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!


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!


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!


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.


Turn That Frown Upside Down!

I have a confession to make.

I am not always a happy camper. Actually, I don’t like camping at all.

Joking aside, I get angry, sad, frustrated and, at times, resentful.

Last week was a really crappy week for me! It was one of those weeks where nothing seemed to go right and my normally good attitude went down the drain, too: I stained a brand new blouse, burnt a batch of cookies, mixed up two of my own appointments (thankfully not client appointments!!) and then got nailed with a hefty,unexpected expense.

Seriously, as the saying goes when it rains it pours.

So why am I sharing this with you?

In my role as Image Branding Expert and Coach, I set a goal to intentionally inspire, motivate and keep you accountable for your own goals. I like to lead by example. I am a happy, fun outgoing and optimistic woman!

But, I am also human.

I have days where my head is just not in the game. I get down on myself and then the domino effect of crappy events happens, just like it did last week. The difference now is that I’ve learned how to snap out of the pity party I give myself and get back on track. Re-adjust my attitude and get focused, quickly.

4 Ways to Turn That Frown Upside Down

Here’s what works for me:

1. Acknowledge how you feel

I find accepting the emotion – whether it be anger, sadness or whatever – is best. Let it out. Have a good cry, scream into a towel or write it out in a journal. Expressing whatever I’m feeling, when I’m feeling it, has had such a cleansing effect for me. It’s like wiping the slate clean and starting again.

2. Deep breath in….. exhale…..

Intentional deep breathing is also very cleansing.

Sit, close your eyes and inhale through your nose, let your belly expand, feel your chest rise, slowly count 1-2-3….. Then, release and exhale out the mouth, slowly.

Repeat until you feel more grounded or settled.

3. Laugh until you almost pee your pants

Laughter truly is the best medicine! I have a stash of funny clips on my phone or on my computer handy for those days! Sometimes just hitting up YouTube for 20 minutes of funny video clips can turn my whole day around. Consider the wise words of Charlie Chaplin:

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”

Laugh until you almost pee your pants, then laugh some more!

4. Keep a gratitude journal

A daily entry into a gratitude journal puts life into perspective.

Every day, jot down 5 things you are grateful for. No need to over-think or over-analyze what to be thankful for. Did you have hot water for a shower? Did you have food for lunch? Was the sun shining? Did your child hug you?

It is life’s simple daily pleasures that create a happier life. As I was packing boxes during our move a few months ago, I came across some old journals of mine. For over 10 years I have kept a gratitude journal! It was pretty neat reading some of those entries.

Choose just one of these four strategies and start implementing it within the next 24 hours. Let me know which one you pick by leaving a comment!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Want to layer and still look chic?

 

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

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

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

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

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


7 Reasons to Hire an Image Coach

Imaging coaching is not only for the rich and famous. I work with many professional women, just like you!

Each client is unique in both their style and needs when working with me. Let’s dig right in and I can elaborate on the benefits of working with an expert!

1. Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear

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Image courtesy of k barker on Flickr

Is this you? Many women have more than one closet full of clothes and are only wearing 20% of those clothes regularly, whether it be out of habit, laziness, or comfort.

Hiring a professional helps you narrow down those clothes to what actually works for you: colour, shape, and design. You will be shown how to mix and match your existing items, resulting in more options with less clothes.

BONUS: You are left with a neat, organized closet that is pleasing to the eye and makes dressing a whole lot more enjoyable every day!

2. Up-Level Your Clientele

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

If your goal is to attract higher level, higher calibre, higher paying clients, you need to start looking and acting like a high level professional. Your appearance counts, from head-to-toe.

This doesn’t require a brand new wardrobe all at once! Learning how to mix and match existing pieces, how to easily update a hairstyle and becoming aware of your body language is a great starting point.

An Image Coach works with you to determine the areas where you need improvement and helps you create a plan to implement over a specific period of time.

3. Build Self-Confidence

Having clothes that fit properly, wearing colours that make you radiant, styling your hair in a way that complements your face shape, and wearing make-up that suits your skin tone makes a world of difference in gaining back your self-confidence. Focus on your natural beauty. Maximizing the areas you like best will diminish those trouble areas, boosting self esteem. You will walk tall, proud and more confident!

4. Get Clear on Your Personal Style

Lots of women are constantly shopping – trying to keep up with current trends without having any idea what really looks best on them, or what image or style they even want to represent.

An Image Coach works with you to figure out what you like and don’t like, and helps you create a personal style that suits both your professional life and your overall lifestyle.

5. Adapting to Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Significant changes in weight (up or down!) can happen at any time, but most frequently to women following childbirth as well as during the years leading up to and into menopause.

What used to look good doesn’t suit us anymore and many women have no idea how to put outfits together that fit their new bodies. This frustrating time can really do a number on your self-esteem!

An Image Coach will show you how to dress for your new body and leave you feeling good about yourself again.

6. Age-Related Changes

In addition to the menopausal weight gain (mostly around the waist), many women experience other changes including their skin tone, the elasticity of their skin, changes in hair colour and texture, and even possible hair loss.

An Image Coach will teach you new tips and tricks for the mature woman you have become, showing you how to embrace the changes and love yourself in a whole new way.

7. Navigating Through a Life Transition

Graduating and beginning your career. Going back to work after raising children. Getting back in the dating game after a divorce or loss of your spouse. These are all significant times in a woman’s life!

Entering or re-entering the workforce can also be intimidating, especially at interview time. Asking for direction and support from an Image Coach will get you on the right track – looking and feeling good about yourself in a fast and fun way!

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, so they can feel great about themselves and stand out from the competition.

Ready to kick your image up a notch? Schedule your complimentary Style Success Session with Victoria here.