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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

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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

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Tempted to Trust

Style & Co Printed Wide-Leg Soft Pants
Have you ever had that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach? I’m experiencing it right now as I’m writing this post. You see, today the contractor was to come by to scoop me up so that we could get the paint/stain for my balcony which he was going to work on today. While he did come recommended I’m feeling uneasy and thinking that the postponing of today’s work due to overcast weather conditions is biding me some time to mull over next steps.

I’m living testimony that being a control freak is not an easy way to live. Trusting contractors, lawyers, automotive mechanics, sales professionals, doctors, or even airplane pilots does not come easy as my major expectation is simply ‘doing the right thing the first time, every time.’ Professionalism, providing an itemized listing of services to be performed, clear & consistent communication, following up & through, being on time & providing quality workmanship and fair pricing are very important non-negotiable qualities.

During times like this I really miss my ex-husband because he was a one-of-a-kind, extremely gifted, person in the area of home remodeling and construction. When I was in the process of buying my first home and he was with me on the walk-through he’d say things like “I can move this thermostat over here” or “I can knock out this wall and put in patio doors” or “I’ll take out this door to expand the size of the kitchen”. He was an expert in hanging drywall, custom built-ins, and beautiful crown molding but he also did siding, window installation, flooring, insulation, and painting. The thing I loved most about his work was his attention to detail. When the interior railing and balusters needed updating he took the entire thing down, sanded and repainted it to look like new. He did not cut corners; that just wasn’t his style. Oh well, what’s a new homeowner to do? I know, let’s talk clothing!!

The weekend prior to the big move I had to buy a new outfit to attend a brunch scheduled the day after move-in day. My cousin Charese and I made a day of it by buying new hair, going to lunch (I’m so ashamed of my lack of self-restraint I can’t even tell you what I ate), then it was off to Macy’s.

Surplice Knit Tank

We went up the escalators to the second floor to take in the lovely designer apparel. It felt as if I were in a dream, everywhere I turned there were sparkly embellishments on tops, skirts and sweaters. Oh, and let me not forget to mention the assorted fabric textures, colors, florals, and patterns. Every time something caught my eye another item would draw my attention. I finally settled on an INC International Concepts Paisley River (coral and gray) paisley rhinestone embellished maxi skirt, a DKNYC sleeveless draped asymmetrical hem coral top, an INC necklace trimmed white linen jacket and of course since I was already there I couldn’t leave without a pair of sexy BCBGeneration Tevos Platform wedges. I was so pumped to wear my new outfit on Sunday but by the end of the day Saturday I literally had no strength left and had to cancel my brunch attendance.

As excited as I was over my outfit the real reason for today’s post was so I could share a few of my more recent online finds. I probably mentioned previously that I find it so much easier doing online shopping as opposed to going to brick and mortar stores but as my recent experience demonstrates I can still manage in the physical store from time to time.

Bandolino Acherly Women's Sandals

So, while I was at Macy’s buying the brunch outfit I was eyeballing a few other pieces that I made note of to look up online. Wide legged linen pants, maxi dresses, and some cute tops were a few things that I began with to build my summer wardrobe. One of my favorite ensembles is pictured throughout this post and following is a description of the 6 pieces:

  1. Style & Co Printed Wide-Leg Soft Pants Macy’s

When I saw these pants in the store I loved the lightweight material and I never thought I’d say this in a million years but also the elastic waistband. The pants are so comfy and even when I have a ‘private summer’ (code for hot flash) I don’t feel the need to strip down. The other selling points for me are my favorite black & white color combination along with the ease of dressing them up or down.

  • Allover print is black with white brush strokes
  • Polyester/spandex
  • Mid-rise: waistband sits below natural waist
  • Relaxed fit through hips and thighs
  • Wide leg
  • No pockets

On The Edge Zippered Tote2.  Black Surplice Knit Tank Forever 21

Since I am a pear shape, in an effort to take the attention away from my hips, I look for necklines that draw the eye upward. As soon as I saw this surplice draped front tank top I envisioned myself wearing it with a pair of jeans, khakis or in this case the wide leg pants in today’s post. The material is very lightweight and per the aforementioned ‘private summers’ it’s very cool, comfortable and versatile as it can go from day to evening in a flash.

3.  Bandolino Acherly Women’s Sandals

These sassy flat black sandals with a hint of shimmering copper are so, so cute. The banded open toe has intricate beaded detailing that subtly sparkles when the light hits them just right. The back-zip ankle closure envelopes the foot in cozy comfort.

Tribal-Inspired Drop Earrings

4.  On The Edge Zippered Tote Forever 21

This large, black, fully lined, lightweight, faux leather tote, features zippered side trim on each side that allows you, depending on how you feel, to leave the sides open or zip close.

  • Open-top with magnetic snap closure
  • Double top shoulder straps
  • Interior zip & patch pockets
  • High polish hardware

Iconic Straw Fedora

5.  Tribal-Inspired Drop Earrings Forever 21

For a pop of color, I added a pair of silver turquoise, fish-hook back, drop earrings featuring a tribal-inspired design with a faux stone center. These earrings consist of a burnished finish and are 2 inches long by 1.5 inches wide.

6.  Iconic Straw Fedora Forever 21

I knew early in the season that a hat or two were in my future and this natural colored straw fedora with black band was calling my name. To finish this look I added a pair of aviator sunglasses and a silver cuff bracelet.

