Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

My cup runneth over

More often than not, when you read the phrase “My cup runneth over” you immediately picture abundance. A happy, fulfilled life filled with blessing. As of late, when I hear “My cup runneth over” I picture an overwhelmed woman , emotionally, mentally and physically. Why do I picture such a woman? I picture her because I am her.

The last few years, especially the last 6 months, my life has been turned around, flopped upside down and all around. The events in my life have been affecting me 100%, unfortunately most of the reasons have nothing to do with me personally. That’s a tough thing to deal with – things in your life that affect you and you have to deal with that really don’t have anything to do with you. * my blog today may seem vague in some ways, that is because some of the stories are not mine to tell and I do not want to break confidences or name names, without permission to do so.

Someone I hold dear is battling an addiction, winning that battle these past few months, but battling none the less. Addiction is a ninja. It creeps in without you seeing it until it’s directly in front of you. It’s a thief too. It steals your trust, your self awareness, your sense of reality, your sense of truth… and this is what it does to those of us dealing with an addict…I can not imagine what it must be like for the addict themselves. I have gone through so many emotions, from empathy, to sympathy, to resentment, to anger, to rage, to despair. You name it, I felt it. With help from my circle, I am beginning to let the past go. I still have moments of all these emotions, usually one at a time. When they all congregate at the same time, well that’s a fun time.

The point of today’s tale is not to invite you to join my pity party, or to feel sorry for me, or to send me hug emojis. My goal for this blog is to keep it real. So here I am keeping it real. I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend who lets her cup runneth over, and that is the one thing that is on me and me alone. Taking on everything is on me. That’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s so much easier to blame everything and everyone else, or so we think. At the end of the day, the decisions, actions and reactions you make are on you and you alone.

My hope is this will bring someone some clarity or serenity to their day. To know that they are not alone. To know it’s okay to be angry, to be resentful, to grieve for the life you had planned that didn’t turn out. What’s not okay is to live in it. Let yourself feel it, let it sit with you a while, then say your goodbyes. There is no shame is life’s ugliness. There is only shame in hiding it. …and remember, pain is pain. You have your pain. Others have theirs. It’s not about competition, it’s about compassion.

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!

 

 

 

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.

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

Take the time

Yesterday yours truly was treated to a spa afternoon. My lovely friend invited me to join her for an afternoon of pampering. I put aside my reservations of an afternoon at the spa. You see, after being in the beauty biz and running a Salon, I know the health standards and the health codes, I know how spa tools are supposed to be cleaned and sanitized, hence my reservations. In the past I could never relax enough to enjoy the services, I found myself seeing the spa through the eyes of a manager instead of through the eyes of a client in dire need of some self care. I spent the morning getting myself into the proper head space so I could enjoy myself. …and let me tell you, I did.

We started with pedicures and I chose the color “self love” by SpaRitual for my toes.

Pink Salt Foot Detox

 

*FYI – SpaRitual is a Vegan polish. Cruelty free, free of any animal derived ingredients, gluten free, and free of Touline, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl tosylamide, Xylene, MEHQ/HQ, MIT and Parabens.

We followed our pedicures with a Pink Salt foot detox and a session in the healing Salt Cave. Pink Salt is a powerful tool for rebalancing, revitalizing and gently cleansing the body and the mind. Salt Caves can help with breathing disorders, sinus infections and inflammation and many other respiratory and health ailments.

Enough about the services. The point of today’s tale is to come clean about something. After our pedicures, we were guided to the Pink Salt foot detox room and offered coffee, tea or water. I planted myself down in my tub chair, placed my feet on the Pink Salt and waited for my coffee. When our lovely guide came back, she gave me my coffee and said “this service will be 45 minutes long. No worries about watching the clock, we will come get you when your time is up” and left. I felt my stomach sink and for a brief moment I felt anxious and guilty that I was just going to sit down and treat myself, just to do it. I turned to my friend and admitted my feelings. I had a huge light bulb moment. I found myself thinking about all the women that feel the same way I did. How many times they and I put the needs of others before themselves and in turn began to resent others for it. I came to realize that some of my anger towards others wasn’t completely on them, it was on me too. More often than not, people have no idea that you have put yourself on the back burner to put them first. They have no idea of what you are feeling, thinking or what you need, because they are not in your head, plain and simple.

