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

Bringing light to the dark

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

 

Lately, during conversations with friends and loved ones alike, I have found myself thinking, some times even stating out loud, “if more people spoke of the ugly, the world would be a beautiful place.”. What’s the “ugly” you ask? Fear. Anxiety. Depression. Anger. Panic. Addiction. …to name a few. The “beautiful place” being we would all realize that we have more in common then we do not. I cannot count how many times in the last few months I have heard someone say “Really? You went through this too?”, “You mean my kid isn’t the only one?”, “You mean you have had money troubles too?”, “You’ve felt like you were failing as a parent? I thought it was just me!”.

It’s time to start to bring some light to the darkness of our lives. It’s time to start talking about those things you don’t talk about at party’s. It’s time to stop being ashamed and start being empowered. I can tell you, right now, a friend is looking at your Instagram or Facebook wishing their life was as full as yours and their family as happy as yours – all the while, you are trying to figure out how you are going to pay your mortgage this month, or hoping that your child finds the right therapist to help them, and no one is the wiser. After years of trying to keep up with the Joneses, the Kardashians, you name it, I was tired, mentally, emotionally and physically. So, as scary as it was, I stopped trying to be perfect, stopped acting like everything was coming up roses and just let my life be what is was. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes it was sad. Many days had their hiccups and many were smooth sailing. One thing was certain, I sure as hell wasn’t as tired. Life, parenting, marriage, work can be tiring enough, why add more to get less? For all of you out there;

  • it’s okay not to like your kids. You love them, you don’t always have to like how they are behaving
  • it’s okay to understand why animals sometimes eat their young
  • it’s okay if you don’t see your parents every weekend. They had kids and a life before you – they get it. Deep down, they get it
  • you are not the only parent worried about their child
  • at least two people you know have children that are struggling as yours is – be it with their studies, their friends or their mental health
  • just because your friends are world travelers does not mean they can afford it
  • more people have financial strain than don’t.
  • we have all felt like getting in our cars, changing our names and living the vida loca

 

It’s time for uncomfortable conversations – especially for those of us who chose marriage. More often than not, in my own marriage, the problems I thought we had and the problems my hubby thought we had weren’t even in the same realm.

  • your spouse is not your psychic friend. You need to tell them what you need and what you want
  • before thinking for your husband, ask him what he is thinking. Trust me, it’s never what you think it is and usually has to do with food.
  • Gents – if you think your wife is mad at you, ask her if she is. I know. I know. It’s like I am asking you to go into the snake pit. Most of the time, if your wife seems ticked – it’s not about you. Hell, he could be sitting there thinking you are sighing so much because you are mad at him all the while you are mad at windows 10 and their damn automated updates.
  • after hearing of others marriage/relationship woes, remember those are their problems, not yours. Try not to make their problems your own. …just because your bff’s hubby hides that he surf’s porn doesn’t mean yours does.
  • if you truly are not happy, you need to talk about that. Maybe you will stay together, maybe you won’t. If love, respect and honesty are there, it will always work out.
  • remember that your 10% may be their 100% and vice versa.

 

What you may see as a short coming, others may see as an achievement. Admitting your fears may help another face their own. Being true to yourself may allow another to do the same. We give children a night light so the darkness doesn’t seem as scary, so why not give ourselves a night light of our own?

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

Imperfection

So, it’s been a while. This I am quite aware of and thanks to my Facebook “on this day” memory feed, I was pleasantly reminded. You see, it was on this day last year I had posted my intentions for my blog and the direction it was going to go. It began as a beauty blog, a how to of sorts. Helping ladies and gents with their hair woes and educating them on hair products, hair stylists and everything related to the Salon. I began to venture into retail/business tips and advice for I found stylists and Salon owners were just as much at a loss about their business. Soon, I began to tell tales of life, of hardships, of parenting, of marriage, of friendship and most importantly about kindness.

Those of you familiar with my tales know that yours truly no longer manages a Salon/retail shop. I am still in contact with all my Beauty Biz reps and colleagues, so I feel I still have a sense of the pulse of that arena. This being said, I felt that it was time to let my blog evolve into something new. I knew it was time. I knew what to write. I knew what needed to be said. I was afraid. Yep. Afraid. All those voices in me telling me “what will people think?”, “no one will read it”, “you are known for your hair stuff and that is it”, “It was perfect before…what will it be now?” kept coming into my mind and I listened to them. It wasn’t until I went to reformat my blog that the powers that be reminded me of this gem I had written years ago “listen for the tiny whispers “yes you can”.”

