6 Ways to Beat the Mid-Winter Blahs That Don’t Require a Tropical Vacation

The weather outside is still frightful!

Going from bitter cold and snow storms, to rain with dampness that chills us to our bones – and it’s the middle of February! Sunshine has not been our friend this winter; usually I prefer the cold days with snow, as long as the sun is shining. Just the other day we had gorgeous, sunny weather and I could feel everyone’s energy lifting and becoming happier.

According to the groundhog, we still have 6 weeks left of winter! So, if you aren’t hitting Caribbean beaches this year for that extra boost of warmth and sun, here are some of my favourite, sure-fire ways to take those mid-winter blahs and kick them to the curb:

1. Add a pop of colour!

Our eyes (and spirits) have already seen enough black, grey, brown, maroon and navy this year. We are craving COLOUR in our lives.

Shake it up by adding colour in your ensemble. I have broken all the rules and pulled out my summer turquoise purse. As I frequently wear black, this works as a statement piece and I get a ton of compliments.

P.S. My toenails are a hot pink (just for me)!

2. Freshen up your ‘do.’

This is the time of year when I get the most requests from clients for “something different.”

The power of a fresh new cut, colour, or a few hilites, is often all you need to feel perky and put that extra bounce in your step.

Swapping out lipsticks from the rich darks or neutral tones to brighter shades will both enhance your new do and add that pop of colour you’re craving.

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3. Buy yourself fresh flowers.

Adding a spring bouquet or even a single daisy to your desk, work area, or bedside table will bring a smile to your face whenever you look at it.

4. Bring your sexy back!

That frumpy feeling from being bundled up in several layers of winter clothing needs to go!

Embracing your feminine, sexy side is fun and builds confidence. Try wearing a lacy bra and panties, just for you. Join a pole dancing class; it’s a great way to get in touch with yourself, plus you get an incredible workout.

Or oil up your partner and take turns massaging each other. This is the month of love, after all! #loveyourself

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5. Get outdoors.

Don’t roll your eyes at this one – I know you dread the thought of doing anything more than getting into and out of your car in weather like this! 😉

Trust me, spending time properly dressed for the elements and getting some fresh air will do wonders. A 15-minute walk or shovelling your driveway will increase your energy and improve your attitude.

6. Be sun-kissed without the sun.

Grab a self-tanner, bronzer, or an illuminating cream, spray or foam, and give your skin that golden glow without exposing yourself to harmful rays.

Read the directions to be sure to get the right shade and to avoid streaking.

Do you have any other tricks for beating the mid-winter blahs? Tell me in the comments!


Fashion: It’s not only about the clothes!

By Kay Habib

Do you see your personal style reflected in your home?

If so, you are not the only one! It’s quite natural, as fashion and interior design go hand in hand.

Fashion is not only about clothes and shoes anymore: fashion is a form of self-expression. What we wear says a lot about who we are, but it doesn’t just stop at our wardrobes. Trends in fashion are constantly impacting the interior design world.

Homeowners and designers are taking more risks to create the interiors that truly show their personal style. A huge contributing factor to this is the ever-growing influence of social media. As soon as Fashion Week ends, the latest trends are all over the internet and our inboxes.

Of course, some trends are accepted more than others. The ones that have a captivating story behind them tend to have the most impact, as it relates to our personal story and style driving an emotional response. Every fashion or celebrity event evokes a discussion in the media (and in our homes) about the guest lounges, the after-party décor and the outfits.

These discussions hold such influence that it takes only days for the same to show up in the retail stores. As a result of this, attitudes about interior design are changing, and interiors are becoming a place where we embrace rapid change and feel excited to openly express ourselves!

Open any home style books for 2016 or 2017, and you’ll see styles reflecting what is predominant in the fashion world:

  • Jewel tones with greys and blacks.
  • Chevron and geometrical patterns placed with beautiful florals.
  • Patterns and fabrics typically used for dresses and gowns being used for decorative pillows, drapes, and wallpaper. (This reminds me of 18th century fashion and interior design, although not as intricate or heavy!)

