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

Sunday Confessions

 

At least once a day, I have the thought or hear myself saying out loud “I should blog about that.”. Many of the topics did not pertain to beauty per say, so I wasn’t quite sure on how to go about it.  Yesterday, I was thinking of one of my most popular posts  https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/06/09/sunday-confession/

and yours truly had another AHA! moment….don’t you just love when that happens? Start a Sunday Confessions series…funny how the universe works, since I wrote Sunday Confession in June of 2013, and 5 years later, the idea for Sunday Confessions came about in June. My goal for Sunday Confessions is to bring light to the dark, to talk about all those things that people don’t talk about at parties. We all, at one point or another have felt tired, scared, unworthy, ugly, you name it, we have all felt it. By no means I am the guru on the mount, I am a woman who is, in the words of June Carter Cash, “just trying to matter.”.

I know that owning your truth will set you free, and I gotta practice what I preach. My Sunday confession this week is, yours truly is smoking again. Yes, it’s true. Since the tender age of 16, I have been a smoker. On and off for over 30 years. A crutch that I put away in the closet, that I bring out from time to time. I quit smoking when I was pregnant (24 years old) and gave it up completely until my daughter was 6 months old. My Grandpa Jack passed away when my daughter was 2 months old and my Grandpa Clarence passed away when my daughter was 4 months old, my husband was helping his mother with his father’s estate, we were buying our first home and well, I needed a crutch. Fast forward 3 years, at 28 I quit smoking when going through my first thyroid cyst scare…finding a lump will do that. I stayed smoke free for over 12 years…I did have a few during the funeral when my beloved Gramma Leah passed away, other than that, not a drag for over 12 years. Those familiar with my tales know of my hubby’s heart attack and health issues, and the obstacles my beautiful daughter has faced. That accompanied with financial stresses, loss a job, gain of a job followed by another loss of a job, loved ones health struggles, hell, life in general, I opened up the closet door and pulled out my old crutch. By no means am I putting the blame on them for puffing away again – the decision to smoke is completely on me. I know I may be receiving some calls and messages from my friends and loved ones after admitting this, of this I am sure. I am hoping for these notes of concern will be ones of support, not ridicule, for I am a firm believer of not kicking someone when they are down. I am well aware that smoking is bad for me, for my health, the major reason I know I have to quit, and not put that crutch back in the closet, but burn that sucker. One of the reasons for this confession is by no longer hiding the fact I am smoking will in turn help me to quit. Making myself accountable for my own actions, plain and simple.

The purpose for this Sunday Confession is to, pardon my french, own my shit, because if don’t own your shit, your shit is going to own you. Also, to give myself and you permission to admit a fault or a fall without guilt or shame. We all have struggles and insecurities. Some, like me mask it with a cigarette. Some mask it with alcohol, some with gambling. For some it’s posting only the perfect pictures to Facebook and Instagram. Maybe for you it’s always redecorating your home, or having your hair and makeup picture perfect before you dare leave your house. What ever it may be, we all have crutch, and there is no shame in owning that we do. The only shame to be felt is when you are not being honest with yourself – there is no beauty in that. We are all on a journey, we are all in search of something, we all are just trying to matter. We need to focus on what matters to ourselves, and I believe once we do that, everything will fall into place and be as it should. Whatever is bringing you shame, admit it, own it and it will no longer own you. Plain and Simple.

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, Women

Shelf Talk

“Retail doesn’t work.”. “People aren’t buying our products.”. “Everyone sells product, so why should we?”. “Our product just sits on the shelves.”. These common phrases are a sampling of what I have heard over the past 25 years and I am here today to tell you that although this mentality is the norm, it is far from the truth. I have been in sales and customer service for over 25 years and the truth is, nothing sells itself. Nothing.

Many Salon owners have the same concern, that the Salon revenue is down, or the Salon is not generating enough revenue. Ladies and gents, adding retail and selling retail has the potential to cover all expenses, your hydro bill, your lease payment, even your payroll. It can. I know this because I have seen it first hand. In a town of 125000 people, with over 100 salons to compete with, I ran a shop that in a slow month sold over $18000.00 of retail product.

