Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, writing

Merciful Monday

Mercy – noun;

 

compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

 

I came across a beautiful sentiment yesterday. I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Elizabeth Gilbert and one of her beautiful insights into life was mercy. Mercy for others, most importantly, mercy for yourself. Her statement about showing mercy towards yourself about your failures, your short comings, your bad decisions resonated within me. I felt a calmness wash over me the instant she uttered that word. Mercy.

It got me thinking. How often we forgive others, show mercy to them and for them, yet we seldom offer ourselves the same gift. When someone we hold dear stumbles and falls, we offer a hand to help them up. When we hear of a friend’s failure, personal or professional, we listen with an open heart and open mind. We try to help them figure out where a wrong turn was made and help them get back to the right road. Funny thing is, when we stumble and fall, we continue to kick ourselves when we are down. When we fail in life and love, we stop looking for a way out. Why is it what we will do for others, we seldom do for ourselves?

Over the years, there are many regrets. I found myself wondering “what if”, or “I should have” or “why didn’t I”. Who knew that a five letter word would clear all those thoughts away. Mercy. I gave myself some mercy. It was 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night. I went outside, sat in my backyard, looked up to the heavens and got myself some mercy. When I woke up this morning, I have to admit some of my regrets woke up with me. Today was a little different. My regrets were followed by “you did the best you could at the time”. One of my favorite quotes is by the beloved Dr. Maya Angelou “When you know better, you do better.”. I came to realize that I couldn’t have done better in the past, I didn’t have the tools, I didn’t have the belief in myself, I let fear and ego drive my decisions and reactions. I didn’t have mercy. I now know that I do know better, so I can do better.

We all make mistakes. We all have dreams that didn’t come true. We all have been a pain in the ass teenager to our parents. We all have made mistakes as parents. We have all hurt people. We have all hurt ourselves. We all deserve to show ourselves some mercy.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

… not by the hair on my chinny chin chin

So it happened. There I was, applying my foundation, wondering if I should redeem my optimum points … my fellow Canadians will understand, and treat myself to Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar (my favorite face cream) when I saw it. Mocking me by peeking out behind my Beauty Blender. A hair. A thick, black hair. Standing out, proud and tall on my chin. I immediately grabbed one of the perks of your forties, a magnifying mirror, pulled it out from the wall to get a closer look, all the while convincing myself it was just a thread off my towel, my beige towel. Nope. No thread, no fuzzy, it was a hair. Shit.

As you know, I do my best to keep it real here. So here’s some reality for you. In your forties, not only does your hair change it’s texture, porosity and growth pattern, you also start to grow hair, everywhere…as I soon discovered after the new found chin hair. I put the FBI forensic lab unit to shame as I took to finding any other stray hairs. Needless to say, yours truly has invested in some tweezers. Sigh.

My discovery this morning got me to thinking of all the lovely surprises your forties bring to your door that no one ever talks about. Well, lets talk about it, shall we? In your forties;

  • hair begins to grow in places you didn’t realize had a follicle
  • your hair turns grey… all of your hair
  • one day you can strut in 4 inch stiletto heels, the very next day you cannot
  • at least once a week you feel another internal organ, just by getting out of chair
  • you are no longer silent when you bend down…hopefully the noise is a mild grunt or sigh. I work retail and have had the unfortunate witnessing of a different sound while a customer bent down, in front of me…I think you know what I mean
  • you wake up with a flat tummy, by 4 p.m. you may look like you are 5 months along
  • you begin to understand the attraction of sensible shoes
  • instead of reading clothing labels looking for “dry clean only”, you now read clothing labels looking for Lycra
  • your arms are too short …. you find yourself stretching your arms to their full extent just to read the expiry date on a carton of milk
  • you fear sneezing
  • you will spend hours, days, even weeks trying to find a piece of clothing that does make you look like your teenage daughter or your aging mother.
  • you find yourself thinking about how to go about giving yourself a pedicure, deciding how long it will take for a hip or knee to lock up
  • your idea of taking a risk is having coffee after 4 p.m.
  • you relate to and understand Archie Bunker

Don’t get me wrong, most of the forties are fabulous! I like to refer to my forties as returning to yourself. The person who was full of confidence and sass, believing she could do anything because the world hadn’t gotten to her yet and the idea that because I was a girl I was limited wasn’t even on the radar.  In your forties, your renewed confidence is combined with knowledge, depth and experience. In your forties, you begin to realize what’s important and not to sweat the small stuff.

