Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat

Safe at home

I woke up this morning wondering what day it was. As the majority of us around the globe are in self isolation or quarantine, I am sure you wake up wondering the same thing. Wondering what day is it? Is there any new information available today? Are my parents alright? Are my friends holding up okay? Should I be working out? Should I get dressed? What can I do to help? … these are the questions I bombard myself with before I’ve even had my first cup of coffee. I try to distract myself by posting something funny on Facebook, or sending a upbeat song to my friends which usually snaps me out of it. Today, not so much. So I ventured out to my garden, the sun just beginning to shine, to check on my squirrel feeder. Yes, you read that correctly. I was complaining to my hubby that the squirrels were attacking the bird feeder, so he made me a squirrel feeder. I’m thinking of adding a bowl…

Back to the tale at hand. So there I was, in my robe checking on my squirrel feeder, when it came to me. We are living in crazy times. We are in uncharted territory. I’ve said it before and will keep on saying it, we can’t control the world around us, but we sure as hell can control our part in it.

“You are not stuck at home. You are safe at home.”. I came across this last week and it has stuck with me. We need to change our mind set folks. If your sitting at home wanting to help but not knowing how? Guess what? Sitting at home is the best way to help. It may not feel like it but it is. Staying at home keeps you healthy and in turn those in your household healthy and in turn all others healthier. As an added bonus, staying home makes you one less person  our beloved doctors, nurses and all health care/front line workers need to worry about.

You can do your part by calling on your neighbours. Texting friends and loved ones. If you are in good health, drop off supplies or a little care package, leave it by the door and send a text/give a call “check your front door”. If out for a walk, say Hello to anyone you see. Social distancing means physical distancing – don’t be an ass to your fellow man. Turn off the news. Only watch when a leader or expert is on giving new information… except for Trump…please do not listen to him. Your local Food Bank offers online donations… trust me, the Food Bank can stretch a dollar further than you could imagine. Support local businesses by ordering online from them. Many offer etransfer and curb side pick up. Call your stylist to see if she has any hair products in stock to sell before venturing out to the drugstore for your shampoo.

It’s easy to feel helpless in these times. There is so much you can do. The best of which is to stay home. Plain and Simple. … and wash your hands.

 

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat

Sunday Confessions

Here we are. Day whatever of social distancing. This past Friday I ventured out to the grocery store. For the first time in I don’t know how long I didn’t put any makeup on. Didn’t even fill in my eyebrows… the nineties thin brow was not my friend. Who knew it would take a virus to finally be comfortable with my looks, to let go off whatever ideals I had created in my head. Yep. Sorry to say, I have been known to think of myself as ugly, fat, take your pick of self deprecating thoughts or phrases, I have used them. Hell, when we were first engaged, my husband took me to see Phantom of the Opera and I had a freak out, total meltdown thinking I was too ugly to go. … yes, I see the irony in this… I was about to see a show about a dude with  a burned face wearing a mask. So, going out without make up on is a big deal for me. Since the breakout of COVID-19, I have felt a shift. Sometimes anxiety, sometimes sadness, but mostly a true sense of what matters and what does not.

I used to wake up every morning thinking of my “to do’s”, my “gotta haves”. I would practice meditation and proper breathing, or so I thought. It wasn’t until this outbreak that I realized I never took a moment to actually check myself. I find myself checking my breathing everyday, throughout the day. I stopped focusing on my weight and am now focused on my health, mental, emotional and physical. *Confession – I am still smoking, keeping it real. I find myself waking up to thoughts of loved ones and friends and wondering what I can do for them, if they need anything, not the usual “I look puffy today”, “did I drink enough water yesterday”, “I really gotta exercise more” thoughts. I find myself finding reasons to laugh and spread some happiness instead of just going along with the status quo. I have always been someone to find the good… drives my friends and family nuts most of the time. This past week, I have made it my mission to find the good, all the time, and when found, share the shit out of that sucker. You tube video’s, my favorite songs, jokes, Sir Patrick Stewart reading sonnets on Twitter, Yo-Yo Ma playing the cello on Facebook, TankGoodNews fabulous posts on Instagram, you name it, if it’s joyful or positive, I’m sharing it.

