Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Doing What's Right....

First of all I want to say that I am sorry for skipping out on  my weekend blog... I had SO much to do as I got ready for a ten day business trip and by the end of Friday my brain was fried... it was worse on Saturday and Sunday it was burnt toast. I am honestly exhausted now too. I have been in a plane all day minus one stop in Houston where I had an unexpected 2 hour delay (which I took FULL advantage of) However, now that I am in San Jose in my cozy room at my friend Shellie's house, I figured I would write this quick Monday blog to start your week off  regardless of the fact that I am on a 3-hour time difference and should TOTALLY be in bed right now. Something pretty great happened to me today and even though I shared the story on my Facebook page  <

As always, just another day in the life of Shells was not just an ordinary day...

Scene: I was at the Tampa airport this morning in a ridonkulous line at security... an over 60 lady traveling with her grandson looking disheveled is frantic on the verge of tears because she may miss her flight. She expresses her concern to a TSA associate and she gets a rude reply, "get in line." As she stands there with a blank look, physically upset, some people around her are rolling their eyes, some are staying quiet and some you can hear whispering that they feel bad for her. After about 20 minutes later, I get within ear reach of the TSA guy checking boarding passes and id's and ask if I can let her cut in line ahead of me and about 30 other people. He says "if you ask everyone and they say okay" So I yell out  "does anyone care if I let this lady cut in line so she doesn't miss her flight? Does anyone care?" Nobody speaks so I allow her through and people ahead of me follow my lead, she caught her flight. Several people applauded me and the TSA guy said that was the kindest thing he had ever seen. It honestly made my day. 

As I sat at my gate with plenty of time to kill, I reflected on what had just happened and wondered why nobody spoke up before me. I know I was not the only one who felt the way I was feeling. She looked at me with the saddest most confused eyes I think I had ever seen after I made eye contact with her and asked, "are you going to miss your flight?" Might I add that she was not close to me in line at all. I just had to do something and quite frankly, I don't know how nobody else didn't. Have we gotten so selfish, so caught up in our own pursuit of happiness and fulfillment that we have truly forgotten what it is like to do something nice, something selfless for someone else? Are we honestly so self righteous and judgemental that we have to turn our heads and cover our ears or simply be rude to people when they are in need? C'mon people, can't you see how messed up that is? What if YOU were the one in need?

As you continue your week I ask one favor of you... do something selfless for a complete stranger and watch how good it makes you feel. Get caught doing something good for someone else and you may just find that happiness inside that you keep trying to find by buying things and having a "someone" in your life. You find peace through others.... not with others. The pursuit of  true happiness ends with making who YOU are inside better.





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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Look Out! "Advice From Shells" Is Born!

Call me crazy, (I kind of look it in this picture) but I just love that so many people call on me when they are having a bad day... a tough time... when they want to complain, gripe and moan; and no, I am not being sarcastic. I like it because it gives me great blog ideas... and also because I love knowing that the reason that they call me or email me is because they know that I will have something positive to say, some words of wisdom  that will make them think about their situation differently or completely snap them out of their pity party or problem all together. Yep, I have become THAT girl... the one that so many people trust with their thoughts, hiccups and emotions; I am kind of like Dear Abby but younger and cuter. (ha!) I really enjoy being that person... like really... a WHOLE lot!

Today, I had a few of these "moments". One was with a haircolor client (and friend) that I had this morning who is having a terrible skin issue. She has been to three dermatologists and it is getting worse. She told me how excited she was to have her appointment today so she could get my advice. I was flattered. I am such a complete geek when it comes to ingredients and when I say geek I mean I am one of those weirdos that can turn a bottle around and tell you what stuff is and what purpose it serves or what ailment it causes; I take it to a level where few men have gone before. Long story short (I stink at that by the way) After diagnosing her "condition" as Eczema with one quick look,  I talked through her issues, asked her some important questions and then out came this encyclopedia of knowledge that I have soaked up by reading and learning for so many years. She was amazed at all the information that I offered and had a few "aha" moments as we talked. I wrote the bullet points down for her, made her a nice healthy snack when she told me she felt her sugar dropping and sent her away with smiles and  a feeling of hope that she would soon itch no more. My face was smiling too.

I then had a trip to the pediatrician for my youngest daughter Abrielle who has had some wheezing and a little cough going on for a few days. Since I am leaving on a 10-day business trip Monday I had to make sure my little muffin would be okay. Last time this happened I was gone on business and she ended up in the hospital with mild Pneumonia. Did not want THAT to happen again. After a breathing treatment and an ear infection diagnosis, we went home with an antibiotic and an order to do breathing treatments every 4 hours until Friday. Good thing she doesn't mind the mask! No hospital this time, yay!

