Blog Challenge: 9 Loves

Today’s challenge is all about the 9 Loves you have.  Here are mine…

9.  Willy Wonka Candies.  Want to put a smile on my face? Give me Willy Wonka candies and I will be the happiest person on the planet.  SweeTarts, Nerds, Runts, Laffy Taffy, pixy stixs…if it’s Wonka…it makes me super happy! 

8. Valentino.  There is only one designer I put above all of the rest…it’s Valentino Garavani.  He designs clothing like he’s taken the essence of a beauty of a woman and intertwined it into each and every piece of clothing he designs.  He’s designed dresses for some of the most celebrated women in history…from Jackie Kennedy Onassis to Jackie Collins to Gwyneth Paltrow.  His red line is not only legendary, but his love for the beauty of a woman shines in every single collection. 

Valentino creates beauty out of love.  That’s why I love him so.

My first Valentino came in the form of a pair of Tiffany blue leather loafer kitty heels.  I picked them up from a sample sale site called Modnique.com for $80.  My next Valentino came in the form of a dress I got from the famous Outnet $2 anniversary sale.  I got a $4,385 Valentino dress for only $2.  My next Valentino came from a thrift shop online called Housing Works.  For $50, I picked up an emerald green cocktail dress. 

What I love most about the dresses, the silk…there is nothing so finer and softer than Valentino’s choice of silk. 

7.  Purses.  I love purses.  I have a collection.  Some women collect shoes.  I collect couture, designer and vintage bags.  I have the occasional cheapo bag from WalMart or a knockoff (no designer brand) that I find that just screamed…OH SO CUTE!  My favorite finds are always the vintage couture bags I find.  Lately, I’ve been sporting around my Fendi messenger bag I picked up from Bags Bonanza for $50.  The guy got it at an estate sale…he had no idea the bag originally went for over $1000.  I also am in love with my Louis Vuitton shopper sac.    I broke my 1 week only rule.  I carry a new bag every week.  This bag…I’ve been carrying around for the last 3 weeks.  It’s the perfect tote for me in so many ways.  This bag was also a vintage find I found at a vintage store in the Village…for $55.  How happy was I when I saw that Angelina Jolie is in love with her Louis Vuitton shopper sac too? 

I also love those little black leather handbags they used to make back in the 40s and 50s.  They were so classy and elegant.  Very Grace Kelly.  I just picked one up at the Housing Works Warehouse sale when Winter Adams threw it my way while we dug through mountains upon mountains of clothes for some really cool finds during Housing Works’ $25 bag sale.  Fill the bag up with whatever you find for $25. 

My next bag will, of course, come from my travels in London, Paris, Prague, Geneva and Morocco…but for Christmas, besides the new apartment furniture…I’m getting a Tiffany & Co. purse.  Yes, they make them now.

6.  Prague, Czech Republic.  I’ve been threatening to move there ever since I came back from my first visit to Prague back in 2008.  It was my first ever NHL road trip covering the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.  I fell in love with Prague.  I really felt like Prague was my home when I was standing across the street from St. Thomas’ church.  It felt so weird and strange…like this is where I belonged. 

Since then, I may spend a couple of days here and there in Prague every year, just going someplace different each time.  The pe0ple there are so wonderful and helpful.  The majority of them speak English.  For those who don’t, they are more than happy to teach a few Czech words to me.  Granted, they laugh when I’m on the metro repeating the destinations out loud after the speaker announces each stop.  But they’re all very kind and always willing to help me out with the language when I’m shopping or lost.  But lately…I find I really don’t get lost in Prague.  I just find new streets to turn down to discover something new about the city. 

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities to photograph.  I usually like to grab a sandwich and a cappuccino before I start doing touristy stuff.  When I get tired, I’ll sit down at a monument or on some steps with a bunch of other locals and eat my sandwich with them as we watch the tourists walk by.  It’s rather amusing to say the least.  But I feel at peace when I’m sitting there taking in the beauty of Prague with the locals.

Next month will be my third trip to Prague.  Besides witnessing some Czech hockey versus the Rangers, I’ll be doing the more laborious climb to discover the monasteries of Prague.  Which means I’ll be drinking a lot of beer before heading back to Paris.

A little lesson I learned on my last trip…Pilsner beer originated from Plzen, Czech Republic…home of NHL stars Martin Straka and Petr Sykora.  I had my first Pilsner from Plzen on my last trip.  I’m sorry…but I’m still a Guinness girl. 

5.  My Grandfather.  My grandfather passed away in June 2007.  I miss him a lot…and think about him all of the time.  His Will created a huge controversy in my family…he left it all to his mistress of 30+ years.  Or did he?  My grandfather knew what would happen in the family, so he gave his last wishes to his girlfriend (the woman I’ve always known as ‘grandmother’), and she carried them out.  In a way, he was carrying out his big FUCK YOU to the family.  I totally admire that.  {Can’t wait to do mine…}

While the family judges me left and right, they will never understand the bond that I had with my grandfather, the patriarch of our family.  He was the one that told me to go after my dreams…and only my dreams.  When I feel like getting off of my path in life, I always hear him saying in the back of my mind that nothing will ever work out in life unless I am on my path in life.  He told me that a month before he died. 

