Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

My cup runneth over

More often than not, when you read the phrase “My cup runneth over” you immediately picture abundance. A happy, fulfilled life filled with blessing. As of late, when I hear “My cup runneth over” I picture an overwhelmed woman , emotionally, mentally and physically. Why do I picture such a woman? I picture her because I am her.

The last few years, especially the last 6 months, my life has been turned around, flopped upside down and all around. The events in my life have been affecting me 100%, unfortunately most of the reasons have nothing to do with me personally. That’s a tough thing to deal with – things in your life that affect you and you have to deal with that really don’t have anything to do with you. * my blog today may seem vague in some ways, that is because some of the stories are not mine to tell and I do not want to break confidences or name names, without permission to do so.

Someone I hold dear is battling an addiction, winning that battle these past few months, but battling none the less. Addiction is a ninja. It creeps in without you seeing it until it’s directly in front of you. It’s a thief too. It steals your trust, your self awareness, your sense of reality, your sense of truth… and this is what it does to those of us dealing with an addict…I can not imagine what it must be like for the addict themselves. I have gone through so many emotions, from empathy, to sympathy, to resentment, to anger, to rage, to despair. You name it, I felt it. With help from my circle, I am beginning to let the past go. I still have moments of all these emotions, usually one at a time. When they all congregate at the same time, well that’s a fun time.

The point of today’s tale is not to invite you to join my pity party, or to feel sorry for me, or to send me hug emojis. My goal for this blog is to keep it real. So here I am keeping it real. I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend who lets her cup runneth over, and that is the one thing that is on me and me alone. Taking on everything is on me. That’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s so much easier to blame everything and everyone else, or so we think. At the end of the day, the decisions, actions and reactions you make are on you and you alone.

My hope is this will bring someone some clarity or serenity to their day. To know that they are not alone. To know it’s okay to be angry, to be resentful, to grieve for the life you had planned that didn’t turn out. What’s not okay is to live in it. Let yourself feel it, let it sit with you a while, then say your goodbyes. There is no shame is life’s ugliness. There is only shame in hiding it. …and remember, pain is pain. You have your pain. Others have theirs. It’s not about competition, it’s about compassion.

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

Take the time

Yesterday yours truly was treated to a spa afternoon. My lovely friend invited me to join her for an afternoon of pampering. I put aside my reservations of an afternoon at the spa. You see, after being in the beauty biz and running a Salon, I know the health standards and the health codes, I know how spa tools are supposed to be cleaned and sanitized, hence my reservations. In the past I could never relax enough to enjoy the services, I found myself seeing the spa through the eyes of a manager instead of through the eyes of a client in dire need of some self care. I spent the morning getting myself into the proper head space so I could enjoy myself. …and let me tell you, I did.

We started with pedicures and I chose the color “self love” by SpaRitual for my toes.

Pink Salt Foot Detox

 

*FYI – SpaRitual is a Vegan polish. Cruelty free, free of any animal derived ingredients, gluten free, and free of Touline, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl tosylamide, Xylene, MEHQ/HQ, MIT and Parabens.

We followed our pedicures with a Pink Salt foot detox and a session in the healing Salt Cave. Pink Salt is a powerful tool for rebalancing, revitalizing and gently cleansing the body and the mind. Salt Caves can help with breathing disorders, sinus infections and inflammation and many other respiratory and health ailments.

Enough about the services. The point of today’s tale is to come clean about something. After our pedicures, we were guided to the Pink Salt foot detox room and offered coffee, tea or water. I planted myself down in my tub chair, placed my feet on the Pink Salt and waited for my coffee. When our lovely guide came back, she gave me my coffee and said “this service will be 45 minutes long. No worries about watching the clock, we will come get you when your time is up” and left. I felt my stomach sink and for a brief moment I felt anxious and guilty that I was just going to sit down and treat myself, just to do it. I turned to my friend and admitted my feelings. I had a huge light bulb moment. I found myself thinking about all the women that feel the same way I did. How many times they and I put the needs of others before themselves and in turn began to resent others for it. I came to realize that some of my anger towards others wasn’t completely on them, it was on me too. More often than not, people have no idea that you have put yourself on the back burner to put them first. They have no idea of what you are feeling, thinking or what you need, because they are not in your head, plain and simple.