It’s safe to say it’s time to stop looking at the worlds of fashion and décor as two separate entities. If you’re a fashion diva, there’s no doubt your personal style is reflected in your home décor!

Subtle Ways to Reflect Your Personal Style in Your Home Décor

On a daily basis, I witness my clients becoming more and more interested in staying on-trend and making sure their living spaces are as current as their wardrobes. Here are some ways you can do the same:

  • Use a luscious velvet for throw pillows or drapes in homage to a luxurious evening gown
  • Pair rich colours like purple or emerald green with greys and gold tones

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No More Beige!

No more sticking with white or beige walls with mellow drapes! It’s time to stop avoiding bold colors or patterns in your upholstery. Now, if you like black and white stripes, you can happily wear it as a skirt, top or a dress, or have a gorgeous rug or accent chair in the same pattern, and still pull it off!

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Kay Habib is an Interior Decorator and Certified Home Stager, and owner of SkillDecor. She is passionate about helping her client create beautiful spaces keeping in mind the purpose behind it, such as selling a home or customized interior decorating. Kay also has a line of custom decorative pillows that are produced in London, ON. To learn more about Kay and her services, you can find her online at www.skilldecor.com.

 


Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways: Why I Decided to Return to Hairstyling

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. Not because I am middle aged woman suffering insomnia or night sweats. Not from drinking caffeine past 5 pm. Nor was my mind racing due to stress.

Instead, I was anxious and excited to pick up my scissors today at the salon and work my magic with clients – for the first time in over a year.

How is it possible that at 47 years old I still get excited like a kid in a candy store about a job I have had for almost 30 years?

Just 17 months after selling my spa and launching my new business, Beautiful You by Victoria, I announced my return (on a limited, part-time basis) to hairstyling. I suspect there are many people thinking, “Why did she leave only to return? Why wouldn’t she have built the new business while winding down her old one?”

Believe me, even I have spent time questioning my rationale behind my decisions!

Did I turn 360 degrees? No.

Rotating 360 degrees, or going “full circle,” suggests a person ended up where they began. I did not.

2016 sent me on a journey that was crucial for my personal growth and development, as a woman and entrepreneur. My guess is that if I hadn’t left the comfort in the salon, I would have given up on my new dreams!

I was excited about the new venture, yet fearful of the unknown. Not only was I about to change careers but I also moved to a new town. I experienced panic attacks (new to me), crying fits, many highs and lows… was it hormones or stress?

One thing that kept me going was this quote from Seth Godin: “If it scares you a little it might be a good thing to try.”

My mission (purpose) is helping women build confidence, discover their beauty inside-out, reach their true potential and live an authentic life. So, I jumped in with two feet and with these two thoughts: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Feel the fear and do it anyways!

I am nothing if not consistent, persistent and intentional!

This is what 2016 taught me, all of which were outside of my comfort zone:

1. Why networking is important.

I had to get outta the house!

Having a great website, social media presence and blog is great, but without getting out and meeting new people (networking) my vision for my image consulting business would have phased out before it even began.

I had only ever been to a couple networking events in my past and they made me so nervous. Even as an extrovert, I became anxious. The term “networking” was where I got caught up… but lo and behold I now LOVE networking events. I feel (mostly) at ease and it has been pivotal in building my clientele and building new relationships both professionally and personally.

2. The value of saying YES.

Saying yes to what excited me even if I didn’t feel ready or have any clue how to get started opened me up to a whole new world of experiences.

I wrote about this more in-depth last summer, and it continued to be true for the rest of the year.

3. Speaking gigs rock!

momondaykwSpeaking professionally had been a dream of mine for years, but I had no clue what I would speak about what or even how to get started.

