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Archives for November 2011

What is the big deal about a name or logo anyhow?

logo designComing up with a name for your playground or organization is usually the first “official” thing you will be doing. Remember the “name” will be how you are known for the life of your organization. Are you honoring a child? Memorializing someone who you loved? Come up with a name people will understand.

After you have decided on a name of your organization you will need to come up with a logo. But before you design a logo, you must understand what a logo is, what it represents and what it is supposed to do. A logo is not just a picture; it reflects a business’s commercial brand through the use of shape, fonts, color, and or images.

Coming from a design background I did understand that when it came time to sit down and come up with our logo that this was a very important meeting. A quality logo design combined with the branding of an organization or company can become one of the most powerful forces in today’s society. Take a look above at some of today’s most common logos and think about how each has become an icon in today’s world. You want to come up with a great logo design which inspires trust, recognition and admiration for your organization.

Ok so how do you come up with this great logo?

• Brainstorm; sit down around a table with your key people and write down:

1. Who are you?

2. How do you describe your organization?

3. What idea are you trying to get across?

4. What type of image/style are you trying to portray?

5. Write down “key words” which you think of when it comes to your organization

• Check out people who have worked in a similar field and see how they portray themselves through their logo design.

• After you have the above questions answered have everyone start to come up with a few sketches of their own thoughts and concepts. You should have paper, colored pencils and crayons around for this creative meeting. Understandably everyone is not an artist but when people draw their own ideas down some great collaborations come together.

• You want your creation/logo to be memorable.

hadley_logo

• In general it is better to keep your logo design simple and clean. The main idea behind this is that you want the logo to be able to hold up well in all sizes. Remember you will be using your logo as your “calling card” on all of your PR materials, written as well as t-shirts, stationery and even in large scale on a sign.

 

volunteers at hadley's park ground breaking • As important as the image of your logo is similarly it is important to have your text “go” with your image i.e. you don’t want to have a futuristic image and a calligraphy type.

• You should have a great tag line! A tag line is a three to seven word phrase that accompanies your logo. It expresses your company’s most important benefits and or what you want your customers to remember about you. Think of it as the words you want to linger describing who you are.

Hadley's Park Sign

• And last but definitely not least, everyone’s pocketbook will be different and you need to keep this in mind when creating your logo, can your logo look good in black and white as well as color? Do you only have the funds to create a one-color logo or can you afford two-color or more?

hadley's playground at dulles town center sign

Just remember, keep it fun and simple and if you can understand what the image is telling you, you’ve done a great job!

So how did you come up with your logo?

40 Things I am thankful for

I thought it might be a fun post on this day where we give thanks…

1. My beautiful daughters

2. Freedom

3. Coffee

4. The smell of fresh cut grass

5. Dark chocolate, almonds and dried cherries

6. The sound of laughter

7. My health

8. Funny movies

9. Electricity especially during the summer!

10. Good friends

11. The grill

12. The look on my children’s faces the first time they met “Mickey”

naples sunset13. A beautiful sunset on the beach

14. A loving heart

15. The sound of rain hitting my window

peaches16. Fresh peaches look at this beauty!

17. That I have had the ability to see one of my dreams come true

18. My lovely home

19. My husband’s determination

20. Good books

21. The little things…

shelley and her camera22. My camera

23. Old songs that bring back good memories

24. The color yellow

25. My day planner

26. All of my senses

27. Hugs

28. My wonderful blog readers!

29. That I was able to stay home and raise my daughters

30. Woodmont grill’s Chicken Salad

31. The food network

red leaves of fall32. The colors of fall, this red is so vibrant!

33. Many wonderful family vacations

34. People who have supported my dreams

35. Special Ed teachers

36. Social Media

37. Trish McEvoy beauty booster cream

georgetown cupcakes38. A good cupcake

39. Sunrise, because that means I have been blessed with another day to “get this right!”

40. Life!

So what are you thankful for? Write a list and leave me the link!

Remember being a kid?

Play dough game

Take a moment to sit back and close your eyes and remember what it was like to be a kid. You attended school; you probably walked there. You would come home and have a snack, and then you would run out and play. These are some of the best times and memories of childhood.

Chances are you have a little movie clip running through your mind — hopping on your bike, riding to the local playground and waiting to see who else might show up. Your movie clip may include going to a friend’s house and playing in their home or backyard. You might play kick-the-can, softball and other games; some would be physical while others might include make-believe play. Maybe you were a princess awaiting your handsome prince, or a brave pirate looking for treasure.

