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

Sunday Confessions

 

Those of you familiar with my blog know all too well that I am a firm believer in being yourself, believing in yourself and when wanting something, to go for it. While sitting at my favorite window sipping my morning coffee and watching the birds frolicking on the lawn under the bird feeder I realized I had something to confess.

Last week I told you about the Joico Fall Trend Show that I was fortunate to attend. What I didn’t tell you about was the evening before. Around 8 p.m. the evening before the show I wasn’t sure if I was going to go. I was worried that it was a mistake to go, that I didn’t belong there. All the other shows and gala’s I have attended, not only was I a blogger with 35 professional hair care lines under her belt, I was a manager of a Salon/retail shop. Now that I am no longer in a Salon environment on a daily basis, I was worried I had no place at a Hair Show’s table. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous and yes, I know I am always saying the opinions of others do not matter, and yes, I know it is best to listen to the whispers of hope and goodness rather than the shouts of dismay… sometimes, we all have our weak moments and the darkness starts to set in.

I woke up last Monday morning with a nervous belly ache. I hadn’t slept well, due to my nervousness and my snoring bed companion. As I made my coffee, I told myself, “you are going.”. I made myself post pictures and Instagram stories of my preparations for the show in an attempt to change my perspective and give myself that little push to go for it. I did my makeup, I did my hair, I put on my new boots I bought for this day …they are fabulous by the way, I said goodbye to my hubby and my girl as they told me I looked beautiful and that “you got this!”, I got in my car, put the destination in my GPS and I was off. When I arrived, it was raining and my umbrella busted the moment I opened it. Everything in me wanted to use this as an excuse that the universe was trying to tell me I wasn’t supposed to be there, instead I chose to think, “Sara, you need a new umbrella.”. I rushed in, trying to keep my ‘do in tact and found my way to the hall. As I walked past the banners and the stylists I heard my name. As others were scrounging for their tickets to get through the door all you heard down the hallway was “Sara! Your ticket is waiting for you inside, just go on in!”. Some heads turned with the look of “Who’s that?” as I walked by. Once I got in, within minutes I was greeted with hugs from former colleagues and stylists. I even ran into stylists that I had done private consultations at their Salons. Everyone asking how I had been, what I am up to and all happy to hear my news and happy to see me. Stylists complimenting my hair and asking what color I used and what products I suggest. I was able to meet the fabulous stylists and people that I follow on Instagram and who follow me. I heard “Yay! You’re here!” many times that day. It was a good day. One I am grateful for on so many levels.

The point to today’s confession? No matter how scared you are, how nervous you might be, you have to take chances. You have to get off your ass and make your life happen. I know all too well how easy it is to listen to the self doubt voices shouting and how hard it can be to hear the whispers of self confidence. If you quiet your mind for even a few seconds, they are there and you will hear them. All we can control in this life is ourselves and our minds. That is the reason for my posts and stories that morning, I was giving myself a positive visual, I was making my mind believe the good of my experience. I was “faking it ’til I make it” if you will. Here I was thinking I wouldn’t fit in, that I would look foolish or look like a loser for showing up and all the while, it was exactly where I was supposed to be and was welcomed with open arms.

Be gentle with yourselves Beauties, we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment. We all feel scared. We all worry we won’t fit in. Take chances. Believe in yourself. A change may be just around the next corner. Grab hold of that door, take a deep breath, open it and walk through. No matter what happens, you will know you did it, that you tried and that is a thing of beauty.

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

Sunday Confessions

 

zzzzzzz….oh sorry about that. Yours truly is tired. Over the past few days I was trying to figure out why I have been so tired. We bought a new mattress and treated ourselves to My Pillow – the BEST pillow investment I have ever made and I have been sleeping through the night most nights. Hey, 4 out of 7 sleep through the night sleeps is pretty great for me. Over the past 6 years I was lucky to get one good night’s sleep.

After I washed the dishes, emptied the garbage – psstt…I have a superpower, it seems I am the only one in the house that can see a full garbage can, did a load of laundry, drove my girl to the bank then to work, got me some new jeans…dropped a size thank you very much, went to the grocery store and the drug store, got home and put away said groceries and toiletries I went out and cut the grass. While putting away the lawn mover I realized why I am  tired. I have been doing everything and forgetting to delegate household chores and I have not been asking for help.

