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

2020 Vision

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Monday Motivator Rescue

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

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

Proof I do test every product I review.

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

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

Here’s some key info. on this gem;

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

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

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

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

 

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

Who knew?

Those of you who follow my blog and those of you who know me personally know all too well I always look for the positive in everything. I search for the underlying lessons. I seek out the light in the darkness. These past few months have been a true test to this. Someone dear and precious to me has been struggling…a story that is not mine to tell. Watching them struggle, seeing what it was doing to them and in turn to me and others was getting too much to bear. I found myself not being myself, or feeling like myself. Knots in my stomach, sleepless nights, lack of appetite…you name it, I had it. After a night of almost no sleep I reached a breaking point. Here I was, sleepless, bed head to the tenth degree, having a mental breakdown and it wasn’t even 7:30 a.m. I had been reading everything I could get my hands on to help spark my pilot light. I even reached for my bible…to no avail. Seriously, someone has to write a cliff notes for the bible. I scoured that sucker and couldn’t find any comfort. I am a spiritual person. I do believe in a higher power, and energy. There is something or someone greater than us. Call it God, the universe, the Smurfs, whatever. It’s there. In my frustration and down right tantrum I almost threw it across the room. Instead, I reached out to the husband of one of my best friends. He is a pastor. I asked him for guidance, for a scripture that may help me regain perspective. Within minutes, I mean minutes, I had a response. This was it,

“Don’t worry about anything;instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Well, let me tell you. The tears ran down my face, ugly face, snot nosed crying for over 30 minutes. A peace came over me. I cannot explain it, nor do I feel I have to. All I can tell you is reading that passage catapulted me back to myself. After I stopped crying and somewhat regained my composure, I started to feel that knot in my stomach again. I literally stopped walking through my living room, took a deep breath, and said a prayer about what I was worried about. I asked for strength and courage. I stated what I wanted for myself and others. I made myself picture it in my mind before I took another step…if I have a peeping Tom, he got quite a show. The knot went away. On my way to work that day, as I pulled into my parking spot, the knot came back and my mind flooded with all the what if’s and the memories of the past events. I put my car in park, shut of the engine and stated out loud to myself, the universe and the dude waiting at the bus stop what I needed. The knot went away. It’s been over 2 months now, and guess what? The knot went away.

I am not a guru on the mount, nor am I an expert. In the words of the beloved June Carter Cash, I am a woman who is “just trying to matter”. Praying, positive affirmations, whatever it is, only work if you do. Yes, the scripture made me feel better. Yes, praying made the knot go away. I also had to do the work, walk the walk and talk the talk if you will. I had to own my shit. Own my part in all the craziness going on. When you are honest with yourself, it may not be pretty, but trust me, you will feel beautiful.

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

Brushes! Flat Irons! Blow Dryers! Oh My!

This month marks 3 years since the Salon/retail shop closed. Even though 3 years have passed, everyday I am asked about hair products. At the grocery store, in line at the bank, even at work, from coworkers and customers alike. Sure, I live in a relatively small town, 150000 people…in comparison to Toronto…it’s small, so it’s not a big surprise that the shop’s old clients & customers run into me from time to time. What is surprising is the lack of product knowledge and advice being given by their stylists. At least once a week I am approached by a woman asking about a product, how to use a product or where to purchase a product. Most of these women are at a loss because their stylist told them, I hope you are sitting down, to go to the drug store and grab shampoo or hairspray off the shelf. We all know my opinion on that. For a reminder;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/01/26/yes-there-is-time-for-that/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/08/15/if-you-dont-wanna-play-get-off-the-field/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/07/05/hair-surance/

 

Since it’s Thursday morning on my corner of the globe, I thought I would give you all some Throwback Thursday Tales about brushes, flat irons and blow dryers. A “what’s what” if you will. Feel free to share.

The Wet Brush = life changing!

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/07/20/monday-motivator-the-wet-brush/

 

A breakdown of blow dryer motors, wattage and more

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/03/18/blow-out/

 

There are many flat irons on the market – these 3 brands will give you what you are looking for and if you want to try a new brand, at least you’ll have the knowledge of the desired features.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/11/would-a-flat-iron-by-any-other-name-still-be-as-good/

 

For more great hair tips, just enter any key word, such as hairspray in my “What can I help you find?” search bar, up on the right hand corner of my blog, hit enter, and read away!

 

 

 

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

10 in 1 …say what?!?!

Here we are. March 21st. Spring has finally sprung. Just as we are about to put those pesky toque’s away (hats for my non Canadian readers) we find ourselves rethinking that notion. Winter tends to wreak havoc on our poor tresses and can leave us wondering if anyone would notice our toque at the next board meeting. Winter is not the only foe of our hair woes. Chemical and thermal damage, misuse of product, or lack of use of the proper product for our hair type can leave us reaching for the nearest hat or scarf. Until today. Beauties, let me introduce you to a lovely product from Revlon Professional. I met this gem over 8 years ago. Let me introduce you to Uniq 1.

