Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jackie O

Today would have been Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ 82nd birthday. I had to take a minute to acknowledge this occasion because Jackie O is one of my ultimate girl crushes. Not only is she a fashion icon, but also a woman that no one can compare to when it comes to poise, strength and grace. She was one very classy chick. Always chic and ever the lady – her legacy will live on forever.

“The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse.” -Jackie O



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The Long Way Around

It may have taken me awhile because I tried my best to fight it, but one of the things I learned when I moved to the Midwest was to appreciate country music. “The Long Way Around” just came up on my iPod and it reminded me how much I love it. It sounds so cliché, but whenever I hear this song I think of my friend, Alissa, and I listening to it while driving through Nebraska in the summer of 2009. One of the best trips I’ve ever taken.

Read the lyrics and listen to the song when you get a chance. For numerous reasons this song hits home for me. Definitely one of my favorites. It’s just a little something to ponder…

“The Long Way Around” by the Dixie Chicks

My friends from high school
Married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses in the same ZIP codes
Where their parents live

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

I hit the highway in a pink RV with stars on the ceiling
Lived like a gypsy
Six strong hands on the steering wheel

I’ve been a long time gone now
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
But I’ve always found my way somehow

By taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around

I met the queen of whatever
Drank with the Irish and smoked with the hippies
Moved with the shakers
Wouldn’t kiss all the asses that they told me to

No I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

It’s been two long years now
Since the top of the world came crashing down
And I’m getting’ it back on the road now

But I’m taking the long way
Taking the long way around
I’m taking the long way
Taking the long way around
The long
The long way around

Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found

Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around


Filed under Music

Bb. Texture Hair (un) dressing Crème

I have recently come upon a new obsession. The life-changing product is Bb. Texture Hair (un) dressing Crème from Bumble and bumble.

I had seen reviews for this new gel-creme online and liked the idea of it, but was hesitant because I thought it would give my hair a greasy look and feel. After receiving a Sephora gift-card for my birthday I made a trip to beauty supply heaven and decided to give Bb. Texture a try. Now I don’t think I can live without it.

The crème leaves your hair anything but greasy, actually giving you a matte, shine-free look. It gives you the texture of dirty hair while looking clean at the same time.

After applying it, I usually blow-dry my hair and love the tousled, undone look the product gives my strands.  It’s a great way to add more volume. I don’t generally use it when I wear my hair down, but instead when I want to style it back and off my face.

It gives the best hold for any kind of braid (especially if you have layered pieces that tend to fall out) and it adds the perfect amount of lift at my roots when I want to do a messy bun. It also makes your hair look incredibly pretty when you want to throw it back in a chignon.

The only downfall is it’s a little pricey, but it lasts a long time. I would definitely recommend trying it – I promise you won’t regret it!


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The Art of Racing in the Rain

The latest book I need to praise is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The novel is told through the eyes of a dog (Enzo), who has come near the end of his life and is reflecting upon the time he spent with his human family. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m not exactly an animal lover, so I was a bit skeptical when I heard the premise of the book, but Enzo was able to completely win me over. There were parts of the novel that were literally laugh out loud funny and others that brought me to tears.

At its core, the story is about being a witness to another person’s life. It’s about family, compassion and unconditional love. The Art of Racing in the Rain speaks to companionship and loyalty in only a way that a dog can explain it. It makes you wonder about how much our pets really understand us and how well they truly know the people we are.

Stein has a gift with words that left me wanting more. I’ll definitely be picking up his other  novels in the future and I hope you’ll try this one out for yourself. Here are a few quotes that may help convince you to grab a copy:

“Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of a conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly.”

“So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is comprised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication.”

“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to.”

“Many of us have convinced ourselves that compromise is necessary to achieve our goals, that all of our goals are not attainable so we should eliminate the extraneous, prioritize our desires, and accept less than the moon. But Denny refused to yield to that idea.”

“ ‘There is no dishonor in losing the race,’ Don said. ‘There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.’ ”

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Filed under Authors, Books, Quotes

Quote of the Day

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days. This was my first week of work on my own, without someone training me, and I wouldn’t exactly say it was rainbows and butterflies. That said, I leave you with this quote to sum up my feelings at the moment:

“Remember when you were a kid and your biggest worry was, like, if you’d get a bike for your birthday or if you’d get to eat cookies for breakfast? Being an adult—totally overrated. I mean seriously, don’t be fooled by all the hot shoes and the great sex and the no parents anywhere telling you what to do. Adulthood is responsibility. Responsibility—it really does suck.” Grey’s Anatomy


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Happy 4th of July!

