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

Seven Year Itch

 

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

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

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

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

 

Beauty, health and wellness, Women

Sticks and Stones

We all know the childhood chant “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”. Oh, how I wish that were true. There has been many a moment I would have taken a blow to the gut rather than an unkind or untrue phrase spoken. Physical bruises heal. Emotional ones, when it comes to healing, those suckers move at a turtles pace. I am 46 years old and there are still some words I cannot erase from my mind.

We’ve all heard them, I am sorry to say. We’ve been called a liar, useless, fat, ugly…you name it, at some point in our lives, someone has uttered these words to us, and sadly, we have uttered them to ourselves. What I find the most heartbreaking is when we let someone else’s words begin to define us. I admit, I have fallen victim to this, in the past and even in the present. I was beginning to listen to the shouts of self doubt that were unfortunately being boosted up by the words of others. Then one night, after a shit show of a day, I sat down in bed and looked over at a journal I had been given years ago. It’s Tiffany blue and embossed in gold were the words “be happy”. I reached over, cracked it open and began to write. I wrote how I feeling, what I was thinking. After, I felt better. My feelings were still hurt, I was still confused about what to do, but I felt better. The next night before bed, I wrote again. I have continued to do so each night. That’s the wonderful thing about writing in a journal, you get the questions out of your head and sooner or later, answers appear.

When I was younger, I heard my mother say something to a friend of hers that was going through a difficult separation “we hate in others what we hate in ourselves.”. I found myself writing that phrase in my journal. I also remember as a child being told “when you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you.”. While writing last night, I finally got it. I stepped outside of myself and took a good, hard look at the lives of those around me who haven’t been the nicest as of late. They are all going through something. Be it trouble at work, trouble with family, battling some inner demon, even battling addiction. I came to realize that when they were pointing the finger at me, they were also pointing it at themselves. To be clear, there is no excuse for hurtful words or actions. What I am saying is trying to understand where they are coming from may bring you some peace. I am well aware that I am not a saint. I have had my moments that I took the low road and went for the jugular. Over the years I have made a commitment to myself not to behave that way. I do my best to listen and understand. I will take whatever is coming to me, if I deserve it.

We all get angry. We all get down on ourselves. We all get frustrated with life, family, work, you name it. I think we should all be allowed to feel whatever we are feeling. I do not believe we should be allowed to be mean about it. There is no reason for that, there is no honor to yourself or the other person. Saying hurtful things for the sake of argument is childish. Plain and simple. I have come to feel sorry for those who have been hurtful for hurtful’s sake. In the wee small hours of the morning, for the rest of their lives, they will have to live with the fact that they purposefully hurt someone they love. That is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

There is always a chance for kindness. As hard as it may be to do, we can stop saying something hurtful before we start. We can take a breath. When you feel like lashing out, take a moment to remember what you would do if you heard another person speaking this way. If you wouldn’t allow another person to speak in a hurtful way in your presence, maybe you shouldn’t either.

 

Beauty, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat

An Instant Monday Motivator

Here we are, once again. It’s Monday. Our week and all the hustle and bustle that goes with it has begun. Calls to make. Emails to send. Early morning drop offs and after school pick ups arranged. Deciding what’s for dinner, laundry thrown in the dryer, drinking cold coffee as tears are dried over forcing our children to wear their toques and boots…it’s a Canadian thing. All the while, trying to get yourself dressed and presentable to the world. …oh, and it’s only 8:30 a.m.. I may not have all the answers or remedies for our Monday morning mayhem, what I do have is a a product that can help you have a good hair day. A little gem that makes your hair look freshly coiffed and ready to take on whatever Monday may throw at you. Let me introduce you to Joico Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo.

 

For those who are not familiar with Dry Shampoo – this product was created to give you the look and feel of freshly washed hair when you do not have the time to jump in the shower. Dry Shampoo is applied to dry hair in layers, starting at the scalp. *That Girl in the Red Coat tip – flip your head upside down, then start spraying from the root about half way down your strands – a little goes a long way. After spraying desired amount, brush through your hair. When too much is applied, your hair can tend to look and feel like there is too much product on your hair. You may have heard around the water cooler or at the school drop off zone that Dry Shampoo made someone’s hair look worse. More often than not, the product has not been applied correctly. Dry Shampoo is not meant to replace washing your hair entirely. It is best to use Dry Shampoo for maybe one to three days, (especially for those of us with fine hair) then jump in the shower and give your hair a good washing.

Dry Shampoo tips;

  • always apply to dry hair
  • apply in layers/sections from root to mid shaft – flipping your head over to have your hair hang down may make it easier to apply.
  • always brush the product through after applying to prevent build up in a specific area
  • Dry Shampoo is not a replacement for washing your hair! Recommended use is 1-3 days. Using Dry Shampoo everyday can make your hair start to look greasy and lifeless and may cause product build up on your hair.

Joico’s Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo is formulated for all hair types, from fine to thick and for all hair colors. It has a hold factor of zero, so it will not interfere with your other styling favorites. It creates volume, like after a fresh wash and rids the look of greasy or oily roots and strands. It is a fast drying aerosol so there is never a worry of your hair looking wet or feeling crunchy. Formulated with Aluminum starch, Willow and Manuka extracts, Joico Instant Refresh absorbs excess oil = easy to brush out without any residue on the hair. Joico’s signature Peptide Complex targets and reconstructs damaged strands and Soy Protein adds the gloss.

On Monday mornings, your coffee may be cold, your toast may burn, your children may fight over who gets the blue cup, your hubby may forget where his keys are, but you will have a good hair day. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make all the difference in our day.

 

 

 

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.