Your imagination took you too many special places. Aside from going to school, this is what you did– play! Play was your childhood work. And although you probably were not aware, this is where you built the foundation for your social, physical and cognitive skills. These are skills you use in everyday life.

All children learn from developmental learning and recreational hands-on-play. Hadley’s Park Projects encompass both parallel and cooperative play in a free and supervised environment. The ideas and visions of Hadley’s Park Projects have resulted in the development of theme-play playgrounds.

Often, a playground is considered as strictly physical. When the physical play is achieved, a structure’s limited appeal can lead to boredom. How can we add to the restrictions of physical play? Theme-play offers a creative challenge to the child’s imagination and encourages play for extended periods of time. Theme-play provides endless journeys of discovery and excitement. Think of what Disney did in creating a land from the imagination.

When children are given an “equal” playing field, they learn from each other through physical and cognitive growth. A child with a disability gains so much by playing with a typical able-bodied peer. What people don’t stop to think about is how the reverse is also important – to give able-bodied children a chance to interact with children with disabilities. Through this cooperative play, children learn at an early age that a young person with a disability is a child first, then a child with a disability second. Children see that people with disabilities have feelings and like to play, just like them. They learn to feel comfortable with people who have disabilities. Children who play together at Hadley’s Park learn empathy while learning to accept people for who they are at an early age. Hadley’s Park helps young people learn not to discriminate or be fearful of the disabled. It becomes a win-win situation and a teachable moment for all the participants.

I invite you to help your community and bring a fully inclusive playground to your area, follow along and I will show you the how to’s, all you need to do is get up and “go.” I’m challenging you! Does your community have a playground such as this? If not come on, what are you waiting for?

Hello to my new friends!

welcome signI would like to thank Varda of A squashed bologna whose site I am guest posting on later today! So it you have popped over from her Special Needs Siblings Saturday I welcome you! Smiling from one special needs mama or day to another.

If this is your first time visiting “I’m Still Standing” let me give you a little house tour:

“I’m Still Standing” is a place to find comfort and support like home. Stop by to be inspired by stories about overcoming adversity, realizing that we’re all “able”, and to find healthy recipes.

Hello, my name is Shelley known to many as a “Playground Fairy,” Special Needs Advocate, Speaker, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Wife and Mom to three wonderful people who have helped change the world.

I am a creative person by nature and ready to jump into things with both feet, sometimes not really sure what I am getting myself into but always with an open heart. In 1996 I had the dream to create the first fully inclusive playground in the state of Maryland. Only having my design background, and my love for children, and passion to bring this project to fruition I jumped in full force. Not only did we (I formed a nonprofit organization) raise the needed one million dollars to create this playground, which is known throughout the region as “Hadley’s Park.” Our organization went on to build many more in the area, and helped hundreds of more in the country. If you’d like to find out more about me check, stop over here.

And..

while I was doing this my husband Kenny founded a company to enhance the lives of children by taking the “yuck” out of their medicine… Yes, it’s the stuff that the pharmacist asks you “do you want to add flavoring in that” for your children’s medicine.

And..

while we were both doing that my oldest daughter Sarah took being a disability advocate into her own hands after winning Miss Maryland Teen America 2005 and then the title of Miss Continental Teen America and raising awareness that we are all “ABLE”.

And we all did this as a way to give back; to change the world in honor of, our daughter/sister, Hadley who was brought into the world a beautiful little bundle of joy and whose life drastically altered on her 10th day when she suffered a grade 2 bilateral intracranial bleed. It is through Hadley’s life that so many other children’s lives have been changed…

In 2010 I realized I am an “Emotional Eater” and stared a Wellness Makeover. I love to cook and entertain; I can be found a lot of times reading my many cookbooks or magazines on cooking. Shout out to my favorite chef/nutritionist  Ellie Krieger! I also love to scrapbook from wonderful pictures I have taken and read a little here and there, and hopefully someday I will get to Italy.

Thanks for stopping by! Please take a look around and hopefully you’ll find something interesting today that makes you want to come back and visit again!

You might like a few of these recent posts:

What’s in your first aid kit?

There is a time to be proud

It’s time to go back to school for bloggers (I invite you to join in my thursday ProBlogger review group! Just hop on in!)

