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.

 

health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

Sunday Confessions

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

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

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

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

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

As of late everyone seems to be saying the same thing. Everyone wonders what is happening in the world. Between what is happening in the U.S.A., Brexit, the debate of the existence of Climate Change (which is a real thing), we all seem to be lost, wondering which road to take, which side to stand on and wishing for a simpler time.

A few weeks ago, while my beloved and I were discussing such topics, he said “Remember Little House on the Prairie? It was a great show. That is what family and community should be about.”. That’s when a thought transpired in my mind. I looked at him and said “If that’s the world you want, you can have it”. He looked at me like I had three heads and was speaking in Mandarin. I clarified my thought for him, just as I am going to do for you. When our actions are based in kindness, kindness will spread. When we speak with truth, truth will spread. When are intentions come from a place of light and love, light and love will spread. It’s inevitable. When we face our fear, be it of saying the wrong thing or trying something out of our comfort zone, the fear slowly disappears. We lead by example, to our children, to our family, to our coworker, even to strangers we pass on the street. Speaking your truth not only sets you free, it can unlock the shackles of others.

We have no control of the world entire, nor do we have any control over the actions and words of others. What we do have control over is our own words and actions. The simplest of actions can make the biggest impact.

  • Hold the door open for a stranger.
  • Help an elderly person get their groceries in their car.
  • Offer your child a ride to school or work.
  • Leave a love note in your spouse’s lunch.
  • Call a friend just to say hello.
  • Send flowers, to anyone, just because.
  • When someone is speaking to you, look them in the eye and be present. When you are overwhelmed and someone needs your attention, kindly say “I want to be here for  you, I need a minute.”.
  • When you are feeling unheard, do not get angry. Tell the person you are speaking to “I need your attention. This is important to me”.
  • Support others achievements, never dismiss them. Someone tells you they have decided to be clown, celebrate it. …I however will be in the back of the room for I hate clowns, but I will still be there, cheering them on…from afar.
  • Listen and respect the opinions of others, for you want others to listen and respect yours. You do not have to agree with them. …more often than not, if you take the time to listen, you will find the root of their opinion and maybe, just maybe, you can help shed some light on their lack of information and leave them with something to ponder. …or they may do the same for you.
  • Be grateful, even if your day feels like a shit show. Be grateful. If you can walk, talk and wipe your own ass…that’s a pretty good day.

Create the world you want to see. Plain and simple.

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

Sunday Confessions

 

zzzzzzz….oh sorry about that. Yours truly is tired. Over the past few days I was trying to figure out why I have been so tired. We bought a new mattress and treated ourselves to My Pillow – the BEST pillow investment I have ever made and I have been sleeping through the night most nights. Hey, 4 out of 7 sleep through the night sleeps is pretty great for me. Over the past 6 years I was lucky to get one good night’s sleep.

After I washed the dishes, emptied the garbage – psstt…I have a superpower, it seems I am the only one in the house that can see a full garbage can, did a load of laundry, drove my girl to the bank then to work, got me some new jeans…dropped a size thank you very much, went to the grocery store and the drug store, got home and put away said groceries and toiletries I went out and cut the grass. While putting away the lawn mover I realized why I am  tired. I have been doing everything and forgetting to delegate household chores and I have not been asking for help.

As most women do, we shoulder everything. In some circumstances, we are left no choice, for unfortunately there are partners and children who are oblivious or plain asses. More often than not, we have generous, thoughtful partners and children who only want what is best for us. It is up to us to tell them what is best for us. We teach people how to treat us Beauties. If you are waiting for your husband to wake up and his first thought to be “gotta scrub that toilet today” or hoping your child will walk into the kitchen thinking “gotta get to that floor”, you are going to waiting a long time. Sorry to say, the second coming of Christ is probably going to occur before your desired household wishes.

Here’s the deal. It’s not all up to you. It is alright to ask for help. Stop raking yourself over the coals for not being Martha Stewart, or Mrs. Brady or whomever you compare yourself. Life is messy and far from perfect, so why do you think you should be. Floors get sticky. Dust bunnies procreate at the speed of light. Laundry piles up. Dinners are thrown together with whatever looks and still smells okay.The world will not open up and swallow you whole if you don’t finish your “to do” list. If you need help, ask for it. If your tired, rest. The grass needs mowing but your new Instyle arrived, sit yourself down and read that magazine, the grass will be there tomorrow, I promise. Oh, and if you happen to drop a jean size, be like me and treat yourself to some McDonald’s.