As most women do, we shoulder everything. In some circumstances, we are left no choice, for unfortunately there are partners and children who are oblivious or plain asses. More often than not, we have generous, thoughtful partners and children who only want what is best for us. It is up to us to tell them what is best for us. We teach people how to treat us Beauties. If you are waiting for your husband to wake up and his first thought to be “gotta scrub that toilet today” or hoping your child will walk into the kitchen thinking “gotta get to that floor”, you are going to waiting a long time. Sorry to say, the second coming of Christ is probably going to occur before your desired household wishes.

Here’s the deal. It’s not all up to you. It is alright to ask for help. Stop raking yourself over the coals for not being Martha Stewart, or Mrs. Brady or whomever you compare yourself. Life is messy and far from perfect, so why do you think you should be. Floors get sticky. Dust bunnies procreate at the speed of light. Laundry piles up. Dinners are thrown together with whatever looks and still smells okay.The world will not open up and swallow you whole if you don’t finish your “to do” list. If you need help, ask for it. If your tired, rest. The grass needs mowing but your new Instyle arrived, sit yourself down and read that magazine, the grass will be there tomorrow, I promise. Oh, and if you happen to drop a jean size, be like me and treat yourself to some McDonald’s.

health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

Fear – An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm (Oxford Dictionary)

Many of my friends and loved ones have been going through some shit lately. Some big, some small. When you dig down deep enough, you will find fear is the culprit. Fear is the seed that is making that vine grow. Branching out into all aspects of life, family, friends, work, you name it, it’s trying to grab hold. I was talking with my daughter a few nights ago about this exact thing. She is going through some stuff (not going to share it – not my story to tell) and she inferred that I wasn’t afraid of anything. You see, I am an optimist. I try to see the good in all things. I prefer to raise people up which in turn makes me look like I have my shit together and have no fear. Sweet child, you couldn’t be more wrong.

During my 46 years in this earthly realm, yours truly has felt her share of fear. When I was a child I was afraid of monsters under my bed, my house catching on fire, spiders, bees and heights. I put my children’s Bible under my bed = no more monsters = no more fear. I wore my housecoat and slippers to bed so in case of of a fire I was ready to flee = no more fear. I saw my Auntie Jo squish a spider with her bare hands = no more fear…still a little freaked out by those 8 legged monstrosities. I found out that bees help things grow and once stung by one I got ice cream to make me feel better = no more fear. As for the heights…after falling 12 feet off the playground equipment the fear was gone. I realized I wasn’t afraid of heights, I was afraid of the pain of landing after the fall. Now I knew what to expect.

Fast forward 35 years and the fears I face aren’t as easy to overcome. My family gene pool offers ovarian cancer, breast cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s. My husband had a heart attack at 39. He is fine. His heart is good. I still wake up to check if he’s breathing, just as I did when my daughter was a wee baby – you know, getting eye level with their stomach to see if it rises. Our lovely daughter deals with issues of anxiety and depression. I still get a knot in my stomach when she sounds funny on the phone or I receive a random text. …by the way, that is why I do not like texting – no emotion so you never know it’s context. Drives me crazy. Most of the time there is nothing the matter, but fear makes me think otherwise.

I’m going to tell you what I told my daughter. A little fear is good, it keeps you aware. A lot of fear is bad, it blinds you to what is right in front of you. We all have fears. We all have anxieties. Mostly over the things we don’t have any control of. I can eat well, do what the Doctor and Oprah tell me to do and guess what? I could still get cancer. I have no control over what happens to my husband or our daughter. All I can do is love them and remind them of their health issues and help them to practice self care and love.

In this life all we can control is our behavior, how we decide to see people and treat them. In my experience, kindness is a fear killer. It really is. Whenever I have been fearful of something new, be it work or life, I kill it with kindness. I also make myself remember all the fears I have conquered, from fear of falling off my bike when I was six, to fear of driving into the heart of the dragon – the 400/401 highway in Toronto when I was 43, and all the other fears in between.

Be gentle with yourself for you are doing the best you can. Fear will always be lurking in the shadows. I believe that kindness is light, so if you have light, there is no need to fear the dark.

Beauty, Sunday Confessions, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

 

As you may have noticed, last Sunday yours truly didn’t go to confession. At the beginning of August, I celebrated my 46th. birthday. It was a lovely day filled with beautiful birthday wishes and a few lovely surprises. This year I decided to give myself a present – the gift of time. That morning while sitting in my garden with my coffee, I vowed to myself and the cardinal sitting on my fence (whom I firmly believe is my Gramma Leah flying in to check on me) that I was going to give myself one day off a week. A day that wasn’t filled with laundry, cooking, cleaning, being my daughter’s private Uber service, running errands…you name it…I wasn’t going to do it. Being a wife and mother, I, as most of us do, take on every task, large or small, and wear ourselves thin. Our patience and our focus  lands on the back burner and in the end, we, our families and friends and even our dinner gets burned.