To me, he gave me the greatest treasure I will ever have in my life by passing on the words of wisdom on how to have the most amazing life filled with riches.  I didn’t need a check or a house or whatever else he left for me.  I only needed those words of wisdom, because it changed my entire life for the better.

There is a story back home about a man that owned half of Indianapolis.  He rented out a lot of those homes to the poor and gave them an opportunity to buy those homes by renting to own.  He was actually considered one of the richest men in Indianapolis. 

When I heard that story, I didn’t know who that man was.  I was in shock when my grandfather’s next door neighbor told me that the man in that story was actually my grandfather.  He had sold all of the homes he bought (except the one he was living in) when I went off to college.  He said the reason why he did it was because I told my grandfather that if he wanted to see the world…to just do it.  He liquidated almost all of his assets to travel the world during the last 15 years of his life.

Some of this stuff should have just made sense to me.  I should have connected the dots, but it was my grandfather’s next door neighbor that explained it all to me.

The point of that neighbor’s conversation lie more in…you inspire your grandfather more than you realize you do.  You inspire him to have a greater, happier life…to pursue love and happiness. 

He never would have traveled all over the world, if I hadn’t told him to do it (after all, he was always sending me all over the world and depending on my stories and pictures after I got home).  Now, we have a Napoleon box filled with coins and postage stamps from all over the world (believe it or not, there’s some Nazi money in there too from the time he served for the US in World War II).  Each time I come back from my trips around the world, I dump a bunch of coins into that box.  It’s like I’m still keeping our world travel traditions going.

I also keep photos of my grandfather in my home.  There are a lot of them.  I have very few pictures of me and my brother or other family members.  Instead, I have a whole home filled with photos of my grandfather from the time he was a baby…or from the places he visited when he traveled the world…they’re all there to remind me of who I am and who I’ve become. 

I miss him a lot, but I always know that his legacy is still imprinted on my heart and in my soul.

4.  The Diva.  Her name is Surita.  She’s the cat, aka the Diva, Princess, Queen of my domain.  She’s been with me for the past decade.  She’s been from one place to the next to the next to the next.  I still feel bad that I moved her out of Indiana.  She loved our little cottage there.  She figured out how to open and close the door on her own, so she’d spend all night lurking around in the woods next to the house, communing with nature and the other animals around it.  I once walked out to see her hanging out with a gigantic otter…or beaver…I don’t know what it was, but it was HUGE. 

When we were getting ready to pack up the van and go to New York, she was the last thing I put in the van.  I left her in the van (in her cage, mind you), ran to the house to lock the door, came back to find her laying in the middle of the street, refusing to go.  She was mean as hell about it.  But after some coaxing and the constant reminder that if she didn’t come with me, she would have no one to take care of her…she finally relented and got back in the van.

Her protest in Ohio lasted a good 10 minutes before she realized I would leave her there.  The ongoing traffic at the rest stop scared her into realizing she had to come with me. 

Since we’ve been in NYC, she’s adjusted to the apartment life.  When I think of buying a house nearby, I think about the backyard she could trample around in.  She could go back outside and enjoy mother nature once again.  Until then, she’ll just be my fat cat that is such a great friend to me in an apartment that she apparently OWNS.

3. Cartoons.  I’ll admit that I embrace my inner child on a regular basis.  I love cartoons.  As of late, I’m a bit loyal to Phineas and Ferb.  I love Jimmy Neutron, Disney cartoons, Spongebob, South Park, and The Simpsons.  I also love kids movies that usually come in the form of a Disney animated movie. 

2.  My library.  Well, I’m a writer, so it’s kind of expected that I would have a library of my own, right?  I don’t just have a book library, but I also have a movie library.  I also keep my entire library in an excel spreadsheet so I can take the lists with me when I hit up the library’s seasonal book sale (so I don’t buy the same book again), and for when I go on a DVD binge and can’t remember if I own the movie or not.  The spreadsheet also helps me to keep track of the books that I’ve read.  Comes in very handy when I make New Year’s Resolutions or add an author’s collection to my bucket list. 

1. Life.  Each and every day I’m reminded how much I love life.  From the advancements in mankind, to watching the wind blow through the reeds, to the sights and sounds of everyday life…I really enjoy life. 

It’s been a lot of fun in this lifetime.  I’ve always said that life is what you make of it.  You can choose to have a good, happy life, or choose to be miserable.  It is a choice, not a condition.  Sure, there are people that are not as fortunate, but even a child could create a game from rocks or sticks when there are bombs falling around his home.  You can see beauty even in the most horrible conditions.  You can find happiness within even when your body is being tortured.  Loving your life is a choice.

I choose to be happy, despite the misery surrounding me.  I want to love this life and do anything and everything that I possibly can before this life is done.  I want to enjoy every single second of it.  I just love living.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth has been a member of the NHL credentialed media covering the New Jersey Devils since 2008 for Inside Hockey. She is the owner or PerfectionistWannabe.com.