In Love With The Kennedys

3 May

I don’t know about you but since I was a little girl I loved all things Kennedy. Jackie Kennedy was, and still is, my icon. She is the one person in this world I wish I had the chance to know, interview, talk to, etc. I have always been in awe over the entire family; but she always struck me. Her style, her grace… through everything she endured she had an amazing demeanor about her; one I admire, one I wish to have.

In more recent years another Kennedy has struck me in similar ways, Victoria Reggie Kennedy the wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. She was a woman of grace and dignity. She married someone who right or wrong, has a colored past but she never seemed to let it bother her. Kennedy herself was an accomplished lawyer and truly seemed to be in love with her husband.

To my delight, Vicki Kennedy was the keynote speaker at the 16th Annual Bay Path Women’s Leadership Conference held April 29th. Being an alum of the college and in charge of Tweeting from the conference account for the day, I had backstage access and was able to meet Vicki Kennedy. When I met Vicki she shook my hand with a double hand shake – the one that comforts you when you meet someone, and complimented me on my dress. We took a picture and then she took a few minutes to chat with me, then I had to move on… apparently it wasn’t all about me, others wanted to meet her too! 😉

During her speech it was clear she loved her husband. There is a spark in someone’s eyes when they truly love someone – they lite up without even knowing it. Vicki had this spark when she spoke of her husband, you could tell she was in love with Teddy; it wasn’t for a name or status. I only wish to find the type of love she had.

After her speech – she was the closing keynote, I was able to chat with Vicki again; she even signed my conference program. I was so excited for her to sign my program I didn’t care she was spelling my name with a CH instead of a K. A friend, who was looking over my shoulder, pointed out the spelling error. Vicki felt awful and fixed it, then crossed it out and wrote “Oops…sorry.” Me, I didn’t care… I was just happy to have her sign something to my attention no matter how my name was spelled.

I have to be honest and admit – I tweeted, Facebooked, and texted a few friends about my meeting Vicki Kennedy. You could have thought she was Michelle Obama or a big celebrity for how I carried on about it but meeting a Kennedy, especially Vicki, really was a dream come true.

Still on my Kennedy high I realized I was able to watch the Kennedy miniseries which just came out, because it is on Comcast OnDemand. I didn’t watch it all, only episodes 1 and 2, but between meeting a Kennedy and then watching the story of the Kennedy’s and John and Jackie’s life… I was in heaven.

Who is that one person you really are in love with and want to meet? I am not talking Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Jennifer Anniston or Meghan Fox but that one person who truly makes an impact on your life in some way – whether style, iconic, trendsetter, innovator, etc. Who would rock your world if you met them?


Stella Got Her Groove Back

3 May

Okay, maybe not Stella more like Kristina got her groove back!!! Oh yeah, on vacation I certainly got my groove back. I am not sure if it was the tan, the ocean air, or the guys drinking too much but my BFF, Alissa, and I could not go anywhere without me getting hit on. And by no means am I complaining… I enjoyed every minute of it. There is one problem though… I came back home!

I met a really cute bartender/waiter who ignored the other five in our party. My drinks and shots were on him and the leftover pizza slice made its way to me… no one else was offered the leftovers. Oh, he even had them change the TV in front of us to the Lakers game so I could watch. And my disclaimer for my Celtics fans/lovers – I too love the Celtics but I am loving Lamar Odom these days because of the Kardashians.

Another night was spent with friends and one guy in particular went from sober to wasted in two/three hours….maybe less. And throughout the night he asked his friend to ask my friend, Alissa is I liked him… I felt like I was five years old again. And the next morning he called his friend again to ask if I was interested and he wanted to see me again. The funny thing is… I ignored the crap out of him!!! Literally when I realized he was wasted, plus I wasn’t interested in the first place, I really ignored him and was surprised at his behaviors. He was out with three others – his friend Gary, and Alissa and me. He would get Gary a drink or shots, but ignore Alissa and me. And he thinks I would be interested??? Doesn’t buy me a drink and wants to go out with me…hah!

In Atlanta for girls night while nothing happened I was being eyed by some guy at the bar where we were having dinner. Problem I have is, if you area guy alone at a bar on a Monday night I begin to wonder what the rest of your week looks like. Usually unless we do dinners with friends, the early week isn’t spent at a bar… typically the end of the week is. So when you start on a Monday I am a little skeptical; just sayin’. 

