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

Tell it like it is

Yes, it’s been a while. 7 months have passed since I last sat down to write. My last post was in February, so it’s really been 9 months since my last post. I had written a few posts, but never posted them. Not out of worry or fear of judgement, I hung that hat up long ago. I didn’t post them because they weren’t genuine. I wasn’t speaking my truth. So, I took a break. Closed up my laptop and didn’t open it up again until an hour ago. After fighting with my internet connection telling me the password was incorrect and getting my millennial daughter to assure me I wasn’t a dinosaur, and that in fact my husband had changed the password, without writing it down, or giving a heads up, here I am, writing once again.

I began this blog over 12 years ago, when I was in the Beauty industry, with the hopes of helping anyone who hated their hair, to love it. Soon the blog morphed into all things, from self care, to speaking your truth, to the magic of kindness. When I left the Beauty industry, I kept writing about hair and beauty products, but the thrill was gone. I noticed and was being told by many that my blogs about truth, kindness, real life and my Sunday Confessions were the most popular and the posts most were waiting for. So, I started to focus on those, which were well received by everyone, but me. I felt I was living a lie. Giving advice and perspective that I wasn’t taking. Between 2016 -2019, my personal life was a shit show. Plain and simple. I will not go into all the details, for not all the stories are mine to tell, and loved ones deserve their privacy until I am told otherwise. So there I was, trying to be all for everyone, trying to keep the momentum of my blog and consulting business going while working full time, all the while, not being genuine. Speaking my half truth if you will. I was exhausted. All these “mentors” I know personally or through a mutual acquaintance, showing their thriving lives and businesses, having their talks about manifesting the right way, getting their “side hustle” on, were making me feel like a failure. Yes, I know only I control how I feel or how I receive something, just get on this train with me for a moment. I was doing all the things. I was journaling, I was networking, I made a vision board, you name it, I did it. ….but it never felt quite right. I was worried I was depressed, or menopause was taking over my life. (I had a partial hysterectomy 12 years ago, so my early warning system is gone.). Then one day, I realized why it never felt quite right. I wasn’t telling it like it is. In fact, many were not.

What I’m about to say may, and probably will piss some people off. If you choose to be an influencer, a mentor or a life coach, could you please stop with the “dream it and be it” bullshit. Please, just stop. Listen, I’m all about positivity, ask anyone who knows me. I will find the diamond in a mountain of coal. I will give myself a headache trying to find something good in a bad situation okay? But this positivity with no process, is depressing and makes your clients feel like a failure. Also, unless you have had to build yourself or your business without any financial help from a spouse, maybe ease up on the “I did it! You can too!”. Seriously, so many women I know, who are single mothers by the way, give up because they are comparing themselves to someone who isn’t 100% real. Anyone can build a business or a brand when they have a spouse at home who can cover the mortgage, or pick up the kids from soccer practice. It’s easy to do anything if you have a soft place to fall and someone else to pay the bills. I personally know people who put out the perfect life on social media and they can’t pay their bills and don’t talk to their husband. It’s time to start telling it like it is.

If you are searching for truth, real truth, start reading and following Mel Robbins and Glennon Doyle. I adore Mel Robbins and Glennon Doyle, these fierce women tell it like it is. They do not sugar coat their lives, they talk about their achievements and their down falls. They own their confidence and their anxiety. They are real. Real is what this world needs. Real is what I need, and I believe what you need too. As all Mothers know, having a baby is wonderful and beautiful and cute but there is also a lot of shit that comes with it, literally and figuratively.

For those who are struggling, feeling like a bad mother, a bad friend, a failure at your side hustle, take a breath. Again. You are okay. You are doing the best you can today. Tomorrow will be better, if not tomorrow, the next day. Look within for your answers, they are there. You may not like them, but they are there and they have lessons for you to learn. Stop comparing yourself to others, most only show the highlight reel.

I’m just a girl, sitting in front of a computer screen, trying to tell it like it is.

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

Tales of Truth – The Covid Diaries

First things first. To all the health care workers, I don’t know how you’ve done this for over a year now. I’m in awe of you all. Thank you is not a strong enough sentiment.