2017 was a pretty good year. I began working at my friend’s shop, we laugh everyday. I have had customers tell me they love coming in to see us, that we make them feel better about life. My 20 year daughter is blossoming into quite the young woman and I cannot wait to see where she will take her life. I celebrated 23 years of marriage. My family has their health…a few hiccups, but healthy. All these positive aspects were there, yet underneath it all I was letting fear dictate my decisions. (…2017, Trump, fear….hmmm….another tale for another time). I was trying to mask my imperfections, as a Mom, as a wife, as a writer.

As my head hit the pillow last night, the word Imperfection popped into my head and literally right after I thought “Imperfection or I’m perfection, it’s up to me”. …cue inspirational elevator music. Perfection is made up of all the little imperfections coming together to create something beautiful. Friendships have their ups and downs, yet are still beautiful. Marriages have their stupid fights, you know the ones, where the fight is having you, the love is still there. Soups thicken too much so now you have a stew. Mascara runs so now your perfected cat eye is now a smoky eye. It’s so easy to fall prey to the Pinterest generation or the filtered Instagram pictures of how “life is”. Nothing in this life is going to be exactly as how you planned or pictured and that’s okay. Being true to who you are, being kind whenever possible, admitting faults, showing love, trying to see and understand the motivation behind others actions as well as your own, doing no harm but taking no shit, that to me sounds like perfection.

Embrace the imperfection. Send love and light when ill will and darkness come into your mind. It’s not easy and there will be days you will fail miserably, as I have…I’m working on it. Try to remember that the word Imperfection also can be read as I’m perfection. Plain and Simple.

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Let it be

” …And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me. Shine on until tomorrow, let it be”

– The Beatles

(I have had this song in my head since last night, and after what happened today, I knew I had to write about it)

I met a woman this morning that is the inspiration for today’s tale. It’s been a gray couple of days in my neck of the woods and being 2 days into Daylight Savings, it is safe to say I have prepared myself for whatever may come at me, from a nasty glare because the Black blinc mascara is on back order or a flat iron being hurled across the front desk …yes, it has happened – I have witnesses.

A woman came into the shop looking to purchase hair color to “fix the mess” on top of her head (her words, not mine). I asked her what color she had been using and when she told me that she has been using box dye from the drugstore, I suggested that she see a stylist to help her with her color, that trying to correct a box dye mishap is not easy. I let her know our stylists were available later this week, or if she couldn’t wait, I could suggest some Salons in town. She huffed at me and then told me “You are no help. At all. What a waste of time!”. Being me, I couldn’t leave it at that, so I asked her “Are you alright?”. She stared at me. “It’s just you seem upset and not just over your hair color.”. She continued to stare for a few moments then said “I’m turning 45 this weekend and my life is nothing like I thought it would be.”. It was quiet for a minute, I looked at her and said “Preachin’ to the choir sister!” which made her laugh. We began to chat and she let me know about her friends and their marriages and their kids and she felt like a failure because she is now a single parent and had to take a job in retail – to which she caught my eye, realized what she had just said, looked petrified and said “No offense!” to which I laughed and said “None taken”. I then let her glimpse behind the curtain and told her a little about me.

I can remember looking at my reflection in my bathroom mirror, tears streaming down my face, wondering what the fuck I had done with my life. – sorry for the “f” shot mom – it’s fitting. I, like many women and men, had fallen victim to the social media standard of life – as I like to call it. You know what I’m talking about – the perfect poses, the happy families, the awesome VACAY! photos. Seeing the lives of the people from your past and they seem to have it all – the great career, the cars, the house(s), you name it, they got it. What I came to realize, after wiping my face, having a vodka & tonic  and a hysterectomy (I don’t call it getting the stupid cut out for nothing) is that not everyone is what they “post” to be. ( not my quote – came across it and loved it). Stop measuring your worth on the lives of others. It ain’t worth it. I may not have a summer house in the Hamptons, I do have the love of a good man, and have had his love for over 23 years. I may not be jet setting to New York (yet), I do have a 19 year old daughter that can’t wait to tell me her exciting news. I may not be in the fortune 500, I am a blogger who has a worldwide following, I have been published and I own my own Retail Consulting business. Over the past years, if my life had been any different, I would not be who I am today. Plain and simple.

After chatting for a while longer, my customer asked who I would suggest to fix her hair. She wanted to come to our Salon, but didn’t want to wait. She wanted something today. So I gave her a few names and numbers. She thanked me for my time and for the chat. I told her “anytime.”. As she was leaving I told her to just “let it be” – to which she said “I love that song!” and she turned out our door with a little spring in her step.

 

 

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

Timing

I came across an interesting quote a few weeks ago and it crossed my path again this weekend, on Valentine’s Day as a matter of fact. “You will be married 7 times in your lifetime…hopefully to the same person”. When I first found this quote…or as I like to think, it found me, my mind shifted and I began to see my marriage differently. All of a sudden, things just made sense. It also reminded me of some wise words bestowed on yours truly by my grandmother Leah. My grandparents had been married over 50 years so I asked her one evening what was the secret to a long and happy marriage. “Never fall out of love with each other at the same time – that’s the secret”. Words I have cradled and held tight ever since.

