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

Seven Year Itch

 

Yesterday as I plopped into my favorite chair with my morning cup of Joe I heard the all too familiar bottle cap notification coming from my phone. It was an email alerting me of my 7 year anniversary as a blogger. 7 years. Within seconds my mind was flooded with images from the past 7 years. Nervously circling the table, staring at the computer, deciding to just go for it and write. Coming home from work to find a laptop waiting for me, given to me by my hubby with a “Happy Birthday” screensaver (which is still my screensaver by the way). Kristen Johnston reading my blog and retweeting it. Wynonna Judd sharing my “Kindness 101” blog that ended up getting over 700 views within hours. https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/21/kindness-101/    Major hair companies following my tales. Magazine editor’s and Hollywood stars following my blog. Writing opportunities coming my way. Strangers thanking me for my hair advice. Strangers laughing at my “Tales of Truth” series. My blog being read across the globe. The list of memories is endless.

Fast forward to today. For those of you familiar with my blog, you are well aware of the struggles I have been having trying to decide which direction my blog and I should take. I began this blog while managing a Salon/retail shop and once the shop closed I felt I didn’t have a platform of which to write. Every single fear and anxiety reared it’s ugly head and I am sad to say, more often than not, they won the battle, not me. I was having coffee with a dear friend yesterday and when I told her of my blogging anniversary I received a high five. During our conversation I came to the realization that I started this blog to spread information and to educate and enlighten, not only for hair care, but for all aspects of daily life, from business to self care to parenting, speaking my truth in hopes that it may give others the courage to do the same. As a reminder that a little kindness goes a long way.

When I woke up this morning, I found myself wondering if my blog related trepidation was due to the 7 year mark. We’ve all heard of the 7 year itch where relationships/marriage is concerned. Maybe it’s the same with goals. It’s all nerves and excitement at the beginning. Lots of new and exciting things happen. Milestones are reached. Celebrations seem to be every other month. Then things slow down, hit a plateau. It doesn’t seem to be as exciting, the shine is off the diamond if you will. It begins to feel like a chore. Other avenues are catching your eye. You feel like throwing in the towel. At least that’s how it felt for me. What I have come to realize and accept is that things change. Who I was when I began this blog I will never be again, and that’s okay. 7 years have passed and I have more experience, in work and in life. I have more of an understanding of who I was, who I am and who I intend to be. I feel I am a good writer. I enjoy it. It’s cathartic. I came to realize my lack of posts for the past 12 months was due to one thing – I was trying to be something and someone I am not. Writing blogs with others opinions in mind, not my own. I began this blog without any thought of what people would think, just the hope that someone would enjoy it and get something out of it. It’s time to get back to that.

Thank you to all my readers, my followers, my family, my friends and those who have shared my tales. More are on the way… hope you enjoy them.

 

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.

 

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

Your Blue Monday Motivator

It’s Monday morning. It’s cold, like minus 23 degrees without the windchill cold. As my feet hit the hardwood this morning, I remembered to buy a rug. After grabbing my coffee, I plopped myself into my favorite chair and started scrolling through my phone. I was bombarded by two posts. Posts of the lunar eclipse and blood moon – which I was able to witness from my backyard last night. Not a cloud in the sky, bitter cold air, but clear skies none the less. The other were posts about “Blue Monday”. I didn’t realize New Order’s song Blue Monday had it’s own day. Taking a closer look I came to realize that Blue Monday has nothing to do with New Order, it has to do with this Monday being the most depressive Monday of the New Year. I didn’t know this was a thing. Someone, somewhere at sometime decided this was the day that people felt bad about themselves, their New Year resolution short comings, their life choices, their shoes…you name it, it’s the day to feel blue.

I am not an expert, nor am I a guru on the mount. What I am is a woman who has been around, seen some things and survived some shit. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. I have had some awesome days and some pretty crap filled weeks. What I have come to realize is life is what you make it Beauties. Plain and Simple. That being said, I thought I would whip up a little list to help you out, on this bluest of Mondays.