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight’
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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Words of Wisdom

The idea for this post came from my cousin, Kasey Kokenda, and my uncle, Bob Kokenda, who came into the restaurant where I was serving at one night for dinner. While jumping in and out of their conversation, I overheard Kasey asking her dad what the most important piece of advice he could offer her was. I, being myself, couldn’t help but chime in at this point and a pretty cool discussion was sparked from which some great insight came (you can see my uncle’s answers below).

I decided this would be a great question to ask a wide range of adults. So I contacted twenty very important people in my life who range in age from 30-85 years-old and who have come from a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds. I figured I’d start asking at age 30 because after having asked a few people still in their 20’s, I realized we’re still idiots.

Anyway, I absolutely loved the outcome I got from this! I found it interesting that many people had the same answers. I was also intrigued by the fact that most people’s answers really seemed to suit their personalities and character. There were so many responses I thought were just perfect.

Take a look for yourself to see what everyone came up with.

P.S. You may want to wait until you have some spare time on your hands. I asked everyone for one to three pieces of advice, but nearly all of them seemed to have more wisdom than they could contain. 🙂

1.       Esthela Gonzales – 30 year old Teacher:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Save, save, save!
  • Surround yourself with a small group of people who really love you!

2.       Gretchen Cooper – 32 year old Director of an MBA Admissions Program:

  • Think of life as a pie with six different pieces and continuously reflect on the pieces that are fulfilled and not fulfilled! Make tweaks instead of waiting to change something each decade. The pieces could be: work, family, friends, love/relationships, money/means, hobbies, etc.
  • Be bold—ask for more money in each of your job interviews. Money does matter in terms of what you choose to do in life and it is not bad or “slimy” to ask for a bigger starting salary or a raise. In fact, if you have extra funds each month, you can give to others!
  • For at least a few hours each week, turn off all of your mobile devices, computer, cell phones, etc. Be silent. Be comfortable with yourself. Be comfortable with your thoughts and resist the urge to be in constant communication with others.

3.      Kimberly Moore – 33 year old Director of Student Activities & Greek Affairs (115 lbs):

  • Approach life without expectations – you eliminate disappointment and are often left feeling pleasantly surprised.
  • The world conspires in the favor of those who live most authentically. (All souls are connected to the great soul of the world which has a collective resonation. You and the soul of the world both know the real you…if you choose to approach life with intention and tap into your true self the world will reward you!)

4.      Rose Kennedy – 37 year old Educator:

  • Bloom Where You’re Planted!
  • Accept people where they are, as they are.
  • Never stop trying to be the person you are meant to be.

5.      Hilary Kokenda – 39 year old Project Manager:

  • Keep searching until you find a job that you enjoy. Even if it takes some time to ‘get settled/feel successful,’ you’ll be much happier in the long run.
  • When considering who to marry, look closely at his or her family because you marry them as well and they provide a lot of insight into your potential partner. Whether we want to accept it or not, we do turn into our parents.
  • Try to appreciate the moments along the way. It’s easy to get so focused on the goal that we forget to enjoy and appreciate the process of getting there.

6.      Carrie Kokenda Law – 46 year old ex-CPA, Stay-At-Home Mom/Taxi Driver:

  • Try to never compare yourself or your life to someone else’s because there is no way for you to know anyone’s full circumstances. Stay focused on yourself.
  • No matter how much your family may annoy you, there’s nothing thicker than blood. Nothing.
  • Love yourself the way you are.
  • Whatever you do, including outside hobbies, do for the experience, the art and the love of doing it. Don’t do it because you have to be the best at it. Passion has nothing to do with how good you are at something.
  • Have an even number of children so you don’t have a middle child…just kidding…but seriously.

7.      Scott Law – 46 year old Financial Executive in the Entertainment Industry: 

  • Never do anything to hurt your reputation; you spend years building it and one slip up can ruin it. It’s just not worth it.
  • Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and be able to distinguish between the two.
  • Choose your battles wisely because you can’t fight everything.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Never worry about what someone else makes. Work hard, do a good job and you will be rewarded. Besides, the other person’s paycheck doesn’t affect you, so why worry about it?
  • Shortcuts rarely play out well. They are not usually well thought out, which is a mental shortcut.