Beauty, Sunday Confessions, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

 

As you may have noticed, last Sunday yours truly didn’t go to confession. At the beginning of August, I celebrated my 46th. birthday. It was a lovely day filled with beautiful birthday wishes and a few lovely surprises. This year I decided to give myself a present – the gift of time. That morning while sitting in my garden with my coffee, I vowed to myself and the cardinal sitting on my fence (whom I firmly believe is my Gramma Leah flying in to check on me) that I was going to give myself one day off a week. A day that wasn’t filled with laundry, cooking, cleaning, being my daughter’s private Uber service, running errands…you name it…I wasn’t going to do it. Being a wife and mother, I, as most of us do, take on every task, large or small, and wear ourselves thin. Our patience and our focus  lands on the back burner and in the end, we, our families and friends and even our dinner gets burned.

The first week, I gotta admit was tough. I had to keep telling myself, out loud, to slow down. I had to remind myself that the grocery store will still be there the next day and that left overs or takeout for dinner will not create the demise of my family. The second week it was much easier – of course it was the long weekend so I felt like I had a get out of jail free card. I woke up last Sunday morning, poured my cup of joe into my Mama Bird birthday mug and planted myself in my garden. I watched the bees buzzing, listened to the breeze in the trees and said hello to the cardinal – I’m telling you, it’s my Gramma Leah. Every morning she shows up within 5 feet of me, chirping away. It’s been happening for over 2 years now. Every morning, there is a cardinal chirping at me. I sat there for a while, then went inside, walked past the pile of dishes waiting by the sink, poured another cup of coffee and planted myself in front of my puzzle. Yes, my puzzle. I have loved puzzles since I was a kid, so I treated myself to a new one for the summer of 2018. This one will probably take me the whole summer to complete. In my infinite wisdom I purchased a 2000 piece Van Gogh’s Starry Night puzzle…and have now learned I need glasses.

My day continued as such, working on my puzzle, listening to music, laughing with my family, sitting in my garden having a Palm Bay. These events were on repeat all day, and it was wonderful. My hubby washed the dishes that were waiting on the counter and ordered Skip the Dishes for dinner …a dangerous thing this Skip the Dishes – getting to eat your favorite restaurant food in the comfort of your pajamas.

Here’s the deal. I know all to well that life gets in the way of best laid plans. Kids get sick. Pets get sprayed by skunks. Cars break down. Shift changes at work. The list is endless, I know. Carve some time out for yourself, put your name in your weekly agenda, make an appointment with yourself. Do a puzzle, get your nails done, read a book or simply sit in your garden. Making yourself a priority will make you a better person, for yourself and for those around you. Plain and Simple.

Beauty, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat

Monday Motivator

Today’s post is later in the day than usual, I know. It’s Monday and the better part of my day was promised to my family. An out of town lunch date with my girl and her Amma, my mother in law. (When she was a wee girl she came up with calling her gramma “Amma” and it stuck). Morning schedules were adjusted, emails delayed, only one cup of coffee and we were off. Being the summer and living in Ontario, we ran into construction and road closures, and with each kilometer the humidex rose little by little. I however was able to keep my cool, thanks to the A/C in my car and AG Hair’s FrizzProof.

This gem from AG Hair Care is a MUST HAVE for summer tresses. AG FrizzProof locks out frizz by creating an invisible, weightless shield over your hair. Even if the humidex reaches 40 degrees Celsius (104 fahrenheit) you can be sure that your hair will remain frizz free and your style silky, shiny and smooth. With it’s 2/5 hold factor it is the perfect addition to ensuring your desired style will hold true.

A few FAB! features of AG FrizzProof Argan Anti Humidity Finishing Spray;

  • enriched with Argan Oil *Sustainably sourced, fair-trade, organic Moroccan Argan Oil
  • contains Copolymers that deliver a humidity resistant light hold with high shine that rinses out easily without leaving any build up on your hair.
  • retains your style – leaves your hair silky, shiny and smooth
  • formulated for all hair types
  • Color safe
  • BEST OF ALL – the Argan oil is farmed and produced by the women of the Berber tribe, enabling them to have financial independence and in turn gives them the ability to provide for their families and educate their children

This is a finishing spray, which means you should apply it to your hair once you have completed styling it, be it curly, wavy or straight and after you have applied any other styling products you may be using. Once you have your desired style, spray all over your hair and VOILA! You and your tresses are good to go!

*a little tip from That Girl in the Red Coat – use this gem all year round. We tend to associate humidity with the summer. Humidity can rear it’s head during the other seasons too. Using a humidity resistant spray can ensure a frizz free hair day, everyday.