1

Baggage claim

Over the past months, yours truly has encountered many people that seemed tired. A blank stare when being spoken to. Quick to answer, even faster to object to anything anyone around them had to say. Snap decisions being made and words uttered that should have been held silent. I am starting to think the culprit to the above is holding onto baggage and trying desperately to look perfect. Now that would be exhausting.

Over time, you get to know people. You see when something has changed. Sometimes for the better, be it a new hairstyle, a new fashion sense, a spring in their step or more smiles than grimaces. Some of the time the changes you see aren’t what you hope for them. Their hair not styled, shirts untucked, their Louboutin’s have been replaced by Crocs…you get the picture. The person you once knew who had a smile for you now has a scowl or snide remark about any opinion other than theirs.

In this life, as I am well aware and those who follow my blog are well aware, things do not always go as planned. Hell, more often than not, it never goes as planned. In my 45 years in this earthly realm I have come to one absolute truth… it’s not about you. Sure, there is the chance that you were talking out of your ass and offended someone – something I am guilty of (who isn’t), but it is a safe bet that something else is going on. It’s easier to blame others, blame your boss, blame your ex, hell, blame the family dog for your life not going as planned. Guess what? Until you put some of the blame on yourself, nothing is going to change. Nothing. You gotta own your shit. You gotta. It’s your baggage sunshine, and every time you blame someone else and pass them your baggage, it just goes back to baggage claim and waits patiently for you to arrive.

Now, before you begin to throttle me with comments about there are somethings you can’t control, I totally agree. You cannot control a loved one’s illness, a hormonal teenager, a jerk for a boss, a job loss, you name it. You can however control how you deal with it and how you let it affect you and how you deal with everyone around you. Spreading anger and resentment will get you nowhere but alone and even angrier at yourself and the situation you have now found yourself in. Trying to fake your way out of your life is even a worse road. You know what I’m talking about, we do it all the time.

“Oh, I love my kids! They are perfect!” – meanwhile you aren’t speaking to your kids unless eyerolls and hand gestures constitutes conversation.

“Everything’s great! Life is wonderful” – as you are trying to figure out how you are going to pay your mortgage since your spouse just lost their job but doesn’t want anyone to know about it.

“Never better!” – although it took you 1 hour to get out of bed that morning because you didn’t know how you were going to face another day.

“Let me get this” – as you cross your fingers and every available body appendage hoping your card isn’t declined.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the picture. Here’s the deal. Your life is going to be messy. Relationships are going to get messy. Parenting…Jesus, there will be days when you completely understand why someone gets in their car one day to never be heard from again. You know what? Everyone has felt the same way or is feeling the same way – most won’t admit it, but they do. Maybe, just maybe, getting real with people will help not only you but them. I know it has helped me and countless people I know, many who have become cherished friends. When my life is going down the toilet and someone asks how things are, I tell them “my life is going down the toilet”. After the initial shock of truth wears off, I usually find out their life isn’t all moonlight and roses either. We bounce experiences of each other and somehow, someway, we feel better and solutions are found. Sometimes my honesty sends people running for the hills and that’s okay. This is my journey and that is theirs.

Here’s the deal. Own your shit. Be kind when you can, and you always can. It is not your job nor your responsibility to carry other people’s baggage. If you are carrying some baggage around with you, be sure it’s your own.

 

2

It’s not personal…it’s parenting

 

 

When I found out I was pregnant, I read What to expect when you’re expecting. Once my darling girl was born I sent out my hubby to get me What to expect The First Year. The day after her first birthday I hopped in the car with my girl in tow to Chapters for my coveted edition of What to expect The Toddler Years. Over the years I searched out answers to everything from when to introduce solid foods to how to get my child to poop….they never tell you that your child will hold onto that poop like it’s the hope diamond when it comes to getting on a toilet.

There are an endless number of books, articles and websites catering to parenting and child rearing, yet not one ever delves into the abyss of the one commonality we as parents all have and never talk about…taking it personally. Oh sure, you may be fortunate to find an article that tells you “every parent feels responsible for their child’s happiness or lack there of” or “every parent feels they should have done better”. Feeling responsible or feeling we could have done better is a hell of a lot different than taking it personally.

For those of you with children under the age of 12, I do not mean to frighten you. For those with children over the age of 12, I know you get me. All of a sudden we go from being our child’s fountain of knowledge to the douche wearing a dunce cap in the corner of the classroom. Our sense of humor that used to leave our child in stitches is now stared down with a blank stare and the occasional eye roll to prove sign of life. The begs of wanting to wear our clothes and fancy shoes are now met with mumbles of disgrace at our ensemble choice. Hurt feelings that used to be healed with a hug now are something we possibly couldn’t understand. A favorite treat brought home from the grocery store that was once greeted with squeals of delight and “thank you mommy!” are now met with shrieks of “Mom! You know I am fat! Why are you tempting me?!?!” sigh …kinda tough not to take it personally.

