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

Step back

It may have taken 22 years, but yours truly took a vacation. Yes, you read that correctly, 22 years. My beloved and I flew across the country to Vancouver, rocked out to the Def Leppard/Journey concert, ate at Gotham, the best steak house in town, strolled the streets of GasTown, Burnaby, and the glorious waterfronts with mountains on every horizon. We ate breakfast at a “You gotta eat here” restaurant. It was lovely. Except for a few Facebook posts and Instagram stories for our family and friends, yours truly unplugged from social media, my blog, my job, my day to day stresses, my to do lists, everything. I was present in every hour and every minute of my day. My hubby and I were able to complete conversations, to sit in silence together and just be. Time moved slower in Vancouver, maybe I was in vacation mode, maybe it was the scent of Mary Jane in the air around every corner (I shit you not.). All I know is I felt more zen than I had in a while, and the lovely thing is that feeling of zen flew home with me back to Ontario.

Over the past months, as you are well aware, I have been trying to find my place in this blogging arena. I started as a beauty blogger, giving tips and tricks and product knowledge. I wrote of my daily retail experiences and customer dramas…the lady thinking I stole her light bulb, the countless ladies showing me their ingrown hairs along their bikini line, the gents asking me about how to trim their nether regions….check out my Tales of Truth series for the full effect. I also wrote about lifestyle, kindness, the ugly things we don’t talk about at parties – and to tell you the truth, those were the blogs that flowed out of me, that were the best received and that brought me the most fulfillment and in turn ,the most opportunities. One of the things I learned while in Vancouver, other than those folks like their marijuana, is that I wasn’t being true to myself where my writing is concerned. I was trying to hold on to who I used to be and what I used to write about. I am no longer that woman, career wise or in my own mind. She still resides within me, but she has changed. She has matured, She has been through some shit and come out clean on the other side. She has something to offer. I have something to offer. I cannot articulate my reasoning. All I know is that it is time to stop being afraid of what may or may not lie ahead. Change is a good thing. Stepping back makes inspiration move forward.

I will continue to write product reviews and how to’s, for I love to help women and men feel good about their hair and in turn their appearance. I will continue to tell my Tales of Truth because I find it amazing the things people say to complete strangers, it’s funny and quite frankly cathartic. I will continue to write about kindness, for I believe it makes the world go round and in these days, we need it more than ever. From time to time, I may get political, for there are events happening in this world that are morally wrong, plain and simple.

I have no idea where this will lead or what may transpire. My intention, as always is to educate and inspire. To help people think of things differently, not to agree with me, but to open the door a crack to peek at what is on the other side.

Be beautiful to each other.

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

Sunday Confessions

 

Those of you familiar with my blog know all too well that I am a firm believer in being yourself, believing in yourself and when wanting something, to go for it. While sitting at my favorite window sipping my morning coffee and watching the birds frolicking on the lawn under the bird feeder I realized I had something to confess.

Last week I told you about the Joico Fall Trend Show that I was fortunate to attend. What I didn’t tell you about was the evening before. Around 8 p.m. the evening before the show I wasn’t sure if I was going to go. I was worried that it was a mistake to go, that I didn’t belong there. All the other shows and gala’s I have attended, not only was I a blogger with 35 professional hair care lines under her belt, I was a manager of a Salon/retail shop. Now that I am no longer in a Salon environment on a daily basis, I was worried I had no place at a Hair Show’s table. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous and yes, I know I am always saying the opinions of others do not matter, and yes, I know it is best to listen to the whispers of hope and goodness rather than the shouts of dismay… sometimes, we all have our weak moments and the darkness starts to set in.