I know things are scary right now. The unknown always is. The lack of control can be overwhelming. We may not be able to control what’s happening but we can control ourselves. Check on friends, loved ones and neighbours. If allowed, take a surprise care package, leave it at their door and call them to let them know there is a surprise for them at their door. Write a letter. Call them, many people are alone in this and would love to hear another voice other than their own. Send thank you’s to health care providers. When you are out getting ONLY the necessities, be sure to thank all the employees you see, ask the cashier how they are doing, smile and say hello at everyone you see. Social distancing does not mean ignoring people. Stay home if and when you can. It’s not about you as it’s about everyone else. Having trouble staying put? Think of it this way… when someone gets sick and has to be hospitalized, they are alone. No visitors or loved ones allowed. Stay home.

 

Social distancing is the new norm. Many are in self isolation. Many are in quarantine. No matter which country you live in, whatever your political view or your spiritual practice, all of that really doesn’t matter anymore. We are one. We are all in this together. We are all in the same boat and it’s time to throw some life preservers.

Beauty, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women

Tips from a pre-Internet Mom

Today’s tale is for all the parents out there who are realizing day care providers are saints and teachers deserve a raise.

No matter where you are in the world today, you are most likely at home with your children. COVID-19 has created a new normal for us all. I am 47 and my daughter is 23, so I am not facing nearly the amount of stress that many of my friends and the women I know that have children aging from 1 week old to 18.    …that being said my husband and daughter have taken to creating a new language. No words, just sounds…so there’s that. As I was having my coffee this morning, waiting on the muffins to bake, my mind flooded with memories of when my daughter was little. I was a stay at home Mom until she went to school. There wasn’t much daycare around and the daycare that was available, well, lets just say, any money I earned would have gone to her care. To be completely honest, I really hadn’t thought it through. I was 25 when I had my daughter and life was going good. My husband was working his ass off to provide a good income. Then life threw us a curve ball. Lesson learned – things change in the blink of an eye, so you gotta have a plan B, you gotta. So my husband and I decided I would stay home. So there we were, one income, one vehicle and limited funds for extra’s. … oh, and no internet. So I had to get creative.

If you’re stuck in a rut with your kids and about to run down the street screaming “I don’t care if your bored!”, I feel you and I got your back. I’m going to give you some ideas of what to do. They may seem a little corny, remember, I am a pre-Internet Mom.

  • hide shiny objects around the house and have a treasure hunt
  • add food coloring to water and VOILA! Water color paint.
  • put down a blanket in the living room and have a picnic
  • build a fort. Drape old sheets over all the chairs and table in your dining room or kitchen. Use books to weigh down the corners. Put the chairs on their sides to make tunnels.
  • if you own Lego, have a Lego building competition. Put a timer on for 45 minutes. …this way you get 45 minutes to sit your ass down.
  • make muffins or cupcakes. Have your child count out loud the number of liners, teaspoons, cups of water, hell even how many times you have to stir the batter. They are learning and creating.
  • I once had my daughter see how many sticks she could find in the backyard.
  • pop some popcorn and have a movie date – at 10 in the morning. Trust me, it’ll blow their minds.
  • have a dance party
  • pull out the good dishes and have a fancy lunch
  • play dress up with your kids, let them choose your outfit.
  • have your kids do your hair. Scary, I know. They want to take care of you as much as you want to take care of them.
  • go for a walk. Ask them what they are thinking about. Trust me, they’ll tell you.
  • get them to help with chores. Age appropriate chores of course. I would always start with “Could you help me?” when my girl was young. Now it’s more like “Go do that.”.
  • fill the tub and have a pool day
  • play catch, with anything.
  • teach your child a card game
  • play a board game
  • do a puzzle together, or separate and see who finishes first
  • if you have a teen, may God be with you.