Why is it I go away on vacation, just like Stella, and have a blast with a select few men and then come back home and it’s life as usual? The guys, and sorry to my guy friends, in this area suck. But it wasn’t just I was getting attention in Florida that I haven’t gotten up here in western MA in a while but I felt like a new woman. So begs me to ask…can you only have your groove back when you go on vacation? Can you really bring your groove back from vacation with you?

While I won’t share the intimate details of “Kristina got her groove back,” do know it was fund while it lasted. And trying to plan another trip soon… gotta keep my groove going! 😉

Could a Vacation Change Your Future?

3 May

Okay, I had the best intentions to write this sooner…like on the plane ride home but somehow I booked myself with work non-stop the minute I got off the plane.

For the past two years I have been out straight with life. As mentioned in previous posts I was laid off in June 2008. I enjoyed a wonderful summer of vacationing in Lake George but then reality set in come September ’08 and I needed a job…but the recession was settling in too. Skipping ahead to January 2009 I enrolled in graduate school and then my life became non-stop with school every week, even the summers. So it is safe to say that from January 2009 until January 2011 I had no vacation. For New Year’s this year I spent three days in Atlanta but that was a whirlwind and truly made me want more.

In April I had my chance! I was so hungry for a longer vacation period after my trip in January I booked my April vacation in February. I planned on spending the Easter holiday in Atlanta where my BFF lives. And wouldn’t you know she surprises me and we end up spending three of my six days in Venice Beach, Florida.

And oh was Venice nice. As someone who was used to the west coast of Florida; my brother used to live in Palm Beach, this was the first time I was ever on the east coast. The sand was white, the water blue, and of course the sun was out. We spent every day, event Easter Sunday, on the beach tanning and then watch the sun literally melt into the ocean every night.

I spent my last two days in Atlanta and have found my BFF’s Atlanta friends and I get along so well it was like I lived there too. And we all text, Facebook, etc. when I am not there so to have Monday night dinner with the girls, all four of us, was so nice. It made me feel right at home and honestly made me question my future… where I want to finally settle down. While I have made a nice life for myself in western MA I am not sure I truly fit here. I think I am more of a big city girl…and I do love warm weather!

My vacation was one of the best yet because I was able to let the outside world go (okay it took my two full days to get off email) and I was with people I really wanted to be with, but it definitely made me think about my future… is that what a vacation is supposed to do? Has this ever happened to you – have you gone on vacation and wondered should I move, am I really living in the right place?

One Door is Closing…Another One is Opening

17 Apr

It’s been a while since I have written and I apologize but I have a good reason – I was finishing my master’s program. See, I told you it was good! 🙂 Since March 2009 I have been in graduate school and I am finally done as of yesterday. Well, as long as I get a passing grade on my paper 😉

So as I said I have been in school since 2009. My life has been centered around school work and some Saturdays in school too. At times I admit, I was ready to walk away but I stuck with it and wow, two years later… I have to admit, anxiety definitely set in over the summer because I knew school was coming to an end. It was such a constant in my life – I didn’t have time to vacation, see all my friends, etc. – but I was stressing because I wasn’t sure what was next. If you don’t really know me (and many of you don’t), I don’t sit well; I can’t sit still for long. I take a day off to relax and by early to mid-afternoon I am bored and need to do something. So I was honestly worried what I was going to fill my time with next.

Well lo and behold last year around this time I met a new friend, on Twitter no less, Alfonso. Al, as I call him, and I have similar work backgrounds, ethics, habits, etc. and hit it off on the work front. While we both work in different venues we often collaborate and bounce ideas off one another. I have to admit it is nice to have someone who gets your work and has similar philosophies about work. Throughout the year we have had many different “conversations” about projects and most recently we have gotten more serious about a project which means I need not have anxiety anymore about my future… I am taken on a new role!

While I will continue to work full-time as a development professional and a college professor I am becoming the Chief Brand Officer for The Businews Channel. Have you heard of it??? Probably not because it is a new project Al and I are working on. I can’t tell you too much except the channel is launching in July and I will have my own show!!! Can you believe I have my own show?! I am not sure Al knows what he is getting into by giving me a mic and a camera, but then again after many nights and weekends working on this… he just might know and is willing to turn his head 😉

So as one door closes, school, I am opening up a new door. One of excitement and fun because as far as we know this has never been done before and by that I mean no one has ever given me access to a weekly show all about me! Okay, not all about me… but staring me  🙂  And I am only kidding about me; honestly we don’t think anyone has truly tried what Al and I are about to do and I am grateful Al thought I would be a good business partner for him. And I am grateful he is giving me something to do now that school is ending… but sorry he has to spend so much time with me. Poor guy knows about the color of my nails and toes, knows when I am cranky and moody because I haven’t had coffee yet, knows the stare I have when I am wearing sunglasses, and knows when I am not in heels clicking down the hallway something is usually wrong.

