Beauty, communication, Fashion, Hair Care, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women

Lost and Found

I hear the all too familiar chirp of the shop’s door, I look up from my orders to say hello and before I can utter a sound I hear “Well! Look at you!”. …with the right side of my head being shaved and a magenta swoop down the side, it is safe to say I am quite used to this… I smiled and said “Hey! Nice to see you again.”. I asked my customer if she needed my help. She did, so I showed her where the product was that she was looking for, carried it to the counter, asked if there was anything else she needed that day and began to ring through her purchases, all the while she was staring at my head and when I would catch her eye, her smirk would disappear. As we were waiting for her debit to connect, she looked me straight in the eye and said “Wow. Your Hair. Aren’t you looking very Neapolitan.”. I just smiled, reminded myself not to show it on my face, and told her to have a nice afternoon.

Now, in a perfect world, she would have meant I resembled a Mediterranean beauty, but knowing that my skin is whiter than preschool paste, and she was sporting a ponytail and yoga pants (with not a yoga studio within 20kms) I knew it was a crack at my hair color. For those of you a little lost …my hair is blonde, pink and brown and some find it to resemble Neapolitan ice cream. After she left, I found myself giggling. Yes, a little at her small view of the world and herself, but mostly at me and how far I had come. Before the age of 24, I was head strong and quite opinionated yet always fair and kind. I was referred to as “spunky” on more than one occasion and also as a tough broad – a true compliment in my book. You see, somewhere between 24 and 37 I lost myself.  I used to be the woman that after hearing that wise crack about my hair would have been floored and would have run to the closest mirror trying to see what she saw and thinking I should change my hair, and think I was stupid for even trying something new. I used to let the opinions of others control my decisions and would allow their words to hurt me. I wore my hair short because everyone told me to, it made my face “slimmer”. I wore clothes that were clothes “Mother’s should wear”…what ever the hell that means…I still don’t know. Hell, I even carried a purse I hated and wore shoes that weren’t cute and sparkly like I wanted to, because of some dumb ass comment someone made.

I remember when it began to change, or when I began to change. Actually, I didn’t change. I returned to myself. I was 37. It was December 2009 and I had my hysterectomy. That Christmas was low key, as I was physically unable to perform my yearly Christmas miracles. No cookies were made. Gifts were at a minimum. The only Christmas décor to be seen was our tree. Many had an opinion about my lack of Christmas spirit. Some actually were put out that they wouldn’t be receiving my cookies that year. You know what? I really didn’t care about what they thought. I was too relieved knowing that the 11cm x 21cm x 14cm fibroid was not cancer, and that it had not attached itself to any vital organs. I was too happy to have a week with my husband – our girl still had a week before Christmas vacation and hubby was able to be home with me. I still remember the two of us laughing at the fact we had just had an hour long conversation without an interruption – the first time in 12 years. In those conversations I started to feel like myself, and started to remember who I was. It’s amazing what you realize when you take a moment to be still. …try to do it without having to have surgery.

Fast forward to present day. I dress how I want. I own cute shoes with sparkly bows. I wear heels whenever and wherever I want. I have a cute purse. I own more than one red coat – depending on the weather and the season, a girl has to be prepared. I try new things – be it a new flavour of coffee or a new route home. I say yes to my life more than I say no. I no longer give my time away. I color my hair the way I like. I cut my hair and style my hair the way I like. Today, my wish for you, is that you begin to say yes to you, more than you say no. If you are lost, you begin to be found.

I would rather be Neapolitan than vanilla any day 😉

 

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

Unplugged

Today’s tale is for all who feel overwhelmed, myself included. I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and of course, here. I realized a few months ago, when I heard myself starting each conversation with “Did you see that picture on Pinterest?”, “I saw the funniest thing on Facebook!” or checking my stats on my twitter followers and blog views that I was spending a little too much time on my social media sites….that and the kink in my neck from looking down at screens.

As you all know, my Salon tales have taken me on many an adventure. I am the first to admit that when building a brand and a name for yourself – social media is key, it is a must. It is because of social media that I am where I am today and that many opportunities are ahead of me on my path. Sharing my tales via twitter and Facebook has connected me professionally to many companies and writing opportunities and in turn employment. Sharing my photo’s via Instagram has connected me to many of the companies I use, sell and blog about and they are now following me …on my sites…not down the streets. My professional Facebook page – That girl in the red coat has allowed my blog to reach a new audience. It also allows me to keep my professional and personal life separate, as separate as social media allows that is. I have the administrative rights to the shop’s Facebook page and it has increased our customer base and introduced clientele to our Salon. Social media can be an awesome tool for business, for keeping up with the latest and greatest and for connecting with friends and loved ones. What I came to realize is that too many of us are letting social media control us, instead of us controlling it. Myself included.

