Formula for Success…in a Nutshell

The year 2012 brought many things with it, and dropped it’s load of opportunity directly in my path. My eyes, nor my intent, never wavered…until I found myself in the thick of it all. Moments became days, days became weeks, and weeks turned into months, of having to summon up that very important ingredient to success…patience.

Yet, sitting here and reviewing the last year and a half, I find another ingredient to success…a greater one perhaps, has captured and destroyed, the doubts and questions of possible wrong decisions. That ingredient? Gratitude!Image

Gratitude is patience in action. Patience, a valuable commodity, will wait for financial gain instead of settling for actions that will separate us from what God has put in our line of vision. Memo: A good idea may be to write out what it is we are grateful for before heading to bed each night.

Formula #1: Gratitute = Patience = Timing = Success

Commitment is another attribute of success because it motivates us. It sustains us when we’re not sure whether our actions will pay off. It carries us along through the difficult times and vaults us forward during the good times. Commitment and motivation produces the courage needed to take action. The definition of failure? Waiting for others to tell us what our next step should be.

We must decide what our life is about, and tie that to our day to day actions. The more we understand our purpose, the greater our commitment, the greater we are motivated, the more action we’ll take, and the greater successes we’ll achieve.

Formula #2: Commitment = Courage = Action = Success

I have found, in my 40 years in this industry, there to be one more very important ingredient for success. That being our ability to connect with people.

Empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another) lies at the root of every successful product and service. Without empathy, how can we know what customers want or need? Without empathy, how can we know what our product or service is worth? We must understand their needs, their dreams, their desires, so we can be a part of making them a reality. We must listen more than we talk. And when we listen, really listen. Admittedly, I have to work on this one continually. But, when I am able to keep my mouth shut and listen, great things happen. Connection happens, empathy happens, relationship happens. We should always treat others as we want to be treated.

Formula #3: Empathy = Insight = Relationships = Success

That’s it…3 formulas for success. Let me hear from you. Do you agree, disagree, or are you indifferent? Is there anything else you would add to this list?

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Preparing for the Wedding…things to consider

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NAILS:

As soon as you got engaged, everyone was asking to see the ring…or just in passing noticed “sparkly” coming from your direction. It’s the perfect time to keep those nails and hands primed and pretty with a regular manicure. This is your chance to experiment with colors (pretty mauves, pinks, and french tips) and get to know your manicurist. When you get your nails done, look at your nail bed. Shape your nails to match, giving your hands and nails a balanced and elegant look.

To Consider: The week before the wedding, splurge on a shellac manicure. Shellac Manicures use UV technology for a harder and smoother finished nail. They’re a bit pricier but can last up to two weeks (and beyond)…with no chipping! Maybe your wedding planner can suggest this as a gift from a friend that might not be able to make the wedding.

Brides HairHAIR:

All brides search for the perfect hairstyle for their wedding. It’s a day they want to look beautiful, knowing that all eyes will be on them. There are so many hairstyles right at our fingertips, through the world-wide web searches, there’s simply no need to have your style as an added pressure…if you find the stylist that has been proven to deliver the talent. That’s easy enough, right? Not really. Find someone who is willing to have a trial run at doing your hair, and any of the bridesmaids that want their hair professionally done, as well. You want the whole wedding party looking great for those photos you’re about to pay for. Remember nothing is perfect, however. You are about to make wonderful, lifelong memories. Let yourself laugh along the way. Enjoy the time spent preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

To Consider: If you have chemically treated hair, refresh highlights, and/or color, two weeks before the wedding. Also ask your stylist to do a deep-conditioning mask on your hair. It will restore strength to the hair and add back the shine that bleaching can rob your hair of.

SKIN:

Brides SkinThe best time to prepare your skin for the big day? To get the best results, you should start preparing your skin (as well as your nails and hair), six months before your wedding. It sounds extreme, but it can make a big difference!

