3 Tips for Exploring Your Mid-Life Awakening

I often say that when women reach their 40s, they don’t have a mid-life crisis; they have an awakening.

Or, at least, that’s what happened to me!

I was having way too much fun celebrating my fortieth year to stop and listen to the stirrings of my awakening but, by the time I reached age 42, there was no denying them any longer.

I had a good life, a happy marriage, a great business and social life, and yet I kept feeling the pull of the word MORE. I need to be MORE, do MORE, create MORE.

I ignored it for a while. “Don’t be greedy. Be content with where you’re at!” I would tell myself over and over again. I mean, who was I to think I could possibly have MORE?

But MORE took over. My curiosity and creative nature led me to do some soul-searching. I began to question my purpose and to realize which activities fulfilled me and which drained me. Ultimately, it led me to transitioning my career in the beauty industry as a master hairstylist and salon owner to an image coach and consultant – a move which has continued to allow me and my business to expand, blossom and grow. MORE!!

Have you felt the stirring?

Maybe the kids are off to college and you find yourself cooking the ‘usual’ Tuesday supper and thinking, I don’t even like tacos.

What do I want? What do like? Who am I now at this stage in my life? These are some of the many questions I pondered when I embraced my awakening, and you may be asking similar ones yourself. Here are 3 of the things I did to help find the answers:

1. Get off the hamster wheel.

And I don’t mean hop off for a quick 10-minute meditation and expect all the answers to your questions.

Stop, unplug, and listen.

Getting away from your usual surroundings works best. At the very least, take an afternoon off and go to a park or a secluded area on the beach, sit under a tree and just BE. No phone, no books, no magazine – nothing that will stimulate the mind. Just sit there or lie there, and breathe.

(That sounds glorious and scary, doesn’t it?!)

The brightest clarity and greatest ideas and ‘Ah-ha!’ moments have come to me when I’m not ‘thinking.’ Do bring a notebook and pen with you, and when your own thoughts, inspirations or ‘Ah-ha!’s surface, jot them down.

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2. Press play, record and erase.

Start to track how you feel in social groups, activity or club settings, and with people you are surrounding yourself with. Are you feeling stimulated, or drained?

Often, we just keep doing the same things we’ve always done because, well, that’s what we’ve always done!

If you find yourself bored or craving a different scene, that is totally OK. Having new experiences and meeting new people is exciting. Begin to explore by joining something new or reaching out to someone you’ve wanted to get to know better but is outside of your ‘regular circle.’

3. Find your inner child.

The popularity of adult colouring books is proof we’re craving simple ways to be creative again, like when we were kids!

Think back to the things you loved to do as a kid. How can you bring that into your life now?

When I explored this, 3 activities surfaced for me:

  1. Baking with my grandma: I’m still an avid baker!
  2. Playing “store”: Well, I’m an entrepreneur and I owned a spa.
  3. Entertaining/performing: BINGO! As a kid, I loved putting together dance or gymnastic routines with my friends for our parents, or singing in the school choir.

I’ll admit, I’m not the most graceful or musically talented, but it brings me JOY! So, when I got asked to join the community theatre, I said yes!

Now, I know that thinking about doing even one of these 3 suggestions can feel overwhelming. So many thoughts, fears, and reasons to not do anything can start bubbling up to the surface faster than we realizing what’s going on!

  • I have all this laundry to fold
  • Where am I going to find the time to do any of that? I already have way too much on my plate.
  • What if I find the answers I’m looking for, but my husband/parents/friends won’t support me?

Sound familiar?

This is why I’m hosting the Me, Myself & I Retreat on November 10 & 11, 2017, at the beautiful Hessenland Country Inn near Bayfield, Ontario.

To get more details about the retreat as they become available, enter your name and email below to be added to the Wait List!


Does Your Image on the Screen Represent Your Image Behind the Screen?

by Emily Crookston

 

I finally made it to the salon this week to get a cut and color. This is kind of big deal because I rescheduled the appointment 3 times (#freelancerlife). It’s also a big deal because I’m trying a new stylist and salon after a somewhat disastrous experience at a different salon back in December.

 

My new stylist absolutely blew me away! She talked with me for 15 minutes before she even moved me to her chair and she took the time to explain everything she wanted to do with my hair. As a result, I have a cut and color that I love for the first time in years. What an amazing first impression!

 

After my experience, I realized something: What I project in my virtual image is directly connected to how I present myself in my daily life.

