If you've ever struggled with anxiety, you know it can strike at the most random of times. Like the other night when I was on a date and at dinner I started to feel panicky and my heart started to race. For no reason. I wasn't having a bad time or stressed about being on a date. It just hit me out of nowhere. Embarasssssing (lol, like most of my dates these days.)
That's an entirely different blog post.
Anxiety is freaking unpredictable. And for someone who's been through some real shit in life, I've been kind of shocked and even disappointed in myself for the amount of anxiety I have struggled with during my first year in business. I mean, in the big scheme of things this year has been nothing compared to loss and grief and other big changes in my life.
BUTTTTT, no one told me how hard this would be. I mean, I expected it to not be easy...but starting and running a business ALL alone is legit hard. Add to that being a single mom and well, enough said.
So, when the panic starts to rear it's head...I've learned some strategies that help. I'm a psychology major and love to learn about the psyche and personality, so when I did some research on anxiety and stress, I discovered a few tools that have helped me manage (not cure) this issue.
- Cold air or water to the face (this helps to shock or reset your systems and distracts your mind from focusing on the panic attack).
- Music ( for me this year, oddly enough, it's been country music that seems to help ease my anxiety).
-Running (and not just random here and there when I can fit it in...INTENTIONAL, regular work outs that physically exhaust my body are a huge help with anxiety.)
-QUIET ( radio off, tv off, complete and total quietness sometimes really helps .)
-Social Media (my feed is filled with women I respect and admire who are real about life, make me laugh, inspire and encourage me...and in that case social media has helped me ward off some of the effects of anxiety.)
-Minimizing ANY drama (keeping life real simple and hanging with those who focus on the good and real and best in me and others, helps a TON).
All that said, for some people these little strategies are laughable and stronger tools like therapy and medication are needed. Don't you dare not get help if you need it. Life is too short to let something like anxiety steal your purpose and passion. Be proactive and own your growth and healing!
As an on again off again fan of the hit TV show “Say Yes to the Dress”, I feel like the modern bride can get a bad rap. It makes for good TV, but in real life I see a trend happening with the modern bride. And my best friends wedding provides me the perfect opportunity to share with you.
Girl, I love modern weddings and I love me some love … but what I love even more is when a bride takes this ultra special day and makes it totally personal to her and her partner. This is what my friend did. And this is the trend I see happening with more and more modern brides. So, let me tell you all about her rad style.
First of all, she was the epitome of a NON-bridezilla. The wedding day wasn’t about pleasing anyone and everyone else, it was all about the two people getting married - with pieces of her loved ones intertwined all throughout her outfit.
She wore her mom’s dress (with some stylish tweaks of course) and made her own veil. Her moms vintage dress had been tucked away for some 50ish years! My friend pulled it out, did some research, had it adjusted a little, and literally looked so stunning in this dress from the 70’s! The modern bride is more concerned with meaning than money.
She decided that her shoes would be her “something blue”. This might have been, hands down, the best part of her entire look. Her open toe, ankle strap heels were a cobalt blue and totally set an “I am in love and I want everyone to know” vibe. The modern bride isn’t afraid to add her own personality to her look, especially if it adds a creative flare to what is traditional.
Her something borrowed was a simple tennis bracelet that my late husband gave to me on our 10 year wedding anniversary. The modern bride uses style to bring meaning and purpose to her day.
So, take that TLC. You don’t have to score a Pnina Tornai to have the most amazing wedding day ever.
I give you permission -
To call me on my BS
To tell me when I’ve screwed up and need to take ownership for my part
To call me out if and when I’m ever not being true to who I portray on social media
To challenge me when I’m making excuses because I’m afraid
To push me when my goals or struggles feel too big or hard for me
I give you permission to share your opinion, your perspective, your vision … even when it’s different than mine
I give you permission to be completely you without fear of not getting my approval
I give you permission to do what’s best for you
I give you permission to be crazy busy and know that our friendship is rock solid (CK)
I give you permission to make new friends and to love being with them, because I know it helps you grow
I give you permission to love old friends and know that I’m not threatened or insecure
I give you permission to share your heart with me and to have complete faith it will never ever be talked about to others
I give you permission to not always be at your best
I give you permission to have a faith that looks different than mine
I give you permission to change and grow as your circumstances and phases of life change. Growth and change are hard, and having friends who don’t always expect you to remain the same is the best thing (CK)
Who has permission to speak into your life? I caution you that it shouldn’t be just anyone. The women in my life who have consistently shown up for me, who have spoken so much affirmation and encouragement to me, and who have shared their hearts with me regularly….those are the girls who get to call me out, challenge, and push me. These girls have so affirmed me that any challenge or struggle they would want to address with me would cause me to listen up and start the work. I respect them. I value them. And I want their emotional investment in my life. I give them permission.