10 Zenful thoughts

I invite you to subscribe to “I’m Still Standing” RSS feed.

If you tweet, follow me on twitter or if you are interested in learning about my “wellness makeover” on facebook check out this page or you can always contact me.  I love meeting other special needs families and if you want to build a fully inclusive playground let me know, i’d love to help you!

It’s all about Pillar Content

Today’s lesson is from ProBloggers First Week of blogging and is a very important topic for all bloggers new and old. Pillar Content; how to come up with it? 

For many coming up with great blog ideas is easy, and they just “flow” from your mind.

However, I know from past experience, sometimes our brains just seen to shut down and we get “nothing” which can be very frustrating. The sentence that we always hear “content is king” holds true not only for our readers but for search engines who pick up our posts.

What Is Pillar Content?

Pillar content is foundational or basic content that is essential knowledge for anyone in your niche. It’s evergreen content – it never dates or loses relevance – and it’s the kind of information that people within your audience would search for using Google, Bing, or another search engine. As you can imagine, pillar content is an important aspect of many blogs.

The key here is not to knock yourself out and try and come up with 365 new ideas but to use ideas you have already written about and expand on them.

An example..

 

In Problogger’s example, he uses a mind map to illustrate the various sub-categories that can be built around a topic for a pet and grooming blog. You can see he takes a main idea topic or original post and expands on it.

Just take out your pen and draw a line from your main idea or post title and then extend to bubbles with various ideas or sub-topics. It is a wonderful way not only to organize but to come up with great new material.

  • Pick up a question that a reader asked in the comments and answer it.
  • Take the opposite point of view
  • Write an opinion view
  • Write a piece that helps people “do it”
  • Do you have a picture that would relate to this or video

Take 15 minutes to do this exercise, when completed you should have a page full of new and exciting material that will make your readers want to dive deeper into your posts.

Weekly tasks:

Utilizing the concept of pillar content, your challenge today is write a post after coming up with a subtopic from your mind mapping and don’t forget to link back to the original post if you can!

After you have written your post don’t forget to link it up here and please take the time to read a post or two and leave some love for everyone!

So do tell, how many mind maps did you create and how many new posts did you get out of this process?

So you want to start a non profit 10 Things you will need to know.

start in scrabble lettersphoto credit: jake and lindsay

First let me say, “Congratulations for wanting to be the change in the world that makes it a better place.” Coming up with a dream is a wonderful thing but actually taking it to the next level and making that dream an organization is both exciting and a lot of work.

Today’s world is filled with paper work whether it be from your state, county, maybe even city and sometimes it feels like it takes weeks on end to go through all of it and at times it feels unnecessary but it is a task that must be completed. You need to make sure that you have covered your entire trail or something will come back to bite you in the end. So PLEASE, make sure you cover all of your bases. Ok, that is my little soap box lesson on “covering your bases” of paperwork. There is so much to starting a nonprofit so let’s just jump in and “go” there are dreams waiting…

1. You need to come up with a name for your organization and you will need to come up with a logo which describes to the world who you are.

2. You need to form a Board of Directors.

3. You will need to come up with a mission statement that explains in one clear sentence what it is you are trying to accomplish and why it is important.

4. You need to file all of you legal paperwork to form your organization.

5. You will need to file with the IRS to get a Tax Id number.

6. You will need to register with the Secretary of State of your organization as a business.

7. You need to open a bank account.

8. Join the professional organization which your organization will help. Start networking with people in that community.

9. You are going to have to come up with a budget for your project and find a way to “fund your dream.”

10. And last but definitely not least, you will need to find volunteers who believe in your mission because it takes a lot of man power to build a dream!

Each one of these is vital to starting and running a successful nonprofit organization. Over the next few months I will dedicate a post to each one of these and then some. I know this might sound like a lot but remember I did it and if I could do it, you can do it! *Cheering*

Although I am your biggest cheering section I would also like to say this information is based on my personal experience and it is my hope to be used to help you as a guide but not to be used in place of legal advice. If you have any questions at anytime feel free to drop me an email or leave it in the comment section.

Decorating Fall Style

Autumn is most definitely here, Halloween has come and gone, daylight savings time has passed. Before the leaves all fall down to the ground take a few moments to enjoy the colors of fall around your home.

