Downton During my Down Time

Downton During my Down Time

It’s another day of being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and since I’m still catching up from not blogging due to a broken ankle during the holidays, I’m sharing about watching Downtown during my down time. Though the show’s finale aired in 2016 after six successful seasons, much to the chagrin of devoted fans, the British drama set in the early 1900s is still PBS’ top drama of all time.  So as die hard Downtonians and Abbey Heads –– two of the names for lovers of all things Downton Abbey –– my Swan Sister Kibby and I were there the weekend the film hit the big screen. We made the most of the event (along with a Kibby’s friend, Downtonian Dami, who immediately became my friend) and in true Downton style, dressed for the occasion. The much anticipated movie didn’t disappoint but delivered a cinematic experience that proved to be magical! So much so  I went back and saw it alone a second time. Doing so helped me feel better about being divorced – a D or challenge women face –– and not having my children every weekend…Instead I can indulge in something just for me. Leaving the theater, I prayed it would be out in time for the holidays so I could again watch Downton during my down time.

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Me, Pink Collar Coach, as Lady Mary (she’s pictured top left corner). Calvin Klein maxi dress and pink scarf/wrap, I already owned _ TJ Maxx.                                 Tiara is a child’s princess hair comb.                                                      Necklace, neck scarf and gloves from Kibby. She  made pink earrings.

To my delight and that of movie fans around the globe, the Blue Ray and DVD released right before Christmas. And though Santa didn’t leave it for me in my pink Shabby Chic stocking (he left Victoria, Season 3 instead) clad in my PJs and boot this time around, I enjoyed this treat to myself  in the comfort of my Petite Retreat even more than I did with my solo viewing.

In fact, I’ve talked it up so much, my hubby is on the verge of committing to watch the series with me and then cap it all off with the movie. He’s always walked into the room and watched in fits and starts… Kibby’s significant other, Roger, on the other hand joined us for our dress up viewing, and served as our photographer (I’m having technical difficulties or would share the photos). He’s a Downtownian himself, so I’m hopeful I can get my hubby to join the club. If he does, I suspect I’ll cherish sharing the series during date nights as much as I did watching Downton during my down time.

My prayer for you is that you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and make the most of your down time. Even if that means playing adult dress up and/or seeing a movie alone. When you do, like me, I believe you’ll be able to minimize your barriers and maximize beauty and your best life.

Be savvy and chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

P.S. Based on the movie’s whopping success, a  Downtown Abbey  sequel is in the works! : )

 

Treasured Time Together

Treasured Time Together

It’s another day of being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and I’m still glowing from the warmth of a Christmas linner (lunch + dinner) with a forever friend and our treasured time together. Terri and I –– two of a BFF trio of teachers who taught at a private Christian school for years –– have been doing life with each other more than two decades. When the economy went south in 2003, forcing the school to close, our careers took different paths. Our hearts, however, remain as connected as when our classrooms were next door. Back in our school days, we gave each other lots of potty breaks and talked on the daily. Today, we’re intentional about scheduling visits and our catch up conversations cram in as much as our grown up commitments will allow. We may not be teachers anymore, but somehow every night is still a school night that necessitates us calling it an evening. This limitation only serves to make us truly treasure our time together.

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Me, Pink Collar Coach, and Terri, treasuring our time together. An oldie but goodie Calvin Klein sweater dress I break out at least once every Christmas – TJ Maxx.                                                                                                                         $1 Christmas light earrings from Dollar Tree I bought for Zumba.

Terri, Brenda (our missing member, waited a long time to become a  grandmother and is now one to four little boys and  isn’t always available to join us and we couldn’t be happier for her!) and I have shared so much love and laughter during the up times. We’ve also shared many of the Ds –– barriers or challenges women face –– in the form of death, depression, domestic violence, divorce, and dysfunctional relationships.  The list could go on. And on. Through all these Ds –– the down times ––  we’ve found God’s Word to be true, “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV). How blessed we’ve been to have each other when we’ve been down.

These Swan Soul Sisters may not be my blood relatives, but they’re part of the family I’ve chosen for myself. I thank God He made me wise enough to fit them into the family space in my heart. They’ve helped me minimize my barriers and maximize beauty and my best life. Another reason I treasure our time together.

My prayer for you is that you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and make the effort to be with the ones in your life, those Swan Soul Sisters, who’ve been there for you when you’ve been down –– even though the holidays are “officially over”.  When you do, I believe you’ll not only treasure your time together, you’ll minimize your barriers and maximize beauty and your best life too.

