questions on Instagram and Snapchat so I think it’s time to do a Q&A!

A lot has been going on recently with my health, travel, the hurricane, and more travel! Cesar and I are actually leaving this Sunday to go to Europe for a week and I am SO excited. I am being way more prepared for this trip than I have for recent trips so my stress level is at an all time low. I can share what I have been doing to stay stress free the week leading up to our trip if you like!

I also cleared 15g of space on my phone so I can vlog, post lots of insta-stories, and snaps for you! I was hoping to get a new vlog camera before our trip but I’ve decided to save my money and wait to get a better model of camera. I am going to test the capabilities of vlogging with just an iphone 6s. I have seen so many people do it on YouTube so I know it is possible and the quality is still 1080p.

I will also be taking my DSLR camera so I can try vlogging with that too.

For all you Luna the bunny lovers, don’t worry! Luna is going to be taken care of by her vet. They offer a boarding service so she’ll get lots of care and attention (and treats) while we are gone. We are going to miss her though!

Ok, time for coffee and work. Send me your questions either in a comment on this post, on Instagram , or email me at courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com.

Have a great Friday!

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My Top Picks for the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale Fall 2017

Hello again, friends!

It’s that time again-the bi-annual Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale is here and I am sharing my top picks for each day of the sale. I take advantage of this sale every season and save so much money on high end skincare and makeup. I will also share in this post my tips for securing your deals.

Sept 4th: Buxom Lip Liner $8.50

This is a great dual purpose product that can be used as a straight lip liner or you can fill in your lips completely and add some lip balm to transform it into a full on long lasting lip color.

 

Sept 5th: Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel $7

This is one of my all time favorite cleansers and it is great for all skin types. I highly recommend it!

PUR Primers- $16.50

This is a new item I have never tried but I have heard great things about this brand and this is sale is a great way to try new products for 1/2 the price.

Sept 6th: Skyn Iceland Eye Gels- $7.50

These under eye gels are perfect for a special occasion, traveling, days when allergies may have caused puffy eyes, or any day that your eyes need a little extra care. You get 4 sets for only $7.50 so this is a great deal!

Sept 7th: Too Faced Eyeliner Pen $10

I am a huge fan of all things Too Faced so this would be a great way to try another of their amazing products for 1/2 the price. This eyeliner pen looks easy to use too!

Exuviance Skincare Set $40

Now, this is one of the more pricey deals. These types of skincare deals are perfect if you are actively searching for a new skincare regime and want an opportunity to try it out at 1/2 price BUT if you are not prepared to pay full price after you use up this kit then I would not waste your time. (and ultimately money)

Sept 8th: Urban Decay Naked Flushed- $17

I have seen this exact product on the sale section of Sephora and I missed the chance to buy it so I am excited to have the chance again. I LOVE multipurpose palettes and I often think way outside the palette with these types of products. You can use any of the shades for eyeshadows, making it great for travel!

Sept 9th: Benefit Roller Lash $12

This is a cult favorite from Benefit and I have seen a lot of great reviews. The Benefit They’re Real mascara is one of my all time favorites so I might give this one a chance too! This sale in general is a great way to get high end mascara without the usual price tag.

Sept 10th: Tarte pen eyeliner $10

This is another great opportunity to snag a high end eyeliner for 1/2 the price.

NARS Cheek Studio Palette $27.50

I will not recommend many online only deals because you will have to pay for shipping but you get so many products within this palette that is now 1/2 off! Just like the other UD palette you can use all of these shades for eyeshadows and the deepest shade could even be used as a subtle eyeliner.

Sept 11th: Too Faced Shadow Insurance $10

Yes, another cult favorite available at 1/2 price! Woo-hoo!

Sept 12th: I don’t have any recommendation for this day. All of these deals I could live without.

BUT, if any of these items are your must haves then snag them up on this day!

Sept 13th: Dermablend Setting Powder $13.50

The Dermablend brand is very high quality and this setting powder is supposed to be one of the best for setting high coverage foundation. I have not tried it but at 1/2 price if you are in the market for a new setting powder you might give this one a try.

Smashbox Primer and Mascara Duo $10

I purchased a Smashbox mascara during one of these sales and I really liked it so I am excited to try this mascara deal. For $10 you get the primer AND mascara which is a drugstore price for a high end item. Yes, please!

Sept 14: None of these deals really catch my eye. I really wish the Urban Decay concealer was available in regular shades because I would be all over that! The Juice beauty kit looks like it could be a promising deal but again, only if you are prepared to pay regular price once this kit is finished.

Sept 15th: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder- $11.50

I am SO excited for this deal because it is again another cult beauty fave! I hear this powder duo lasts a long time too, making it a particularly good deal.