  • Look up. The sun may be shining.
  • Help your neighbour. If it’s garbage day, see if they need help getting it to the curb. The snow plow went by, so help them dig out the end of their driveway.
  • Bake a cake. For no reason other to eat it. Smother layers of icing all over it and enjoy.
  • Write a letter to a friend. … not an email, not a text, a letter. Remember the feeling of receiving a letter in the mail? We need more of that.
  • Feed the birds. Go to the park or sit in your own back yard. Trust me, if you have bird seed, they’ll show up.
  • Find your favorite CD and blast it out of the speakers, in your living room or in your car. Sing your heart out and fill up your soul.
  • Instead of your morning shower, run a hot bath.
  • Wear that red lipstick that has been sitting in your vanity drawer.
  • Wrap your hands around your coffee cup, feel the warmth, and smell the delicious aroma.
  • Make a hot chocolate that would put Starbucks to shame. Lather that baby with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
  • Paint your nails, the brightest of pinks or the darkest of reds.
  • Take a moment to remember a favorite memory. We all have a few free minutes a day, even if it’s when you are in the bathroom. Trust me, this works. Your mind has no sense of time, so when you think of a happy memory, your body will respond as if it’s happening right now. …something to remember when you recollect the negative.

It may seem simple and even silly to some. More often than not, it’s the little things that make all the difference. As for yours truly, the only “blue” of my Blue Monday is the sky.

Beauty, Fashion, Women

… if the shoe fits

As some of you may know, and some of you may not, yours truly has returned to my old stomping grounds. Years ago, I managed the Ladies section of a shoe store. It’s not your run of the mill shoe store – a slow day is 250 pairs. This past July, the manager and owner and I sat down and I was asked to come back, and on my terms. Four shifts a week, only one late night and no management responsibilities. Just selling. Go in, do my job, go home. I explained my long term goals for my blog, my writing, my consulting and my life. I came to realize a while ago, do what you gotta do until you can do what you want to do. Plain and simple.

I have been back in the Ladies section for 6 months now, and although it was over 8 years ago when I ran the section, one thing has not changed. Women are insecure about their feet, their shoe size, what they look like and what people think. Too many women are forcing their foot into a shoe that is too small, or refusing to try on a pump because they are “too old for those now”, or, the saddest of all, buying a shoe they do not like because their partner says they like it. I may not be able to help you out of a bad marriage, or help you get your boss off your back, or get your kids to behave. What I can do is give you the “what’s what” about shoes and footwear. Here we go;

  • the average size of shoe sold in the Ladies section in 2018 was a Ladies size 9 – 10. Yes. You read that correctly. 6 – 7 is no longer the average size. There is no longer any need to be embarrassed about your size 10’s ladies.

 

  • Many companies offer an array of sizing, from size 4 to size 13. …and yes, the size 13’s are just as cute as the size 4’s.

 

  • European Sizing – this always throws ladies for a loop.  Here’s your go to chart;

                                                                         35 = size 4 – 4.5

                                                                         36 = size 5 – 5.5

                                                                         37 = size 6 – 6.5

                                                                         38 = size 7 – 7.5

                                                                         39 = size 8 – 8.5

                                                                         40 = size 9 – 9.5 

                                                                         41 = size 10 – 10.5

                                                                         42 = size 11 – 11.5

                                                                         43 = size 12 – 12.5

                                                                         44 = size 13 – 13.5 

  • Here’s a little helpful sizing tidbit – * many children’s shoes and men’s shoes are the exact same style as Ladies shoes.

A child’s size 4 is a Ladies 6

A child’s size 5 is a Ladies 7

A child’s size 6 is a Ladies 8

A men’s size 8 is a Ladies 10

A men’s size 9 is a Ladies 11

A men’s size 10 is a Ladies 12

 

  • Unless you have always dreamed of having bunions and hammer toes, or both…NEVER purchase shoes that are too small, EVER. Think about it. If the shoe is too small, with every step you take, the joints of your toes have no where to go but up (hammer toe) and out (bunion). Unfortunately, for some of us, bunions and hammer toes may run in the family – try not to give them any more help.

 

  • Unless you are on the beach, going barefoot is a no no. The older we get, the more support our tootsies need. The tendons supporting your arch run from the base of your big toe to your heel, and then up to your knee and they need your support. If you have ever had heel pain, or gotten out of bed and felt like you stepped on broken glass – that’s your arch begging for support. I have suffered from the evil Plantar Fasciitis and quickly learned that walking barefoot around the house was no longer an option. So I wear my Birks (Birkenstock) instead of slippers.  For those of you who just can’t imagine wearing these, give this brand a go – Vionic – created by Podiatrist’s. Their selection of sandals are cute and colorful.  I have to admit…every once and a while I wear my fuzzy slippers – I’m Canadian and our winters tend to be chilly.

