Thursday, June 28, 2012

Carving Out Time... It's Important!

I am the first to admit that I have no problem carving out time to do business, because I am business minded on crack. Turning every thought I have into a way to add another stream of income so that I can have more free time to do more business has been my way of life for so long. Why you ask? Well... because I have always been the provider of the needs and wants for my family... even through two marriages. Let me tell you, it is the most difficult trait for me to shut off even when I have the time to.

Now that I have a REAL man in my life however, I am learning how to relax... how to carve out time for my kids, him, myself and how to have FUN on a weekly basis instead of something I do once or twice a month which is what I was used to. It is really nice, but it is certainly a learning curve for this not-so-soccer-mom. I am more like the soccer dad who forgets to bring the necessities like diapers, snacks, wet wipes and diaper bag... oh yeah the diaper bag! Really? I should bring a change of clothes? Why didn't I think of that? Ugh it is embarrassing sometimes which is probably one of the reasons I never fit into "play dates", I always felt like the moron mom around those "professional mom's." These women thought of EVERYTHING; toys, snacks, diaper's, extra clothing, bubbles, first-aid kits, portable potty's and the kitchen sink. I often kept quiet that I forgot some vital "child accessory" or ended up borrowing something I forgot from one of the wonder- mom's who laughed at my mistakes. I have four children and have NEVER  had one of those cute protector thingies that keep your children from sucking on the cart handle, yet I knew people who had them in multiple colors and patterns. (I wanted one I was too practical to pay $50 for one so I used sanitizing wipes instead) My last attempt was joining a non-profit mom's club... and although it proved not to be the most successful thing I did (it only lasted a year or so) in that time I was elected VP and became President by default; (See?  it was my business mind on crack again.)  I will say however that I gained a few great friends simply because they accepted the fact that I was not too good at carting my children to parks and play dates and still loved me. (Those are TRUE friends) And of course I gained some hater's... that was nothing new! 

I am still learning how to turn the business-mom button off and the soccer-mom button on, but I have come to terms with the fact that I love my kids NO less because of it. My kids know that I would jump in front of a bus for them and bring the playground bully to tears with a self help assessment if they become a target and this is all in my high heels between business dealings and blogging. I suppose I am my own kind of "wonder mom" so I figure I am okay. Advocate? check. Hugs? check. Bedtime stories? check. I got it!

This week I have been able to spend a lot of time with my kids and although cabin fever due to tropical storm Debbie had us ready to scream at one another earlier this week today Zane, Baleigh and I ventured out to a trampoline arena and the kids had a blast. Although I had come from work and showed up in heels and a dress causing me to stand out like a bleeding wound at a white party, they thought I was AWESOME for taking them there today. We went home and I had to go back to my studio to work a bit more, but all in all the day was great! I have decided next time I am NOT going to be on the sidelines... I will be jumping to new heights with them! What a great day and a bit of an adventure for me!

Until tomorrow my readers!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How the Gift of Down syndrome Changed My Life...

I will never forget the day I found out my youngest daughter Abrielle was going to be born with Down syndrome. I was 20 weeks pregnant and a routine blood test that is automatically given to pregnant mothers 35 and over had come back abnormal giving my unborn child a 1 in 11 chance of being born with Trisomy 21... aka Down sydrome. I agreed to have an amniosentisis to confirm the possibility for the sole purpose of knowing how to prepare for this special little gift I may have been blessed with. I was given the news over the phone. At the time my marriage was a mess and I had decided prior to getting pregnant with her that I wanted to end it, she was a complete surprise. I had three other children one being only 6 months old at the time of conception, it was a really rough time in my life. I cried for a moment after the nurse gave me the news; not because she would have DS but because I knew that my beautiful innocent child would be born with a reason for society to reject her. I became determined to learn as much as I could about DS and wanted to help create awareness about what Down syndrome really is, education squashes ignorance and I needed to educate myself in order to educate others.

Abrielle is now two and a half , she has come a long way from being born at 4.5 pounds. She was perfectly healthy and strong at birth and she is now a thriving, determined little girl that is full of smiles and hugs. She has combated every obstacle that has come her way. We have been fortunate that she has a higher functioning form of DS with fewer "typical" Down syndrome traits such as heart issues, hearing and sight problems, and severe developmental delays. However her friends with DS are just as amazing as she is regardless of how severe their cases are. You see... Down syndrome is nothing more than a delay in brain function, it can be mild or it can be severe and anything in between. No matter what, they are still human beings who deserve a place in society and deserve to be treated as any other person should be treated.

A disability is nothing to turn your head away from, people with disabilites have so much to offer this world. They offer compassion, care and big bright smiles. They offer warm hearts, unconditional love and can teach you how to let the small stuff go when you are trying to achieve a goal. There is something "missing" in the mind of a person with DS and that missing piece is the piece that I wish we all were absent of, because in a way I think this world would be a much better place.

