Posted on 2 Comments

WOTM 18 Featuring Jill Khoury

Jill Khoury
Jill Khoury

Have you ever met a person who you were so in awe of you simply could not find the words to describe them? You know the type – they are so talented, intelligent, imaginative, and mesmerizing to the point of being almost other-worldly? I have a group of artist friends and acquaintances who are so unique and colorful their mere presence just blows me away – Jill Khoury is one of these people.

Before I go any further I should tell you while I haven’t met Jill in person (she crossed my radar when I featured Leigh Anne Focareta) to my delight I found that both she and Leigh Anne know another artsy friend of mine, Marcel Walker. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that Jill would share some of the same amazing characteristics of others within this circle of friends.

Like many of my other Fierce Friday’s interviewees, I contacted Jill by email and she granted me permission to write an article about her. I knew that Jill was a poet from my conversation with Leigh Anne so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I visited her blog at www.jillkhoury.com.

When I was a child I dreamt of falling
belly first, through the roof and into the attic
through the night sky and into the roof,
through an alien universe and into this one.

FROM “BODY ART” ~Jill Khoury

At first glance I knew I stumbled upon something extraordinary when I clicked on Jill’s Bio and saw her intriguing photo. Granted my imagination could be reading way more into the picture than what Jill intended but it immediately grabbed my attention because it was out of the ordinary in that it awakened within me questions.

From the upper left to the right, then the lower right corner of the photo is what appears to be autumn foliage in the forefront. In the background there is lots of sunshine, green grass, then in the distance trees as if looking out over a field. Then hiding among the leaves is who I assume is Jill. You can barely see her face as she’s partially hidden and my first thought was “genius, why didn’t I think of doing something like this?” Then a succession of rapid-fire thoughts: why is she hiding, what does it mean, what is she trying to say, was this intentional, why am I compelled to ask these questions? I finally settled on the photo is just as artistic and compelling as Jill’s writing and I wanted to know more.

I want to be apart. I want to be a part. I want to partake. I want to part ways. I want, I want to participate. ~Jill Khoury

Under the heading Blog (Visceral Poetics) I was not disappointed when I found Jill’s answers to the Tagged! Writing Process Blog Tour. In this section she talks about the projects in process, how her works differ from others, why she writes and her process. While this provided a snapshot of how Jill works what really got me was her raw honesty when she talks about her mother’s death in 2012 and the resulting aftermath. She gives us a glimpse into her fears and how she coped.

Reading further down in Dotting the I in activism Jill talks about her recent trip to Washington, DC where she attended the poetry festival Split This Rock. What I enjoyed most in reading this bit was how she would transition from giving highlights on the festival to “real-time” for example she speaks about issues with her fibromyalgia to a previous life’s situations, to her use of the white cane, disability and other tasty nuggets.

My poetry is more grounded in the body. It engages the senses. There is usually a subtle or not-subtle threat involved. ~Jill Khoury

Though I cannot claim to be a connoisseur of poetry (I hate to admit many times it’s over my head), I do appreciate Jill’s use of words. Her writing to me is magical but then I guess this in its simplest terms is poetry.

When you have a spare moment I’d like to invite you to experience for yourself the many layers of Jill Khoury.

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash”

Posted on 9 Comments

The Maxi

Me in a seated position posing for the camera.In the past I’ve struggled with casual looks because it was ingrained in me, from my early 20s, to dress for where I envisioned myself in the future. The picture in my head of what success looked like was a classy tailored suit.

A stickler for rules and a rigid code of ethics, looking back now I can see I took myself way too seriously. Being so goal oriented it’s unfathomable why I didn’t have a solid game plan other than getting married a couple of years after graduating high school. I was so ridiculously in love, I turned down a scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to further my Graphic Arts training – BIG MISTAKE!!

After my divorce I took charge of my life and couldn’t wait to get my first power suit to begin the job interviewing process. So it was back to business school for communications courses, computer training, resume writing and mock interviews. It was so gratifying when I excelled to the point of making Dean’s List.

Me looking out over the balcony

Twenty some years later I worked for two great companies, received several promotions, bought a house, couple of cars, got married, and yet felt jaded. If this was success it was disappointing and time for re-evaluation.

So here it is one year since my retirement and I’ve come to the conclusion I need to relax. I realize now my struggle with casual wear had to do more with tying my femininity to my clothing.