…unless it’s a hair on your chin, then, you’re gonna sweat a little.

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

Reminder

I woke up this morning with words and phrases swirling around in my head. Conversations I’ve had with friends, words that were spoken out of haste or anger, from me and directed at me from strangers, family and friends. Snapshots of memories, past and present playing like an after school special. I’ve been reading more than one book at at time this past month before bed, jumping between Unfu*k yourself! – Gary John Bishop, The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson, Life will be the death of me – Chelsea Handler and Girl Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis, which is probably the reason for this morning’s array of thoughts, visions and emotions, all before 8 a.m..

As I shuffled into the kitchen for my first of many morning cups of coffee, I went to my “mug shelf “. Yes, I have a mug shelf. There’s just something wonderful about pretty mugs, or a mug that makes you smile or says something sassy or inspirational. Say what you want, side eye me if you will, we all have that something that we like. I like pretty things to look at when I start my day, because you never know what life is going to throw at you, so why not start your day your way. Enough about my mugs, As I reached for my “you did not wake up to mediocre” mug, a story that is not mine to tell popped into my head. Then another, and another. What I realized is all my stories and the stories from friends and family alike all had two things in common. #1 = Fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of not being loved. Fear of not being able to love. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of the opinions of others. Fear of not measuring up. The list of fears is endless. #2 = we all have the same fears. Not always at the same time or to the same extent, but we all feel the same way. The sad part of this commonality? More often than not, no one talks about it. We all are guilty of acting like everything’s fine, everything’s great, nothing to see here. Instagram posts with the “fun in the sun” hashtag, but the fight before the picture and the silent treatment after the picture didn’t happen. The “love your spouse” posts on Facebook, all the while your husband is sleeping on the couch. I am not the guru on the mount, nor am I an expert, but I’ve been around the block a time or two, and in my not so humble opinion, everyone showing the highlight reel of their life adds to everyone’s fear.

Life can be easy, beautiful and wondrous. It can also be hard and a shit show. We cannot control anything or anyone but ourselves. Most importantly, almost everything that is happening in your life is not about you. Your boss is a jerk to you, your child is struggling with life, your parents didn’t hug you enough, your friend isn’t texting you back, plans are cancelled – whatever it is, more often than not, I’m sorry to say, it’s not about you, it just feels like it is. You are overweight and don’t like your body? That is about you. Your friend is overweight and doesn’t like their body? That is not about you. In the past, and sorry to say even in the present I have been and am guilty of making the reactions and words of others personal. Hearing their words and automatically thinking about myself instead of listening and thinking about them. I would hear the words that fit my mood or my fear if you will, to solidify my reasoning of self doubt and to prove my fear was relevant. In the end, all that was left was two or more people feeling frustrated, ignored and scared.

What I have learned and am continuing to learn is this. It is okay to have fear, it is not okay to let that fear define you. Let yourself feel it, then face it. If you can’t do it on your own, ask for help, from a friend, a coworker, a counselor, your minister – take your pick. We all make mistakes, we all fear making them. Mistakes are going to happen. You will stumble, you will fail, you will forget to pick your kids up after school, you will miss a deadline. It may feel like the end of the world, trust me, it’s not. Take a breath. Take a hard look at the situation. Assess it. Look to see where there may be another answer or room for improvement. Ask yourself “what am I to learn from this?” instead of asking “why is this happening to me?”. I know, easier said then done. Trust me, I know. I. Know. One other thing I know, you and I did not wake up to be mediocre.

 

 

Beauty, Hair Care, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women

Buttering up your Monday Motivator

It’s Monday. It’s January. The February “blahs” are just around the corner. The view from my window…snow storms are threatening, skies are cloudy, the gleaming white snow has lost it’s sparkle and lays there, dull and grey. Before you pull down the shades and crawl back under the covers, I have a little something to help add a pop of color to your daily life and remind you that Spring will rise from her Winter slumber soon enough. Let me introduce you to Joico Color Butter.

