health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat, Women

Find your path

 

I woke up this morning feeling lost. Wondering what the hell was I doing with my life? I know I talk a big game but I too suffer from the midweek blahs as I like to call them. Maybe it’s the planets in retrograde. Maybe it’s my lack of exercise. Maybe it’s hormones. Yes, I had a hysterectomy 9 years ago, but I still have my ovaries, so it could be hormones…the joys of womanhood in your forties. So, I plopped myself with a pout and my coffee in hand into my favorite chair and started scrolling through my feeds. I came across a post that I instantly shared via my Instagram story, Instagram feed and Facebook page. Reader’s Digest version – it spoke of patience and that what you need and desire for a feeling a free life will come. It will come. To be gentle with yourself.

My struggle with life is more of a professional one. Many paths are inviting me to stroll down them. Honestly, I am done with strolling down paths others have laid out before me. I know that is why I am feeling the way I am today. I have been taking the easy road lately. I have been choosing the comfortable options. I know better, but have not been doing better – hence today’s tale. I made myself sit down and write today. I have been blogging for 6 years now, but for some reason it began to scare me. My mind filled with thoughts of worrying about what others will think, worrying that others will think my blog has no format or flow. …and just as those thoughts almost overtook my courage this gem by Tayna Markul came across via P!NK’s Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…so here I am, speaking my truth instead of trying to be good.

 

Admitting our truths is scary. Trying to be good, hell, it’s frightening. Trying to be good is faking it, and I am done with faking it. My life isn’t all moonlight and roses. No one’s is…and that’s okay. So, here’s a little another nugget to help you have a better day and find your path, the one you choose, not the one chosen for you.

  • for those going through a separation or divorce – there is no shame to be felt. Be gentle with yourself – it just didn’t go as you had hoped
  • for those scorned by love – keep loving. Keep believing in love – if you don’t believe it can exist, it cannot find it’s way to your door
  • for those whose children are struggling with mental health issues – it’s not your fault, it is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s okay to talk about it and it’s okay to be frustrated by it.
  • it’s okay to love someone and not like them at the same time
  • it’s okay to want more – it’s not okay to punish others because you don’t have more
  • if you want something, you gotta do the work
  • if you want something, be okay with being scared
  • no one, I mean no one has all their shit together.

Stop comparing your life to the lives of others. Right now I am back at my old job. Shoe sales. My old employer asked me to come back, so I did. On my terms, with a schedule that works best for me. When I was first offered the position I thought “what will people say?” …then I remembered the opinions of others don’t pay my bills. My life is my life. Your life is your life. We are all just trying to get through and trying to matter.

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Stop trying to be good. Feel the fright, embrace it and find your path. Plain and simple.

lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. A lovely quote I stumbled upon many years ago. I have to admit, I used to compare myself and my life to others. Feeling like I was missing out, or not doing enough with my life. I would hear of vacations, career changes, new houses, new cars, you name it…if I heard about it, it was always accompanied with a dash of jealousy, wishing I could have all those things too. Nowadays, not so much. Maybe it’s maturity, maybe it’s my hysterectomy, maybe it’s the fact I am going to be 46 in a few days, maybe it’s perspective, maybe it’s everything coming together all at once.

This October I am taking a trip to Vancouver with my husband and I am going to my first concert with my husband. We have been together 26 years, married for 24. When I tell this to people, I almost always get “the face”. You know the one, the look of pity, or shock or sheer disbelief that I have not traveled or rocked out at a concert in 24 years. I have had people ask if our marriage was in trouble and if we are trying to rekindle the spark. I have had people tell me it’s about time I started living. I have had people say “…so what have you been doing with your life?”. Ten years ago, these phrases would have flattened me. I would have let the opinions of others take the helm of my life’s journey. I would have felt embarrassed or ashamed of my life, or lack there of. Today, not so much.