I know all too well life gets in the way and that finances don’t always allow for a spa day or even spa session. What I have come to realize is there is always time for self care, be it 5 minutes or if your lucky, an hour. Put down your phone. Boil the kettle and steep your favorite tea and take a seat and look out the window. Run yourself a hot bath with some Epsom salts (they sell them at Walmart…I know you go there). Give yourself an at home Mani, nothing fancy. Pull a Madge and simply soak your hands in Palmolive if need be. Grab your facial scrub and use it on your hands to exfoliate, follow with your favorite hand cream. Massage the cream in for two minutes. Most importantly, when doing any of these “self treats”, breathe. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Breathe. Let go. Be present. …and put down your phone.

We cannot possibly control every aspect of our life. Life will still be hectic. Children will cry, pets will get sick, bosses will be well, bosses. Plans will fall through, dinners will burn, spouses will be late. Sometimes you won’t be having the argument, it will be having you. No one is perfect, nor will they ever be. You are not perfect, nor will you ever be. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. You are allowed to feel you are over your head. You are also allowed to take time for yourself. We all are. It’s time to put down the guilt baggage and leave it there. When we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of others. As one of my favorite Queer Eye gents ( I adore them all) Jonathan Van Ness says “It’s not vanity. It’s self care”

 

Take the time.

 

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.

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

Lost and Found

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

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

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

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

I would rather be Neapolitan than vanilla any day 😉

 

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

Listen for what you cannot hear

Beauty – a combination of qualities, such as shape, color or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

I hear the familiar chirp of the Salon’s door chime and as I look up from my purchase order, I see two sparkling eyes staring at me from just above the counter. Standing on her tippy toes, a young girl reaches out her hand and with a squeal, shakes her hand, giving me a prompt to shake her hand. Her mother, standing behind her lets me know that the young girl is deaf, so she likes to shake hands since she cannot say the word hello. I smiled at the little girl, and gave her a wave hello. I came out from behind the counter and gave a “come with us” wave to the girl as I went to help her Mother find the product she was after. As I was explaining how to use the product, I felt a little hand grab mine and little fingers intertwine with mine. I looked down to those sparkling eyes and smile. The young girl pointed to my hair and let out another squeal. It seems her favorite color is purple and yours truly has a swipe of purple throughout my hair. So, I bent down and let her play with my hair. She smiled and squealed and ended up rubbing my head where it is shaved. I showed her Mother the testers of purple hair chalk so her daughter could have purple hair too. Her Mother applied it and once it was done, I motioned to the girl to follow me. I took her over to our biggest mirror, bent down to her level, smiled and pointed to her reflection that she too had purple hair. Her Mother signed it was time to go and as I walked to the counter, my new found purple haired twin kept holding my hand, smiling and squealing. As they were leaving, the Mother thanked me for my help and my kindness and told me that I had made her daughter’s day. Funny thing is, it was her daughter who made mine, and I was sure to let her know it.

After the Mother/Daughter duo left, it got me to thinking. How many other Salon’s had they been to? How many other shop’s had they been in? How many other people did the young girl reach out her hand, only to have it ignored? How many people forgot about just being kind? For a successful Salon, you need more than a great colorist, good coffee and fully stocked shelves. You need to be attentive, sympathetic and empathetic. You need to pay attention to the sights and sounds of your Salon and your clientele and customers. You need to take those extra minutes to explain how to style your client’s new ‘do, or to bend down and let a child touch your purple hair.

Taking a moment to be kind to another human being, especially a child, adds beauty to the world. Plain and simple.

