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

Sunday Confessions

 

 

“Isn’t it strange that we talk least about the things we think about the most?” – Charles Lindbergh

I am a lover of quotes. I have been for as long as I can remember. Quotes and sayings that grabbed my attention or the attention of others were and still are my favorites. I fondly remember shopping with my mother in a gift shop in Elora Ontario. I was 8 years old and fancy shoe laces were all the rage. The shop had a display of them and as I was looking at them and planning my performance to my mother in hopes of getting her to buy me a pair, my eyes landed on a pair of laces that I thought were the letters of the alphabet…they weren’t the letters of the alphabet…they read “BULLSHIT”. I giggled and gasped at the same time. My mother came over and I threw caution to the wind and told her I found a pair I liked. I pointed them out to her, she read them and laughed out loud, took them off the display and bought them for me. I wore my “BULLSHIT” shoelaces with pride, to school, to the playground, even to my grandparents house. Back to the tale at hand.

The above quote I came across a few days ago on Instagram and have not been able to stop thinking about it. It made me think of all the things that I think about, but do not say. Sure I make a sarcastic quip to lighten the mood, and will give my honest opinion when asked, I do not however always talk about what is going on behind the scenes. I put on my game face and head on out the door. Over the past weeks, being given time to actually complete a thought and do some soul searching via conversations with friends and finding a fabulous book -Rising Strong by Brene Brown, I have been able to, slowly but surely, leave the house without my game face. What you see is what you get. I have been able to shed my skin of shame (as I like to call it) and just be me. Becoming honest with myself is allowing me to become honest with those around me. So many of us are dealing with some type of pain or anguish yet feel shame for doing so. Let the shame go, it’s a waste of energy, it serves no purpose. Sharing your stories will set you free, your stories may even set someone else free for they will realize they are not alone. For the naysayers out there I have a perfect example, a personal one.

My daughter deals with anxiety and depression. Her high school years were not gentle and kind. Over the years we tried to get her some help to deal with her thoughts and feelings, to no avail. It was frustrating to say the least, not only for her, but as her Mother for it is my job to protect her, to show her there is good in the world. How was I to get her to believe that when one door closes another opens when every door seemed to slam in her face? Over the years we did our best to support her, all the while telling her to speak to someone. She didn’t trust the system for it had failed her so many times before. Finally, God, the powers that be, the Smurfs, whichever you want to believe in heard our plea, saw our efforts and a door opened, my daughter was heard, was taken seriously and is slowly but surely gaining control of herself, her emotions and her anxiety. I know, I hear you …”what’s your point? Where’s your example?”. Here it is. Last year while working with my friend at her shop, a friend of hers came in for her morning Matcha. She looked exhausted. She looked distraught. She was on the verge of tears. I overheard her conversation with my friend, it was about her daughter. She was 17, not eating, depressed, anxious, couldn’t make it through the day at high school. Her Mother was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. I went over, excused myself for entering the conversation and told her I felt I needed to. My voice was shaking as I told her about my daughter. Why was my voice shaking? What was so wrong about speaking the truth? It was at that moment I realized that I was blaming myself for my daughter’s anxieties and in turn by doing so was making her issues about me, which serves no purpose and does not help my daughter in any way, shape or form. As I was speaking to this woman, her tears slowed, her breathing calmed, my voice stopped shaking and we both felt lighter. I told her “Don’t do what I did. This is not your fault and we have to remember this is not about us. I am here to tell you there is light at the end of this tunnel. It will get better”. I went home that day and told my daughter about the conversation and I apologized to her. I apologized for always trying to fix it, that I realized all the while I was trying to make it better for her, because of my fear and shame of being seen as a bad Mother, I was not helping at all. By speaking my truth to another, I let go of my feelings of shame I hadn’t even realized I was carrying and I released another of their feelings of shame.

We all have stories that ain’t so pretty. We all know someone, or are ourselves dealing with;

  • loss
  • divorce
  • addiction
  • mental health issues
  • parenting issues – form having your toddler ripping off it’s diaper to having to put a parent in diapers.
  • are we doing enough
  • are we doing too much
  • bad hair day meltdown

…the list is endless. Here’s the deal Beauties. There is no shame in speaking your truth, what ever it may be. In the immortal words of Dr. Suess ” Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”.

 

 

 

 

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

Sunday Confessions

 

At least once a day, I have the thought or hear myself saying out loud “I should blog about that.”. Many of the topics did not pertain to beauty per say, so I wasn’t quite sure on how to go about it.  Yesterday, I was thinking of one of my most popular posts  https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/06/09/sunday-confession/

and yours truly had another AHA! moment….don’t you just love when that happens? Start a Sunday Confessions series…funny how the universe works, since I wrote Sunday Confession in June of 2013, and 5 years later, the idea for Sunday Confessions came about in June. My goal for Sunday Confessions is to bring light to the dark, to talk about all those things that people don’t talk about at parties. We all, at one point or another have felt tired, scared, unworthy, ugly, you name it, we have all felt it. By no means I am the guru on the mount, I am a woman who is, in the words of June Carter Cash, “just trying to matter.”.