In my part of the world, we have been in lockdown since Boxing day 2020. A stay at home order was imposed early January and fingers crossed it is supposed to be lifted February 10th. Although I work retail, our store sells shoes and safety footwear to essential/front line workers, so yours truly has been working the entire time. We are open by appointment only for front line/essential workers and for any other customer, we are offering curbside pick up. Yep, selling shoes curbside, in Canada, in the winter. Yep, it’s different to say the least. I try not to complain, for I am still working, shortened hours, but working none the less. My boss treats us to coffee, takes over any irrational customers, in person or on the phone, we can take as many breaks as we need, I am fortunate and I know it. That being said, it’s been, interesting. At the end of my 6 hour shift I feel as if I’ve come off a 12 hour shift. Physically I’m fine, mentally, I’ve hit a wall. Curbside sales are now handled via text, email, phone call or facetime. At any given time I have 3 phones on me… I feel like a cross between a stock broker and drug dealer.

The majority of customers have been great. Patient, kind and grateful for the service we are providing. Unfortunately, of course, being retail, there have been some customers that make Karen seem like Mary Poppins. Being me, I’m gonna let you have a glimpse behind the curtain and share some of the experiences of my co-workers and myself. I can’t make this shit up.

  • at least once a day we receive a call from someone wanting to come in the store. We ask them if they are working and when they say no, we explain we offer curbside and that instore shopping is by appointment only and for essential/frontline workers. Then they proceed to ask us to lie for them. Yep. They actually say “Can’t you just say I’m essential, I really want new running shoes and I always try on at least 10 pairs to find the perfect one.”.
  • We’ve had people come in for a scheduled appointment turn around and tell us they are retired, that they aren’t working. *Cue manager intervention and direction to curbside service.
  • We’ve been yelled at and the f-shot shouted at us over the phone because the customer thinks the “lockdown/stay at home order is bullshit!”. …sigh
  • We have to tell customers to put their mask on when we deliver their shoes curbside.
  • I’ve been told I don’t know what I’m talking about when I explain the lockdown/stay at home restrictions and regulations
  • Many products are on back order, because of Covid. At least three times a day, myself or one of my co-workers is yelled at because of it. My favorite retort is “That’s what you said when I called on Sunday!” …we are closed Sundays.
  • When we take the purchases out to the cars, it’s so much fun when the customers exclaim “Sure is cold eh? You gotta be freezing!” and continue to chat as they are in the warm car. Sometimes I inch forward in hopes of catching some heat from their vents.

As I said earlier, most of the customers have been great. Grateful for their new footwear so they can go to work and get the job done. Jumping out of their cars, mask on to get the boxes from us so we don’t have to be outside longer than needed. Tipping us for our service. Asking us how we are doing. I had a gentleman ask if he could go get me a coffee. Elderly customers telling me I brightened their day, staying on the phone with them for 30 minutes helping them replace their slippers.

I can’t believe it’s been a year that I’ve been writing about Covid retail. A year. Although it’s been tough, and dealing with the public hasn’t been the thrill ride of my life, I do have to say, every day, at least one person, a perfect stranger shines a ray of hope into my day. Genuine kindness expressed. Genuine concern and compassion has been shown. Yes, we need a vaccine. Yes, we need to wear a mask. Yes, we need to sanitize/wash our hands, and yes, especially now, a year into this pandemic, kindness can be a cure too. Kindness may not cure a virus, but it can cure a beaten down spirit. It can bring warmth to your heart and a smile to your face. One of my favorite quotes goes a little something like this, “Your kindness may be the only glimpse of god someone see’s today.”. A simple act of kindness can give someone the energy to keep going, give them hope of better days to come. Be kind, plain and simple.

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

Sunday Confessions

I have a confession to make. A confession of non guilt. I no longer feel guilty about putting myself first. Yes, you read that correctly. I am a woman, a wife, a mother and a daughter who no longer feels guilty about putting myself first and making my mental, emotional and physical health a priority. Before those who know me well call me out about “health”, yes, I still smoke, I’m working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Last night I had the gift of free time. No dinner to make – thank you left overs. An early out of my shift – thank you Covid. My daughter busy mastering her craft. My hubby driving out of town for his weekly check in on his Momma. As I sat down to Netflix and VegOut, I found myself thinking about caretakers. How as women, we are designated this position without any consultation. We are told that’s how we are wired, that it’s in our DNA. That it’s selfish to want, it’s selfish to fill our plate first. That a good wife puts her man first. That a good mother makes sure the needs of her children come before her own. I call bullshit.

