2

Wishes for a Happy New Year…and for years to come

So here it is, New Years Eve 2013 and I am calm. I am hopeful. I am…content.

In past years, this day was either filled with anxiety over not having plans or having too many plans, freaking out that my dress was too tight, hating my hair or my mind was filled with shoulda’s, coulda’s and woulda’s. This year…not so much. For the first time in I don’t know how long, a New Year approaching doesn’t seem as daunting. You see, I finally got it. I finally became accountable for myself and my actions. I finally admitted my shortcomings and moments of malcontent were down to me. Yep. Me. …trust me, ask my hubby or anyone who knows me for that matter…this was not an easy thing for me to admit. I had been known in the past to blame retailers and  Mother Nature herself for my ass not fitting into my jeans…between the store not having the exact shade of grey yoga pants I so desired that would match the treadmill and well… with the cold winds and rain I couldn’t go outside for a walk. …oh come on, like you haven’t blamed the Keebler Elves for your pant size. Back to the tale at hand.

I have a glorious truth to share…once you stop blaming others for your unhappiness and malcontent, let go of your fear and take your emotions, decisions and dreams into your own hands, great things begin to happen. They do. Take a look at yours truly.(well, it is my blog, so yeah, I’m gonna talk about me once and a while.). I took a leap of faith and let go of my fears and put that energy into believing in myself and within 18 months I have the blog I dreamed of doing, a twitter following filled with people who inspire me on a daily basis (and are pretty cool), I was invited to attend the Contessa’s.  I am a contributor to http://www.salonmagazine.ca. I am a contributing author to http://www.hairstyle-blog.com and http://www.visual-makeover.com. I am a contributor to http://www.girlbodypride.com. On a daily basis at my shop, I am helping women and men to love their hair, to find the beauty that they thought they lost, or never had. I am helping Salon owners and stylists improve their customer service skills and helping them to realize that retail is a vital part of their Salon’s experience. I no longer hold back my confidence in myself, or hold back my knowledge of product or service. *the biggest perk…since I am happier, so are my loved ones.

Hence today’s New Year’s wish for you. May the coming days and the coming years bring you peace. May serenity find its way to your door and into your hearts. May you find the courage to attempt what ever it is you want to do – from opening up your own Salon to finally being able to quit smoking. May you find the confidence to ask for that raise or to tell that special someone that you love them, or to be able to let your loved one know that they need help and that you will have their back. May you begin to find the beauty that is in your life, right now.

Wishing you a Happy New Year

With Love and Gratitude,

That girl in the red coat

0

A Christmas Wish from That girl in the red coat

Hello Beauties!

A quick tale today. It’s the morning of Christmas Eve on my side of the world and I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support of my tales. My new tales will be on hold for a few days as I take some time to spend with my loved ones, friends and family alike. Wishing you all happiness and health, serenity and peace, today and always.

– That girl in the red coat. xo

1

Christmas Presence

As I sit here, snow is falling, Christmas carols are playing on the radio, lights are twinkling on the tree and my loved ones are safe and snuggled under warm blankets watching a movie. I am relishing the peace for it is the middle of December, which for any of us in the service industry/retail sector, we know is the beginning of the craziest, busiest time of the year. I have been working the Holiday/Christmas season for over 20 years, and have seen it all, from mothers beginning to cry because the antlers that their child needed for the Christmas pageant broke and are now out of stock to husbands panicking that the KMS gift pack their wife wanted is no longer available and he can’t go home without it. I have seen grown women lose it over the fact the newest red holiday shade of polish is sold out and have had a grown man throw a flat iron at me because I wouldn’t return it for him because he didn’t have a receipt, or the box for that matter. One commonality I have always found – too many people are concerned about their Christmas presents instead of their Christmas presence.

Last year I wrote of the pressure women (and gents…mostly the ladies) put on themselves over the holidays (see link below)

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/03/its-time-to-paint-your-own-picture/ .

I told a tale of letting go and easing up on yourself and your loved ones. This year, my tale will be one of presence. Too many of us are not present, in our own lives, in the lives of our loved ones, in our conversations, hell, even in our driving. We are getting so caught up in the idea of the perfect gift and the perfect dinner that we aren’t even able to keep up with who got who what gift and cannot even remember what that perfect dinner tasted like. Being me, I have compiled a little list, a how to for the holidays if you will.

– When you are out shopping with your child and they stop at the big tree in the mall exclaiming “WOW!!! It’s so pretty!” instead of yanking their little arm and scowling “yeah, yeah…lets go!” stand with them for a minute and agree with them. Take the few seconds, take a breath and make a memory.

– We all have those friends/family members that need a Santa picture. Here’s the deal, if your child doesn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, don’t make them. Stand beside Santa holding your child, or forgo the picture all together. Your loved ones will survive a Christmas without a Santa photo. I know mine have. *Think about it…all year we scold “don’t talk to strangers” then force our kids to talk to  a stranger AND sit on his lap…no wonder there are so many tears.