Just 30 years ago, babies born with DS were automatically institutionalized...banned from society; parents were denied the choice to take their babies home. Can you imagine that? Today, we are given mandatory testing to determine if our children will have DS if we are 35 years old or older. I can't help but wonder after my own experience if this test is merely a way to discourage these children from being born. The moment I sat down at the desk of the high risk doctor after confirming the diagnosis, a piece of paper about terminating the pregnancy was pushed across the desk to me. I immediately pushed it back and said "no thank you", but unfortunately many people sign on the dotted line afraid of the responsibility. I will tell you... and I hope that you LISTEN UP, I have 4 children and Abrielle has been the easiest to care for out of all of them, even now that she is a full blown typical toddler that is into everything. She is a great listener and an incredible asset to my family. Raising a child is NOT easy no matter how typical they are, so if you are afraid of the responsibility then get your tubes tied and avoid getting pregnant.

On the other hand if you are the parent of a child with a disability, know this... YOU ARE BLESSED. God gives us no more than we can handle, and he intends for us to share our blessings with the world. Please help me spread this message by sharing my blog, your "share" can help change the minds of many!

Down Syndrome Facts:

An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies, according to research reviewed by Dr. Brian Skotko, a pediatric geneticist at Children's Hospital Boston.

In the absence of prenatal testing, the United States would have experienced a 34 percent increase in the number of Down births between 1989 and 2005. Instead, 15 percent fewer such babies were born during that time, representing a 49 percentage point difference between expected and observed rates, according to Skotko's research.

In the United States, Down syndrome occurs in 1 of every 800 infants 

I cannot imagine how many wonderful moments and life lessons I would have been deprived if my sweet little "Brie" was not here. She does not belong in an institution... she belongs in society and that is more than I can say for some "typical" people out there! 


An amazing story of  Down syndrome SUCCESS! 

With a Shirt Like This...

It's no wonder why we have bratty kids and bullies lingering around schoolyards these days. I mean REALLY? Would YOU buy this shirt for your 8 year old? (that's the size it was) If your answer is yes then A: You must also have a bumper sticker that says your kid is an honor student making every parent whose kid is not an honor student feel less of a person, B: You are trying to get your own reality show for having the most disrespectful kids in America, or C: You simply have a distorted sense of what "cute" is and need to go see Dr. Phil. You may as well buy them a shirt that says "I don't play well with others because I am a knarly brat" and alienate them from the world. WHAT are you teaching them and WHY are clothing designers making stuff like this? Don't they realize that one day THESE kids will be the ones taking care of us?

If you agree then help me spread this blog so that people who WOULD buy this shirt for their kid will READ my blog everyday and perhaps some positive thinking will ooze into their bloodstream. It really worries me what this world is coming to. I am afraid for my kids, here I am trying to raise them to be kind, caring, giving, selfless assets to society and as we parade around stores we see padded bras and hot pants in the little girls section and shirts that encourage brattiness and degradation. My goodness. (Huff) It will have all of us spinning our wheels at some point if it keeps up. Oh... and let's not forget the "Monster High Dolls" that have made my 10 year old daughter obsessive about coffins and black eyeliner... I know it seems harmless but they are Bratz dolls in gothic clothing and Bratz dolls were banned because they were dressed like cheap call girls making our little girls want to wear half shirts and hoochie heels. It IS a problem! Just in case you are, I have not purchased a single doll for her (I blame that on other people in her life) nor do I allow her to put on eyeliner just because I am a makeup artist, she is 10! 

I need to start a kids fashion line... I have a few ideas but now that they are running through my brain I must get out my notepad and keep them to myself until I can turn THAT into a business venture too! UGH I am cursed.. seriously cursed with a brain that turns everything into cash flow.

Certainly a different kind of inspiration tonight but now if you see this shirt on a kid you will now think of me and laugh! (and perhaps lecture that Mom who is likely wearing hoochie heels and false eyelashes) ;)

I will get serious again tomorrow night. I actually had a tear-jerker blog planned for tonight until I saw this and had to climb up on the soapbox!

Goodnight all 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When the Honeymoon is Over... Kiss and Make Up!

We all look for it, the picture perfect guy/girl relationship... the kind we read about in fairy tales and see in romantic comedies. We all love that "newness" the warm and fuzzy first few months... for other's it's a year or more, then for some... it's a lifetime. Have you ever wondered what makes the long lasting ones work? How two people who have spent decades together can still look in each others eyes and get butterflies, and when they kiss... it's as if it is the first time; fireworks and cannons booming and a tingly feeling running through their entire body. I have never had many elderly clients... however I remember years ago I had this little old lady who was nearing 80 years old as a regular customer. Month after month I would watch as her cute little husband would slowly escort her into the salon holding her hand, walk her to my chair, kiss her on the cheek, and then wait for her patiently in the car as she got her hair done. I asked her one day how long they had been together and she replied, "63 wonderful years." I remember being baffled at how in love they still were, and at the time, being single... I hoped to find that kind of love one day.