With some coaching, I learned the anatomy of creating a talk, presentation or speaking gig. Next, I said yes (see above), over and over again, to different types of speaking opportunities (big, small, virtual and podcasts – 16 engagements in total!!!!). With my stomach in knots, hands shaking and heart pounding, I took to the stage! Now granted there wasn’t always a stage, but still the nerves were there.

Speaking has been the #1 key thing in building my business, by sharing a piece of me and my story.

4. Align myself with strong, powerful, likeminded women.

mastermindgroupI have a wonderful diverse group of friends who are positive, inspiring and caring! I was fortunate to align myself with a group of very strong business women in a coaching and mastermind program. I am not gonna lie…. a couple of them scared the crap outta me and I was intimidated initially thinking I was out of my league in the group! But as Brené Brown says, “If you aren’t in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

These gals are in the arena, taking risks, pushing their limits and sometimes getting an ass kicking. The movers, the shakers and the actions takers get things done! We had each other’s backs, and continue to do so. They challenge and support me.

After all the excitement and growth I experienced throughout the past year, I still felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing: the salon atmosphere, the day-to-day hustle, and working with clients longer term. I thrive on that stimulation, plus the requests for hair services were plenty!

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Steve Jobs

Did I fail? No.

Did I give up? No.

Did I learn? Absolutely!

So yes, I am behind the chair again; this time as a new and improved version of myself! I’m loving the ability to combine these services with my image consulting, and my life experiences will enhance the quality of service I am able to be to others.

Mission possible.

 

 


How to Create a Beautiful Holiday Tablescape with Items You Already Have!

By MaryAnn Skaro

tablescape1One of my favourite ways to decorate a table is by using things I find around my house.  For a last-minute holiday look, I went into my recycling bin to see what I could find.  I picked up a few empty beer bottles, one empty wine bottle, and a string of white lights I found in our garage.  I was going to let these few items guide my inspiration.  Of course, I had my doubts, but I didn’t let that stand in my way of creating something my family was going to love.

Using these and other items I already had in my home, here’s how I created this festive tablescape:

I already had a red and green festive tablecloth that was going to serve as a backdrop to my creative scape.  On my way into the kitchen, I noticed martini glasses that I knew would somehow add to the ambiance of my table.  

Next, I soaked the beer bottles and peeled off the labels. I had a feeling they were going to act as a vessel for my lighting.  I knew I wanted greenery, so I cut off a few fresh branches from our Christmas tree, and grabbed some pine cones I had lying around in a decorative bowl on my coffee table.  I had left over gold and silver ribbon that I was going to use, as well.

I placed all these items on the table and, before long, a rustic theme emerged!  

tablescape2I filled the beer bottles with the white lights, and filled the martini glasses with the evergreen cuttings and pine combs.  I used the leftover ribbon to wrap the wine bottle, which became my candle holder.   I also decided to mix and match the placemats, so I ended up using festive green and red napkins. (By the way, my kids ended up loving these placemats the best.)

To be completely honest, I surprised myself with the quality and the aesthetics of our holiday table!  I turned on the lights, and the subtle yellow glow from the beer bottles transformed our dining experience.  It was a fun table, a great conversation piece, and, best of all it was easy, effortless, and inexpensive.

About MaryAnn Skaro:

 

maryannskaro-headshotAs a joy coach, I’m here to inspire you through great food, delicious conversation and elegant ambience.

I host healthy, beautifully crafted luncheons for busy Moms who are ready to pause, find their joy and reconnect to the things that matter most. As a busy Mom myself, I know the importance of recharging my body, mind, and soul.

As your hostess, I am ready to feed and serve you, so that you leave my table feeling inspired and filled with a sense of purpose to fuel the success of your business. You can find me online at www.maryannskaro.com.


4 Tips for a Fun & Festive Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas decorations, beautiful lights, Santa Claus parades, Holiday parties, and the hustle & bustle in the stores as we search out for that perfect gift… all while carols sing to us. I am in the Christmas spirit… this year!

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I have to admit that, until recently, I actually dreaded this time of year. I felt over-worked, over-obligated and overwhelmed! The joy had been sucked out and I simply went through the motions without any enthusiasm or holiday cheer.