I woke up last Monday morning with a nervous belly ache. I hadn’t slept well, due to my nervousness and my snoring bed companion. As I made my coffee, I told myself, “you are going.”. I made myself post pictures and Instagram stories of my preparations for the show in an attempt to change my perspective and give myself that little push to go for it. I did my makeup, I did my hair, I put on my new boots I bought for this day …they are fabulous by the way, I said goodbye to my hubby and my girl as they told me I looked beautiful and that “you got this!”, I got in my car, put the destination in my GPS and I was off. When I arrived, it was raining and my umbrella busted the moment I opened it. Everything in me wanted to use this as an excuse that the universe was trying to tell me I wasn’t supposed to be there, instead I chose to think, “Sara, you need a new umbrella.”. I rushed in, trying to keep my ‘do in tact and found my way to the hall. As I walked past the banners and the stylists I heard my name. As others were scrounging for their tickets to get through the door all you heard down the hallway was “Sara! Your ticket is waiting for you inside, just go on in!”. Some heads turned with the look of “Who’s that?” as I walked by. Once I got in, within minutes I was greeted with hugs from former colleagues and stylists. I even ran into stylists that I had done private consultations at their Salons. Everyone asking how I had been, what I am up to and all happy to hear my news and happy to see me. Stylists complimenting my hair and asking what color I used and what products I suggest. I was able to meet the fabulous stylists and people that I follow on Instagram and who follow me. I heard “Yay! You’re here!” many times that day. It was a good day. One I am grateful for on so many levels.

The point to today’s confession? No matter how scared you are, how nervous you might be, you have to take chances. You have to get off your ass and make your life happen. I know all too well how easy it is to listen to the self doubt voices shouting and how hard it can be to hear the whispers of self confidence. If you quiet your mind for even a few seconds, they are there and you will hear them. All we can control in this life is ourselves and our minds. That is the reason for my posts and stories that morning, I was giving myself a positive visual, I was making my mind believe the good of my experience. I was “faking it ’til I make it” if you will. Here I was thinking I wouldn’t fit in, that I would look foolish or look like a loser for showing up and all the while, it was exactly where I was supposed to be and was welcomed with open arms.

Be gentle with yourselves Beauties, we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment. We all feel scared. We all worry we won’t fit in. Take chances. Believe in yourself. A change may be just around the next corner. Grab hold of that door, take a deep breath, open it and walk through. No matter what happens, you will know you did it, that you tried and that is a thing of beauty.

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

Monday Motivator

Over the weekend I was going through the archives and came across some tales that may help your Monday be a little more bearable. The new school year is upon us and I remember all too well the stresses, the breakdowns, and the tantrums that go along with this yearly event. …not to mention our children’s behavior. Some of these Monday Motivator’s are to help you with your hair woes and also to remind you that in life, you are not alone.

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/05/09/monday-motivators-joico-flip-turn-hair-shake/

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/10/27/what-does-this-do/    – this gem of a tale is the what’s what of styling products.

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/21/kindness-101/   – this gem has been my most popular to date. Kindness. Plain and Simple.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/09/25/purge-the-vanity/  – Be your own Beautiful

 

Beauty comes from within my friends. …of course a good hair day doesn’t hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

Fear – An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm (Oxford Dictionary)

Many of my friends and loved ones have been going through some shit lately. Some big, some small. When you dig down deep enough, you will find fear is the culprit. Fear is the seed that is making that vine grow. Branching out into all aspects of life, family, friends, work, you name it, it’s trying to grab hold. I was talking with my daughter a few nights ago about this exact thing. She is going through some stuff (not going to share it – not my story to tell) and she inferred that I wasn’t afraid of anything. You see, I am an optimist. I try to see the good in all things. I prefer to raise people up which in turn makes me look like I have my shit together and have no fear. Sweet child, you couldn’t be more wrong.