I believe that many of us have experienced that kind of love at one time or another, yet we failed to recognize it because we think it's supposed to be "perfect" all the time. We think that when we disagree and get upset with one another that the relationship is doomed and the honeymoon is over... and we end it prematurely. No two people can agree ALL of the time, in fact it is healthy and necessary to debate once in a while... as long as it is done in a respectful way. Working through problems is what it is all about, it is how we grow and learn what makes the other tick. How we handle the disagreements is what makes or breaks the relationship.

 I have had two serious relationships in my life (which later became marriages) prior to the relationship I am currently in. I am not ashamed...nor proud... but when I am honest with myself, those two relationships in hindsight were long term due to obligation instead of true love; I had children with them early on in the relationships and tried to make the best of a not so great situation. (There is a reason God does not want us to do it this way) Nevertheless, I did and although painful at times... I learned a lot from both experiences. Reflecting on those relationships makes me realize where I went wrong, what I could have done better and what I did right. I left the second marriage hoping for nothing more than to find who I was again... what made ME tick ... it was an emotional year of self discovery and I must say that it did me a lot of good.

A year after my last marriage ended... I crossed social paths with Corey, we had known each other for a few years but had never been in a social setting before. Nearly two years later we are still going strong. We balance each other out well I must say, and although everyday is not bubblegum and rainbows... I feel that with every hiccup we become closer because we handle things the right way and that is by  respecting how the other one feels, talking it through, and finding a solution we are both happy with. Although we found each other a little later in life than my little old lady client did her husband.... I hope that one day when I am pushing 80 I still get butterflies when he touches my hand and the tingly feeling when he kisses me... I truly believe that the honeymoon can last forever.

I remember asking my little old lady client who had been kissed ever so sweetly by her cute little husband what the secret to a long lasting marriage was... to which she replied "We learned to put up with each others nonsense, I always let him think he is right and if I want something I make him think it was his idea to begin with"

And there you go my readers... wise words never to forget!


"Once you find love for yourself you can love another being with the rest of your heart." 
©2012 Shelley Giard

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When You Hit a Wall... Bounce!!!

I will be the first to say that obstacles can really cloud up a pretty picture. You can map out a plan, execute the plan and at the end of the day fail miserably; you have hit a brick wall and are not quite sure how to recover. You have two choices; you can do what every average person does and simply give up, or you can become a problem solver who will analyze the entire situation honestly, figure out where your plan went wrong and then create another plan based on mistakes you made the first time. Obviously the latter will give you a better chance of winning, so WHY is it so often the choice we leave for the next guy?

We all hate failure... why? Because we are taught that failure is a bad thing growing up. The older I get, the more I wish I could run my own private school... a school that would teach kids what they REALLY need to know to survive and succeed in this world. Failure is a good thing when taught in the right context. Failing gives you a reason to try harder, to iron out details that you may not have thought about if you succeeded the first time. It allows you the time to perfect what you are doing to a larger degree... and it is the biggest step towards success. If they taught THAT in school we would look at failure in a much different light now wouldn't we? Instead they teach that when you fail you have lost... that you should carry shame and hang your head. That my friends is CRAP! Not true, and you should erase that from your beautiful brains. Failure is GOOD, failure is NECESSARY to succeed ; failure should be embraced. If you don't make mistakes how in the world will you ever learn anything at all?

When you hit a wall... bounce, be resilient... don't give up. Look at it as a way to break that wall down more efficiently the next time and perhaps if you do this once, twice, even three times or more you will truly get the chance to experience something amazing. 

"There is a gift at the end of perseverance, but nothing awaits us in giving up" 

These were little plaques I made for a class of  inner city 5th graders that I spoke to earlier in the year as their "graduation gift" I wanted them to know that despite circumstances or situations, if you simply "BELIEVE YOU CAN YOU WILL! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Bridge Between Your Passions and Living Your Dreams

Everyone has a passion and some... like me, have many. If I could clone myself, I could live out all of my dreams at once and likely find a few more to take on, but since that science experiment did not make the cut I am stuck trying to live them one at a time. That keeps me in forward motion and that is never a bad thing. I make lists... lots of them and within those lists are sub-lists almost like an outline in a sense of how to make things happen. Call it weird, call it anal retentive, call it nuts... but I will tell you that it works. There is something about writing things down and putting it where you can see it every day that gets your mind into high gear for accomplishment. I am sure that I have preached this in prior blogs but preaching makes perfect... or practice makes perfect... or repetition makes perfect ... or all of the above really, so either live with my redundant nature or stop reading my blogs. The end.