 

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

The Mother Load

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Being in the Salon/retail biz, I get to witness the preparations and the aftermath of Mother’s Day celebrations. From tears to tantrums to whimpers, I have seen and heard it all. Just this past weekend as I was buying my fruits and veggies I saw a grown man with red roses in one hand and pink roses in the other with a look of panic, shark coming at you in open water panic, over the decision of which flowers to buy. At the shop I helped a gent buy his wife her Mother’s Day gift. He came in, leaned on the counter and told me “You have to help me! I need that oil that comes in the blue box. I don’t know the name of it, but I have to get it for my wife!”. At our shop, our Salon management system keeps record of our client/customers purchases, so I asked for her name and phone number, saw she likes Moroccanoil, took him over to the display and got the oil off the shelf for him. He sighed with relief. He thanked me five times in a row. I was told I was a “lifesaver!”. All over a bottle of oil. Now, you all are aware that I am a mother, and I love shiny things and receiving presents. This being said, making your loved ones have a panic attack or risk of a coronary over their decision of what to get you for Mother’s day is well, stupid. Yeah, I said it. Before you get all in an uproar, take a breath. I am here to confess. I used to be the woman who made her hubby feel just as the poor gent with the roses. I am not proud of it. What I am proud of is that I am no longer that woman.

When I was a girl, I was easy to please. As a young woman, easy to please. As a new bride, easy to please…until, as all women do at some point in their lives, I began to listen to the wrong people and the wrong opinions. I remember when it happened. It was one of my first Christmas’s as a new bride when a few of my “friends” told me that my decorations were simple and the my hubby’s treasured gifts were silly. I thought my little tree was cute – it was my first tree with my hubby. I thought it was wonderful that I received Corning Ware for Christmas, because I really wanted it. I didn’t realize that getting homeware or a vacuum was tacky – I thought it was awesome, because it was what I wanted. In the blink of an eye,  I began to compare myself with others. What were they doing? What gifts did they request? I became someone I didn’t know. I became the woman who thought every holiday had to be an occasion, an event to end all events. I would worry what others would think of me and how I celebrated special days or special occasions. I would worry about what others would say about the gift I received – if they measured up to the status quo of what a Mother’s Day gift should be. I would make myself and my family crazy trying to create the perfect day…and every time, the day would end with me standing in the kitchen, washing food off of platters that I didn’t get to enjoy or even eat for that matter, being exhausted, emotionally and physically, looking at the gift I received wondering why I asked for it. It took a few years, but I realized that this just isn’t me and it just isn’t working. I came to realize that my husband had been right all of these years. I decided to take a page from my hubby’s book and decided to stop making such a big deal over holidays and occasions. Once the pressure was off, I actually began to enjoy Mother’s Day again, and so did my family.

Ladies, I know the following opinion may not be a popular one, and if you do not agree, that is okay, this is my journey and you are on your own. When it comes to Mother’s Day, birthdays and celebrations in general – ease up. Take a breath. Take the time to enjoy your time. Stop sighing and stomping because you received the vacuum you have been eyeing and talking about every time it’s on sale in the flyer. Think about it for a minute – did you ever stop and think that maybe your husband had been scanning the internet and sale flyers waiting to be able to afford the exact model you wanted? – yeah, let that sink in for a minute. …and that maybe your kids were so excited to see their Dad give their Mom that thing she keeps talking about. Stop worrying if you will get a ring bigger than your neighbor’s and how you will pay it off if it is. Stop trying to make everything perfect, because it will never be perfect – there’s no such thing. Stop comparing yourself and your life to others – perfectly said by Will Smith “We spend money we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people that do not care.”. It’s time to start being present. It’s time to start being thankful. It’s time to start letting things be what they are going to be. It’s time to start being concerned about the opinions of your loved ones and what they think of you and your life.

This year I received two of the best Mother’s Day gifts  – the first was 4 days before Mother’s Day. I had worked a 43 hour week and came home to a clean house, clean kitchen and tenderloin with all the trimmings waiting for me, just because. The second was a lovely letter from my girl. I had a quiet day, got some errands done, caught up on Mad Men and laundry, enjoyed a blizzard from Dairy Queen with my girl, made supper and enjoyed some wine with my husband. No tears. No anxiety. No worries of who got what, what they would think of my gifts and no worries of being able to afford this Mother’s Day. I really have hit the Mother Load. I hope you can too.