The first week, I gotta admit was tough. I had to keep telling myself, out loud, to slow down. I had to remind myself that the grocery store will still be there the next day and that left overs or takeout for dinner will not create the demise of my family. The second week it was much easier – of course it was the long weekend so I felt like I had a get out of jail free card. I woke up last Sunday morning, poured my cup of joe into my Mama Bird birthday mug and planted myself in my garden. I watched the bees buzzing, listened to the breeze in the trees and said hello to the cardinal – I’m telling you, it’s my Gramma Leah. Every morning she shows up within 5 feet of me, chirping away. It’s been happening for over 2 years now. Every morning, there is a cardinal chirping at me. I sat there for a while, then went inside, walked past the pile of dishes waiting by the sink, poured another cup of coffee and planted myself in front of my puzzle. Yes, my puzzle. I have loved puzzles since I was a kid, so I treated myself to a new one for the summer of 2018. This one will probably take me the whole summer to complete. In my infinite wisdom I purchased a 2000 piece Van Gogh’s Starry Night puzzle…and have now learned I need glasses.

My day continued as such, working on my puzzle, listening to music, laughing with my family, sitting in my garden having a Palm Bay. These events were on repeat all day, and it was wonderful. My hubby washed the dishes that were waiting on the counter and ordered Skip the Dishes for dinner …a dangerous thing this Skip the Dishes – getting to eat your favorite restaurant food in the comfort of your pajamas.

Here’s the deal. I know all to well that life gets in the way of best laid plans. Kids get sick. Pets get sprayed by skunks. Cars break down. Shift changes at work. The list is endless, I know. Carve some time out for yourself, put your name in your weekly agenda, make an appointment with yourself. Do a puzzle, get your nails done, read a book or simply sit in your garden. Making yourself a priority will make you a better person, for yourself and for those around you. Plain and Simple.

lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. A lovely quote I stumbled upon many years ago. I have to admit, I used to compare myself and my life to others. Feeling like I was missing out, or not doing enough with my life. I would hear of vacations, career changes, new houses, new cars, you name it…if I heard about it, it was always accompanied with a dash of jealousy, wishing I could have all those things too. Nowadays, not so much. Maybe it’s maturity, maybe it’s my hysterectomy, maybe it’s the fact I am going to be 46 in a few days, maybe it’s perspective, maybe it’s everything coming together all at once.

This October I am taking a trip to Vancouver with my husband and I am going to my first concert with my husband. We have been together 26 years, married for 24. When I tell this to people, I almost always get “the face”. You know the one, the look of pity, or shock or sheer disbelief that I have not traveled or rocked out at a concert in 24 years. I have had people ask if our marriage was in trouble and if we are trying to rekindle the spark. I have had people tell me it’s about time I started living. I have had people say “…so what have you been doing with your life?”. Ten years ago, these phrases would have flattened me. I would have let the opinions of others take the helm of my life’s journey. I would have felt embarrassed or ashamed of my life, or lack there of. Today, not so much.

A long time ago, I decided to put my marriage, my family and our life together first. Over the years, we have faced job losses, lay offs, health issues – some scary, some not. We decided it made more sense financially and emotionally for me to stay home with our daughter until she reached school age. It didn’t make sense for me to be out of the house 40 hours a week to hand over most of my paycheck to a daycare provider. We made a one income household work, hence no travelling. When my husband was faced with manufacturing layoffs, I stepped up and worked 6 days a week. Keeping our house was more important then having a family vacation photo. My mother in law broke her hip, twice. That summer we took care of her, got her the rehabilitation she needed, took care of her home and finances, so our summer vacation plans fell to the wayside. I could go on an on, reading the list would make your eyes blurry and would give me carpal tunnel. Sure, we could have gone on trips and rocked out at concerts, but we couldn’t afford it, and honestly, I, hell, we were stressed enough, why would we add more financial stress to our platter? How would I enjoy myself sitting on a beach knowing that I had a credit card bill waiting for me in my mailbox with the vacation and hotel charges that I couldn’t pay? I guess all I am trying to say is shit happens, plans change, life gets in the way and never be ashamed of your life because you aren’t doing what everyone else seems to be doing. This is your life. Your choices must be what is best for you, and for your family (for those of us that have one). No one else is living your life but you. Another great quote I stumbled upon is “the opinions of others do not pay the bills”.