Signs you may need to unplug;

– while paying for your hairspray, you shriek “SHIT! Some girl on Facebook says I should be using something else!” – true story, actual words said to yours truly 2 weeks ago.

– you decide the latest “pin” on hair & beauty is a better choice for your new ‘do, as the last foil is placed by your stylist.

– the latest party you attended was via Facebook or twitter.

– you find yourself comparing your hair style to the hairstyles on Pinterest and feeling like you are a failure. – yes, another true story. I have a customer who said she feels stupid because she couldn’t do a “top knot” like the picture on Pinterest. Once I let her know I get round brushes stuck in my hair, she felt better.

– you find yourself wondering why you lost a random follower on twitter…enough said.

– your child’s first sentence is “where did I put my phone?”

 

My solution? Unplug. Turn them off. All your notifications will be there when you plug back in. All your “likes” will still be liked. All your tweets will once again chirp. Photos will be stored and will reappear. Messages will be put on hold awaiting your arrival. The earth will not split open and swallow you whole, I promise. Now, before you run for the Xanax, take a breath. Now another. I know that the thought of unplugging is scary, and for many of us, not as easy as it sounds during the work week. I have my phone and my laptop by my side during my work day, to check our shop’s Facebook page, answering emails, checking facts and product pages for myself and my customers and clients, online banking, etc… . What I have begun to do is turn them off at least an hour before my workday and at the end of  my work day, depending on the day I have my phone off by 8 p.m.. – if there is an emergency, those important to me have my number. Lets be serious here…most of our notifications and messages are not life altering or emergencies. Watching the kitten chasing the string and Kim Kardashian becoming a blonde can wait.

Once a week, usually on a weekend, I unplug. I turn off my wifi, my data, my phone and my laptop. At first it was a little strange. I found myself feeling like I forgot something. I found myself reaching for my phone beside me. Kind of like when you cut your hair. You reach up to put it back in a ponytail but it isn’t there. Now I find it liberating. My time is once again my own and my life once again my own. It is about me and my family and who I choose to spend my time with. It isn’t about who liked what, or who favorited or retweeted who, or who pinned what. I can catch up on shows with my daughter, or take her out to lunch. I have coffee with dear friends and have actual face time with them – no screens or Skype needed. I make the dishes from the recipes on Pinterest instead of just pinning them. I try out the latest hair products instead of reading about how to use them. I take photo’s of my own instead of just liking someone else’s. I take a walk. I take a nap.

Sometimes unplugging is the only way to recharge.

 

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

Picasso and the Art of the Consultation

Over the past weeks, many women have come into the shop in despair. Sure some of them were fretting over getting the exact shade of red polish that would go perfectly with their holiday attire. The women I am speaking of were the women that had hair styles they couldn’t style on their own or a new cut they couldn’t manage. When I asked them why they chose the style/cut, they all had the same answer, “the stylist told me it would be what was best for me.”. …alright now stylists, before you get all worked up, I know, trust me, that people can tend to over exaggerate  and that wires can be crossed during a conversation. This being said, when a proper consultation has been given, your client will walk out with an agreed upon style/cut and should have the tools and products with them as they leave the Salon, so that they can achieve the same look in between salon visits. Unfortunately, from the looks on the faces of the women I spoke to and by their hair resembling a Picasso, a proper consultation had not happened and the maintenance of their new look had not been explained.

This is a point I cannot stress enough to all educator’s, stylists, Salon managers and Salon owners – the client consultation is a VITAL part of the appointment/Salon visit. I have seen and heard the stylist’s at our Salon spend up to 30 minutes discussing their client’s hair and the look they are hoping to achieve. It’s amazing what you can find out with a simple consultation.

– you may find out that your client is taking medication, which can affect the outcome of the color process.

– you may find out that your client hates how dry her hair is because of all the perms she has had because someone told her that was the only way to get volume at the roots. While offering to add a conditioning treatment to her service this would be a great time to introduce her to a root lift like Big Sexy Root Pump Plus

-you may find out that your client has arthritis, so maybe that straight edge bob that requires a flat iron  everyday may not be the best cut for her.

– you may find out that your client is in the midst of a chemo regime and her hair is more fragile, so maybe a perm isn’t the best option, today.

– you may find out that your client is the caregiver to a loved one who is ill, so she doesn’t have much time to fuss with her hair. Introduce her to a Dry Shampoo, like Quantum’s Refresher Spray. A powder free spray that makes the hair look freshly washed for those days that become too much.

– you may find out that your client has skin sensitivities or allergies, which in turn can help you make sure to use a gentler shampoo and a styling product that has less fragrance. * A great option is KMS Head Remedy Sensitive Shampoo.