Be savvy and chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Leap In Leopard

Leap In Leopard

It’s another day of being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and last night when I put together my professional packaging for today,  hopeful that it would transition into my personal life in the form of date night with my hubby, I selected an animal print sweater –– a  leap in leopard on my part! Pun intended. While the big cats can leap over 20 feet and jump 10 feet in the air, at age 50, rather than prancing around covered in an animal print like its a second skin, donning even a little feels like a big stretch. So, for me, buying and then actually wearing something I’m not totally comfortable in is literally a leap in leopard!

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Leap in Leopard! Calvin Klein leopard print sweater – TJ Maxx.                Shabby Chic floor lamp – Home Goods.

And speaking of prancing around in faux fur, recent catastrophic (yeah, I did it again) reviews of the film CATS –– not only made me nix it for tonight’s movie selection, it made me wonder whether my feline inspired fashion choice would elicit similar feedback. Instead, my prayer partner/morning coffee meeting stated, “You look so pretty in animal print!” The resident who helped me out to my car after work at the Women’s Center where I’m the director exclaimed, “I love your outfit!”, and the doctor covering for my primary care physician at today’s appointment to address my asthma –– a D or challenge women face –– this one in the form of a diagnosis –– walked into the office, introduced herself and gushed, “I love your sweater.” Even in her lab coat she appeared chic clad in plaid pants and suede booties. I confessed how I  always hesitate with animal prints.  “Not me! I wear them as a neutral and mix them with other prints.” Wow! No leopard leaping for her!

This young woman’s response is exactly what I mean about owning our sense of style. She feels confident enough not only in her clothing choices but in herself to bold. Which brings me back to my prayer partner. After she complimented me, we went on discuss bold choices. In clothing –– she wore hot pink, a bold choice, because it’s my color, though she admittedly plays it safe in subdued colors most of the time. We talked about how this translates into life. We women often shy away from speaking with a bold voice. Even when we’re led by God and should be filled with holy boldness.

All that to say, like the chic physician, we, too,  need to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and feel confident enough to be bold in  our clothing choices so we can own our professional and personal sense of style…My prayer for all of us is that we would be confident enough in God’s leading in our lives that we stop doubting ourselves –– another D –– and have holy boldness. When we do, we’ll be able to minimize our barriers and maximize beauty and our best lives.  Enough to make giant leaps in life and in leopard. 

Be savvy & chic ,

~Pink Collar Coach

The Gobblers, The Grabbers and The Grateful

The Gobblers, The Grabbers and The Grateful

 

It’s another day of being Pink Collar Savvy and Chic on Purpose, and as I resume blogging in the new year, I’d like to back track and reflect on  Thanksgiving as it relates to The Gobblers, The Grabbers and The Grateful. At the homeless shelter where I’m the Women’s Center Director, we see a ton of giving  from Thanksgiving  through New Year’s Day. The ladies and children receive generous meal donations –– not just for dinner, but bounteous breakfasts, lavish lunches and fancy feasts throughout the holiday season. The abundance doesn’t stop with food but extends to gifts from small jewelry trinkets to designer clothing and handbags, to all kinds of activities and crafts, to more toys than the children can possibly play with, and everything in-between. So do the responses of the residents. Returning to work for the first time since the day before Christmas Eve (I’ve worked from home some with my broken ankle), I observed The Gobblers, The Grabbers and The Grateful.

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Shabby Chic Melamine serving platter. A steal from TJ Maxx at under $10!

No sooner had I pulled into the lot this morning than one of the residents greeted me with an offer to help with my bags and walker. While doing so, she expressed how thankful  she is for everything received throughout the holidays. As she carried my stuff, I crutched alongside her, my ankle a burden, but my heart light. The best holidays I’ve ever had. We’re so blessed! she enthused. Clearly, she’s one of The Grateful.

Soon after we got inside –– with other considerate residents holding doors for us –– the atmosphere shifted. Unlike the attitude of gratitude that met me at the car,  staff filled me in on complaints about leftovers and meal options after the bounty. This baffles me. I work hard to make a living and LOVE LEFTOVERS! And I’ve lived in a homeless shelter where there were ZERO meals provided. So I can’t imaging turning my nose up when leftovers of scrumptious food is served. Yet that’s what we’re getting now. These are The Gobblers.