By the time the afternoon rolled around I was worn out but still had a ton to do so I pushed myself to get it all done, no excuses! (see how tired I look in the photo above? yeah, that sexiness was NOT compliments of Photoshop I tell ya!) I went to the store to get a few things and on the way home I called a friend whose call I had missed earlier. (My car is my office) When I asked her how she was doing she began to vent, and I instantly realized how nice it was to not be the type to join in on the "party" anymore and let others negative moods drag me down. I listened to her and then voiced my thoughts on everything. A conversation began about how she "doesn't have the time" to do things that she wants to do and as I spoke my words of wisdom she knew I was right as much as she knew how honest I would be with her when she called, which is why she called.

When she told me her job "sucked" this is what I said ...
"You know, you have SO many talents that you waste by not using them... things that make you happy, I have seen the smile that some of these things bring you when you get the chance to do them. You could start doing them as a hobby and perhaps later turn those hobbies into some extra money and who knows how it could blossom from there. No strings, no risk, and it could help you find a "happy place".

Her answer was... "I don't have the time."

My answer to that was...
"Listen, I have people ask me all of the time how I do all that I do, even YOU ask me that and my answer is always the same. I MAKE the time to do what makes me happy and puts a smile on my face. YOU of all people know that I can get stressed, which is why it is so important that I do things that make me happy all of the time. If I waited to have the time, I would NEVER have it, so I have to CREATE the time and when you do that you will find it without a problem."

I love this friend so much and want  peace and happiness for her more than she will ever know; it's something I want for a lot of people. I think that is why I do so much to enrich the lives of others. I REALLY WANT TO SAVE THE WORLD (Where's my cape?) There is more to her story and my advice to her, but I am going to save this little gem as the prototype for an idea that was born as I thought about things tonight. At first I thought "I will blog about this"... (I am sort of doing that right now) but then after getting home I said to myself..."I am onto something here, Advice From Shells... hmmmm a cyber world of advice where people can email me and I can offer advice to them and others who may be dealing with the same issue in a way that I haven't done before. I am kind of excited but have to figure out the details and get back to ya! Promise there will be an update on this! And for those of you who are shaking your head right now, NO! I am not adding to my plate I DO THIS ALREADY I am just thinking of a way to do it differently, more efficiently and more effectively. It happens, that's my brain love it or hate it...don't care either way.

Well, if there is a moral to this blog post, I would have to say there are two...

"Never say you don't have time.... that's just another way of saying you don't want  it bad enough"

"Being the voice of reason is like being a best friend to many people, you have no choice but to remove your own feelings in order to help them and enrich their life... it's selfless, educational and pretty darn awesome"

Hugs to all!
Thanks for reading!



Visit my website: www.shelleygiard.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting Paid What You Are Worth

First off, I want to say HAPPY TUESDAY and I am sorry that I did not have this post ready for your morning coffee yesterday as usual. I was getting back in my groove because I just got back late Sunday night from a 4-day business trip to Atlanta. I was the personal makeup artist/hair and wardrobe stylist on set for a young new up and coming pop artist named Lia who was shooting the music video for her first single Y.A.L.I. (Young and Living It). I had the privilege of being the same triple threat on set of her first professional photo shoot about a month ago and since she and her parents loved me so much I get to continue working with her as her career rapidly grows and am truly honored! This job was one of "those" jobs... you know, the ones that let you know that all of your hard "working for less than you are worth" jobs do eventually bring you the gigs that make it all worth while.

So, as I thought of my blog title, I had a short back and forth conversation with a photographer client of mine who was trying to find out my availability for an upcoming commercial shoot that he wants to hire me for. He was telling me that it was a trade shoot for him,  despite the fact that he will be paying both me and the model out of his own pocket, but that his hopes were that he would get some paid work from them in the future. That inspired my post even more. For those of you who do not know what I am talking about... "trade shoot" is a term in this industry that photographers, models, makeup artists, hair stylists and wardrobe stylists are VERY familiar with and might I add repulsed with. What does it mean? Well it means that you are so awesome that a client wants to "hire" you but that you will NOT be getting paid for your time, efforts, gas, products used or your amazing expertise. It is like bartering with a very short end of the stick that is never being held by the "client".

This term originated and makes sense for people who are "building their book"; industry lingo for needing pictures so you can book paid gigs... it's kind of like proving yourself worthy of hiring. For people starting out, who are not making enough money to fund these expensive projects it makes complete sense. It allows you to work with a team that all have the same goal; to get great pictures that "look" the part even though it cost nothing to put together so you can make thousands of dollars for one day of work. (Hey, it CAN happen) It is also acceptable when an experienced artist or photographer needs some "fresh" stuff for their book, for charity causes or if you are moving into a new genre; say from fashion into swimsuit, but there has to be value to all involved. What is sad and quite ridiculous is that there are WAY too many talented people who are seasoned in this industry who get stuck in this vortex of "working" for FREE. Just because we are "freelance" artists, models and photographers, does NOT mean we are worthless and must work for free. It all boils down to the fact that we get in life what we accept and starving artists tend to accept too much of this. Who in the world works for free? You don't see McDonald's employees working for free until they can prove that they know how to flip a burger or take an order or salt french fries. I just don't understand how COMMERCIAL clients who are obviously making money... in this case,an exotic car dealership, can continue to take advantage of people. Come do this shoot for free so I can use the pictures to make $300,000 selling one car. BLEAGH!