I don’t know if this will help, I hope it will. You gotta think outside of the box when you are entertaining/taking care of kids. When it comes down to it, they just want your time and your attention. Just like us, they want to be seen. They want to be heard. They want to know they matter. As my Gramma Leah used to say “It’s long days and short years with children.”. I know it’s frustrating and even tedious at times. I promise you, you will look back on this and be grateful for these times…well most of them.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, writing

It’s been a time

Here we are. March 22, 2020. I work in the Ladies department at a local shoe store. The shop finally made the decision to close up shop last Thursday evening. Let me tell you, it felt like 20 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t think I’ve meditated or gotten “right with Jesus” so much in my life as I did everyday last week. Every morning I would be getting ready to go to work with a sense of dread… not the usual retail job dread. Trying to quiet my mind from all the what if’s, what’s happening, it is safe questions swirling around in my head. I cannot even begin to imagine how all our beloved health care workers are feeling. My hat goes off to them and my heart goes out to them.

Many people are abiding by the new social rule of social distancing, self isolating and such… and many, I am sorry to say are not. This past week, with every world leader (except for Mr. Trump… yes, I said Mr., the buffoon has not earned the title of President… don’t get me started), radio station, television network and social media site declaring the rise of Coronavirus and what to do to decrease the impact and flatten the curve, there are still people out there that just don’t get it. Here are just a few things I personally heard and saw this past week;

  • Families with babies that aren’t even walking yet coming in to look at shoes.
  • People bringing their elderly parents, that have oxygen tanks in tow, in to shop for shoes.
  • People walking right past our sanitizing station.
  • Lady comes into the store. There are literally no customers, just her. I ask if she needs some help. “No. I was told to work from home, but I got bored so I thought I’d look at shoes.”.
  • Lady comes into the store, carrying her dog. Walks through the entire store, touching everything in her path. We ask if she needs help to which she tell us “Nope. Just looking. Just got off a plane from out West. I showered though, so it’s all good.”
  • A couple comes in looking for men’s sandals. They ask if this is all we have. I tell them “Yes. We will have more in April. We are closing until March 31st. to help flatten the curve.”. “Oh, well that’s good” the lady says. “If more people stayed home, the virus would get under control.”.  … lady…you are out of your house.
  • A lady came in the store, freshly tanned bragging about her trip that she just returned from. My coworker stood 6 feet from her and the lady laughed at her, going on about “are you doing what the news is telling you to do?”
  • A father and daughter… I think it was his daughter, came in looking for tall black boots… I hope it was his daughter. I passed them the boots then stood back. They asked how late we were open, and I told them our usual time that we close then added “it could change at anytime because of what’s going on.”. The Dad… I really hope it was the Dad, looks at me and laughs “I don’t get what the big deal is. I’m a nurse and I’m not worried. Everyone needs to calm down.” …sigh
  • A woman and her daughter came in to “look around”. I didn’t have the size she was looking for. She said she was going to go to the mall. I let her know all the stores in the Mall are closed until at least March 31st. Her exact words “Really? How come?”. I shit you not people. I had to explain about the closures to non essential services…then had to explain what non essential services meant.

I have also witnessed many acts of kindness and courtesy. Customers keeping their distance, telling me they can help themselves. Customers asking if I was alright and if my family was alright. Customers thanking us for putting a shoe aside for them to pick up and go. Maintenance workers thanking us for getting them the proper safety footwear. Nurses thanking us for helping them get new footwear. I even had a customer ask if I had my own hand sanitizer.

 

These days we wake up each morning to new stats, new “how to’s”, new rules. We may not be able to control much these days, but we can control ourselves. Our actions, our reactions, how we treat one another. Check on your neighbours. Check on your friends wherever they may be around the globe. Shoot them a text. Your phone does more than host your apps and filter your pics, it actually is a telephone. Once and a while, call someone. Let them hear a voice other than their own. If you hoarded toilet paper, redeem yourself and give out some rolls to the people in your building or on your street. Donate food to the food bank. Wash your damn hands. Take a breath.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Plain and Simple.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

2020 Vision

Here we are. The first day of a new year and a new decade. Every time I scroll through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter I see post after post of the decade challenge, descriptions and memories of the past ten years. Achievements, celebrations, life changing moments, you name it, it’s been posted. Few posts celebrate the lows, the struggles, the set backs.

Over the past week, all I could think about was writing again. All I could think about was how I started this blog, all that had transpired in my life, professionally and personally that steered me away from writing. No matter how hard I tried to place blame on any and all events, I came to one irrefutable truth. I was the reason I wasn’t following my gut, my passion, my calling…name it what you will, it was me and me alone that allowed my circumstances to control my life, my actions or lack there of.

