May 2017

Meet Lisa

When you first meet Lisa after reading her story, you find a calm, relaxed demeanour with a great sense of humour. The kind that makes you laugh unexpectedly and without a care. Just a deep, hearty laugh. Lisa is a true inspiration. Her story is a powerful one. One that makes you sit back and realize that every woman has a story. Every mom has a strength inside of them that is drawn on when needed that makes her extraordinary. This, is Lisa.

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( BEFORE )

My name is Lisa and this is my story.

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( AFTER )

Makeup by Harold Santos

Hair Cut, Colour and Styling by Lisa Schoor

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I am a recently separated mom of two fantastic kids. I put my name forward, not because I thought I would be selected, but because it was a chance, an opportunity, a first step forward, in trying to find me again.

The past couple of years have been incredibly difficult, eye-opening, challenging yet empowering at times as well. My husband and I separated in October 2014. It was my decision and it was the right one. I didn’t want my kids growing up thinking that’s what a marriage looked like. I didn’t want my son thinking that’s how he should treat a woman. I didn’t want my daughter thinking that she should let a man treat her that way. I wanted to set a better example.

Life as a single mom is not how I envisioned my life. No one close to me is divorced. It’s hard when no one can fully relate.
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I work full time and have been solely responsible for the well-being of my kids. Time, I’ve come to realize, is precious; it’s limited. I’m up every day at 5:30 and often not getting to bed until 11:00 at night.  Between all the household duties (inside & out), kids activities, my full time job, plus my duties as Chairperson on the board of directors with my kids daycare, there’s never enough time and definitely none for myself. I used to have a small amount of time when my kids would see their dad however, they’ve had no contact with him since November. He didn’t even see or call them at Christmas. I’m doing my best to support them as best I can. Financially, things are tight, but we’re doing what we can. Unfortunately, there’s nothing left for me. But, I’m okay with that as long as my kids have what they need and are happy.  I have such respect for all the single parents out there.

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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
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  Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
 The flip side to this though, is that I’ve realized that everyone, including moms, need some time for themselves. One is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. I had made a comment to my best friend: I’m not living. I’m existing. I feel like I’m on the Titanic and while everyone else is finding safety, I’m sinking and going down with the ship. It was overwhelming and was having an impact on my mental and physical well-being.

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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
 So I entered the contest: for the chance, the opportunity, the first step on the way to finding me again. Thank you for this. Even if I hadn’t been selected, I took the step.  The other 5 incredibly fantastic women I met, also took that step.  My life was changed during this process.  Thank you to these women.  Thank you to Kelly and her talented team of artists (hair, makeup and photography).  This is an experience that won’t be forgotten!

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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
We could not have done this without the help of our community.
A HUGE thank you to Lynette Photographer & Harder Photo Design for these spectacular images! We truly couldn’t have done this without you ladies! The talent you both exude is awesome to see!
 Lennard Taylor for the amazingly crafted articles of clothing! We can’t thank you enough for these fantastic pieces!
Sparrow Events Company for the use of your fantastic space and thank you so very much for the wicked change room! Unexpected and just beyond cool!
Alise Frederic Salon for framing these lovely faces with brow shaping!
Forever 21 for lending us the fun pieces we were able use for this shoot!
Shelley Hook’s Closet for the super cool wardrobe we got to dress these lovely women in for this shoot!
Suzan Kiernicki Style Consultant for the fantastic Stella & Dot pieces.
Our artists Harold Santos, Whitney Dheilly, Chelsea Watson, Lisa Schoor with The Artist Groupe. We are blessed to call you all partners and work with your talent, selflessness and selves every day! Thank you for giving these ladies the pampering and styling they deserved!

