4 Ways I’m Combating “The Middle-Age Spread”

The first time I knew something was up was back in March. I was doing up my favourite red cocktail dress while getting ready for a fundraising event.

Thankfully, it’s a beautiful sheath dress, draped with an overlay, so only I could notice the difference.

Then, 2 weeks ago, while I was planning out which dresses to wear for some upcoming speaking events, it happened again and again. Four times, to be exact.

When my husband came home for lunch, I greeted him with:

“I need to go shopping! None of my dresses fit!!!”

Well, truth be told, yes I can do them up, but it’s not pretty, appropriate, or comfortable. And my audience certainly doesn’t need to see that I have a bellybutton ring poking through my clothes! (Although, I guess that cat is now out of the bag!)

I did not panic. I have not freaked out. Nor have I felt frumpy.

Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified that I might blow out a seam in that gorgeous red dress (it’s my all-time favourite!) whenever I sat down.

But I did not.

(Sidebar: sucking in my gut with all my power didn’t help)

The middle age spread.

It happens. In fact, it seems to have happened to me overnight, despite my activity level and eating habits.

I turn 48 this September and my metabolism is clearly slowing down – not that it was ever fast to begin with! My hormones are shifting and my body is preparing for the next stage in my life.

Yet, every morning when I wake up, I still feel like a young woman inside my heart and my head.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, but my years of training and experience in my industry have taught me some ways to tackle it that not all women are aware of.

So what can you do if, like me, the next phase of your life is barreling through the front door instead of knocking politely and patiently waiting until you’re ready for it? Here are 4 things I did (and am still doing!) that you may find helpful:

Step 1: Most important of all, I didn’t have a meltdown. Long gone are the days where I identify the woman I am by my dress size or the number on the scale.

Instead, I listed and gave thanks to my body for all the great things I feel about it, from head to toe. Things like my strong legs and lungs that allow me to cycle all summer long, for example.

Step 2: I did go shopping. I replaced a couple of key dresses that I wear to networking events and speaking engagements. I feel comfortable and confident in my new outfits and I didn’t break the bank, even though I hadn’t budgeted for this dilemma.

Step 3: I reached out to my friend, Heather, a Holistic Nutritionist who also owns the gym where I work out, and asked her to assess my diet in relation to the maturing woman I am today.

I weighed in 5lbs heavier than I was exactly a year ago, which was another 5lbs heaver than the year before. (Note: I don’t actually own a scale. The only reason I know these weights is because this time a year ago, I weighed in for a tug-of-war competition.)

No wonder my clothes “fit” but are super-crazy-uncomfortably tight!!

Ideally, I want to lean out 5-10 lbs so I can fit into the clothing I love, but I am not willing to be drastic. I enjoy my life, entertaining, drinking wine and late night pizza every couple of weeks. I am fit, active, happy and healthy.

After reviewing my food diary and workout plan, Heather and I talked about a few little tweaks in both my eating and workout habits for this stage in my life. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Step 4: Acceptance. It isn’t “do or die” for me to lean out. I love who I am and who I have become. I love my body and I choose to honour it as a sacred temple that enjoys a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or piece of home baked strawberry rhubarb pie on occasion. Life is too short not to!

Do you have questions about navigating this new stage in your life? I’d love to talk to you about it and perhaps give you some suggestions. Just click here to book a complimentary Style Success Session with me.


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.

 


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!


Effort is Attractive: 7 Tips to Avoid “The Trap”

When you start a new job or open a business, things are always so fresh and exciting at first! Your mind is full of cool new ideas. You know, with full conviction, that you’re going to make your mark on your industry. Sure, there are obstacles, but you can conquer them and boy, you look good doing it, too! Coming to work, attending meetings and conferences with your hair coiffed, nails polished and dressed to impress. No one can stop you, except you – when you fall into “The Trap”.

Trap? What trap?

I’m talking about reaching your comfort zone… aka falling into “The Trap”.

Here’s how it happens: your career is humming along, your life feels balanced, you have a good rapport with your clients and coworkers, and you’ve hit certain goals that you’re really proud of and happy about. You’re feeling good about yourself and life in general, so you decide – subconsciously – to ride it out for a while.

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How do you know you’ve fallen into “The Trap”? When bit by bit, you start letting yourself slide by thinking things like“No one else dresses up in this office, so why bother?” or “Ugh, it’s Casual Friday anyways – jeans and a messy bun will do,” or even “I’ve had this client for years; they won’t care how I look.”

Hey, I get it, I’ve been there myself! It’s a nice, comfortable and easy feeling.

Breaking News…. your appearance matters!

What got you to where you are now in your career is not going to take you to the next level. People notice when you show up as your best self and they notice when you don’t. This is not ego, this is reality! I just read The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, and this particular line stuck with me:

Appearances matter. If you want people to judge you for what’s inside,

don’t let them get confused with the outside.

If you are happy with your current reality, happy with the status quo, that’s great – no need to read any further! But if you want to stand out from the competition and go above the norm, here is the best advice I can give to get you back on track:

Effort is attractive – jot these words down on a sticky note and attach to your bathroom mirror. It all boils down to effort.

Whether it is within our workplace, business relationships or personal and romantic relationships, effort is attractive and key. Effort in how we present ourselves is the quickest, simplest way to increase attention towards who you are!