Sept 16th: It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation $17.50

It Cosmetics Brush $12

If you are a huge It Cosmetics fan like I am this will be a great day of deals for you. I am actually still working through the It Cosmetics foundation I purchased for 1/2 price during the Spring 21 Days of Beauty Sale so I won’t be purchasing these….at least I don’t think. ūüėČ It Cosmetics is a very high quality brand so if you have the chance to try any of their products I highly recommend them.

Sept 17th: I am not thrilled by any of the deals on this day.

 

Sept 18th: Stila Huge Extreme Mascara $11.50

Another great opportunity to snag a high end mascara at a almost drugstore price!

Sept 19th: Lorac Eyeliners $10

I have heard good things about Lorac eyeliners and this deal is valid on both pencil and liquid eyeliners!

Sept 20th: Mac Lipsticks $8.75

I have only recently heard that Ulta would start carrying MAC Cosmetics. If you are a MAC lover, then this deal will surely excite you!

Sept 21st: I’m not really excited by any of these deals but check them out to see if there is something you like!

Sept 22nd: Tarte Lash Paint Mascara $10

Wow, there are seriously so many amazing mascara deals during this sale. You could really stock up and be set until the next sale. I love the Tarte brand and the brush on this mascara looks very similar to the Benefit They’re Real so, this is going on my list!

Sept 23rd:

Mario Badescu Vitamin C serum $22.50

You can never go wrong with investing in a good Vitamin C serum and I trust this brand for any skincare needs.

I have not tried the Benefit Ka-BROW product but if this is a staple in your beauty routine, pick it up on this day for a great deal!

Quick Tips & Information!

  1. If possible, arrive as soon as the store opens because these deals can run out fast! I will be going to Ulta on my lunch hour for a couple of the deals to make sure I secure my item. Check your local store hours because hours can vary by location. If your lunch hour is flexible then I suggest planning it around the opening time of your nearest Ulta.
  2. There is a 2 item limit per customer so you can buy 1 for now and 1 for back-up. If there is a product you really want more of then you can ask a friend (or willing spouse/boyfriend) to purchase one and you pay them for it.
  3. If you’re going to purchase something online from the deal, ask around to see if any of your friends want to place an order together so you can split shipping.
  4. If you’re store is far away, call ahead to make sure they still have some of your item available before you leave your work/house.
  5. Clean out your makeup stash before shopping this sale. See which items are expired and can be replaced for 1/2 the regular price!
  6. Share with a friend to get an even better deal. While some of these items cannot be shared for obvious hygiene reasons; items like loose powders, cleansers, serums, eye gel pads, and other liquid items can be split into smaller containers to share with a friend. This is a great way to save more money but splitting the cost and product with a friend.

I hope this blog post have been helpful for you and you are even more excited to shop this sale. I will do an update on the items I end up purchasing. Let me know if there are any specific products you would like to see reviews on!

Thank you for stopping by and I will see you again soon!

<3

Courtney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get #Sandalreadyfeet With 7th Heaven Foot Masks

Summer time =sandal time! Unless..you live in south Florida like I do; then it’s sandal time all year round. Prepping your feet to be showcased in those strappy wonders can often be costly in both time and money.

Taking time for ourselves and practicing self-care can also be hard when life gets busy. I know that something like foot care can often be tossed to the side when you’re working, taking care of a family, and doing extra activities outside of work/home. One thing I have had to teach myself is that self-care is not selfish and taking a few minutes every night to pamper yourself is good for your physical and mental health.

Over the last 2 years or so I have developed a strong interest and love for face masks. They are a great way to de-stress and pamper yourself for 5-15 minutes. I’m a chronic multitasker¬†so I usually put on a face mask and then do another task while it dried. One of the first face masks I ever tried was from the 7th Heaven brand (formerly Montagne Jeunesse). I remember seeing a display at Walmart that had a selection of the face masks. I used to gravitate towards the Dead Sea Mud Pac because it really helps with blemishes. I still really love that mask!

Recently I had the opportunity to partner with 7th Heaven an test out their new foot masks! That’s right…they now have treatments for your feet! There are currently 3 different varieties and all of them serve specific purposes.

 

Fresh Feet Mask:

This mask (pictured below) is great to apply to your feet before you slip on your favorite sandals and head out the door for the day. This gel to cream talc formula absorbs sweat and odor while making your feet feel smooth and soft. It has a fresh minty smell to it but it’s not extremely obvious like some other foot care products. My feet felt fresh the whole day when I used this. One note I will make is that if you sandals are faux suede, cotton, or other canvas like material there might be a slight dusty residue from the talc but it easily wipes out and no harm is done to your shoes.