  • When it comes to winter boots – water proof means water proof. The boot has a water proof membrane between the soles of the boot. I want you to imagine an Oreo cookie. The cookie parts are the soles of the boots, the cream center is the water proof membrane. *** Temperature grading on a winter boot means that your foot will stay cozy and warm if you are moving or not.

 

  • We all can walk in heels. We can. You have to walk like the models on the runway. Plain and Simple. Put one foot in front of the other and sway your hips and VOILA! You are walking in heels. * Walking with your feet side to side like you do in sneakers is the reason why you waver and look like a baby deer learning to walk or feel unstable. Imagine you are on the runway in Milan and strut your stuff sister!

 

  • For those who wear Orthotics, do not fret. You are not doomed to wear “old people shoes” for the rest of your life. Many companies offer and array of Orthotic friendly foot wear, from sandals to heels, knee high boots to slippers. …and they are cute too. Clarks, Aravon, Biotime, Romika, Ugg…just to name a few.

Something I want you to remember Ladies. If you like the shoe, buy it. Stop worrying about what others will say or think. Stop worrying you are too old to wear certain shoes. If you like sparkles on your shoes, BLING! away. If you like the way you look in stiletto’s, wear them like you’re on your way to your personal Vogue shoot. It’s like I tell my Ladies that shop in my section, if people are looking at your shoes instead of you, you need to tell them to get a new hobby.

Be your own beautiful. …and if the shoe fits, wear it.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

New Intentions

… a little New Years tale.

 

Intention(noun) a determination to act in a certain way  – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Here we are. January 2, 2019. Our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with everyone’s New Year resolution of “New year! New me!”, usually accompanied with a meme. Many have asked me what my New Year’s resolutions were for 2019. My answer was always the same. I do not have any. In the past, whenever I uttered a resolution, made my list of New Year’s to do, I always fell short and ended up feeling like a fool or worse, a failure. So, I no longer make resolutions, I create intentions. My New Year’s Intentions… it just feels better, sounds better to have intentions. The word itself, for me at least, has a positive power to it. It comes from a place of gratitude and grace. It brings with it a sense of hope. Something I have for myself, my friends and love ones.

This year, and all the years to come, my wish for you is intention. To find what it is that brings a smile to your face, a warmth to your soul. To find what it is that makes you want to see your own reflection. Once we set an intention, and truly believe it, the world, the universe, God, the smurfs – take your pick, will be drawn to it. It may not happen overnight or even in 6 months, but know this. It will happen. It ain’t gonna be pretty, there will be many days of doubt, ugly face cries, stomps and tantrums that would put a toddler to shame. There will also be moments of pure peace, of joy, of laughter. You will feel that same pride that you felt when you mastered your bicycle without training wheels, or the first time you hit a home run. You will begin to remember who you really are, and once you remember that, the world is your oyster darling.

Create the world you want to see – That Girl in the Red Coat

 

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

A different kind of Monday Motivator

It’s Monday once again. It’s December 17th and holiday preparations are in full swing. School pageants, church socials, pop up Christmas markets, holiday open houses, tinsel and Christmas lights as far as the eye can see. …oh, and my favorite of all…holiday retail hours. Yours truly is working 8 out of the next 9 days. Perks of being a strong salesperson I guess. For many of us, the two weeks before Christmas can be exhausting for we have our own life and family responsibilities on top of all the other responsibilities and to do lists that accompany this time of year.

Usually my Monday Motivator’s are to cure your hair woes and ensure a good hair day on Monday and everyday. Today is to bring a smile to your face, some warmth to cure your soul and add some joy to your day. I have compiled my most popular holiday posts and “Tales of Truth” for you all.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/12/16/christmas-presence/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/12/20/its-the-little-things/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/12/14/tales-of-truth-the-holiday-editions-2/

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/25/the-emily-post-of-holiday-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/08/tales-of-truth-the-christmas-chronicles/

 

Be happy. Take a breath. Take five minutes for yourself, to sip a hot tea, a crisp chardonnay, savor a Christmas cookie, text your friend a funny holiday meme, share this blog. Add some joy to your day and that joy will spread.

 

 

 

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.