I used to be one of these "starving" underpaid artists, but it came to a point where I decided that I had proven myself, built a book and had a reputation for excellence in all aspects and for the past several years I give people my rates and ask if they are working on a budget the moment someone contacts me. I will work with budgets, not a problem, but unless you are going to add something to my book that is extremely unique or if you have the potential of becoming a frequent ongoing paying client that wants to "test" with me, I no longer work for free. If you cannot afford me then I will help you find someone that needs to build a book. Bottom line, I have a family to clothe and feed and I won't hustle anymore with hopes that I will be worthy enough to gain a dollar later on.

I know that there are some of you who are stuck here... in this pool of unappreciative, blood sucking "clients" that act like you are privileged to be working with them. KNOW YOUR VALUE ; DON'T BE AFRAID of losing people like this. They may keep you busy and you may even get cool pictures, but if they can't appreciate your value then you don't need them in your life. Trust me, someone will come along and pay you more than you are worth, treat you like a rock star and it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

 I will end this with one one of my quotes 

"We get in life what we accept, 
 sometimes gaining respect means not being the yes guy."  
Shelley Giard 

Have a fabulous week! 


Friday, July 19, 2013

It's Not A Black/White thing It's a Yellow Thing

Given the social outrage after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was announced, I felt that I should say something... it would be odd for me to stay completely silent and although I posted a very brief post on my Facebook page after the verdict was announced, there is more I want to say after seeing some of the banter out there, so here it goes.

Being that I have an audience that expects me to lend more, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the thoughts dancing around in my head. It is something I want to do after seeing the social media aftermath of this verdict online. It solidifies my reason for NEVER watching news... quite frankly the media makes me want to barf.  

So,  here is where my head is now...

As all of this media circulates, I remember moving to South Carolina at the age of 8 not even knowing what racism was... never really being exposed to it as a child growing up in Massachusetts. Since values, morals and ways of life are typically branded into our heads as children, I was culture shocked once I moved to the south and experienced racism for the first time. I went to a high school that happily hoisted the confederate flag and whose mascot was a confederate soldier. Many who attended would say even today that it "wasn't a racial thing" they would swear it was a "being proud of the southern heritage thing". I have a different opinion on that based on what I saw and heard as a student. Either way, it was quite a difference from the private Christian academy I attended back home, and I felt really out of place. I remember being confused at the things that would happen, about the negative slurs and names that were being used that I had never even heard in the form of hate and ridicule. Girls who chose to date young black men were called "nigger lovers" on a daily basis, they were bullied and shamed for doing such a thing. It was AWFUL, and "black against white" was forced into my everyday life at that school. Although many join the crowd when surrounded by it, I chose to stand out and it simply made me despise racism... a word I was unfamiliar with once upon a time.

Even though at that time in my life; after my sister was killed, I had given up on faith in something I could not see... aka God, I had still been brought up with morals and values of treating people equally, to treat others with kindness in  my heart and had the mindset to offer the benefit of the doubt to everyone. However I know now that I am still part of a minority group, and it breaks my heart that these vicious circles continue. I am only one voice... only one person, but the power of the internet has given me a bigger platform which I choose to stand upon today. I hope to make others see that the only way any of this will ever end is if we teach the children of today the values and morals I learned as a child. TREAT OTHERS (that means everyone) WITH WHAT YOU WOULD WANT AND ACCEPT.

The death of Trayvon Martin is tragic, and NONE of us will ever know all the details of what REALLY happened that night because simply put, we were not there. We rely on what the media tells us, and we all know that they were not there either. Was Trayvon freaked out by this man in the car watching him? Was he doing anything wrong or just walking home in the rain? Did Zimmerman have ill intentions as he watched Treyvon that evening? Was he upset that the last boys he saw scoping homes got away when the police took too long, therefore taking this matter into his own hands? We will never know, but we frequently assume. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were being followed, watched and then confronted by a stranger? Would you defend yourself? Would you strike a blow if you felt you were being cornered for no reason? I know I would. On the flip side, if you knew there were break-ins in the neighborhood and you saw what media has made the "stereotypical black man" walking around in the rain, would you suspect he was up to something? If you confronted him and he swung at you would that make you pull a gun out and kill him if he had no weapon? I wouldn't. It's not a question of black, white or Hispanic, it's a question of human nature, a question of action vs. reaction; what is normal and what crosses the line. The line between self defense against and unarmed young man who hits you and using a gun to kill him is NOT a fine one regardless of skin tone. 