Uniq 1 offers four delicious scents, today’s feature is Coconut.

  • Original scent – a mix of Bergamot, pineapple, peony and Patchouli… think about what Jon Bon Jovi would smell like…this is it.
  • Coconut scent – a mix of coconut, caramel and vanilla… this scent will have you thinking of  sitting on a beach chair being served a daiquiri
  • Lotus Flower scent – a mix of lily of the valley, rose and lotus flower… this scent will have you dreaming of the  warm summer sun shining on your face while a cool breeze passes over.
  • Green tea scent – a mix of lavender, lemon, green tea and sweet musk… this scent will leave you as Zen as the Dalai Lama

Uniq 1 is a multi-benefit hair product. This gem is a leave in spray mask that offers 10 benefits in one product – hence Uniq 1. Created for all hair types and safe to use daily if needed. Best results are on towel dried, clean hair, before blow drying. A little goes a long way, so for my short hair gals, use sparingly. The benefits of Uniq 1 (other than it’s FAB! scents) are;

  • repair for dry/damaged hair
  • shine & frizz control
  • heat protection
  • silkiness & smoothness
  • color protection with UVA & UVB filters
  • easier brushing and ironing
  • incredible detangler
  • long lasting hairstyle
  • split end prevention
  • adds body

Uniq 1 is the perfect product for anyone who wants a great hair day but doesn’t want to use a lot of products. I have personally been using this product off and on for over 8 years. … as you are well aware, I try A LOT of products. Uniq 1 is one product I know I can rely on when my hair needs that little extra something, or when I am running behind and may not have the time to apply a leave in, a mousse, a thermal protectant…you get the picture.

Uniq 1 delivers the results I need for a good hair day, and it will deliver results for you as well.

 

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

Seven Year Itch

 

Yesterday as I plopped into my favorite chair with my morning cup of Joe I heard the all too familiar bottle cap notification coming from my phone. It was an email alerting me of my 7 year anniversary as a blogger. 7 years. Within seconds my mind was flooded with images from the past 7 years. Nervously circling the table, staring at the computer, deciding to just go for it and write. Coming home from work to find a laptop waiting for me, given to me by my hubby with a “Happy Birthday” screensaver (which is still my screensaver by the way). Kristen Johnston reading my blog and retweeting it. Wynonna Judd sharing my “Kindness 101” blog that ended up getting over 700 views within hours. https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/21/kindness-101/    Major hair companies following my tales. Magazine editor’s and Hollywood stars following my blog. Writing opportunities coming my way. Strangers thanking me for my hair advice. Strangers laughing at my “Tales of Truth” series. My blog being read across the globe. The list of memories is endless.

Fast forward to today. For those of you familiar with my blog, you are well aware of the struggles I have been having trying to decide which direction my blog and I should take. I began this blog while managing a Salon/retail shop and once the shop closed I felt I didn’t have a platform of which to write. Every single fear and anxiety reared it’s ugly head and I am sad to say, more often than not, they won the battle, not me. I was having coffee with a dear friend yesterday and when I told her of my blogging anniversary I received a high five. During our conversation I came to the realization that I started this blog to spread information and to educate and enlighten, not only for hair care, but for all aspects of daily life, from business to self care to parenting, speaking my truth in hopes that it may give others the courage to do the same. As a reminder that a little kindness goes a long way.

When I woke up this morning, I found myself wondering if my blog related trepidation was due to the 7 year mark. We’ve all heard of the 7 year itch where relationships/marriage is concerned. Maybe it’s the same with goals. It’s all nerves and excitement at the beginning. Lots of new and exciting things happen. Milestones are reached. Celebrations seem to be every other month. Then things slow down, hit a plateau. It doesn’t seem to be as exciting, the shine is off the diamond if you will. It begins to feel like a chore. Other avenues are catching your eye. You feel like throwing in the towel. At least that’s how it felt for me. What I have come to realize and accept is that things change. Who I was when I began this blog I will never be again, and that’s okay. 7 years have passed and I have more experience, in work and in life. I have more of an understanding of who I was, who I am and who I intend to be. I feel I am a good writer. I enjoy it. It’s cathartic. I came to realize my lack of posts for the past 12 months was due to one thing – I was trying to be something and someone I am not. Writing blogs with others opinions in mind, not my own. I began this blog without any thought of what people would think, just the hope that someone would enjoy it and get something out of it. It’s time to get back to that.

Thank you to all my readers, my followers, my family, my friends and those who have shared my tales. More are on the way… hope you enjoy them.