The regime should go something like this…

  • Oily Skin: Cleanse, tone, moisturize, morning and night. Many people skip the toning, but for oily skin it can mean the difference in great skin as opposed to splotchy, half-clean skin. The toner will remove left over cleanser and any makeup residue left behind. It’s an important step for those with excessive sebum production. Be sure to pat dry the face, to where it is only slightly damp, before applying the moisturizer. Remember…oil and moisture are two completely different conditions. Having a moisturizer will not clog your pours and make the oil worse in your face. Even oily skin can become dehydrated.
  • Dry Skin: Cleanse, tone, moisturize…night time only. It’s important to wash the face every morning to get the sleepies off the face, but “cleansing” is just robbing the skin of it’s needed natural moisture. The only step needed from there is to add a protecting moisturizer, since moisturizing is an important step for the superficially dehydrated skin. So, don’t forget to apply your anti-aging, or cellular restoration moisturizer before applying your daily makeup. And…dry skin knows no age. I’ve seen the very young with skin that lacked the needed moisture to keep it elastic, smooth, and radiant.
  • Treatment wise I’d recommend brides have a professional facial every month (beginning six months prior to the big day) since the facial therapist will be able to recommend suitable aftercare that compliments your professional facials to ensure your skin is perfect for your big day! Please don’t attempt a deep cleansing decongestant facial the day before, as it will inevitably lead to breakouts! Instead opt for a light skin smoothing, rejuvenating, hydrating facial which will not only ensure a radiant looking skin complexion but also provide the perfect smooth canvas for your make-up application.

To Consider: Stress, anxiety, normal wedding planning, can get the sebaceous glands in an uproar. If, God forbid, a zit shows itself on your wedding day, there are topical solutions that you can purchase over-the-counter. Be leery of those that claim immediate action. They will dry the spot out so harshly, that your skin could react in peeling at the site. And still have the blemish. A safe, and old fashioned, remedy is to apply a dab of toothpaste (or tea tree oil) on the break-out. When it’s time to apply make-up, use a concealer that matches your skin tone. NEVER PICK OR PUSH WITH YOUR FINGERNAILS! Use a kleenex between the two index fingers, to gently encourage extraction of the full blown zit (that’s the one that already has produced a head).  Never force. You don’t want a bulls-eye on your face the day of your wedding. 

YOUR BODY:

Not only is the skin on your face important, so is the rest of it, from neck to toes. A great way to have beautiful skin, is to Brides Bodyexfoliate the dry skin from the body, every time you shower (or bathe). There are a few ways to do this. One is to use an exfoliator that can be purchased at any retail chain, or at your favorite beauty supply store. You can also make your own, from ingredients in your kitchen pantry. Mix equal parts of brown sugar & olive oil and smooth onto you skin. Works great as an exfoliator for the lips also. No one wants dry or splitting lips, especially on their wedding day.

Another way is to use a body brush daily. This is really effective to help smooth away dead skin cells, and stimulates the body to eliminate toxins and helps to release any water retention.

To Consider:  Body brushing works best if done after a shower, (though your skin must be dry). Body brushing should take no more then 30 seconds to do. Use the brush quickly but firmly brushing over the skin, always towards the heart. And remember to replenish the moisture in the skin with your favorite body lotion. The ones with less fragrance in them, are the best.

Snacks for the Wedding Day Prep Room:

One last thought, as you prepare for the day that’s got you doing double (or triple) time. Don’t forget about your physical needs for that day. In all the hubbub, it will be easy to forget the details that come with taking care of yourself. Maybe your wedding planner has this under control. But just in case…here are a few ideas.

1. Apples 

Brides ApplesApples are the super-food snack to have by your side on your big day. Not only do they scrape plaque off teeth and fight bad breath, but they’re also loaded with Vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system, so you don’t get sick on your honeymoon. Added bonus? Apples are a steady source of healthy carbs, which will boost your energy levels. Cut them into small slices so you can eat without smearing your lipstick. 

2. Almonds
These nuts are packed with protein and fiber that will keep you feeling full without having to pig out before the ceremony. Brides AlmondsThey’re also a great source for Vitamin E and essential fatty acids that keep your skin glowing and can help speed up weight loss. Limit yourself to a few handfuls though, as almonds tend to be higher in calories.

3. Popcorn
Brides PopcornWhile people often view popcorn as just a movie theater treat, it’s a great and (gasp) healthy alternative to many other readymade snacks. Its light and airy consistency means you can eat a lot of without actually taking in too many calories, and since it’s packed with fiber it will keep you feeling full longer. New research has found that it’s also rich in the polyphenols, an antioxidant that’s proven to help reduce cell damage and ward off diseases. Just be careful to steer clear of brands that are heavily salted and processed, as these delicious add-ons can leave you bloated.