– When you are shopping and a sales person asks if you need a hand, let us help you.  Let yourself be helped, it will ease the stress that you can’t find what you are looking for, and if by chance it is out of stock, we can let you know when the product is arriving and can call you when it arrives. …oh, for me, please do not say “already got two!” when we ask if you need a hand – trust me, we have heard it.

– Be kind to the cashier. She has been standing there for hours, has 5 more hours left of her shift and only gets a 30 minute break during an 8 hour shift, having to deal with people yelling at her for things she has no control over, like the debit being down, or a product being out of stock, or being yelled  at by a manager because she said “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. – the latter happened to yours truly…I kept saying Merry Christmas.

– If your family doesn’t like turkey, you do not have to have it for Christmas dinner. It’s okay. The ghost of Christmas past, present and future will not haunt you. Make a meal that everyone enjoys, that you enjoy making. Trust me, I know of what I speak. I tried to do the “Christmas dinner with all the trimmings” and the whole day with every dish I prepared all I thought was who wasn’t going to like what and that I was disappointing Martha Stewart. This year I am making quesadilla’s. They are always a hit, everyone loves them and I spend less time in the kitchen and more time in the living room with my family.

– When you are getting your groceries, give to your local food bank. Many grocery store already have prepacked bags of food ready to give. Most packs cost $4.99 (the cost of your two morning coffees on your way to work)  and can give a family more than one meal. It’s a win/win, a mother will be able to make a meal for her child, and your child got to see their mother help her.

– Always give to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army does more than you can imagine.

– Try not to complain so much about having to go to your Mother’s/Father’s house…again. Many have lost a parent, or both parents and wish that they had to sit through another conversation about how “easy we have it these days”.

This season, take it easy on yourself. Take it easy on your loved ones, for it is not their fault you are stressed that what you wanted to buy them is no longer available. Take a breath. Take a friend a coffee. Give to your local food bank. Make your hubby his favorite treat. Teach your child how to make cookies. Send a Christmas card or a text out of the blue. Smile as you pass people on the street or in the grocery aisle. Your Christmas presence will mean more to many than your Christmas presents will mean to one.

2

Balancing Shampoo can only do so much

At least once a week I seem to have the same conversation, with a new customer or with one of my regular customers or a client from the Salon. It usually goes something like this… “since I have had my baby, my hair just isn’t the same”, or “ever since I started this new medication, my hair isn’t the same”, or “how is it that my Mother is sick, but my hair is the hair that is falling out?”. Hormones, medications and stress can and will affect your hair growth cycle, unfortunate but true. It’s okay. It will be alright. Step away from the kitchen scissors and your hand held mirror, step away from the phone to make an appointment to chop off all your hair since all hope is lost, for all hope is not lost. A little knowledge goes a long way, and being me, I always want to educate and enlighten.

For my new moms out there – first and foremost – you rock! You do. Being a mother is the toughest job in the world, the most rewarding, still the toughest. I am here to tell you that it is okay to be upset that your pregnancy changed your figure and your body. I am here to tell you that every new mother, I mean EVERY new mother has had that moment when we look in the mirror at our once shiny tresses that are now matted and tangled and feel like “What’s the use. My hair will never be the same”. I am here to tell you that yes, your hair may never be the same, but it can be just as great, or better. First of all, be patient. Your hormones are all over the place as is your diet because you are a little busy with your new bundle of joy. Usually after 6 months your hair will start to behave itself again. If not, ask your stylist for an appointment for a consultation, to go over the issues you are having with styling and managing your hair. You may just need a trim, or your color freshened up. Sometimes a conditioning treatment does the trick…Joico’s Kpak Revitaluxe…you’ll hear angels. Also, have a chat with your M.D.. You may be low in certain vitamins and a vitamin supplement is all you need.

As for medications, many can affect our hair and the growth cycle of our hair. Yours truly is on thyroid medication and when my levels are off, so is my ‘do. The texture of my hair changed, my hair took color in a totally different way and a little thinning happened for a while.(always the hair, never the hips.). Once my M.D. & I figured out what dosage was best for me, my lovely locks returned. I also, much to my chagrin, changed the way I was eating. Lowering my caffeine…yes lowered…lets not get silly, cutting out the junk, like pop and chips and eating well has helped my hair, my skin (and my ass). When starting any new medication, ask your M.D., nurse practitioner or pharmacist about possible side effects, about changes in hair or skin. Many medications are going to affect our hair, but if you know that your medication will affect your hair, you can start preventive maintenance on your lovely locks. * Always let your stylist know of any changes in existing medications or if you are on a new medication – it could alter your color/chemical process.

