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

Hiding out

We’ve all been that person. You know the one. The one who has the answer in Math class but won’t raise their hand in the off chance the answer is incorrect. The one who knows what needs to be said but is afraid of the possible judgement that may follow. The one who knows they could rock a pixie cut but are worried their husband will find them unattractive. The one who knows who they are but stays tucked in the closet because that is where they are safe from judgement. The one who has a dream but cannot begin to chase it in fear of ridicule. The one who knows where their passion lies yet will not pursue it because the financial risk is too great. The one who has one too many at the party to fit in. The one who at one time knew she was pretty but listened to the wrong people and began to believe in them instead of herself. The one who was hiding out.

In a few days, I will be 42 and as you know, 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything (Douglas Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)…I am quite excited! Those familiar with my Salon Tales, it is no secret that yours truly has had issues with self esteem and my reflection. In the past, if you were lucky enough to have me stand still for a picture, I never wanted to look at it. I was also the woman who blamed everything but herself for her weight gain…yes, my daughter was 10 and I still said I was trying to lose my “baby weight” and yes, I was the woman who couldn’t workout because I didn’t own the “right” cross trainers. I was also the woman who kept her hair short for over 12 years because everyone told me how good it looked on me and it “slimmed down my face”. Fast forward to present day. Thanks to getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy), learning to embrace patience – that was a toughie, entering my forties, my hubby’s health issues that made me take a hard look at my diet and how I was feeding my family and, quite honestly, removing my head from my ass and finally allowing myself to be the person I always knew I was. Everything began to fall into place, from my career to my family to my weight and self image issues. Don’t get me wrong, there has been many a tear shed out of fear and frustration. There have been bumps in the road and hurdles to leap over…they just aren’t as ominous.

Proof that patience, believing in yourself, believing that you are worth it, speaking your truth and healthy eating and exercise pays off – posting some pictures because I gotta practice what I preach.

SSPX0691-2  2010 (38)  20131207_125202   2013 (41)


With my birthday approaching I wanted to bestow a gift unto you. The gift of permission to be whatever and whomever you want to be. Permission to get your hair colored & styled how you want it styled. To be the person you always knew you were but were too afraid to be. Over the past 4 years I have learned that when you dare to dream and follow that dream, when you allow yourself to follow your passion and are willing to work your ass off, life begins to get pretty good. Another lesson I had to learn, it is not all about you – another toughie for yours truly. Everyone is on their own journey and they have their own road map to follow. Their paths may not be the same as yours. Maybe your paths will cross, maybe they won’t. Their journey is just as important as yours and their hopes and fears should not be belittled. I know I put my foot in it a few times and have since apologized. Last but never least, you must be kind, not only to others, but to yourself.

Be kind. Be patient. Love yourself and know your worth. Love others and show them their worth. …it’s time to stop hiding out.


*UPDATE! Proof that when you are true to yourself, it keeps on getting better and better. Yours Truly at the Contessa’s November 2014, courtesy of the Beauties at Piidea & Joico. Dress courtesy of Netty Vintage.

Contessa 2014 8



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

You can take the girl out of the 80’s but you can’t take the 80’s out of the girl…

I have a confession to make. I love big hair. The more volume the better. Being a child of the 80’s I know for a fact that is where my love for big hair began, and the love affair continues to this day. I used to think I had thick hair, so I would purchase products that were formulated to add volume for thick hair. I would skip down the sidewalk and up to my front door, sing my hello to my parents as I ran up the stairs two at a time with dreams of big hair. I would set down my new found products on the vanity, and get to work. Within about 30 minutes the tubes and jars were in the garbage and I was a crumpled mess on the floor with flat, sticky strands dialing the number to the nearest Salon making an appointment to “chop it all off!”.