So as I look towards May 15 and graduation…oh yes, I am rocking my cap and gown for a little pomp and circumstance I ask you to take a look at my new venture. It’s gonna be awesome and not just because I am involved or have a show but because I truly believe in the concept and the people who are going to be joining Al and I too on this venture.

Hope you enjoy!

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? Always Wanting More Time?

29 Mar

So Many Things… So Little Time…

It’s been a few days since I was on here and not because I had nothing to say but because I had no time. Every time I turn around lately there is something else I need to do. I often get a little break and get excited I have time, but then I really don’t as something else pops up. And this is partly because I don’t know what to do with myself when I have time on my hands…so I book myself with more. Basically, I am my own worst enemy!

I like to think I want free time and maybe I do but I honestly don’t know what to do with myself once I have it so I ask my friends how I can help them. I find new organizations to be involved in, new projects to work on, etc. And out of the 52 weeks a year I may actually be in the “pulling my hair out” phase about 15-20 weeks a year. All in all, this isn’t too bad considering the amount of weeks in a year but still I am sure some of my friends would appreciate it is I was more available during these 15-20 weeks. And if I wasn’t saying “I just need two more hours in a day!” I always feel like I leave my friends in the dust during my busy times.

More recently I took on a new position, one I am truly passionate about, but my time becomes compromised with this new role as well. I am a professional fundraiser so more often than not I am at events, meetings, dinners, etc. to make new connections and to continue fostering the current relationships I have. I also organize and run three volunteer committees. And my territory to do this in – four counties spanning about half of the state of Massachusetts. What I found though is while this seems like work to many, it isn’t for me. I love meeting people and hearing their stories. I love finding ways I can help and I honestly don’t mind driving. It took a while to get here but I know I finally found my passion and when you find it you too will feel like I do – this isn’t work; it’s part of your mission.

I would be remiss if my friends read this and I don’t mention I am finishing my third master’s degree (a doctorate to come one day), I am an adjunct professor at a local college, a gym instructor, and sit on two boards. An, I even help a friend on occasion with his business. I am not one to toot my own horn, I am oddly humble in that sense but I know my friends are proud of my accomplishments so I am learing to be as well. Frankly, I feel like a “goodie-two-shoe” or an “overacheiver” if I mention all that I do. I don’t want to show anyone up, that is never my intention, I just like to stay busy.

There are many days I leave my house at 4:30 in the morning only to get home between 9:00 and 10:00 pm only to do it all again the next day. I admit, some days this isn’t easy but I do what I do not because I need to stay busy but I love what I do. I have found areas I feel deeply about and have invested my time in to them. When I do have free time I sit on my couch with my dog and inevitably fall asleep; I could waste a whole afternoon napping. Some days, this feels good but to do this every day doesn’t make sense to me; hence the busy schedules I keep. However, my proudest accomplishment in juggling all of the moving pieces – if a friend or family member needs me I make it happen. I may not see many friends or talk to them on a regular basis but if any one of my friends needed me (and my family too) I make it happen because at the end of the day jobs will come and go but true friends will always stay.

My question to you today – are you your own worst enemy with time?

Someone Has to Say it…

13 Mar

…why not me?!

This week I realized how much candor I really have. I find I censor myself with those professionals I need to; however, around my close friends – be it male or female, I don’t sensor myself. I talk about my new tights that suck me in, or being moody because it is that time of the month, and even that I forgot a clean bra for after my gym workout and needed to improvise until I could run to Kohl’s later in the morning. I know I always just speak my mind but during family dinner tonight and sharing a few things they made me wonder ‘should I censor or filter?’