Foot Pumice and Foot Butter Duo:

Two of the foot care masks come in dual packs. You get a treatment on one side and a moisturizer on the other. This is my favorite of the 3 because my feet felt just as soft and nourished as they do when I get a professional salon pedicure. The foot pumice is a gentle but effective scrub that exfoliates your feet really well. Since it has been so hot here lately I like to rinse my feet with cool water for an extra dose of freshness. Then, there is the foot butter. Oh, this foot butter! It is a ground shea nut butter and it is maybe the best foot butter I have ever used. If they sold this foot butter separately I would buy a whole container. The scent is quintessentially spa-like. There is enough product in this packet for 1-2 uses and I really smothered my feet well.  After I applied the foot butter I put on my favorite pair of cozy socks and let the moisturizer fully absorb. When I took the socks off my feet felt soft and pampered. I have since purchased 2 more of these if that says anything!

Foot Soak and Foot Lotion Duo:

The 2nd of the 2 duos is also very nice and the more refreshing of the two. The directions recommend that you soak for feet for 10-15 minutes but I like to soak my feet until the water gets cold. For an extra dose of pampering I put a face mask on while my feet were soaking. (High 5 for multitasking!) I think applied the foot lotion and rubbed it until it absorbed completely. This foot lotion is more minty and refreshing than the foot butter. Of course you can use these foot treatment how you like best but in my mind I think this duo is best for the morning because the minty scent and feeling wakes you up and refreshes your feet for the day. This might also be a great treatment to use between your day at the beach and your dinner out at night!

All of these masks can be found at Walmart for under $3! Although I was sent these masks for free to try I have since purchased another set with my own money because I like them so much. While I was at Walmart I also picked up a few other products by 7th Heaven so I will be doing a 7th Heaven haul on my YouTube channel sometime in August. I think these foot treatments are the perfect way to treat yourself to an at-home pedicure or spa night. Or, you can use these to maintain and extend the results of a salon pedicure.

Here you can see my #sandalready feet in my current favorite pair of sandals.

Want to see more? Check out the YouTube video review I did below!

Have you tried any 7th heaven face or foot masks? Let me know which ones are your favorite! No matter what product you use, don’t forget to take time for yourself every day. You deserve it!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and I’ll talk to you again very soon! <3

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CourtneyVal
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Snapchat: courtney.val
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyValYT

Email: courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com

*This is a sponsored blogpost done in collaboration with 7th Heaven. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ūüôā

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Best New Haircare: Nikita Hair USA

Hi friends!

I had the pleasure and honor to attend an event with Nikita Hair USA last week and I want to share my thoughts on the event and also give you some helpful information about the brand.

I also created a video to accompany this post which you can view below:

 

Nikita Hair got its name from the Elton John song, “Nikita”. ¬†How cool is that?! Even though I was not born in that era, Elton John is one of my favorite artists and the song, “Your Song” was played at my wedding (also at my parent’s wedding).

The creator and found of Nikita Hair is Inger Ellen Nicolaisen. I had the pleasure of meeting her and spending the day with her last week. She is seriously one badass business woman. Not to mention she extremely passionate and has a great sense of humor. She also  tells it like it is. It was really refreshing to hear her speak about her personal history, mission, and brand.  She came from very humble beginnings and with a massive amount of hard work and passion grew this business to over 150 salons and growing! Her salons in Sweden and Norway have won many awards and this brand is known as one of the best hair care brands in Scandinavia. Check out their awards here: http://www.nikitahair.com/history-nikita/awards/

I feel so inspired after hearing her story and she has a true passion to help clients feel great about their hair and skin. She also wants to motivate others to reach their own goals, whatever they may be. To be honest when I first arrived I didn’t know what to expect but leaving the event I felt more empowered and passionate about my own goals. Passion is definitely contagious!

The event itself felt very warm and luxurious. It took place at her home and she made everyone feel like a welcome member of the family. Her nephew Sander was even there, dressed up in his best suit to help his aunt Inger. I thought that was so sweet!

We were served a delicious brunch prepared with help from her children, which included fresh Norwegian salmon and a super tasty cauliflower dish that Inger made herself just for us.

After we all ate and chatted with each other…a limo arrived to pick us up. That’s right…our very own limo! We jammed to Bruno Mars and Beyonce as the ride whisked us to the Nikita Salon in Boca Raton.

 

There we were greeted with open arms (and cupcakes!) by the salon staff. Three models sat at the salon’s beautiful hair styling stations to show off the work of the Nikita Hair USA styling team.

