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.

 

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

Monday Motivator WOW factor

…and here it is, once again. Monday. The snow is falling, the winds are blowing, Mother Nature has once again shown she is in charge. Facebook feeds are filled with school closures, road closures and delays. Parents are texting everyone they know, scrambling to find day care for their kids. When your week begins in chaos, you are left feeling out of control. There is one thing you can control…your hair. It may not seem like much, but you and I both know, when you are having a good hair day, it does make everything else seem a little more bearable. I may not be able to stop the snow from falling, or find you a babysitter on a moment’s notice but I can help you have a good hair day. Let me introduce you to some of my new found favorites from the Beauties at Color Wow. Meet Bionic Tonic Coconut Cocktail and Style on Steroids!

 

Color Wow Bionic Tonic Coconut Cocktail & Style on Steroids

 

I was first introduced to Color Wow 3 years ago when my rep brought in a root cover powder. In a word – AMAZING! Over the years, Color Wow has expanded their line to include shampoos, conditioners, treatments, styling products and tools among others. As you are well aware, yours truly is a bottled blonde, born a natural blonde – I have pictures to prove it, but a bottled blonde none the less. I have been coloring my hair for over 20 years, using a flat iron every day, so it’s safe to say, my tresses need all the help they can get. Let me tell you, I have tried more products than I can count and I have to say I am impressed. Here’s a break down of why I think you should give Color Wow Bionic Tonic Coconut Cocktail and Style on Steroids a go.

COLOR WOW Bionic Tonic Coconut Cocktail – this is a leave in supplement, not a leave in conditioner formulated for dehydrated, straw like hair. It mimics the natural lipid layer of your hair that is lost when chemicals, like color are applied to your hair. Apply a coin size amount to clean, damp hair before blow drying. Your hair will instantly feel smoother, have more shine, look more glossy and be frizz free thanks to this gem being humidity resistant. *this is a heat activated product – best results are when heat is applied.

* Color Wow offers two other cocktails –

  • Kale Cocktail – created for those of us dealing with breakage. It fortifies the bonds within the hair. With your first application your hair will be 50% stronger
  • Carb Cocktail – created for fine, limp hair. It bonds a high carb complex to the hairs surface to instantly produce mass and volume

COLOR WOW Style on Steroids – a texturizing spray created for color treated hair. This gem keeps your color vibrant and fresh. You may have found as I have that some styling sprays leave a cloudy film on your hair that dulls your color – Color Wow Style on Steroids does not! It contains moisturizing elastomers that give spring to your strands. Apply to dry hair before using a thermal styling tool like a flat iron or wand. Style on Steroids;

  • keeps your color vibrant
  • is never stiff or sticky – never a worry of strands sticking together
  • offers thermal protection
  • can be used as a refresher – apply in the morning to refresh yesterday’s style

* to add more volume to your ‘do – flip your head upside down, spray under layers and style as desired

* for a sexy, undone ‘do – spray throughout mid section and spread the product throughout your hair with your fingers. *great for separating curls

Check out their website – http://www.colorwowhair.com for more tips and tricks and to check out their complete line. Trust me Beauties, after using these products, the first words out of your mouth will be “WOW!”.

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty, Hair Care, health and wellness

Monday Motivator

It’s the first Monday of 2019. The holidays are officially over. The kids are back in school. For those of us in retail, holiday hours have come to and end. Our schedules are no longer filled with office Christmas parties and Holiday open houses. Life, for the most part, is getting back to normal, back to the daily grind.

All our Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram feeds are filled with “New Year! New Me!” quotes and memes. Many a fine lady and gentleman are seeking something new, be it a diet plan, a fitness regime, and as always, a new hair style. I began this blog, 6 years ago, to educate the masses about their hair. Which products to use, which products were for specific hair types and most importantly, how to use them. From pomades to flat irons, I tried to cover all the bases and answer any and all questions. As I sat down with my trusty laptop with my coffee in hand, I decided today would be a great day to go through my archives and share my what’s what of hair products, styling tools, etc. . Knowledge is power my friends, and with the proper tools and know how, the one thing you will be sure of is your hair. With all the happenings in the world today, it may seem silly and trivial to be worried about your hair. The way I see it, if you feel good about yourself, when you like your reflection and feel confident in yourself, you tend not to worry about the little things like split ends and are more aware of what is going on around you… it gets you out of your own way. So without further adieu here are a few articles to help you have a better understanding of your hair, your hair products and maybe, just maybe, a better understanding of yourself.

 

Thinking of an at home color experience?