Unfortunately in this day and age, this scenario is way too easy and we are often left with no choice but to back up a "self defense" plea unless we can prove the motives were different. Without strong evidence of that ulterior motive a jury cannot do that without a doubt. I don't know what I would have chosen had I been a juror...but after reading the Wikipedia explanation of the case  in it's entirety, I sway towards manslaughter at minimum, he DID kill this boy when he could have just walked away from the brawl and waited for the police; that is fact enough for me. He was a wanna-be-a-cop that took matters into his own hands and a life was taken. The fact that he gets to walk away is tragic because a family has to live with a failing system AND a broken heart as they look at pictures of their son. 

The man who was responsible for killing my sister was a drunk driver... he did not set out to kill someone that night, I know that, so I forgive him. I even contacted him to tell him that earlier this year after finding him and told him about my book... the good that came out of our shared tragedy. However, because the laws against his drunken actions were so slack back then , he walked away with a broken nose; so I understand a failing system. Thank God that my mom and others rallied for a change and MADD changed the laws to fight for what is right and just. It's not each other we must fight against, it's our system and its flaws.

The publicity this verdict has gained has only further divided us as a nation. My feeling is that this is EXACTLY what the media and the government wants. We are weakened by events such as this, that are publicized and spun in a direction that will cause us to divide, they know that we are strengthened by pulling together and fighting for what is right despite the color of skin, social background or sexual orientation. We PULL TOGETHER? We become strong... and we might actually win as we stand up for what is right and just. If they make it a black/white thing, they force us into the memories of slavery and segregation, hatred and disgust, our heritage and what our ancestors taught and told us. It angers us, stagnates us and keeps us from evolving. Two steps forward, three steps back. Why do our victories always have to be followed by defeat in this country? EVERY case deserves the same justice, the same treatment and fairness, but it's not what happens much of the time unfortunately without a fight.

To me... it's not a black/white thing, it's a yellow thing; my favorite color which has an interesting psychological meaning behind it that I JUST looked up, and oddly enough it describes me to a tee!

The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the color which resonates with the logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception. Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness.
Yellow is creative from a mental aspect, the color of new ideas, helping us to find new ways of doing things. It is the practical thinker, not the dreamer. Yellow is the best color to create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence and optimism.The color yellow loves a challenge, particularly a mental challenge.

With the meaning of colors, yellow is the great communicator and loves to talk. Yellow is the color of the networker and the journalist all working and communicating on a mental level. Yellow is the scientist, constantly analyzing and looking at both sides before making a decision; methodical and decisive. Yellow is the entertainer, the comic, the clown.

I will stand my ground in this case and in any other case that I feel is unfair and unjust... 

I WILL TREAT EVERYONE WITH EQUALITY AND LOVE. Focusing on religion, race, social classes, sexual orientation and the past will only keep us in the past and prevent a future filled with hope and growth as a HUMAN RACE... I don't know about you, but THAT is the race I belong to. I will now repeat my initial response that was shared on my social media because it is MY bottom line.

There is but one man in control, only one opinion that truly counts and I know that as long as HIS is the one I keep in my heart and allow to guide me through each day, what happens around me does not matter. Call me crazy, pass judgement upon me but THIS is MY opinion. To worry is to not have faith and I am VERY happy that by faith I am strengthened. 


changing the world one blog post at a time


Monday, July 15, 2013

Being Old Fashioned in Today's Jacked-Up World... Nostalgia at Best

Can I start off by saying how cool I think it is that I have a lot of guys that read my blog? Wait.... it's my blog, of course I can. Ha! Seriously though, when I originally sat down last January and started my blog, I assumed the majority of my readers would be women... perhaps some stay at home mom's that jump online while the kids are napping, single career mom's that could relate to me being a single career mom, and then of course the pool of people who know me or follow me on social media. I have been pleasantly surprised however that the majority of my readers are men and even more surprised that they actively comment and await my blog posts. This should not surprise me I suppose, seeing how I have always had more guys friends than female, but who knew that GUYS read blogs like mine? I mean, I don't write about fast cars & sports ya know? So... hats off and a shout out to my guys out there! I really appreciate you reading and commenting on my posts. I get more excited to write knowing you are enjoying them. And to the women reading... COMMENT MORE and I will know that you are reading and enjoying too!

