It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Pretty

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Pretty

Day 92 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project found me  pouring through images to try to find the perfect front and back cover for my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul. I’ve always had a few non-negotiables around this – pink, roses, and a dark, curly haired girl that resembles my heroin, Lee, dressed in a vintage dress, all set in a Shabby Chic interior. I’m happy to say that after countless hours and mounting frustration, I finally found The One my heart was longing for. Actually, there are two images in the same room, one with the female model and the other without. There is only a bit of pink in each of the pictures, however, I can rectify that with the title and my name providing the pop of my preferred color. They’re not perfect (I need to get over myself a little on this one), still they’re SO quintessentially Shabby Chic and pretty.

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Simply Shabby Chic curtain panel, tablecloth, napkins & holders, table runner, flower cloche, plate box, cereal bowl, lantern lamp, journals, photo box, clock, and rectangular candle holder. The floral pitcher is Rachel Ashwell Treasures.                                                                                          All of the other items in the room are Shabby Chic inspired. 

 

 

Much of my search was conducted in the dining room, which also serves as my office. It has a lot in common with the final images I chose in that it’s not perfect, but it certainly is pretty. It’s also comfortable. And functional. Despite the stains in the chair from drinks spilled while people sat around enjoying one another’s company, or as children did their homework. Despite the smallish size and the oak china hutch I inherited from the other Tammy (hers is with a “y” as opposed to my “i”) and wish desperately I could paint white!

The reason I can still see the beauty is that I focus on the meaningful moments, like the chandelier and dining set that I purchased with money my beloved Daddy left me when he died too early at fifty-two, just four years older than I am now.  I see beauty in all of the authentic Simply Shabby Chic and Rachel Ashwell treasures I sacrificed to buy in order to furnish the townhouse where I created a home for my children and myself after my abusive wasband made me homeless.  I see so much beauty in the way I’ve poured my heart and soul into curating, collecting, and creating a space that is truly a sanctuary.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Chick who is a self-professed perfectionist, embracing the Shabby Chic philosophy of perfect imperfection comes easily for me when it comes to my home’s decor. I’m alright with old-fashioned and wonky and can’t imagine living in a suite full of furniture from a showroom. Relinquishing my idea of perfection when it comes to my book is not as easy. But it was possible. The images I finally landed on are described as “Dressing Table in Old-Fashioned Room” and “Young Woman Holding Dress”. Both make me nostalgic for days gone by. And the young woman’s hair conjures up Lee… While the images may not be perfect, they’re pretty perfect for beckoning readers to take a look back at the Seasons of Her Soul.

What in your life is pretty, even if it isn’t perfect?

~   Pink Collar Coach

Birthday Break from Blogging

Birthday Break from Blogging

It’s Day 72 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project. It’s also my hubby’s Bday!

He’s a bit older than me and our birthdays are 6 days apart. I like to say he spent that first part of his life waiting for me to get here…

So, as a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose chick who knows what’s really important, I’m spending the evening with my best friend and the one my soul loves. I know I’m blessed to have him for another birthday. That  calls for a break from blogging. : )

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Big Birthday Boy and Pink Collar Coach after fun family dinner. He started the tradition of having everyone share a story about the one being celebrated. Tonight, he basically got roasted!  He also took it like the great guy he is. 

 

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 2 of 3

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 2 of 3

Day 71 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project confirmed some things about haters. Haters are going to hate. The good thing is, Joel Osteen once said haters were like crows and those of us who aren’t are eagles. A crow will try to nip at an eagle and the eagle will never even acknowledge it. It will just soar higher and higher, and eventually the crow will have to fall back because they were not created to soar.

So, if you are a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who’s got some haters biting at you, it’s beneath you to sink to their level. Just spread your wings and fly even higher.

Bonnie had some haters and other challenges. Please read on to see how she dealt with them. Hope you enjoy and take away something you can use to maximize your personal and/or professional life. Thanks for reading.

Pink Collar Coach

Oh, and I still haven’t figured out how to get the Shutterstock image off, but I have paid so should be okay…

Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 2 of 3 

Thrilled that she’d made it to the next step in the selection process and might actually be included in the book anthology, Bonnie read the email Doctor Nicole sent her following yesterday’s phone conversation.

Dear Bonnie:

Thank you for telling me your unique gift and how you discovered it.

