communication, lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

Over the past weeks something has been occurring that has left me, well, a little perplexed. As you know, I have returned to the shoe store 4 days a week. I have been assigned to my old stomping grounds, the Ladies section. I found myself checking the calendar last week to assure myself that it was 2018. I felt like I had gone back in time. Why you ask? Well, it seems that the 1950’s mentality that the man has final say in how the money is spent and he decides what shoe or boot you should be wearing still exists. I shit you not. I have witnessed women telling me they loved the fit of the shoe, that it didn’t hurt their bunion and it was exactly what they were looking for only to have their significant other say “You chose that? Seriously?”. I have also been witness to a man telling his wife she was kidding herself to think the boot she was trying on looked good. I have lost count of the moments I watched the light fade from a woman’s eyes, her head bow down and heard her say “you’re right.”. Women that I know make their own money, women that are lawyers and doctors telling me that they have to get the “OK from the boss” before purchasing their shoes. Pardon my french, this is bullshit and it needs to stop.

What I am about to say may ruffle some feathers, of this I am sure. As women, we teach people how to treat us. Sure, it is a jerk move to belittle your wife. On the flip side Ladies, you let it happen. You have a voice. You have an opinion. You know what you like and don’t like. You know how to treat people and how you want to be treated. You know what is kind and what is not. It really is this simple. Both men and women need to call each other out on inappropriate behavior and comments. Trust me, I have seen women belittle their husband’s footwear choices as well…which is ridiculous if you stop and think about it. Unless you are a part of the psychic network, there is no way to know how a shoe feels and fits on someone else’s foot. I don’t care if it’s a loafer that has bunnies all over it, if the person likes it, it feels good on their foot and it brings a smile to their face, simply smile and let them buy the god damn shoe. Here’s a little go to list for you;

  • Do not tell anyone how the shoe on their foot feels. It makes no sense, you cannot possibly feel what it feels like on their foot and you sound like a fool.
  • Do not tell a women her ankles still look fat when she is trying on high heels
  • Do not tell your 40 year old wife her shoe choice reminds you of your Mother
  • Do not tell your husband he needs “old man shoes” to match his “old man hairline” …yes, I am sad to say I have heard this on more than one occasion
  • When your 10 year old daughter has large feet and needs a ladies size 11, do not say “if this keeps going she’ll be wearing ugly clodhoppers for life” – first of all, that’s mean and ugly. Secondly, most shoe companies make cute shoes and boots up to a Ladies size 13.
  • If you have a job and make your own money, you should not need your spouses approval to buy yourself shoes, man or woman.
  • Never make fun of someones choices. Trust me, I think there are a lot of ugly shoes out there. Key words are “I think”. Just because I don’t like them does not mean someone else will adore them.

If you find yourself saying something to your spouse that if anyone else said to them, they would end up with a fat lip…you probably shouldn’t be saying it either. This applies to everything, not just foot apparel. Be kind. Plain and simple.

 

 

lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat, Women

Sunday Confessions

Unless you have been living under a rock, in a coma or seeking seclusion in a Tibetan monastery, you are well aware of the political and cultural climate for women. It is 2018 and although we have made monumental strides towards equality, I am afraid, as of late, we have hit a plateau and in some arenas, we are facing stepping backwards. I listen to my daughter, who at 21 years of age is well in the middle of this mix. I hear her concerns, her fears, her hopes, her dreams. I raised her to be fair, to be kind, to stand up for what is right and to stand up for herself. I wanted to raise her the way I was raised. You see, I was fortunate to be raised by a loving and supportive mother and father. I was especially fortunate to be raised by a father who treated me as his child, not his daughter. It wasn’t until I went to school that I realized the differences between girls and boys. …don’t get me wrong, I knew about our biological differences, that only girls could get pregnant and carry a baby and that boys could pee standing up. Other than that, I thought we were the same, equal. I could double dutch like the best of them and could throw a perfect spiral. I could pretend I was a princess while wearing a pretty dress and imagine I was Babe Ruth whenever I was up to bat.