As you can see from the photos their work is breathtaking. That braid is serious #hairgoals! We explored the salon and the staff explained some of the products to us. P.S. Right now if you buy any 2 products you will get a FREE travel kit!

One unique thing about this brand is that they use Cloudberry in some of their formulas. Cloudberry is a rare and treasured ingredient only found in Scandinavia. It has anti-aging properties and contains high amounts of vitamin C, A, E and also calcium and magnesium. This is actually the exact combination of vitamins that my personal doctor recommends I use, so count me in! If you want to learn more about the cloudberry check out a video they made here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TOPtgg74-Y  

They have a Cloudberry serum which I tried and it was incredible! I thought it might make my hair limp but it made the ends of my hair feel so smooth and soft without falling flat.

The brand also uses glacier water which has an extremely high oxygen content and SEA3Oil, which is a very pure form of Omega-3 oil. They believe is only using the purest ingredients to create the best possible products.

As you will see and hear in the video above, we were all provided samples of their Chromin ColorPro shampoo and conditioner. My hair feels so much softer, has more volume, and was much easier to manage after using this combo.  We were also provided the Eleni and Chris Hydrating Face Mist to try and I LOVE this face spray. I have used it every day for a week in the morning and at night. In just 7 days I have seen a noticeable improvement in my skin.

I definitely recommend these products and if you are in the South Florida or Boca Raton area you should check out their salon at

193 E Palmetto Park Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33432 . PLUS! They are having a special offer right now for a $39 blowout! The staff is so friendly and helpful so if you have any questions about the right color, style, or products to use they can definitely help you. If you do visit their salon snap a photo of your style and share it on social media using #nikitahairusa so they can see!

In addition to having this amazing hair and skincare brand Inger started a non for profit organization called A Hand To Children which helps disadvantaged children. The organization’s goal is, ”¬†To give orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children a better life and hope for the future.‚ÄĚ

As you all know I have a background in social work and have worked for many years to help abused children get the services and help they need so I am very touched that this brand would incorporate this mission into their work. This ties back into the passion that this team has to improve people’s lives in several ways. I actually talked with Inger about volunteering in some way with her organization or together here in South Florida. So hopefully we will be able to work together to help more children live the best life possible.

I am very impressed with this brand and I love to support people doing great things. If you want to see more from this brand please let me know and I can share more about their different products and maybe even do a vlog showing my experience at their salon!

 

I hope this post has left you feeling inspired to achieve your goals and spread passion on to others. Nikita Hair is proof that with enough passion and hard work anything is possible!

See more from Nikita Hair USA and Eleni and Chris check out the links below.

Nikita Hair: http://www.nikitahair.com/

Instagram: @nikitahairusa

Eleni and Chris:http://www.nikitahair.com/history-nikita/about-eleni-chris/

Instagram: @eleniandchris

 

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and I’ll talk to you soon. <3

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me at the links below for more content just like this!

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CourtneyVal
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Snapchat: courtney.val
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyValYT

Email: courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com

 

 

 

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MIT Tech Walk Forum: When Fashion Meets Technology!

Are you ready to get inspired?

Living in Miami I am constantly surrounded by inspiring people, especially other women who are doing incredible things.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend an event with one of my favorite people and brands. Megan Tierney, founder of Louise and Eleanor invited me to attend the MIT Tech Walk: When Fashion Meets Technology event held here in Miami at the CIC.

The event was presented by MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida. This organization is a non for profit that is run completely by volunteers with the mission to, ” provide educational programs and services that promote and strengthen innovation at the intersection of business and technology.” (http://www.mitforumfl.org/) ¬†The event specifically focused on how technology is shaping the future of fashion. I had the pleasure to speak with members of this organization and you can tell from just talking with them for a few minutes how passionate they are about educating the community about technology and it’s impact on our society.

For this post I would like to focus on the work of some incredible women who are breaking barriers in the area of fashion and technology.

Megan Tierney, Founder of Louise and Eleanor

‚ÄúLOUISE & ELEANOR is more than a fashion brand. It‚Äôs a platform for women to collaborate and join together to inspire one another.”-Megan Tierney

Louise and Eleanor   is an extraordinary luxury handbag brand.  Each bag is crafted with hand picked fabrics and a percentage of each sale goes to a featured non for profit organization. Technology also plays a large role in the development of this brand. Technology allows Megan to easily work with vendors and manufacturers around the globe. She can instantly send ideas and receive mock-ups for new designs. Feedback and changes can be given over email, streamlining the entire process. She said with the help of online technology a handbag can go from concept to reality in as little as 1 month!