From pink to purple, red to blue, Joico has created a color for you. Joico Color Butter allows you to try the vibrant shade you have always wanted, without the commitment! The color lasts up to 10 shampoo’s. Joico Color Butter is the perfect product to touch up vibrant ends, or to restore your existing vibrant shade until your next Salon visit. Here’s a few key features of this FAB! product;

  • Joico Color Butter is a nourishing color treatment. Yes. I said treatment. Color Butter both moisturizes and strengthens the hair. *Reduces breakage up to 44%.
  • Joico Color Butter is free of peroxide, ammonia, MEA and PPD.
  • Hair is instantly more vibrant and strong with healthy and glossy strands.
  • Washes out in 10 shampoo’s *Depending on the porosity of your hair.
  • The perfect product to refresh existing semi permanent pastel/vibrant colors.

To use;

  • ALWAYS wear gloves and cover your clothing to avoid staining. If you happen to spill a little, wipe off counters and floors as soon as possible to avoid stains.
  • best results are on pre-lightened hair.
  • for a pastel/lighter effect, apply to damp hair. Leave on for 5-15 minutes, then rinse. You can follow up with a shampoo – Joico Kpak Color Therapy is suggested.
  • for true vibrancy, apply to dry hair. Leave on for 5 – 15 minutes, then rinse. Follow with Joico Kpak Color Therapy Shampoo.
  • for bolder results – apply Joico Color Butter 2 -3 times. *always rinse and blow dry in between each application.

Visit http://www.joico.com for more information on Color Butter. Their FAQ sheet answers any and all questions, for stylists and their clients alike.

I know there are many of you out there who scroll through Instagram or Pinterest and vibrant hair color peaks your interest. I also know many are fearful of the commitment to color and worry about the judgement that may follow. Thanks to Joico Color Butter, you can have commitment free color. Who knows, you may find that you can’t stop smiling at your reflection. You may find yourself hearing “I love your hair” as you are in the produce aisle. Take a chance. Try something new. …you know what they say… Everything is better with butter.

 

health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

Sunday Confessions

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook this morning that caught my eye and lifted a weight off my shoulders. The post read ” Don’t let people guilt you for not visiting them. They’re not visiting you either”.

I know I am not the only one who carries this guilt. We miss our friends, we may even miss our family. We want to be present for all the happenings and celebrations of our loved ones lives. Nothing beats an hour long chat, face to face over a chardonnay with our dearest friends, or collecting wisdom from our elders over a pot of tea kept warm by their knitted tea cozy. If it was up to me, these events would happen every day. More often than not, it’s not up to me. Life gets busy and can tend to get in the way of best laid plans. Children get the flu, the dog eats chocolate and an emergency trip to the vet takes priority. Work schedules to do not line up with anyone else’s … those of us in retail know this all too well. Anxiety decides to rear it’s ugly mug and the idea of driving on the highway with snow in the forecast is just too much to handle. Sometimes, we are just tired, plain and simple. Tired from work, tired from our endless “to-do’s”, tired of being everything to everyone, and although we miss our friends and family, we just can’t muster up the energy for one more thing. If you are visiting people because you have to, like it’s another chore on your daily “to-do” list – there is no honor in that, for them or for you.

I have friends and family all over the globe. Some live 10 minutes away, some live 12 hours away. I would love to see them all, whenever I had a free moment. I know this is not possible, as much as I wish it was. So, I send a quick text to let them know I am thinking of them. When I find an old photo, I send it to them, so we can share the memory. I make sure that every January 1st. I mark down everyone’s birthday on my calendar, from January to December, so they are not forgotten.  When I can, I call them to have a chat. Yes. I use my phone like a phone. When I see them post good news, I call to congratulate. Some I will text, for I know how hectic their schedules are. When I see them post sad news, whenever possible I arrive at their door.

There are times in our lives that others have to be takers and we have to be the givers. There are also times we are the takers and others are the givers. There should be times we are the visitor. There should also be times that we are visited. Relationships should be an equal amount of give and take. So, stop feeling guilty, plain and simple.