I’m please to inform you that your story was compelling enough that we’d like you to answer a few more questions to help us determine if your story would make an impactful contribution to the anthology being compiled.

During the phone conversation you told your story in narrative form. This is a writing exercise that will demonstrate your ability to “write tight”. Please answer the following using bullet points and a succinct explanation:

What were five ways you overcame the obstacles in your way? 

Thank you for your participation, 

Doctor Nicole

Taking a sip of her iced green tea chai latte (with non-fat milk of course), Bonnie jotted down her initial thoughts. Then, since she tended to think in acronyms and mnemonics and had since learning the planets using “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies”, she rearranged them into the acronym DEMPS for easy recall should she be asked to share. Next, she went back and added the explanations. When she finally had the answer down the way she wanted it, she hit the “Spelling and Grammar Check” key just to be safe, clicked “Save Draft” and read it aloud:

  • Deep Faith – When at rock bottom, my troubles ran deep. My trust ran deeper.
  • Education – Applied my old elementary ed degree in new ways; earned an advanced degree.
  • Mentoring – Aligned myself with people who were smarter, successful, and had reached where I wanted to go; showed them I was worth their investment in me.
  • Professional Development – Self-motivated, intentional and ongoing; through workshops, trainings, online resources, books, etc.
  • Soul Supporters -My husband, friends and tribe; I chose the family I wasn’t born into but wanted.

Pleased with her final product, Bonnie hit the “Send” key and stood to go get ready for date night with her hubby. The exercise she’d just completed naturally made her nostalgic about the things and people who’d helped her weather the storms she’d faced, but none more so than her faith and her husband. For Bonnie, the two were inextricably linked. She wouldn’t have believed it possible, but she loved both more today than she did back then.

Now she joined her husband in their bedroom and stood on tiptoe to wrap her arms around his neck. At barely 5’1″, Bonnie was almost a foot and a half shorter than her tall, handsome soul mate.

Phil kissed the top of her head and asked, “Did you send the email about your story?” He was ever supportive of his wife.

“Yes, and it made me think about how our love story began.”

“Is that so? How?”

“I had to list five ways I’d overcome obstacles and then provide a short explanation. Of course my relationship with you and my relationship with the Lord are at the top of that list.”

“Yeah, when I met you, I thought, How is this woman doing it? When you told me your life’s story up to this point, it was so over the top, I could have doubted you, but then, you couldn’t make up what you’d been through. And you were still going through it. It made me think long and hard about whether I wanted to take up with you.” The last was said in a teasing tone.

Bonnie feigned offense and stepped out of his embrace.

“Hey, I was just kidding! Seriously though, the nonsense happening to you was not going to continue on my watch, so hot mess or not, I was all in.”

Laughing, Bonnie turned back and planted a kiss on his cheek. She wasn’t a woman who felt she needed rescuing, but he’d been her champion from day one. Looking forward to their time together, she reached into her closet for the red dress she wanted to wear on their dinner date. “You’re funny,” she said as she passed him to go into the bathroom. “That was one of the things I loved about you from the night we met at that divorce care group. When you asked where I lived and I told you, you couldn’t believe it was your neighborhood. You actually stomped your foot and said, ‘You do not live in Indian Springs!’ It was hilarious!”

As funny as he was, Phil had a dry sense of humor and seldom laughed. “What was hilarious was that you thought you could write the sequel to Sleeping with the Enemy. I told you then and everything that’s happened with your ex since has confirmed that it’s already been written. It’s called The Return of the Anti-Christ.”

Bonnie merely laughed again and shook her head at how he could say such outrageous things deadpan and not crack a smile.

Laughter aside, when they’d met, she’d truly been at rock bottom. Rather than the courts returning custody when the truth about what her wasband had done came out, it had taken her nearly a year to get them back. She was working a temp job making no money, living in subsidized housing, and could barely afford gas for the borrowed clunker she was driving, let alone food, milk and diapers for her parenting time with the children.

Bonnie prayed from the first day she was away from her abusive ex that God would give her a good husband and father for her children. Phil had walked into the divorce care group six months later. Bonnie had been attending for a few weeks. Phil’s friend had encouraged him to go from the time his marriage had ended a year before that. He’d never taken him up on it until the night he and Bonnie met. Some would call that sweet serendipity. Bonnie called it a God-thing. From their first conversation that evening, which lasted all night at a pancake house, they were best friends. And though the spark was there nearly from the beginning, they let the romance come in God’s timing. Bonnie knew he was special and didn’t want to mess things up. Phil truly was and remained the answer to her prayers.