It has been five years since we had a Christmas tree, because the thought of picking it out, decorating it and then tearing down – with needles all over the house – was just too much!

I know I am not the only woman who feels this way, and here’s why:

We do most everything around the holidays! The cooking, the baking, the shopping, writing the Christmas cards, planning the parties, decorating, and and and… the list goes on.

“WE CAN DO IT ALL!” we tell ourselves – and we do.

But maybe you are like me and have come to a point where you’re feeling burnt out and overwhelmed before the season even begins. I longed to sip on glass of wine while sitting in front of my fireplace in silence, wearing my navy blue flannel pyjamas adorned with cute little penguins – which for me, a self-confessed social butterfly, was definitely weird!

Here are 4 ways I brought the spirit of the season back into my home and heart:

1) Don’t try to do it all!  

Invitations will be coming from all directions with the added hand-written note, “We need to get together before Christmas!”.

Why?! Is the sender going to disappear on Boxing Day?! Not likely.

Be choosy; only accept the invitations that you truly want to attend.

I completely understand that is actually easier said than done and that certain functions are essentially mandatory, but often a gracious “Thank you for the invitation but I am unable to attend” will suffice. Save some socializing for mid January and February when things have settled down and everyone is feeling blah and needs a party fix!

2) Delegate!

My husband has been doing the Christmas cards for a few years now. If he doesn’t do them, they don’t get done and I am ok with that. I don’t hound him. I simply let it go. Same goes for shopping, decorating or cleaning: ask for help, or even hire it out if it’s within your budget!

3) Host potluck dinner parties!

Take the pressure off both financially and time spent in the kitchen) and have some fun tasting your friends’ favourite dishes! Plus, any guest on a special dietary plan can accommodate for that themselves. Food really brings people together, and potlucks seem to do so even more. Lots of recipe exchanges happen during a potluck, so have a few copies on standby in your purse. Oh and by the way – don’t feel bad if you buy something to bring, instead of making something from scratch!!

4) Take time to do things you enjoy!

I love to bake any time of year, but especially during Christmas season. Even during my “Scrooge” years I still baked up a storm!

I feel at peace baking, with candles lit, music in the background and the kitchen a disaster zone of flour, egg shells and empty chocolate chip bags.  Family and friends would disown me if they went a year without a tin full of goodies, I’m sure!

Self care is important all year round, but it’s easy to let it slide and make ourselves a lower priority while trying to meet all our obligations. Schedule your “me time” in now and make it non-negotiable.

What other tips do you have for making sure the holiday season is your most wonderful time of the year? Leave a comment to let me know!


How to Crack the Dress Code on Event Invitations

 

Has a wedding or event invitation ever left you confused as to what to wear? Themed events and parties are on the rise; Great Gatsby, Disco Glam or Back to the 80’s just to name a few!

These decade-themed parties are pretty straight forward, encouraging a guest to go ‘all out’ in an outfit or costume. Weddings, cocktail parties, galas, fundraisers and New Year’s Eve can be a bit trickier to decipher the language on the invitation. Here’s how to crack the code so you’ll never feel over- or under-dressed again:

Wedding Attire Etiquette

First rule of thumb: as a guest at a wedding, remember that today is ALL about the bride! The beautiful bride is the star, so dress and act accordingly. Although wearing black is no longer considered a faux pas, white should absolutely be avoided. Every religion and culture has customs and traditions; when attending a wedding outside your own culture, reach out and ask for specific guidelines. Your host will appreciate it and you will feel so much more comfortable!

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“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

Tom Ford

Black Tie

This indicates a very formal event and usually means it is an evening affair.

For him: A tuxedo, a black bow tie, a cummerbund, and patent leather shoes.

For her: A long evening gown or a chic cocktail dress.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

This event is slightly less formal but still suggests dressing accordingly.

For him: A dark suit or tuxedo; conservative, not flashy.

