Monday, January 30, 2012

Self Esteem... Kick it UP a Notch!

My definition of self-esteem: "An emotional state of mind that is affected by everything around you; the emotion responsible for both success and failure." Synonyms: Confidence, Belief. 

We are all born with it... unscathed self esteem , a very strong confidence, a belief in ourselves that we can be heroes, warriors, princesses, mermaids, ballerinas, etc., etc. So... WHAT HAPPENS? Well, just out of toddler-hood we begin realizing moments of fear, we face competition, ridicule from people our own age and even our peers. We are made fun of, laughed at, and told the things we want to do and become are silly...impossible... or some other false nonsense by people who have failed, been let down, not accomplished what they had hoped at one time or another...and gave up. The vicious cycle of negativity is meant to chew us up and spit us out; and usually it does.

Not everyone is able to ward off these negative energies, even when they WANT to. They are programmed so deeply that it is like pouring alcohol into open wounds to have them read a book on positive thinking and actually believe what they are reading is true and possible. They can post sticky notes all over the house with positive affirmations and still walk around with a hanging head and never believe they are of any value no matter how many compliments they get. It's sad, but true. It works for some and not for others.

Have you ever given a compliment to someone such as "wow, you look great" and they come back with something like, "oh goodness, I look awful, I have gained ten pounds and my hair is turning gray." Or better yet, have you BEEN the person that is guilty of jack-slapping a compliment given to you? That my friend, is damaged self esteem... disbelief and lack of confidence. I know... I used to be a jack-slapper. I had a hard time taking a compliment, I almost always unintentionally offended the person giving it by contradicting it with some ridiculous negative belief of myself. I have also had a problem asking for help because for many years I felt that was admitting I could not do something, which in turn made me a failure. ( PS> I am still working on this one) This false belief stemmed from an experience years ago when I got pregnant a few months after graduation. My Dad told me I would end up on welfare and never achieve my goals, and although I decided to prove him wrong as soon as the words left his mouth, a part of my mind was programmed to believe that asking for help was admittance of failure; and it's not. ( he was not abusive... he was upset.) However the words did abuse my mind, and words and experiences abuse our minds EVERYDAY! We must empty our mental suitcases and clear our heads of the "stinky clothes" each and every day in order to overcome and keep our self-belief as high as we can.

After 21 years as a cosmetologist I have counseled hundreds of clients.... I feel like a well trained race horse on the subject of Psychology. For years, I have read books on the human mind, how it works and how things affect the way our brains are programmed. I have learned how to read a person in minutes... because I have to. I meet strangers all of the time and I must in minutes know how that person will react to something I say or do, and I must know what they need, because I can tell you... it's not always just a hairstyle. Many times it's a friend, an ear... an opinion, a shoulder... when other times it's to feel beautiful, sexy, handsome and simply worth a damn. It always makes for an interesting day because it is forever changing, and almost always rewarding for me to give them what they need and watch them walk out with a smile. I must admit that at times it is hard not to absorb everything being the kind of compassionate person that I am, but I am always "in tune" I promise you that!

My hope today is that instead of living in a world of hopeless dreams, impossibilities, shattered memories and useless people, that you choose to KICK IT UP A NOTCH and do everything you possibly can to live your dreams, see life as a world of opportunity and possibilities, realize that NOBODY is useless if someone believes in them, and that memories are there to help us grow even when they are bad ones. Last but not least, if someone pays you a compliment today, tomorrow or next week, just say thanks and smile...

Have a fantastic Monday everyone! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thankful I Had Today...

I intended on blogging about something completely different tonight, however after my 24 hour break from Facebook, I signed on to find out that a classmate of mine died this morning along with her 5 year old son in a house fire. My gears immediately switched into a different mind set.

Shirley Hill was an amazing person with a heart of gold, a smile that lit up a room and a laugh that was truly infectious. We were friends in school; and it was so sad to hear that she is gone and even more devastating that her youngest son passed away with her. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with those they left behind.

So often, we are quick to wake up and dread certain tasks that we are faced with, we shudder at the thought of the possibility of having a "bad day", but it is times like this that I thank God that I had today, despite anything negative or inconvenient that may have happened. I got to tuck my kids in and kiss them on the cheeks, relax on the couch, and goof off online; that can never be a bad thing in the grand scheme of things. As I go to sleep tonight, I will make a special request that this family find peace... as I know all too well what it is like to lose a loved one; it will be 31 years this August that my sister passed away. Kiss your loved ones and tell them thanks for being a part of your life and when you wake up tomorrow just know that it's one more day that you can appreciate and live to it's fullest potential.

Never under appreciate a breath of fresh air....
In loving Memory

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inspiring Minds Want to Know...

As I sit here tonight, I have been reading over my manuscript ... again (my memoir for those who are unaware) and it never fails. No matter what mood I am in when I read it, I am inspired, touched, cry and laugh throughout the entire thing. I still cannot believe as I read, that all of this happened to one person.... Oh wait! It was ME that it happened to. Now some of you may say... ahhh there she goes, blowing up her balloon again, for sales of her book... but I must stop you DEAD in your tracks and say, nope... sorry you could not be more wrong! 