1. Get a decent night’s sleep.

7-8 hours is what research suggests the average person needs to maintain good health. Routine sleeping patterns will keep you looking fresh;feeling energized and maintains more brain power!

2. No extra snoozing.

Get up with your alarm! Allot yourself enough time each morning to properly get ready for the day ahead. That means no more ponytails or applying mascara/lipstick in the car at stop lights! Have an outfit picked out the night before to alleviate some time in choosing. Calmly beginning your day sets the tone for next 8-10 hours.

3. Pre-book grooming appointments.

Haircuts, waxing, manicures and pedicures can all be booked from one appointment to the next. This habit alone will keep you feeling and looking better, which builds your self confidence.

4. Don’t wear clothing that is worn-looking, stained, missing buttons, or in any state of disrepair.

Toss it! Same goes for shoes, boots and purses.

5. Smile!!

Even if you don’t feel happy. A smile goes a long way, makes you more approachable, likeable and it shows effort!

6. Say please and thank you.

Good manners are very much in style. Be fashionable: use them and earn the respect from those around you.

7. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Often, I hear women say they don’t want to stand out, they would rather blend in. This breaks my heart! You were born to stand out, not to blend in! Besides, if you want to advance in your career, you need to stand apart from the competition, get noticed, get promoted, gain higher level clients, and earn more wealth!

Above all, remember that you are beautiful! Do you have questions about how to stay out of “The Trap”? I work with professional and entrepreneurial women who want to kick their style and their careers up a notch. I’d love to chat with you – just click here to be taken to my calendar and book a complimentary Style Success Session with me!


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.


6 Fool-Proof Shopping Strategies from a Semi-Recovered Impulsive Shopper

Image courtesy of stockphotos at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockphotos at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Retail therapy! Easing the pain of a crappy day, week or month one purchase at a time. Distracting us with the thrill of the hunt, the deal of the day or three times the bonus points!! How can we resist the offer to sooth our soul and make our life seem richer – even if only for that impulsive ecstasy moment?

Is Your Impulse Shopping Fun or Frightening?

Over the weekend I scoured Netflix looking for a good chick flick to watch.  Curled up on the couch, I settled in and pushed ‘play’ to watch Confessions of a Shopaholic. , If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, Confessions of a Shopaholic is about a young woman who ironically gets hired as a financial journalist while she herself has a serious high-end shopping addiction. Severely in debt, she is hounded by creditors calling daily! Not an Oscar winner by any means but a fun movie to watch. Maybe you (and I) are not “shopaholics” but perhaps you (and I) have been guilty from time-to-time of making impulsive purchases.

A Laptop, A Credit Card and a Buy Button

You know I am right, even the strongest willed women have succumbed to this on occasion, and now with online shopping, impulsive buying is easier than ever.  How many emails do you receive a week from your favourite stores? Daily temptations arrive in my inbox from a variety of retailers. Usually I just delete without even looking. But catch me at a weak moment and, coupled with the fact that I know my credit card number by heart, –BAM – Victoria your purchase is complete. Thank you for shopping at­­­­­­ our online store.

Combine that deadly duo with retailing superstores that offer groceries, beauty and clothing in a one stop shop. The temptations are everywhere. The result? We are filling our closets with one hit wonders while depleting our hard earned monies.

The 6 Tips You Need to Curb Your Impulse and Keep Your Money in the Bank

Does this sound familiar? Don’t despair, I am right there with you, and although I am not a completely recovered impulse-ecstasy shopper I have learned a few things along my way. Here are a few tips that will help you slay any impulse demons that might be lurking:

1. Shop With a List

A list is CRUCIAL, much like grocery shopping having a plan when either in the mall for the day or online shopping will help curtail any non necessary purchases.

2. Ask About the Return Policy

This is a MUST! Some retailers have great 30-90 day return policies with full refund, others are less time or in store credit only, ask BEFORE the purchase is made, this gives you some reassurance that the item can be returned if once you are home, you decide that it wasn’t right.

3. Check Out Consignment Stores

To sell those articles that you hang onto (but never wear) because of the money spent.

4. Donate!

Donate any additional items to local women’s shelters – you will feel great about your donation and the women who receive them will benefit from your generosity.

5. Pay with Cash or Debit!

Yes I have my credit card number memorized in my head; No this is not a good thing! We all know how easy it is to buy now and pay later and we do NOT want to end up like Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic. Even when you know the return policy, deciding to pay with cash or debit acts as a deterrent to an impulse buy.

6. Avoid Giving Out Your Email

When in stores shopping, I often decline this now regardless of the coupon that will be sent to me, we both know this coupon is for the retailers benefit not the customers! Because sooner or later I will weaken. And if you are already on a list? Feel free to unsubscribe.

The Closet Clean-Up

It took me awhile to learn to adopt these strategies, but once I did, I saw my bank balance go up and my poor purchasing decisions go down. A great first step is to go through your closet and separate the “keepers” from those items you no longer wear. It will give your spirit a lift and help you begin to build that all important list of what you need to buy to round out your wardrobe, rather than what calls your name the next time you step into a mall.

Not sure where to start? What items to keep or donate? I can help. Book your complimentary Style Success Session with me here.