I look back on myself and my life 10 years ago. It began selling shoes, missing the beauty industry I adored and the shop I had run for many years. Then the powers that be gave me an opportunity and I grabbed it! Managing the Salon/Shop I adored. Soon after, I began my blog and opportunity after opportunity came my way. Writing for beauty sites and online magazines, consulting Salons on how to improve their retail presence and sales. Being invited to Beauty industry galas. Things kept falling into my lap. Sadly, in 2016, the shop closed. I tried to keep writing, but the fire within was slowly growing dim. A dear friend of mine had a cheese shop and she was looking for some help over the lunch hours. I thought it would be fun, so I said yes. 15 hours a week turned into 40 and I was enjoying it. Learning new things, helping increase the retail presence and forging relationships with the regulars. Yet I was still longing for something. I felt like the world was spinning around me and I was standing still. Sadly, the shop closed. I took a few months off from working. My husband has supported my writing and my drive from the start. He said “take this time to focus on your blog, your consulting, whatever it is you want.”. I found myself staring at my computer, re posting old blogs. I had no idea which road to take. Do I continue to consult? Do I continue to write about Beauty? Do I continue to review products? Do I write about parenting? Do I write about lifestyle? Do I write about kindness? Do I write about how not to be an asshole? …. exhausting reading this huh? Try thinking it all…the…time.  All the while having real life staring me in the face. Husband having a heart attack in 2012 at 39. Father having a heart attack a week later. ( I told them both to stop competing for my attention). My lovely, beautiful, intelligent daughter struggling with mental health issues and trying to get her the help she needed. Be a good wife. Be a good daughter. Be a good Mother. Laundry to be done, child to raise, marriage to keep intact, pay the bills, get the groceries. …this is how I know there is a higher power…god, the universe, the smurfs, whatever you call it, it’s real. I know it’s real because I firmly believe that is how I got through this past decade. There was many a morning I did not want to get out of bed, many a day I did not want to leave the house, but something helped me. Something got me moving, and I may think I’m all that, but even I’m not that good.

Even though I had the support of my family to focus on me, there were bills to be paid. My old employer at the shoe store heard I was free and offered me a job. Whatever hours or days I could give. So here I am, 10 years later, back where I started from. Funny thing, most people find that sad. I get many a “Oh…so you’re back there again huh?” comments. To be honest, I felt the same way for the first few months. Once again, a higher power knew what I did not. That this is exactly where I was and am supposed to be right now. My life for the last 18 months was turned upside down and all around. … a tale for another time.  Being back at this job allowed me to change my day off at a moments notice. Being able to tell my boss “I gotta go” in the middle of a shift and him responding “Do what you gotta do, see you tomorrow.”. It also gave me the time for me. I had time to read, to educate myself, to take a hard look at my life and my responsibilities. To take a hard look at myself, to be accountable about my part in how my life was going, professionally and personally, to own my shit if you will. I may physically be back where I started, emotionally and mentally, far from it.

I have no idea where my feet will land next. I do know this. It is up to me and me alone to decide. To do the work. To put forth the intentions AND the effort. No one, I mean no one is going to do it for me, nor is it anyone’s fault I am unfulfilled but my own. It is up to you and you alone to fill your cup, and today, it may just be a small drop, but my cup is beginning to fill.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

My cup runneth over

More often than not, when you read the phrase “My cup runneth over” you immediately picture abundance. A happy, fulfilled life filled with blessing. As of late, when I hear “My cup runneth over” I picture an overwhelmed woman , emotionally, mentally and physically. Why do I picture such a woman? I picture her because I am her.

The last few years, especially the last 6 months, my life has been turned around, flopped upside down and all around. The events in my life have been affecting me 100%, unfortunately most of the reasons have nothing to do with me personally. That’s a tough thing to deal with – things in your life that affect you and you have to deal with that really don’t have anything to do with you. * my blog today may seem vague in some ways, that is because some of the stories are not mine to tell and I do not want to break confidences or name names, without permission to do so.