First and foremost, you must stop worrying and focusing on what other Salons are doing and focus on your business. Secondly, you have to sell the product. The packaging may look pretty on the shelf, if your clients do not know why those products will help them manage their hair and have a great hair day in between visits, those bottles are going to continue to look pretty on the shelf. Explain to your customers and clients the benefits of the products you are selling. Teach them how to use them. Taking an extra 10 minutes can save your client hours of anguish in front of their mirror at home, keep your relationship with them in good standing and open the door to new clients for you and the Salon. When people hear of good customer service, word spreads fast. …I have been out of the shop for over 2 years, I still have women messaging me via Facebook, stopping me at the grocery store, at the bank, even at the local shop I was working for asking me “Are you that girl that helps everyone get the right product for their hair?”.

I can hear it now “…I don’t want to seem pushy.”. Giving your client the proper product to protect their hair and enable them to feel good about their hair and their reflection is not being pushy. Protecting their hair and your hard work is not being pushy. You are helping your client protect their investment in themselves, and in turn, protecting your reputation as a stylist. Remember this, your clients are your advertising. They leave the Salon feeling like they could walk the runway, without the proper products at home, within a few days they are feeling like they should runaway. Trust me, if a bad hair day is happening, sooner or later, the stylist is blamed. Selling your clients products to use at home ensures they love their hair and your relationship with them and your reputation remains intact.

Another common phrase “…they just spent $150.00 on their service. They can’t afford to spend more.”. First, don’t do that. You do not know what someone can or can’t afford, assuming anything of anyone is rude, plain and simple. …remember the scene in Pretty Woman?…you don’t want to be like those shop girls. It is up to your client to decide what they can or cannot afford. It is up to you to explain the value. If your client does not understand the value of the product and the importance of the product, they are not able to make an informed decision. Something to remember, you just spent 2-4 hours of your day working on their $150.00 service, selling them the proper products to use at home protects their investment and your hard work.

 

Sign on the shelves look great, unfortunately they are not always read. Shelf talkers beside the products are fun to look at, they do not speak. More often than not, people want help, they are afraid to ask because of a fear of looking or sounding stupid. There are so many products out there, and to the untrained eye, all the bottles look the same. It’s up to us to take a moment or two and ask the simple question “What can I help you with today?”.

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

…speaking of Beauty

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, it seems that beauty is all around us. Everyone has beautiful hair, beautiful clothes, beautiful vacation destinations, beautiful homes, hell, even beautiful pets. Being on the cusp of 46 years in this earthly realm, I know that everything you see and everything you hear may not always be true. Unfortunately , being bombarded by all these pictures, posts and hashtags on a daily basis, many women I know and hold dear to my heart are feeling less than beautiful. Feeling like they don’t measure up or feel like they are missing out or made the wrong life choices, be it marriage or their new hair style. All of this came to a head for yours truly a few days ago when I was chatting with my daughter. She is now 21 and going through what we all did at 21. Trying to figure out where our lives will lead. Wondering what path is the correct path to take. Feeling like the only person in the world going through this strife. Wondering why everyone else seems to have it all together. Wondering what’s wrong with me?

As we were chatting, the conversation came around to social media…being a parent of a millennial, this is a constant issue. I reminded her, as I have to remind myself, that people don’t post the ugly, only the pretty. I posed her the question I have posed to many others, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if more people posted and spoke of the ugly?”. One of the many reasons I am proud of my girl is she is honest with her posts, be it her achievements or her struggles. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there, warts and all, and I for one believe people should be applauded for it. I also told her, much to her chagrin, that those feelings will pop up many times over the course of her life, that they are not only a factor of being 21. What she, and we all need to focus on is what matters most. Our inner beauty, for it doesn’t matter how coiffed our hair is or how we achieved the perfect smoky eye if our soul and our mind cannot see it, or feel the wonder that is us.

At some time in our lives, we have all felt fat. We have all felt ugly. We have all shrugged at our reflection under the horrible lighting in the change room. We have all felt our stomach drop when invited to a pool party knowing we have to put on a bathing suit. We have all burnt dinner. We have all yelled at our kids for something that was not their fault. We have all dismissed our spouses. We have all “forgotten” to call our parents. We have all lost our shit. Speaking from personal experience, all of the above happened when I was focusing outward, not inward. Think of it this way, you remodel your bathroom, it is Pinterest worthy. If the plumbing wasn’t put in correctly…it ain’t so pretty. I came across a great passage courtesy of Iain Thomas…

“…and every day. The world will drag you by the hand, yelling “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!”

And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it to your heart and say “No. This is what is important.”.