The bridge between your passions and living your dreams is.... drum-roll please..... YOU! It's not the lack of money or time, it's not your friend's opinion, or the opinion of anyone else for that matter, and it's certainly not anyone else's actions that keep you from bridging the gap; it's YOU... your decisions, your choices, your feelings, your fears, and YOUR shortcomings that leave the gap open. Want to close it? Ahem... then work on YOU!  Yeah, I know.... reading self help books and diving into self discovery can be a grueling scary adventure and you would rather slit your wrists and poor alcohol in the wound than to be honest with yourself about your faults, but it's the only way you can improve your life.

Let's face it, watching television is NOT going to improve your life TRUST ME! I was roped in to watching some television with my sweetie last night (which I did not mind since it offered me some downtime and couch cuddling) however, I could not help but to be amused at the commercials. My conclusion is that if you watch too much TV, all you will gain is the need to buy a car you can't afford, get trapped in debt buying furniture that you will never pay off in the 1 year no-interest period, feel the need to be medicated for everything you THINK is wrong with you, devour food that will give you a heart attack and clog your colon and realize that your life is very boring compared to all of those that you are watching. This puts you into a downward spiral of all the things wrong with your life, can you say depressing? Luckily... as I watched TV last night instead of my brain shutting off, I had a brilliant idea for an app to create, and thought of something else to blog about next week. Nope, I am not normal... you read that disclosure and you still drink the Kool-aid so don't blame me!

I hope that you dive deep into who you are, what you want, and what YOU can do to make it all happen. I have been "trapped" in situations that I needed to get out of, I have wanted things I never thought I could get... and I accomplished my goals by making lists. I had the determination to get more out of life; I wanted it bad enough to do whatever it took, and that is how I approach everything now.  You want more? GO get it. Will it be easy, quick and painless? No! But neither is having a child and it's the most amazing thing in the world.  

You truly can do anything you want; where there is a will there is a way and if faith is on your side... well, then ANYTHING is possible.

"When you want something that you think you will never get, make a list of the things that would have to happen in order for it to become a reality; that is your plan. Begin tackling each item on the list one by one. Don't let the lack of money be the obstacle that stops you because EVERYONE can do something else part time to earn more money, you have God given talents... use them. If you aren't willing to do whatever it takes to check off items on the list then you simply don't want it bad enough." ©2012ShelleyGiard


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Not Just Father's Day....

It's been a very busy week, and I am thankful for that. Busy is good in most scenarios, and this was no exception. Today I am planning to tackle more home projects since I am not able to spend the day with my Dad and my kids are with theirs, but I wanted to post a Father's day message to all of the Dad's out there in honor of YOU today.

That moment when you hold your child for the first time... looking at the tender little face all pink and fuzzy in complete awe that YOU are responsible for creating this little life. The feelings are overwhelming for not only the mother, but for you...the Dad.  You take them home from the hospital and lay awake at night staring at them while they sleep, you kiss them a million times ; a child is a true miracle. Your life flashes before you and the next thing you know they are in kindergarten, all you care about is protecting them with every ounce of who you are, you want them to grow into wonderful young adults and begin to realize time goes by so fast. You play with them, tickle them, scold them when they do wrong because that is your job as a parent, but most of all, you love them with all your heart.

As they hit their adolescent years, they become less interested in hanging out with you, but you do everything you can to keep their attention. You challenge them to a game of driveway basketball, you bet that you can bench press more than they can, or you ask your daughter out on a date to demonstrate how a man should treat her; like a lady. It's time for prom and you watch as your son beams with pride when his date arrives beautifully dressed or you tear up as you see how beautiful your daughter looks in the dress she picked out, makeup on, hair done... and you wonder where the time has gone. You remind her how a man should treat her before she leaves or you tell your son to be a gentleman.

High school graduation has arrived and you are overcome with pride as your graduate walks in cap and gown, you hope that you have done a good job and set a good example, after all YOU are their role model, they WILL follow in your footsteps. They have become what you have taught them to be... and it's now time for them to spread their wings... however you will still be there to catch them if they fall.

Wedding day... an emotional day. Your son has chosen his bride, you daughter has found the perfect gentleman, and you must give her away... although you know you never really can. You stand beside your son as he watches his bride inch down the isle towards him, you hope you have taught him how to be a good husband. Your daughter is locked arm-in-arm with you and you don't want to let go. You know that no other man will love her like you do... but you hope they will love her as they should. You kiss her forehead as you let go of her at the altar and tears roll as you walk away.You have done a good job... she will be okay, and she will always be a Daddy's girl.