I’m here to tell you, from personal and agonizing experience, putting others first and yourself last helps no one, least of all yourself. Sooner or later resentment sets in and BAM! Unnecessary arguments with your spouse, temper tantrum competitions with your children, tears and hurt feelings to all and from all who surround you. All you’ll be left with is puffy eyes, a headache, a sore stomach, feeling like you’re the worst person in the world and your loved ones walking on eggshells in fear of waking the beast and you all wondering “What the hell was that?”. You know what it was, because you know you didn’t make yourself a priority. Your loved ones have no clue, because they don’t know that to put them first you chose to put yourself last. Yep. I said it. You chose to put yourself last. Hey, I did it for 3 1/2 decades, no judgment. I’m here to tell you, don’t waste anymore time and emotional turmoil. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to put yourself first. The world will not open up and swallow you whole. Those who love you will not leave you. Mouths will still be fed and beds will be made.

Now before you declare to your family that they are “on your own bitches!” that is not the moral of this post. Take a breath. Again. Better? Okay. Those familiar with my blog know all to well how I adore lists. So being me, I’ve compiled some guilt free self care, put yourself first tips. PYFT’s if you will.

  • before you get out of bed, make yourself think of one thing you are grateful for. Just one. Let yourself begin your day with a grateful heart.
  • once the coffee is brewed or the tea is steeped, pour yourself the first cup every so often.
  • eat the last donut
  • have your shower first
  • light a candle or turn on your Scentsy warmer as you’re packing lunches. Surround yourself with your favorite scent, even if just for 5 minutes
  • put on your favorite tunes, past and present while washing the ever present dishes. For full effect – put your ear buds in and shake your booty.
  • get outside. Even it’s for 5 minutes. Every morning I make myself go outside and just stand in my backyard. Sometimes I take pictures with my phone. Sometimes I just stand there. I feel better and it gives my neighbours a hobby.
  • watch your favorite shows or movies. I don’t care if you’ve already watched it twice in a month. If it makes you happy, watch it.
  • start reading. Asks your friends if they want to do a book swap. Educate yourself. Enlighten yourself. Escape your reality for a moment. Even a page a day makes a difference. It does.
  • start using your fancy creams and soaps.
  • treat yourself to professional shampoo, conditioner and treatment. Trust me on this one. A good hair day goes a long way. If your hubby can spend $30 on his “phone game” and your kids can make you remortgage your house for Minecraft, you can have great hair.
  • create a vision board. Physically or virtually – gotta love Pinterest. Make yourself something that when you look at it, you feel joy.
  • make a Jello. When you open the fridge, you’ll see something you did, something you accomplished. My gramma Leah knew what’s what. … or a cake, or cookies or whatever your favorite treat is.

It’s time to become your own caretaker. No guilt. No shame. Putting yourself first and practicing self care makes you a better caretaker of others.

Merriam-Webster defines caretaker as “one that gives physical or emotional care and support.”. I looked up many other definitions from various dictionaries and not one definition reads “one that gives physical or emotional care and support only to others and not themselves.”.

communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, That girl in the red coat

Hindsight is 2020

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”. – T.S. Eliot.

Here we are. The first day of a new year. January 2021. I woke up this morning after sleeping through the night, a rarity this past year. I wandered into the kitchen, started the coffee maker, looked at the calendar with a sigh of relief, for 2020 was officially over. I ripped that sucker down and gently placed my new calendar in it’s place. Nothing quite like a new calendar, fresh paper and dates open to endless possibilities. As I went to throw out the old calendar, still in my “clean slate New Year’s morning bliss”, I was catapulted back to reality with a full garbage and dirty dishes all over the counter. … a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same, #momperks #wifeperks. I used to get so angry about that, an overflowing garbage can, dirty dishes piled up on the counter, now… not so much. Trust me when I say I still have my “I am the only one who see’s this?!” moments, they are becoming far and few between. Mostly I’ve taken to Instagram stories to get my vent on. I call them my “keeping it real” posts. There’s one today if you’re interested.

Anywho, back to the tale at hand. I don’t know about you, but wherever I turn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, text, zoom, facetime, TikTok, you name it, there it is. You have the “fuck you 2020” posts or the “thank you 2020” posts. Today’s post is a little bit of both. You know me, it’s all about balance. Here in Ontario, we are into our second week of a lockdown. It began Boxing day. I am still working, as my store is deemed essential since we supply safety shoes, etc. We are open by appointment only for essential workers and curbside for anyone else. Let me tell you, selling shoes curbside is a trip, a trip to the Bermuda triangle. Grateful for my job, not so grateful for the ever changing policies and procedures. Balance.