For her: A long dress, chic cocktail dress, or dressy separates.

Semi-formal / Smart Casual / Dressy Casual

This one is a lot trickier to decipher! Take cues from the time of year and time of day during which the wedding or event is being held.

For him: A suit – light or dark, depending upon the season; colourful, trendy shirts and ties. A vest can also be worn as an alternative to a suit jacket.

For her: A cocktail dress, maxi dress, skirt with a top, or dressy pants and a blouse.

Beach Formal

This suggests an elegant beach wedding, so dress to impress while still keeping sand and exposure to sun in mind.

For him: A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants or khakis, and sandals.

For her: A maxi dress, a lightweight summery cocktail dress or a dressy sundress, and sandals.

Casual

Consider the purpose of the event when deciding what to wear! Jeans, t-shirts, and shorts are acceptable when a casual dress code has been indicated for a friend’s birthday BBQ or a Euchre tournament at the community centre. When it comes to attending a “casual” wedding, unless specified as acceptable on the invitation, steer clear of jeans and shorts!

For him: Dress pants, chino with button-down shirt or polo shirt.

For her: Dress, skirt and top, or a blouse with dress pants.

When in doubt, remember this advice from Karl Lagerfeld:

“One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress.”

Do you have questions about what to wear to your next special event? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with me!


EVENT ETIQUETTE: Ponderings from an Event Planner

 

by Heather Reid

As the calendar turns over to November and we wind our way towards the new year, our attention turns to holiday gatherings and a full calendar of social activities.   Business parties, office soirees, gala evenings and intimate dinner parties all require us to put our best, professional selves forward.  As women leaders and entrepreneurs, we are always being observed by those around us – and we want to come “to the party” prepared and professional.  

Party or GatheringHaving planned countless business and social events during my 22 year career as an entrepreneurial event planner, I’ve seen first-hand the “good, bad, and ugly” in event etiquette and behavior.  When you’ve considered and incorporated my ponderings, I’m confident that you will move through the upcoming season with flair and finesse – all appropriate to your professionalism and persona!  

Be Prepared

  • RSVP in timely manner, and then honour your decision.  If you indicate you’re attending, show up!  If you decline, don’t!  Plans are made by the event hosts and costs are incurred – show your appreciation of the opportunity to participate by keeping your word.    
  • If you are unfamiliar with the guest list, arrange to talk to the event organizers as to who is expected to be there and who they could introduce you to.  Setting personal and professional intentions for each and every gathering is a solid practice to moving yourself and your business forward.  
  • Always carry your business cards, but do not pass it out unless you’re asked for it – and then, present it with the text facing the person you are presenting it to.  On the flip side, if you request a business card – accept it with both hands if possible, look at it, and acknowledge it.  Treat the business card with respect.  
  • A well-timed and well-performed handshake, combined with a genuine smile, is a winning way to be noticed and remembered.
  • Inquire, with the event planner and/or known guests, about the dress code if not indicated – dress one notch above the dress code to stand out.  If you over dress too much – you’ll look like you don’t belong; if you under dress, you’ll look like you will never belong.   
  • If provided a name badge, oblige.  However, be sure to wear the name badge on the upper chest region of the arm that you shake hands with……it aligns the other guest’s eyes with your hand and your name badge

Be Aware

  • Holiday functions are not a time to let loose – you are being observed and are “on stage” so to speak…being observed by coworkers, supervisors, clients, board members and potential colleagues.  
  • At functions that have simple or downsized bar set-ups, keep your libations simple. It is not the time to hold up the line with a complicated drink order or to show off your mixology skills!
  • Position yourself in high traffic areas where you will be able to more easily insert yourself into conversations – ie., hang out near the bar, near the food.  Avoid isolated locations or remaining stationary at a table.
  • If you are not the host – this is not your party.  Be respectful of the host, the purpose of the gathering, and be considerate of the other guests.  Unless you’re the hired entertainment, you’re not there to upstage your hosts!