…before anyone gets on the soap box, I know all too well that girls and women are not the only people dealing with discrimination and adversity. Today’s tale is a focus on women and girls. I promise you, others will get their turn.

It wasn’t until I was 10 years old that I realized I would have to fight to prove I was just as good as a boy. We moved to Winnipeg, I was in grade 5 and my first day at the new school we had gym class. The teacher, a man, told the class it was calisthenics day and to start with push ups. So, I got down, assumed the position and began. The teacher came up to me, said “Oh no, you have to do your push ups like a girl.”. I had no idea what he was talking about. “Like a girl?” I asked. He said “Yes. Like a girl. Bend your knees, like the other girls.”. I looked around and they all bent their knees instead of being in a plank position. I looked at him and said “I’ve never seen that before. I don’t know how to do that. I’m doing it my way.”. To which he responded “Like a boy? Hmmm.”. When spring rolled around, it was time for baseball, my favorite sport at the time. I got up to plate and he placed a t-ball stand in front of me. I asked “What’s that for?”. He told me “Girls are afraid of the ball and can’t hit a pitch.”. I kicked the stand over, looked the him in the eye, and told the pitcher “Pitch it!”. …this is how I know there is a god, I hit that ball out of the park on my first swing. I thanked Jesus all the way around the bases.

Fast forward to high school. In Winnipeg, I was in french immersion for 3 years, so when we moved back to Ontario, I was a little lost in science. I had learned the basics in french. I asked my science teacher, another man, to clarify if I had the theory correct. As I was trying to explain I had learned it in french and wanted to make sure I had it right, I was told “Don’t worry so much. You only need one science credit. Pretty girls don’t need science.”. I was also told by a male teacher in grade 11 that “most girls get bored with computers” when I was getting lost in computer programming, a course I chose as an elective because I thought it was cool when my dad and I programmed our commodore vic 20 when I was 11.

In my sales career, spanning 25 years, men have told me;

  • I ask too many questions and if I can’t answer a customer’s question, just get one of the guys. – while selling cars
  • I should smile more
  • I get too emotional – when a fellow sales person scooped my deal and my commissions and I dared to stand up for myself. I had an appointment booked and the customer was under my name in the system, until the rat changed it.
  • “Wow! You have brains with your beauty”.
  • “Better ask your husband if it’s okay that you have to work late”
  • I wear too much makeup
  • I need to wear more makeup
  • I wear too much jewelry
  • I need to wear more jewelry
  • I am better being the face of the business, not to worry so much about what goes on behind the scenes.

Thanks to my stubborn nature, my need to fight for the underdog, my father raising me that I could do anything anyone else could do, my darling hubby who always has my back and a few good men that stood out from the crowd and fought for me and with me, I never let those remarks define me. Oh they stung and pissed me off to no end. I refused to let them define me. Then and now.

It’s 2018 and the fact that girls and women still hear these phrases (and worse) disgust me. Plain and Simple. Here’s the deal. In my book, you are either a good person or an ass. You either use your words to lift others up or to push them down. You are either kind, or you’re not. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman. I don’t care the color of your skin or if you believe in Christ, Buddha or the smurfs. Treat others as you want to be treated. Plain and simple.

health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

…speaking of Beauty

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, it seems that beauty is all around us. Everyone has beautiful hair, beautiful clothes, beautiful vacation destinations, beautiful homes, hell, even beautiful pets. Being on the cusp of 46 years in this earthly realm, I know that everything you see and everything you hear may not always be true. Unfortunately , being bombarded by all these pictures, posts and hashtags on a daily basis, many women I know and hold dear to my heart are feeling less than beautiful. Feeling like they don’t measure up or feel like they are missing out or made the wrong life choices, be it marriage or their new hair style. All of this came to a head for yours truly a few days ago when I was chatting with my daughter. She is now 21 and going through what we all did at 21. Trying to figure out where our lives will lead. Wondering what path is the correct path to take. Feeling like the only person in the world going through this strife. Wondering why everyone else seems to have it all together. Wondering what’s wrong with me?