A long time ago, I decided to put my marriage, my family and our life together first. Over the years, we have faced job losses, lay offs, health issues – some scary, some not. We decided it made more sense financially and emotionally for me to stay home with our daughter until she reached school age. It didn’t make sense for me to be out of the house 40 hours a week to hand over most of my paycheck to a daycare provider. We made a one income household work, hence no travelling. When my husband was faced with manufacturing layoffs, I stepped up and worked 6 days a week. Keeping our house was more important then having a family vacation photo. My mother in law broke her hip, twice. That summer we took care of her, got her the rehabilitation she needed, took care of her home and finances, so our summer vacation plans fell to the wayside. I could go on an on, reading the list would make your eyes blurry and would give me carpal tunnel. Sure, we could have gone on trips and rocked out at concerts, but we couldn’t afford it, and honestly, I, hell, we were stressed enough, why would we add more financial stress to our platter? How would I enjoy myself sitting on a beach knowing that I had a credit card bill waiting for me in my mailbox with the vacation and hotel charges that I couldn’t pay? I guess all I am trying to say is shit happens, plans change, life gets in the way and never be ashamed of your life because you aren’t doing what everyone else seems to be doing. This is your life. Your choices must be what is best for you, and for your family (for those of us that have one). No one else is living your life but you. Another great quote I stumbled upon is “the opinions of others do not pay the bills”.

I am proud of what my husband and I have accomplished. It hasn’t always been pretty, sometimes it got ugly, but we are still together, fighting the good fight. We never lost sight of the fact that we love each other and that the problems and arguments were because of life getting in the way, not loss of love for one another. We have our home, we have our health, we have a beautiful daughter who is coming into her own and doors are opening for her at every turn…and although it is later than planned, we are going to travel and rock out at a concert.

 

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

When there’s a will, there’s a way

As I was sitting in my kitchen this morning, staring at my blank screen, contemplating my life, wondering if I was making the right choices, a shadow flickered out of the corner of my eye. I looked out my window to see a bird perched on my rose bush. It’s been blooming for over a month now and until this morning I never noticed the  single rose blooming on a branch that was connected to a dead branch. Way up above the rest of the blooms, there it was, a rose blooming from a dead branch that is over 4 feet long, has a rose, in full bloom, it all it’s glory.

That’s when it hit me. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Always. If this rose could figure out a way to grow and bloom from a dead branch, anything is possible.

Since the shop closed, 2 years ago now, I have been trying to figure out my next step. Well, that is what I said I was doing, honestly,I was coasting along hoping my next step would just arrive at my front door along with my Amazon orders. It wasn’t until this past April, when, once again, I was faced with another small business closure and in turn, a job loss. I saw it as a nudge from the universe to focus on my writing,my consulting and my brand. You see, I thought I could only do one or the other, either work or write/consult. Over the past 6 weeks, I have been networking, blogging, making things happen if you will, all the while taking care of everything “household” from dishes to cooking to cleaning the gutters…yes, I cleaned the gutters. I bought a new ladder and everything. A little scared about how excited I was about a new ladder…must have something to do with my forties. I had many job offers come my way, even an old employer asking if I was interested in coming back. I turned down the offers, except one. My old employer’s offer. I met with him and offered my services on a on-call basis. He was happy with that, although it felt he had hoped for more. For the next 10 days, it kept playing on my mind. Last week a situation that I thought forced my hand made me call my old boss and tell him I would take the job, four days a week and gave him the hours I was comfortable with. He agreed and I left the meeting with smiles from employees, the owner and a hug from my old manager saying “So happy to have you back.”. The situation that I thought forced my hand isn’t important. What is important is I realized my hand wasn’t forced, I just needed a big push to make a decision, and that was it. I had been contemplating the offer for over a week, wavering over the opinions of others, fear it would end up being the same experience as it had been 8 years ago, worrying that I would lose myself and in turn my writing. Deep down I knew it was the best move for me right now. Have a job that provides an income for the household while still having 3 days to focus on and build my blog and brand.

When I saw the rose this morning, I literally had an Oprah AHA! moment. Here I was worrying I couldn’t do both, when all the while I have been doing both. Actually, I have been doing more than two things at once. Depending on the day, I can have four to six tasks at hand and sooner or later, they all get done and done well. I started my blog and my brand while working 40 – 44 hours a week running a Salon/retail shop and everything that entailed, running a household and raising a teenage millennial…if I could do that, hell, this will be a walk in the park.