Meet Josee

When we first heard Josee’s story, the majority of the judges for the contest were mom’s, so her story resonated so clearly and loudly to many of us.
We so often suffer silently with the daily struggles, expectations and realities of being a parent. The ideas of what being a mom is, are often filled with cuddling babies, walks in the park andcoffee dates while our babies lay sleeping soundly.
The realities can often catch us off guard and shock us to our core.
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( BEFORE )
In meeting Josee, she is a lovely, funny, sweet and kind woman. She exudes a confidence and gives those
around her a feeling of acceptance and courage.
I am so proud that Josee so openly shared her story.
Her story is my story. I hope this touches you as deeply as it has so many of us already. Meet Josee.
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( AFTER )
 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
Josee’s Hair Cut, Colour and Styling by Chelsea Watson
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( AFTER )
 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
I have always struggled with low self esteem, but having my son was a completely different spiral for me.  I felt I couldn’t do anything right.
I felt criticized and judged during my mat leave. I struggled with leaving
the house and participating in any “mommy and me” groups or even
just going for a walk.  I thought it was normal to feel this way,
but I saw my friends who had also recently had their kids and didn’t seem to be struggling as much as I was.  This only deepened my feeling of inadequacy
as a mother, and a person.  Nothing was clear, everything just seemed off and I didn’t know why.
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
Coming back to work was even more difficult.  I wasn’t the same.
I couldn’t do the things I used to be able to do. I wasn’t as efficient, or organized.
I didn’t have the same memory and in my job, I relied heavily on those things.
This, combined with leaving my child with a stranger (daycare), the loss of control over my day to day life was just too much.
I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.  I truly felt like I was sinking.
I tried everything, but never fully committed to anything looking back on it now. Cleaner diets, exercise, seeing my doctor.
I pushed myself to be everything to everyone and to still try to be that person
I used to be and still manage everything else in my life to the level
I used to be able to.
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I couldn’t. It was impossible, but I couldn’t let it go.
I just couldn’t give myself permission, it felt like if I did, it would be just another failure.
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There came a point where I had to take time off work, seek help from my
doctor/counselor and even then continued to struggle for months with symptoms of Post Partum Depression.
I still have my bad days, but I’ve learned to move past them, to not identify with them as much.
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
After being notified that I was picked for this makeover, I was instantly excited.  I hadn’t felt that way about myself in, what felt like, years.  The experience was incredible.  I felt special, I couldn’t believe all the work you guys did to give me this makeover.  I felt your support, I felt loved throughout the whole process, and I didn’t even know you.  It was an eye opener, to see that the world isn’t dark, that I’m not alone, that I’m not judged or criticized.
Looking back now, it feels surreal, like a dream, but I can look in the mirror now and see that person that you brought out on that day and it gives me a boost every morning.  My journey isn’t over, I’m going to battle PPD for a long time but I feel important now, I feel worthy and I feel capable.  You guys did that, what you did for me was more than I could ever express in words.  You have brought me back to life and for that I am truly grateful.
Josee Gordon
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
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 Image by Lynette Giesbrecht
We could not have done this without the help of our community.
A HUGE thank you to Lynette Photographer & Harder Photo Design for these spectacular images! We truly couldn’t have done this without you ladies! The talent you both exude is awesome to see!
 Lennard Taylor for the amazingly crafted articles of clothing! We can’t thank you enough for these fantastic pieces!
Sparrow Events Company for the use of your fantastic space and thank you so very much for the wicked change room! Unexpected and just beyond cool!
Alise Frederic Salon for framing these lovely faces with brow shaping!
Forever 21 for lending us the fun pieces we were able use for this shoot!
Shelley Hook’s Closet for the super cool wardrobe we got to dress these lovely women in for this shoot!
Our artists Harold Santos, Whitney Dheilly, Chelsea Watson, Lisa Schoor with The Artist Groupe. We are blessed to call you all partners and work with your talent, selflessness and selves every day! Thank you for giving these ladies the pampering and styling they deserved!

Meet Bella

Gathering together a group of talented hair and makeup artists, photographers, finding an amazing space and putting together a contest was no easy feat. The coordination it takes to get people on board with what YOU think is a great idea, and something you feel so passionate about, is tricky. It was tough hearing “no” when we just wanted to hear “YES! How do we get on board?!” Every single moment of this experience was amazing for us. Hearing these women’s stories and knowing that we are lifting their spirits, giving them strength, and looking in the mirror with confidence again is the gift we have been given. We give this service freely to help those who need it. It’s a very lucky thing to be given a gift that can be shared to build anyones soul. I truly believe this.
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 When we first read Bella’s story, she hadn’t actually shared her mothers story, nor did we know that her mother had also entered our contest! As fate would have it, and I do believe fate had his hand in this, their stories, while both so very different,  touched us deeply. It wasn’t until after they had both been chosen, that everyone realized that they were actually Mother and Daughter.
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 ( BEFORE )
When I first met Bella, I saw a very quiet and shy young lady, who would do anything to help her mom, to just be with her. I thought it was very endearing. As we met to do fittings, hair cuts and colours, I noticed that with each step, Bella was becoming more and more open. I started to notice a light in her, a humour, someone who enjoyed moving around the room and had a certain spark. It was absolutely lovely to see. It was a pleasure meeting this young lady, who’s heart is clearly worn on her sleeve, and who loves her mother very deeply. Meet Bella!
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( AFTER )
Bella’s Hair Cut, Colour and Styling by Whitney Dheilly
 Makeup & Wardrobe Styling by Kelly Hastman Cherewick
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