Wondering how the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s spirit can evaporate by day 2 of 2020,  I encountered the saddest situation –– a woman who has complained and never been satisfied with anything during her time in shelter. Having walked in her shoes when my abusive marriage ended and I was made destitute –– a D or challenge women face –– I’d be the last one to say anyone should be made to feel beholden because of their situation. But I’d also say acting entitled –– as if collecting on what the universe somehow owes –– isn’t the way to go either. Nor is biting the hand that provides shelter, meals, clothes, support, etc. Unfortunately, this woman and so many others fit under The Grabbers.

Please don’t get me wrong, too often in my life I’ve fit under The Gobblers and The Grabbers myself. My prayer for 2020 is that I’d always be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and fall under The Grateful. That’s my prayer for you too. If we express an an attitude of gratitude, no matter the Ds we face, it goes a long way towards  minimizing our barriers and maximizing beauty and our best lives..

Be savvy & chic,

                                                                                                            ~Pink Collar Coach

 

My Book, My Boot and My Blog

My Book, My Boot and My Blog

It’s 2020 (Happy New Year and Blessings)!, another day of being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose, and a chance to finally catch you up on my book, my boot and my blog!  To do so, I have to back track to November and NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writer’s Month. The goal was to write 50,000 words of Hold on Her Heart, the sequel to my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul,  in  30 days. I  wrote faithfully everyday, however, I stopped posting  progress halfway through when it dawned on me time spent blogging could go toward word count! So I eliminated the post but acquired a viral infection, asthma complications that led to sleep deprivation –– another D or challenge women face – and a broken ankle! Then a team member’s mother lost her battle with cancer and died. Such a heart-wrenching D! With those additional barriers in place, I feel even better about finishing strong at 42,514 words for the challenge and approximately 55,000 words of my book!

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the last day of the challenge, I planned to write as close to 8,000 words as doable. The plan didn’t include breaking my ankle while leading the 2nd song of Zumba class. Seriously, I thought I’d just get up and keep dancing! Instead the squad came but I refused to go and waited for my hubby to transport. A champion through the ordeal, he waited on me hand and foot as I  puked my guts out and couldn’t do a thing for myself  while in a cast with crutches. He even expedited my orthopedic followup appointment where I got a walker and my boot! It provides mobility, the ability to shower ––  independence! I can even dance in it (I went right back to class the next Saturday and co-lead my classes with another instructor’s assistance). Oh, how blessed I am by my boot!

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Blessed by My Boot! Swan Soul Sisters, Kibby and Marina flanking me,   Pink Collar Coach, with my walker and boot in the center.                                   Performance wear, Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.                  New Balance shoe, singular! : – )

 

Even with the aid of the boot, navigating the holidays has sometimes felt like an obstacle course that requires tremendous endurance and strength (Try crutching through a crowded store!). Putting up the tree and decorating personal and professional spaces, shopping for and wrapping gifts, hosting my staff’s Christmas party, attending lots of others and leaving laden down with more stuff than I can possibly carry, going to see holiday movies… All while serving as a Women’s Center Director (I worked from home the first week after spending several hours catching up from Thanksgiving vacay) at the busiest time of year and during a center renovation has been a bit extra! But my hubby’s heroic efforts,  Zumba instructors subbing for me, Marina (and Sonya) not only teaching with me, but accompanying me to shop and getting my lunch, staff and residents bending over backwards to help, and perfect strangers going out of their way to be kind has made it one of my most blessed Christmases yet! Now I’m so thankful I get to share it with you on my blog.

My prayer for you is that you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and reflect on all the ways your holiday and the last year have been a blessing to you –– like my book, my boot and my blog. When you do, you’ll be able to minimizing your barriers and maximize beauty and your best life too!

Be  savvy & chic,

~Pink   Collar Coach

To preview/purchase the print or Kindle version of my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul, please visit Amazon.com at 
 
Hold on Her Heart is in the works, and should be available Spring 2020! 
Party in Pink with a Purpose

Party in Pink with a Purpose

Service on Purpose (Professional Life)

It’s another day of being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and this weekend   I and my sister Zumba instructors led two hours of dancing for our annual Party in Pink Zumbathon with the purpose of  raising funds for the fight against breast cancer –– a major D  or challenge women face –– in the form of a diagnosis. All funds raised support the Zumba Global Research Grant for Breast Cancer Prevention managed by Susan G. Komen. As a Women’s Center Director for a homeless shelter serving women and children with one year under my belt as of last week, I still pop up every morning grateful for the opportunity to do social work –– at the boots on the ground level –– that I consider full-time ministry. Likewise, though this year marked my third Zumbathon as an instructor (I teach 2x a week and sub), I’m just just as stoked as the year I became a licensed and officially joined the battle to prevent cancer at  my first Party in Pink with the purpose.