This past year has taught me patience and how to let things go. It took 48 years on this planet and a global pandemic, but I finally learned patience and thanks to Elsa, and Snoop Dogg, I have a new personal anthem. (Google Snoop Dogg frozen… trust me, it’s awesome). Beginning in March, I had no say in my job, my hours, where I could go or what I could do or when or if I would have time alone in my own home. Shops were closed. Quarantine was in place. No hugs. No visits. Nada. So, I finally took my own advice that I spew out to all those I hold dear, and controlled the only thing I could, myself. When I started to feel the tightness in my shoulders and chest about having to get things done, I took a deep breath, or twenty, and let it go. I couldn’t visit friends, but I could drop off a goodie bag. Like nicky, nicky, nine door for adults. Ring the bell and run like hell. I couldn’t have my parents over for dinner, but I could go to the grocery store for them. I couldn’t celebrate life’s great and small achievements of those I hold dear and the special moments of their children, but I could send flowers, or an edible arrangement as an unexpected surprise. I’m a fixer, by nature, I just am. This past year has taught me that sometimes the best thing you can do to fix a situation is nothing. More often than not, listening is the best tool to fix any situation. My daughter and my husband like their solitude. It took me a long time to respect that and not take it personally… I’m a Leo, what can I say? This past year, instead of worrying that something was wrong, I took it upon myself to enjoy the quiet and allow myself some solitude too. … Oh yeah, I still peeked my head in my daughter’s room at least once a day with a typical “How ya doin?” mom tone, or a “Hey baby” from across the room to my hubby. Balance.

The biggest personal realization about 2020 that I’ve had? I’m a little full of shit. Yep. All those years I said “I don’t have time!”. Guess what, I did, and I do. I finally got around to all those things I “didn’t have time” for, like framing prints, organizing my kitchen, getting paperwork in order, cleaning the garage… all of the above only took 4 hours. Guess what sunshine, you did have time, you just believed you didn’t.

The toughest realization was and continues to be that not everyone sees injustice. 2020 brought some ugly truths to the forefront of our lives, unfortunately many refuse to see it. I for one see it and will continue to try to help others see it too. I will continue to say Black Lives Matter. I will continue to speak the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. I will continue to share and speak of the injustice set upon the Native community. I will continue to share and speak of the inequality of those with disabilities, of women’s rights, human rights. I will continue to share and speak for those without a voice. I will continue to share uplifting news, motivational quotes from Oprah, Mel Robbins, Tank Good News and other personal favorites. I will continue to share music to feed your soul. For those who don’t agree with me, that’s okay. I get it. This is my journey. That is yours. I wish you safe travels. Balance.

The events of 2020 are to be remembered, not re-lived. We are more alike than different. We all deserve to be heard, to be seen, to matter. The actions of one can affect the lives of others, be it positive or negative. We may not all be in the same boat, we are all in the same ocean. Throw a life preserver when you can, and ask for one when you need one. Wear a mask. Seriously, wear a mask. At the end of the day, wouldn’t it feel great to know you that you may have saved a life. That you may have kept a roof over the head of a family because wearing a mask kept the breadwinner of that household healthy. That you thought of someone other than yourself. Trust me, it feels pretty damn good.

I came across a quote that fits me and this past year, “I’m mostly peace, love and light. … and a little go fuck yourself.”. Balance.

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

Golden Rule

Golden Rule (noun) – an important principle that should be followed when doing something in order to be successful; a guiding principle. – Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Matthew 7:12

I haven’t written in a while. I know, last month I wrote how I was going to get back to it. I wanted to be sure I could be as articulate as I could. You see, lately when I open up my laptop to write, all that comes through these finger tips is rage and profanity. Frustrated doesn’t even come close to how I feel most days. Between all things Covid, working in retail during a pandemic, worrying about my loved ones and their emotional health, let alone my own and the Cheeto that refuses to concede and the people that support his lunacy, lets just say fabulous isn’t my go to “f- word” lately. My biggest peeve as of late, is this whole debate over masks. Seriously. Masks. This is the biggest issue for people right now. Really? A piece of cloth covering your mouth ….and nose, is a problem. I don’t get it. I really don’t.

Now, before you troll me with insults, calm down and hear me out. Yes, I know people have medical reasons not to wear one. That being said, I have personally helped a young woman with Cystic Fibrosis, who wore a mask. I have also helped two elderly women with portable oxygen tanks, who wore a mask. These are people who literally cannot breathe, yet they wore a mask, because “it’s the right thing to do.” – their words, to me, when I offered they could remove their mask if it was too difficult for them to breathe.