 I am not doing this for the money... I just hope that when other people read it they get the same feelings that I do; I read it as a reader, not the author of the book. Granted, making money will be a perk and for my children it will begin a legacy, but my intention and mission is to inspire and motivate people with the stories of my life. I started book # 2 today and that is pretty exciting. I weave and bob all of this into my very busy life because it is important to me, and I enjoy it... even if I am a walking Zombie; I am a happy one and makeup covers dark circles ;)

I found out today that I will be in print in roughly 4 months and that is SO exciting! Self promotion is a BIG key to success in this ocean of author guppies and I began over a year ago posting excerpts from each chapter as I wrote my book on my Facebook fan page. I am hovering at about 287 fans tonight but have much more activity according to my insights which tells me what is REALLY going on. I am excited... elated actually, and it is all surreal. I am making choices that will lead me to my dreams, and you can do the same. I have NOT had it easy, I have struggled... and still do; but I never gave up and I never will. 

In honor of my excitement, I am going to begin posting random excerpts from my book here on my blog in hopes of gaining interest, and gathering up some new fans. (I need someone to be standing in lines at my book signings, so please save me from the embarrassment and share with friends if you like what you see) So... as appropriate as I feel it is, my first excerpt I choose to share with you ... my followers... (aka drinkers of my Kool-aid) are the very first words of my book.... and if it leaves you wanting more... click here and take the time to scroll back to the beginning of my fan page (it's shorter than the yellow brick road) and read upwards. (I am sure you have done worse things with your time and I PROMISE you will gain something from it) 
Thanks to all of you who read, join my blog and choose follow me on the journey to 
"My Happy Ending".... 
XOXO  ~ Shells~

"I Need the Happy Ending" by Shelley Giard

August 5th, 1985

“Dear Diary,
 Today, I haven’t had a bad day. I have just been thinking that four years ago today, my sister Teresa died. I loved her a lot. And I miss her. I can’t believe it has been that long since she has been gone. I just wish that I could see her and talk to her like I used to, but I know I can’t unless I die. But I don’t want to die yet. I just want to see her again. “
(Sad, but too young to die)

I was just 10 years old; a sad little girl mourning the death of my sister on the very first page of my very first diary… on the 4 year anniversary of her death. I wondered as I re-opened this diary 25 years later, why I chose that day to scribble my first thoughts ever onto paper. I was overcome with the feeling that maybe this event; this inscription was simply a beginning to my eventual end; how writing on this day was not a thought in my conscious mind at all. It was in fact a purposeful moment on the long and rugged path which led me to where I am today. It became a testament to my belief that we all have a destiny… a plan that was decided for us, and it is up to us to play it out one day at a time just as it is presented.  It is my belief that tragic events which happen, even those in the life of a young little girl, can, and most likely will… impact your life forever. It is only those with the undying tenacity to overcome the obstacles of life’s laughter that are able to reap the benefits of what it means to keep going so that you may find and embrace the happy ending that awaits us all. This was the beginning of my journey…

"Choose the high road because the low road sees no sunshine." SGIARD2012


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soapbox Moment...

Children... the future of every generation, the fuel for many fires, the chuckle of many conversations and the tender in many moments. I have four... I should know. I love them all equally, yet differently. I am there when they need me but not when they don't. I am a career mom, and have been beat up and frowned upon for that in the past and even get a sneer or two even now. My not being a "soccer mom" has not scarred them, damaged them, nor has it decreased their self esteem or made them feel unloved. In fact, it has been good for them, made them more independent, and teaches them that you have to fend for yourself at times, not such a bad thing in my opinion, and certainly will help them in the real world.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I ADORE my children. And most of all THEY know. I am an advocate for all of them and would throw myself in front of a train for them (despite my fear of being hit by a train). They mean the world to me, I am their protector...their mentor... their Mom. I don't coddle them simply because I feel that would ruin them, but I love them and do all I can to make them happy healthy and feeling like they can accomplish ANYTHING. When I was a youngster, we got paddled in school when we did not behave, we had to write 100 times I will be good... I will do my homework... granted, I am sure there were sick control-happy freak-a-zoids who abused this ability to hand down punishment, and parents who overreacted to it's endorsement which eventually prevented it from happening, leading us to where we are today. (WHEW out of breath on that one)  BUT... I can honestly say that the level of disrespect kids and teens have towards peers at home, in school and the workplace today was prevented by a Wiffle ball-style paddling, a nose to the chalkboard, or a big fat YOU'RE FIRED back in my day!

I feel that things are getting a little ridiculous with the "don't hurt their self esteem" topic. (and that is coming from a person who loves to BUILD self-esteem.) Self esteem is not damaged by rules, nor is it damaged by proper spankings, losing a game, getting a bad grade, being told that something they are doing is not necessarily their strength, and especially not by being told no. Of course... this whole bloggy-rant was stemmed by an incident... which I will now share.

Out in the open, no shame to my game... my daughter got lice twice in December and after a week back in school after winter break, she got it again. When I called the school (furious to the point of big clouds of cartoon smoke shooting out of my ears) to ask why this was such a problem, I was told that a child in her class had been sent home a few days before with lice and another was reported back in December. When I asked WHY I did not get a note saying that there was a lice issue in her classroom, I was told that they are not "allowed" to send notes home notifying parents. WHAT???? Not "allowed?" by whom? I asked, to which I was swiftly told "the Health Department will not let us send notes home due to the privacy and protection of the children." I was BAFFLED and honestly lost my cool on that note... no need to give the details... let's just say I was stern yet respectful and left them no question as to how I felt.