Comparison is the thief of joy Beauties. There is no comfort in that. Where there is comfort is in our commonality, in our stories of short comings and how we overcame them, in speaking of the ugliness that came along with pulling ourselves out of the mud, how we brushed off the dirt to find we were fresh and clean underneath.

As for all the pictures and posts you will see today, see them for what they are. Moments. Be happy for others achievements. Celebrate their moment of happiness. Remember, we are all just trying to get through the day, and most of all, be your own beautiful. In the end, in the wee small hours of the morning, that is all that really matters, what you think of you and how you feel about yourself.

In the immortal words of  L.M. Montgomery’s character Anne Shirley “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”.

 

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

Bringing light to the dark

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

 

Lately, during conversations with friends and loved ones alike, I have found myself thinking, some times even stating out loud, “if more people spoke of the ugly, the world would be a beautiful place.”. What’s the “ugly” you ask? Fear. Anxiety. Depression. Anger. Panic. Addiction. …to name a few. The “beautiful place” being we would all realize that we have more in common then we do not. I cannot count how many times in the last few months I have heard someone say “Really? You went through this too?”, “You mean my kid isn’t the only one?”, “You mean you have had money troubles too?”, “You’ve felt like you were failing as a parent? I thought it was just me!”.

It’s time to start to bring some light to the darkness of our lives. It’s time to start talking about those things you don’t talk about at party’s. It’s time to stop being ashamed and start being empowered. I can tell you, right now, a friend is looking at your Instagram or Facebook wishing their life was as full as yours and their family as happy as yours – all the while, you are trying to figure out how you are going to pay your mortgage this month, or hoping that your child finds the right therapist to help them, and no one is the wiser. After years of trying to keep up with the Joneses, the Kardashians, you name it, I was tired, mentally, emotionally and physically. So, as scary as it was, I stopped trying to be perfect, stopped acting like everything was coming up roses and just let my life be what is was. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes it was sad. Many days had their hiccups and many were smooth sailing. One thing was certain, I sure as hell wasn’t as tired. Life, parenting, marriage, work can be tiring enough, why add more to get less? For all of you out there;

  • it’s okay not to like your kids. You love them, you don’t always have to like how they are behaving
  • it’s okay to understand why animals sometimes eat their young
  • it’s okay if you don’t see your parents every weekend. They had kids and a life before you – they get it. Deep down, they get it
  • you are not the only parent worried about their child
  • at least two people you know have children that are struggling as yours is – be it with their studies, their friends or their mental health
  • just because your friends are world travelers does not mean they can afford it
  • more people have financial strain than don’t.
  • we have all felt like getting in our cars, changing our names and living the vida loca

 

It’s time for uncomfortable conversations – especially for those of us who chose marriage. More often than not, in my own marriage, the problems I thought we had and the problems my hubby thought we had weren’t even in the same realm.

  • your spouse is not your psychic friend. You need to tell them what you need and what you want
  • before thinking for your husband, ask him what he is thinking. Trust me, it’s never what you think it is and usually has to do with food.
  • Gents – if you think your wife is mad at you, ask her if she is. I know. I know. It’s like I am asking you to go into the snake pit. Most of the time, if your wife seems ticked – it’s not about you. Hell, he could be sitting there thinking you are sighing so much because you are mad at him all the while you are mad at windows 10 and their damn automated updates.
  • after hearing of others marriage/relationship woes, remember those are their problems, not yours. Try not to make their problems your own. …just because your bff’s hubby hides that he surf’s porn doesn’t mean yours does.
  • if you truly are not happy, you need to talk about that. Maybe you will stay together, maybe you won’t. If love, respect and honesty are there, it will always work out.
  • remember that your 10% may be their 100% and vice versa.

 

What you may see as a short coming, others may see as an achievement. Admitting your fears may help another face their own. Being true to yourself may allow another to do the same. We give children a night light so the darkness doesn’t seem as scary, so why not give ourselves a night light of our own?

 

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

Making time

 

Over the past year, those familiar with my tales by now have noticed that yours truly hasn’t been posting much. This is true. Last August, the Salon/retail shop I managed closed, so I no longer had my daily escapades at the shop to write about, nor was I privy to all the latest and greatest hair products coming down the turnpike. I found myself wondering where my blog was going to go…was it going to choose it’s new path or was I going to choose it? What would I write about? What do I have to say? – which is hilarious to those who know me, since I always have something to say. I went through my archives, 5 years worth and found the tales with the most impact were those of kindness, of life, of riding the rollercoaster of parenthood, of the gifts bestowed upon us when the shit hits the fan and we think “This is it. This is how it ends.”. So, yours truly has decided to change it up a bit. More often than not, my tales are going to reflect the above, and hopefully shed some light on a dull day, add some laughter to your life and to let you know that you are not alone…and hopefully, get some heads out of some asses. Here we go.

 

“People who truly care about you will make you a priority”. “If your friend is truly your friend, you would get a text back”. “People make time for people they want in their lives”. Everyday, at least once a day on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, you name it, I see the following quotes or some rendition of them. I find them to be passive aggressive and quite honestly, stupid. Yeah, I said it. Passive aggressive because if said person means so much to you, you wouldn’t be posting quotes, you would be at their front door asking them “What’s up?” or to physically check that they were alive and in good health – physically and emotionally. Stupid because, what are we, 12 years old talking shit behind the school? Come on.

I have just celebrated my 45th. year in this earthly realm. On my Birthday I found myself looking back on the past 5 years – not just reflecting on my blog, but on my life. Over the past 5 – 6 years, my beloved hubby had a heart attack, my dear ol’ Dad had a heart attack, both suffered from Afib (atrial fibrillation), both had health issues and physical issues due to their heart medication, I was raising a teenager who was facing obstacles of her own with self image, mental health etc… . I was (and still am) building my brand, the business I managed for 5 years closed, oh yes, and I still had a household to run and all that entails – making sure bills were paid, mouths were fed and clothes were clean, just to name a few. Any spare time I had, I used to go to the bathroom. So yeah, the quotes about those who are important you make time for kinda piss me off because I was making time for those who were important to me. Yes, many of my friendships fell on the backburner. Just because I cancelled plans or didn’t text back the exact second I received their text did not mean I wasn’t thinking of them, wondering how they were. It didn’t mean I loved them any less. I was a little overwhelmed and sometimes just keeping my head above water. As a Mom, you have to be strong for your child, even when you think you have no strength left. As a wife who still adores her husband after 23 years, you must be calm and reassuring when all you want to do is cry and freak out when the love of your life is on his 10th hospital visit to the E.R. because of chest pain. (the upside to all those visits was I was able to help my Mom and my Dad when he went through the same thing).

More often than not, when someone isn’t keeping in touch as much as you would like, it has nothing to do with you. Many of my dearest friends have admitted to me that they weren’t telling me their problems, or were “keeping it light” because they knew how busy I was and how emotionally and physically spent I was and didn’t want to add to my load. To me, that is one of the kindest actions – to realize someone you care about is carrying as much as they can handle, so why add more weight.

Here’s the deal. Life is messy and gets in the way. Sometimes you get a call, sometimes you gotta make the call. Some texts are answered, some are not. If you miss someone – call them, go to their house with a coffee and a smile. If you feel out of touch with someone, decide this – do you see them in your life 5 years from now? If the answer is yes – seek them out and rectify the situation. If the answer is no, well, there’s your answer. Leave well enough alone and hope for the best. It’s all you can do. Plain and Simple.

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

…there isn’t an App for that

  My view this morning.

Over the past months, speaking with countless ladies and gents of all ages, there has been one striking commonality. Everyone seems to be wanting. Wanting appreciation. Wanting to be seen. Wanting to be heard. Wanting a better job. Wanting a better life. You name it, someone wants it. Unfortunately, all these wants are wanted NOW and most cannot understand why it doesn’t happen as fast as they can snap their fingers. Being a parent of a “millennial”, I have had many an interesting conversation, debate or all out argument over this exact phenomenon. So, today Ladies and Gents, boys and girls, I am going to tell you what I have told my daughter (I can feel the eye roll), …”there’s not an App for that.”.

Think about it for a minute. Gone are the days of the waiting list for the one encyclopedia at the library you need to complete a paper. Need facts? You can pick up your phone and Google it. No more lines at the card catalogue with pencil and scrap piece of paper in hand to write down the Dewey Decimal number to retrieve the book you need. Looking for a book? Your local library’s web site can do it for you as you pick up your pre ordered Mochachinofrappalatte. No more pining over that shirt you had to have, but were too late deciding and now it’s been sold. Hop onto amazon and have it to your door by tomorrow. Remember the weekends as a kid? Wondering if someone was home? Trying to call but the line was busy, so you kept trying every two minutes to see if it would ring through to the other end as your parents bellowed “Get off the DAMN phone!!!”. Today, surf your Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and not only can kids find out who’s home or where their friends “are at”, you can also know what they had for breakfast, what they are wearing today and how unfair they are being treated at home because their Mom asked them to ….gasp…empty the garbage.