Someone I hold dear is battling an addiction, winning that battle these past few months, but battling none the less. Addiction is a ninja. It creeps in without you seeing it until it’s directly in front of you. It’s a thief too. It steals your trust, your self awareness, your sense of reality, your sense of truth… and this is what it does to those of us dealing with an addict…I can not imagine what it must be like for the addict themselves. I have gone through so many emotions, from empathy, to sympathy, to resentment, to anger, to rage, to despair. You name it, I felt it. With help from my circle, I am beginning to let the past go. I still have moments of all these emotions, usually one at a time. When they all congregate at the same time, well that’s a fun time.

The point of today’s tale is not to invite you to join my pity party, or to feel sorry for me, or to send me hug emojis. My goal for this blog is to keep it real. So here I am keeping it real. I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend who lets her cup runneth over, and that is the one thing that is on me and me alone. Taking on everything is on me. That’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s so much easier to blame everything and everyone else, or so we think. At the end of the day, the decisions, actions and reactions you make are on you and you alone.

My hope is this will bring someone some clarity or serenity to their day. To know that they are not alone. To know it’s okay to be angry, to be resentful, to grieve for the life you had planned that didn’t turn out. What’s not okay is to live in it. Let yourself feel it, let it sit with you a while, then say your goodbyes. There is no shame is life’s ugliness. There is only shame in hiding it. …and remember, pain is pain. You have your pain. Others have theirs. It’s not about competition, it’s about compassion.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Monday Motivator Rescue

Here we are. It’s Monday. Again. The time change back to Standard time has occurred once again and as always, if you are anything like me, you are wandering around wondering what time it is and feeling a little out of sorts. These past few months have been, in a word, interesting…that’s a tale for another time. Last night I actually had more than 2 hours to myself. No laundry to do, no errands to run, no one to drive anywhere or pick them up, I had free time. Finally a moment to complete a thought, make a plan and stick to it. Finally a moment to test out one of the latest products that has fallen into my lap for review. Let me introduce you to a FABULOUS face mask! Arbonne Rescue & Renew Detox Face Mask.

For those of you who follow my blog, you all are well aware of my sensitive skin. Most days, I just have to look at a face cream or mask and red welts appear on my skin. Needless to say, when I was asked “Give this a try and let me know what you think” I immediately went to my calendar to see when I had two days off in a row in case of a reaction. I thought about testing it on Halloween … if I had a bad reaction I could just tell people I was a strawberry. Back to the review at hand. So last night, I took a deep breath, sent out my good intention to the universe and applied the mask.

Proof I do test every product I review.

Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Arbonne Rescue & Renew Detox Face Mask applies like a dream. It’s consistency is like a liquid foundation and it glides over your skin with ease. Once dry, it rinses off your skin as easily as it was applied. No rubbing, no wash cloth needed, just some warm water and your hands…easy peasy. It is recommended to keep the mask on for 15 minutes but after 5 minutes I couldn’t move my face, so I rinsed it off.

Arbonne Rescue & Renew Detox Face Mask’s French pink clay formula draws out all the impurities and actually leaves your pores looking smaller. Your skin looks brighter and feels smoother.

Here’s some key info. on this gem;

  • oil pulling technology helps to unclog pores by drawing out impurities like a magnet
  • visibly draws out excess sebum – you can see the mask changing color on different areas of your face
  • helps skin appear brighter and refreshed
  • promotes the look of softer, smoother skin
  • Dermatologist tested
  • For all skin types including sensitive
  • Vegan
  • Certified Gluten Free

The French pink clay attracts surface dirt and impurities like a magnet while cleansing and gently exfoliating your skin. Rosemary Oil hydrates to help maintain the look of clear skin. Boosted with 5 self neutralizing acids – mandelic acid, phytic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and azelaic acid to help clarify, refine and brighten the appearance of skin tone.

So here we are, 12 hours post mask and no reaction! No bumps. No red welts. No itchy skin. No runs to the pharmacy for Benadryl. … I’d show a picture but I have bad bed head and no one wants to see that. Arbonne Rescue & Renew Detox Face Mask truly was created for all skin types including sensitive skin.

For anyone looking for a new face mask, especially those of us with sensitive skin and a hectic schedule, give this a go. You won’t be disappointed.