8.      Karen Kerrigan – 48 year old CPA:

  • Live below your means.
  • Make every day count.
  • Travel the world while you are young.
  • Accumulate memories -not possessions.
  • Take your parents on at least one special trip while they are still young enough to enjoy it.

9.      Bob Kokenda – 51 year old Project Manager:

If you can do these things, you can survive anything in life:

  • Be comfortable within your own skin.
  • Learn to live within your means.
  • Learn to “go with the flow.”
  • Life will work out if you let it.

10. Kari Dunham – 51 year old Educational Inclusion Specialist:

  • Slow down, enjoy the moment!!
  • Be a good listener—every individual has the right to be heard (I’m still working on this!!).
  • Embrace diversity—life would get boring if we all had the same perspective.
  • Okay, sorry, but I have a fourth…Get out of your comfort zone, stretch, give a try at thinking “out of the box”—it’s very refreshing and opens a lot of doors that you may have not thought that you had!

 11.    Lori Hubbard – 52 year old Mom, Homemaker and Teacher:

  • Friends come and go, but family is always there.
  • Be true to yourself and happy with who you are. Don’t try to be someone else. When you try to be someone else you’re failing no one but yourself.
  • Don’t sweat the little stuff because you’ll miss out on the good stuff along the way.

12.   Jeff Hubbard – 54 year old Finance Manager:

  • Find something you enjoy doing.
  • Try not to make work your life.
  • Don’t over-spend. (If you do, you’ll be working until you’re 70).

13.   Anita Rezzo – 56 year old Assistant Admissions Director:

  • Always remember that God loves you.
  • Be clear on your priorities. For me it is Faith, family, friend. The rest just falls into place.
  • Love what you do, do what you love.

14.   Mary Wilson – 60 year old Teacher:

  • We all matter. YOU matter. And just being here on this planet is a miracle! And all of the things that happen to us along the way prepare us for the life that is to come, and WE can choose that. “I am the Master of my Fate-I am the Captain of my soul.” I love those lines from Invictus. You become what you believe!
  • Hold onto your faith! There is something bigger than you out there in the universe. That same Faith also offers us the chance of redemption. We can begin again. Let God walk with you and guide you. He will never forsake you…just ASK HIM!
  • Stay close to your family. Sure, we don’t always agree or get along, and that’s okay. We are all individuals. BUT, family catches us when we fall, rejoices with us in our accomplishments, and guides us when we falter…all with love…IF we love too! And sometimes that is very hard to do, but if we think about it, a family’s love is unconditional and forever.

15.   Bruce Thompson – 63 year old retired Aerospace Worker in Finance and Motivation:

  • Be open to listening to new ideas.
  • Don’t be afraid to learn new skills.
  • Don’t let anger ruin your life.

16.   Evelyn “Dolly” Kokenda – 73 year old proud Homemaker, Wife and Nonna:

  • Don’t take life too seriously. We’re all here for a certain number of years and then we’re gone. Enjoy yourself.
  • Try to live by what you believe in. Don’t be swayed by outside influences. Stay true to the core of who you are.
  • Be a person who is loyal. If you aren’t loyal, you really aren’t anything.

17.   Elma Imbrenda – 77 years YOUNG retired partner in the firm of Maguire and Associates, Real Estate Investment Counsel:

Live by the three ‘Ps’:

  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Positive Attitude

18.   Dr. Arnold “Buddy” Zukow – 79 year old Pediatrician:

  • Whatever you do should make you happy.
  • You, personally, must make the choice about what’s going to make you happy.
  • Once you are in the kind of work you like, you want to be the shining star there. Show them what you are capable of and that you are the best. Do it better than everyone else. You’ve worked too hard and wanted this too badly. There is no competition.

19.   Robert Kokenda – 79 year old retired Mechanical Engineer:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Respect others.
  • Have faith in God.

20.  Terry DesRoches – 85 year old Homemaker, Wife and Aunt/Surrogate Grandmother:

  • Don’t put things off! Do all you can while you still can.
  • Don’t worry until you have something to worry about.
  • Be an optimist.

I want to thank each of you who got back to me for all of your help. You guys are the best and your answers were better than I could have imagined.

A special thanks to Uncle Bobby and Kasey—you two are so inspirational. 😉

I asked twenty people for their words of wisdom, just for the sake of time, but there are so many others I would love to hear from. If you’ve got some thoughts to share, please do!


Filed under Life