Fast forward 10 years. I am now in my late 20’s. Thanks to a stylist who took more than a minute to speak to me, yours truly learned that I do not have thick hair. I have fine hair – just lots of it. This is why all the products I had purchased did not deliver the volume promised by the package and the Hollywood Starlet on the commercials. The products were too heavy for my hair type – hence the weighed down, flat drowned rat results. I am about to have my 42nd. birthday, I have had great hair for over 15 years, now you can too. As you know, my goal is educate and enlighten. Today’s tale covers some beautiful products, tried and tested and used by yours truly, that offer great volume and control.

20140721_113444 JOICO JoiWhip

This gem is my favorite. I have been using this since the 1990’s when it was known as IceWhip. A great mousse for all hair types, for hold, volume, control…you name it. A little goes a long way – I find dispensing an amount that is about the size of an egg is more than enough. Emulsify in both hands, apply to towel dried hair, blow dry and style. * a lovely product for those with curls looking for hold without having to blow dry. ** It smells heavenly

IMG_20140112_095342 JOICO Structure Animate

A lightweight styling cream that offers volume, hold and shine. I found the best results when I applied the product at my roots before blow drying (dispense about the size of a quarter, emulsify in both hands then apply). It can be used on dry hair, but can tend to get sticky if too much is applied – on dry hair – stick to about the size of a nickel, emulsify in your hands, then apply were needed. *smells like candy!

20140710_103134 Schwarzkopf Session Label Series – Dust It Flex

The newest addition to the Schwarzkopf family of products, the Session Label series. This product is AMAZING. It is a powder, that when applied to dry hair, lifts and holds your hair without a powdery mess or sticky residue. It offers a workable hold, so if you add too much (which for me isn’t possible), you can rework your hair with your hands or a brush. You can apply the powder directly into your hair or shake some into your hands and work it into the hair – I found the latter worked best for me. It offers a matte finish. *terrific for longer styles.

20140721_113542 SOMA Volumize Thermal Spray

This finishing spray from SOMA is a gem. It will not leave your hair feeling sticky or crunchy and adds volume, hold and humidity resistance (no frizz!). Although it is a finishing spray, it can be used on towel dried hair and on dry hair as you are styling. *Great for updo’s – holds curls all day.

IMG_20140411_105000SENSCIENCE Pro Formance Polish

Lets just say, when I used this, the angels sang. For those of you familiar with my tales, you know a few tears were shed when Joico discontinued Brilliatine, and I was known to stomp my feet when Senscience discontinued Pliable Shine. Well beauties, let me tell you, Senscience stepped up to the plate and delivered a home run with their Pro Formance Polish. This pomade offers great shine with  a flexible/workable hold. I love it to add that little extra boost of volume at my roots and to add to my ends to give a smooth sealed look. A little goes a long way – scoop out an amount the size of your thumb nail and emulsify into both hands and work in to hair. For a pieced out/textured look to your bangs – apply to your finger tips and work into hair. *a great product for slick/controlled styles.




Beauty, Business, communication, entertainment, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Tales of Truth Part 12

This summer we are in for a treat! We will experience not one Super Moon, but three! So, you know what that means…Ladies and gents, boys and girls, gather ’round for the latest installment of That girl in the red coat’s Tales of Truth. If the past few weeks are a preview of what is to come, I am going to have some interesting tales to tell.

– A woman comes into the shop asking about at home hair color. I ask her if she has ever used box dye on her hair, to which she answers “Never! This is my natural hair”. As I see her blonde tresses with black roots, I ask her again, “Are you sure you have never used a box dye from the drug store when you have colored your hair?”, to which she answers “No! I have never used a box dye at home! Only professional hair color, so it’s my natural hair.”. …wait for it…there you go.

– A woman came into the shop looking for our selection of OPI nail polish. I led her over to our selection and asked if she needed my help finding a certain shade. She told me no. After a few seconds I hear her sigh and say “hmmpppt. stupid.”,then “Sure! Whatever!”, followed by “you are so dumb” as she was holding a bottle and talking to it. “Are you sure I cannot help you?” I ask. “Only if you can tell me why I don’t like these shades of pink” was her answer.