During my 46 years in this earthly realm, yours truly has felt her share of fear. When I was a child I was afraid of monsters under my bed, my house catching on fire, spiders, bees and heights. I put my children’s Bible under my bed = no more monsters = no more fear. I wore my housecoat and slippers to bed so in case of of a fire I was ready to flee = no more fear. I saw my Auntie Jo squish a spider with her bare hands = no more fear…still a little freaked out by those 8 legged monstrosities. I found out that bees help things grow and once stung by one I got ice cream to make me feel better = no more fear. As for the heights…after falling 12 feet off the playground equipment the fear was gone. I realized I wasn’t afraid of heights, I was afraid of the pain of landing after the fall. Now I knew what to expect.

Fast forward 35 years and the fears I face aren’t as easy to overcome. My family gene pool offers ovarian cancer, breast cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s. My husband had a heart attack at 39. He is fine. His heart is good. I still wake up to check if he’s breathing, just as I did when my daughter was a wee baby – you know, getting eye level with their stomach to see if it rises. Our lovely daughter deals with issues of anxiety and depression. I still get a knot in my stomach when she sounds funny on the phone or I receive a random text. …by the way, that is why I do not like texting – no emotion so you never know it’s context. Drives me crazy. Most of the time there is nothing the matter, but fear makes me think otherwise.

I’m going to tell you what I told my daughter. A little fear is good, it keeps you aware. A lot of fear is bad, it blinds you to what is right in front of you. We all have fears. We all have anxieties. Mostly over the things we don’t have any control of. I can eat well, do what the Doctor and Oprah tell me to do and guess what? I could still get cancer. I have no control over what happens to my husband or our daughter. All I can do is love them and remind them of their health issues and help them to practice self care and love.

In this life all we can control is our behavior, how we decide to see people and treat them. In my experience, kindness is a fear killer. It really is. Whenever I have been fearful of something new, be it work or life, I kill it with kindness. I also make myself remember all the fears I have conquered, from fear of falling off my bike when I was six, to fear of driving into the heart of the dragon – the 400/401 highway in Toronto when I was 43, and all the other fears in between.

Be gentle with yourself for you are doing the best you can. Fear will always be lurking in the shadows. I believe that kindness is light, so if you have light, there is no need to fear the dark.

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.

health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

I have been in the retail/customer service gig for over 30 years now. Yup…30 years. I have sold everything from lingerie to sports cars, hairspray to stilettos. In every sales arena, there has always been two commonalities, the customer and their perceived attitude. Over the years, a combination of experience and maturity led me to the conclusion that not everything and everyone are as they seem. That attitudes and opinions are often taken the wrong way or taken too personally. There is always something else going on behind the scenes. I had a few experiences yesterday with customers that led me to today’s blog. Take it as a reminder to not take the views of others, their words or actions personally.

I asked a woman if I could help her, if she was finding what she was looking for. She didn’t answer me, didn’t even look at me. I let her be and returned a few moments later when I saw her walking around in a pair of pumps she had chosen. I asked her how the fit was, if they were comfortable. She looked up at me and shrugged. I saw the size she was from the shoe box on the floor and went and found some similar styles. I brought them to her and asked if she liked any of them. She looked at them, then at me and told me she didn’t want to buy shoes but had to because she was going to her father’s funeral.

A man came up to me, quite agitated. He was looking for shoes for his mother. He didn’t know her size and was embarrassed that all he had to go on was his tracing of her foot on a piece of paper. I showed him a few styles that might work for her and offered some slipper styles too. He said “Only shoes! She will only wear shoes!”. Then he let out a huge sigh and apologized for raising his voice. His mother has Alzheimers and it had been a rough week.