What you want in life comes to you, if you let it. You gotta put in the time, the work, the sweat, the tears. When doubt and fear rear their ugly mugs, tell’em to shove it and keep going. It won’t always be pretty. It may not happen when you want it to happen, it will when you need it to happen. Many times  we feel everything is going to pot. It’s not, it’s just that we are in the middle of our story. When there’s a will, there’s a way. If a rose can figure that out, I think we can too.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat

Sunday Confessions

 

This August, yours truly will be 46. I have found my forties to be quite liberating. It is as if I have returned to my 8 year old self. I thought I was pretty cool. I could throw a football like a boy, I could double dutch like no one’s business, I never worried about what others thought of me, if you liked me, YAY! …if you didn’t, that was okay too. I had a 64 pack of Crayola crayons (with the built-in sharpener), I could make my parents laugh, life was good. Remember that person? Before the world got to you. You woke up everyday excited for the day, wondering what was around the next corner. Waking up with intention, be it to ride your bike without holding onto the handle bars or getting to the arcade in time to be the first in line for PacMan. Being picked first for basketball or coming home to a fresh pack of Oreo’s waiting for you on the kitchen table made you feel like you could conquer the world. Making a friend was as easy as saying “I like the color blue” and another person saying “Me too.”. If you argued with a friend and feelings were hurt, saying sorry was enough. If an explanation was needed and given, it was believed and words were forgiven. We didn’t hold grudges, and even if we tried, by the end of the day we literally forgot what happened and simply carried on.

I know many women who are 35 and under, and I see them struggling, with their self image, their friendships, their marriages, their parenting, you name it, the struggle is real. Today’s Sunday Confession is to help ease the anguish, to help women of any age to ease up on themselves and know that they are not alone.

  • there will be days you will look in the mirror and wonder “Where did I go?”and that’s ok. It happens to us all. I am here to tell you, you are still there, life is getting in the way. Take a breath and remember a time as a young girl you accomplished something on your own. Feel that memory. Take a moment to really feel it. Open your eyes.I promise when you look in the mirror you will see yourself.
  • do not be ashamed if you are not relishing being pregnant. I was sick from the moment of conception to the moment my daughter was delivered. When I say I was sick, I was sick. I threw up at least 15 times a day…if you need a washroom in the Kitchener Waterloo and surrounding area, I know where they ALL are. I am here to give you permission to not find your pregnancy magical. I am here to give you permission to find pregnancy weird, uncomfortable and down right gross at moments.
  • it is just fine if you like living on your own.
  • it is just fine if you do not want to have children…trust me, all the people telling you “it’s life changing” or “you’ll regret it” have probably yelled at their little miracles 10 times that day and are wondering who smells like spit up, them or the baby.
  • your thirties are your twenties, just with more financial stability (mostly). It’s okay to feel like you have know idea what you are doing. Trust me, the majority of us are winging it, or trying to mimic what we saw our parents do, who were probably mimicking their parents….see, we are all just trying to do our best.
  • the life you dreamed for yourself may not come to fruition. It’s gonna hurt. You’re going to feel like a failure. You are not. Pout for a while, throw a temper tantrum, have some chardonnay if needed, then let it go. In my experience, when life threw me curve ball and I felt like I just kept swinging and missing, sooner or later, I ended up hitting it out of the park.
  • try your best not to compare your life with your friend’s lives. Sure they may go on more trips then you, or have a better car or apartment, maybe they even have a house. More often than not, they are mortgaged to the hilt, credit cards are at their max and they are living paycheck to paycheck. Remember – Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • some kids eat paste, some wet the bed until they are 6, they will interrupt every single one of your conversations, they will ask 20000 questions before 10 a.m. on a Sunday. Being annoyed with them does not make you a bad parent.
  • there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, so stop knocking yourself out. It will be messy, there will be tears, arguments, resentment, laughs, embraces, every emotion under the sun. As my Gramma Leah said “the secret to a good marriage is not to fall out of love with each other at the same time”.
  • if you have to work full time and have your kids in daycare until they are in school, that’s what needs to be done, plain and simple. Let the “looks” from the neighbourhood Moms roll off your back. The opinions of others doesn’t pay the bills.
  • Your 30’s will have many bumps in the road, the journey is worth it

 

In my forties I have found I feel comfortable in my own skin, I like my reflection, and with each passing month, I find that the opinions of others do not mean as much to me as they used to and when asked my opinion, I give it. It isn’t always what one wants to hear, my opinion is honest. I have come to realize that if the intention behind your actions or words is not honest and true, there is no honor in them, to yourself or others and sooner rather than later, feelings are hurt and trust is lost.