– “Why does this hairspray say it is hard to hold? The can isn’t THAT heavy.” …there are no words.

– A woman rushes into the shop “Do you sell Big Sexy Hair Products?” to which I tell her yes and show her the bonus size promotion on the Spray and Play hairspray. “How do you know it is a bonus size?” she asks, to which I keep a straight face and show her that the can is bigger then the regular  size bottle right beside it and the bold lettering on the can that says 40% more free, to which she says “How do you know they are telling the truth?”.

– “Do you have the product that smells really good that used to be in a white bottle?” – this gem is posed to me on a weekly basis – full moon or not.

– A woman came in looking for an everyday shampoo for her family. I showed her the ISO Daily Care Shampoo and let her know it was one of our best sellers. She looked at me and said “This is no good. We don’t wash our hair everyday so we can’t use a shampoo that is for daily use.” …sigh

– A woman asked me the difference between soft hold hairspray and firm hold hairspray, so I let her know that soft hold gives a very soft, workable hold and a firm hold hairspray is a finishing spray to spray once you have your hair styled the way you like and it is not as workable. “Yeah…so what’s the difference?”. …it is usually  at this moment I fear I have had a stroke and although I think I am making sense, my words are no longer audible.

– A woman walks around the store 4 times. I ask her if I can help her find something. She looks at me, tells me to stop interrupting, and leaves.


So there you have it. Another glimpse into the daily life of That girl in the red coat. I am hoping that people have caught wind of my Tales of Truth and are coming into the shop in hopes of appearing in one of my Tales. …Sweet baby Jesus, I hope so.


Dad's laugh

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

Can you fix this?

“The bottle promised bright pink hair! Can you fix this?”. “All I asked for was a bob, I didn’t want to look like a Bob! Can you fix this?”. “I was told if I used 40 volume peroxide that my hair would be platinum blonde! Can you fix this?”. These, among others, are common questions posed to me and my stylists at least once a day. At some point in our lives, we have taken our hair into our own hands and realized, oh…that’s why I am not a hair stylist. The great thing about all hair mishaps? They can be fixed. Color can be corrected. Damage from over processing can be repaired with conditioning treatments. Curls can be defined and their frizz controlled. With time and proper products, even the most botched of cuts can look good. That’s the great thing about the Salon, we can help repair the damage. Sometimes, we can even help repair the damage that isn’t seen.

Unfortunately, there are some things I cannot fix. “Look at her scalp! It’s soooo oily! Can you fix this?”. “She decided to try to color her own hair and now looks like she should be on a street corner! Can you fix this?”. “HMMPPT! He thinks he needs gel for his hair…what a diva I have for a son! Can you fix this?”. Yes, I am sad to say, these are phrases that parents have said, about their children, in front of their children, to me. It is usually at this moment I look the child straight in the eye and tell them “I may not be able to fix everything for you, but I can help you with your hair.” and I give them a wink. Once and for all, to all the parents and care givers out there;

– STOP pointing at your child’s oily scalp and proclaiming it as an injustice against you. The only injustice is against your child’s self esteem

– Do not, I repeat, do not refer to your daughter in a derogatory manner. EVER. How is she ever going to know her self worth if all she hears is worthless remarks.

– Young men want to like their reflection too. To make fun of a young man who wants his hair styled just so is mean,plain and simple. I don’t know where it began, teasing men that take pride in their appearance, but I know where it is going to end. Right here. Right now.

– When your teen wants to try a new hairstyle, let them. It’s only hair. It will grow back. Here’s a thought…if the only struggle you are facing with your teen is that they want a mohawk…this is a good problem to have.

– If your child wants to have pink hair, I highly recommend trying hair chalk – Kevin Murphy Color Bug or Joico Structure Pigment Pencils – the color washes out after one wash. It’s a win/win. Your child gets to have fun colors in their hair without the damage and you get to have a tantrum free day.