Protection of my child would be to notify me that there is an issue in her classroom, so I would know to check her and treat her before itching begins. I am not asking for the name, address and phone number of the child who had it so I can go beat them up or paint them with a scarlet "L"... I am simply asking to be notified so that I can PROTECT my child. For 21 years as a stylist, I have always been the one everyone came to to ask what to do when this happened to their children, and of course I told them what to do because I was trained on what to do. I never had to do it myself until now... and I must say I wish it on nobody. What is damaging to the self esteem of my child is having to be mortified that she has lice and thinking that SHE did something wrong. Having nightmares and being FREAKED out every time the poor child has an itch.

I experienced head checks, rode my bike without a helmet, played outside without worrying, bounced around in a car without a seat belt on long road trips, ate dirt, was told I was no good at things, lost games, did not get the trophy or the ribbon every time, and my self esteem is fine. I did not need counseling, I was not suicidal, nor did I ever need medication or feel worthless. I grew up knowing that things happen and you deal with them... it's part of life.

Moral of this story? 
Don't think for a minute that society is doing our kids a favor and help fight for what is right... not what is "politically correct". 
PS> I apologize if you are itching now... it's only psychological, no worries!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Models, Makeup and Madness... Left Me Feeling Like a Crack-Addict!

It's been a GREAT week so far. Two days of creating looks for an upcoming book by Scott Kelby...  and one full day of wardrobe shopping for another week of shoots with Kelby Media next week. Downside is that the models, makeup and madness (madness being I have two sniffling, hacking, under-the-weather kids this week on top of it all) inhibited my blogging... and that my friends left me feeling like a crack addict without a pipe. Crack addict on steroids is more like it because despite the sad no blogging state I was in,  I love what I do so much I want more more more... I need help for sure. A bus stat,bells, rubber walls, meals through a slot in the door...

I began this blog to have fun sharing my stories of day to day life, to inspire people, make people laugh and hell... even cry from time to time. What can I say? I enjoy pulling emotions out of people for no apparent reason to help them get in "touch with themselves" is that such a bad thing? I have stories... I think they are interesting (at least to me they are) and so I blog. I had NO idea I would miss this silly typing frenzy when my schedule did not permit me to log in and and click away; after all, I never considered myself having an addictive personality, but perhaps I was wrong. For two days, I have missed it... unable to get to my computer for any length of time, too busy (and impatient) to try and do this from my phone so I was left jotting notes of what I was going to write my next blogs about. And then WHAM! I get on tonight to catch up on reading other blogs I read on here (see blogs I read on homie-page) as well as write one of my own based on the "jotted notes" and realized that my dear friend Kellie, (who is the funniest person I know may I add) had blogged on the exact topic I had jotted down. Of course she does not read minds (or maybe she does and I did not know it) but I have not talked to her in about two weeks, maybe it was just telepathy, or the old great minds think alike. Early-bird gets the worm and she beat me to the punch! ARGH! Oh well, she is awesome who cares!!!

Her blog is funny... darn funny, it makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. She started hers after me, and she has many more followers... should I be jealous? She is also going to school to be a hair stylist which is what I do, and she will be good, I have no doubt. If not, her personality will keep people paying
(not to mention her pretty face)  I need more followers too, just like her  (this is the topic I jotted down ("humorous blog about getting more followers") that she coincidentally wrote about. Like her, I won't beg (at least not in an obvious way) but if you are reading (and I know you are, I see the stats and there are WAY more than 4 of you reading) I will ask you to become a follower, I am the cult leader and you need to drink the kool-aid, get it?  And then pass it to your thirsting friend next to you (aka share it). While you are at it, follow Kellie too, because well... I like to help people (especially if I like them) it's how I roll, and because she is funny! My friend Andrea is also a fellow blogger, a funny sarcastic proud mom of an amazing son with autism and well they are cool, I only hang with cool people.

I have a book coming out later this year and in my research I found that a blog gone viral can only help with book sales. I love to write... and share... and vent... so here it is all wrapped into this page that is of now one in a gagillion, and all I am asking is that you help me out if you like it by making me feel good and "follow" me. It's good for the heart and inspires me to write more. So.... you know what to do. There is NO easy button when you are trying to self- promote and become a "somebody" in the world of authors, or in the world at all for that matter... so I need all the help I can get!  Meanwhile here are a few pics from my week so far at a glance. Keep reading and I will keep posting!

MONDAY: Behind the scenes with Scott Kelby for his new book

 TUESDAY: Behind the scenes with Scott 

WEDNESDAY: Cant Post pics SHHHH but next week is going to be a VERY COOL 
week of shooting with NY fashion photographer
Lindsay Adler for Kelby Training!



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hot Guys Never Date Ugly Girls...

I have NO idea why I decided to blog on this topic, it's just a funny observation I suppose and although my passion is truly to inspire people, sometimes I must allow that silly, analytical side to come out and tonight was one of those nights. I am baffled at the things I see people-watching and this has always been the most interesting one of all.

You are at the mall, (best place to people watch) and two out of three couples that walk by leave that question mark in your head... what the??? Beautiful girl, ugly guy (or old) and our mind automatically says... money, he must have money. Fake "parts", expensive clothing, beautiful hair and a $2000 purse, yep... money. Do you ever wonder why it's never the other way around? I mean seriously, when is the last time you saw a gorgeous guy dressed in Armani, sporting a TagHeuer, and Di Bianco Scarpe Italian leather shoes with an unattractive, wrinkly woman with thinning hair 30 years older than him? Yep... never and if you DID you would assume he was blind not that she was rich. Or better yet that she was pretty when they started dating. Do you ever say... "well he must have been handsome or hot when they started dating" ... NO, you don't. Yet another double standard? Probably, because simply put... 