Okay, now time for some insight... some Shelley wisdom, some nostalgic inspiration. My kids are home for the summer, and being that I work a lot from home now that much of my time is spent writing and networking online I am home with them when I am not on set of a photo- shoot, or traveling for work. It is quite the challenge for this career-minded chic to keep 3 kids occupied while still trying to get my work done. The age gap between my 11 year old daughter and 4 year old son makes it even harder because they bicker A LOT. They are typically fighting over the Wii controls, the tablet, the I-pad or what TV show to watch even though we have a television in both the family room and the living room which would allow them to watch different things. Quite frankly, the only time I don't hear the back and forth banter is when they are swimming in the pool, so if it's not raining, that is where I send them. As I was trying to concentrate on some work emails last week, my A.D.D. was keeping me from doing so as I heard them bickering back and forth so I quickly thought of a way to end it... I took away the television and all the electronics. (gasp) yep, I ended the ridiculousness and made them USE THEIR BRAINS and figure out what to do with their time without technology.

In this day and age it seems so unusual to make a kid use their imagination and even though my home is nothing at all like today's traditional home, the summer has allowed more TV time and use of electronics than normal. With it has come the annoying banter. Within 10 minutes, they had taken out coloring books, they were quietly coloring and the age gap was suddenly closed. As I watched them I was reminded of my childhood, and the times I sat with my cousin Renée at the breakfast bar at my Mem and Pep's house and how much those days still mean to me. I did the same thing the very next day and they pulled out the play-dough and began making food and playing restaurant. For a moment I reminisced... childhood was so much better back then and although I realize that evolving means growth, I wished we never had to evolve for that reason alone.

Yesterday afternoon we had plans that got ruined by the rain, so Corey and I racked our brains for a plan B. We decided to head to the store to buy a game and stuff to make ice cream sundaes... imagine that, a good ole' board game that we could play together. We found "Operation" and quickly had memories of that buzzer scaring the crap out of you as you tried to concentrate, so that's the one we chose given the age gap we were having to accommodate. We let them pick out ice cream and headed home. After dinner we pulled out the game and started to play. It was lame... like REEEALY lame. They have changed the game to meet today's "standards" in fact instead of learning where the heart and the rib bones are we were pulling out a cell phone, and headphones out of a "skinny" guy. What the? Where is the learning aspect now? Do we really swallow cell phones and ear buds? To add icing to that cake, the holes are much bigger now making it no challenge at all to get the stuff out and the buzzer sound is so faint it doesn't even scare you anymore. What a disappointment! As we discussed how lame it was, I stated it was probably so that nobody playing would feel like a "failure", that he was skinny as not to offend anyone, that kids knew what a cell phone was but not a rib bone and that the sound was lowered as not to scare someone into injury. Way to go Hasbro! The game stinks now, but hey! You are politically correct and won't get sued for making a kid cry or falling off his chair. I am returning the lame $22 game today and heading to Amazon to find the REAL one! BLAH! The real world today is SO boring!

I saved the day by pulling out playing cards and slapping down a quick game of memory and then when Zane got his dice out I suggested a game of Yahtzee and quickly used Google to find a printable PDF score card. (I guess technology saved that moment) After we finished our games, Corey and the kids made their sundaes and devoured them in mere seconds. My dairy intolerance kept me from joining in but it was fun watching and seeing everyone happy. 

The moral of my story today is this...

We all lead such busy lives, we are tied to electronics and technology SO much that nostalgia gets lost and we forget how fun and special it can be. I am going to make it a point to have game night at LEAST once a week, it took me away for a moment and gave me the time I really need to spend creating memories with my children. Even if Zane tried to be a poopy-head when he didn't like the game, he will get used to it and likely get excited if I make it a traditional thing. This experience also made me realize how much we have ruined what once was by being so sensitive, emotional and ridiculous. It's quite pathetic and sad and it's no wonder why today's youth are so messed up, we have taken their childhood away. 

 I will be on the road to Atlanta Wednesday, so my usual Wednesday blog is iffy this week... but make it a great week anyway! Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What if We Were All Thin and Beautiful?... Living in a World of Insecurity

The idea for this blog post was triggered as I scrolled through Facebook last night and came across a post written by Christopher Wright; one of my beauty photographer friends. (No worries, I got his permission to use his post and his name; I am legal like that.) As a makeup artist who works with models on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, I am surrounded by an industry where being beautiful matters most. I often think back to my adolescence when I felt like I did not fit in, when I was a bit muscular from being involved in gymnastics yet surrounded by skinny girls who were really popular... I felt fat at 100 lbs, 100 SOLID lbs. and I have been 5'7 since I was about 13 years old. 100 lbs at 5'7? ummm yeah, that's skinny no matter how you look at it, but I felt fat and stopped eating... yep, I was anorexic for a short time until I passed out one day on the band field and it scared me enough to stop. I was made fun of for many different reasons... my Yankee accent which really stood out in a southern school, my name which rhymed with "smelly" and even though I never smelled bad it somehow became my first name on the playground in 4th grade, my freckles... which I hated for years... my flat chest, and then there were reasons that I never knew and probably some instances where there was simply no reason at all.

