Birthday on a Budget

Birthday on a Budget

It’s Day 414 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m pleased to have pulled off my daughter’s 15th birthday on a budget. I’ve not made it a secret that I’m dealing with some Ds –– personal challenges that can negatively impact professional performance –– and that means I’m keeping a close watch on my pocket book. The great thing is, what started out as a barrier –– limited resources –– turned into an opportunity for me to minimize the barrier and maximize beauty and my best life. Given the fact that she had a party and sleepover at her dad’s on the actual day and that I would be taking her and her brother to something she’d requested a while back –– an Escape Room –– I felt she’d be happy with a few little treats. That being the case, when a dear friend  gifted me with a Walgreen’s gift card and two Larosa’s (our hometown  pizzeria) gift cards at the end of our lunch date last week, I knew how I’d use them. The former purchased some girly gifts –– Maybelline’s Baby Lips (she loves them), pink nail polish (she’d been eyeing mine), and her favorite candy bars. The latter were used for yummy pizza, salad and sodas. And because I love themed gifts ala Rachel Ashwell, I also purchased a cupcake themed bag and card from the drug store. Then I shredded a coordinating color of copy paper to make “confetti” filler. Next, a trip to Barnes and Noble, where we’re members of the Kids Birthday Club yielded a huge complimentary confetti cupcake. Finally, though there were no Groupons available, I scored a $12 a person deal for “Escape from Alpha Station” at our local entertainment spot. With that and our waitresses’ tip, I was all in $40 –– talk about a birthday on a budget!

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A birthday bag filled with favorites. My total cost – $0!
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Me, Pink Collar Coach, as  part of The Three Musketeers.                                                                               Cotton cold should top and denim shorts – Calvin Klein – TJ Maxx.                                                                                                                                                 Can’t believe my baby girl’s 15! Her 13 year-old brother is taller than both of us!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic  on Purpose shopper, I’m thrilled about being able to make the most of what I had. More than that, though, making the most of the time with my children was the best part of the day. Liv truly enjoyed her gifts and promptly applied not one but both lip shades. And as all three of us shared the cupcake she poured over her card and gave me a hug far sweeter than the pastry. The Escape Room (www.funattheweb.com) was a blast. Levi displayed his high level of intelligence by deciphering one of the main clues, but alas, because we were in the room with lots of other people resulting in a bit of chaos, we didn’t escape. Still, seeing him and Liv work together so well did my mommy heart good. We shared pizza, so much laughter, and explored some ideas about the future while taking a walk. By the time the night ended, I knew though the birthday was on a budget, it was one of the best.

Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about planning birthdays or other special events on a budget. At home? The office? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a large return on investment.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

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Soaking Up the Sun and Strength

Soaking Up the Sun and Strength

It’s Day 388 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m so glad I had an extended birthday Monday soaking up the sun and strength because I got hit with some major Ds –– or personal challenges –– that evening. When my Swan Soul Sister, Kibby, asked if I’d like to go to the pool the day after my birthday, I got up early and worked so I’d be able to relax with her poolside. She blessed me with some beautiful gifts that are so Pink Collar Savvy & Chic, including a  holder for my new business cards (I’d been searching for one), desk accessories, bookmarks, earrings and nail polish. All in shades of blush pink. That and the time spent with her eating lunch, tanning, swimming and going to Zumba together made it such a lovely day. After Zumba, however, some Ds that had been swirling under the surface erupted into a maelstrom that threatened to pull me under. Rather than go there, I opted to create some boundaries and distance myself from the situation (hence no posts for three days). Looking back, I realize God gave me that day to bask in His love for me through my sister in Christ. Soaking up the sun and strength prepared me for what was to come.

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Me, Pink Collar Coach, soaking up the sun and His strength by the pool. Sun hat, bathing suit, flip flops and towel all Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx accumulated over many summers.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Life Coach who coaches women to minimize their barriers and to maximize beauty and their best lives, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised I’m facing so many challenges. I pride myself on not coaching on anything I haven’t experienced, so in a sense, what I’m going through now is on the job experience! LOL! Seriously though, all of my life, whenever I’ve tried to be true to myself –– on the home-front and in the workplace –– there has been opposition from those who want to condemn or label me as something I’m not. There was a time when I thought I had to own their nonsense, but those days are over. I know who I am. More importantly, I know whose I am. That being the case, I’m so thankful my Heavenly Father not only let me soak up some sun in the form of Vitamin D, He let me soak up strength through His Son to deal with my Ds!