Hot guys never date ugly girls.

~The End~

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Wise Old Woman Once Said.....

 The 80-something year old lady that I met at the bank today while waiting to speak with a CSR about some statement copies I needed; and now... a person I will never forget. ( I just love stories like this by the way)

Being a Friday, the bank was crowded and just as I sat down, this attractive little white-haired woman sitting across from me who was completely put together whispered "come here" and... I did. I said to her "hi there, do you need something?" and she replied, "well, I figured since we were just sitting here, we could chat." I smiled and sat down next to her as she began to ask me my name. We sat there for a few minutes playing 20 questions and in that few minutes she learned that I had four kids, two divorces and what I did for a living. I learned that she had three kids that all lived a long way away, one grandchild, and a husband named Charles.

She went on to tell me that she used to be an electrolysis technician and that she had "the smoothest legs in Spring Hill" to which I smiled at the cuteness of that statement. She also told me that she learned long ago that if you don't want to have sex with a man all you have to do is tell him you have not shaved your legs. (I died laughing on that one!) She went on to tell me about Charles; how handsome and wonderful he was, how he never spoke cross words to her and how he always respected her and told her how beautiful she was. As she pulled out the loose picture of him she had tucked away in her purse, I looked at this handsome man and smiled. Her head dropped as she said, "he has been gone since 2001, and I miss him so."

At that moment I looked up from the picture and said, "I bet he misses you too." I could see the pain in her face and water was building up in her eye as I asked her if she lived alone. She said, "yes, I would really love a male companion... no sex, just a friend" I asked her if she went out with girlfriends at all and she said "no, not much." as she blankly stared ahead. She was called by the banker and as she got up, she turned and said, "can you give me a push?" I helped her up and she smiled, "it was nice to chat Shelley, thank you." I said "likewise" and she walked away.

I ended up getting finished at the same time as her and we walked out together. We chatted a bit more and then I asked her if I could take her picture. She laughed as she told me that she did not take good pictures and I assured her that it would be beautiful. I explained to her that I was a writer and that I "blogged" (of course I had to explain what that meant) and told her that I wanted to share meeting her with my readers. She was flattered and allowed me to take a photo of her. (then asked to see it for approval.)

What was so cool about this whole experience was that I filled a void for her, she wanted to "chat", and it was a great chat. However what she did for me was better. I saw first hand what true love looks like when I saw the look in her eyes as she showed Charles to me. She made me laugh, and inspired me to write about meeting her. The most valuable thing I got out of this was that being old and alone is sad, and that we should never take those who are close to us for granted. Not to mention I now know a logical excuse if I don't want to have sex with a man! HAHA! 

I also want to add that everything happens for a reason... cliche' as it may be, it is so true. The bank I went to today was a bank I no longer bank with, but needed copies from a closed account and just happened to have a few minutes between clients to go get them printed. Coincidence? I think not... 

I just love old people, I always have and Julie was certainly no exception. 

Moral of this story?
You never know what a moment of your time can do for someone else
 but if you offer it your heart may be touched in a way you never thought possible.

Belief Can Change the World One Drug Addict at a Time...

As I sit here tonight, eyes nearly crossed from only four hours of sleep and two days of tax preparation for this self employed guru; my wheels still continue to turn and I am beginning to wonder if I need help for that. Passion is what has always driven my wheels and my passions were set on fire today by a phone call I received from an old friend after I wrote encouraging words on his Facebook page.

I always post positive things on my own page; something inspiring, encouraging, or funny because we all hear enough negative over the course of a day that my contribution to that would be deemed unnecessary cruelty. I also realize just how powerful words can be, so I make it a point to regurgitate sincere thoughts on the pages of others when I see a post that triggers me to say something. I have only been triggered negatively a few times on Facebook and did not refrain from saying something diplomatic at those moments either.

When I was growing up, I had a rough time. I had moved to a southern state from Massachusetts and well... never quite fit in. It was over these many years that I learned just how badly you could be affected by people who chose not to accept or believe in you. It was then I decided that no mater what I did, it would be  something that would lift the spirits of others. I also made the decision to prove all my nay-sayers wrong by never taking my mind off of my dreams to succeed.

You see... we all make mistakes, some are more severe than others, but everyone deserves to be heard and everyone deserves another chance. We all have a story, so don't be so quick to judge without hearing it; open-minded I might add. For the past two years, I have worked with Help Portrait; a Non-Profit Organization that puts together a professional photo shoot one day a year for the less fortunate. It has been an amazingly gratifying event that I have witnessed changing lives. I was involved with a group that goes to rehab centers for drug addiction and I learned that people who have been addicted to drugs are rarely believed in by anyone once they try to get clean. It was an awakening for me hearing the stories of some of the people I met.