Everyday at the Salon I meet or chat with a woman who thinks her marriage is falling apart. Seriously. Everyday. Most of these confessions happen as she is looking at hair color swatches. She thinks her husband has lost interest in her. She thinks he is having an affair. She thinks he thinks she isn’t as pretty as she once was. She thinks they have nothing in common anymore. She has noticed that things are just…different. Another constant – she has never discussed any of these thoughts or feelings with her husband and has usually drawn her own conclusions and has played out the divorce court proceedings in her head. Ladies, for the love of all that is good and holy, take a breath. Take another. Yes, your hubby may have changed…guess what? You have as well. Think about it. Look back at how you saw the world 10 years ago, how you dressed, how you viewed yourself. See? You’re different. You are still you, the same person, you’ve just… evolved, and that’s okay.

I am 42 years old and I have been married 20 years. I have known my husband longer than I haven’t known him. Looking back, I realize how much the above quote and my grandmother’s beautiful words ring true – I am sure due in part to my forties and getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy). Over the past 20 years I became a mother. I have lost loved ones dear to my heart. I have been witness to loved ones losing a parent. I have had health issues and scares. I have witnessed health scares and issues of my loved ones. I have been a stay at home mom. I have been a working mom. I have had financial difficulties -some my own fault, some the fault of others. I have had short hair, red hair, brown hair, permed hair  – you name it – I’ve done it. Experiences and life changed me, changed my views and my perspectives. Over the past 20 years, I have been many women – always myself – yet depending on the situation at hand, a selected version of myself. I have also been that woman standing in a Salon, staring down at the color swatch book, believing that the right hair color choice would end the search for answers to the never ending stream of questions about her marriage running through her mind.

I am not a hair stylist. I am not a marriage counselor nor am I a therapist. What I am is a woman who has been married over 20 years and is not afraid to talk about those things that people don’t talk about at parties. I am a woman who doubted herself so much that the doubt began to seep into all aspects of her life – her marriage, her parenting, her career, her abilities…you name it – I doubted it. I was afraid of the hard conversations. I was afraid to ask my husband certain questions for fear of his answer. I also was unhappy – with myself – it was easier to blame my marriage, my job, my stylist for giving me the wrong cut, the scale for being broken…you get the picture. In my experience, the majority of doubts of my marriage were of my own making. Yes, gentlemen, you can get up…a woman has admitted her fault…lets move on, shall we? Looking back, many of my doubts were not mine, but the doubts of others. All day long I heard negative after negative about men and marriage and I began to let all those negatives reside rent free in my mind and then the moment an action matched a negative, all hell broke loose…proof it’s love. I am sure there were moments my husband was waiting for my head to spin around.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, for some. For me, I try to make it everyday. A stolen kiss in the kitchen while my daughter is watching T.V., saying I love you and meaning it with each goodbye every morning and kiss goodnight, giving space or a helping hand when it’s needed. Remembering that when my husband is quiet, maybe he is just quiet. Remembering not to take everything personally and reminding myself it’s not all about me…still a toughie, but I am working on it. Ironing the bed sheets for a comfy slumber (yes, I iron my sheets. It takes 20 minutes out of my week and it feels divine and makes the love of my life happy). Remembering that although we may not agree or like each other’s behavior, we still love each other. Remembering that having separate lives (work, friends, etc…) and separate interests does not mean we are separate – it actually brings us closer together, and always remembering that although the road may get bumpy and words may get ugly and life will tirelessly try to get in the way, love is always waiting for us, if we take the time to find it once more.

 

ThatGirlx3

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

Change of Plan

I work in a Salon. I know when you think of a Salon, you picture laughter, coffee being sipped, gossip about the latest escapades of the neighbors and the smell of perm solution. Most days that is exactly what it looks and sounds like. Unfortunately life isn’t always so kind or easy. Some days, we are helping someone rebuild their lives. Some days we are helping someone have their hair “just so” to attend the funeral of a loved one. Some days we are helping a woman make the decision of shaving her head before all her hair falls out because of the chemo. Some days we are pampering our clients and taking an few extra minutes because we know it is the first time they have had for themselves in weeks because they are the caregiver of a loved one. Some days, we share our dreams of what we thought our life was going to look like. Some days, we are helping one another find our new normal.