Social media technology also offers Megan’s customers an enhanced user experience. Customers can instantly connect with the brand, follow Megan on her adventures around the world, and engage with each other. Customers and fans of the brand are also informed of local charities and non profits that Louise and Eleanor supports through a percentage of their sales. The stories of inspirational women are often features on the brand’s social media, using technology to promote fashion that empowers.

Follow Louise & Eleanor on social media here:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

An example of the beautiful hand picked fabrics used in Louise and Eleanor’s designer handbags.

These fabrics are used to make unique clutches just like this one below.

Watch this exclusive video to hear Megan’s thoughts about the merging of fashion and technology:

Angie Cohen, Founder of Design Lab Miami

Angie Cohen attended the forum along with her student, Kayra Yasa. Cohen is the founder of Design Lab Miami which is teaching young adults everything they need to know about making more sustainable fashion. This program is using 3D printing and bio couture to shape the future of fashion and technology.

Angie explains the Design Lab’s mission in the video below:

Follow Design Lab Miami on social media:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

 

Kayra Yasa, Student at Design Lab Miami and DASH(Design and Architecture Senior High)

Kayra is a student at a specialized high school here in Miami called DASH. This high school helps talented students study art and design, allowing them to get real world experience in their field while completing their high school studies. Along with her studies at DASH, Kayra is doing an internship at Design Lab Miami. Her focus is on using more sustainable materials in clothing production.

At her internship at the Design Lab, Kayra is learning all about textiles, pattern making, and more! She presented her 3D printed designs at the MIT forum including a vegan leather jacket made out of kombucha (pictured above).

3D printed top made through the Design Lab program.

This is a 3D printing machine which helps bring designs to life.

Kayra shares about herself and her work:

Ibis Arrastia, Chapter Leader of Girl Develop It

If there is one thing I learned from hearing Ibis speak it is that the future of women in technology is bright. LED bright! All puns aside, Ibis is helping young women pave the way for more female representation in tech careers.

Ibis presented on how technology is being integrated into fashion specifically through the use of LED tights and wearable computers. Did you know that you can actually sew a computer into your dress or clothes?! Ibis showed me this small kit in the photo below and explained that these kits can easily be purchased online at an extremely affordable price, making this type of fashion technology accessible to the masses!

Ibis believes, “People want to be able to experience something beyond the retail experience. Technology allows us to create this “beyond the retail” experience for the shopper.”

You can purchase your own LED sewing kit just like this one here: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Adafruit/1285/?qs=%2fha2pyFadujt0Mfkz%2fppNGM8iQwcssz8IU9CG%252byt5E%252bpZ2rxbUnYfA%3d%3d

Not only are lights being sewed into clothes but also computers to measure vital signs, sweat, and more. Swimsuits are being designed to tell you when to apply more sunscreen, belts can display tweets, and special sensors can adjust lighting on a ball gown depending on how dark or bright the room is.

Fanny Hanono, Executive Vice President of Administration for Perry Ellis was also in attendance at the forum to share her thoughts on fashion and technology. She noted that Perry Ellis is using tiny RFDI computers in their clothing to be able to track every single piece of inventory. This is improving the entire process of stocking stores and making it easier than ever to keep track of items each season.

Along with developing high tech fashion, Ibis is also the chapter leader for the non for profit, Girl Develop It.

” Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.” (www.girldevelopit.com)

Ibis said the goal is to allow women to feel comfortable with technology, feel included, and know that there are no limits to women influencing the future of technology.  Her goal is to empower women and inspire them to take part in the growing world of technology.

If you want to hear more about what Ibis has to say about technology follow her here: https://twitter.com/techibis

 

I am so glad I was able to attend this event and I haven’t stopped thinking about these inspirational women. They are doing incredible things to empower other women and change the face of fashion and technology. I hope you enjoyed learning more about each of them and make sure you follow them on social media so you can stay up to date with what they are doing. After this event my interest in fashion technology has really be sparked so if you would like me to do more posts on fashion tech let me know in the comments section.

Leave me any other comments or questions down below because I love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and I’ll talk to you very soon!

 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CourtneyVal
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Snapchat: courtney.val
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyValYT

Email: courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com

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Saturday Coffee Thoughts: What Do Your Dreams Mean?

Good morning world!

I hope you had an amazing week and that this weekend will serve as a time for you to rest your body, mind, and soul. If you are new to my blog then every now and again I write posts like this where I just share what is on my mind in hopes it will reach someone who might benefit or find enjoyment in it.

Grab a cup of coffee with me and here we go…

I woke up this morning from a wild dream that was so vivid I had to stop and take a moment to tell myself it wasn’t real. It wasn’t a nightmare it was just a dream where I was at work and my co-workers were in a fight over something small and I was struggling to choose a side. Then out of nowhere my gynecologist shows up along with my Oriental Medicine Dr. (DOM) and offers to give full pelvic exams right there in our warehouse. While the doctors were setting up I was asked to do a couple different tasks here and there while also paying attention to the doctors and signing consent forms for the exam. Just as I was handed a gown to change into I woke up.