4. Dark Chocolate 
I fully believe that every girl deserves chocolate every day, but this belief is especially true on your big day. Just a little dark Brides Chocoaltechocolate helps boost heart and brain functions. And on top of that, it’s loaded with flavonoids that help control your blood sugar levels and, with steady consumption, can prevent type two diabetes. And the best part, other than its amazing taste, is that it will boost your mood and leave you feeling even happier. Just be sure to save this treat for before you slip on your gown to avoid any stains.

5. Cherries
Brides Cheeries 2Often referred to as a super fruit, cherries are chock full of antioxidants that fight heart disease and cancer while also promoting brain functions. This sweet snack also contains melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep cycle (since you probably haven’t been getting much with all of the wedding planning). Eat a handful of cherries before you start getting dressed to prevent any stains. Be careful of biting down on a pit…you wouldn’t want a broken front (or any, for that matter) tooth.

To Consider: From the time you arrive at the place you will be getting ready for the wedding, someone will always be in the room, needing questions answered, always a well-wisher and always someone ready with a camera. Excitement will be the norm for that day. It can become difficult to keep energy levels up when you’re “on show” for twelve or more hours at a stretch. You will need a few minutes every few hours or so just to be able to go somewhere quiet and collect your thoughts, regroup,  think about the man waiting for you, have a glass of water, check your lipstick or just be uninterrupted for a few minutes so you can enjoy the day more.

Thursdays Thanks

I recently read an article about staying out of the hum-drum, down and out, lower than a snakes belly, sadly sobering depressed state of mind, that many slide into without realizing it’s consuming them, until they are fully shackled…*whew*…

One of the suggestions was to grab a notebook or pad, a pencil (no computer typing), and lay it on a bedside table. Each night before hitting the sack, list 3 things you are thankful for. Just 3…don’t try to over-do it. Upon rising in the morning, write 3 more things you are thankful for. That’s it!Elements Thankful pic 2

Before you know it, you will be focusing on the good things in life, and just possibly, the not-so-good will be obliterated, and rarely brought to mind.

SO…this morning, wanting to include my husband in this adventure of mine, I asked him what he was thankful for. Surprised at this inquiry, he hesitated. “Well, there’s a lot I’m thankful for,” he said. “Just tell me one thing,” I replied. With a cautious grin on his face, he told me he was thankful for a warm house. HA! That was also my first thought. It’s an easy one to think of while looking outside at the snow and knowing the cold it brings. Who wouldn’t be, right?

But to get serious for a bit, I’m thankful for him. Thankful for my Dennis. From the beginning of this journey in the beauty industry, my Dennis has supported me, rarely questioning my decisions as an entrepreneur (of sorts). The house and property we purchased (after being married a little over a year), had a much desired, attached 2 car garage. Little did we know that it was going to be a tool that God would use for so many things. It took me only 2 years to claim it for redesigning into my first, privately owned business. After $11,000 for the makeover (that was a LOT in 1978), supplies ordered in (more money), and a success plan in place, Mary’s Place was birthed. Thank you, honey.

We have traveled down several roads since those days, but looking back, I can see the stepping stones that were placed for us, because of my husband’s willing heart. Motherhood closed the doors of Mary’s Place for a few years…until Goodrich (my husband’s workplace) closed their doors at the Miami, OK. store, in 1986…then it was necessary to re-open the salon, until 1994 when we made yet another choice that would take us down a very long road. For the next 7 years our lives became a roller-coaster, then in 2001 we jumped off. Back into the beauty industry I went. I rented a space for 6 months, then left there, to open South Side Salon, at the tune of $10,000 just to get it up and running. I leased the building at 108 A South East, in Miami and it needed a lot of work before I could use it. After 2 short years, break-ins caused me to move the business to a safer spot. I found a building on North Main Street that boomeranged back to us after refusing the first offer. Within the first year, after using $6,500 of the businesses income to update the place, we purchased the building and the lot it sat on. I stayed there and continued to improve it’s appearance, inside and out. After 8 years, and a lot of building improvements (new roof, siding updated, new windows and doors, outside columns and steps, awnings), we made the decision to move to North Carolina to be closer to our girls. Where yet another business found it’s new beginnings…

And that’s another story for another time…today, I’m thankful for all the beginnings my husband has allowed.

Be thankful, Passionistas!

Ooooh…the Ambience!

Down through the years of working in the beauty industry, I have found that I am pretty much determined to have the area in which I am working, looking the best possible, with what I have to work with. It has always been important to me to have a place that I could enjoy and have my clients enjoy as well. My belief is that whatever we give our hands to do, we should always give it the best we have, with what we have to do with. I’m not entirely sure when all that kicked in for me. Some parts of my life seem to have conveniently disappeared from my memory.