As she slid the red dress over her head, Bonnie whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. God, you and Phil are inextricably linked. Together, you helped me bounce back from rock bottom.

Hope you’ll come back and read the conclusion of Bonnie’s story in Post 3. Thank you!

~ Pink      Collar Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 1 of 3

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 1 of 3

Day 71 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was another productive one. So much so that I missed my deadline to post by midnight. It’s all good though because I accomplished many purposeful things:
1. Learned that Shutterstock images are NEVER free.
2. Bit the bullet and paid for an annual subscription. Beware fellow bloggers and check out the license agreement terms before using images for your site! I’m a bit frustrated because I paid my fee and the Shutterstock imprint is still visible on my blog…I’ll have to check into that.
3. Finished my Gender Equity and Inclusion statement.
4. Reviewed a pre-assessment for an image consultation.
4. Explored an exciting new opportunity.
5. Made a new connection to be interviewed for a radio broadcast.
So, as a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick I’m learning that while I may have a plan for my days, I need to trust the greater plan…
Hope you enjoy post 1 of 3 from the 2nd Pink Collar Short Story. Thanks for reading!
Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 1 of 3 

 

Sitting in her home office, which was decorated with carefully curated items and inspirational messages that reinforced her agency’s theme, Maximize Her, Bonnie thought about the information call she’d been invited to join. Earlier the week before she’d typed a spontaneous response to an LinkedIn request for women to share their stories for a book anthology. Given the overwhelming response to the request, Bonnie had been pleasantly surprised when she was asked to register for the info session that evening.

As she reflected on what she would share should she be selected to contribute to the book, Bonnie wanted to pinch herself because where her life now was so radically different than it had been only a decade ago.

“We live a beautiful life, Loveday”, Bonnie told the cat when her feline companion wound herself around Bonnie’s leg and then leapt to her lap. “I hope you appreciate it, because it hasn’t always been this way.” Stroking the petite cat absently beneath the chin with one hand, she picked up her iPhone with the other and tapped it to bring up the message from the motivational speaker who’d sent it. After reading it and thinking through her next action step, Bonnie told the cat, “Hmm, Loveday. I believe I need to make a list”. She got no response, however, as Loveday, who’d been lulled to sleep by her person’s tender ministrations, had fallen asleep. Not wanting to wake her, Bonnie reached across the desk, pulled her laptop within reach and began outlining her story based on the criteria in the message. She’d be ready when asked to share it, and she felt fairly confident that she would be.

Two days later, Bonnie said a quick prayer, drew in her breath, and dialed the number she’d been provided following the information call. She and the other women had been assured it would be a conversation, not an interview, yet Bonnie still felt as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

“Hello, Bonnie. This is Doctor Nicole,” the book anthology interviewer answered pleasantly.

“Hello. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me,” Bonnie stated clearly. She was a petite woman, with a small voice, and she’d been coached to speak confidently.

“My pleasure. We’re so excited that you are interested in sharing your story. As you know, the anthology will be a collection of stories about women who have uncovered their unique gifts and are now using them to inspire others. So, Bonnie, please tell me, what is your unique gift, and how did you uncover it?”

Channeling everything she’d ever learned about interviewing, Bonnie sat up straighter and told the story she’d shared during Orientation at her last job where she’d been the Director of Life Coaching and Care and had served at-risk individuals who were facing barriers to living successful lives.

“One of my top strengths is that I’m a maximizer. I learned that when I was working as a Leadership Coach and took Strength Finder 2.O. But I didn’t fully discover how this strength is also my unique gift. I learned that when realized that I’d maximized hitting rock bottom to rebuild my life.”

The line was quiet for a moment, and Bonnie thought she’d lost Nicole. She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard, “Please tell me how you did that.”