(Not in the dream) Luna started rattling her cage in the other room which is her morning signal that she is ready for us to wake up and feed her breakfast.

Sometimes I have dreams and they make no sense and I can’t even piece together what could possibly mean but for this dream I know exactly what it all means.

  1. I actually need to get my yearly gynecological exam and I have been putting off because it is hard to find a good doctor here who is covered by my insurance and then I have to ask for time off from work and blah, blah, blah. Excuses, Courtney! Go get your lady parts checked out!
  2. My Oriental Medicine doctor gave me some herbs to take for my migraines and “trapped heat” and I have not been as diligent about taking them as I should be so his presence is probably a reminder for me to take them every day. Oddly enough this doctor also talks a lot about vivid dreams and how they can be a sign that you have heat trapped in your body.
  3. The work conflict and me not being able to choose a side is probably about this general theme in my life where I struggle to make choices that I want versus what other people want. I want to please people and do everything but that is just impossible and I often feel extreme guilt because I can’t do what everyone wants me to do. The part where I am doing a bunch of random tasks while trying to pay attention also points to my over committing myself constantly.

I think this particular dream offers a lot of insight into where I need to go with my life. As you all know I am on a bit of a journey to change my life in new and positive ways.  We are coming up on week 7 of this journey and I have made some significant changes but there is more to do! I think this week I need to focus on organizing my life mentally. I need to make a decision to be all in or not for some things, including this blog and my YouTube channel. A quote comes to mind that is perfect for anyone going through change:

“If you want to change your life, change your mind.” -Sister Hazel

Yes, that quote is from a 90’s band but it’s very applicable. You can move your life in any direction you want to but you just have to change your mind and perspective. Let go of what others may think and do what you feel is best. I have given that advice to so many people and it’s time I give it to myself.

So, those are the coffee thoughts for the day.

P.S. If you are putting off a doctor’s appointment make it this week! I will make mine too. ūüôā

I want to do a Q&A so leave me any and all questions you may have for me about ANYTHING and I will answer them.

Talk to you soon!

<3

 

 

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Reflecting On Yoga At The Raleigh Hotel And The Week

 

Happy Thursday, Babes! I hope you have had a great week so far. In this post I want to check in with you, share some of the meals I have had this week, and reflect on a great yoga class I took last night at The Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach.

I am feeling absolutely amazing so far this week. After just a few days of more focused nutrition and increased exercise my body is thanking me big time. I have more energy, my stomach is less bloated, and I feel happier overall. I think meal prepping has really played a big part is the success so far of my week. Every morning I reach into my fridge, grab my breakfast, and lunch and off I go! Dinner is the one meal I am struggling with. As you all know I suffer from chronic migraines and one remedy I am using is a combination of herbs given to my by a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. They seem to be helping with my headaches but if I take too much of them they kill my appetite for dinner. That combined with a certain level of laziness to prepare food after work (haha) makes getting in dinner difficult. This has also allowed me to reflect on what I was eating for dinner before. Usually I would grab a random combination of things like hummus and crackers, cheese, olives, random veggies, or whatever was quick and easy. Now that I am back to following my nutrition plan I am realizing the meal I should be focusing more on is dinner (or M5 if you are on the plan).  That will be my goal for next week.

The two main meals I have been eating everyday are overnight oats and a avocado quinoa bowl. I have a couple recipes for overnight oats which I did a blog post on a while back. You can check it out here: http://coffeewithcourtney.com/5-overnight-oats-recipes-to-try-this-week/

The avocado quinoa bowl is so satisfying and combines quinoa, chick peas or black beans, diced zucchini, sliced tomatoes, jalape√Īo (optional), and then is topped with a little salsa and sliced avocado. If you love Chipotle or Mexican food in general you should try making this type of recipe. You can these ingredients over a bed of lettuce or eat a salad on the side for extra greens. So tasty!

The one successful dinner I had this week was actually prepared by my husband. He made us seared ahi tuna with a salad of arugula, kale, cucumber, tomato, and carrots. He also drizzled a little low sodium soy sauce over the tuna to give it a sushi-restaurant taste. I am very lucky to have such a great partner in life. He is being very supportive of my journey and that makes all the difference.

If you are working towards a goal, share it with your family and friends and ask for their support. You are guaranteed to be more successful if you have the love and support of those around you.