I know that owning your truth will set you free, and I gotta practice what I preach. My Sunday confession this week is, yours truly is smoking again. Yes, it’s true. Since the tender age of 16, I have been a smoker. On and off for over 30 years. A crutch that I put away in the closet, that I bring out from time to time. I quit smoking when I was pregnant (24 years old) and gave it up completely until my daughter was 6 months old. My Grandpa Jack passed away when my daughter was 2 months old and my Grandpa Clarence passed away when my daughter was 4 months old, my husband was helping his mother with his father’s estate, we were buying our first home and well, I needed a crutch. Fast forward 3 years, at 28 I quit smoking when going through my first thyroid cyst scare…finding a lump will do that. I stayed smoke free for over 12 years…I did have a few during the funeral when my beloved Gramma Leah passed away, other than that, not a drag for over 12 years. Those familiar with my tales know of my hubby’s heart attack and health issues, and the obstacles my beautiful daughter has faced. That accompanied with financial stresses, loss a job, gain of a job followed by another loss of a job, loved ones health struggles, hell, life in general, I opened up the closet door and pulled out my old crutch. By no means am I putting the blame on them for puffing away again – the decision to smoke is completely on me. I know I may be receiving some calls and messages from my friends and loved ones after admitting this, of this I am sure. I am hoping for these notes of concern will be ones of support, not ridicule, for I am a firm believer of not kicking someone when they are down. I am well aware that smoking is bad for me, for my health, the major reason I know I have to quit, and not put that crutch back in the closet, but burn that sucker. One of the reasons for this confession is by no longer hiding the fact I am smoking will in turn help me to quit. Making myself accountable for my own actions, plain and simple.

The purpose for this Sunday Confession is to, pardon my french, own my shit, because if don’t own your shit, your shit is going to own you. Also, to give myself and you permission to admit a fault or a fall without guilt or shame. We all have struggles and insecurities. Some, like me mask it with a cigarette. Some mask it with alcohol, some with gambling. For some it’s posting only the perfect pictures to Facebook and Instagram. Maybe for you it’s always redecorating your home, or having your hair and makeup picture perfect before you dare leave your house. What ever it may be, we all have crutch, and there is no shame in owning that we do. The only shame to be felt is when you are not being honest with yourself – there is no beauty in that. We are all on a journey, we are all in search of something, we all are just trying to matter. We need to focus on what matters to ourselves, and I believe once we do that, everything will fall into place and be as it should. Whatever is bringing you shame, admit it, own it and it will no longer own you. 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, 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.

 

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

Pit Crew

As you know, yours truly receives products to try, to give a test run if you will. The latest product bestowed upon yours truly was something I didn’t ever think about blogging about, although it is a key factor in every Lady’s and Gent’s daily beauty routine or regime. Deodorant. All these years I have been educating the masses on their tresses or lack there of, on self esteem and kindness and yet I had never delved into the pit …see what I did there? Body odour. It’s never spoken about until it literally fills the room. Do not fret Beauties. I have found something that can save you from those awkward side sniffs or those   stretches that have the people around you wondering why you are doing yoga at the breakfast table. Meet Pure Mint Deodorant from Arbonne.

This gem is a natural, yes, I said natural product. Free of parabens and aluminum. It is vegan and gluten free. Now, I can feel the eye rolls and know what you are thinking “Natural deodorant? They don’t work.”. Well I am here to tell you they do. I personally used Arbonne’s Pure Mint Deodorant for 3 days straight. One of those days consisted of yard work in the hot sun, another one of those days was working over a hot stove and grill for the majority of the day…and  my hubby still wanted my hugs. The neighbourhood children nor my customers shooed me away or turned up their noses. I have to say, I smelled pretty good.

There are a few key components to Arbonne’s Pure Mint Deodorant that make it work so well.

  • It is infused with spearmint, mint and antioxidants from White Tea, lemongrass, sage and tea tree extracts (these gems help to condition the delicate skin under our arms = less chafing).
  • Aloe Vera leaf juice and Witch Hazel Water soften and smooth the skin for a more comfortable application
  • Zinc = absorbs moisture
  • Vegetable enzymes = neutralizes the effects of odour causing bacteria to deliver a gentle, effective protection
  • Baking Soda in combination with the above vegetable extracts = a unique odour fighting formula.
  • It is created for Women and Men. Yep. This baby is Unisex.

One of my favorite things about Arbonne’s Pure Mint Deodorant? NO WHITE MARKS on my clothes! None! Not a one! For a gal who likes her black ensembles, let me tell ya…it’s a whole new world.

A little side note – since I began changing the direction of my blog, many opportunities have been arriving in my inbox, if you will. One of the them was from the Beauties at reviews.com. They enjoyed my tales thus far and inquired if I had ever tried natural deodorants. Since I am telling you about Arbonne’s natural deodorant, the Beauties at reviews.com have graciously sent me a link to others that may interest you, or that may be available in your part of the world.

https://www.reviews.com/natural-deodorant/

…another little side note… shout out to Jericka from reviews.com !