Sense of Style (Packaging)

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 Party in Pink (and black) for the Cure! Pretty Cincy Zumba instructors.      Me, Pink Collar Coach, front row, left – plaid Calvin Klein shirt & leggings + New Balance shoes – TJ Maxx. Face glitter! : ) All Zumba Wear – zumba.com. 

Serene at Home (Personal Life)

Much of the time, I feel like I deal with the Ds on the daily! Lately I’ve battled depression around dysfunctional relationships. Dancing –– a positive D ––  keeps my body fit. In fact, dancing led me to discover a 9mm tumor in my breast in 2014. It presented as stage 4 in every test. When biopsied, however, it came back benign. Either a team of physicians got it wrong or The Physician made it all right!!!  Dance also resets my emotions to an even keel and keeps me from losing my mind! That release of endorphins you’ve probably heard about? All true! And no matter what music I’m dancing to, there’s always an element of praise and worship in it for me. God created dance as a form of expression and whatever I’m dealing with is laid bare before him when I’m on the floor…I try my best to leave it there and then go home to sleep GOOD! : )

Spirit-Led (Prayer)

My prayer for you as Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close is that you’d be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and complete regular self-checks (that’s how I found the tumor) along with having an annual mammogram. Finally, when you have a chance, attend a Zumbathon and show support for those who have fought valiantly and others who are currently in the fight of their lives. By doing so, you’ll help minimize this barrier and maximize beauty and best lives. Because it’s more than an awesome two-hour chance to dance, it’s a Party in Pink with a purpose!

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty, Plush Pillows Promote Peaceful Sleep

Pretty, Plush Pillows Promote Peaceful Sleep

It’s another Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose day and after lots of stress and little sleep during the work week, lying down on my sofa for a nap amidst pretty, plush pillows promoted peaceful sleep.

Serene at Home (Personal Life)

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Oldie but goody Simply Shabby Chic faux velvet plush pink pillows – Target. New Shabby Chic faux velvet pumpkins embellished with beads – TJ Maxx.

Dealing with the Ds –– the challenges women face –– on the home front and in the workplace, wore me out. After enjoying unseasonably warm fall temps in the 90s just last week here in Cincy, the sudden change in the weather wreaked havoc with my asthma. I got the diagnosis at age 26. At 50, I still wake up in the wee hours wondering why a train is outside my window before I realize it’s  me wheezing. Once I’ve taken all of my medicine, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible for me to get back to sleep. And despite my desire not to, I find myself dwelling on my Ds in the form of divorce, domestic court issues, dysfunctional relationships, etc. Doing so could plummet me into depression. But I’m determined –– a good D! –– to minimize these thoughts by maximizing my faith. Praying and literally turning on the light to dispel the darkness, I read Scripture and whatever Christian fiction is on my nightstand until I can drift off. This afternoon, I wasn’t battling depression. I’d just worked all day, danced all night at Zumba for the Cure, and then again at this morning’s class…Ah, sleep in heavenly peace!

Smart at Work (Professional Life)

This week marked the one year anniversary of my role as  a Women’s Center Director.  And boy was it a doozie! With the demographic we serve, drug addiction and mental health diagnoses can create danger. That being the case, I recently had our onsite therapist provide an in-service to equip the staff with the tools for  de-escalation of mental health crises. Without going into detail, I’ll just say, the tools were definitely needed! The interaction left me shaken and so sad. Having a safe sanctuary –– a space that represents separation of professional and personal life is essential to my sanity! The fact that I didn’t get one phone call or text (I’m always on call) while I napped made  the sleep even sweeter.

Spirit-Led (Prayer/ Putting Scripture into Practice)

My prayer for you is that you will put your trust in Him. When you do, you’ll have this assurance of what God will do: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV). And I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and surround yourself with things that help you get good rest. Whether you’re dealing with Ds in your personal and/or professional life, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. So splurge on those sheets, or that lavender spray (I have several bottles of Shabby Chic Chamomile Lavender, available at TJ Maxx and Home Goods), or those pretty, plush pillows to promote peaceful sleep. When you do, you’ll minimize your barriers and maximize beauty and your best life.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach