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!


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!


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!


3 Fun Ways to Update Your Style without Spending a Cent!

Do you wake up in the morning, stare into your closet and just feel blah because all you can think is ‘same old clothes, same old style?’

Nothing excites you about getting dressed for work anymore, and let’s not even talk about a night out on the town! Night after night, you watch those reality TV shows and wish you were one of those lucky women getting the complete makeover you crave and deserve. Top that off with having to pay for the kids’ extracurriculars, a broken down car, and the rising costs of just about everything – the mere idea of going on a shopping spree to freshen up your ‘look’ is out of the question.

Sound familiar?

Too often, women get lost in the everyday shuffle of family life and responsibilities, leaving their own needs for last. Are you guilty of delaying an already overdue haircut because your youngest has outgrown his soccer cleats?  Or eyeing that beautiful cocktail dress in your favourite store during the holidays, but opting to wear the same dress you’ve worn the last 2 years to the office party because, well… it’s the holidays and the bank account is depleting fast enough.

Don’t despair! I can help.

Here are some easy, fun tricks to update your style, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it!

1. There’s more than one way to wear your hair.

Unless your hair is super cropped (I’m talking Demi Moore in GI Jane or Britney Spears’ rage-induced buzz cut of 2007), you should be able to wear it a couple different ways.

Believe me! It’s possible.

During your next visit to the salon, ask your stylist to show you some easy ways to style your current cut differently. Sure, it may require a different styling product and feel awkward the first few tries, but don’t get caught up with trying to have every hair perfectly in place. If, for some reason, your stylist is unable to assist with this, it might be time to shop for a new stylist!

2. Play dress-up!

Remember as a child how fun it was to play dress-up? To sneak into your mother’s or your sister’s closet and having fun trying on their clothes and shoes, layering their jewels like you were the Queen of England? Embrace that inner child again!

Set the stage: don’t attempt play time when you’re on a time constraint. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to “play.”

Next, turn on some music – music that you love, music that makes you want to dance (and you might!). Have some fashion magazines or your favourite Pinterest boards handy for style inspiration. Also have a full-length mirror available and do your hair and make-up beforehand.

Now it’s time for the real fun to begin. Pull out everything from your closet! I’m talking clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry – and start playing.

Most often, we reach for the same outfits – thus creating those “style ruts” we find ourselves in – so begin with just one of your favourite pieces of clothing and start dressing it up with items you don’t wear as often. Look to your inspiration pictures and don’t be afraid to be silly and creative. Untuck, tuck, wrap, twist, layer, add a belt…I guarantee you that at least a couple new outfits will come from this experiment and, better yet, you don’t even have to open your wallet!

For a real-world example of this “playing dress-up” technique in action, check out these pictures of my client, Yvonne. Together, we created a whole new look for her from items already in her closet – no trip to the mall required!

Yvonne1 Yvonne2 Yvonne3 Yvonne4

3. Host a clothing swap party!

Personally, I like any night out that involves good friends, wine, and potluck appetizers.

Instead of spending any money, host a “swap party” where friends bring gently worn clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories that they would otherwise donate.

Try to set up in advance to display the items – think boutique second-hand store. Once ladies arrive, everyone can mingle, try things on, and have some fun.

Set a limit, though, to make sure things are fair. For example, if you bring 3 items you can shop for up to 3 items – unless by the end of the night there are still items left. If any items remain after everyone has gone home, these can easily be donated to your preferred charity.

I know what you’re thinking – everyone is different shapes and sizes. Don’t underestimate the value of coming away with some cool accessories! Often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

If, after you’ve tried these 3 easy tricks, you’re still feeling like you have nothing to wear, it’s time to call in an expert for support. Book a complimentary Style Success Session with me here and let’s get you out of that rut!

 


The One Thing You Need to Know to Layer Your Clothing and Still Look Chic!

It’s warm, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s damp, it’s windy, it’s calm, it’s sunny, and it’s dull. It’s springtime in Canada where the weather can change within minutes and “it” does! Just last weekend on my girls’ getaway in Toronto we experienced it all, even the dreaded S word – SNOW – in the middle of May. UGH.

This time there were 5 of us ladies, aged between 28-50 – what a diverse group of girlfriends I am blessed with! And this is just a few. Quality time with my friends is a priority in my life, although it’s sometimes hard to manage between all our schedules. But when we do – look out! We laugh so hard my head hurts; get into some deep meaningful conversations and the food… never a lack of good food and wine!