Many people believe that once a druggie always a druggie... I say NOT so. I will say however that often it is the case when someone has spent time in prison for drugs and that is where I feel I can enlighten you now that I have met several people with these stories. Close your eyes and picture this... you were young and stupid, you got involved with drugs and got caught. You go to jail, lose your kids, spend your time and get out ready to change your life. Nobody will hire you because you have drug charges... you can't get help going back to school because you have drug charges, your kids are in foster care and you have no chance of getting them back because you have drug charges. All you want to do is become a better person, but everyone around you distrusts you, assuming all drug addicts are liars and thieves and cannot be trusted. You continue to keep trying to make it  and prove yourself but fail because nobody will give you a chance. Hmmm what happens? You give up and travel down the same road that everyone assumes you are still on anyway.

New scenario... same scenario as above except this. You get out of jail wanting to turn your life around, you seek help and you get it. You find a job with an employer that gives you a chance to prove yourself and encourages you to stay clean by offering you incentives to do so,  promotions... raises etc. What happens? Five years later you are making great money, you believe in yourself and have others around you believing in you too because you are so dedicated. A life of drugs seems so distant and you don't want to ever risk losing what you have now earned. Why? Because a person who has been in jail has learned that life is short, they take nothing for granted and unless they are a sociopath (different lesson altogether) they DON'T want to go back.

In the past two weeks, I have had two people from my past who have spent the last ten or more years in prison reach out to me on Facebook. I encouraged both to never give up. I believe in them and hope that enough people around them will do the same. These are good people who made big mistakes and they do not deserve to be judged. Only one person has the right to do that. They both lost their mom's while sitting in jail and they wanted nothing more than to talk to someone and connect being that for 10 or more years they had no connections at all. I am very glad that I took the time out of my crazy schedule for these two people and I hope that something I may have said helps them believe in themselves enough to not become a statistic. I must say that it was also nice to get a phone call rather than a text... kind of the same feeling I get when I get a hand written letter! <3

Moral of this story?
Belief can change the world... one person at a time. 

Recovering drug addicts at the Help Portrait event 2011
I sent them a Christmas card with this picture and wrote on it 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guidance, Advice, Encouragement and Love.... Nothing Less!

I have been a mother for half of my life, ( I had to check the math on that)... yep, 19 years to be exact! (ugh, lets not even go there okay?) It is by far the hardest position I have ever held and even after 4 children (quite the seasoned one now) I am still not the perfect parent. I still have moments that I want to lock myself (or them) in a closet and pretend that none of the things surrounding me are actually happening. Then of course there are those tender moments ( like when my 3 year old son randomly gives me a hug and says "I love you SOOO much Mom" or when my littlest one at 2 smiles at me so huge that I can't see anything else... or when my oldest; now in her second year of college sends me a card to say that she has no idea what she would do without me... or when my 10 year old daughter tells me I am the best mom ever) that make me realize that being a parent is pretty awesome despite its moments of borderline insanity and exhaustion.

As a young mom, I made a baffling amount of mistakes;  and being a single mom trying to find that "puzzle piece that was missing in our lives" (or so I thought) certainly did not help me make mother of the year material at times. I have yelled at my children when I was overworked and tired trying to keep food in their mouths and clothes on their backs and they tested patience I did not have; I have made bad judgement calls and have certainly given the wrong advice more than once. However, there are four things that I have always given them (even on bad days) and those 4 things are guidance, my best advice, encouragement and love. I try hard to never go to bed angry with them... I go in their rooms kiss them goodnight and if something negative happened I talk briefly about it and let them know that I love them no matter what... that I WANT to be their friend but HAVE to be their mom.

We can't save them from the experiences we had and we can't shelter them from all the bad things lurking around out there, even if our natural instinct is to do just that. Protection of our children has over the years become more of enabling them to not have a mind of their own. And that is certainly no favor to future employers, spouses, or to them for that matter.What we need to do is to teach them how to cope when times get tough, (because they will) how to make educated decisions, and how to be independent. Chances are they will only follow a miniscule amount of what we try to cram into their heads before going into the "big world"; however when they make a mistake that has something to do with advice we gave them... our words will resonate every time.

Tonight, as I was enjoying some mindless leisure... a friend reached out on Facebok and I did not see the post until my last sign on for the night (just before I was planning to hit the pillow at 12:30 a.m might I add) As soon as I saw the post... I knew I had to take the time to offer my advice despite the fact that I had burning eyes and a tired brain. Then once my message was sent, it triggered this blog post and well... that's how it happens.  So.... I beat the sheep with a stick for a minute then continued on by typing this post thinking that someone else may need it to.

All kids put the cart before the horse because they have no idea what else to do. It's the struggle of wanting  to be all grown up and still needing us... their parents (although that is the last thing they will EVER admit.)
The point of all this rambling is this... we made mistakes ( personally I made lots) and that is how we grew. We want to protect our kids from making the same ones, however if we do that are we doing a good thing or keeping them from growing up tough like we have? Let them spread their wings a little, let them be who they are and help them find who that is exactly by allowing certain oddities to come out (C'mon, didn't you ever wear a ridiculous outfit or style your hair funny?) In order to find who they are, they have to be who they are and trust me... as long as they are not seriously hurting themselves, hurting others, or doing something seriously illegal... ( I am Shelley and I have gone over the speed limit and drank alcohol before I was of age) they will live and learn from it all.  