For those who won’t wear a mask because of the belief that Covid is a hoax, well, it’s not. The numbers are climbing, plain and simple. I have heard people say “Well, I don’t know anyone who has it!”, to you I say, I don’t know anyone with Polio but I know it’s real. Those who say wearing a mask and Covid is a government plan to control us, just stop. Here in Canada the government offered $2000.00 a month to it’s citizens, for 8 months and counting. …. trust me when I say the government is not known for giving us money. Stating Covid is a hoax is an insult to those who have lost their life. It’s a slap in the face to all health care workers and their families, and it makes you sound like an ass. It just does.

Here’s the deal. This is not about you. This is about us. It is about doing the right thing. In life, doing the right thing is seldom easy or painless, except this time. Doing the right thing during a pandemic is to wear a mask. That’s it. For the majority of people, it means wearing a mask for 20 – 30 minutes if you venture out, no biggie. For many, myself included, it means wearing a mask for at least 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. No biggie.

At the end of all this, if we find out masks weren’t necessary, I’m fine with that. I have no problem knowing I did what I could with the information I had. If I end up looking the fool for wearing a mask, I’ve looked the fool for a hell of a lot more.

Merriam-Webster’s definition states the Golden Rule as a noun. It’s time to make it a verb.

Business, communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Here we are, day whatever of Covid-19. Some of us are still on lockdown, some are self isolating, some are in Phase 3 of reopening, some are back in Phase 2. Many are sick, and sadly many have left this earthy realm far too early. Parents are scrambling for daycare and with every sneeze their child has, worrying if their child will be allowed to go to school that day, all with the ever constant worry if they will have a job tomorrow. Teachers are trying to educate and discipline via Zoom. The list of change is endless. The one thing that hasn’t changed is retail. Yes, I realize the nature of retail has changed, the one constant is the behavior of the customer. Many are great, but as always, there are always those precious few that explain why there are warning labels on detergent. Here’s a glimpse of what retail life has been like over the course of the last few months, pre and post mandatory masks.

  • Social distancing is a concept many cannot grasp. Keeping 6 feet away from each other seems too hard to comprehend. I mean, I understand that all our lives women have been “told” what 6 inches is, but come on.
  • I have been called a bitch because I asked a customer, who was not wearing a mask, to back up so I could get her shoe for her.
  • My coworkers and I have been purposely coughed on while being told “Well, you got a mask”.
  • I’ve been told I’m a hoax believing lemming because I was disinfecting surfaces that countless numbers of people touch.
  • I had a customer tell me “I’m a truck driver that goes to the U.S. all the time. I’m supposed to be quarantining right now, but they can’t make me! I got a life to live!”.
  • Before mandatory masks, I was laughed at, pointed at, smirked at, told to “Speak up! I can’t understand you!” or ignored by customers because I chose to wear a mask.
  • I’ve had complete strangers walk right up to me, rub my arms and say “It’s too bad no one is taking Covid seriously”. … six feet Karen. Six feet.
  • A woman kept taking her mask off to sneeze, then touch her face, then touch the product, then put her mask back on.
  • A woman clipped her toe nails to see if that would make the shoe fit better. I shit you not. Pulled out her nail clippers in the store and clipped away.
  • A woman continued to stand right beside me, even after asking her to move away. Then complained that she couldn’t sit beside a woman (who was 6 feet away) because of Covid. …sigh
  • Every day, I am asked when stock is going to arrive, and many woman do not like that I don’t know. Some even get angry, some pout, some even tell me “This and you are bullshit”. FYI – many products weren’t even made. …pssstttt, China was shut down for months too.
  • Grown men have yelled at our part time teenage girls who ask them to sanitize before entering the store. Literally losing their shit, waving their arms, yelling “masks and hand sanitizers are bullshit”.

I could go on, you have no idea for how long. There have been lovely customers too.

  • I’ve been thanked for working during the past 5 months.
  • I’ve had customers give me a cash tip for helping them.
  • I’ve helped make our elderly customers feel comfortable and safe.
  • A woman with a portable oxygen tank had her mask on. I could see she was struggling. I told her she could pull it down for a moment if she needed. She said “No. It’s the rule and I want to protect you and me.”.
  • I’ve had customers come to my defense when another customer isn’t being so nice.
  • My coworkers and I have each others back.
  • My boss and the owner have come to our defense with irrational customers. They will come and take over the sale for us.
  • My work place is doing their best to protect us.

