unbound

​I have the most incredible friends & clients. Kind, articulate, and intelligent. They help me more than I do them. I’m grateful.

My work is different than most. It’s a very personal business. We were trained not to talk about the biggies: religion, politics, and sex. I can tell you right now that I have never worked with a stylist that ever followed that rule. I’m sure we’ve all filtered for certain personalities, but through the years most of my clients have become so much more than business transactions.

They’re friends.

I have held people as they sobbed over lost pets, spouses, and children. I have visited hospitals, and I’ve watched kids. I’ve known about divorces before they happened.

It’s a privilege to be invited into the lives of so many, and I don’t take it lightly.

We talk about boundaries in the workplace, and I definitely agree that there must be some, but they don’t have to be as rigid in an industry that is so people-centric. Honestly, I’ve worked with stylists who aren’t so great with hair but are amazing with people – sincere and loving. They were immensely successful, too.

I’m not telling you to get into everyone’s personal business. I am saying that, when the time comes, be ready with kind, honest words. My clients always have them for me, and I will always be here when they need them from me.

work with what you have

It’s no secret that I didn’t grow up with much money. I still don’t make a ton, which is my own fault, because all the decisions I’ve made over the last few decades have brought me to this point in time. And the choices my parents made formed my foundation, just as I’ve created Rhiannon’s.

All we can do is work with what we inherit and constantly work toward a better tomorrow, right?

I live a life that allows me to be right where I am at this moment – sitting on a red leather sofa next to a snoring dog while my daughter takes singing lessons. I even drove through a snowstorm to get her here. It’s what I do, making sure she knows how important she is. She knows I love her, and she knows what my expectations are. And I know she loves me and what her expectations are.

Yes; kids have expectations, too.

I’m still working out how to turn this life into one that makes a decent amount of money, so I can help her meet her own expectations. There are many options, and I’ve never been afraid to take risks, so I know it’ll happen. When you start out with very little, you’re less afraid. You know you’ll be okay, even if you have to drive $400 cars and eat a lot of beans (been there!).

In the meantime, I’m grateful that I own a business that allows me the time to be an actively involved mom, to volunteer, to work in the arts, to join committees that make a better community, to be the person others can call when they need help. To be free.

I’ve been able to braid all the many pieces into a beautiful life. I’m lucky.

As you think about 2016 and wonder what’s ahead, focus on how you can take this moment, this second, and expand it. Whether you’re the CEO or a new-hire, what can you do with what you already have so that you can sit at the end of 2017 and know you made the best of it?

summer & education

I’ve been pretty lucky with Rhiannon. Because so many of my clients are high-level educators, I’ve always had plenty of guidance in what is best for her. Testing into GATE opened up so many doors – thank you, special education! – and we’re able to manipulate her schooling to match her needs. In a state like Idaho (we rank 50th in per-student spending), I’ll take all the help we can get!

This summer, her teachers supplied her with fractions and algebra workbooks to keep up her math, and she’s currently reading Watership Down (and a bunch of Doctor Who graphic novels!). She tested into high school math and college-level reading, so we’re trying to keep her interested. She’s still taking piano through the summer, amping up her art skills with the help of some fantastic YouTube channels and an art teacher who comes monthly for both kiddos (Thank you, Tanith Brown!), reviewing Spanish, and is about to force me back into running so she can train for next track season.

Before you start commenting that she needs a summer break, this is what she chooses for herself. She also spends most days at her school’s Boys and Girls Club, where she plays hard, teaches younger kids arts & crafts, and gets to go on amazing field trips. She and Sebastian (who is with us every other week) play plenty of video games and veg out (more than I’d like them to…) watching YouTube, but that’s important, too.

We’re letting them attempt more independence and are giving them plenty of free-range time this summer. They’ve already had multiple sleep-overs and the house sometimes bursts apart with their friends, but it makes Tony and me happy to be that house. Granted, it’s messier than we’d like, but we’re working on a chore list. Rhiannon is working on earning her own laptop and we’re trying to give her ample opportunities to get money.

She’s also auditioning for commercials and wants to send her resume out for more acting work. She’s begging for lessons, so we’re looking into different programs. Luckily, Boise is a creative city and we know a lot of performers, so it shouldn’t be hard.

So, yes, we’re still learning everyday, knowing that school will be popping up quickly. Yes, we’re trying to keep them busy and happy and still moving forward in their skills. Yes, we’re still more mellow than it reads in this post, but we have smart kids who need stimulation.

And I kind of feel like summer is the perfect time to get in the fun learning. Which is why I’m studying Rhiannon’s Spanish books and playing her piano when no one else is home. 😉

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some people

The greatest people I know look beyond their own ego to make sure the world is a better place. They don’t care about the perception of others; they just do the right thing, even if it isn’t popular.

Mistakes don’t make them wince. Hard work only makes them roll up their sleeves. What’s going on inside is more important than creating a perfect picture. No one buys into perfection anymore anyway, so why live your life hoping you’ve convinced everyone that you are better than you are? Why not use that energy differently?

Be a better example for your kids. Admit when you’re wrong. Apologize. Teach them it’s okay to give their time and friendship to those that deserve it. Tell them it’s okay to let the others go. Show them the work ethic you want them to have. Praise their talents and get them all the help you can for the things that cause them to struggle. Don’t look away from their imperfections. Let them know we all have them. Prove to them over and over that you love them as they are.

They’re watching you.

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the power of words

When they fill a page, words can tell a story. They can instruct. They can change moods and minds. They are magic on the page. On the page, however, words can also be well thought out. They can be carefully placed. It is the gift of writing.

Said aloud, though, words can escape when your true intention was to keep them locked. It is the curse of speech. It makes me wish I had been born quieter. And less emotional. That wasn’t for me, though. No beautiful fairy waved her wand and gave me the ability to be silent every time it is necessary. In 43 years, I have worked on this, but I am just a student of this practice and often fuck it up. Think of a muddy glass of water. When it’s swirling and unclear, that is me at my worst. Once I get a chance to sit for a bit, the dirt settles and things are clearer. Being still is good for me. Being still with a pen and paper is even better for me. It seems that the dirt settles faster.

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So, the power of words. They can undo. They can fasten. Silence can be good, if it’s followed by carefully thought out discourse. Silence followed by silence…

Well, there is a lot of power in having no words, too.

(Originally posted May 7, 2015, on gigihuntley.blogspot.com)

bridging those gaps one day at a time

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You know how Facebook has that memory feed? It’s fun for many reasons, but it also reminds me of how often I Iag. I can see how many times I took breaks from art, working out, yoga, reading, eating better, charitable work…writing this blog…all the good stuff. Every few months, I become very out of touch with myself.

Initially, I was feeling a bit depressed about my stops and starts, but the more reminders I see, the more I know that I am thisclose to making those things a daily occurrence. It’s taking me longer than average, but those gaps are closing. Those habits are forming. I’m able to snap out of my funks quicker.

Very soon, I’m going to be magnificent.