Why did we even pack umbrellas? It was sunny when were heading out into the city, so we were hopeful and left CanadianSeasonsthem back at the condo. We were wrong.

Not one of us was prepared in our dress for the weather, even myself – despite looking at the forecast the entire week leading up to the getaway. Maybe I was in denial or maybe I was overly optimistic; either way, I roamed the streets in a light weight leather jacket, hand and head open to the all the elements of spring that hit me. Literally hit me! It is not much fun roaming the Distillery District with a croissant in one hand and a tea in the other with sleet pelting down on me!

Clearly I don’t have ‘it’ all together all the time! For anyone who knows me well they can vouch for this! I struggle, just like the rest of you, trying to figure out what to wear each day with the erratic changes in weather. And in our defence, the weatherman has been known to make mistakes!

Mom’s old school advice holds true still in 2016. Layer up, buttercup.

Wikipedia defines Layer clothing as the wearing of multiple layers of clothing for practical or fashion purposes.

 

Want to layer and still look chic?

 

It’s simple – scarves, cardigans, tights or leggings under a skirt!

Easy to add and subtract, throw in purse or around your waist.

Let’s be honest. Aside from the weather, women’s body temperatures seem to yo-yo enough on their own. From pregnancy to menopause, dressing to adapt to our own internal furnace is tricky. What worked for us even a few months or weeks ago can change in what feels like the blink of an eye!

I love working with women in transition, experiencing life changes – and let’s face it, womanhood IS a series of transitions and changes, whether it’s (re)entering the workforce, changing careers, dating after divorce or the loss of a spouse, or even physiological – losing or gaining weight, having a baby and yes… menopause!

For those of you who are going through a transition like this, I’d love to have a chat with you – no obligation, just a chance for me to get to know you and perhaps offer a few simple tips to help you put your best self forward! Just click here and book a time on my calendar.


4 Fool-Proof Strategies to Transform Your Closet from Mayhem to Magnificent

What’s lurking in your closet?

Limp shirts, pants and skirts/dresses piled high. Footwear mismatched and tossed aside.  Clothes hanging or in bags with price tags still attached and tormenting you. Dresser drawers bursting at the seams.  No pun intended!

Now, double or triple that!

Many women have more than one closet full of clothes and wear only 20% of those items 80% of the time!  If your closet looks more like the zombie apocalypse than the last episode of The Walking Dead, it’s time to take action!

“We should choose what we want to keep, not want we want to get rid of.”

Marie Kondo, author of #1 New York Times best-selling guide, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, tells us this. I totally agree with Marie’s perspective on de-cluttering any area of our life or home!

It’s Time for a Wardrobe Audit

messy closet

Image courtesy of k barker on Flickr

A wardrobe audit can be a time consuming and daunting task, but it should also be liberating and fun!

With spring around the corner now is the perfect time to clear out the clutter. You will have more options with fewer clothes, dressing will become exciting again, plus you will make room for those couple ‘must have’ items next season.

Okay, so you’ve committed to the DIY closet audit. Now where to start?

Have a “Go Hard or Go Home” attitude.

Be ruthless and realistic while keeping Marie Kondo’s advice to “keep only what sparks joy.”

Keep, Donate or Discard?

  1. a) DO set aside a full morning or afternoon to work on your closet – ALONE!
  2. b) DON’T try to tackle it bit-by-bit for an hour here and there.
  3. a) DO bring out all your clothing items, including footwear and undergarments, to be audited.
  4. b) DON’T leave any items to chance! Be sure to have all your laundry done before starting.
  5. a) DO keep items that fit well, flatter your body, and are in good shape.
  6. b) DON’T keep items that have been unworn for a year or more, do not fit properly, or are in bad shape.
  7. a) DON’T feel guilty about the items sitting in the donate pile.
  8. b) DO feel good about donating your clothes to those who are less fortunate – many will benefit from your generosity!

Alternatively – check out consignment stores to sell those higher-priced items that you’re having a hard time parting with because of how much you originally spent on them.

organized closet

An organized closet makes a world of difference!

A Few Extra Tips to Make Your Audit Go Smoothly

  1. Have a full-length mirror ready when you trying on clothing.
  2. Have several large garbage bags or boxes handy for items to discard or to donate. Be sure to get those donated items out of the house ASAP before you second-guess yourself or your decision!
  3. Last, but by no means least, enjoy the process of simplifying your life and personal style by keeping those articles of clothing that make you look and feel your best!

Struggling with your DIY Wardrobe Audit? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with me here.