Last night my friend Anela from Nelly’s Life (Check out her blog here!: http://www.nellyslife.com/) ¬†invited me to a yoga class at The Raleigh Hotel here in Miami Beach. It was part of a monthly even called the Leggings Lounge. The vibe of that hotel is pure paradise. Everything from the waterfall to the music in the pool/lounge area was on point. The class was hosted by Christa from Bliss Fit Life Miami. Check out her Instagram and leave a comment on a photo and let her know “courtney.val sent me”. She is so sweet and her passion just radiates. You can really see her desire to share her knowledge and build up this community. The class was more challenging than I thought. I did a workout in the morning which may have played a role in my shaking legs but it was a great challenge. She gave options if people were struggling to stay in one pose. After the active yoga portion of the class she had us meditate and reflect for a bit on the intention we had set for the class. I was thinking very hard about this journey and what I want to accomplish. Then all of the sudden I felt someone poke the inside of my foot really hard. It made me jump a little so I opened my eyes. No one was there. The instructor was on the opposite side of the room. I am not sure how to take this. It could have been a muscle spasm but the spiritual side of me thinks that maybe I was analyzing things too much and it was a little poke to draw my attention back to the present moment and focus on the now to be able to focus on the future.

 My leggings are from We Love Colors  . They are Style#6101 and color #7205.

My intention for today is to do just that. Focus on the present moment and live in the here and now. We cannot change the past and we cannot predict the future so our actions here in the present are what matter. Our actions of today will shape our future and become our past.

I hope you have a great Thursday and let me know in a comment what your intention is today.

Let’s support each other more on social media. You can follow me at these links and we can talk in the comments!

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CourtneyVal
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Snapchat: courtney.val
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyValYT

Email: courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com

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My Life Is Changing In Just 8 Weeks!

It’s time for a change. A BIG change!

Yesterday I started an 8 week journey to makeover my life for the better and I am sharing EVERYTHING with you. The main part of this challenge is the Tone It Up Bikini Series which is an annual fitness and nutrition challenge hosted by my two absolute favorite health and fitness experts, Karena and Katrina from toneitup.com.

I found these girls when I was going through a time when I never thought I would be in great health or love my body. I was silently suffering behind diet soda and lean cuisine meals. Then, I came across their YouTube channel one night and something about their kindness and genuine desire to help other women made me realize that there was still hope for me. At that time I was suffering from a constantly bloated stomach, fatigue, headaches, acne, mental fog at times, feelings of depression, and just overall I didn’t feel amazing. Then again I didn’t really know there was another way to feel. I joined the online community and found a whole world of women supporting each other. It was and is unconditional support, motivation, and love. I explored all of the content on their website and followed everything I possibly could. In 2013 I took the leap and bought the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is not just a meal plan but basically it’s an educational course on nutrition and how food and exercise effects your body. Once I started applying the principals of the plan I instantly felt better and I never looked back!

That being said, over the last year I have had too many moments where I let things slide and now I am not feeling like I used to. My headaches and migraines are getting worse and something has to change. I also want to build lean, toned muscle to just be strong and feel confident in my skin. I will  be sharing my meals, workouts, progress photos, tips, DIYS, and more related to the challenge!

My first Tone It Up Instagram photo

I will be posting multiple times a day on my Tone It Up Instagram-@liveloveandtiu so you can follow me there also if you like. That Instagram is a very raw and unedited look at my life.

I will also be posting daily here on my blog, making frequent YouTube videos, and posting on my main Instagram (courtney.val), Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter. I want to take you along on this journey every step of the way!

But that’s not it! (Cue game show host voice) ūüėČ

I also want to take these next 8 weeks and examine other areas of my life that I want to improve.

These include goals related to:

  • Career
  • Friendships
  • Finances
  • Organization/Decluttering
  • Expanding my YouTube channel, Instagram, and Blog
  • Travel and Summer plans
  • Self Care
  • Volunteering and giving back

If there are other topics you would like me to address leave me a comment and let me know!

Another goal of this challenge is to help, motivate, and inspire others to achieve their goals. I started following blogs and watching YouTube videos because they helped me so much so I want to contribute and make content that is going to help others too. ¬†If there is a specific goal you are working on let me know and we can help each other! I’m not trying to be cheesy but I truly believe that there is no goal you cannot achieve¬†if you really want it. So, let’s do this! Let’s take the next 8 weeks and make our dreams come true!

One last thing….

Throughout this challenge you are going to get to know me better than ever before. To be honest, I have been holding back a little bit. There are many posts and videos I wanted to make but I was afraid of what people would think.

“What will they think about my ugly kitchen?”

“My skin is a mess, I can’t go on camera with no makeup.”

etc….