 

I had been putting off finding a new salon because, as a freelance content writer, I don’t often have face-to-face meetings with clients. So, it’s not a high priority for me to look my absolute best all the time. However, looking and, more importantly, feeling confident definitely helps me do my best work, even when my work goes on behind a computer screen.

 

First impressions are gold in business.

 

We all know someone who owns whatever room she walks into. These people always land the best jobs and find the right dates. Far from being born lucky, these successful types have figured out the right formula for making an amazing first impression. The good news is that anyone can learn these psychologically tested and proven skills.

 

Victoria rightly points out that it only takes 7 seconds for people to make a judgment based on a first impression. But in the digital age, first impressions mean something different from what they once meant. Depending on your industry, you are more likely to make that first impression virtually than in person.

 

This is certainly true of my work; most of the time I must rely on my virtual image to get my message out and build credibility. The problem is that I sometimes rely too much on my virtual image.

 

I love the flexibility and independence of being a freelancer. But too often that flexibility and independence manifests itself in wearing yoga pants, not wearing makeup, and throwing my wet hair up into a scrunchy (okay, I haven’t worn a scrunchy since the 90s, but you get the idea) as I run out the door to work in the coffee shop.

 

My experience feeling more confident after finding a great stylist made me stop to reflect on few points that might help you too:

 

  1. Consider all aspects of your brand.

 

Does your online image reflect who you are in the real world? Some days, I allow myself to wear what’s comfortable and that’s perfectly okay. I mark off content days in my calendar and spend these days hiding out in the coffee shop or co-working space just cranking out content. On these days I know I won’t be meeting with clients and my appearance won’t reflect back on my brand.

 

Other days, however, I will be networking and representing my business. During these times, I know that the people I meet will be considering not only my look, but also how I speak and what I say as they ask themselves whether they want to do business with me or refer me to others.

 

It’s always important, though, to make sure all aspects of your brand from the images on your website, to your business cards, to your 30-second spiel align with your brand and present you in the way you want to be perceived.

 

Quick take-away: You can’t afford to hide behind a vague description of your work or project a lack of confidence in any aspect of your brand whether in virtual or meat space.

 

  1. Your next client could be at the grocery store with you.

 

Does your line of work require that you project a certain type of personal image? Like it or not, image is highly subjective. This means that your industry, your position, your gender, even your personality and attitude can affect how others perceive you.

 

Stereotypes and assumptions abound. Whereas it may be fine for me to bump into a potential client at the grocery store or coffee shop sweaty after my hot yoga class, my realtor friend may lose a sale because she popped into the pharmacy after taking a run in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world, we would all be able to drop clients who have unreasonable expectations and who would judge us for getting away from our desks during the weekday. But in the real world where we all want to succeed, we need to be at least a little mindful of others’ expectations.

 

Quick take-away: Your next client could be right in front of you and you are making an impression without even knowing it.

 

  1. Be ready for anything.

 

Even freelancers work for others and can find themselves at the whim of other people’s schedules. Plans change. You could be called into a last-minute meeting. I once had a client call me out of the blue, months after our initial meeting and ask me to meet with her in her office in 30 minutes.

 

Sure, I could have bought myself some extra time to run home and change; however, being able to run over to meet her when she wanted me to definitely scored me some brownie points.

 

With video conferencing being so important to doing business today, the last-minute video meeting is another possibility. It helps if you already have on a decent shirt and your hair hasn’t been tossed up in a sassy bun. Plan your morning to put your best business face forward, you’ll more prepared to tackle the day.  

 

Quick take-away: Plan your outfits for the next day each evening and toss your favorite make-up essentials in a bag that you keep with you all the time, so that you never miss an opportunity to put forward your best self.

 

Above all: Treat yourself like a professional.

 

Treating myself like a professional this week made me realize how much my outer appearance affects how I feel on the inside and how much how I feel on the inside affects the quality of my work. As often as I preach to my own clients about how their marketing content affects their image, I finally connected the dots for myself.

 

Going forward, I will definitely be paying more attention to my professional image both on the screen and behind the screen. Does your online image need a boost? Contact me and let’s chat about your content marketing needs.

 

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Emily Crookston is the owner of the Pocket PhD (thepocketphd.com). She is a copywriter, former professor, and pocket resource for your business. Emily specializes in creating captivating content that converts, influences, and sounds like YOU on your best day. When she’s not writing intensely, she’s most likely practicing yoga intensely.


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.

 


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.


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!