I obviously don’t say these things in a professional setting where it isn’t appropriate but I think it is fine to share these funny comments/stories with friends. It is what makes me, me. Should I filter my comments because I am around a guy who is a good friend? As far as I am concerned the males I am friends with have mothers, sisters, female relatives, and could one day be married – they will eventually catch on to periods and moodiness, tampons, tights and under garments that suck us in and smooth out things which could use a little smoothing out, bad hair days, face masks, etc. So why do I need to censor? It is what it is.

I sometimes think I would love to have a radio show – just an hour or two – where I can talk about all things female and life related. I have had some interesting experiences in my life with dating and just life in general and I am willing to talk about them. They are experiences that have helped shaped me into the woman I am today and they definitely make for fun stories and a good laugh. I have learned to accept throwing myself under a bus (metaphorically speaking) because as far as I am concerned, I am who I am and if I can make someone laugh or learn from my experiences, I am willing to do it and I am willing to make fun of myself at the same time.

My stories might be more relatable to women but my brother laughs when I share female stuff (don’t worry, don’t cross any real personal lines) because it gives him insight into “the ladies” as he says. My brother knows all about Vera Bradley, Coach, colors and styles that makes us women look slimmer, Uggs, etc. And I think it has helped him a few times in knowing this stuff, if you catch my drift. 😉

So while my parents, who at 60, think I share a little too much with the male population I am not sure I do. I don’t get into the nitty-gritty, I do keep it very high level and sometimes my friends can attest I struggle to tell the story in a way that doesn’t scare them off but still manage to tell them what happened to me a few hours earlier, so I do censor a little. But as for me, it is my life and my experiences and if you want to be a good friend of mine… suck it up and deal. This IS me and frankly, it could be a lot worse. I don’t swear a lot, I don’t smoke, I don’t make fun of others … I just share my stories hope to make you laugh…at my expense. 🙂  And if you are offended and don’t want to know…tell me, I can censor for you.

Do You Have a Personal Mission Statement?

7 Mar

It wasn’t too long ago I was sitting in my MBA marketing class when we discussed mission statements. While we learned the four parts of a mission statement our task wasn’t to create one for a business, but worse… ourselves. Do you know how hard that is? To really sit down and think about who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you are the best at it (the four parts of a mission statement)… let me tell you, it isn’t easy. It forces you to reflect on yourself and for someone who puts the lives of others first, this was hard for me.

As mentioned above ,a mission statement has four parts, and the easiest is essentially who you are when creating a personal mission statement. It is as simple as stating your name. But then comes the other three parts and for me, I do a lot. I teach at a college and a gym, I fundraise and plan events, and I am a connector. I am always thinking of who I know and who I meet and how to connect them, if applicable. How do you put this all together? Essentially I help people but that didn’t cut it for my professor…she wanted more.

After doing a SWOT analysis on myself and jotting down a lot of adjectives describing who I was and am, I finally came up with something I am ok with. Kristina Chapell is a dynamic, savvy, results-oriented professional who inspires and motivates by leveraging her energy, knowledge, and passion to help champion those she is connected with personally and professionally. I admit, I don’t have the last part in there – why I am the best at this, but I truly believe a mission statement is always a work in progress.

In fact today I was having a quick conversation via text message with a friend, someone I am helping. He and I had dinner the other night at one of my favorite restaurants where he ended up scoring a business meeting for this week. I am often sarcastic in nature with him however I was oddly sincere when I said “I am glad my social environment benefits your business environment.” Honestly, had he not known me he probably would not have been at that restaurant and wouldn’t have made this potential business contact. By no means am I looking for credit, but had I not made him go to my favorite place… the outcome could have been different.

In what in this text conversation today where I was reminded of my mission statement. I have always had this goal in life – to be wildly successful, but my mission in life is to help others. Whether I am working with someone to meet their fitness goals, learn about social media or event planning, raising money for a nonprofit, or connecting two people who can benefit from one another; I am helping. This is what makes me truly happy in life and I am thankful to be able to help others. I am also thankful for my best friend who knows all I do is help others and makes sure I take vacations where others can take care of me for a change. This is not an easy task by any means, but one I am learning to accept. Apparently at 30 I have learned I need to take care of me so I can take care of others.

Mission statements or philosophies or words to live by… whatever you call it, do you have one? Maybe two? Do you know what it is that drives you every day? If you know, is it written down in a place you can see it? I encourage you to create your mission statement; it might not be easy but it sure is rewarding. Remember – who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you are the best at it. To me, the last part – how you are the best – is always a work in progress. To me, if you have the other three parts you have a personal mission statement.

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