Friday, May 6, 2011

Facebook Featured Fan Announced: Kristi Barclay-Smialek

I'm thrilled to announce Miss Ballooon Heart's Facebook Featured Fan for this week, Kristi Barclay-Smialek. I had the pleasure of meeting Kristi and her children at Friendly's while I was twisting balloons. She began following me on Facebook and recently left one of the kindest, sweetest comments on my blog after reading about our first Facebook Featured Fan, Stephanie Conlon.

She really dove into these questions and I absolutely LOVE IT! Kristi, thanks for taking the time to share your life with us and best of luck with your upcoming move!

Grab a cup of coffee and take the time to get to know Kristi, yet another amazing and totally cool fan.

Enough of my typing... let's learn about Kristi!

Are you a dog or a cat person?

I am a dog person. Growing up, my father bred Brittany Spaniels, which are excellent hunting dogs. He trained them to point game in the field when we would go hunting.  We also adopted several mutts, which were always such loving and loyal pets. My favorite dog was our blond Cocker Spaniel, Duke. We lived in Lancaster County at the time and we lost him suddenly to a hit and run driver.

I love cats, very curious animals, but I was born deathly allergic to them :(

What is your favorite pizza topping?

I love BBQ chicken pizza with ranch dressing on the side for dipping, but in general I am not actually a big pizza fan. However, if I have to pick one, I do enjoy Pizza Hut's deep dish with green pepper (picked that topping up from my mom...)

Did you play sports or a band instrument in high school?

I was a cheerleader, and played softball in high school. I took up Karate (Tang Soo Do) in my teenage years, but my true passion is dance. I danced from a young age and as I got older participated in many competitions, conventions, and attended a professional dance school in Lancaster. As an adult I later taught dance through an arts in therapy program for under privileged children as a volunteer. I have participated in the adult "parent" dance numbers in my children's recitals for a few years now, and of course it embarrasses them!

What do you think came first, the chicken or the egg?

Such a random question, I am unsure if this should be a philosophical answer, or just off the cuff... so I am gonna say the chicken. Only because I believe in God, but am still undecided about the theory of evolution.

What would you like readers to know about you personally?

I love to be entertained! I love socializing...this butterfly sure can talk, ask anyone who knows me! I love to laugh, especially by making others laugh!

I am very proud that I earned my BS degree with honors (Magna Cum-Laude), in addition I earned scholarships to finish my business degree at a private university. I was selected as a recipient for my dedication as a single mother, my volunteer work through Our Lady of Charity Catholic Parish (where my children attended school and I was faithfully involved for six years as a Children's Liturgy teacher) and for a special creative writing submission I entered. Writing is an expressive outlet for me and I love to put my often random thoughts, or emotional tangents, into words and watch them form a meaningful personal story.

What is your business? What "do you do?" : )

I am the mother of three beautiful and unique children; two daughters and a son. Autumn is 14, Tamara (AKA: Mara is 10) and Leahm will be turning 6 in May and they are all looking forward to this summer. We will be moving into a farmhouse in Boyertown this June and it is a very exciting time for us. I am engaged to a wonderful man, Brian, who is the Ying to my Yang!

We moved here from Delaware County to be closer to family almost two years ago. I was unable to keep my home after my divorce because I was laid off from a management position in the automotive collision repair and insurance claim field, for which I still hold a motor vehicle damage appraiser's license. I am also a notary public and transferred my commission to Berks County last year.

I currently work full time at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in the Emergency Department. I process patient admissions and registrations. It is a very high stress, fast paced job in which one must carry a great sense of humor, and the ability to deflect, rather than absorb the sullen emotions from sad situations. In addition to this I recently became an Independent Designs Representative for Silpada Jewelry. I am truly looking forward to growing this new business venture so that I may work less overtime at the hospital and focus on my children's extracurricular activities.

 Who wouldn't want to spend time having fun and enjoying the company of guests while earning an income versus 12 hour shifts in a hospital?  If you know anyone interested in hosting a Silpada party, have them contact me. The benefits are fabulous!!!

Who is your greatest supporter in your life and work?

I have an awesome, supportive family from all over the country. From my grandmother in Arizona, to my Dad and step-mother in Illinois they are always just a phone call away. I must say that I turn locally to my mother and step-father for everything though. My mom, in particular, has always been my biggest fan! She loves me unconditionally, for which I have no doubt. Since childhood she has pushed me each time I needed motivation. She has presented me with hard ultimatums in which she paints a moral picture about my choices each time I struggle with a life altering decision. She is my 24 hour help line. When I was finishing my degree last year and started my last class, I was exhausted. Mom was there to support me right to the end; she has always been there to remind me of my potential and how much she believes in me.

Who or what inspires you?

Mahatma Gandhi:
Meaning of his name is "Great Soul." He fought for independence with a focus on peace through non-violence. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." was the motto, and the final theme quote of my graduating class from Neumann University in 2010. I have a ring with this quote engraved on it. I picked it as a graduation gift from one of my closest friends, Catherine. I was delighted when she asked me to be the maid of honor in her wedding this summer. She has always been my peace of mind, a rock, when I have struggled for my own independence.

Mother Teresa:
She earned the Nobel Peace Prize for emphasizing love and kindness... there is no one more inspirational in my eyes. My favorite saying, from which her spirit still speaks is, "Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is bliss, taste it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it."

Is there something you are really passionate about? What is it?

Everything almost to a fault... but, integrity is most important to me.

My aunt, Judith Barclay, passed away in a house fire last February and it is one of the hardest losses I have ever experienced in my life. We were very close, it was like losing a best friend. She is with me every day in my heart, in my thoughts. She was a very brave woman, her strength and honesty inspire me to be me; to always be who I am without embarrassment of my faults.

What is your favorite quote?

Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can't prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you're presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power. ~ Blaine Lee

How can people reach you?

I would love your referrals!

Email: (or)
Twitter: krazileah

Facebook: Kristi Barclay (Smialek)


  1. I am one of Kristis best friends. She is one of the most amazing strong women I know! She is the one person that I know I could call any time day or night and she would be there with her encouraging words and witty sense of humor to make me smile! Life without her is unthinkable! I love you Kristi Leah.

  2. Nikki - Thanks so much for posting your comment. : ) All of that comes through in her online interview. What a wonderful woman!

  3. Kristi is an amazing woman with an incredible drive. She is very dedicated to her family and does whatever it takes to make a better world for them. Working full time at the hospital and part-time as a Silpada Designs rep, her passion for succeeding is apparent. Kristi is also thoughtful and considerate. She would do anything for anyone without a second thought. Kudos deserve it :)

  4. Chelsi Mae Gavaghan:

    I am Kristi's youngest cousin"t" (Inside Joke). Kristi is honestly an idle to me. She's a fantastic mom and a hard working woman. Her heart of gold steals me every time. I've had a lot of struggles and have found that Kristi is one who doesnt judge me or put me down no matter how much I may be disappointing at times. She's always there with her encouraging words and opens her arms to me. She is more like a sister to me. Definately someone I can always count on even though I try my best to leave her to her life. I have more love for her than she'll ever know. She is the biggest support in my story. Love you Always Kristi. You're always in my heart, I would give the world to you if I had it. Love You, and congrats.

  5. Jolie & Chelsi - Thank you both so much for sharing your comments! Go, Kristi! I have no doubt she appreciates your comments and they mean the world to her. We all need encouragers like Kristi in our lives!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, comments and inspirations. My request is that all posts remain family-friendly. Have a balloontastic day!