Here’s the deal. You want something out of life? You gotta do the work. No App is going to clean your house, or change the oil in your car. No App is going to mend a broken heart or take back an unkind word. Sometimes, you will not get a text back as soon as you send it, it’s okay. Maybe the textee had a bad curry for lunch and is tormented in the bathroom and just doesn’t want to share “whassup”…yet. I am sure you will hear about it on Facebook or god help us, see it on Instagram.

They say that whenever you get a “like” or a text, dopamine in released. Guess what? It’s released in other ways too. Before you get up on your soapboxes, yes, I realize I am blogging, and yes, I realize I share this on Facebook and other sites. Yes, I post pics of the cookies I made on Instagram …I also hand deliver said cookies to share with those who see them. I physically go and see people and I look them in the eye when I speak to them, face to face…not to be confused with Facetime. Dopamine sans technology my friends.

Life gets in the way. Trains are late. Flights are delayed. Emails go unanswered. The only thing you have complete control over is yourself, so why not make it as enjoyable as possible? Set up a little corner with your favorite things that make you happy and bring back the warm fuzzies. Go outside and look around, not for anything in particular, just look. Surprise a friend with a coffee…without your phone in hand. Hand deliver a Birthday wish instead of making Facebook do all the work. Try to live every moment and laugh everyday. Plain and simple.

 

 

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

The choice is yours

A few years ago I received a sign for my office from my girl, with many positive affirmations collaged together. The one that sticks out the most to me is “Happiness is a choice you make everyday”. So very true, so easy to remember yet so easily forgotten.

Over the past weeks I have heard the following from friends, family and the people I see everyday;

  • I’d be happier if he was nicer
  • I’d be happier if I got a raise
  • I’d be happier if my child behaved in public
  • I’d be happier if people kept their opinions to themselves
  • I’d be happier if I got to see my friend’s more
  • I’d be happier if I had more help around the house
  • Etc… etc… etc…

It seems everyone wants to be happier, but doesn’t want to do the work. Trust me. I know. It is easier to put the blame of our woes on someone else’s behaviour. Been there, done that. Try my best not to do that anymore. For no one, anywhere, wants to look in the mirror, take a long hard look at themselves and admit a fault. …but darlin’, ya gotta. There is no magic happiness pill, no happiness potion, no mystery man arriving at your doorstep with your package of happiness waiting to be unwrapped, it’s all up to you. Before you get all upset or weepy, I do know that life throws curveballs, of this I am certain. There will be illnesses, job losses, flat tires, spilled coffee, baby spit up on your shoulder that you missed, but the President of the company did not. There will be bad hair days, bloated days, adult acne days ….by the way…what kind of sick cosmic joke is that? We cannot control what happens to us or around us. We can control how we decide to let it affect us. We can control how long a harsh word gets to live in our head rent free.  Have your head spin around and spew venom because the dishes weren’t done or the garbage emptied, or don’t. The decision is yours.

Happiness can be created anywhere, anytime. It can.

  • Had a hard day at work and still have to go to the grocery store? Buy an extra canned good or two and drop in it the food bank donation bin.
  • Your teenager is making you crazy and you are at your wits end over the useless arguments…go look at their baby pictures, their saved school artwork…remind yourself of the love there.
  • Just a long, stupid day? Get yourself some instant cocoa, grab your favorite mug and top that baby off with some whipped cream. …sprinkles too if it the day really kicked your ass.
  • Make a Jello. My gramma Leah always told me that. This way whenever you look in the fridge, you can be reminded that you made something that day and accomplished something.
  • Make some cookies or muffins and deliver them to a neighbour or friend, for no reason. Just to do it. Trust me, 9 out of 10 times, they are in dire need of a glimpse of happiness and a the touch of kindness.
  • Send a joke to a friend.
  • Share a you tube video with a friend, reminding them of a memory you share.
  • Post a joke on your Facebook wall in the morning…it will make someone’s day.

Doing for others is doing for yourself. Making others feel good will make you feel good. Carrying happiness with you will allow happiness to spread to those you are around. Plain and simple.

bubbles