Here’s the deal. Believe it or not (that’s your choice), Covid-19 is here, and it’s gonna be around for a while. Be prepared that you may not get the fall boot you’ve had your eye on. There are stock shortages everywhere – tried to get any Lysol wipes lately? I get it. It’s frustrating. It’s a royal pain in the ass. Wearing a mask isn’t fun – try wearing one for 9+ hours a day. I know you miss your friends and family, so do I. I too miss the days of my only morning thought on my way to work was “What should I make for dinner”. It sucks. Plain and Simple. How about trying not to make it suck more for yourself and others.

Be kind. Be patient. Think about others. Try to remember every sales person is doing the best they can, some days better than others, some days worse, no one is perfect. Try to remember, just like you, they have no control over what is happening. All we can do is control ourselves.

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

Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada. As I was having my coffee this morning, I had a feeling something was missing. A feeling of something left undone, forgotten. I have been feeling this way almost everyday lately. With everything happening in the world from the ever present Covid 19, the always infuriating Trump, the continued injustice of black, minority and indigenous people, it’s safe to say my mind has been spinning and I have been finding it hard to focus. So, I went about my morning, getting the laundry in the washer, starting meal prep, having a social distanced coffee with my folks, the usual “day off” routine. Yup, no turkey prep for this gal. We do not celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional sense since my hubby had a heart attack 9 years ago on Thanksgiving weekend. Back to the tale at hand. As I was going through the motions of my routine I still had that aching feeling I was forgetting something. To be honest, I knew what it was I was forgetting. I’ve known everyday. I wasn’t writing.

My last entry was May 24th. I had just returned to work. Jesus, I thought retail before Covid was interesting… . Those of you familiar with my blog, (9 years of loyal following, thank you), know I tell it like it is. Well, this is how it is. I haven’t written in over 4 months for two reasons. 1 – I’ve been pissed off. 2 – I didn’t trust myself because of my anger. I didn’t want to come across as a raving lunatic. I didn’t want to upset the apple cart. I didn’t want to lose the following I have. This morning, as I stepped outside for a cigarette… yes, I’m still smoking, let’s move on, I finally listened to the advice I’ve been dishing to everyone else. I’m a “helper” as Brene Brown says. I love to help everyone, from boosting up their self esteem to making sure they have enough toilet paper. … Covid …who knew? The one person I don’t seem to help enough is me. So, this is me, helping me, and hopefully you as well. (I told you I was a helper).

I am in no way an expert, nor a guru on the mount. What I am is a 48 year old woman who has made her share of mistakes, had her share of triumphs and defeats. I am a woman who’s life isn’t how I pictured it would be, whose been thrown curve balls and sucker punches and lived to tell the tale. I’ve been (and sometimes still am) a woman who worries what others think, if I’m disappointing anyone. I’m a mother who worries if I did all I could for my daughter while she was growing up. I’m a woman who has been married 26 years and finds herself wondering how so much has changed yet stayed the same. I’m a woman who is quick with a sassy remark, and also, a woman who, I’m sorry to say, can be quick to judge.

Thanks to Covid, I’m a human being trying to get through each changing day, trying to keep my head above water and not make Covid the only thing I focus on. I’m a woman who’s here to tell you that you are not alone. We all have moments of doubt, of fear, of hopelessness. Believe it or not, that is what I’m most thankful for. As I see it, those moments are the moments that prove we are all the same. Shred away the bravado, the ego, we are all just, in the words of June Carter Cash, “trying to matter.”. If we are all the same, maybe, just maybe, that means we can have each other’s back.

Business, communication, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Well, I know what day it is, finally! Yours truly has just finished a 45.5 hour work week in 5 days. Going from 2 months off and life going at my own pace to meal prep, schedules and watching the clock was tough. Physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s a new world out there folks. It is not business as usual. As you know, from my last post, Ontario has reopened store front retail stores. I don’t know how it’s been for other shops, let me tell you, we were busy. My employers have been fantastic. Truly going on and above to help their staff feel safe. Social distancing measures in place. People manning the door to control the flow of people entering and exiting the store. Hand sanitizer wherever you turn. A sanitizing spray to use on every item touched or tried on. Gloves and masks available if we need them. For this I am grateful. The majority of the public at large have been behaving themselves. They listen to our instruction about not touching everything, to ask for our assistance. To be patient with us, for a sale may take longer than usual. Unfortunately, their have been the “others”. … think Fox news and you’ll get what I’m putting down. So, me being who I am and keeping it real, I thought I share some of the good, the bad and the ugly. Let us start with the ugly and end with the good.