Facing Ds today? Be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and get out in the sunshine. And if you’re in need of some strength, you can soak that up through the Son. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Phillipians 4:13.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Loving Being a Life Coach

Loving Being a Life Coach

It’s Day 280 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and as much as I enjoyed our spontaneous vacay in Put-In-Bay, because I’m loving being a life coach, I was happy to get back to work today. Lovely as the island proved to be, a tower was down leaving my hubby and me with little to no cell phone or internet reception. In some ways unplugging is just what we needed, however, not  being able to respond to coaching clients who needed support or simply to schedule –– not so much. One client is facing some family challenges and it frustrated me not to be  responsive to her texts in a timely manner. Furthermore, I’d done a complimentary life coaching session with a previous image coaching client about a month ago and she finally got in touch to schedule, as did another client who I’ve worked with on interior coaching (I have an Interior Design degree, worked for a firm and still freelance). She’s celebrating the one year anniversary of her book being published and is ready to polish her professional packaging as well. Not getting back to these Swans for days is so not like me. Of course there are times when  I’m not available –– due to other commitments, scheduling conflicts, time off, vacations, and well, life, but I try to keep that to a minimum. You see, I really am loving being a life coach.

Life Coach

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose entrepreneur who started operating my business full time about a year ago, I’m not gonna lie. Somedays, the hustle can be exhausting. Research shows it takes about 7 touches for someone to commit. Good thing I  enjoy interacting with women and touching their lives apart from wanting to sell them my goods or services. My purpose in life is to use my God given strengths to coach, encourage and inspire women to minimize their barriers and to maximize their beauty and best professional lives – through total transformation. All to His glory. That’s why I went back to school and got another degree –– a Masters in Leadership and Coaching! Using the powerful questioning tools in my belt, I build trusting relationships with  women during conversations. Inevitably the opportunity to share my story arises –– how I was faced with so many Ds or personal challenges that negatively impact our  professional lives –– that I hit rock bottom but maximized it as the firm foundation upon which I built not the rest of my life but the best of my life. When I’m transparent, it frees them up to share as well. So many women are facing Ds and need support through coaching. At times it feels a bit overwhelming, but most of the time it feels as if I’m doing exactly what God put me on the face of this Earth to do. No wonder I’m loving being a life coach.

If you are a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan facing the Ds, I’d love to chat about how you can minimize them to maximize your best life. You can email me at pinkcollarcoach@outlook.com.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Caught Raccoon Handed!

Caught Raccoon Handed!

It’s Day 374 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and a case of “Caught Raccoon Handed!” has kept me laughing for almost twenty-four hours. Remember that commercial where the woman is standing on her back patio calling “Here kitty!”? A huge raccoon meanders into her bedroom and she says, “Good girl. Come snuggles with mama.” Then the voice over asks, “Missing something?” and goes on to advertise for eyeglasses. The brilliant ad always gets a laugh from me, and I was tickled pink last night when we had a raccoon visitor and experienced our own version of it.

I walked into the kitchen and my husband pointed to the back deck and told me, “Skylar is eating french fries.” I looked and  saw a huge raccoon –– not our cat –– sitting right beneath the outdoor light going through the garbage –– including an empty Frisch’s fry container I’d placed in the small metal trash can I keep there for when I work –– and dine alfresco. “That’s not Skylar!” I laughed. “That’s a raccoon!” He went out and shooed her away while chastising me for leaving garbage out. “I didn’t leave it out! It was in a can with a lid on it,” I defended myself.  “They have hands!” he explained and went on to tell me how they use them to open all all manner of things. I couldn’t stop laughing then and I’m still laughing now. She was caught raccoon handed!

This isn’t the first time a raccoon has been mistaken for our kitty who was supposed to be an indoor cat but has always had other ideas. Once while doing homework on the deck, I felt the presence of an animal and reached over to pet what I thought was Skylar. Instead, it was a raccoon. And my husband didn’t have to tell em about raccoons having hands and using them like humans. I found this out for myself while on a woman’s retreat at Heuston Woods, one of our state parks. All of the women had brought yummy treats and we left our hotel room doors open so we could visit each and help ourselves. Well, when my roommate and I got back to ours, a huge raccoon sat with a piece of rye bread in her hand. If that wasn’t bad enough, we weren’t on the ground floor. How did she get up there???