When I was working, my wardrobe contained mainly business attire that I’ve since retired with the exception of a few pieces for the occasional meeting. I’m in the process of reinventing my style for a more casual and relaxed chic look and this summer is going to be the beginning of major fun!!

Stay tuned for more updates.


“I love things that age well – things that don’t date, that stand the test of time and that become living examples of the absolute best.” ~ Giorgio Armani

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New Beginnings…Again

Some Good News & Some Bad News

Living/dining room  with sliding glass door to deck
Living Room

First the good news: I recently closed and moved into my new condo – Yippee!!!

Now the bad news: I have a confession…I’m a slacker. Yup it’s true, allow me to explain…

I can’t believe I’ve been offline for a month. So much has happened over the past few weeks I hardly know where to begin so I’ll start by saying I’ve missed you!!

Having previously purchased a home 10 years ago, I was no stranger to this stress induced process. From lessons learned I knew I had to be proactive by taking a hiatus from the blog to accomplish all the necessary tasks associated with homeownership.

I should have recognized the ominous signs the Friday before my closing. My son had just completed taking me out to run some errands in anticipation of the upcoming move and I said to myself “hmmm I’ve been doing real well on Weight Watcher’s so I need a tasty snack.”

It’s one thing to think to oneself a quiet thought and quite another for one’s mouth to open against one’s will and speaketh the following: “Can we swing by KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and order a 20 piece hot wings and potato wedges please? Oh, and you can order something for yourself too.” I knew I was way out of line here but again I kept telling myself “you have a reason to celebrate and deserve this one guilty pleasure Steph.” Unfortunately I allowed myself to believe the nonsense spewing forth from my brain and after inhaling the wings to my horror this scrumptious little treat was the beginning of my healthy demise.

Living/Dining Room
Living/Dining Room

The morning of the closing was spectacularly beautiful and I couldn’t wait to attack the day. First order of business was to meet my realtor at the condo at which point I was given the keys (I think I was gushing). Then it was off to the closing to sign my name a zillion times and finally the words I was longing to hear “Congratulations, you are now a homeowner!!”

My cousin dropped me off at my new place so that I could meet the locksmith to change the locks then subsequently my brother would be bringing all of my packed totes and smaller furniture pieces. The transitory phase as I like to refer to it is that stage of moving when you no longer feel at home in your previous residence and yet you’re out of sorts in the new home.


Thoughts of everything I need to do, cleaning, moving, organizing, companies to contact, contractors to secure, and quotes to obtain, future purchases that have to be made were swirling around in my head and I kept telling myself to breathe lest I begin to feel overwhelmed and lose heart. Once I have a vision though I can’t rest until it’s a reality.

With summer just around the bend the deck is taking first priority of being scraped and prepped to be repainted. This past weekend I settled on wall colors for the bathroom and kitchen and once these are painted the carpeting in the living/dining and hallway areas will be removed and replaced with hardwood.

A kitchen remodel and converting the second bedroom to an office are the next projects on the agenda and I’m eagerly looking forward to the updated spaces. Replacing windows and the large sliding glass door in the living room will have to happen before winter comes around again. Ahhhh, to be a homeowner!!

Dining Area
Dining Area

Immediately after the closing as I was sitting here all alone with nothing but my thoughts to keep me entertained I was wondering if I would feel the “buyer’s remorse” that I felt very quickly after my first home buying experience. One of the things I was so glad I had in my possession this time around is my trusty steno pad. With so many tasks to be completed I was able to quickly jot down what I needed and then cross off those items that have been resolved.

After the locksmith left I allowed my cousin and aunt to talk me into going to a late lunch at one of my favorite restaurants Armstrong’s (they have the absolute best Reuben sandwiches). So again I play this “time to celebrate” routine and order a Reuben and French fries that are no less than a gazillion calories. I won’t even begin to pretend that I plugged this mess into Weight Watchers because I didn’t. As a matter of fact I haven’t gotten on the scale in weeks although I did go to Planet Fitness with my cousin and the plan is to go there 2-3 times a week however I’m thinking I just may join a local gym close to where I live.

The day after my closing (Friday) my friend Lori came down from New York to help me move on Saturday. So for those of you keeping score I had the pre-closing celebration, the closing celebration, the after closing celebration (yes, I was on a roll), now it’s the “my friend came from New York celebration” and we went to one of our favorite haunts where I ordered either a club sandwich and fries or a chicken salad (can’t remember which but neither were the healthy variety).


On Saturday morning (moving day) after preparing for a very busy day I go to Dunkin Donuts to order a container of coffee and a dozen donuts (a few of which have sprinkles on them – yum). What kind of monster am I? I can’t expect my friends Carl and JT to help me move and not offer some energy food right? In case you’re wondering I had a total of 3, yes 3, donuts and they were positively scrumptious.

I’m a tad saddened to say that the remaining days and weeks after my first foray into the diabolical world of unhealthy food were more of the same. I went to places like Chick-Fil-A, IHOP, Olive Garden, more Armstrong’s and Bob Evans and I’m beginning to feel the effects of the sludge moving through my veins.


I will get back on track with Weight Watchers and going regularly to the gym after all I have some cute outfits that I won’t be able to wear this summer if I continue in this manner. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to share some of my recent finds over the next few weeks.

So as you can see the good news is very good and the bad news is, well, bad but I’m a great believer in taking the good with the bad and in this case even the very bad.

It’s great to be back in the saddle or in this particular situation at the desk and I’ll talk with you again tomorrow.

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” ~John Ed Pearce