  • we were open all of 20 minutes when a grown man asked to use the bathroom. Under Covid-19 restrictions, all public bathrooms are closed. I apologized and told him we couldn’t open the bathroom to him. He told me “I really gotta go!” to which I apologized once more. He leaned in and said “Fine. I’ll just go take a piss in your parking lot! How’d you like that?”.  …sigh
  • A man kept looking at me as I was helping a woman, so as I walked past I said hello. He smirked at me and said “nice mask” then chuckled. I stopped, looked him straight in the eye and told him my mother made it for me. He then looked down and told me it was a nice mask.
  • I was helping a couple and my coworker looked over at me wide eyed because the couple was so close to me their shoulders were touching mine. … this is after I asked for them to move back. *this is one more reason I wear my mask
  • I asked a woman to please step back. She told me she never gets sick so she couldn’t have anything and didn’t move. I asked her again to please step back and she told me she didn’t know what the big deal is since things aren’t as bad as the news says, and still didn’t move. I told her if a bylaw officer comes in she could be fined. She moved.
  • A women laughed at my coworker, and 17 year old girl, and told her the sanitizing spray we were using on our products was, and I quote “Bullshit. It doesn’t do anything.”.
  • I lost count of the people complaining the government opened things up to early… as they were standing in our store, buying things.
  • At least 10 times a day I was told “I’m sick of this shit! I have rights!” …. blah, blah, blah.

 

Now for the good;

  • A visually impaired lady was worried about me. She had to get close to me to see the shoes she was buying. Before she leaned in she asked me if I was comfortable helping her. Asked me if I needed a mask. I leaned in so she could see my mask, I thanked her for her kindness and told her I was fine helping her out.
  • An elderly gentleman came in with his hands in his pockets, told me he wasn’t being rude, he was keeping his hands in his pockets to remind himself not to touch anything and ask us to help him.
  • A little boy, maybe 4 years old scolded his mother. All I could hear from a row over was “Mommy! They said no touching! You need to listen!”.
  • Many people, especially our elderly customers were very kind. Very thankful for our help. A few told me they missed us and were happy to see we were all okay.
  • A bride and I were almost in tears together. Her wedding had been cancelled, she couldn’t get any of her deposits back and the shoes she had ordered were delayed online. She had made alternate wedding plans but still no shoes and had a limited budget. We had the exact pair and size she needed, at the price she needed too. She was so happy, she couldn’t stop smiling.

The owner and my manager have been terrific. We can text them if we are overwhelmed. We can take a break if we need it. When a customer doesn’t want to abide by the new health regulations, my boss gives them the option to do so or leave. They have our and every customers best interest at heart.

I know we’ve all been cooped up for too long. I know you just want to get out. All I’m asking is you do so in a proper, kind and courteous manner. Abide by the regulations. Wash your hands. Use the sanitizer provided. Practice social distancing and keep 6 feet apart. Stop touching everything you see. Please try to remember that the staff that is helping you is dealing with the new regulations as well. We are trying to adjust to the “new normal” too. We are anxious too. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring either. We have to wait in line at the grocery store too. We have worries about our kids going back to school or who’s going to watch our kids this summer. If our parents are going to be okay. The list is endless.

Remember, we are all in this together. It may not be in the same boat, but it is the same water.

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

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

It’s official. Day 60 of Covid-19 lockdown has arrived. I have officially been home for 2 months. After 47.5 years on this planet I made bread. I made jam. I decorated the squirrel feeder my hubby made me with my daughter’s old Barbie toys… cake, teapot and cups. I’ve done 18 puzzles. Read a few books. Ran errands for friends and family. Strategically planned grocery store runs and produce pick up. Cooked every damn day. Emptied the garbage…. don’t even get me started on the fact that there are two other adults in my house. Woke up every day wondering what day it was. Went a little overboard with online shopping and I have to admit I have forgotten some of what I purchased. Every time I hear the door bell I wonder what will be waiting for me outside. A puzzle? A book? Baking supplies? A zebra?

Well, as of tomorrow I will know the date as it is time for yours truly to head back to work. The province of Ontario has given the go ahead for retail stores with a street store front to reopen. … and I gotta admit, I’m a little nervous.