Everyone has a Dad, but there are many people out there who have never had a "Father"... my oldest Daughter is one of them. There is an absent feeling inside of her because of it, and I know it will always be there. I played both roles as many women do; and although I never took her on a date, I told her how a man should treat her. I will likely be the one who gives her away and I know that I will tear up as I kiss her on the forehead and walk away hoping that the man she has chosen will love her as much as I do.

To all of the Father's out there... today is a day to celebrate what YOU give to your children... you are awesome! Today is also a day to celebrate the Mothers who are also Fathers... we pull double duty and deserve to be celebrated twice. To all of the children out there who never had a father...celebrate yourselves today for being able to become who you are without them, it's hard and you are amazing. For those who have lost their father... you have fond memories... hang on to them, you were lucky to have had them in your life. And to those of you who are Dad's but have never been a Father... it's never too late to change this. Being a Father means so much more than making a child.

Last but not least... I want to say Happy Father's Day to the men who have stepped into the lives of children that are not their own and who have assumed the Father role. YOU are very special, you have done this out of pure love... not obligation and that is more than amazing. I am lucky enough to have a man in my life who has done just that. Corey Barker... I love you very much; Happy Father's Day, you are amazing to my kids and that in itself warms my heart, they are so lucky to have you in their lives, and so am I.


"It takes a moment to be a Dad but to be a Father you must spend a lifetime." ©2012 Shelley Giard

This is my Father his senior year in High School
This is my Dad with my son a week ago during his visit to Florida

My father owned and operated a construction company when I was growing up. The smell of sawdust filled the room whenever he walked in; and to this day, it is one of my favorite smells. I am a Daddy’s girl, I loved being out in the garage with him crafting things out of wood, which was his hobby when not building a home for someone. The smells of stain and shellac are vivid, and to this day, bring me back to my childhood. My Dad is a hard working, amazingly talented and gifted man in his craft. He is a father to four children and a great story teller. The ability to make long stories longer; well… let’s say I get it honestly. He is an amazing singer, it was like growing up in the Partridge family around my house, my mom sang as well and I keep many memories of Dad taking out his guitar and singing tucked away in my mind for days when I need to smile. I LOVED hearing my Dad sing growing up… I still do. He used to sing Sunshine on my Shoulders by John Denver to me at night before bed as a little girl and I have passed the tradition of singing at bedtime on to all four of my kids… I don’t even know if he knows that. Everyone knows my Dad, he rarely meets a stranger and everyone who meets him likes him. He is genuine, transparent and I have to say I am just like him in so many ways. He was a recovered alcoholic; was sober for 8 years before my sister died…

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Self-Discovery Tip: Don't Explode! Get it OUT!

Well... not everyday can be butterflies and rainbows right? Although I tend to make the best out of every day... today I had a hard time mentally. I love the Internet... I love having everything at my fingertips right when I need it and being able to communicate with people all over the country in real time is so amazing to me. I love the convenience of shopping from home given the fact that my schedule is so hectic and carting my three kids around from store to store in and out of car seats in 98 degree weather is not my idea of fun. It is SO worth spending the extra few bucks for the shipping. Unfortunately there is always a dark side of things. I tend never to look at that side being that my daily intent is to stay positive; but sometimes, it just has to creep up on you and get your attention. Today was one of those days. I was a victim of hacking or identity theft, fraud, whatever you want to call it, they all mean the same to me. Someone in Canada had a field day with my debit card and charged $1000 worth of merchandise at Bed Bath and Beyond. Now, I have to prove it wasn't me even though the way I found out was a phone call from the fraud department at my bank. Hmm... sounds a bit backwards. You call me because you suspect fraud and now I have to fill out a form and fax it to you so you can "investigate" before you credit back the $1000?.... LOVELY. Meanwhile this is my business account that has been frozen. I swear I need to go back to keeping my money in a shoe box. Lets hope they don't take the entire 5 days they allow themselves to credit the money back to my account , I wonder if the stock market will rise between now and then?

Onto other things... it's time to get into self-help-mode and out of pity party mode because someone got happy with my debit card.

I have met many people in my 21 year career as a stylist. I may as well have been puffing a pipe, notepad in hand nodding my head as I flipped foils and slung color. In that 21 years, I have gotten really good at psychology and the energy of the human mind. I read people very well; I watch their every twitch, every foot tap, hand movement, lip nibble, every swallow and pulsing Adam's apple and of course let's not forget the pinball eyes. I can tell when someone is  lying, and I can tell when someone is upset, sad, mad, frustrated you name it, it's part of my job; reading people. I have heard stories... many of them. The most difficult ones I hear are the stories people tell when they are harboring feelings. Maybe it's a friend or a family member that has upset them, a boss, a co-worker... and the emotions poor out and runneth over the sides of my Hydraulic chair. Bitterness & anger are always the prominent emotions that come out. I always relate to these stories very well because I used to harbor feelings too. I never said what I felt, if someone would ask me what was wrong I would say nothing as I burst inside wanting to scream. I became bitter and developed animosity and resentment towards the people who had hurt my feelings. The problem was, THEY never knew they did... or at least some of them didn't. Why? Because I NEVER said anything! I held it all in and eventually the toxic emotions came bubbling out onto people around me that did not deserve it about things completely unrelated to what was REALLY going on.