Be Interested and Interesting

  • Never underestimate the power of being able to introduce yourself to others in a polished and professional manner.   This does not come naturally to most people – so you’ll need to prepare and practice your introduction, and then deliver it in a relaxed and authentic-to-you way.  Captivating introductions are rarely spontaneously spoken!  
  • Be prepared to acknowledge and talk to any level of business professional – front-line to CEOs.  
  • Be prepared to talk about business subjects, but be armed with timely and relevant every-day topics, too.  Avoiding politics, religion and gossip are strongly recommended.   
  • If you are at an event where there is a guest speaker – rather than trying to get to the speaker, approach someone that asked a question or is a support person to the speaker – you will make a meaningful connection with fewer guests “in line” to contend with.  
  • Being ready and willing to connect people to one another is one of the most appreciated skills at a social gathering.  Guests are there to make meaningful connections – and facilitating these will position you favourably!
  • Being present and in the moment – rather than responding to your phone or gazing off at other guests – will gain you more respect in the eyes of the person that you’re with, than you’ll get from those that are the distraction.   Be purposeful and be in the moment.

Be Appreciative

  • Always be mindful and pleasant to event staff – remember, you are being observed – and the way you interact with those “serving” you is very telling!
  • Events are organized opportunities to network – and the rules of dating do not apply to the connections you make.  Don’t wait for the other person to follow-up; follow-up promptly.  Be persistent in your efforts and always respectful of their wishes and time.
  • Acknowledge the efforts of your event host – either in advance or post-event.  A token of appreciation or the simple gesture of a hand-written note is always appropriate!  

Participating in business and social events is both a responsibility and a privilege.  To get the most of your time there, be sure you represent your best self by being:

prepared…..aware…..interested and interesting…and appreciative!

 

heather-reid Heather Reid is the Founder and Owner of Planner Protect – a first-of-its-kind boutique contract review agency that negotiates fair venue contracts for independent and in-house event planners, and event hosts. Heather has more than 20 years’ experience in the event planning industry and is also Owner & Principal Planner of Innovative Conferences & Communications. As an expert in contract negotiations and the meetings industry, Heather has authored articles in major industry publications, and has been invited to speak at IncentiveWorks 2015 and 2016, Canadian Sport Tourism Association, PCMA East Chapter Meetings (Ottawa & Toronto), PCMA CIC Conference and several CanSPEP national conferences.

Are you interested in contributing a guest post to Victoria’s Blog? Please email victoria@beautifulyoubyvictoria.com for more information!


2 Simple Steps to a More Balanced Life

My clients tell me all the time how they desire more balance in their lives:

“I only have work clothes and sweatpants.”

“I have nothing in my closet that works for just a movie night or a nice dinner out.”

Actually, just the other day, I had a conversation with a client whose business has evolved so much that she has nothing to wear this fall but what she calls “convention clothes” – and she is not spending all of October in conventions!

Can you relate?

I have a great trick up my sleeve to help you figure out whether your life balance is out of whack!

I’m talking about your Lifestyle vs Wardrobe balance – sorry, no meditation or time management tips here! Today, we’re going to go to the root of the cause and find out if your lifestyle and wardrobe match up in the closet.

Ready? Ok, old-school people like me, grab a pen and paper… millennials, open an app.

Step 1

Figure out what percentage of time you spend in the following categories

  • Work
  • Casual (movies, dinner out, bowling, shopping… get the drift?)
  • Active (exercising, walking dog, gardening)
  • Formal (weddings, graduations, galas)

Step 2

Go to your closet and do the same exercise with all your clothing. This can take a while, so it makes a great “rainy day” or weekend project. It’s also much easier if you’ve recently completed a wardrobe audit – to learn how to do that, check out this blog post.

Determine what percentage of clothing you have for the same 4 categories:

  • Work
  • Casual
  • Active
  • Formal

For example, you might have 50% Work, 20% Casual, 20% Active, and 10% Formal. There is no right or wrong amount here! All you’re doing is finding out whether your lifestyle and wardrobe are in sync.