When a loved one is ill, it is more stressful than when we are the ailing patient. As for stress, I wish I had a better answer for you. Stress is a bitch. Yeah, I said it. It is one of those things in life that likes to pop up at the most inconvenient times. Not only can stress make you yell at your purse when you drop it in the driveway or have a argument with your hubby over the difference between “beige” and “natural beige” sheet sets,  stress can also interfere with the growth cycle of your hair. When we are stressed, one of the things our bodies will do is produce more testosterone which in turn the body turns into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which is a major component in hair loss/ thinning. I am not going to tell you “so, don’t stress so much”, because, well, that makes me sound stupid. What I will tell you to do is to try not to stress as often. Take a look at your day and choose your battles accordingly. Your mother is ill – you can’t fix that. Give her your love and support and a few giggles. Your hair is starting to fall out – this can be fixed. Got one word for you – Nioxin. Check out their awesome website http://www.nioxin.com . Psstt… Mario Lopez is their new spokesperson…he is nice to look at…actually… after looking at Mario I bet your stress level drops.

I have been a new mom, I have gone through the hair woes of medication interactions and have had the stress of ill loved ones. One thing I know for sure is once you begin using the correct professional salon hair care products, although your hair may be different, you will once again love your hair.

2

Tales of truth – Part 9

Yes ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is time for that girl in the red coat’s tales of truth. A few months back I decided to change my “tales of truth” series to “full moon monthly” but with the holiday retail season in full swing, I have decided to bring back my original title, since full moon daily, well, doesn’t make sense and may disappoint certain internet users…wait for it…there you go. On with my tales of truth.

“Do you work here?” – a question posed to me as I am pricing and setting up our Christmas display of nail polishes and hand creams, while wearing my shirt with the Salon’s logo. “Yes, I do. I am the manager. Can I help you?” to which she answers “How do I know you are the manager?”…..sigh

A woman comes in asking if I carry Nioxin. I let her know that I do and that I carry the complete line. ( *a GREAT hair care line for anyone suffering from hair loss – check out http://www.nioxin.com – Mario Lopez is the new spokesperson – he is nice to look at…) As I show her my Nioxin display she tells me she just saw it at a department store for $10 less. “That sounds like a great deal, be careful though. When you see professional salon products at the department store it is diverted stock, so you cannot be guaranteed you are getting the real deal. We don’t know what is in those bottles or where they came from.”, to which she said “Oh yeah! Well….how do I know where your product came from huh?!”. – still find it amazing that a 50 year old woman reverts back to school yard tactics. I took a breath and told her I deal directly with the company that supplies Nioxin and I have the invoices to prove it to which she said “Well, I’m going to call Nioxin to find out if you are telling the truth!”, so I gave her their number.

As I am sitting at the front desk merrily humming along to the Christmas tunes echoing from the radio and making up some festive display signs, I hear the chirp of the shop’s door and before I can raise my eyes a woman is leaning over the counter and is about 5 inches from my face “CALL ME A CAB WOULD YA?”. I roll back on my chair – my savior from the close talker. “Pardon me?” I ask. “I need a cab. I just got out of a cab and I need another one.”. Alrighty. So I ask if there is a cab company she prefers to which she says “any one but the one I just used.”. I ask which one she used and she said “the one with the white signs”. …in my town, all 3 companies have white signs. So, I flip through the yellow pages, say a prayer and hope I choose the right cab company. As we are waiting for her cab to arrive, as she darts from my counter to the front door every 10 seconds awaiting her new cab, I was fortunate enough to get to hear all her lovely views on humanity, from cab drivers being lazy to her landlord being an ass to not giving to the Salvation Army because it’s not her fault that people are homeless. I went to correct her, then I remembered, you can’t fix stupid.

The phone rings. I answer with my standard cheery greeting.”Umm,,,yeah…like do you have anything that with help my friend’s hair?”. So, I ask what seems to be the issue with her “friends” hair. “Well….I…I mean she dyed it and it kind of looks funny.”. So, I let her know that I can’t give out color advice, especially over the phone and that I can’t see her “friends” hair. She offers to explain the color to me. I let her know it is best to come into the shop and I can introduce her to one of my stylists and we can go from there, to which she replies “How about I text you a picture of my hair…I mean my friends hair, ‘cuz thats what I did last time and you guys told me what to do”. This is how I found out, and then she found out, she had called the wrong place. ***IMPORTANT TIP*** Never, I mean EVER, take color advice over the phone. Until a stylist is applying color onto your hair, there is no way possible to know what is going to happen to your hair or how that color is going to process. Sure , in theory someone can guess at what will happen, but until it is being applied, there is no sure way of knowing.

A woman, whom I have never met, came into the shop and actually said “I need to pop into the grocery store…can I leave my son here with you? It’ll only be a minute.” …there are no words.

I have a bowl of candies at the front desk for our customers and clients. It is usually filled with Jolly Ranchers and Starburst. One day I didn’t have time for my usual stop for my candy pick up so while I was getting supplies for the shop I grabbed some flavored Tootsie Rolls since the store I was at didn’t carry Starburst. Later that morning as I was ringing through a customer, she made sure I knew that she was quite disappointed in me and my service because I no longer had Starburst in my candy dish and she was looking forward to one. Note to self – always have Starburst.

With that holiday season in full swing I am sure I will have many more festive tales coming your way.