Bonnie relaxed, knowing her Ds story was powerful and that she told it the only way she could. From the heart. “I grew up in a poor community to parents who were divorced by the time I was a year old. The divorce led to my mother’s depression, which led her to drink. Eventually, the drinking led to drug use and that brought the dope dealers into our home. I was a victim of domestic violence and the dysfunction was so severe that I was desperate to get out. So, before I was twenty, I married Dwayne, and he was the worst “d” of them all. For the next decade I was caught up in a circle of domestic abuse that culminated when Dwayne committed some dastardly deeds that I don’t speak aloud. I lost everything including my home, my car, and all of my possessions. I was destitute. Worst of all, I lost custody of my infant and toddler child when he kidnapped the children and filed for custody. I was devastated and so depressed that I wanted to die. I’d hit rock bottom.” Before she could finish, Nicole interjected.

“Wow. I must say, I’m not often surprised by what I hear, but your story is exceptional. How did you manage to go on?” Nicole rushed on without waiting for Bonnie’s response. “My apologies for interrupting. Please continue.”

“Through divine intervention.” Bonnie closed her eyes and reigned in her emotions. She’d never cease to be overwhelmed with gratitude that she’d had her faith to lean on and couldn’t imagine how people did go on without it. “And through determination to put my good education and teaching experience to use. I maximized rock bottom and made it the firm foundation upon which I built the rest of my life. I was able to work my way up into a position as director at a day care center and not only regained custody of the children but was able to take them to school with me every day. Ultimately I decided to pursue an advanced degree and now get to live out my purpose every day in my dream job.” Bonnie paused, and then concluded,  “So, I maximized rock bottom to not only build the rest of my life, but to build the best of my life.”

For what seemed like minutes to Bonnie but was actually only a few seconds, Nicole didn’t say anything. When she finally did, she cleared her throat and told Bonnie in a voice thick with unshed tears, “Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing that with me. I’d love to have you tell me the rest of your story, but must adhere to the selection process. You’ll  receive an email with the next question should you make it to the next round.”

“I appreciate that,” Bonnie replied as her heart sunk. Nicole sounded close to tears alright. Tears of boredom! I talked too long and nearly put her to sleep. Trying to keep from crying herself, Bonnie thanked Nicole for her time and consideration and ended the call.

Frustrated with herself, Bonnie told Loveday, “Well, that’s the end of that,” but had to eat her words a few minutes later when her phone pinged letting her know she had an email. Opening it and seeing it was Nicole did get Bonnie crying. Tears of joy!

Please stay tuned for Post 2. Thank you!

~Pink Collar Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Collar Coach Stance on Gender Equity and Inclusion

Pink Collar Coach Stance on Gender Equity and Inclusion

Well, the good news is I didn’t get sued today for improper use of Shutterstock images. The bad news is, I’ve been involved in a project that prevented me from doing the necessary research on whether the images that state they are free really are. Here’s hoping I can find out tomorrow and avoid any lawsuits…

Day 70 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was still a productive one. It caused me to seriously contemplate my stance on gender equity and inclusion so I could write a statement on it. Here’s my first draft:

Equity and Inclusion Statement

As a lifelong advocate of others, I hold the core values of dignity and respect toward all people. I believe in, am committed to and promote equity, fairness and social justice. These principles should apply to all individuals and groups without exception due to age, ancestry, citizenship, class, color, disability or special need, economic class, ethnicity, faith, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, social class or any other identity representation. Diversity is to be cultivated, embraced, fostered and nurtured at all times.

When diversity awareness and inclusion are part of a culture, be it a community, an educational setting or the workplace, the unique value each member contributes enhances the experience of all. The collective knowledge, perspectives, skills, strengths, and talents of a diverse group enrich collaboration and increase innovation. And when all are treated with dignity and respect, and as valuable members of the group, rather than the differences causing conflict, they result in cohesion and maximum effectiveness.

Being a minority female who has experienced gender inequity, exclusion and discrimination my entire life, I intentionally educate, engage, empower and equip others with the tools to build a more equitable and inclusive world that is a better place in which all can live, learn and love.

I’ll do some more work on it tomorrow before submitting, but feel like I’m close…

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who is also a faith-filled, melting pot, in a mixed race marriage, with a big fat blended family and biracial children, gender equity and inclusion are ever-present forces at work in my life and those of the ones I love. That being the case, though some other projects didn’t get done, I’m glad seriously contemplating my stance on this complex social issue did.

If you had to state your stance on  gender equity and inclusion, what would it be?

