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, 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.

 

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.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

Here we are, another Sunday morning. It’s a dull, cloudy rainy morning in my corner of the globe. I used to hate rainy days, up until 2 years ago, when I read a quote “I love the rain, it washes away the stupid.”. The sound of rain hitting my window was my alarm clock this morning and instead of my go to groan “ugh…rain”, I laid there thinking “ahhh, thank you for washing away the stupid.”. Not only does the rain nourish the soil, it nourishes the soul. When we see the rain, it makes us stop in our tracks and really give our next move some thought. Do I go out today? Should I change my plans? Instead of just going through the motions of our day, we have to stop and think for a minute, actually focus on our day and our actions. I don’t know about you, but I must confess, I am guilty of being a slave to my calendar. Waking up, putting the coffee on, walking over to the calendar, crossing of the previous day, and going through the mental checklist of what’s happening that day, where I have to be, who I have to take somewhere and how I am going to do it and inevitably wondering why. Why do I have to do all this? Funny thing is, when it’s raining, I still do the same morning ritual, but the angst isn’t there. It’s almost as if the rain is telling me, “There is a lot to be done, but if you don’t get to it all today, it’s going to be okay.”. Which led me to the question, why do I need the rain to give me permission to slow it down, to take it easy? The answer is I don’t, and neither do you.

Growing up, (this will show my age) all the stores, except for pharmacies and your local corner stores, closed by 5 on Saturday and were closed Sundays. We were allowed to have weekends, time to take it easy, put our feet up and just be. No guilt that we should be doing something or going somewhere. Saying “I’ll get to it next week” was a reasonable thing to say, because many times you literally had to wait for the next week. I remember looking forward to weekends because I knew my Dad would be home. That my friends would be home. That I could play all day, I could do a puzzle, I could play Monopoly with my whole family without someone having to leave to run an errand or get back to the office. The only plan for a weekend was making sure you waited until 6:00 p.m. to make a long distance call, because it was a cheaper rate. It may just be nostalgia talking, it seems the world was more at ease, people were more mellow. Working non stop and burning the candles at both ends was frowned upon, unlike today where the opposite is true…if you aren’t stressed to the max and working 24/7, you are frowned upon. Bosses comparing your work to the work of others, the always present dangling carrot of a potential bonus “if you just do more”. Seriously, unless you are a world renowned brain surgeon, there is no need to feel guilty for not taking a call from work on your day off. I read another great quote that rings true with today’s tale “Take care of you, because if you died today, your job will be posted online before your obituary.”.

Take that road you’ve always wondered where it led. Join your grandmother on her evening walk (one of my treasured memories). Have a coffee with your parents. Take your child to your favorite childhood memory. Read that book you’ve wanted to read, hold it in your hands, smell the pages as you turn them and remember the wonder of a quiet moment to read a book. Bake a cake. Call an old friend, anytime…long distance calls are cheap these days. Veg out on the couch with your Cheetos and chardonnay watching the original 90210 reruns or simply stare out the window and wonder. Take a moment to take care of you, everyday, be it for an afternoon or even 15 minutes, take care of you. Why save it all for a rainy day?

 

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.