Ladies and gents, I am here to tell you one thing. It is not personal. Oh hell, it feels personal. Trust me, it’s not. Taking it personally not only makes you feel like shit, it feeds anger and resentment that does not need to be fed. Irrational words and behaviour from our kids met with irrational words and behaviour from us is well, irrational. … and stupid and serves no purpose. The only result is slamming doors, tears, people feeling the same way in separate rooms in the same house. Don’t get me wrong, ground rules of respect, kindness and courtesy should be in place and when those lines are crossed they should be pointed out. When your child gives you attitude, they need to be told that they are out of line. After that, you have no control over eye rolls or the silent treatment. It’s not personal…remember, no one likes it pointed out they just acted like an ass.

Your child doesn’t even realize the magnitude of their words or actions or the hurt they have just inflicted. Oh, they may realize after they have been said, they just aren’t at a place they can admit that. Yet. They will get there. Not on the schedule we need or desire, but they will get there. I promise. Being a parent of a 20 year old, I can honestly attest to this. If today’s tale stops one parent from taking it personally, I have done my job.

 

We are here to be the parent, not the friend. it’s not personal, it’s parenting.

 

 

1

Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

1

What are you going to do?

The shop is closing. The signs are on the windows. The stock is marked down to clear. Customers and clients are walking in with surprise, wondering what is happening. Shelves are clearing and being removed from the sales floor, so I can see why people may feel worry or concern. “Where will I get my products?”, “What the hell?!”, “Why is this happening?!” are many of the questions asked, usually with a pout, sometimes with a shout. Yes, a shout – those are always a good time. After I explain that the owner has decided to close I get the all too popular question “What are you going to do?”… a question posed to yours truly at least 30 times a day for the past 14 days. Before I get a chance to answer, more often than not, I hear “Guess you’re out of job huh?”, “All you can do is this, so now what are you going to do?” or my all time favorite “Wow. Sure wouldn’t want to be you right now.”.

I get it. For most, their workplace closing it’s doors would be devastating. It’s a scary thing, the unknown. Household budgets are affected, vacations put on hold, major purchases moved to the back burner once more. Good thing for me that I choose to see it as an invitation to a party that I have always wanted to attend. Funny thing – when I explain this to the women I speak with, many of them say “Oh, I see. You don’t have to work.”. Hmmm. Interesting. To be clear, I do need to work, to contribute to my home and my family. Most importantly, to contribute to myself. Since the news of the shop’s closure, I have found the last piece of my confidence that was hiding on me – a sneaky little sucker that kept eluding me. I am once again thinking outside the box, a place I am most comfortable. I have faced fears and have done things I thought I never could do. Like what you ask? Driving to Toronto. Yes. I was afraid of driving into Toronto. I admit it. I feel no shame. Guess what? I slayed that dragon last week. As my hubby told me “You didn’t just drive to Toronto, you drove into the heart of the dragon!”. Thanks to my trusty Nav. system, the support of my loved ones and choosing to listen to the “you can!” instead of the “you can’t!” record playing in my mind, I did it. …and am going to do it again, and again and again.

For those of you reading my tale today that may be in the same boat as yours truly, or facing a major life change and are standing at the crossroads, I am here to tell you that no matter what, everything will be fine. Sooner or later, it all works out. Do what it is you have always wanted to do. Do the work. Be consistent. Be present. Do what you have to do until you get to do what you want to do. I am also here to tell you to stop listening to the negative nellies out there. Refuse to let their nasty remarks enter into your mind, let them roll off your back. Let their fears be their own, do not let their fears become yours. What people say to you says more about them than it does about you. Plain and simple.

For those familiar with my tales, you know that I know that I am not “just” a girl standing in a shop. I am not “just” the manager. I am not “just” anything. Neither are you. Remember that. …and this gem from Mr. Anthony Robbins,

 

 

0

Hair-surance

Last week I had a woman come in looking for a silicone oil for her hair. I asked her why she was looking for a silicone oil for her hair and she told me “that’s what my stylist said to use to fix my extensions, to make the frizz go away and to help get the knots out.”. I asked her how long she had her extensions in for and she told me 1 week. (I swear, I would have guessed a month.). “Oh, I see” I said. “Yeah, I know they look horrible. My stylist told me I am not taking care of them properly. I guess I am just stupid or something.”. It was then that I asked her if her stylist had told her how to take care of her extensions to which she said “Yes. She told me to go to the drugstore and make sure the shampoo was moisturizing and then she said…” it was then that I stopped her. I actually put my hand up and said “Stop right there. Hold on one minute.”. I took a breath and said “this is not your fault. I am sorry that you spent so much money ($400.00 by the way) and were given the wrong instruction.”. I let her know that she should wrap her head each night, or at least put her hair in a low ponytail/braid before bed. That only professional Salon sulfate free shampoo should be used with extensions. That a flat iron spray should be used when using a flat iron – not a silicone oil like her stylist told her. The poor girl just looked at me. Her eyes began to well up, then stopped. Her look turned from despair to anger, and rightfully so. “My stylist didn’t tell me any of that. In fact, she made me feel like I was an idiot and disrespecting her when I told her I thought there was a problem with my extensions!”. We spent the next 20 minutes talking product and after I rang her through, she thanked me for my honesty. “You are the first person who told me the truth about my extensions”.