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

15 minutes is all it takes

Today’s tale is for the victims of dry, damaged and/or over processed tresses. In the age of flat irons, highlighting, ombres, sombres, smoothing systems and the ever popular at home it worked for the girl on You Tube blunders, we have all at one time or another been the victim of dry, damaged hair. Many of the women that I speak to at the shop all have the same concern – time. They want their hair to look and feel good. They all know that their hair is in dire need of moisture and nourishment. They all think they do not have the time to fix their hair. Well Ladies and Gents, I am here to tell you that if you have 15 minutes, once a week, you can and will repair your hair. Yep. 15 minutes is all it takes. How do I know? I timed it.

IMG_20150301_144534

Joico Kpak. A lovely line created for dry and damaged hair. Those of you familiar with my blog have heard me sing the praises of Joico’s Kpak Color Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner and Kpak Revitaluxe – my favorite trio from Joico. Thanks to blogger perks…thank you http://www.justpencilmein.ca , I was given some FAB! products from the Joico Kpak collection that, although I had sold to our customers and clients, I had not used. Until now. Let me say this. I have been a high lift bottled blonde for 5 years. I use a flat iron everyday. I am a mother and a wife and a manager so I know the struggle of having enough time and  keeping the “fuzzy head” at bay. These gems from Joico, to put it simply…meet your new best friends. * a little tidbit of info. for you…Joico Kpak’s technology is one of the most powerful, most targeted hair repair technologies ever created.

Joico Kpak Shampoo – restores your hair to it’s original condition, increases it’s strength and gives a cloak of protection to fend of further damage, finds the damaged area of the hair cuticle, instantly filling the lost amino acids and restores elasticity, strength and shine. It’s a lovely shampoo for all hair types for it offers a low molecular weight for those with finer strands and it’s rich cream based formula is lovely for thicker, more coarse strands.

Joico Kpak Conditioner – much like Kpak Shampoo, the amino acids in this conditioner specifically target the damaged area’s of the hair and the hair cuticle. The weightless keratin silicone complex locks in moisture, seals the now repaired cuticle and delivers shine and smoothness.

Joico Deep Penetrating Reconstructor – a conditioning treatment to be used once a week. In 5 minutes this gem will rebuild and refortify stressed strands. This award winning treatment is created for all hair types, length and thickness. After you shampoo and condition your hair, squeeze out the excess water in your hair, work the Deep Penetrating Reconstructor through out your hair, leave in for 3 – 5 minutes, rinse with cool water.

Joico Kpak Intense Hydrator – it’s name says it all. With it’s gentle ph of 3.5, this gem of a treatment offers immediate hydration. It is a treatment that is meant to be used once a week. It can be used more than once a week for frizzy, erratic hair that has been over processed by bleach, damaged by thermal styling – flat irons etc., damaged by chemical smoothing systems, even for those of us who unwittingly inherited crazy Aunt Ethel’s hair. Within minutes Joico’s BioAdvanced Peptide Complex replaces lost lipids, locks in moisture and seals your cuticle shut and delivers intense shine. Intense Hydrator can be used after you shampoo and condition. Squeeze the excess water out of your hair, work Intense Hydrator through your hair, leave in for 3 – 5 minutes, then rinse with cool water. *For very dry hair – leave in for 5 minutes. ** For optimum results and silky, smooth hair, use Intense Hydrator immediately after you rinse out the Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. Your hair will look and feel fabulous – you will feel and see the difference the moment you begin to blow dry.

Once a week, give yourself 15 minutes. We all have 15 minutes, once a week. If you have time to keep up with the Kardashian’s, you have time for you and your hair. I am sure that at least once a week you are in the shower. Instead  of running through the list of what everyone else needs, take those minutes to sing your favorite tune and apply a conditioning treatment. Once your song is over, it’s time to rinse. Admit it, when you are having a good hair day, it’s a good way to start your day. It’s time to start every day as a good day. These gems from Joico are a great start.