Standing at the balcony

The maxi dress is a favorite of mine because it is so effortless and versatile. You can get all gussied up with heels, clutch, moto jacket and jewelry for a night on the town or throw on a pair of flip-flops, straw handbag, and floppy straw hat to run errands.

Today I experimented with my camera out on the balcony and while the pictures could use some improving it’s a beginning. I’ll have to test out a number of different shooting locations in an attempt to get better lighting.

Picture of the sandlas with my blue painted toe nailsPicture of the 2 bracelets.

Picture of the ringThe black maxi in the photos I bought online from Zulily. The material is a soft rayon blend with a scooped tank top neckline. I wanted to add a pop of color with a delicate turquoise chain necklace, earrings, 2 black macramé bracelets and 1 ring. Today I wore my nude sandals to compliment the outfit.

  • Zenana Maxi Dress | Zulily
  • Two 7 Small Crystal Bead Shamballa Bracelets in silver and aqua | www.beyondtherack.com | Adjustable one size and the crystal beads (intertwined in black macramé) sparkle when they catch the light.
  • Ring Fantasy World Jewelry | Zulily silver ring with shimmering rhinestones.
  • Faux Turquoise Chain Necklace | www.forever21.com | 36 inches long with a lobster clasp is lightweight silver plated featuring interspersed faux turquoise accents.
  • Tribal-Inspired Drop Earrings | www.forever21.com | 2 inch long fishhook earrings are 1.5 inches wide with a faux turquoise stone in the center of the tribal design.
  • Kasie Sandals | www.solesociety.com | Flat, ankle strap faux leather sandals easy turn lock closure at the ankle strap.

“I am not a has-been. I am a will be.” ~Lauren Bacall

Posted on 6 Comments

WOTM 17 Featuring Kerry Kijewski

Kerry Kijewski
Kerry Kijewski

I’ve said it before and as long as I continue to blog I will say it time and time again, I am so blessed to meet and write about some of the most phenomenal women. A couple of weeks before I moved I met Kerry Kijewski, a young woman who contacted me by email through Bold Blind Beauty. After we exchanged a few emails we set up a meeting via Skype to chat and we had such a great conversation.

Kerry, like other women that I’ve featured on Fierce Fridays was prompted to contact me after coming across my blog to give her feedback on the subject matter. We started out talking about make-up, fashion, beauty and how blind and vision impaired people are viewed as either uncaring or unconcerned about these topics and we both came to the same conclusion that nothing could be further from the truth.

My blog is where I hope to show the world what I have to offer and to do my part in hopes of making even the smallest difference. ~Kerry

Kerry went on to say just how good she feels when she buys a new outfit, it’s the same feeling shared by all women. You know the feeling of that initial rush of putting on new clothing especially depending on the occasion for which you are buying the apparel. For example a party, wedding, job interview, a date, vacation, the list goes on. Kerry affirmed that she is most definitely interested in fashion, trends and wanting to look her best.

On makeup Kerry told me that she tried wearing makeup when she was younger but since that time hasn’t really wanted to give it a go but since Bold Blind Beauty is here who knows? Just maybe she’ll give it another try. One of the things Kerry did share with me on dress is that she sometimes will get insight from her sister (who loves fashion) and can give Kerry helpful tips and advice.

As I write today’s post it just occurred to me that during our hour-long Skype conversation I neglected to ask Kerry the cause of her blindness and I now know why – it was irrelevant. It was also because though these Fierce Friday posts highlight extremely competent women, who happen to be blind or vision impaired, that isn’t the only reason. Kerry who is an aspiring writer is an extremely intelligent, caring, gifted and interesting person.

I want to bring attention to the issues that are most important to me: equal rights, organ donation, mental health awareness. ~Kerry

The one thing I do know as it relates to Kerry’s vision is that she was born blind and three years later so was her brother. Ironically the two siblings also have a shared experience of kidney transplants and in view of this they have a special bond between them that has assisted in their getting through the rough times. I mentioned that Kerry has a great love of writing and her brother found his gift in music.

When you have a chance I encourage you to visit her blog called Her Headache. On it you will find she writes about life, love, loss, family and all sorts of fascinating subjects including yesterday’s stirring tribute to Maya Angelou.