– you may find out that your client is recently separated and unsure of herself and her looks, so maybe chopping off her shoulder length hair into a pixie cut may not be her best option, today.

– you may find out that your client has a severe gluten sensitivity, so you need to be careful which products you use. *Alterna Bamboo is a gluten free line

– you may find out that your client’s kids have just gotten over a lice outbreak, a perfect time to teach her about preventive measures, for herself and the kids. * Tea Tree is a natural lice repellent – Paul Mitchell has a lovely Tea Tree line including styling products.

– you may find out that your client has been losing her hair because of illness or stress, and feels that cutting it off is her only option. What a great opportunity to educate her on hair loss and to give her hope and a style that makes her feels beautiful. * NIOXIN – a great product line to stop hair loss in it’s tracks – in my opinion, a must have product for any Salon

A consultation is a great way to find out what styling tools your client already owns, what products they currently use, if your client is capable of achieving the same look at home and the consultation is a great way to add retail to the service. With a proper consultation, you know what your client wants, your client will know what they are getting and how much effort or how little effort will need to be applied to their new style, and you, the stylist, get to feel like Picasso…you have just made someone’s world a little more beautiful.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Don’t ask…don’t get.

“Every time I try to find a new hair stylist the first thing I ask them is “What cut would you give me?”. Then they always say the wrong thing so I get up and leave.”. Yes, ladies and gents, this is something I have heard not one but many women say. It has to be one of the dumbest phrases uttered in my presence and believe me, I have heard some pretty stupid stuff. These are the same women who do the same thing to their husbands/boyfriends/partners and complain that they are not happy…ever. First of all, unless your stylist is Dionne Warwick or an operator at the Psychic Network, it is impossible for them to know what cut you have envisioned in your pretty little head. Second, what is this? Third grade? Talk about setting someone up to fail. That is rude and just plain mean, and stupid. Which brings me to today’s tale or lesson if you will. I have been married over 17 years and every once and a while I fall off the wagon and start blaming my lovely hubby for my malcontent and it is not his fault. The fault is mine and I am just looking for someone else other than myself to blame. (He is LOVING that I am admitting this.).

In this life, we all want to be seen. We all want to heard. We all want to look great and feel great and have people notice us. We all want to be happy. One thing we all seem to forget is that we are in charge of our own happiness, no one else is. Every day I hear women slamming their husbands/boyfriends/partners, that they aren’t helpful enough, that they aren’t “present” or “involved” enough. I have even heard a woman complain her husband locks the bathroom door, she doesn’t understand why he feels he has to lock the bathroom door when he is taking a shit. Hey lady. Question for ya…you want the door unlocked when you are waxing your upper lip?

Ladies (and gents), if you want help, you must ask for it. If you want something, you must ask for it. There isn’t a stylist on earth that can guess you want to be a redhead, you must tell them. No man on earth is going to see a woman at a washing machine and ask if she needs help sorting the whites and the colors. Nor when he sees a bottle of Comet on the counter will he stop and think “Hey…maybe I should clean the toilet.”. It ain’t gonna happen. He will not notice that you have changed your blonde highlights from light golden brown to medium golden brown…ease up.  If at any time you have frowned at flowers or a gift, you have now solidified in his mind to never do that again. No offense to my lovely gents but you are simple creatures. Admit it, you know damn well that if you brought a woman carnations and she pouted at them, in your mental safety checklist that insures you will still get laid you put a check beside “carnations bad – never buy again”. Not to let anyone down and for future reference, here is a little list for you to refer to.

– when you want your cut a certain way, bring in a picture and ask the stylist if they can help you achieve the desired look. Do not hold the picture behind your back and offer a greater tip if they can guess what hairstyle you are holding in your hand.

– when you want to change your hair color, bring in a picture, preferably not black and white. (yep…it’s happened)

– when you are looking for a hairspray, know the hold factor you want. Do not say “any hold is fine” and then complain that the firm hold is too firm and all you wanted was a soft hold to get rid of your fly aways. See?! You knew what you wanted, you forgot you weren’t speaking with your psychic friend.

– when you want help, ask for it. Do not pout, bat your eyelashes or squeeze your cleavage together hoping he will catch on that you need help folding the laundry…all he is thinking is he’s about to get something…and it ain’t towels.

– if you are unhappy, it is not anyone else’s fault. It’s not. Sure people are asses and say and do terrible things. In the end we decide how much of a grasp we will allow said actions have a hold on our daily life and our happiness.

– if you have never told someone that what they are doing upsets you, shut up and stop whining. Yeah, I said it. We teach people how to treat us. Don’t like the treatment you receive? Change your lesson.

If you want love, you must give love. If you want kindness, you must give kindness. If you want respect, you must give respect. If you want help, you must ask for it. If you want carnations…do not pout when they are given.