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, I had an important meeting this morning and didn’t get much else done work wise. But before I headed out, I read my devotional entitled, “Life of Laughter”. It talked about God restoring our laughter and joy. (Job 8:21) If we’re not careful about minimizing our barriers and maximizing beauty and our best lives, we can lose both. And to be completely honest, I’m facing some barriers. I call them Ds. Dysfunctional relationships are the particular D plaguing me right now. It would be so easy to let the stress and worry about the situation steal my joy and reduce me to tears. Instead, the Lord saw fit to not only speak to me through His Word to remind me about living a life of laughter, He gave me a reason to laugh by letting me witness a raccoon being caught red handed!

Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about living a life of laughter? When is the last time you delighted in something hilarious? No matter what you’re facing, God still wants to restore your joy.

 

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day Memories

It’s Day 352 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and our family spent it making some Memorial Day memories. Because we’re a big fat blended family ranging ages 5-63, getting everyone together, even for holidays, can be a challenge. Today, all but two who had to work were present, so after faith and a prayer remembering all who have given their lives in service, fun, fellowship, and a fuss free BBQ rib, brisket, pulled chicken and all the fixins feast, our youngest, Izzy, snapped this family photo (the one with her in it didn’t turn out great and didn’t make the cut…). Adding my oldest stepson’s in-laws into the Memorial Day mix is becoming a new tradition. His mother-in-law and I go back to my teaching days. Faith further connected us when she heard I’d been made homeless when my abusive marriage ended and she gifted me with dishwater and cutlery during my transition into a townhouse. Now we’re family. Sharing the meal and our children with her made for more special Memorial Day memories.

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My Big Fat Blended Family Minus a Few – Males left to right – Oldest stepson’s father-in-law, son, Levi, oldest stepson, middle stepson, hubby. Females – Daughter, Liv, Me – Pink Collar Coach, daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law’s mom. I’m in an oldie but goodie dress and shrug, with matching thong sandals and floral handbag. All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx over the years. 

I lost my beloved father, a Marine who served in Vietnam,  at thirty. At his funeral, after “Taps” played, his folded flag was placed in my arms. Though he didn’t lose his life in combat, his sacrifice was still great. All of my life, he slept under the kitchen table where he felt safe – like he was in a bunker. He’s been gone seventeen years but I still feel his loss like it was yesterday. My son, Levi, looks like him. A few months ago, I took him shopping at Goodwill and he selected a patriotic T-shirt to wear under his red fave red hoodie. Seeing he chose to wear that shirt today, and my father’s face looking back at me from that of my son’s, made for another magic memory. So did shopping for over two hours for a swim suit Liv could wear for another fun trip we have planned for tomorrow. I know, two hours is a lot! But at one point, her father’s now ex-wife had her wearing skimpy strings that substituted for bikinis. Now that she’s out of the picture,  Liv seems to have returned to her more modest roots. Besides, though my hubby has never served in the military, both he and Levi were real troopers during the Great Swim Suit Expedition!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, I’m all about minimizing barriers and maximizing beauty and best lives. Divided loyalties (a new D!), divorce, domestic relations issues, dysfunctional relationships, etc. could all make the holidays abysmal. Instead, I’m learning to embrace the family I do have and to make the most of our time together. Even so, I’m not gonna lie. At times we’re a mess. But what beautifully messy Memorial Day memories we make.

How about you? Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about embracing your mess at home or work? With a little change of perspective, you may come to see it as beautiful, too.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Pink Collar Coach Setting Precedents

Pink Collar Coach Setting Precedents

It’s Day 310 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and Joel Osteen’s sermon reminded me that as the first person in my family to earn a Masters degree, I’ve set a precedent. He was talking about a young African American man, Ejayy DeVaughn, who grew up in Compton, California – one of the roughest neighborhoods in America – and was accepted into Harvard. When he said, “Straight outta Compton” – referencing the 1988 film that depicted life in Southern California and made the phrase a part of pop and urban culture – “to Harvard” – it resonated with me. Recently at a birthday party, I met a young lady who graduated from my alma matter, Walnut Hills High School, a top nationally ranked college preparatory school. When she asked where I grew up and I replied “Avondale”, she came back with “Straight out of the A, baby!” It’s not Compton, but it could be. I won’t go into all the reasons that’s so; let’s just say many of us didn’t make it out alive, let alone to attend college. While I didn’t attend an Ivy League school like Ejayy, I’m proud of getting a Masters and setting a precedent for my daughter and other young women to pursue their educational goals – even when the odds are stacked against them.