I remember when my oldest was in middle school trying to find her "place" and began talking in "ghetto slang". It drove me NUTS! A blond- haired blue-eyed girl talking ghetto was the goofiest thing ever... so what did I do? I got mad, told her I would take her cell phone, ground her, yada yada (none of which worked) and then I had a eureka moment.. I talked her talk... yup, around her friends and everything I began talking "ghetto" too so she could see how ridiculous she sounded. Lucky for me, my twisted version of reverse psychology worked. 

Our job is to give them guidance and love and be there to pick them up when they fall...(because they will). Then, when they are wrong... (and they will be many times) and you end up right...  (parent's always are), they will call you for advice on how to urinate at some point. Watch what you ask for! HAHA!

Meanwhile, enjoy those hugs and kisses because they will turn into dirty looks and attitudes... 
and never stop loving them!
(even when they drive you insane)


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Amazing Things Happen... Really They Do!

For years I considered my self "un-lucky"; I never even bought lottery tickets for fear that somehow I would get the ticket that would cause me to owe someone rather than win anything. The black cloud seemed to be smothering me because it got bored just hovering over; and despite my positive, optimistic yet somewhat analytical attitude... I managed to trek on in hopes of that "ending" that would make it all worth while. Just  two short years ago, even I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen. I began allowing myself to get sucked in by an overwhelming feeling of defeat. After all... that's easy.

However, something that I have always done made me snap out of it and overcome the drowning I was experiencing... and that was the power of words; yep...the books that I often took out in times when I felt swallowed up... I would pull them out just as I was spiraling down the throat of nothingness; and just as always; it worked again. What was this amazing book you ask? Well... it was the book of "me"... the numerous journals that I have kept since I was 10; the very emotions poured out onto the plate of paper that lay before my pen in my times of need. My journals were my reminder that no matter how hard it gets; and how many mistakes you make, it always gets better. I had the proof right there in front of me in MY own words; not someone else's that was luckier than me; not someone who had more time, more money, more freedom... less worry, less children or less energy. It was MY personal roller coaster, my happy moments, my fearful, upsetting, shameful, sad and vulnerable moments all wrapped up page by page. THAT is what kept me going.

As I reflect at this very moment on the last two years; I sigh, smile and even tear up a little at how drastically things have changed for me simply because I put my focus on growth...  I seriously said GO! GO! GO! Shelley, and don't stop till you get there! I became my own cheerleader and did not care if anyone believed I could do it or not because I had the belief and that is all that matters when you are trying to grow. Now, I am finally beginning to exhale. Life still has it's ups and downs, and I know it always will;  but the greatest thing I've learned is that flat roads are boring  leaving you with no anticipation of a climb to the top... so I choose the bumpy, windy road that will lead to my exciting and hopeful Happy Ending... I encourage you to do the same! The road less taken is the road you want to be on unless of course you want to be where everyone else is.

Keep your head high and set your goals higher... the mountainous journey will be worth it!

This actually hung above my desk for the past two years! 
I wrote this in permanent magic marker instead of dry erase so I could not make it "disappear"
if I felt I was not achieving... as I had hoped. Try it, it works!

Have a great night!

I must add a P.S. to this blog! HAHA I love how irony works!  
Just as I was posting the picture above I hit the wrong button and lost my screen... when I came back, this blog post was gone! I was sick to my stomach and wanted to cry... 
I was in such a groove and then POOF! UGH! ARGH! 
However... (haha) being the me that I am, I started recreating it as well as I could from memory  instead of hurling my computer across the room which was my first instinct. 
Then suddenly I said to myself... WAIT... um hello? It had to be saved as a draft or something right? I searched and searched on this blog dashboard and guess what??? I found the draft! 
Guess my "luck" HAS changed! YAY! 

 UP-FROM-HERE? (Let's hope!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Football, Fun & Photography

As the weekend slowly comes to an end, I breathe in all of the awesomeness it brought to my week. It was a jam-packed week for sure with numerous photo shoots and otherwise business, but I would not have it any other way. I love working with amazing photographers who share an absurd creative vision. I made a client feel "alive" again with a brand new hairstyle and color and then surprised her with a makeup application to make a tired mother of two add "sexy" back to her vocabulary. Then there was movie night with my friend-girls some exciting football, and possibly finding our new house. I am filled to the brim with smiles and could not be happier right now.  

Learn to appreciate the littlest things; I am telling you! ... the moments where you may do nothing much but can still smile and feel that life is good. Sometimes we are so busy being swallowed up by the things we are NOT happy with that we forget that we are otherwise blessed with many small moments that can teach us to appreciate it all in stride. I hope this weekend was good for everyone, and if not... take a step backwards and look with a critical eye for what you can do to make the week ahead and awesome one! 

Love you all! xoxo

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mean People? Nope, No Time for Them.

You know the type... the kind of people who love to ruin your day by saying or doing something obnoxious that crawls under your skin and takes a nap? I have met them, honked at them, cursed at them, and have even entertained a few with useless banter because I just could not help myself, and guess what? Every time I got angry back my day WAS ruined... their mission? ACCOMPLISHED.

 Avoid mean people like the next big infectious disease... because frankly that is what they are. Anger is a funny emotion, once it comes over you, it consumes you. It can make even the most rational person irrational if buttons are pressed correctly. It is possibly the easiest emotion to get out of most people while others never show any sign of it.

What's the difference? Well... people who are short tempered, anger easily and love to ruin your day with actions and words that are hateful and mean are typically not rational people nor are they happy people. Being mean gives them a sense of accomplishment... a demented sort of self worth. They have little patience with anything and handle stress like aN elephant handles china. The aromatic aura they put off when they walk in a room resembles that of a dumpster in mid summer and the stench never seems to go away.