For those struggling today, let me tell you, like a fine wine, life gets better with age. It may not pretty or what you hoped for. The way I see it, if you are fortunate enough to rekindle a spark within yourself, are able to realize your true value and let things go, learn from your mistakes and leave that baggage at the door, life is pretty good.

 

 

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

…don’t ask…don’t get

As of late, many of those that I hold dear are feeling inadequate, feeling like they are missing out on something, wondering “is this all there is?”. Between loss of their job, their business closing, their marriage ripping at the seams, their kids struggling to find answers to questions they don’t even know how to ask, you name it, the struggle is real.

For those of you who follow my tales, you are all familiar with my past and present struggles. For those of you checking yours truly out for the first time, let me shine some light for y’all. I have been the girl who felt like she didn’t fit in. I have been the new wife wondering what my role was to be. I have been (and still am) the Mom wondering if I am screwing up my kid. I have been the woman who couldn’t look at her own reflection. I have been the woman who hated her hair and her body. I have been the woman who lost her job because of a store closure. I have been the wife of a husband with health issues. I have been the daughter of parents with health issues. I have been the sister of a wonderful gal who’s life was turned upside down. I have been the woman who found herself thinking on more than one occasion “now what the hell am I gonna do?”. I am here to tell you that no matter how dark the day may seem or how overwhelming life can get, sooner or later, the light begins to shine and you will once again feel in control. You will. Seriously, you will. You want to know how? Ask. Plain and simple. Ask for help. Ask for advice. Ask your business contacts if they know of any opportunities. Ask for a glass of Chardonnay if you need, just ask.

I know. I know. You’ve heard this before. Tony Robbins makes you walk on hot coals. The Secret tells you to put it “out there.”. Vision boards are all the craze. Everywhere you turn someone is telling you or pushing a Pinterest post in your face or sending a kitten meme telling you “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”. I for one believe that the mind and your perspective have a HUGE impact on your life’s outcome – here’s the little nugget that seems to get lost in translation – you gotta ask and you gotta do the work. You gotta. Walking on hot coals may remove something from your bucket list, if you don’t follow through with the tools bestowed on you, you will just have sore feet. Putting your desires “out there” is a fantastic idea, if you don’t put your plan into action, the universe will deliver to the wrong address. Creating a vision board is fantastic, I have one of my own. If you just look at it all day without speaking to anyone or leaving the couch, it’s just going to be something you made and look at.

We cannot control everything. We may not be able to reverse a health issue for a loved one or stop a toddler from throwing a fit in the parking lot. One thing I know for certain is, although we cannot control our job status/career, we can damn well have a say in it. The point of today’s tale is to give you the proof you need that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. In the big scheme of things, my accomplishments may seem tiny, to me, they are huge. I have been blogging over 6 year now. The last year I did not write as much as I wanted to. I thought my blog should change – I was listening to fear…big mistake…huge. (Pretty Woman reference…love the movie). After the shop closed, instead of asking myself what I should do, I let people tell me what I should do. Not their fault, that’s on me. Long story short, shit happened and the universe, the powers that be, the smurfs…whatever you want to call it gave me a wake up call. Gave me the opportunity to realize that my blog is fine just how it is. That it grew and opportunities flooded in when I was doing what was true to me. It gave me the back up to ask. To take take chances. I asked and took a chance and ended up on http://www.salonmagazine.ca 7 times. I had my tales followed and retweeted by Hollywood and Grammy Award winning stars. I had companies agree to have me write for them, review their products. I made new business contacts that have now become friends. I have been referred by said contacts to give Salons retail consultations to help them build their business.

Over the past few weeks, yours truly has been an asking fool. I didn’t get all I asked for, but I did get a few things. I have an opportunity coming my way – not telling yet! You are going to have to stay tuned, all because I asked a question. I didn’t just put it out there, I put myself out there. I did the work, I followed up, and low and behold, it worked out in my favor.

Here’s the deal. Ask. The answers are there. The answer may not be the one you wanted, in my experience, it’s the one you needed. Don’t ask…Don’t get. Plain and Simple.

 

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.