So here was his post:
"Honestly. Not only as a model but as human you would think someone would know better. To take a picture of a woman who is out to dinner and then post it and ridicule her for having a high forehead. Being catty is one thing but that just borders on being a douche bag. Hell, as far as I am concerned she crossed the border."

Umm... YEAH, I strongly agree. I don't know who this model was, but shame on her! This kind of thing puts me up on my soapbox and reminds me of a conversation that I was JUST having with my 11 year old daughter Baleigh yesterday when it was mentioned that she told my mom she was old and wrinkly. I was furious and gave her a lecture from the core of my soul. Making fun of someone for having a big forehead? Really? For a model to do this makes it even worse. The modeling world is the most unhealthy, critical society of all, as if the real world isn't bad enough with stuff like "she's too fat, look how big and pregnant she is, look at those acne scars, what a big butt, get yourself on a treadmill, do you shop at Goodwill?, looks like ugly smacked you and ran, look how skinny she is, ribs are not attractive, go eat a cheeseburger, and the list rolls on and on. It honestly makes me crazy and I have told my children that if I EVER hear anything like this come out of their mouth they will not enjoy the consequences, and my daughter got her fill of consequences when I heard that she said this about my mom which by the way, my mom is beautiful inside and out, she rocks 66 like Vanna White!

As if we do not know, the focus is in the wrong place people... and this model proves that. If you are going to take a photo of a random woman who is enjoying a Friday night out at a restaurant and exploit her forehead on Facebook to the world then YOU my dear are as ugly as they come, I don't care WHAT your portfolio looks like! This model will meet karma one day and I hope someone takes a picture of that and posts it on Facebook. Okay, I feel my blood starting to boil so I better take it down a notch and get my lesson out before I say words I shouldn't say.

There is beauty in all things, (although questionable when discussing this model's character) Beauty comes from within even when it's not on the outside. A kiwi is pretty darn hideous until you peel it and taste it, right? Some of the BEST people and the BEST things come in packages that are not that attractive, don't be the unlucky one that is so shallow as to never get to experience these things and get to know these people. 

People commit suicide for things like this, people die from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, people die under the knife trying to make their bodies and their faces perfect according to society, it's NOT a laughing matter and if you are one of the people that would post something like this I hope that I get into your head. I recently read a story of a young girl who hung herself because someone posted a humiliating picture of her on Facebook and she was taunted by it. It happens every single day and it's sad. Bullying is real, it is disgraceful and I for one will not stand for it in my home or if I am out with anyone and it happens. Teach your kids to focus on people for who they are not what they wear, what they look like or how much they have. If you are with a group of friends and someone does something like this, do what I do... call them out, be the better person, throw them under the bus, embarrass them for a change because it's the right thing to do. 

That's all... I am hopping down from my soapbox 

Have an awesome weekend


Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's Just Gas...

"Your mind is the gas tank to accomplishing everything that you want in life; Make sure you fill it with premium quality fuel or you will likely break down before you get there." 
Shelley Giard

That quote popped into my head as I drank my morning cup of coffee and I thought to myself... "that is a great blog topic" SUCH a good thing because my mind is so scattered right now I am having a hard time focusing. I will be out of state for much of August on business and summers are not my thing, try working at home with 3 bored kids, need I say more? No... so THAT is why I am happy when my rat on a wheel brain saves the day.

In a world crazed over fiction novels that involve sparkling vampires & romantic interludes that make me want to barf, un-reality television, People Magazine, Facehookers , Twits and Instaspammers, I am definitely the minority when it comes to what I fill my mind with on a daily basis and it's probably how I stay in check with what's REALLY going on. TRUST me it's hard not to get sucked into the vortex when you are FORCED into being present on every social media network out there, I know, I am out there! I am just thankful that my parents raised me in a house with very little television and no video games because I learned to use my mind and explore into inventing ways to make money and reading books. 

I always enjoyed books with realistic stories as a child, ones that I knew could really happen and my Mom often purchased books that taught us lessons such as the Value Tale series that included books such as The Values of Truth and Trust based on the life of Cochise. This series told stories of other people like Hans Christian Anderson, Louis Pasteur, Alexander Graham Bell and many other positive role models. These books always taught me something; and they were my favorites growing up.  Oddly enough, I never really liked make believe and fairy tales very much, I never even enjoyed playing dress up. (What a weirdo kid I was) I like to think however, that being born with my genetics and having great role models for parents that I grew up okay. (All those days of selling lemonade, hot cocoa and toys on my front lawn paid off too!)