I am proud of what my husband and I have accomplished. It hasn’t always been pretty, sometimes it got ugly, but we are still together, fighting the good fight. We never lost sight of the fact that we love each other and that the problems and arguments were because of life getting in the way, not loss of love for one another. We have our home, we have our health, we have a beautiful daughter who is coming into her own and doors are opening for her at every turn…and although it is later than planned, we are going to travel and rock out at a concert.

 

health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

 

As I sit here by my favorite window I can hear the rain falling and with it a much needed cool summer breeze. I have been wondering what to write about this fine Sunday. It seems I am having one of those mornings where ideas and memories are flooding my mind at the same time. I get inspiration for today’s tale then WHAMMO! I am hit with a memory – some good, some, not so good. I haven’t been sleeping as soundly as I would like lately, and all I keep thinking about is Shug Avery from the Color Purple singing “…can’t sleep at night. And you wonder why. Maybe God is tryin’ to tell you something.”. Now, I have no clue what God, the universe, the smurfs – take your pick are trying to tell me. All I know is something, somewhere is out of whack. Sure I could blame it on planets in retrograde, or the fact that we were dealing with record high temperatures and humidity…but I do believe that would be an excuse, not a reason.

Maybe the reason for my lack of sleep and feeling of unrest is to share it, to let whomever reads this know that you are not alone. That it’s okay to wonder about your life choices, to question your actions and the actions of others. To feel like something, somewhere is not as it should be. That there is a difference between being paranoid and being aware. That it’s okay to take time to figure yourself out, be it meditating, prayer, reading, walking through a forest – whatever you need to do to get back to you. Life pulls us in every direction. Now more than ever thanks to social media we can be left feeling like we aren’t enough, or doing enough, or travelling enough. Try and take a page from my book and see social media as one of your favorite magazines or reality television shows.

Take time for yourself, today and everyday. Even if it’s five minutes. Maybe, just maybe in those few moments you and I will hear just what God is tryin’ to tell us.

Beauty, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

I woke to the sounds of birds chirping and the faint glow of the sunrise peeping through my window. It’s Sunday morning on my part of the globe. As I sit in my kitchen by my window, I feel the warmth of the summer sun, the  morning breeze cooling my shoulders. I see the steam rising off my fresh cup of coffee in my favorite mug and all is right with the world. As I was gazing out my window, wondering what to write about today, my mind was flooded with all the conversations I had with customers this week. As you know, I decided to take the offer of returning to the shoe store I once worked at. In the past I was in charge of the Ladies section. This time around, I am once again in the Ladies section, without the hassles of management. I go in four days a week and all I have to do is focus on selling and helping the customers, and it’s wonderful.

This past week, I lost count of the women who spoke poorly of themselves, and unfortunately of others. Women of all ages. Thinking their ankles were too thick to wear a strappy sandal. Women who thought they were too old to wear red heels. Women who thought their bunions were too ugly so they only wore running shoes so no one would see their feet. Women who thought their feet were too wide for the gold ballerina flat they adored. Women who thought their calves were too big or too slender. Women who thought their baby toe looked weird. What it all came down to was they were all worried about what others would think, never once giving a thought to what they themselves thought. Almost all of the women who were concerned about their “problem area” had one thing in common, someone had told them it was a “problem area”. One woman in particular stands out. She found a pair of sandals, flat with a little bow. I told her they looked really cute on her, because they did. She looked up at me, eyes sparkling, smiling ear to ear and said “I love them!”. Minutes later, I saw her putting them back in the box and returning them to the shelf. “Did you need another size?” I asked. “No. My friend said they were too young for me and I just look foolish.”. No smile and the sparkle in her eyes had vanished. She ended up sitting in a chair waiting on her friend. She didn’t want to look anymore or try on anything else.

First and foremost, Ladies and Gents, don’t do that. Don’t. One of the cruelest actions is putting your own insecurities on someone else. When you see that someone is happy or excited about a decision be excited for them, celebrate with them. Secondly, for all those out there, Ladies and Gents alike, stop worrying about the size of your ankles, your calves, your bunions, whatever it may be, stop worrying about what other people think. Trust me, no one is looking…and for the few who are, give them a copy of Knitting for Dummies and tell them to get a new hobby. Seriously, if they have time to look for thick ankles and bunions, their lives must be pretty empty and their self esteem and image is dwindling to say the least.

Be your own kind of beautiful, today and everyday. Be kind. Celebrate others achievements and choices, for they are theirs, not yours to deal with. Oh, and buy the shoes.