So let’s talk lash extensions…
Have you tried them yet? If not, allow me to introduce you to your newfound fashion addiction.
I first tried to have a set put on some 4 years ago and no where at the Lake of the Ozarks was doing them. In fact, I was told by the aesthetician I made an appointment with that, “I only do those on old ladies?” And instead she sold me some Latisse. I was shocked because even 4 years ago extensions were all over the gram!
Fast forward to today when some aestheticians and stylists are doing nothing BUT lash extensions. I have now been with my girl (Erin) for a solid 3 years and going! I feel like my lash extensions are one staple that I must keep in my life regardless (kind of like a once per month facial). I wanted to learn more about why lash extensions have become such a thing, so I interviewed Katie Cole, lash extension extraidionairre and owner of Lashes By Katie Cole located in Osage Beach, Mo.
How often do your clients have extensions applied?
Clients need to get refills every 2-3 weeks
What’s the average cost?
A whole new set of lashes can range from $90-$120. Refills range from $50-$85. All pricing will depend on the lash artist as well.
What kind of care do the extensions require?
Eyelash extension maintenance is very important and can definitely determine how long they'll last! First, avoid touching your eye area at all costs! You should brush and clean them once a day ( foaming cleaners work best).
How long does an appointment take?
A full set is typically booked for an hour and a half. Fills will generally take 45 minutes to an hour.
My lash appointments have become a favorite part of my monthly routine. I see my girl Erin about twice a month and my 30 minute appointments are intentional quiet spots in my schedule that require little thought or effort from me. My eyes are forced to remain closed during that time, I cannot take phone calls or answer texts messages, and I don’t even have to talk if I don’t want to. My mind drifts away with the sounds of soft music playing in the background and usually I fall asleep. Only to wake half an hour later with a set of long, beautiful lashes gracing my eye lids.
Want to know more about lash extensions? Check out my girls Lashes by Katie Cole (@lashesbycakecakecole) and Erin Bell (@erinleelash) for all the deets. Or find an artist in your hometown — and prepare to be addicted
When I was a sophomore in high school, I won homecoming queen. I was so excited to have my dad there that night because he and my mom were divorced and he didn't get to come to a lot of my events (and I was involved in everything). I think I still have the basketball necklace and the crown somewhere, but you know what I have that is most treasured from this night? My dad's advice.
After the crowd of congratulators died away, he walked up to me and gave me an awkward hug (he wasn't a hugger). And he looked me in my eyes and advised me bluntly, "don't let your head get big".
He was proud of me, I knew it. I could see it written on his face and in his crooked smile. But he knew that more than I needed a fake crown on my head, I needed to be reminded that other people matter more than my popularity. His advice that night became etched on my heart and I hear his words every single time I accomplish something (or fail). This little accomplishment of homecoming queen at a small school in a tiny town became a huge lesson about life for me. "Don't let your head get big" is my reminder always to stay humble and to put others before myself.
Fast forward to today; running a business, building a brand, and working to contribute to the lives of women in my community. As my competition races past me with more followers or more likes or more sales...I just keep reminding myself that PEOPLE (real people not "@ people") are more important than profit. Maybe I didn't gain followers today, but did I connect with the girls who were right in front of me? Maybe I had fewer sales, but were the sales I did make genuine and valuable to the customer? Maybe everybody isn't buzzing about my shop today, but am I celebrating the girl who is getting the attention? My heart is to create a space and place for each of you who follow me or shop from me to feel like you matter. My heart is also to connect with and support women who are in the same business as me, and even the ones who aren't.