As we were chatting, the conversation came around to social media…being a parent of a millennial, this is a constant issue. I reminded her, as I have to remind myself, that people don’t post the ugly, only the pretty. I posed her the question I have posed to many others, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if more people posted and spoke of the ugly?”. One of the many reasons I am proud of my girl is she is honest with her posts, be it her achievements or her struggles. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there, warts and all, and I for one believe people should be applauded for it. I also told her, much to her chagrin, that those feelings will pop up many times over the course of her life, that they are not only a factor of being 21. What she, and we all need to focus on is what matters most. Our inner beauty, for it doesn’t matter how coiffed our hair is or how we achieved the perfect smoky eye if our soul and our mind cannot see it, or feel the wonder that is us.

At some time in our lives, we have all felt fat. We have all felt ugly. We have all shrugged at our reflection under the horrible lighting in the change room. We have all felt our stomach drop when invited to a pool party knowing we have to put on a bathing suit. We have all burnt dinner. We have all yelled at our kids for something that was not their fault. We have all dismissed our spouses. We have all “forgotten” to call our parents. We have all lost our shit. Speaking from personal experience, all of the above happened when I was focusing outward, not inward. Think of it this way, you remodel your bathroom, it is Pinterest worthy. If the plumbing wasn’t put in correctly…it ain’t so pretty. I came across a great passage courtesy of Iain Thomas…

“…and every day. The world will drag you by the hand, yelling “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!”

And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it to your heart and say “No. This is what is important.”.

Comparison is the thief of joy Beauties. There is no comfort in that. Where there is comfort is in our commonality, in our stories of short comings and how we overcame them, in speaking of the ugliness that came along with pulling ourselves out of the mud, how we brushed off the dirt to find we were fresh and clean underneath.

As for all the pictures and posts you will see today, see them for what they are. Moments. Be happy for others achievements. Celebrate their moment of happiness. Remember, we are all just trying to get through the day, and most of all, be your own beautiful. In the end, in the wee small hours of the morning, that is all that really matters, what you think of you and how you feel about yourself.

In the immortal words of  L.M. Montgomery’s character Anne Shirley “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”.

 

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

Monday Motivator

It’s Monday. The sun is shining on my part of the globe. The birds are chirping, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee is in the air and my bed head game is stronger than ever this morning. Some mornings I don’t need coffee, just catching my reflection and seeing the state of my hair jolts me awake.

As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and checking on my notifications, one commonality I found was no one was happy that Monday had arrived. I may not be able to write you a doctor’s note to excuse you from school, nor am I able to mimic your child’s voice calling you at work telling you I am sick and you need to come home. What I can do is offer you a solution to make your Monday a little more enjoyable. Yours truly has decided to bring back the “Monday Motivator” segments. Every Monday I will give you tips and tricks of FAB! products to make every Monday a little less melancholy. As we all know, a good hair day equals a good day, plain and simple. …you know it, I know it.

This Monday Motivator is brought to you by yours truly and Joico! Meet one of my all time FAB! favorites….Joico JoiWhip!

You may remember this gem as IceWhip. …back in the day, before the name change….oh the 80’s early 90’s. This has been a go to of mine for over 20 years, whether I had a perm or a pixie, blonde or brunette. JoiWhip is a lightweight yet potent mousse. A little goes a long way Beauties. Joiwhip is a firm hold mousse (level 7 out of 10 on hold factor scale) but don’t let the “firm hold” scare you. It is not sticky, it will not flake or leave that residue feeling on your hair. Thanks to Kukui Nut and Evening Primrose Oil, essential fatty acids that provide moisture and protection, JoiWhip will not leave your hair looking or feeling dry. Created for all hair types, it truly is fine, limp hair’s bff.

Always give the can a good shake, upside down as you do with whipping cream. Keep the can upside down as you dispense the desired amount *TIP! a little goes a long way!. Apply to damp hair, then blow dry & style. *TIP! for my girls with curls – air dry or use a diffuser depending on desired curl effect and style.

My Monday wish for you…. May your coffee be strong, your Monday be short and your hair be FABULOUS!

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.