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And boy were they stacked against me! With what felt like more than my share of Ds (the challenges women face), including dysfunctional relationships, divorce, domestic court issues, diagnosis, etc., twenty years after earning a bachelors, I earned a graduate degree in Leadership and Coaching with a coaching certification. A few minutes after submitting my capstone project, I went to fill up my gas tank for the week. I seldom ever do that on a Sunday night, however, when I pulled up behind the car in front of me and saw the above license plate – I read it as a noun vs. a verb – it felt as though God Himself celebrated my accomplishment!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Masters level graduate, I’m so thankful for my education. It and my faith are what have gotten me out of some pretty abysmal situations – like being destitute, depressed and ready to die. Instead, I took my education (an Associates and a Bachelors at the time), and worked my way up out of the Ds and into dream jobs – as an Early Childhood Education Center Director, a Training Consultant, and  then a Leadership Coach. The passion I developed in the latter is what compelled me to pursue an advanced degree. Then I landed a job as the Director of a coaching program. Today, eleven years after sleeping in a hooptie AKA ghetto car, my coaching agency, Pink Collar Savvy & Chic is taking off. To my knowledge, no one else in my family owns a business. Guess that means in addition to setting one regarding education, I’m setting a precedent in entrepreneurialism, too.

How are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about setting educational or other  precedents in your family? In the workplace?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Pink Collar Mom – Made of More Than Many Made Her Out to Be

Pink Collar Mom – Made of More Than Many Made Her Out to Be

It’s Day 267 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m delighted to learn about a Pink Collar Mom who’s made of more than many made her out to be. On Halloween I blogged about the tragic death of our handyman, Mark, who hadn’t reached thirty. He was killed working at a landscaping company when the industrial mower he’d been using to cut grass near a pond flipped over and pinned him underwater. Raised in poverty, Mark had a rough life. Still, he was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. And from what my husband tells me, never more so than when he learned he was to be a father. Excitedly expecting his little girl in January, Mark made it clear his child would have it better than he had. But with his death, it seemed mother and baby would have a rough go ahead. My husband, who’d become a mentor to Mark, was devastated by the loss and naturally expressed concern for the baby’s mother. We all wondered how she would manage. This afternoon my hubby paid them a visit and it appears this Pink Collar mom is made of more than many made her out to be.

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Mark’s beautiful baby girl. A Cygnet.

Since I was working on the map for the sequel to Seasons of Her Soul  – Hold On Her Heart – and was in my zone, I declined my hubby’s invite to accompany him. Even so, I was anxious to hear how the visit went and feared I’d get a gloomy report when he called on the way home. Seldom is my husband effusive but he told me, “People say all babies are beautiful. I don’t think they are. But this baby is beautiful.” We went on to discuss how mom is doing and I was elated to hear in addition to receiving a death benefit, she’s working as a veterinary assistant. She loves animals so kudos to her for operating in her strengths zone! Greg even got some advice on how to handle one of our Ds – two delinquent kitties! In addition to doing well in the workplace, she’s also a good homemaker and has created a clean, comfortable environment. Mother, baby, and their three kitties appeared to be happy and in good health. Not a gloomy report at all!

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When Greg walked in  the door I demanded to see Rory’s picture and he said it for me,                  “She sure is a cutie.” I concur. 

Though no tears were shed hearing the above, I did tear up when Greg told me: “She said she came home one day to find Mark painting in the baby’s room. There were names all over the wall. Mark said ‘Rory’ was the one he liked best, so that’s the one she picked.” That and the fact that I would have named a daughter with Greg the same thing (I did name a cat that) was enough to choke me up, but when I consider how Mark had come to view my husband as more than a mentor – he saw him as a father – it isn’t lost on me that he chose a derivative of “Gregory” as his daughter’s name. There’s no way to know for sure this side of heaven if that was his intention; I do know for sure Mark would have loved that it turned out that way… but not near as much as he would have loved her.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose mom, I’m so proud of Rory’s. She’s dealt with one of the biggest Ds – death, buried her baby’s father, birthed his child, is working hard in the workplace and on the home-front, and has honored the man she loved. It doesn’t get much more Pink Collar Savvy & Chic than that, proving she’s made of a Whole. Lot. More. than many made her out to be.

How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and let a young mom know she’s more than many make her out to be?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Savvy