 

Pink Collar Coach’s Range of Emotions

Pink Collar Coach’s Range of Emotions

I’ve felt a range of emotions on Day 70 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project. Rather than try to describe them all, I found this perfect visual which beautifully depicts the high, the low and some of the in-between. Being a wife, mom, professional woman, and creative person can have ups and downs. All of these can wear on women.  That seems to be the case with this illustrated young woman. While she does not always look happy, she does appear to have joy. It’s there beneath the surface, despite the other emotions at play.

The difference is that happiness is contingent on circumstances. Joy comes from being content, no matter than circumstances. This pretty Pink Collar Chick and I have that in common.

If I had any artistic talent to draw my own illustrations for my blog, especially now that I’m finally writing short stories, my artwork would look like this. Since I can’t, I’ve been using what I sincerely hope are royalty-free images from Shutterstock. I did my research and this came up as being free, then it appeared it may not be. I was going to sign up and pay an annual subscription fee to use, but to be honest, I need to think on that tonight. So for now, I’m using the Shutterstock images believing I have permission to and will figure it out in the morning. I’ll share when I do, so it will hopefully answer that question for other bloggers. In the meantime, I can only hope and pray I won’t get sued tomorrow!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who is also my Father’s daughter, I’m so thankful today that in trying to do the right things for the right reasons, but not always knowing how, while I may not know what my tomorrow holds, I know who holds my tomorrow.

 

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic – Smart, Fun, and Confident

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic – Smart, Fun, and Confident

Day 69 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project project provided the opportunity for me to do two things I’ve been looking forward to. The first was an image consultation with a smart, fun, uber professional woman. The second was tag teaming said image consultation with one of the most amazing women I know.

As a Magistrate, Betsy wears a robe two days a week and spends the other days writing decisions and meeting with the public to answer their questions. A practicing attorney prior to moving up to her current role a year ago, she’d just had a baby and was pregnant when she stepped into her new position. With all of the exciting changes in her professional and personal life, Betsy wanted a wash and wear wardrobe, infused with color rather than all black, that would work as hard in both settings as she does.

BEFORE – SMART and FUN

 

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Pink Collar Cute Chick. She looks young but don’t let it fool you. She’s a Magistrate. As a Magistrate, wife, and mother of two little ones, she needed a work wardrobe that can easily make the transition from professional powerhouse to playful parent and partner.

Betsy called the following her clothing rules; I called them her clothing criteria:

  1. Colorful
  2. Comfortable
  3. Professional to Personal life agile (I made that last part up!)
  4. Wash and wear (No dry clean)
  5. Not clingy, itchy, scratchy, see-through, or white

From start to finish, Jen, my partner in Pink Collar Crime, and I were great at tag teaming it. Other than the power suit being dry clean only, we hit it out of the park. And I still count us as batting a thousand because we did find a power suit that was machine washable and Betsy didn’t think it looked power suit enough. Just saying’…While I pulled together the power suit, several blazers, a skirt, a versatile black dress, and several shrugs, Jen rocked it out on the blouses, shells, a statement piece blazer with grommets, and a pink party dress that will be killer for date night, plays and other after five events.

Clothing criteria: Check, check, check, check, and check!

AFTER – SMART, FUN and CONFIDENT

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Pink Collar Confident Chick. Outfit maintains fun vibe while upping the professional ante. Floral sleeveless print blouse is fresh with its the coral and loden green color scheme accented in black  piping. The large scale of the pattern keeps the flowers from being too feminine for the courthouse. Paired with loden green pants and a coral blazer, the look is business casual at its best. Betsy already owns black pumps to wear with this. Switch those out for black flats, remove remove the jacket and she’ll be ready to romp in the park with the kiddos or do dinner w/ hubby.

Jen, Mrs. Plus Ohio 2015, and I both do image consultations and wanted to try doing one together, but neither of us knew how it would go. To our delight and Betsy’s benefit, it couldn’t have gone better! Us thinking it went well is great but Betsy saying more than once that we make a great team – that’s confirmation. Now Jen and I know our plan, not to take over the world, but to simply mess with it, is a good one.

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Pink Collar Chicks after Mission Accomplished!                                                                             Magistrate, Pink Collar Coach, and Jenn, Mrs. Plus Ohio 2015.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick, I believe the Before and After pictures say it all. The former has Betsy posed where the words “fun” and “smart” are visible. Betsy was both of these in spades before our time together. The latter reveals a word that was hidden. The fact that Betsy stated, “I can’t wait to get dressed for work tomorrow”  now shows that she’s smart, fun and confident.