To heck with the spider... because along came the social media feeds and oh my, my! How many times do you think I want to hear what you are NOT happy about, how awesome your man is, what you ate for lunch or dinner or breakfast; picture included, (unless there is a recipe attached, because that is useful info) It really allows us to know a lot about a person and what kind of value they lend to others. The majority? Not much value at all and that is why I have my feed down to a science... so I can see what my mind needs and wants to see. It's like setting up my programming. Sure... I could rant about how often my kids like to push my buttons, how I really want to eat a cheeseburger with loaded fries but because I am gluten and dairy intolerant I can't and that sucks, I could talk about how awful it is to drive a car with no AC in Florida, how it rains too much in the summer and how I wish I had a maid but what VALUE would that really add to YOUR life? None... unless you like wallowing in other people's misery to make you feel more important and in that case, get help. Funny thing is talking about all of that would leave me focusing on the crap I don't like too... and that adds no value to my life either. If it makes me laugh, I read it, if it makes me smile, I read it, if it makes me think, or feel warm and fuzzy, I read it because...

What you think about your bring about

Laughter, smiles, sentiment and keeping your mind active 
are all good things to have in your life.

I still to this day only read non-fiction. I read everything from psychology books and magazines on human behaviors, to biographies, memoirs and books by Steven Covey, Gary R. Collins, Seth Godin, Wayne Dyer and many others that I have searched for and found that teach me how to improve my life and myself or that give me some sort of insight on how to overcome when life kicks you in the teeth (Not many of my female friends want me in their book club) but it's premium gas for my mind. It's the same with television... I would rather watch "How It's Made"  than to watch a reality show, but then I find myself wanting to know how they make those darn machines that make everything... (THAT is genius and would be way more impressive!) 

Hi, my name is Shelley and I am a nerd; but hey, I like it that way.

If your goal is to accomplish something that involves happiness and achievement

Keep your mind on what you want and the obstacles will disappear

You have something amazing so use it to it's fullest potential, I bet you will surprise yourself



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big Miracles... Big Gifts... Tiny Packages

Sometimes, on Monday's (especially those falling after a holiday weekend off) it's really hard to get your mind back into gear. However, when you have responsibilities and duties such as being a regular blogger, you can't let that be an excuse and with that comes pressure. (BTW, that is a sure-fire way of getting writers block) UGH! This happened to me tonight. Two hours ago, although I posted my "It's blog time" status on Facebook... at the time, I had no topic. I was trying to reverse-psychology myself into coming up with an idea really fast. #FAIL! So.... I decided to wash my face and get ready for bed, then come back to it.

 There I was, in the bathroom washing my face still trying to think of a topic to blog on after an hour or more hour with no luck, I instantly thought...  I will blog on "Do you ever wonder why certain things happen to certain people; how the nicest people typically end up with the most adversity while the heartless jerks make millions and never skip a beat?" The topic transpired as I thought of something that happened late last night with a fan on my page, and as I have shared in my book, adversity has been the story of my own life. I finished washing my face, sat at my computer screen ready to bang out a blog and said "better check email one last time" ( BTW, I had just checked it before washing my face) and in my email inbox I found Amy's story; the fan I was just thinking of from last night.

Now, let me tell you who Amy is. Last night, I was up really late because I could not sleep. (Imagine that) All day long, I had been sharing the link to my friend's fundraising page which was started on July 4th to hopefully raise the money it will take to save her son's life on all my social media sites. (see details in my last blog post)  I was posting real-time updates on how much we had raised so far, attacking this fundraising mission with Gazelle intensity when I suddenly saw a post from a fan of mine whom I do not personally know; her name was Amy. Amy said that she wished she could help but that she was "raising money for her own purpose, to buy her son who was born "asleep" a headstone, but how nice it was to see people pull together to try and help Kody." I suggested that she share Kody's  link on her page and that I would reciprocate by sharing hers on all my social media pages and that way we could help each other without having to involve money. I went further and stated that maybe we could have her on the Hopes Not A Crime radio show and asked her to email me the entire story of her son Caleb to me. She graciously shared our link for Kody's fundraiser and Shellie and I both donated and shared her cause. I of course realized even more, how lucky so many of us truly are. 

As I read her ENTIRE story in email, tears overcame me... as I thought... God just connected us, holy Toledo, GOD just TOTALLY happened! (That's what I believe anyway... it's okay if you are not on board with that, it's still a great story.) NOTHING is by chance; it's ALL on purpose, and I say that all of the time; (my whole book is on that very fact in a more generic sense)

Now that I have read Amy's ENTIRE story, I am seriously overwhelmed. I am speechless, like truly speechless. You have NO idea what these kind of moments mean to me! (Nothing like really feeling connected to the big kahuna) I just wrote Amy back telling her that I am a speaker "aka" Hope Ambassador, for Hopes Not a Crime Ministry and that we look for people JUST LIKE HER to share their stories of keeping hope & faith  through adversity, and that we wanted to put her story on our radio show. I cannot wait to hear back from her, this girl has a story much more profound that losing her son and not having enough money for a headstone. It's truly heart-wrenching in many different directions!