The point of today’s tale? Clients and customers come to our Salon’s because they trust us. They trust us with their family secrets, the latest neighbourhood gossip, their fears and their self doubt. Most importantly, they trust us with their hair. It is our responsibility as stylists, Salon managers and Salon owners to guard that trust and help our clients and customers to protect their investment in themselves. It is our responsibility to explain;

  • the importance of the proper shampoo, especially for color clients. Explaining that professional Salon shampoo will protect the their color whereas drugstore shampoo will effect the vibrancy of their color = color fade.

 

  • how to apply shampoo – to emulsify it in your hands, then apply mid shaft and work your way up.

 

  • that sulfate free shampoo’s do not make lots of bubbles or suds. To make more of a lather, add more water. Adding more shampoo just wastes the shampoo and leaves the hair greasy and lifeless.

 

  • the difference between leave in conditioners and conditioning treatments. Yes, sadly many woman I have helped were using a conditioning treatment and leaving it in, which in turn messed up their hair, on many levels. * I ALWAYS stress the importance of rinsing out vs. leaving in. Trust me, your client may look at you like you have three heads, but they will thank you for it later.

 

  • all mousses and root boosts are thermal activated. No blow drying? No volume. Plain and simple.

 

  • the importance of thermal protection. Every client that uses a flat iron MUST have a flat iron spray at home and it MUST be used each time a flat iron is used. *the hair spray today will be cooked into the hair tomorrow without the use of a thermal spray.

 

  • All oils and serums should be applied to damp hair BEFORE blow drying or to dry hair AFTER using a flat iron or curling iron. * oils and serums are not thermal protectants. I want you to think of a hot pan on the stove – what happens when you add oil to a hot pan? Exactly.

 

  • how to take care of extensions. How to wash them. How to style them. Which products are best to use.

 

  • how to take care of their hair after a perm

 

  • how to maintain smooth tresses after a chemical straightening

 

  • how to wash their hair when they have had vibrant colors applied.

In my experience, almost every customer thanks me for being honest with them, for taking the time to explain things to them, the how’s and the why’s of hair product and hair care. Take a moment to speak with your clients about their hair and hair care routine, explain the importance of protecting their investment in themselves. They will thank you for it. As for me…no thanks needed.

 

0

Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

0

…out of Clay

Today’s tale offers yet another glimpse behind the curtain of That Girl in the Red Coat. Those familiar with me and my Salon Tales are well aware of my sass and my firm believe that a little pixie dust goes a long way. That with hard work, kindness and belief in yourself, sooner or later, what you need or desire will most certainly come to pass. Over the past few days, I, as well as many others around the globe, found themselves saying good bye. The world lost a great athlete, humanitarian and human being. I can still remembering asking my father “who’s that?” when I saw Muhammad Ali being sassy with Howard Cosell during an interview on ABC sports. I remember wondering how he could get away with it…and wondering if I could too. Safe to say, Mr. Ali had a fan in me from the start. I loved his sassy quips like “If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize!”, “I’m so mean I make medicine sick” and of course when he went on about how pretty he was. He was pretty.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned about all Mr. Ali had won, then lost only to rise once again to the top. How he stayed true to himself and his beliefs, no matter what the cost. He spoke with an educated elegance that resonated in me, and continues to do so. He never gave up. Any time life knocked him down, he got back up. Something I try to do everyday.

Since I was about 12, I have been a collector of quotes. Some funny, some rude, some inspirational. Many of my favorite quotes have been Muhammad Ali’s. I remember when I was pondering starting my blog and later when I was pondering the idea of becoming an Independent Retail Consultant and my fears and doubts crept up… “what if no one reads it?”. “What if no one thinks I am qualified?”. “What if I fall flat on my face?”. Then Mr. Ali’s words popped into my head “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up!”. …and he was right. Slowly but surely my fears and doubts faded away because I could back it up. I had the knowledge, the experience and the know how. I also knew when to ask questions, to admit when I did not know something and then learn about it with  a vengeance.

In the infamous words of Mr. Ali himself “I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”. So here’s the deal Beauties. If you want something, go for it. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Refuse to hear “you can’t do it” and listen for the whispers of “you can do it”. Be patient with yourself. Keep trying. Keep getting up. Always remember, Impossible is nothing.

 

Ali