– For your curly haired cherubs – First, stop referring to their head as a tangled horrible mess. Second, invest in Salon Professional products. DevaCurl is an amazing product line, created for curls of every type. Check out the awesome tutorials on their website

– If your son wants long hair – do not tell him long hair is for girls. If your daughter wants short hair – do not tell her short hair is for boys. If you are worried about what people will think, sorry to tell you this, that is your problem – not your child’s. *this being said, as their parent, be sure to help them style their hair, or have the stylist teach them.

I am a mother and I have put my foot in it many times, of that I am certain. Another certainty…that I have needed to apologize on many an occasion, not necessarily for what I said, but how I said it. As parents, we teach our children to think before they speak. I think it’s time we taught ourselves the same lesson.




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

Order of Importance

I have a confession to make. On occasion, I have been known to interrupt a conversation or two. My knack of interrupting goes back as far as I can remember. “Sara needs to allow others to have turn speaking at circle time”. “We appreciate Sara’s excitement, she needs to learn to let others have their say.”. “Sara needs to allow others to take the lead.” . “Sara should work on keeping her idea’s to herself until the other person is finished…and until I have completed teaching the lesson.” – just a few of the of the comments left on my report cards, from various teachers, at various schools, in various cities…and provinces. Unfortunately for  my hubby and child, my knack for interruption has been known to extend to movies, television shows and video games. To save the blank stare from my child and to save my marriage there is a new phrase bestowed on yours truly, “Is this important or can it wait a minute?” . I’m not sure if I read it somewhere, heard it somewhere or came up with this gem on my own. All I know is this is what I have asked my family to say to me when my run on sentence’s run right into whatever they are saying or doing.

The point to today’s tale? To help all those who have fallen victim to being interrupted. To come to the aide of the victim’s of the over-talkers and over-texters – the latter I am proud to say I am not guilty of. Nothing worse than text after text coming at you before you have a chance to respond to the first. …of course, this is probably the universe evening the score with me for my past interruptions. Being me, I have compiled a little list to help the interrupter and the interruptee (I know, it’s not a word…stop interrupting…it works for today’s tale). …feel free to share

– if you have ever gone into a shop and physically come between a sales person and a customer, not only are you an interrupter, you have now transitioned into a physical interrupter.  An example –  As I am talking to a woman about the difference between Joico’s Joimist Firm and JoiFix firm, another woman comes up to us and stands between us, asking if I sell Redken products – my first customer and I have been verbally and physically interrupted.

– when looking for information about how to use a conditioning treatment, let the salesperson explain it you. Jumping in mid explanation because I said the word protein which made you remember what the T.V. doctor said about protein is not polite. You have now transitioned from an interrupter to an over-talker/interrupter.

– when you text your stylist asking if there is an appointment available on a certain date at a certain time, give her/him a moment to check their book. When you text “do you? lol” over and over without pause, you have now transitioned to an interrupter who is now an over-texter. I know we have become accustomed to immediate gratification via Google, just give it a minute. Take a breath. Put down the phone and take a look around…or better yet, how about using your phone to actually call someone and speak person to person, have a real conversation.

– when your loved one is watching their favorite show, it is probably a good idea to either 1) wait for a commercial break or 2) take a moment and ask yourself (silently) “is this important or can it wait” to show them the hilarious video of the Peek a Boo kitten

– when you and your stylist are discussing the shade of red you want to dye your hair, it is best to let her say a certain shade, then either agree or disagree. While your stylist is in the middle of saying “red like Jessica Rabbit?” and you interrupt/over-talk  by stating you love rabbit…guess what’s gonna happen.

– guessing what someone is going to say next is interrupting, plain and simple. This is not the county fair and you will not win a prize if you guess correctly, which 98% of the time you will not. (…this is my biggest issue…I get too excited during a conversation. Not only do I put my two cents in, I usually end up putting my foot in it too.).

– when you interrupt, the person speaking has now been muted, and guess what? You are not being heard either.