When you work with these people, are related to these people, or married to these people it can suck the life out of you and quite possibly never give it back. What do you do? Well... you don't let them get to you. That is much easier said than done but if you allow them to get to you, they have won. The bully in school is always satisfied when they know they broke you down, that is their mission, the key is to let them lose. If you have to bite your tongue and walk away... do it, because when you don't, you have entered the point of no return by feeding the hungry bear and while he stands with a full belly you are left raging, squandering and completely useless until you calm down.

There is something to be said about turning the other cheek and killing someone with kindness or better yet... ignoring them all together!

Here's to leaving mean people on the curb waiting for a cab!
Have a great night! 

Sometimes you just can't fix it...

I came home last night after a long yet awesome two days of working on a photo shoot and was greeted by my three kids' smiling faces which was awesome as always. Later in the evening, as I was brushing my 10-year-old daughter's hair for bed, she says to me... "Mom, when can I get surgery to fix my eye so I can see out of it, you know connect it to my brain?" I took a deep breath realizing that when I explained that one day she could get surgery to connect her muscles from her "dead eye" to the good one so they would always move together... she apparently thought that she would be able to see out of it too.

My daughter was born with an eye condition; Optic Nerve Hypoplasia of the left eye. Her Optic Nerve did not develop resulting in blindness of the affected eye. When her "dead eye" is fatigued at the end of a day... it tends to drift a bit and when her classmates began noticing this last year, I explained we could eventually get it fixed so it would not be noticeable and she obviously thought this would also fix her vision. After a long pause and with a lump in my throat, I had to tell my daughter that she wold never be able to see out of that eye. As she looked at me with tears rolling, my heart broke.

As parents, our children look at us to "fix" things... and typically we can. We can fix boo boo's and broken toys (sometimes) and even fight a battle or two for them here and there... and they know this about us. It was hard seeing those tears roll; and even harder to tell her that I could not "fix" this for her. I gave her a great big hug and told her not to cry, that everything would be fine and that she was unique because of her eye condition and that being unique is very special. I am not sure it made me feel better but it worked for her and that is all that mattered at that moment.

The moral of this story? Embrace the things that are "unique" about you... nothing and no person is perfect. We are all weird and peculiar in our own ways and have things about us we would like to change, however creating a positive outlook in the qualities that are unique about you  is winning the battle of self consciousness.

May you find a love for the unique things about you!
xoxo ~Shelley~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Chance... that cost me $9.99

I was lying down trying to sleep, and I simply couldn't. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, so excited of the day ahead of me that unless I emptied my brain onto this "virtual paper" I was not going to be able to sleep a wink. Six years ago, I was financially unstable... to the point of being concerned of how I would pay my electric bill  every single month before it was shut off. I was a single mother of two doing everything I could to give my girls the best life possible. I was scraping by week to week but my career was beginning to blossom so I continued to keep my mind on my dreams and off of the bills that were piling up. I had just joined a website a few months prior that was geared for models, photographers, makeup artists and hair stylists... it was a place that you could post your "rap sheet" as well as your portfolio for all to see in hopes of getting paid work. The freelance world of artists is a tough one; it is an ocean full of guppies trying to swim against the current; loads of talent all competing for that one amazing opportunity.

I will never forget the day that hope became a reality for me. You know, the one break that can change your life that only comes around once in a lifetime? My day had been ruined because my clients for the entire next day at the salon had either cancelled or rescheduled leaving my day wide open and pockets empty; I knew that meant I would not have money to pay my bills. I was at home that evening sorting out in my brain how I was going to make up for that lost day when my phone rang. It was a lady inquiring about my availability the next day (the one that had fallen apart) for a last minute photo shoot. She informed me that the photographer had found my portfolio on the website that I mentioned and they thought I would be a perfect fit if I was available. I accepted the offer and showed up the next morning having no idea what it would mean to my life.
That was six years ago, and the "photographer" that had found my profile was Scott Kelby. At the time, I had no idea who he was; when I found out... I knew that this was my moment, my chance, my blessing... my reward.

In high school, my dream was to work with the rich and famous, and today I am living my dream. Through this relationship with Scott, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with some of the best photographers in the country... including him. I am working with "celebrity" photographers, and it is truly surreal. With all the choices he had, he chose me. I will be forever grateful for the chance he gave me, the loyalty he has shown me over the years, the lifelong friendships I have formed, and meeting the love of my life because of this one day.

Tomorrow.... I will be working with one of the top 5 wedding photographers in the world . I am SO blessed and so thankful that I never gave up on my dreams. I will continue to envision new ones and I am sure that I will live those too... all you have to do is never stop trying and never let life keep you down.

Every moment counts... every failure every fall leads to opportunity, we simply have to pay attention so we recognize it. My entire day cancelled... leaving me available for this chance and that one day has forever changed my life. The site's membership fee which I struggled to pay that month was $9.99. I would have to say it was worth it. The photo below was that first job with Scott. :)

Cheers to all of you! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thieves and Liars and Bears... OH MY!

I am one of those people that would give you the shirt off my back, the last dollar in my purse, or anything else for that matter within reason if you needed it and likely even if you just wanted it; IF you ask . Granted, a stranger would not know this about me... so I am thinking I will wear a sign from now on when I go out in public that says JUST ASK ME! Of course I am joking about the sign, but nothing annoys me more than a thief; (well liars are a close second), but thieves are definitely #1 typically they go hand-in-hand.