I enjoy decorating for the fall with pumpkins, gourds, apples, candles, and flowers. These are a few decorating ideas that I love.

fall decorating ideas

Images from: BHG, Pottery Barn, Southern Living, Country Living

What have you done to decorate this fall?

Did someone say “shopping?”

the mall shopping centerphoto credit: Hans van de Bruggen

The holidays are coming up on us rather quickly, frankly I’m not sure where this whole year has gone but that is another topic. So today we are going to take a little “trip” away from our computer, yup, that means we all have to get dressed and head outside. I’m sure the fresh air will do us some good too!

The mall is an inspirational place; just as a magazine gave us lots of ideas for our blogs the mall does similarly.

Now here is the exercise:

  1. As I said to do this exercise you must first leave your computer and head out to the mall.
  2. Don’t forget to bring a notebook and pen if you are like me and if you are like everyone else in my family your iPad. (I still am a pen and paper kinda gal, I love looking back on my filled notebooks!)
  3. I live just outside of DC where there are a number of malls at my finger tips, but I realize this might be a little harder for those of you in rural areas but there has to be something near you, I hope… maybe even a Wal-Mart.
  4. When you get inside the mall or shop take a half hour to walk around and just observe…
  • Who is there? Who are they with?
  • What are they doing?
  • What are they buying?
  • How does it look like shoppers are make their buying decisions?
  • What are the retailers doing to get people’s attention and stand out?
  • What messages are the stores using in their marketing?
  • What colors are in at the moment? (other than the holiday decorations which have already gone up here!)
  • What other things are ‘chic’ or in fashion?
  • What type of sales techniques is the staff using?
  • What are retail outlets doing well? What are they doing poorly?

5.  As you watch, jot down some notes.

6.  Once you’ve spent half an hour or so on ‘observation mode’ find a spot to sit down with a coffee (perhaps a pumpkin spice late, or gingerbread late) and go over the things that you’ve noticed and see if there’s any lessons there that you might be able to apply to your blogging.

This process might seem a little random – but it’s something that I’ve done on a few times over the last few years and each time that I’ve done it I’ve come away with at least one new idea that I want to apply in my blogging and I am sure you will too.

Now do tell, what happened on your trip to the mall, and I don’t mean the new shoes that caught your eye…. However I am sure they are very nice!

What’s in your first aid kit?

first aid kitSeveral years ago my husband and I were at an event for Children’s Hospital and as a token of thanks each patron received a first aid kit. Over the years we have used that kit many times, and have restocked several items.

Being that we are going into the winter months and what I call “hibernation” from a lot of playing at the playground. I usually take this time to go through my medicine cabinets and make sure the medications are all in date, over the counter medicines especially; we don’t go through Tylenol quite like we used to. But I also pull out the first aid kit and look at everything inside of it too, since it does get its fair share of use during the spring, summer and fall.

Everybody should have a first aid kit of one kind or another. You don’t need to go out and buy a prepackaged one. You can make one yourself. Just gather an old lunch box or spare big makeup bag. (We seem to have a lot of them around our house)

What you put in your families first aid kit can be as extensive as you like. I have put together a sample list of items which I believe would be helpful.

Supplies

• disposable gloves (at least 2 pairs)

• disposable instant cold packs

• adhesive bandages, several sizes

• adhesive tape

• elastic bandage(s)

• sterile gauze pads

• alcohol wipes or other antiseptic wipes

• hand sanitizer

 

Medication

• acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen

• 1% hydrocortisone cream

• antibiotic ointment

• calamine lotion

• epinephrine auto-injector if a family member is at risk for anaphylaxis

• ipecac

• burn ointment

 

Equipment

• small scissors

• tweezers

• needle

• safety pins

• thermometer

• bulb syringe

 

Information

• first aid manual

• emergency phone numbers and contact information (which I also post on the inside of a kitchen cabinet)

• important medical information for all family members, including health problems and medications

• health card or health insurance information

 

I hope this helps you make up your own families first aid kit. What do you have in yours?

Hold on to your dreams!

Stand up and Hold On To Your Dream
Maybe this is your moment
Stand up and Hold On To Your Dream
You know no one can take it
There is a path it’s always been yours
And you have the right of passage
Signed in blood and sealed in tears
Sending you a message
Across the miles and thru the years
Stand up (and be there) and Hold On To Your Dream
With some faith and conviction

and don’t forget to Dream!

dreamphoto credit: Melody Campbell

What’s your dream?