I'm so thankful for my dad's advice on the night of Homecoming 1993. His words (and his character as a man) have shaped me into a woman who cares little about medals and awards, and more about the hearts and emotions of the people around me. That makes me feel kind of odd in the world of gaining all the followers and killing all the sales, but you know what - what my dad thinks of me matters more than all that. And he would not stand for me flaunting insta numbers today or bragging about being a queen in 1993. His reminder to stay humble has become a very core part of who I am ... and now a foundational part of how I am building Gold+Gray.
I just finished my first year in business and here are the two big lessons I've come away with.
1 - Always be ready to say yes.
Many times this year I've allowed my limiting beliefs to almost convince me I should say NO to opportunities. "I'm not ready" and "It won't be perfect" are a couple of the lame excuses I allow to sometimes creep in.
The thing is, I'll never be ready enough.
And if I ever do get to the place where I think I've got this gig figured out, it'll probably be time to move on.
And Lord knows it will never, ever, EVER be perfect.
When and if I hear that thought creeping in I know I need to move forward with a Y. E. S.
The idea of perfection is a crap lie!
And another thing - when I try to perfect it or control it, God loses the glory. The success of my story will be His to own, because I am nowhere near qualified or knowing what I'm doing (STILL).
2 - The values that I hold most dear will be challenged and even doubted.
This year has caused me to doubt one of the foundational beliefs that I wanted to build my business on ... that women in business can support and encourage one another with authenticity and a heartfelt "I got your back" attitude.
I guess I still believe this is possible, but what I've learned is that it's just not common.
We haven't taught our girls how to become this woman, and in business "beating out the competition" is the norm when it comes to attitude and ideas.
I believe competition is healthy, when the people involved are healthy, and that it can make us better.
But I think competition for women is tricky because of the way we tend to view another woman's success as our failure. It can get real ugly, actually.
No matter the challenges this year has brought me in this area - I still want to grow my business with a heart of community and connection when it comes to my competition.
And more than that I want to grow women.
My dream is to employ women who are willing to embrace this philosophy of lifting and supporting one another and to create a team of badass girls who are willing and ready to show the world how to do things different.
Oh, and the pic. Today my first ever fashion shoot was published in Lake Lifestyles magazine. This was one of those "I'm not ready for this moments" where I doubted myself and feared it wouldn't be perfect enough, but I said YES anyway...and I'm so thankful I did! The day was super fun and the girls were so rad and I couldn't have asked for better shoot even if I had planned it! : )
Fashion on the Gram
Instagram that is.
Where do you go for fashion inspo? My instagram has pretty much become a fashion app for real. It’s no secret that women are building literal careers showing off their fashionable sides on the gram. I, for one, love it and am so thankful that when I hit a rut with my style, I can turn to my “go to” girls on social media to show me something new.
In today’s post, I wanted to share some of my fave instagram influencers. I’m all about sharing the love so go give them a follow! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
One of my most favorite accounts is @krista.horton. For me, the fashion can be on point but I need some personality to go with it and this girl brings all her fun, quirkiness to her feed. She has two of the cutest littles, a down-to-earth insta-husband, and some major style that she shows off on her REAL body. There’s literally not much she doesn’t share on her feed, so it’s not all clothes and shoes, but her style will keep you coming back for more.
I also have a slight girl crush on @happilygrey. She’s less quirky and funny and more straight style that is nothing short of killer. Her feed is so visually stunning and her style so impeccably carefree that I just want to crawl inside one of her photos to see it all for real. The girl behind the feed is Mary Lawless Lee and at a whopping 938k followers, I think she has earned her insta-fame. One of my new fave additions to her feed are the IGTV videos she’s been adding featuring hair how to’s, home and decor style, etc…. Trust me! You will love her!
Honestly, I have so many accounts I love that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one more, but if I HAVE to pick just one I’m going to go with Kenzie and Carol Carter on @kc_doubletake. They are twins from South Carolina who’s dressing room try on sessions are some of the best! These girls have a laid-back, beachy style and are happy to share all of their style ideas on the gram. The best part of their account is getting to see how they style things so differently, even as twins!
So yeah, I love social media and I love that I get to be inspired by so many amazing women on the daily as I scroll through…in fashion and in LIFE!