I am forgetful, and I often misplace things on a daily basis however today this was not the case... I was pick-pocketed, or rather pick-pursed and it left me annoyed which is a feeling I would rather not experience. I woke up on a mission to get out of the house and have a great day of shopping and fun with my kids and my guy,  luckily that mission was accomplished... however while I was video taping my kiddos bungee bouncing at the local mall a lady sitting oddly close to me helped herself to a shopping bag of "makeup magic" goodies that I had just purchased for a three day shoot I was booked for this week in my unzipped purse. Did I actually SEE her do it? No... however I caught a glimpse of her peculiar behavior; (oddly broken down to : pec-u-liar)  in my peripheral vision, I made eye contact and smiled at her before moving my purse away from her not realizing my bag was already gone. By the time I realized it, SHE was the one gone.

My point of sharing this is nothing other than me venting and reminding you to keep your eyes on your things when out in public. Crazy desperate times are among us folks and this brings out the ugly in people. Today I was a victim of meeting an "ugly". If only she had known what I do for a living, she could have gotten a free makeover and a therapy session! Alas... she did not ruin my day but she certainly made me remember why I prefer to shop online! Have a great night everyone and if  you hear a lady bragging about scoring some cool makeup tools get her number so I can show her how to use them! ;)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cherishing Small Moments

As I peeked in to check on my sleeping stinkers tonight, I found my little "Brie" in the floor beside her wee little toddler bed face down, buttocks in the air, and fingers gently tucked in her mouth; I smiled with pride. She has accomplished so many hurdles over the past year and it amazes me that just like any other 2 year old; she has her own "big girl bed" and even though she rolls out of it once in a while... she is growing up and loves the new freedom.

I can remember when I found out she was going to have Down syndrome and how not knowing what to expect was scary; but something in my heart told me everything would be okay... and it is. She is sunshine on a cloudy day, smiles as big as rainbows and her laughs play over and over in your mind hours after hearing them. As I picked her up, kissed her cheek and laid her back down in that big girl bed, a tear came to my eye thinking that even wee little once-upon-a- time 4 lb miracle is growing too fast.

With my oldest in college, I know what that means and have learned all too well that despite the hustle and bustle of life, we must stop and smell those scrumptious roses for at some point they will lose their scent. It is when they are young that they smell the sweetest and it is no different with a child. The bold blooms they boast with age will make you proud you took care of them, and that love will show in the prize winning beauties they become.

Take the time to let it all sink in... these moments won't last forever.  It is time now for me to dive into my own pillow and possibly raise my fanny in the air too! Goodnight my readers! XOXO

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Misery Loves Company

Misery... an emotion I run from, yet many people swim in it day after day... after day and continue to gripe about being swallowed by it's stink-ridden mouth! THEN, they hope that you join them! The nerve! How is it then that you are to dodge these ominous beasts without hurting feelings, stepping on toes and upsetting their world even more? Well... truth is, you can't if they are your friends. What you CAN do however is lend an ear, offer a positive twist on their otherwise tragic moments in hopes of getting them to see the bright side and be a friend who listens without absorbing.

If you are a parent you will understand this because it's similar to when we "tune things out" yet still listen to our children when we are busy doing something else. If you are not a parent then I would be willing to bet you have done this with a girlfriend or boyfriend past or present; I know I have! My point is that there is a way to listen without absorbing, but you have to know where the line is between a friend who is in a rough spot and  a toxic relationship with people you should wish away. Being a therapeutic ear can be exhausting at times and if you find that these people in your lives NEVER seem to take your advice on how to get out of their state of   "negatroidism" then maybe it's time to throw that penny in the wishing well.

 Once in a while, just like your closet, you simply have to get rid of old clothes and toss out the trashy ones that have irreparable holes. Get it? Got it? GOOD! Here's to cleaning out your closet and listening with your noise cancelling earphones on!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Appreciate Life With Every Breath and Soon You Will Stop Suffocating" SGIARD2012

It is easy to look at things through the muddy lens of our glasses with all the negativity that swarms every bit of spare time we have. Between television, trash magazines, Facebook status "my life sucks" updates and the average miserable beasts we encounter every day; it is a wonder we don't drink ourselves into oblivion or opt for the nearest bridge. I am often asked how I stay so positive; to some my positive nature is repulsive I am sure... but my answer is always the same; "It beats the alternative and I am not normal." 

Being normal is boring, uninteresting, and simply unattractive as far as I am concerned. I have never been normal, I choose to live in a cone... not a box.Why a cone? It is the only shape that is not enclosed, and I have never been much for limitations and confinement.  Life begins small... as kids, we appreciate small gestures, inexpensive gifts, cherish special moments and will do almost anything to get what we want. As we get older, we expect more but do less?... hmmm yea, that is an odd equation. In my "cone" world I am funneling upwards... climbing that odd angular mountain at a slow speed; but when I get to that opening it is broad... and big! Sure beats being trapped, don't ya think?

Learn to live life with stride, like a child... breathe deep with every moment and know that every moment good and bad will pass, you must cherish the good and appreciate the yucky... it is all important in the grand scheme to victory!

 "Crack on!" 
~Shelley Giard~