We all have insecurities, I know but I am ready to take that leap and be ALL IN!

If you are all-in too and want to join me, subscribe to my blog, YouTube Channel, and follow me social media so we can stay connected.

This is going to be an amazing journey, I can feel it!

Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the internet. I hope you have an amazing day and I will talk to you soon! <3

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CourtneyVal
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Snapchat: courtney.val
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyValYT

Email: courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Improve Your Hair Health With Snails! Kenra CC Creme Review

Today we’re talking about hair…and snails. Kenra Professional has released a new Snail CC Cream under their Platinum line and it’s pretty amazing. It is based on¬†the Korean beauty trends that are sweeping the universe right now, involving snail essence.

First, let’s talk about the snails. No snails are harmed in the production of this product. The slimy gel snails leave behind as they move is scooped up and used by beauty professionals to create a wide range of products. I did some research and the use of snail essence actually goes all the way back to ancient Greece!

Snail essence is especially touted for its skin cell softening properties. Kenra Professional is applying these methods for this new 10-in-1 hair cream.

 

Benefits of the Kenra Professional Snail CC Cream:

– Boosts shine
– Increases thickness
– Reduces breakage
– Tames frizz & flyaways
– Hydrates hair
– Improves elasticity
– Relieves scalp irritation
– Increases manageability
– Decreases coarseness for noticeably softer strands
– Provides heat protection
– Paraben and sulfate free
– For all hair types

 

My Experience:

Recently I cut my hair shorter because my hair has suddenly been thinning for unknown reasons and I wanted to get a cut that would make my hair appear thicker. At the same time I started using this cream and I have noticed a difference in combination with vitamins usage. I apply about a dime size of product to my damp hair and work it all the way from roots to ends. I then let it sit for a few minutes before blow drying my hair. I blow dry my hair upside down for increased volume. Afterwards I run a flat-iron or curling iron through my hair to style it. The cream smells really good, just like a professional salon. My mother is a hair stylist and this cream smells just like her salon did growing up. I love it! The cream applies evenly and it never made my hair oily or sticky. It definitely makes my hair look shinier without looking greasy and when I use this cream I have zero frizz problems. I also have had problems with dandruff and a dry scalp, which I feel this cream helped alleviate as well. Consistency is the key with this product for sure. Days where I would wash my hair and skip this step my scalp felt flaky and my hair looked dull.

Although the cream does not list that it provides any hold like gel I do feel it helps retain curl or style in your hair. I am very pleased with this product and have included it in my everyday routine. If you have dull, lifeless hair you might give this a try!

It is now available at Ulta in-store and online here:

http://www.ulta.com/platinum-snail-cc-creme?productId=xlsImpprod14561049

Size: 2.5 fl oz

Price: $25

For more information on Kenra Professional Snail CC Creme visit: http://www.kenraprofessional.com/snailcc/launch

You can also follow their social media platforms here:

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/KenraProfessional
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KenraProfessional
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/KenraProfessional
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Kenra_Haircare
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Kenra
Snapchat: KenraPro
Have you tried any snail products? Let me know how you liked them!

Thank you for stopping by and I’ll talk to you soon! <3

 

*This blogpost was powered by BrandBacker and Kenra Professional. I was not paid but they did provide the cream to try.

 

 

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One Minute Stress Reducing Affirmations

 

Feeling stressed this week? Take 1 minute to reduce your stress levels with these affirmations. What is an affirmation? In this context, an affirmation is a small gift of encouragement you give yourself to reduce your stress levels.

Take a moment and repeat the following affirmations to yourself or out loud if your work area permits. You can also close your eyes to further relax for the moment.

“I will get through this.”

“This stress is only temporary”¬†

“I will do my best.”

“I will recognize what is within my control and what is not within my control.”

“I will make this day the best I can.”

“Today will be a great day.”

“I will accomplish my goals.”

“I have the skills to take on this challenge.”

You can also use any other affirmation that you feel is applicable for your specific challenge or situation . If you are new to using affirmations, it’s OK to feel a little silly a first saying these things out loud. Once you see how beneficial this technique can be, that feeling of awkwardness or silliness will turn into a feeling of empowerment. You have the power to conquer the stressors in your life and succeed.¬†

 

I also made a video on 3 easy ways to reduce stress and change your way of thinking about stressful situations. Check it out below!

 

I hope this post was helpful to you and I would love to hear about your techniques to reduce stress, stay motivated, and achieve your goals. You can leave me a comment down below or talk to me on the social media platforms below. Thank you for joining me to today and I’ll talk to you very soon!

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CourtneyVal
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Snapchat: courtney.val
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyValYT

Email: courtney@coffeewithcourtney.com

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