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/17/proceed-with-caution/

 

All flat irons are not meant for all hair types…

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

 

Before you pick up your favorite shampoo at the discount store…

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/01/15/divert-your-attention/

 

A what’s what of hair products 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/10/27/what-does-this-do/

 

AC/DC isn’t just a band…not all blow dryers are created equal 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

Step back

It may have taken 22 years, but yours truly took a vacation. Yes, you read that correctly, 22 years. My beloved and I flew across the country to Vancouver, rocked out to the Def Leppard/Journey concert, ate at Gotham, the best steak house in town, strolled the streets of GasTown, Burnaby, and the glorious waterfronts with mountains on every horizon. We ate breakfast at a “You gotta eat here” restaurant. It was lovely. Except for a few Facebook posts and Instagram stories for our family and friends, yours truly unplugged from social media, my blog, my job, my day to day stresses, my to do lists, everything. I was present in every hour and every minute of my day. My hubby and I were able to complete conversations, to sit in silence together and just be. Time moved slower in Vancouver, maybe I was in vacation mode, maybe it was the scent of Mary Jane in the air around every corner (I shit you not.). All I know is I felt more zen than I had in a while, and the lovely thing is that feeling of zen flew home with me back to Ontario.

Over the past months, as you are well aware, I have been trying to find my place in this blogging arena. I started as a beauty blogger, giving tips and tricks and product knowledge. I wrote of my daily retail experiences and customer dramas…the lady thinking I stole her light bulb, the countless ladies showing me their ingrown hairs along their bikini line, the gents asking me about how to trim their nether regions….check out my Tales of Truth series for the full effect. I also wrote about lifestyle, kindness, the ugly things we don’t talk about at parties – and to tell you the truth, those were the blogs that flowed out of me, that were the best received and that brought me the most fulfillment and in turn ,the most opportunities. One of the things I learned while in Vancouver, other than those folks like their marijuana, is that I wasn’t being true to myself where my writing is concerned. I was trying to hold on to who I used to be and what I used to write about. I am no longer that woman, career wise or in my own mind. She still resides within me, but she has changed. She has matured, She has been through some shit and come out clean on the other side. She has something to offer. I have something to offer. I cannot articulate my reasoning. All I know is that it is time to stop being afraid of what may or may not lie ahead. Change is a good thing. Stepping back makes inspiration move forward.

I will continue to write product reviews and how to’s, for I love to help women and men feel good about their hair and in turn their appearance. I will continue to tell my Tales of Truth because I find it amazing the things people say to complete strangers, it’s funny and quite frankly cathartic. I will continue to write about kindness, for I believe it makes the world go round and in these days, we need it more than ever. From time to time, I may get political, for there are events happening in this world that are morally wrong, plain and simple.

I have no idea where this will lead or what may transpire. My intention, as always is to educate and inspire. To help people think of things differently, not to agree with me, but to open the door a crack to peek at what is on the other side.

Be beautiful to each other.

health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat, Women

Find your path

 

I woke up this morning feeling lost. Wondering what the hell was I doing with my life? I know I talk a big game but I too suffer from the midweek blahs as I like to call them. Maybe it’s the planets in retrograde. Maybe it’s my lack of exercise. Maybe it’s hormones. Yes, I had a hysterectomy 9 years ago, but I still have my ovaries, so it could be hormones…the joys of womanhood in your forties. So, I plopped myself with a pout and my coffee in hand into my favorite chair and started scrolling through my feeds. I came across a post that I instantly shared via my Instagram story, Instagram feed and Facebook page. Reader’s Digest version – it spoke of patience and that what you need and desire for a feeling a free life will come. It will come. To be gentle with yourself.

My struggle with life is more of a professional one. Many paths are inviting me to stroll down them. Honestly, I am done with strolling down paths others have laid out before me. I know that is why I am feeling the way I am today. I have been taking the easy road lately. I have been choosing the comfortable options. I know better, but have not been doing better – hence today’s tale. I made myself sit down and write today. I have been blogging for 6 years now, but for some reason it began to scare me. My mind filled with thoughts of worrying about what others will think, worrying that others will think my blog has no format or flow. …and just as those thoughts almost overtook my courage this gem by Tayna Markul came across via P!NK’s Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…so here I am, speaking my truth instead of trying to be good.

 

Admitting our truths is scary. Trying to be good, hell, it’s frightening. Trying to be good is faking it, and I am done with faking it. My life isn’t all moonlight and roses. No one’s is…and that’s okay. So, here’s a little another nugget to help you have a better day and find your path, the one you choose, not the one chosen for you.

  • for those going through a separation or divorce – there is no shame to be felt. Be gentle with yourself – it just didn’t go as you had hoped
  • for those scorned by love – keep loving. Keep believing in love – if you don’t believe it can exist, it cannot find it’s way to your door
  • for those whose children are struggling with mental health issues – it’s not your fault, it is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s okay to talk about it and it’s okay to be frustrated by it.
  • it’s okay to love someone and not like them at the same time
  • it’s okay to want more – it’s not okay to punish others because you don’t have more
  • if you want something, you gotta do the work
  • if you want something, be okay with being scared
  • no one, I mean no one has all their shit together.

Stop comparing your life to the lives of others. Right now I am back at my old job. Shoe sales. My old employer asked me to come back, so I did. On my terms, with a schedule that works best for me. When I was first offered the position I thought “what will people say?” …then I remembered the opinions of others don’t pay my bills. My life is my life. Your life is your life. We are all just trying to get through and trying to matter.

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Stop trying to be good. Feel the fright, embrace it and find your path. Plain and simple.