 

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

Your Blue Monday Motivator

It’s Monday morning. It’s cold, like minus 23 degrees without the windchill cold. As my feet hit the hardwood this morning, I remembered to buy a rug. After grabbing my coffee, I plopped myself into my favorite chair and started scrolling through my phone. I was bombarded by two posts. Posts of the lunar eclipse and blood moon – which I was able to witness from my backyard last night. Not a cloud in the sky, bitter cold air, but clear skies none the less. The other were posts about “Blue Monday”. I didn’t realize New Order’s song Blue Monday had it’s own day. Taking a closer look I came to realize that Blue Monday has nothing to do with New Order, it has to do with this Monday being the most depressive Monday of the New Year. I didn’t know this was a thing. Someone, somewhere at sometime decided this was the day that people felt bad about themselves, their New Year resolution short comings, their life choices, their shoes…you name it, it’s the day to feel blue.

I am not an expert, nor am I a guru on the mount. What I am is a woman who has been around, seen some things and survived some shit. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. I have had some awesome days and some pretty crap filled weeks. What I have come to realize is life is what you make it Beauties. Plain and Simple. That being said, I thought I would whip up a little list to help you out, on this bluest of Mondays.

  • Look up. The sun may be shining.
  • Help your neighbour. If it’s garbage day, see if they need help getting it to the curb. The snow plow went by, so help them dig out the end of their driveway.
  • Bake a cake. For no reason other to eat it. Smother layers of icing all over it and enjoy.
  • Write a letter to a friend. … not an email, not a text, a letter. Remember the feeling of receiving a letter in the mail? We need more of that.
  • Feed the birds. Go to the park or sit in your own back yard. Trust me, if you have bird seed, they’ll show up.
  • Find your favorite CD and blast it out of the speakers, in your living room or in your car. Sing your heart out and fill up your soul.
  • Instead of your morning shower, run a hot bath.
  • Wear that red lipstick that has been sitting in your vanity drawer.
  • Wrap your hands around your coffee cup, feel the warmth, and smell the delicious aroma.
  • Make a hot chocolate that would put Starbucks to shame. Lather that baby with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
  • Paint your nails, the brightest of pinks or the darkest of reds.
  • Take a moment to remember a favorite memory. We all have a few free minutes a day, even if it’s when you are in the bathroom. Trust me, this works. Your mind has no sense of time, so when you think of a happy memory, your body will respond as if it’s happening right now. …something to remember when you recollect the negative.

It may seem simple and even silly to some. More often than not, it’s the little things that make all the difference. As for yours truly, the only “blue” of my Blue Monday is the sky.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

New Intentions

… a little New Years tale.

 

Intention(noun) a determination to act in a certain way  – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Here we are. January 2, 2019. Our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with everyone’s New Year resolution of “New year! New me!”, usually accompanied with a meme. Many have asked me what my New Year’s resolutions were for 2019. My answer was always the same. I do not have any. In the past, whenever I uttered a resolution, made my list of New Year’s to do, I always fell short and ended up feeling like a fool or worse, a failure. So, I no longer make resolutions, I create intentions. My New Year’s Intentions… it just feels better, sounds better to have intentions. The word itself, for me at least, has a positive power to it. It comes from a place of gratitude and grace. It brings with it a sense of hope. Something I have for myself, my friends and love ones.

This year, and all the years to come, my wish for you is intention. To find what it is that brings a smile to your face, a warmth to your soul. To find what it is that makes you want to see your own reflection. Once we set an intention, and truly believe it, the world, the universe, God, the smurfs – take your pick, will be drawn to it. It may not happen overnight or even in 6 months, but know this. It will happen. It ain’t gonna be pretty, there will be many days of doubt, ugly face cries, stomps and tantrums that would put a toddler to shame. There will also be moments of pure peace, of joy, of laughter. You will feel that same pride that you felt when you mastered your bicycle without training wheels, or the first time you hit a home run. You will begin to remember who you really are, and once you remember that, the world is your oyster darling.

Create the world you want to see – That Girl in the Red Coat