When I was young, I had a vision of what my life would be. I was going to be a lawyer, living in SOHO in an awesome apartment with a fridge that was stocked with champagne and left over Chinese food from the fabulous place around the corner. I was never going to be married and no kids. Fast forward to 1992, he walked by and plans changed. Over a coffee that lasted 6 hours I had a new vision of what my life would be. I had no idea the career path I would take ( realized I wanted to be a lawyer on T.V. more than a lawyer…Hill Street Blues…enough said). What I did know was he was going to be in my life for a very long time, and for the first time in my life, I could see myself walking down the aisle, plans changed. Fast forward to 1996 and much to my surprise I find myself thinking it is time for us to try to have a baby. Poor hubby didn’t get much time to get used to the idea – got pregnant literally two weeks after going off the pill. You know it’s quick when your Doctor says “Did you just do it last night Sara?”, plans changed. Once our lovely, beautiful girl was born , as all parents do, we dream. We dream of our child’s future, and on those sleepless nights we dream of our lives alone with our beloved once the child has grown. Oh come on! All parents think of this…you know you do…the jig is up. Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2011. My hubby had a heart attack. Plans changed. While he was being admitted to the CCU, I sat alone in a blue waiting room, staring out the window at the night sky and said goodbye to best laid plans. As I sat there, I wasn’t thinking of the trips we didn’t take, I didn’t think of things we hadn’t done. I sat there thinking of how it felt to have my husband’s hand in mine. I thought of the sound of my husband’s and daughter’s laughter in unison. The dreams of travel and summer homes weren’t so important anymore, plans changed.

Fast forward to present day. Hubby’s heart is strong, so strong that he ran on treadmill for his stress test for over 10 minutes. (which made me realize it was time to get my lazy ass off the couch ‘cuz I didn’t have a heart attack and couldn’t run for 2 minutes -let alone 10). To support my beloved we changed our diet, we cut out the junk. We bought an exercise bike, we go for walks, we went for a hike to see the waterfalls that I didn’t know were a 45 minute drive from my home. Some days our plans change because my hubby isn’t feeling so great – be it from the medication or life stresses. (The heart and stroke foundation have a wonderful video series explaining the emotional/mental toll that heart attack/stroke can take on the patient – http://www.heartandstroke.ca ). Many friends and loved ones understand this, some, sadly do not, and that is okay, that is their journey, this is mine. Plans changed.

Plans change. Some times the road you are travelling is a dead end and you have to turn around, plans change. You thought you would look like Jessica Rabbit with red hair but you ended up looking like Ronald McDonald – back to the salon you go, plans change. You said you would never marry or have kids, plans change. You thought your life was going to be different, plans change. What I have learned – the plans change, for the better.

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Whatever floats your boat

Something has been playing on my mind as of late, and being me I gotta talk about it, I gotta. Working at a Salon, I hear lots of tales, of happiness, of despair, of births and deaths and everything in between. The tales that I find the most upsetting are those of shame. Grown women being ashamed of their bodies, their body image or lack there of and of their sex life. Unless you were in a convent or in a coma, I am sure you have heard of or read 50 shades of grey.  I know that most of our clientele has read it or heard about it. I read the trilogy.Twice. Yeah…I said it. Some of the women spoke openly about it and we shared some cackles and blushes. Some of the women whispered about it, afraid that if they spoke openly and loudly about their book club choice that they would be judged. Some women hid the fact they were reading it because they didn’t want their husbands or best friends judging them, they didn’t want people thinking they were a slut. One woman I know was ashamed that she liked what she read and this is why I am writing this today.

When we are young, we are always being told to be a “good girl” and “nice girls” don’t behave like that – be it wearing too much lipstick, a low cut blouse, teasing our hair, kicking boys in the shin or kissing them in the back seat. What I have come to realize is this. Grown  women forget that they are grown women now, not little girls under the ever watchful judgmental eye of society. If what you wear or how you choose to live your life makes you happy and is YOUR CHOICE, there is no shame to be had.

Forgive me ladies for what I am about to say. We prejudge our husbands/partners and don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah…I said it. You know it’s true. We are all guilty of it. So many women I know that read 50 shades said “there is no way I am telling my husband I liked that book! He’ll think I am  a freak!” to which I always answered “He probably will and he will be over the moon!”. Some ladies laughed, others just stared and I could see their wheels of judgement begin to turn, to which I began to sing to myself…Big wheel keep on turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin’.

Too many women let the opinions (or what they think are the opinions) of the general public decide their fate. Some things you must realize. There will always be someone who will point a finger in judgement. You know the people I am talking about, the ones who would have judged Christ himself “How could the son of GOD make water into wine?!?!”. Get used to it and try your best not to let it get to you. If you want to wear thigh high boots and mini skirts because it makes you feel beautiful, do it. If having platinum blonde hair extensions makes you feel sexy and attractive, wear them. If you like how your eyes look while wearing false eyelashes, apply them and bat away. If you like to read erotica and it helps you and your better half have a more intimate relationship in and out of the bedroom, read away. If judging others floats your boat, row away. Far, far away.