The things I’ve gone through and the experiences I’ve had have brought me to this place and I will never give up. ~Kerry

A love of all things literary, Kerry has found that books allow her to dream and provide an escape from reality. On her blog she has found a freedom like never before to come out of the comfort of her cocoon and to blossom into a beautiful butterfly charged with exploring this big world. Though she has expressed that she feels somewhat small in an out of control world, blogging has provided a platform for her to speak her mind.

Kerry, I applaud you and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share such a small piece of your life on my blog. You are a positive role model for all young women.

“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.”  ~Mary Kay Ash

Posted on Leave a comment

Hair, Nails & Friendship

Brian has just completed puting the relaxer in my hair. and posed for the picture.
Brian has just completed putting the relaxer in my hair and posed for the picture.

Just when I thought I was getting back on track…BAM!!! The situations that caused this derailment were very good indeed.

Thursday was a day of much-needed pampering with my cousin, Charese. The first stop was the salon where I met Brian the most insanely, gifted, stylist I’ve had work this hair of mine. If you recall during my makeup tutorial I mentioned that I like wearing wigs partly due to the versatility in being able to wear many different styles with the added benefit of time saved with not having to style my hair. This is something I’ve done for many years although pre-vision loss I would go for months on end styling my own hair and when I got bored I’d simply buy a new wig.

To give you a better idea of what was in store for Brian I need to go back several months when I was having a severe case of hot flashes. You know the kind where you feel like you’re gonna spontaneously burst into flames? Well, that’s how I felt and it reminded me of the time a few years back when I went to a different stylist and while she was preparing to apply chemicals to straighten my hair she says to me “are you having a moment?” to which I said “yes, how’d you know?” Apparently, whenever I have one of these episodes the heat rises up inside of me straight to my head and she could actually feel it. I can’t tell you how grateful I was when she brought out the fan and aimed the soothing, cooling breeze my way.

Profile View
Profile View

So anyway, back to what happened several months ago. I’m so hot I want to peel away my skin when I get the bright idea of <GASP> chopping off my hair. Before you go all OMG I was okay with this solution because I had my trusty wig to wear in public. So I grab the scissors and start cutting and before you know it I have about a ¼ inch of hair left and if I had clippers I would have used them to shave off the rest as I am nothing but determined.

The results of my impromptu haircut may have been scary but one of the upsides to vision loss is I couldn’t see it so it was okay and honestly I felt so much better without all that hair. Even when my hair is very short it is so thick it’s like choking my scalp so I had to lighten the load. I’m saying all this so you can get an idea of what was in store for poor Brian.

Before I unveil my hair (I wore a scarf to the appointment) I tell Brian my hair tales of woe to prevent him from going into heart failure (I know how serious these professionals take to hair care). I gingerly pull back the scarf and Brian (bless his heart) says “oh this isn’t the worst I’ve seen” again, I can’t see his facial expression so I decide to roll with it.

Front View
Front View

Several laughter-filled hours later, Charese tells me that my hair is beautiful. Brian has worked a miracle and all it took was a relaxer, color, cut and style (who knew?). But seriously even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to mirror what Brian did the next day I received compliments from friends.

Next stop on our day of pampering was a pedicure. If you’ve never done this I highly recommend it as it’s so relaxing. I’ve been dying to get my toes painted blue and now they are and they look so cute (or at least I think so).

What’s a day of pampering without a special treat? It was off to Big Shot Bob’s for the most delectable chicken wings. There are so many flavors from which to choose it’ll make your head spin.

Back View
Back View

I got home around 9:00ish at night and was surprised about an hour later when my friend Lori came in from New York to spend the holiday and her birthday weekend with me. I thought she was coming on Friday and I was thrilled she came earlier than expected. We had a great time and on Friday we even surprised one of our friends by dropping in on her then later going to Red Lobster (yes, another one of my faves) to dine on shrimp, salmon, those luscious biscuits and  triple chocolate cake for dessert. (I’ve heard that calories don’t count when friends visit from out-of-town).

The weekend was filled with running around getting stuff for my condo, catching up with other friends and visiting more restaurants. We even went to see X-men and closed out Lori’s birthday with a salute to her at Red Robin (had a mouth-watering Black Angus Burger).

Tomorrow I talk exercise.

So long for now.

“We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.” ~Olin Miller