It wasn't until I went to a seminar and heard Shad Helmstetter speak that I realized that I could re-program my "hard drive." For years and years and years I had experienced mental abuse. From getting bullied in my adolescent years to two failed marriages...I had a lot on my mental "hard drive" that needed to be re-written. That day changed my life.. what he said changed my life and I began to heal. Harboring feelings does nothing but junk up your "hard drive" it is a Trojan virus that needs to be deleted.  Too may of these "viruses" will shut you down. ( I hope you are getting the metaphorical speak) We must re-write our data, we must fill our head with positive things and forgive ourselves and others for mistakes that have affected us. It is only then that you can truly begin to feel free of what once was and start living what's now.

Don't harbor feelings... feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, get it out... TALK about it. That is the first step to finding happiness and peace in your life.

This post is dedicated to one of my BEST friends. I love you.. and if you are reading you KNOW who you are. I want nothing more in life than your happiness.... Begin rewriting your hard drive today. <3


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Finding Hope...

Have you ever felt that hope was the hardest thing to find when you need it the most? Yeah? Okay well... join the crowd. Haven't you ever heard that nothing comes easy in life that is worth it? I have and that is the very statement that gives me hope to just keeps going.


I did not have the need to ramble on tonight simply because the message is very clear but I figured that I could at least tell a personal story... a short one.

Excerpt from my book:

"Three months out of high school I found out I was going to be a mother. All the goals and dreams I had in my head were destined to be crushed. I became part of a negative statistic and I did not like the way that felt. I was determined to never be what people expected me to be from that moment on. A "poor single mom trying to do the best she can in her situation" I did not want to be on welfare, food stamps or have to say no to my kids when I could not afford something they needed (not wanted). I wanted to change the stigma; nothing worth it comes easy, so I figured I must be getting something good in the end. I was able, so I lifted my chin and kept going; so glad I did.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness... Caught by Surprise!

Have you ever fallen victim to a random act of kindness that caught you so off guard that it left you speechless? I have been lucky enough for this happen in my life, but only a few times. If I compared it with the random acts of rudeness it would't hold a candle. That being said, I was a victim today and it was a gentle reminder of how great you can make someone feel if you do something nice... and you should do it everyday. As I was driving down the Veterans Expressway ; a toll road that runs from Tampa all the way to Homasassa Springs which is about and hour and a half north, I had taken $2.00 out of my wallet for the stretch home from my Hair and Makeup Studio. As I approached the second toll booth I rolled down my window and put out my dollar bill only to be told that the person in front of me paid for me already. I was like... "What?... they paid for me?, did they say why?" The toll lady just smiled and said that it was paid and to have a nice day. Although puzzled, I smiled and drove away.

I am very happy that my kids were with me... to see the shock on my face, the puzzled look I had and the smile that followed it all. My 10-year-old Baleigh even asked why they paid for me and tried to find an excuse of why as if it was not intentional. I laughed and said "Baleigh, sometimes although not often, people do nice things for no other reason than to be nice... let that be a lesson."

That brings me to my close... yes it's a short lesson tonight; but a good one. A random act of kindness can make someone's day, render a smile and is totally worth doing. I totally assume that as that person paid my toll and drove away, they too had a smile on their face because I know firsthand how amazing it makes you feel to do something for someone else. It's not that common anymore but we all need that  unexpected lift once in a while. What you give will never go unnoticed and neither will what you take. Be sure you are remembered for giving of yourself and I guarantee you will at some point fall victim to kindness yourself.

"When you take the time to do something for someone else despite your worries and stress, a sudden feeling of relief will come over you and make your day better." 
©2012 Shelley Giard


Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Handle Guilt...Can You Forgive YOU?

Is it REALLY already the 11th? My, how time flies! I knew that the last week had kept me from my daily blogging;  but when I saw how many days it had been since my last post I was like.... WOW! I guess that having two guests that were in town stay with you for several days, launching several home improvement projects determined to finish them in a week, preparing a new blog, loving my family of 5, weaving in a little career-time, and relocating a business all in one month is over-doing it a little? Problem is that I am not sure how to do it any different and sometimes wish I did. Anyone want to give me lessons on "chill-axing"? I will pay big bucks!