Whenever I go through this exercise, I like to make a pie graph for each step and then compare them side-by-side to find out where I might need to add or take away from my existing wardrobe.

Here’s an example:

lifestyle-vs-wardrobe-comparison

It’s one of my absolute favourite tools – it keeps me focused on my shopping trips and has lessened the itch to impulse buy!

Do you have questions about this process? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute Style Success Session with me here and let’s talk!

 


The Difference a Year Can Make – Lessons in Life AND Business

On August 31st, 2015, I officially handed over the keys to the new owner of my day spa. That day was a weird experience. I was excited, full of anticipation of how my new career/business would unfold and develop. At the same time, I was sad to say goodbye to so many great clients, memories of how it all began, the good times, and funny stories that had happened there over the years. It was a day of mixed emotion.

The sale of my day spa is just one component. My family and I also relocated to a new town in June 2015, leaving behind great friends and a community I loved dearly.

For those of you getting these newsletters and following me on social media, you can agree: WOW a lot can happen in a year!! I have been blessed to moved into a great new community, launch a new career, make new friends, etc… you see the highlight reel. All the good stuff.

There has been lots of talk lately on how the “highlight” reel on social media feeds can actually make us feel bad about ourselves.

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Maybe you are anxious to get engaged and start a family, and while you seemingly wait patiently by the sidelines and nudge your boyfriend to buy the ring, everyone else you know seems to be getting married or having their first baby. UGH it isn’t fair: when will it be my turn?! you think.

Are you struggling to make ends meet financially, and it’s depressing to see posts of friends traveling the world, going to exotic places or even having a dinner out? I mean sure, you are happy for them, but you deserve it too!

I am one of the most upbeat, positive, happy people I know, and yes – this past year has been marvelous, but I have also had struggles. As an entrepreneur, I can tell you it is a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.

I choose to show my highlight reel on social media: all the good stuff, the celebrations of my hard work and perseverance.

What you didn’t see is me sobbing uncontrollably driving away (and for hours after!) from appointment with the lawyers to close our previous home. We carried both homes for 4 months and I didn’t realize how much emotion this would bubble up. The finality, knowing I couldn’t just pop up the road to my friend’s house for an impromptu tea and a chat. I felt fear of the unknown.

I began online certification courses in September 2015. Every day for the first month my husband would come home for lunch and I would be waiting for help, frustrated and ready to throw the computer out the window! The course load itself was fine; it was my incompetency with computer programs I had never needed to use before that was literally driving me crazy! I felt inadequate and stupid.

Same goes for joining a tug of war team, as well as a ladies dance troupe, to meet new people. I felt clumsy and awkward.

Heck, even the grocery store was set up differently to my old one. EVERYTHING was new and I was a novice at it all. My normally adventurous self was taking a beating, and it wasn’t pretty.

And for the first time in 28 years I felt lost. By December my courses were complete, Christmas shopping was done, and my business was not yet launched, so I was client-less and stir crazy! In previous years, I would have been running around the spa like a chicken with its head chopped off by that time – crazy busy and exhausted while wishing for it to end. Be careful what you wish for!

I felt lost and frightened. My confidence faltered and I began to second guess myself. Some days I only drew comfort knowing I could cook a good meal and keep a tidy home.

I am persistent if nothing else!

Every day, I woke up determined to keep on going. I soldiered on, and slowly but surely everything became easier: I was getting better! My confidence returned and the adventure became fun.

My persistent nature, consistency with executing “the plan”, and willingness to try new things, whether in business or pleasure throughout this last year, is what has brought all the cool, new opportunities into my life.

My motto – feel the fear and do it anyways!

Guess what?

