0

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.

0

…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.

 

 

1

Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

0

Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

0

Attention

Well Beauties, yours truly is having a moment. A moment I gotta say something and those who know me know I gotta say it. I gotta.

Lately, I don’t know if has to do with my age (gonna be 44 in August) or my lack of a uterus (haven’t had to pay that monthly bill in over 7 years) or if it is as simple as I have a low, very low tolerance for bullshit, but I seem to have no room for those who lack accountability for their actions, nor do I have any room for those who are unkind.

Working in a Salon, you hear it all.  You hear about the celebrations of life, the trips, the new house and births. You hear about the not so good stuff, illnesses, divorces and deaths of which I have all the patience and time in the world to listen to. Where my attention begins to dwindle? When lack of kindness and accountability enter into the conversation.

A few  weeks ago a woman and her friend came in the shop and she was complaining that her fiancée got upset that she took out her phone as he was proposing. “I wanted to capture the moment for my Instagram and he got mad at me! He actually asked me if I could wait until he finished the question. Can you believe it?” …that he continued the proposal? (gotta admit, that was what I was thinking). She was actually mad at him. She kept going on about how he ruined the memory. Yep. He and he alone ruined it. I just stood there, trying not to show it on my face. This woman was so caught up in herself that she couldn’t see her part in any of it, well, except for her Instagram pic. She later complained that it wasn’t fair that her favorite OPI shade had been discontinued and got mad at me that there wasn’t anything I could do for her. …by the way, her phone never left her hand and with every third word spoken, her eyes looked at her phone. …sigh.

I get the importance of social media and the lure of smartphones. I am a blogger, a Retail Consultant and a Salon manager so I get it, I do. I also get that as important as they seem, there are other more important things in life, like  my loved ones, being kind, being present.

Being me, I have compiled a little list for you all, some daily reminders if you will. Feel free to share – no pun intended;

  • before you tell a story, be sure it is yours to tell
  • when you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize, to their face.
  • when someone is speaking to you, put down your phone and look at them. They are speaking to you, not texting you, there is no need to look at your phone.
  • not everything needs to be shared. I am so pleased your toddler pooed on the potty…didn’t need to see it on my timeline.
  • it is not the salesperson’s fault that your favorite polish is discontinued.
  • when you are getting your hair cut, put down your phone. You may not realize it, but when you text, your head moves.
  • do not take a selfie during your bikini wax. #toomuchinformation
  • if you wouldn’t chase someone down the street asking if they like your picture, it shouldn’t matter if they like it on facebook
  • life is not “unfair” because your fiancée wanted to share the proposal with you, and you alone.
  • you may like to crush candy, others do not. Please stop sending candy Crush invites
  • if you don’t want the opinions of others, you may want to rethink ending your post with #whatsagirltodo
  • you do not have to agree with everything you read and see on social media…you also don’t have to let everyone know that you don’t agree

Look up once and a while. Think before you post. Ask before you snap a pic. Be kind, plain and simple.

 

 

 

 

1

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.

 

2

Year End Review

As the end of 2014 creeps forward and the glimpse of 2015 is on the horizon, my Facebook news feed is flooded with everyone’s “year review” and my Twitter feed is flooded with everyone’s “New Years Resolutweet” …(my word…I like it.). I have women coming in the shop proclaiming their resolution to be a better friend, to be a better parent, to be a better wife, to make more time for others. I have yet to hear anyone tell me what they are going to do for themselves. Yeah, I said it, for themselves. It may seem like the above resolutions are for ourselves, depending on the intention, most of the time, they are not. Becoming a better friend for your friend’s sake, becoming a better parent like Susie’s mom or becoming a better wife – a wife you think your spouse wants is not making a resolution for yourself.  Ladies and Gents, if you do not make yourself priority #1, no matter what you may resolve to do in 2015 and the years there after, it will never seem like enough, you will always feel like you came up short. For those of you familiar with my Salon Tales, you know I know of what I speak. I was that woman. The woman who put everyone and everything ahead of herself. The woman who made everyone’s problems and woes her own – be it her husband’s issues with his boss to her child’s issues with the mean girls, if a problem arose, yours truly would swoop in, take it on and fix it…and I was empty and exhausted. 

Now, I am not an expert by any means. I am not a prophet nor the guru on the mount. I am  a woman who has struggled with self image and self esteem. I have been a woman who tried to live up to the Norman Rockwell images only to end up feeling like I had more in common with Norman Bates. I have been the woman who truly believed Martha Stewart, that if I had the right flatware that all would be right in the world. I was the woman who bought every exercise VHS tape and DVD proclaiming “I will be one of their success stories!” only to be sitting in front of the TV screen, winded and giving the chipper barbie instructor the finger. A few years ago, after getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy) and removing my head from my ass, I realized that resolutions are stupid and instead of making a resolution, I would make a change.

Making a change can be scary, down right terrifying actually. I remember one early morning, my hubby and girl were still asleep. I was sipping my morning coffee and thinking of the petty remarks about my weight loss, like “Oh…trying to become a cougar?”, my blog “what a cute hobby for you” and my professional achievements “she’s just the manager” when I came across this quote “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal”. – Paulo Coelho.  I realized that all the changes I had made for myself – be it my weight loss, chasing my dream of blogging and consulting and taking pride in my position at the shop were the right changes to make. I realized that I was receiving more positive feed back and support than negative. I was surrounded by those who wanted to see me thrive and I them. I realized that those who made me feel selfish for making myself a priority were upset because they were no longer my first priority.

A little proof that making yourself a priority is worth it…since making myself a priority I have been featured on http://www.salonmagazine.ca  – my most viewed article to date

http://www.salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1282-3-salon-fails-sales-rep-sees-don-t-tell-you-about.html

and have been fortunate enough to be featured in their magazine

20140430_115847-1   IMG_20140917_112135

I have been featured in Piidea’s September/October buyers guide

 

20140827_143459    20140827_144009

 

I was invited to the Contessa’s once again by the Beauties at Piidea

Contessa 2014 8   Contessa 2014 4

My pictures have been featured on Joico’s Instagram feed

IMG_20140915_105303  20140924_110256-1

 

 

…not to mention some pretty FAB! connections and followers on Twitter – check it out @grlintheredcoat

 

 

Now, before you think that there is no way you can make yourself a priority and be a good mother, wife, friend, employee – take your pick…give your head a shake. It is possible. If you want it all RIGHT NOW! – give your head another shake. It’s going to take some time. The events mentioned above took over 2 years. Be patient. Make a plan and stick to it. Let your loved ones know, keep them in the loop – not doing so is mean and unthoughtful – plain and simple. Think about it – how can they support you if they do not know what they are supporting? Remember that others are trying to make themselves a priority too and, it is not all about you. Just because you didn’t get a text back 2 seconds after you sent it doesn’t mean you are unloved. Having dinner plans cancelled or altered doesn’t mean you are getting the brush off – sometimes life really does get in the way.

Be kind. Be thoughtful. Take a minute for yourself. Make a change.