So far, I’ve had three different locations in which I’ve built a business. But before I opened any of those doors, each had to be presentable and ready for people to cross the threshold with “oohs” and “ahhhs”. The open sign didn’t come on until I was satisfied with the appearance of the building (inside and out) , that I would be inviting my potential clients into.

To begin my journey in this industry, Mary’s Place was birthed in early 1978. Our double-car garage, became the perfect place for this adventure. I loved it there for many reasons. Just starting my career it provided access to my home where, in those slow moments of building a client base, I could tend to household duties. We remodeled the shop area only three times during those first 20 years of business. While there, our children were born, raised, and home educated. B F Goodrich (the tire company my husband worked for), closed its doors in 1986 only to find they had closed the wrong one. How does that happen? Many, not only weren’t eligible for transfer, but homes were lost…families split up…many declared bankruptcy. Yet, Mary’s Place still maintained it’s posture and continued going strong.

May 9th, 2002, we introduced our second business, South Side Salon and Day Spa “An Escape from the Ordinary”, to the township of Miami, OK. located at 108 A. Street S.E. Complete with large indoor fountain in the waiting area, hanging ferns…inside and out, a facial room, and 4 styling stations sandwiched in-between the pedicure and manicure areas. We, with several other stylists, were there for only 2 years because of numerous night-time breaks-ins. I’ll never forget the day I came in to town to open the shop, only to find my back door had been virtually destroyed by the intruders trying to get past the 3 different secure locks. We had renters above our business that were looking for money. Trying to find a way to get in and out easily, they had climbed upon the facial room bed (left nice footprints) and maneuvered the ceiling tiles around, to see if that might get them up to their room. Seriously? Did they not have a floor to walk on? The police then told me they were drug users that have a record. Nice…

So, I found a more visible place on the North end of town that faced the city’s main street. We purchased the building at 1829 North Main, gutted it (it was realllly old and nasty), drew up plans for what I wanted, hired our handy-man friend to “get er done”, and waited for my time to get inside to put the finishing touches on it. All the while, surrounding businesses and housing occupants watched with curiosity. A transformation was taking place like they never expected would. We rented for the first 2 years, then purchased in 2006. It’s not something I would recommend…to remodel a building while renting. It had always been my intention to purchase it, and I just couldn’t work in a place that wasn’t presentable to the public. But now I had given the previous owner a reason to up the selling price because of the value added to it.

Business grew quickly as we continued updating the exterior of the building. Grecian (anything that says Italy and the surrounding territory) has always been my style. S/W Ver: 96.B0.0ARSo large white columns went out front to support a new black awning than shaded the somewhat rounded steps, with beautiful concrete urns from Stonehill Gardens (in Missouri), to sit alongside them. Matching awnings went over every outside window. We painted the siding to bring out the lighter colors of the brick that covered half-way up the building. Changed out some of the windows, put a new roof on, added insulation, and completed the exterior with an awesome new double paned and bronzed front door (not the one in this pic) that didn’t ice up during the winter months. At that point, we decided the pedicure room needed a touch of class, so installed a beautiful Baja Fan and added some cane trees, candles and shelving. We brought our fountain from the previous location to sit between the waiting area and our work stations, and after placing the now huge Boston Ferns where they looked their best…sitting on columns…we were ready for anyone coming in our front (or back) door! And here we stayed until March of 2012.

It was in August of that same year when we packed up a few personal items for me and shipped a few business things to North Carolina. We had made the decision to get another business started before the holidays. That’s when Elements Salon, with the tag line, “Unearth Your Natural Beauty”, became a reality in Apex, NC under the umbrella of Sola Salons. Moving to a state where I was virtually unknown, caused me to choose a small suite, to keep my back-up money from disappearing too quickly.

