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!


Intuitive Eating – The Key to Never Dieting Again!

by Eleni Kapetanios

You’ve probably been on tons of diets before. Most women have. You followed a plan, were really good at first, then an event or a dinner out happened, and you cheated on your diet, fell off the wagon, and quit. Or you were successful at your diet, lost weight, then gained it back. Or you feel like you have to constantly diet and deny yourself the foods you love to stay at your desired weight. When you think about it, these are diets made up by someone who doesn’t know you or your body and has no idea how you respond to foods. Crazy, right?

But what if you never had to diet again? What if you could completely trust that your unconscious mind knew what you needed to eat, how much and when? What if you never had to worry about dieting again? With Intuitive Eating, you won’t have to.

Intuitive eating helps you to create a healthy relationship with food, and it is exactly what it sounds like: using your intuition and unconscious mind to know what your body needs. Your unconscious mind’s job is to preserve your body, and to make your body as healthy as possible. Sometimes, things like your conscious mind and limiting beliefs about food and other emotional baggage get in the way. When you eat intuitively, you are able to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, make peace with food, and get the joy and nutrition that your body craves. How can we do this?

  1. Reject the diet mentality. Stop reading about the latest diet craze, thinking “oh – THIS will be the one that works”, and setting yourself up for failure. When you are eating intuitively, you absolutely cannot fail.
  2. Honour your body’s cues. Eat slowly and realize when you are full. Stop eating then. Eat when you feel hungry and at no other time.
  3. Realize that food is just food. You are not “bad” because you ate pizza, nor are you “good” because you just ate lettuce all day. Take away its power. If you choose to eat a treat, enjoy it and move on. Give yourself permission to have treats occasionally.
  4. You are in control. Learn to control your emotional state. You decide what to eat, when and how much. Think before you eat.
  5. Eat often. If you eat every few hours, you will never feel starving and start shoving food in your mouth. Keep your blood sugar level and you will feel more in control.
  6. Find pleasure in healthy eating. Your body craves healthy food – lots of variety, greens, protein, fruit and fats. Healthy food can be delicious. Experiment with recipes. Every time you give your body healthy fuel, it makes it happy. Notice how good and energetic you feel when you eat well. Eating good food is showing your body the upmost respect.
  7. Exercise. Move your body and notice how different you feel. You want to fuel your body with healthy, life-affirming foods when you exercise.
  8. Honour your feelings without food. It’s ok to feel sad, lonely or angry. Find what works for you to help you handle these emotions without turning to food. Feel the emotion. You don’t need to numb them. Feel the emotion, know it will pass, and move on.

It is so empowering to realize that YOU are in control of your body – not some dude who wrote a crazy diet plan – and know exactly what it needs to maintain its desired state. Eat slowly, love food, nourish yourself. Ask your unconscious mind what it needs to be satisfied. Breathe. And most of all, forgive yourself. It’s just food, after all.

 

caa0dbf6-8fa2-46c4-bc0e-3d7ff602b602Eleni Kapetanios has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years. She approaches fitness holistically, knowing that mind and body are fully connected and, once you change your mindset, weight loss can be easy and effortless.
Eleni specializes in working with women with body image issues, chronic or yo-yo dieting, eating disorders, inability to lose weight, slow metabolism issues and women who want to lose weight or get healthy but don’t know where to start.
She uses a combination of exercise, Intuitive Eating, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy to help women manage their weight, feel beautiful and realize they can accomplish anything.


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.


4 Tips for a Fun & Festive Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Don’t try to do it all!  

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

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

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

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

2) Delegate!

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

3) Host potluck dinner parties!

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

4) Take time to do things you enjoy!

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

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

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

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


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!


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!


Perfectly Imperfect

perfectly imperfectThe t-shirt arrived on my doorstep as a gift from my good friend… and I find it “perfect”. I wear it with great pride, and it is what I am wearing in the cover photo on my personal Facebook page.  Our joke regarding the phrase began while she and I decorated my home on two separate occasions: once for a baby shower and another for a Mardi Gras party. We both like the house to look perfectly imperfect when staged for an event!!

As a type A personality, Virgo and self proclaimed perfectionist, I began to think and have a silent chuckle at how many times over the years I have spent endless hours decorating our home so it looks magazine worthy, yet not so perfect to be on display in a showroom all matchy-matchy. Or countless formal styles or updo’s I did as a hairstylist, making my clients look gorgeous with an effortless elegance, yet spending an hour and cursing silently with a bobby-pin in my mouth to achieve this. Or how I balance a client’s outfit to look elegant, sophisticated and yet approachable and fun.

I had to ask myself the question: Why? Why am I, and others, obsessed with this “perfectly imperfect” style?

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because we are all perfectly imperfect; flawed in ways that make us unique and more attractive to our family, friends and clients.

All of us were born into this world as beautiful, perfectly unique humans. I encourage all of us to embrace those imperfect traits we possess, whether it’s those freckles, the gap in your teeth or your carrot top. Learn to love that which makes you different!

I have found that the quirky little traits we own and perhaps shun ourselves, are usually the same traits our friends admire about us most, or don’t even notice. I used to be terribly self conscious about my toes, they are spread wider apart than the average person (kinda creepy), so what? I am not average, so why should my toes be? My thighs rival most men’s for thickness, but they are strong! And I have this obnoxious loud cackle – yes I said cackle! – and the occasional snort slips out as well, it’s horrifying! Yet, more people have told me how much they love my laugh and how infectious it is!

Let the perfectly imperfect YOU shine on!

In a world where Photoshop and filters serve to enhance our pictures, let’s keep those enhancements subtle, real, pure and fresh.

To end I will leave you with a quote to ponder.

“There is nothing more rare and beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me that is the true essence of beauty.”

~Steve Maraboli

Victoria Baird works with women in life transitions to discover their personal style, develop their personal image and brand, and build their self-confidence around their own natural beauty. Ready to kick your image up a notch? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with Victoria here.