So.... I suppose not blogging for a few days is something that I should forgive myself for (and hope my readers do too.) And friends, brings me to tonight's topic:
How to Handle Feelings of Guilt 

Have you ever had that pivoting moment when you are helplessly pushing a department store cart around filling it full of things that you will then circle around the store and return before you get to the register? Yeah, it's my kind of retail therapy... not buying anything for myself. I did that for YEARS, and unfortunately I began to resent myself for it. I NEVER did ANYTHING for myself, and if I did, I would feel guilty. I am a giver, not a taker...from anyone; not even myself. I have children; aka other bodies to think about. As a caring parent; I worry most about them, and very little about me. For the many years I lived this way, I dreamed of a day when I could rid myself of the guilt of thinking that doing something for me once in a while was selfish. As a single parent, I had to work endless hours to support my family... and although to some, I was a woman who never cared for or saw her kids;  the reality was that I was a Mom doing nothing BUT caring for my kids; I just could not be home while I did it. I hated that, always have... but I did what I had to do to survive.

When I began realizing how important taking care of YOUR needs and wants is to internal happiness I began to pay attention. I learned it is how you begin to forgive yourself for living a little. You do not need an excuse to be happy, it is a free pass for the taking. Many of us let it sit out in limbo waiting to be claimed... but we put the WANTS of others in the forefront of our own NEEDS. It is a hard habit to break... I won't lie to you. After three years of practice, I am STILL not perfect. I will be the first to say that anytime I deviate from my plan to think of myself too, I end up being stressed about something and likely want to blame someone else for it.

Don't do this to yourself, we can self-destruct as we stretch ourselves too thin and there is no Go-Go- Gadget-Clone button. (I even searched on Google for it). Handle guilt with a self-indulgent statement like,  "you have worked hard... you have the right to buy yourself a pair of socks that cost $4.00"... (unless of course you or your family need that money for your mortgage or other necessity like food.) You will never be happy if you are beating yourself up every time you turn; you are not Mohamed-Ali, nor does anyone expect you to be. "FORGIVE YOU" and your days will become less stressful and more gratifying. Continue to give to others; I am a BIG believer in that. However remember that YOU are important too.

Have a great night everyone!
~Chins up Backs Strong!~


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

All In All it's Just another Brick in The Wall....

First things first,  I want to say that I have terribly missed blogging the past few days, I truly have even though I have had a good reason to take a break and that reason was to spend time with family.  My oldest daughter Cierra, who lives in Colorado flew in on Thursday to go to a special event at her old high school and my Dad who lives in SC flew in on Friday to visit with his grand-kids and help me with some home improvement projects. We have had a great time so it is needless to say that I am sad they have to go back home soon. Usually when I take a break from blogging it's to spend time with family or I am working on a freelance job where I don't have internet service. Tonight though, after finishing up what I had to do and seeing everyone off to bed, I had to sit down and write even if it was just a little bit.

It has been so wonderful having my Dad here. Despite my yearly visit to South Carolina each year, he has not been to Florida to visit ME in about 13 years, but after the death of his wife back in April, I felt getting away may be just what he needed. My dad is an amazing craftsman, a builder of a different kind; an artistically brilliant man when it comes to anything that smells of sawdust or requires hammering a nail. He is just like his father... my Pépère and when I watch him think as he works, I know where my artistic side comes from as well as my problem solving nature. We have tackled a few small projects around my house over the past few days, but today, we started the kitchen project aka "My  Rustic Tuscan Kitchen Project" and phase 1 was laying adobe bricks onto my back splash. I am one of those do-it -yourself kind of girls, and it's because of my dad that I am that way.

While other girls were in dance class and attending cheer-leading practice playing "girl" I was in my dad's workshop huffing sawdust and wood stain. I loved being involved in my dads woodworking projects and today as we planned the brick project, I was abruptly brought back to my childhood. As the Simon and Garfunkle Pandora station played in the background on my Ipad my dad taught me a new craft and that was how to lay brick on a wall.  I have to say that it turned out pretty amazing and I cannot wait to finish over the next few days. I will cherish this time with him more than he knows because I know that one day all I will have is the memory of doing this with him along with the faint smell of sawdust and the feel of his calloused craftsman hands.

"Memories we hold in our minds should be only the ones that made us smile; for the things we remember that are painful are there only to have taught us a lesson." 
©2012 shelleygiard


Friday, June 1, 2012

What's New... What's Happenin' .... How I Doin'?

Tonight, I felt like writing about what's going on in my world. Many of you follow me on Facebook,  Twitter and perhaps even Google Plus... but I never have the opportunity to share everything on social media sites being that status updates are character limited. Since many of you have asked me "what's going on lately?" I chose to update everyone, fans, friends and family via my blog post tonight.