Wall color (sticks and stones) had been chosen and applied. Flooring done, cabinetry installed, and all they were waiting on was my shipment to arrive so the fan from my previous business, could be hung. Everything was finished in a timely manner, and opening day came! September 1st, 2012 was a defining day in my life. Never did I consider what had taken place ever being a reality! I knew that within 6 months if I was going to make it in North Carolina. After a LOT of foot work distributing flyers and talking with the people who so graciously accepted my intrusion on their day, I began sticking close to the business. Hours were spent waiting for the phone to ring, or someone to look as if they were lost…at which time I positioned myself to accept a potentially new client. Almost without fail, they had no idea what they were to do once coming in the front door of the Sola Salons. They expected a receptionist, and found only a fork in their road (the entrance). You can turn right, or left, upon which you will find numerous rooms with either opened or closed doors. At last count there were 21 stylists in various rooms here. Each have their own business set up, as if Sola didn’t exist. Total confusion to the client. Where were they suppose to go? I took EVERY opportunity to greet them and ask if they were looking for someone in particular, or did they just need help finding someone to do their hair? And that’s how many of my clients came to be. The rest have come from word of mouth. The absolute best way to advertise.

Elements Relax pic

It’s been 8 and 1/2 months now since start-up here. Things are looking up, but I’m not there yet. Not to the place where I could support myself if needed. On many occasions, I have told myself to relax…it would happen in due time. I found this very appropriate sign to display as a reminder. Pretty funny, eh?

I had brought a few of my favorite things with me, from the shop in Oklahoma. A bust of a Greek God (or something that resembles that), was among the “have to haves”. Ha!

Also, a column that had been a booster for another column, that had one of my very large boston ferns resting on it, and had been the recipient of excessive water run-offs, which in turn caused a beautiful (in my opinion) stain that couldn’t be reproduced by man-made efforts. Yep, it had to come with me.

A couple of my treasures from Miami, OK.

A couple of my treasures from Miami, OK.

There are many elements that make up the whole. So, I decided to add some vines interlaced with LED lighting and various greenery, to help make the statement I was shooting for. My son-in-law put a couple of old boards together for me, on which I glued the name of the salon, and placed just beneath the vines. It turned out pretty good…right?

So, being the obsessive compulsive person that everyone claimDIY project with help of my awesome son-in-law of many talents.s I am (don’t want to disappoint), I must add to what is already here. My work is never done. 😉 It’s not that I necessarily go out looking for something to spend money on…it’s just that as I’m out and about, things throw themselves in my path and simply call attention to themselves.  My next purchases were a turn of the century lantern and an Italian looking bike. Which demanded a picture or some sort of accent behind the accent. Sitting up against a bare wall, just made it look lonely.

Love is all you need

Love is all you needElements Fan

The only fountain I could fit in Suite 117

The only fountain I could fit in Suite 117

I’m sure I’ll soon need a much bigger place, just so that I can create a little more ambience, when I’m not doing what I came here to do.  You’ll see a few of my favorite things here amongst these random pictures.

Elements figurineI’m a sucker for certain types of busts…and so, there you have it.

If you have ventured into the beauty industry, you too have the ability to create a place of excellence…not just for the client, but for yourself and those that might work with you. Now get busy! Make it the very best you can! Ambience is crucial…in my humble opinion.

Let passion guide you, Passionistas!

Giving Up Is Not an Option

Well…I suppose, in truth, anything is an option. But when we set our minds, our hearts, on something that is filled with hope, giving up will haunt us with the “what ifs” for the rest of our lives. Is that really what we want? If we are honest with ourselves, we won’t be saying “I don’t care”, as I’ve heard others say when their backs are up against that proverbial wall. You know the wall I speak of, because we all face it (or our backs do), at some point in our lives. And it’s usually right when we least expect it, things begin to turn around.

There will be times we are pulled between what seems to be two different worlds. The safe, do nothing world…and the challenge filled, reach for the stars world. In reality, the “safe” world isn’t really that safe. It’s just a place where we think we can breathe free, with little to no challenges. Again, truth must be faced. No matter where we find ourselves to be, there will be times when our minds do battle. For one thing or the other. If we are still breathing, life must happen.

So, work is hard. Business is hard. Life can show itself to be hard. But what is the alternative? Let me be clear. Life isn’t hard 24/7. Life is what we make it. How we face the “hard” issues. There are times, God will pull us aside, and whisper “peace” in our ears, especially when we allow the cares of this life to pull us away from His grace, His peace, His reality. And at that moment, we really do breathe free.

Tomorrow is always a new day…a new opportunity, a new way of looking at life and it’s challenges. Change happens on a consistant basis, and if we position ourselves to receive of its goodness, the bright days will show themselves faithful.

What are you passionate about? What have you given your heart to do? It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the profession you have chosen, but can hold true even in the trenches of life in general.

As we put our hands to the task in front of us, whatever that might be, we will also reap the rewards. We won’t reap, if at first, we don’t sow.

Never give up, Passionistas!