To add  the final layer to the story, I will share that the radio show's guests are typically booked out three weeks in advance, but Shellie messed up her show schedule during all of her own recent struggles of finding out her son Kody had masses in his lungs and throat and seeing him through sudden lung surgery last week. She made a mistake in all the chaos and has nobody for the show this week which she just shared with me last night in a bit of a panic. We were brainstorming together about it and had come up with a fill-in idea, but then, I saw Amy's post on my fan page... and responded to it, and then she responded back tonight while I was washing my face and simultaneously thinking of her with this unbelievable story of faith hope and perseverance WAY beyond a grave with no stone.

No matter how messed up, depressing, or empty your life may seem at times... be happy that you HAVE life, that you are not mourning over someone you lost or needing to raise money for your own cause. Thank you Amy Keaton, for sharing Kody's cause on your page while you are at the same time trying to raise money for a gravestone for your beautiful little Caleb who went back to see Jesus the very day he was born. I KNOW God will bless you with this simple request; to mark the place where his little child rests. Here is me paying it forward! 


We want to help Amy get that headstone for Caleb but trust me, her story which we will share on air will give YOU MUCH, MUCH more! I will share the link later this week if we get to air her full story on the show!


The moral of this blog is... you don't have to have money to GIVE to a cause, you don't have to do something over the top to change someones life. All you have to do is put heart into something, FEEL that feeling that stirs within you and ACT on it. Big Miracles and Big Gifts often come in the most simple, least impressive & most tiny packages. 

Goodnight, sleep tight may you be blessed beyond your dreams!

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Fighting for His Life.... A Mom, Her Son, & Their Purpose

I hope that everyone had a safe and happy July 4th, I had a great day with family and friends, but I must admit that a HUGE part of me was thinking of a family in California today. While we were celebrating our independence with food, fireworks, family and laughter, someone very near and dear to me is trying to save her son's life, and he spent the day in the hospital recovering from lung and throat surgery to remove tumors just two days ago. This is typically the worst news to get when you have RRP; a rare disease that can be fatal if it moves into the lungs and becomes cancerous. It was not a good week for them.

 As some of you already know, I accepted an invitation just a few months ago to be an Inspirational Speaker aka "Hope Ambassador" for Hopes Not A Crime Ministry in California after they featured my memoir on their radio show. The mother I am speaking of is Shellie Nichol, the founder of this purposeful and meaningful mission. She is very much like me; she is taking what has happened to her and what is STILL happening to her and using it to help others find hope... that somewhere over the rainbow that she knows is there for everyone, including her and her family. She is rapidly forming a Hope-Filled community with her strong passion to spread that HOPE IS NOT A CRIME while trying to keep some for herself and for the life of her awesome son Kody. What makes this story even more mind boggling, is that she is doing this while being a caring and loving mother to 5 other children who live at home with her and her hard working super-mom of a husband who supports her and cares for her in a way only people who know them can explain.

I have only known them a short time, about 6 months to be exact, and quite frankly will not get to meet them in person until next month, but I can say that after talking to both Shellie and her husband on numerous occasions and also talking to Kody; this family has the strength and love of an army. What they don't have... is the money to save Kody's life... the money to get him to Boston to a doctor who is the ONLY one who is giving them hope of Kody living past the age of 21. He was given 6 years to live shortly after his diagnosis at age 15, and he is entering year six.

As ALL of you know if you read my blog, I rarely ask for much outside of you just staying positive, keeping laughter as part of your life and always knowing that God is on your side even when you leave him on the sidelines. Tonight... however, I AM ASKING you for something. I am asking you from the VERY bottom of my heart to watch the video link below, and once you have watched it, do what you feel in YOUR heart, you will basically have 4 choices.

1. Donate to this fund that could truly save Kody's life
2. Share the link with as MANY people as you can
3. Both 2 & 3
4. Just ignore it all and go about your day/evening

I won't judge you if you pick #4, I know times are tough for a lot of you and people are always asking for money... but just remember the value of a $1 bill. I KNOW how valuable it can be when multiplied and THAT makes sharing this a no-brainer. Just because YOU won't or can't does not mean others you know won't... so at minimum PLEASE share this post with others.

I am a "Hope Ambassador" for Hopes Not a Crime... a person who helps YOU find hope, encouragement, laughter, happy tears, caring thoughts, passion, and purpose through my blogs every time I put my fingers to these keys. I hope you can find time to pay that forward after watching the video by helping my friend and her family keep HOPE in their hearts and two thumbs in the air.
(This is Shellie and Kody)

Thanks SO much for reading, and being a part of my life... one blog at a time


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