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.

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Unplugged

Today’s tale is for all who feel overwhelmed, myself included. I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and of course, here. I realized a few months ago, when I heard myself starting each conversation with “Did you see that picture on Pinterest?”, “I saw the funniest thing on Facebook!” or checking my stats on my twitter followers and blog views that I was spending a little too much time on my social media sites….that and the kink in my neck from looking down at screens.

As you all know, my Salon tales have taken me on many an adventure. I am the first to admit that when building a brand and a name for yourself – social media is key, it is a must. It is because of social media that I am where I am today and that many opportunities are ahead of me on my path. Sharing my tales via twitter and Facebook has connected me professionally to many companies and writing opportunities and in turn employment. Sharing my photo’s via Instagram has connected me to many of the companies I use, sell and blog about and they are now following me …on my sites…not down the streets. My professional Facebook page – That girl in the red coat has allowed my blog to reach a new audience. It also allows me to keep my professional and personal life separate, as separate as social media allows that is. I have the administrative rights to the shop’s Facebook page and it has increased our customer base and introduced clientele to our Salon. Social media can be an awesome tool for business, for keeping up with the latest and greatest and for connecting with friends and loved ones. What I came to realize is that too many of us are letting social media control us, instead of us controlling it. Myself included.

Signs you may need to unplug;

– while paying for your hairspray, you shriek “SHIT! Some girl on Facebook says I should be using something else!” – true story, actual words said to yours truly 2 weeks ago.

– you decide the latest “pin” on hair & beauty is a better choice for your new ‘do, as the last foil is placed by your stylist.

– the latest party you attended was via Facebook or twitter.

– you find yourself comparing your hair style to the hairstyles on Pinterest and feeling like you are a failure. – yes, another true story. I have a customer who said she feels stupid because she couldn’t do a “top knot” like the picture on Pinterest. Once I let her know I get round brushes stuck in my hair, she felt better.

– you find yourself wondering why you lost a random follower on twitter…enough said.

– your child’s first sentence is “where did I put my phone?”

 

My solution? Unplug. Turn them off. All your notifications will be there when you plug back in. All your “likes” will still be liked. All your tweets will once again chirp. Photos will be stored and will reappear. Messages will be put on hold awaiting your arrival. The earth will not split open and swallow you whole, I promise. Now, before you run for the Xanax, take a breath. Now another. I know that the thought of unplugging is scary, and for many of us, not as easy as it sounds during the work week. I have my phone and my laptop by my side during my work day, to check our shop’s Facebook page, answering emails, checking facts and product pages for myself and my customers and clients, online banking, etc… . What I have begun to do is turn them off at least an hour before my workday and at the end of  my work day, depending on the day I have my phone off by 8 p.m.. – if there is an emergency, those important to me have my number. Lets be serious here…most of our notifications and messages are not life altering or emergencies. Watching the kitten chasing the string and Kim Kardashian becoming a blonde can wait.

Once a week, usually on a weekend, I unplug. I turn off my wifi, my data, my phone and my laptop. At first it was a little strange. I found myself feeling like I forgot something. I found myself reaching for my phone beside me. Kind of like when you cut your hair. You reach up to put it back in a ponytail but it isn’t there. Now I find it liberating. My time is once again my own and my life once again my own. It is about me and my family and who I choose to spend my time with. It isn’t about who liked what, or who favorited or retweeted who, or who pinned what. I can catch up on shows with my daughter, or take her out to lunch. I have coffee with dear friends and have actual face time with them – no screens or Skype needed. I make the dishes from the recipes on Pinterest instead of just pinning them. I try out the latest hair products instead of reading about how to use them. I take photo’s of my own instead of just liking someone else’s. I take a walk. I take a nap.

Sometimes unplugging is the only way to recharge.