I know how fortunate I am to have a job waiting for me. Many employees and owners of small businesses, large and small cannot say the same. The owners and management of my store have all the PPE we need, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizer spray for all surfaces, social distancing measures in place and for this I am grateful. I am confident in myself and my co workers to abide by the new policies and procedures, not so confident of the general public. Before you start in on me about my previous statement, I’m just keeping it real people. I know most of us are behaving ourselves. I also have it on good authority that some are not. … and no, my source is not Fox News or CNN. Many people I know have been working with the public since day one of the Covid-19 crisis and unfortunately have run into some people that are, lets say, from the shallow end of the gene pool.

As of late, every time you turn on the television or scroll social media, someone, somewhere has a new theory. A new opinion. That Covid-19 isn’t that bad. That it’s a government plot. The Democrats made it up to bring down Trump. That the aliens are behind it all. I could go on but I fear I may start to gag. Here’s the deal;

  • I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure the government is not behind the lock down. In the past, their claim to fame hasn’t been their financial generosity.

 

  • As for the people that say “it’s not so bad” … ummm, yeah it is. It just seems not so bad to you because you are healthy.

 

  • The Democrats did not make this up. Democrats are getting sick too. … and as for Trump, he is so low there is no way to bring him down any lower.

 

  • As for the aliens….I got nothin’.

Unfortunately we are also privy to;

  • Many a “Karen” on social media and in person I’m sorry to say, ranting about having to wear a mask.

 

  • I’ve heard a grown man in the check out line at the grocery store shout “It ain’t my fault for the virus! Whatcha so afraid of? Open up another damn cashier!” – by the way, this gent was wearing a mask and gloves. I finally saw an oxymoron in human form.

 

  • People complaining about having to follow the arrows on the floor at the grocery store. Yes. It’s a pain. Yes. It can be a nuisance. No, it’s not okay to shout at the 15 year old employee about how much of a pain and nuisance it is.

 

I get that masks are uncomfortable. So are ventilators. I get that standing 6 feet apart is a nuisance. I would rather stand 6 feet from someone then not being able to be 6 feet near someone if they are in the hospital. I get it’s scary. We aren’t in total control anymore… like we ever really were. Every day there seems to be a new rule. It can be hard to grasp what’s what. I get it. You gotta remember. We are all in this together. I don’t mean in a “kumbaya” sort of way, not even in a “we’re in the same boat” kind of way. What I mean is, more often that not, we are all anxious. We are all weary. We are all suspicious. We are all sad. We are all wondering what’s next for us and for the world. We are all trying to adjust to this new normal. We are all hopeful. No matter your age, race or gender, we all wake up everyday feeling one or all these things.

Wear a mask when needed or asked. Be kind. … and wash your damn hands.

 

*Side note, I know some Karens that are actually quite nice.

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

Showered with goodness

Here we are, week 8 of, (depending where you are in the world), lock down, self isolation, quarantine…you name it, we are all living with and adjusting to this “new normal”. Back in March I decided it was time to start testing all the products that have been sent my way. Some purchased, some won, and some sent to me. I realized this is the perfect time for a gal like me with sensitive skin to try out new skin care products. If I get a reaction, which I tend to do and end up looking like a failed science experiment, no worries! It’s not like I’m going anywhere. So, when I was offered to give the new shower gels from Arbonne a try, I accepted. More often than not, I shy away from scented shower gels. Usually scents and I are like oil and vinegar… we don’t mix. I have tried many Arbonne products before so I should have known that these were going to be fabulous. Let me Introduce you to Arbonne Botaniques Concentrated Shower Gels!

First things first. Arbonne wasn’t kidding when they said “a pea size amount” is all that is needed. A little of this goes a long way. These shower gels gently cleanse your body’s skin without stripping your essential moisture. Your skin is left feeling silky soft. Aloe Vera and cucumber extract hydrate and condition the skin and Chamomile flower extract smooths and softens skin. Don’t let the size of the bottle fool you. These 100ml bottles with last for at least 40 showers or baths. Like I said, a little of this shower gel goes a long way. Work a pea size amount into a washcloth or your hands, the lather with go on and on. Trust me. It’s pretty great.

As always, Arbonne Botaniques Concentrated Shower Gel is;

  • Hypoallergenic – I can attest to this.
  • Cruelty free – no testing on bunnies
  • Vegan
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Sulfate free
  • Phosphate free

Arbonne Botaniques Concentrated Shower Gel comes in two scents, Apricot and Apple. … I’m personally a fan of the apricot. Memories of the 80’s when apricot everything was all the rage.

You can find out more about these FAB products on their website http://www.arbonne.com

* Fun Tip * when visiting the website, you can find a consultant in your area.