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

Step back

It may have taken 22 years, but yours truly took a vacation. Yes, you read that correctly, 22 years. My beloved and I flew across the country to Vancouver, rocked out to the Def Leppard/Journey concert, ate at Gotham, the best steak house in town, strolled the streets of GasTown, Burnaby, and the glorious waterfronts with mountains on every horizon. We ate breakfast at a “You gotta eat here” restaurant. It was lovely. Except for a few Facebook posts and Instagram stories for our family and friends, yours truly unplugged from social media, my blog, my job, my day to day stresses, my to do lists, everything. I was present in every hour and every minute of my day. My hubby and I were able to complete conversations, to sit in silence together and just be. Time moved slower in Vancouver, maybe I was in vacation mode, maybe it was the scent of Mary Jane in the air around every corner (I shit you not.). All I know is I felt more zen than I had in a while, and the lovely thing is that feeling of zen flew home with me back to Ontario.

Over the past months, as you are well aware, I have been trying to find my place in this blogging arena. I started as a beauty blogger, giving tips and tricks and product knowledge. I wrote of my daily retail experiences and customer dramas…the lady thinking I stole her light bulb, the countless ladies showing me their ingrown hairs along their bikini line, the gents asking me about how to trim their nether regions….check out my Tales of Truth series for the full effect. I also wrote about lifestyle, kindness, the ugly things we don’t talk about at parties – and to tell you the truth, those were the blogs that flowed out of me, that were the best received and that brought me the most fulfillment and in turn ,the most opportunities. One of the things I learned while in Vancouver, other than those folks like their marijuana, is that I wasn’t being true to myself where my writing is concerned. I was trying to hold on to who I used to be and what I used to write about. I am no longer that woman, career wise or in my own mind. She still resides within me, but she has changed. She has matured, She has been through some shit and come out clean on the other side. She has something to offer. I have something to offer. I cannot articulate my reasoning. All I know is that it is time to stop being afraid of what may or may not lie ahead. Change is a good thing. Stepping back makes inspiration move forward.

I will continue to write product reviews and how to’s, for I love to help women and men feel good about their hair and in turn their appearance. I will continue to tell my Tales of Truth because I find it amazing the things people say to complete strangers, it’s funny and quite frankly cathartic. I will continue to write about kindness, for I believe it makes the world go round and in these days, we need it more than ever. From time to time, I may get political, for there are events happening in this world that are morally wrong, plain and simple.

I have no idea where this will lead or what may transpire. My intention, as always is to educate and inspire. To help people think of things differently, not to agree with me, but to open the door a crack to peek at what is on the other side.

Be beautiful to each other.

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.

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, 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.