  • I have made new friends and maintained friendships with many whom I care so much about and we still get together for tea… the only difference now is we just have to plan ahead!
  • I have gained new clientele from across Canada/U.S.A. and stay in touch with some former clients through Facebook/email, or get a big hug if we bump into each other at the mall!
  • I can now troubleshoot many of the computer techy issues myself!
  • My tug of war game has improved and it will continue to be a work in progress.
  • Over 600 people, over 3 nights, paid to watch me dance in a community fundraiser with the ladies dance troupe! What a blast!
  • I easily maneuver through the local grocery store these days and despite clumsily knocking over an entire aisle display of birthday candles, I became friends with the owners who had a good chuckle that day!

My mission or personal mandate when I launched this business, began blogging and creating buzz on social media, was to be a woman first and an Image Coach second. To some this may seem a backward approach in growing a profitable business, but I am passionate about creating a community where women empower women. To see higher potential in yourself, to inspire action or to love yourself in this moment today while on the journey to becoming the next version of you!

What I know for sure is we are all more alike than different. We all have the ups/downs in life, it depends if you decide to tackle them or let them tackle you that dictates your outcome and future.

Cheers to all of us in the game, ready to rumble and make our dreams come true!

Remember that you are beautiful!


How The Word “No” Taught Me When to Say “Yes”

dreamstime_s_30035137I have a hard time saying no. I admire those who can say “no” straight up, with zero hesitation and zero guilt.

Saying “no” has been on my list of goals for the past two years, and I have improved. People pleasing and doing things out of obligation instead of desire are two areas where I am practicing this art of “no”.  Years of patterned events, behaviour and customs for us “people-pleasers” can take its toll, and the joy of serving others is replaced with resentment. Now I carefully choose with whom I spend my time, and I am thrilled to have such a diverse group of family and friends.

Who wants to spend their life feeling and doing things strictly out of obligation? I thrive on joy, love, fun and excitement. For those of you who’ve received an email from me, you may recognize this quote from Rumi, which appears in my email signature and is my personal motto:

“Set your life on fire; seek those who fan your flame.”

The real magic begins with saying “yes.”  Are you confused yet? 🙂 First I tell you I am practicing saying “no” and now I tell you saying “yes” is magical!

Here is the difference:

Say ‘no’ when you are suppressing an eye roll to an invitation to spend time with people who are simply not in line with who you are, where you do not want to spend the evening with a fake smile and head nods.

Say ‘yes’ when your heart skips a beat, when you think “I can’t do that” because it is far fetched – be crazy enough to give it a shot!

Being open to new experiences, adventures and people is saying “yes” to what makes my heart sing. Yes is magical. Yes is scary. And yes opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

So what do you have to lose? Try saying yes to something new this week and see what difference it makes in your life and in the lives of those around you! Here are some suggestions:

Say “YES!” to…

  •  Trying new foods!

Life is far too short to spend it eating meat and potatoes every night! Be brave: order something new the next time you are at your favourite restaurant, or try a new recipe!

  •  Volunteering in your community or at a fundraising event!

Meeting new people with a common interest/goal and giving back is a win/win. I have made amazing personal and business relationships through volunteering.

  •  Signing up for a physical challenge!

Whether it is a 5 km fun run, mud run, marathon, bike ride, yoga or tai chi in the park, the energy and excitement is amazing.  Registering will keep you on top of fitness goals and the accomplishment will make you proud!

  •  Doing business in a new way!

I never expected my business to expand virtually through Skype the way it has, but I said ‘yes’ to trying. Likewise, with new partnerships, public speaking – which I had no experience doing, but said ‘yes’ anyway.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained – and I have gained a lot thanks to being open to trying something new.

  •  Something that scares you a little (or a lot)!

Like zip lining, tree topping or midnight skinny dip, doing anything out of your comfort zone heightens all the senses. It is invigorating and freeing!

Practice saying yes to opportunities TODAY by grabbing one of my complimentary Style Success Sessions. I’m opening up just 6 spots on my calendar for these 20-minute sessions, and they’re first come, first served for the first 6 people who book one. When the last session is booked, I’ll be closing my calendar. Click HERE to schedule yours now!