Okay, so... (deep breath) this is what's new in my business life:

I love blogging, probably because I LOVE writing and sharing information so I am starting up a new blog in June. It will be a Health-Wellness- Beauty blog that I will post to every Monday morning. It will include information about promoting healthy digestion,staying toxin free, gluten-free dairy-free recipes that I have concocted all on my own since making this lifestyle change myself, as well as makeup and beauty tips for all of those that have BEGGED me to do tutorials; they are coming I promise!  Anyone who knows me knows I am a complete GEEK in my industry and my industry is BEAUTY from the inside out. I have a lot planned for the new blog and am REALLY excited to have this outlet to share inforation in a much bigger way. I love to share information and well... I am asked all of the time for my advice and tricks of my trade so you asked for it and I plan to deliver on it. Be patient and of course I will hope to get a lot more feedback and input from my readers on what you want to see. It will be up to YOU out there to tell me what you want to know.

My first book will be coming out in just a few short months and being that I am doing a lot of self promotion I would LOVE to have help from you! August is the projected release date and as we speak the website for me as an author is being created. Another exciting thing that is also going to keep me on my toes until it is released. I am obviously doing everything I can right now to build myself as a writer and my reading audience and hope that in the end that my readers are happy. THAT is my goal, NOT the monetary gain.

I was hired by a local online glamour magazine that has been around for several years but is under new ownership last month to be the official makeup artist for the magazine. Although I had ditched the glamour scene for a while due to my faith and morals, this magazine is very tastefully done and the photographer produces beautiful work so I accepted the offer. It will be a one weekend a month gig for me. Consistent clients and cash flow is what makes a freelancer drool. I am happy to have been asked to do this and the first issue will release tonight at midnight.

I am hoping to open my new hair and makeup studio by August, plans are in the making and I am currently looking for a new location... doing my best to be patient so I can find the perfect home. I am still planning to keep my North location open for my clients in Spring Hill, and God willing... it will all work out perfectly.

Okay I THINK that is it.

And... this is what's new in my personal life:

We have been in the new house for nearly two months and despite the fact that I have been up to my eyeballs with freelance work, we have managed to get quite a bit done. I am ready for a house warming party REALLY soon! Details will go out to those near and dear as soon as we figure out a date. Corey, the kids and I are loving our new home. As expected getting used to being around each other every day has had a few growing pains but as we approach week 9 or 10 ( I lost count) we are feeling pretty great and I think MY butterflies are over. (Yes, I was the one that felt the biggest lump in the throat) Go figure!

Today, my oldest daughter Cierra flew in from Colorado. She is my mini-me. At 20 years old she is driven, motivated, talented, beautiful and VERY responsible for a young student living on her own across the country from her family. She makes me SUPER proud! Tomorrow, my Dad flies in and  being that he has not been to Florida to visit me since 1999 (the year I moved here) I am REALLY excited to have him as a guest in our new home. I of course have been to see him many times since 1999, but it was WAY overdue for him to pay ME a visit so I flew him down myself! He lost his wife last month and I just felt now was a great time for him to get away and see his grandchildren. (And perhaps help his DIY daughter with a few projects around the house!)

Abrielle, my youngest daughter (2 1/2) who has Down syndrome is doing SO wonderful. She is as smart as any toddler is; and is into everything lately! She is the happiest most loving child I have ever known and she warms my heart everyday. I am so proud of her accomplishments, her small hurdles are HUGE hurdles to us and I love watching her figure things out on her own; knowing her challenges, she is more than amazing I must say. She is wanting to feed herself more and I have been teaching her simple sign language for several months now until she can form the words to tell us what she wants and needs. I think it is pretty cool that all of us are learning sign together as a family to help her communicate better. Watching her brilliant little mind learning and using it correctly and in the right context brings tears to my eyes... she is no dummy let me tell you! She will transition to the school system in October when she turns 3, THAT I cannot believe and I KNOW I will need tissues THAT morning!

This week was Baleigh's last full week of school. I cannot believe she will be in 5th grade next year. Where in the world does the time go? Before I know it she will be in high school... just a few short years away and then poof! There will only be two left at home. She is my creative genius that will likely never be on honor roll again now that she is past 4th grade, but neither was I and I think I turned out JUST FINE!

Zane is my little man, quickly approaching 4, he is a funny little goof! He is SUCH a great big brother to his little sis and she finds him amusing in every way! They love each other so much and it makes me smile to know that she will always have him to look out for her (even if she can beat up everyone around her.)

I am so happy to see my blog audience grow and I wanted to take a minute to thank every single one of you for reading and supporting me on my journey. I will never forget how it all started, I will be humble all the way to the finish line. Without struggle we can never experience triumph and God knows the struggles he has handed to me and I know he gave them me so I could RUN like the wind. I feel so blessed and know that this year is a REALLY big one for me. I am hanging on waiting for my hair to blow backward!

"Life is a roller coaster so HANG on tight, it will be worth it in the end if you don't chicken out!"                               ShelleyGiard ©2012

Have a great night everyone, keep your chin held high and you self esteem even higher!