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.

 


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!


7 Tips From a Hair Pro to Keep Your Hair Looking Great

For 28 years I lived, ate and breathed hairstyling.

I worked with hundreds of clients. I fine-tuned my skills by testing new techniques, new colours, and new equipment – mostly by trial and error. Thankfully, the errors were few and far between! Even the odd mishaps turned into a cool new shade neither the client nor I expected. I do have a few funny stories from my time behind the chair – well, they’re funny now, but I did have panic set in at the time! One particular long term client’s hair went from blonde to pink by accident – oopsie. I did fix it, though…  it took a few tries and we had some amazing cool colours in the process! I am proud to say, in my 28 years, I never once cut off anyone’s ear, despite countless parents telling their children it would happen if they didn’t sit still!

Needless to say, I am an expert in the hair department.

Even though I have retired my scissors, I am still asked daily about hairstyles, colours, etc. for my clients, friends and new acquaintances.  Here are my top 7 tips to keep your mane looking its best!

1. Find a good stylist.

Stop complaining about your hair if you wait ‘til the last minute to book an appointment or walk-in anywhere for a haircut. It’s your own fault.

Finding a good stylist can take time. The best way is to ask others whose hair looks good, or look at salon websites for testimonials.

2. Plan ahead.

Okay, so you’ve heard great things about a particular stylist. Book an appointment now, if only for a consultation. Many stylists will offer a free 10-15 minute consult, but ask to be sure. This gives both you and the stylist to meet before the actual appointment: to see whether you are a good fit for each other and whether you like ‘feel,’ the atmosphere, of the salon.

3. Arrive to every appointment with your hair done.

Yes, it sounds counterintuitive since you’re getting your hair done at the salon! But please, do not arrive with your hair a ponytail, wet from the shower, or hidden under a ball cap. Having your hair already styled allows you to easily point out what is working for you and what isn’t.

Even if you’ve been with your stylist for years, please heed this advice! Stylists have hundreds of clients and sometimes forget from one appointment to the next those little tweaks or changes that were made the time before. Help them out. 🙂

4. Have a consultation before getting your hair wet every visit.

Again, this is for both the stylist and you! Communication is key in all relationships – make sure you both talk openly about your hair needs, including how to incorporate a hairstyle to fit both your lifestyle and your professional needs. Once you are familiar with each other, this should only take about 3 to 5 minutes at most. And don’t be afraid to be bold; if the stylist doesn’t offer this before ushering you to the shampoo basin, it is totally okay to ask!

5. Ask questions about getting the same results at home.

I feel like a broken record here, but again, communicate! Find out which products your stylist is using and how to apply them. Ask which way to blow dry and finish your style. Most stylists are happy to send you home with a product to help replicate the salon look.

6. Prebook your next appointment before leaving!

Always book your next appointment before you leave. This ensures you stay on a schedule and don’t let your locks get out of control. Your hair goes through different growth spurts throughout the year, but this trick eliminates waiting too long between appointments.

7. Enjoy this newfound friendship!

I can honestly say that most of my 28 years behind the chair didn’t feel like work. I enjoyed every day with my clients and made some amazing friendships. Stylists enjoy their time with you, making you look and feel better with a pair of scissors and a good chat.

For more advice about choosing the right style (hair or otherwise!), book a complimentary Style Success Session with me here.


Are You Aging Gracefully? 5 Mistakes Mid-Life Women Make & How to Avoid Them

Aging gracefully will be a reoccurring topic here on the blog. Why? Because I am 46 and trying my best to do just that… age gracefully! Not because I want to look young, but rather so I don’t look ridiculous! The turning point? Age 40… obviously, that’s when “shit” got real – LOL!

I am proud to be 46. I never lie about my age; I embrace it and have moved into mid-life in good shape, happy, confident and aware of what I don’t want.  And as much as there are some “choice terms” out there for beautiful women in their forties and fifties, I am very aware of not trying too hard to retain my youth because I want my naturally sexy, sassy, sophisticated self to shine!  As with everything here on the blog, I am writing from personal experience and share what I see and hear, added with my years as a hairstylist and image coach. So with that in mind, I want to share with you some tips about aging gracefully that have worked for me!

Head to Toe

Hair Colour

Don’t colour your hair too light – bleached out (think Barbie), or too dark (think Goth).

Hair that’s coloured in either extreme can offset our skin tone, which is also changing as we age!

Do choose a hair colour that’s somewhere in the middle.

Your hairstylist can help you select a colour that you love and also suits your skin tone. Also consider adding hilites and/or lowlites for dimension and to make your style interesting!

Hair Length

Don’t follow the trends if they don’t suit your face shape.

For example, stick-straight hair is really harsh on an aging face as it is super “spikey.”

Do what suits your face shape AND your lifestyle.

Now is the time to add more wave, softness and volume to offset the thinning of our faces and loss of collagen in our cheeks. A good hairstylist can make suggestions and work with you to find the perfect style.

Skin

Don’t over-tan!!!!

I cannot say this enough. Not only does it cause skin cancer, we look OLD when we are over-tanned: lines are accentuated and then those dreaded WRINKLES emerge!

Do use a good quality self-tanner.

For the generation that grew up tanning with baby oil infused with iodine, it’s hard not to feel good without a tan – I totally get it! A self-tanner will give you a healthy glow. Enjoy the natural sun and get your Vitamin D fix safely with a sunscreen.

Face & Make-Up

Don’t use eyeshadows with extra sheen or sparkle.

Also avoid heavy eyeliner or extra bronzer (to make up for the lack of a tan – LOL!). To quote Robin Kaiser, an Emmy Award-winning makeup artist based in New York City, “what worked when you were 30 won’t work when you’re 60. As older women, we can still wear it all – eyeliner, shadow, lipstick, blush – but over time, you must lighten it up and choose your colours judiciously. Otherwise, you look ‘hard.’ And if you look ‘hard,’ you look old.”

Do use the “less is more” theory.

Choose soft shadows that are matte or have a subtle sheen. Instead of an eyeliner pencil, try using an angled brush with a dark shadow to line your eyes – it gives a much softer look. Pinterest is a great source for how to apply make-up, and it truly can make a world of difference! I personally am a make-up addict; there are usually 6-8 lipsticks or glosses in my purse at any given time!

Body

Don’t follow the trends unless they suit your body shape AND your lifestyle.

“Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” – Edith Head

As a woman in my forties, it is becoming harder and harder to find stores with clothes that I like, and that aren’t too “old looking” or “young looking.” It’s an awkward age to shop for when you still want to be current and stylish!

Do wear clothes that accentuate your best features.

Also remember to choose colours that suit your skin tone. If you are unsure, hire a stylist or image consultant to help you. Too often we have a closet full of clothes and still feel like we have nothing to wear. Hiring an expert will prevent this from happening and will actually save you money in the long run!

YES there are exceptions to all these rules. Some women can get away with doing their own thing, as wrong as it may be, and it works. For them. But for the rest of us, breaking these rules draws attention to us in less than flattering ways.

Victoria Baird works with professional and entrepreneurial women to discover their personal style, develop their personal image and brand, and build their self-confidence around their own natural beauty. Ready to get out of that rut, feel great about yourself, and stand out from your competition? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with Victoria here.