I know all too well life gets in the way and that finances don’t always allow for a spa day or even spa session. What I have come to realize is there is always time for self care, be it 5 minutes or if your lucky, an hour. Put down your phone. Boil the kettle and steep your favorite tea and take a seat and look out the window. Run yourself a hot bath with some Epsom salts (they sell them at Walmart…I know you go there). Give yourself an at home Mani, nothing fancy. Pull a Madge and simply soak your hands in Palmolive if need be. Grab your facial scrub and use it on your hands to exfoliate, follow with your favorite hand cream. Massage the cream in for two minutes. Most importantly, when doing any of these “self treats”, breathe. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Breathe. Let go. Be present. …and put down your phone.

We cannot possibly control every aspect of our life. Life will still be hectic. Children will cry, pets will get sick, bosses will be well, bosses. Plans will fall through, dinners will burn, spouses will be late. Sometimes you won’t be having the argument, it will be having you. No one is perfect, nor will they ever be. You are not perfect, nor will you ever be. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. You are allowed to feel you are over your head. You are also allowed to take time for yourself. We all are. It’s time to put down the guilt baggage and leave it there. When we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of others. As one of my favorite Queer Eye gents ( I adore them all) Jonathan Van Ness says “It’s not vanity. It’s self care”

 

Take the time.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, Women

Sticks and Stones

We all know the childhood chant “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”. Oh, how I wish that were true. There has been many a moment I would have taken a blow to the gut rather than an unkind or untrue phrase spoken. Physical bruises heal. Emotional ones, when it comes to healing, those suckers move at a turtles pace. I am 46 years old and there are still some words I cannot erase from my mind.

We’ve all heard them, I am sorry to say. We’ve been called a liar, useless, fat, ugly…you name it, at some point in our lives, someone has uttered these words to us, and sadly, we have uttered them to ourselves. What I find the most heartbreaking is when we let someone else’s words begin to define us. I admit, I have fallen victim to this, in the past and even in the present. I was beginning to listen to the shouts of self doubt that were unfortunately being boosted up by the words of others. Then one night, after a shit show of a day, I sat down in bed and looked over at a journal I had been given years ago. It’s Tiffany blue and embossed in gold were the words “be happy”. I reached over, cracked it open and began to write. I wrote how I feeling, what I was thinking. After, I felt better. My feelings were still hurt, I was still confused about what to do, but I felt better. The next night before bed, I wrote again. I have continued to do so each night. That’s the wonderful thing about writing in a journal, you get the questions out of your head and sooner or later, answers appear.

When I was younger, I heard my mother say something to a friend of hers that was going through a difficult separation “we hate in others what we hate in ourselves.”. I found myself writing that phrase in my journal. I also remember as a child being told “when you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you.”. While writing last night, I finally got it. I stepped outside of myself and took a good, hard look at the lives of those around me who haven’t been the nicest as of late. They are all going through something. Be it trouble at work, trouble with family, battling some inner demon, even battling addiction. I came to realize that when they were pointing the finger at me, they were also pointing it at themselves. To be clear, there is no excuse for hurtful words or actions. What I am saying is trying to understand where they are coming from may bring you some peace. I am well aware that I am not a saint. I have had my moments that I took the low road and went for the jugular. Over the years I have made a commitment to myself not to behave that way. I do my best to listen and understand. I will take whatever is coming to me, if I deserve it.

We all get angry. We all get down on ourselves. We all get frustrated with life, family, work, you name it. I think we should all be allowed to feel whatever we are feeling. I do not believe we should be allowed to be mean about it. There is no reason for that, there is no honor to yourself or the other person. Saying hurtful things for the sake of argument is childish. Plain and simple. I have come to feel sorry for those who have been hurtful for hurtful’s sake. In the wee small hours of the morning, for the rest of their lives, they will have to live with the fact that they purposefully hurt someone they love. That is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

There is always a chance for kindness. As hard as it may be to do, we can stop saying something hurtful before we start. We can take a breath. When you feel like lashing out, take a moment to remember what you would do if you heard another person speaking this way. If you wouldn’t allow another person to speak in a hurtful way in your presence, maybe you shouldn’t either.