Here’s the deal. I am guilty of being an interrupter. So are you. At some point,we all are.  The biggest favor you can do for yourself, your loved ones, your stylist, the world in general, tell others to ask you “Is this important or can it wait?” when you begin to interrupt. Ask yourself the same question when you are itching to add to the conversation. When someone else’s mouth is moving, yours should not. When someone is speaking, instead of thinking about what you are going to say next, try listening. If you are aching to say something, silently tell yourself to keep your mouth shut. We all have something to say, we all want to be heard. We all think we are absolutely hilarious. We all have something to add. It comes down to putting it in order of importance – you have to decide what is more important – speaking, or being heard.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Why I am so fucking happy

First and foremost, if the above title offends you, it was not my intent.  You see, this morning I had a customer ask me “Why are you always so fucking happy?!?”. Yep. I had been open all of 15 minutes and this is the question posed to me after I had asked this gentleman, who is a regular customer of the shop, how he was today. Today’s tale is for my peeps in the service industry, actually, for people in general.

In my younger years, a morning greeting like that would have set the tone for my whole day. It would have ruined my day, kept me from smiling in fear of offending another customer. I would have played the scenario over and over in my head, wondering why I had to be so happy. Today…not so much. (A little back story. This gentleman has been buying his wife’s hairspray from me for over 3 years. The first time I asked him how he was he answered “old and miserable and I hate my cane!”. The second time he came to the shop, I asked him how he was and he answered “older and more miserable”. I saw he no  longer had his cane and said “Hey! No more cane to hate!” to which he smirked and picked up a can of Sebastian Shaper Plus.). Back to the tale at hand…I looked said gentleman straight in the eye and said “…well the sun is shining, the humidity is out of the air, my coffee is still hot and I am having a good hair day.”. He just stared at me. I just smiled. As we were waiting for the debit machine to finish up his transaction, he looked at me and said “Sure…that explains today…what about all the other times I am in here?”. Faster that the fastest gun in the west I answered “I thought I should be the happy one since it seems the other position seems to be filled”. Then I added a wink to my smile. He actually smirked and said “see ya next time kiddo”.

The point of today’s tale? Well Beauties, in my 20+ years in sales and customer service, I have learned a thing or two, and am here to pass along these helpful tidbits;

– when you are providing good customer service – acknowledging your customer, listening to your customer and assisting your customer, the customer’s bad mood has nothing to do with you. They are used to getting poor service, or not being listened to, or not receiving any help at all. Maybe they have just had a fight with their hubby, or their child is in the principal’s office, again. Maybe they have a run in their pantyhose. Trust me, it’s not about you. In my experience, many a bad mood or even a flat iron being thrown in my direction was because of a death in the family, a loss of a marriage, a loss of a job, or the loss of self – the saddest of losses.

– when a woman comes into a Salon, she is coming in with a dream, of what will be or of what once was. It is our job to bring that dream to reality. We may not be able to deliver the exact vision, but with a proper consultation about color, styling techniques, styling products that are needed and the time involved, she will leave feeling like her dream came true.

– there are the sales you got, and the sales you don’t. I have said it before and will say it again, there are those who would yell at Christ for being too slow turning their water into wine. Some people just want to reside in their house of misery – do not let them invite you in.

– in my experience, the more positive you are, the more negative people want to bring you down to their level because that is where they are comfortable and positivity scares the hell out of them- not because they are assholes…well, not all of them.

– whatever it may be, a new hair style, the newest summer shade from the OPI collection, your favorite hairspray being on sale – if it makes you happy, be happy. Be excited. Call me corny, trust me, I have been called worse, like the song says “if your happy and you know it, then you really oughta show it.”.


I have learned some hard lessons. Life is short. Plans change. You have no control over what is going to happen or what others may think or say or if your favorite hairspray is going to be on back order.  All you can control is you and how you treat yourself and treat others. I have a loving family. I have a beautiful daughter who is my wish come true. I have a husband who loves me and after 22 years, still likes me and I him. I have a career in an industry that I love. I have wonderful friends. I have my health. I have a home…and that, kind sir, is why I am so fucking happy.