A woman came up to me and asked me my name. I told her “My name is Sara”. She said “Okay, good to know.”. I asked her if she needed my help. She told me no. For the next few minutes I kept seeing her trying to catch my eye and when she did, she looked away. I saw she had different styles of sandals in her hand. I went over, asked for her shoe size and showed her the chairs we had available. I told her she could have a seat and would bring over the sandals for her to try. When I brought over the sandals, she stayed pretty quiet. I noticed she was struggling to do up the back strap, so I offered to help her. She looked up at me and said “That would be great. I am not having a good day”. Over the course of our conversion and trying on multiple styles of sandals, I came to find out she had many medical issues that affected her balance and her gait (her manner of walking). She also apologized for not speaking a lot at first, for she has anxiety buying shoes – she knows people are looking at her and she knows she will need help putting on shoes. All she ever wants is to feel normal and have shoes that a woman in her 40’s would wear, and not have to settle for the same shoes as her grandmother. Long story short, I found her two pairs of sandals that gave her great support and an even stride and that I would wear. As she was leaving, the woman that came in looking at the floor and hardly speaking was beaming and telling me how happy she was, she gave me a hug and told me that now she feels she can play tag with 3 year old at the park.

Maybe it’s the new moon. Maybe something’s in retrograde. All I know is that in less than 9 hours I spoke with people dealing with a loss of a child, a loss of a parent, having to put a parent in long term care, a loss of physical abilities, a loss of a job. At first they came across cold and abrupt, and honestly, dealing with those issues, who wouldn’t? I just let them be them and kept trying. Shower them with kindness, sooner or later, the wall comes down.

The purpose for today’s blog isn’t only sales related. It’s life related. You never know what another person is going through. It’s hard not to take opinions and attitudes personally, this I know too well. You gotta try to remember, it’s not about you. If you take the time to delve a little deeper, you may end up bringing a little light into another’s dark day.

 

 

Beauty, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

I woke to the sounds of birds chirping and the faint glow of the sunrise peeping through my window. It’s Sunday morning on my part of the globe. As I sit in my kitchen by my window, I feel the warmth of the summer sun, the  morning breeze cooling my shoulders. I see the steam rising off my fresh cup of coffee in my favorite mug and all is right with the world. As I was gazing out my window, wondering what to write about today, my mind was flooded with all the conversations I had with customers this week. As you know, I decided to take the offer of returning to the shoe store I once worked at. In the past I was in charge of the Ladies section. This time around, I am once again in the Ladies section, without the hassles of management. I go in four days a week and all I have to do is focus on selling and helping the customers, and it’s wonderful.

This past week, I lost count of the women who spoke poorly of themselves, and unfortunately of others. Women of all ages. Thinking their ankles were too thick to wear a strappy sandal. Women who thought they were too old to wear red heels. Women who thought their bunions were too ugly so they only wore running shoes so no one would see their feet. Women who thought their feet were too wide for the gold ballerina flat they adored. Women who thought their calves were too big or too slender. Women who thought their baby toe looked weird. What it all came down to was they were all worried about what others would think, never once giving a thought to what they themselves thought. Almost all of the women who were concerned about their “problem area” had one thing in common, someone had told them it was a “problem area”. One woman in particular stands out. She found a pair of sandals, flat with a little bow. I told her they looked really cute on her, because they did. She looked up at me, eyes sparkling, smiling ear to ear and said “I love them!”. Minutes later, I saw her putting them back in the box and returning them to the shelf. “Did you need another size?” I asked. “No. My friend said they were too young for me and I just look foolish.”. No smile and the sparkle in her eyes had vanished. She ended up sitting in a chair waiting on her friend. She didn’t want to look anymore or try on anything else.

First and foremost, Ladies and Gents, don’t do that. Don’t. One of the cruelest actions is putting your own insecurities on someone else. When you see that someone is happy or excited about a decision be excited for them, celebrate with them. Secondly, for all those out there, Ladies and Gents alike, stop worrying about the size of your ankles, your calves, your bunions, whatever it may be, stop worrying about what other people think. Trust me, no one is looking…and for the few who are, give them a copy of Knitting for Dummies and tell them to get a new hobby. Seriously, if they have time to look for thick ankles and bunions, their lives must be pretty empty and their self esteem and image is dwindling to say the least.

Be your own kind of beautiful, today and everyday. Be kind. Celebrate others achievements and choices, for they are theirs, not yours to deal with. Oh, and buy the shoes.