Crystals And Cosmetics

PAYSON PEOPLE

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A willowy woman with dark brown hair and an easy smile stands ready to assist customers behind the Walgreens cosmetics counter.

She is Lisa Kenna, wife, mother, child, traveler, avid hiker and collector of geodes and Arizona diamonds (crystals that cut glass, found near Diamond Point).

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"The best thing a woman can do for herself is to take time to pamper herself," said Lisa Kenna after explaining new mascara to customer, Kayla Addington.

Kenna came to live in the Rim Country by way of Phoenix and Page, where she graduated from high school, and the rolling, green hills of Ft. Wayne, Ind.

"It was amazing, after living in Arizona, to see green everywhere, but hard not having the mountains and landmarks I grew up with," Kenna said. "Now I know why tourists have their pictures taken beside the saguaros.

"Even though the Valley was where Mike and I grew up, it was changing. We had been up here camping and going to festivals. Once the timing was right, we came here to raise our family."

Kenna was not a rockhound when she was a child -- that came after moving to Geronimo Estates in the mid-1980s when she started hiking.

Finding crystals and geodes quickly became her hobby.

She finds most of her Arizona diamonds off the Control Road.

"(My husband and I) are always looking for bigger and better crystals; cleaner, less foggy.

"I have buckets of geodes I hope to cut open someday," she said.

Geodes look like brains, she added. They have little tiny crystals inside when you use a rock or hammer to break them open. She let her children break them open to see if they were hollow or solid.

Family tradition says the hollow ones are lucky.

"You have to be careful not to crush some to powder, and there are others you can pound and pound and nothing happens," Kenna said.

"My kids got tired of rock hunting," she laughed, but now she enjoys hiking with her grandson. So far, he is more interested in just being outdoors than in finding rocks, she said.

Kenna has spent the last eight years of her working career as a beauty adviser at Walgreens.

A few years ago when Kenna was placed in the rodeo jail, several of her customers donated money to bail her out.

"I am really surprised at how much customers rely on my own personal experience with a product, even if it's not right for them. They still want to know what I thought of it."

Women generally know what they want from the beauty section, but in Kenna's experience, men fall into two basic categories when shopping.

"One is ‘No expense spared. Give me one of everything, and could you please gift-wrap it?' Then you have the other kind who want something specific, but they don't know what it is."

Kenna said she has become very skilled at finding a specific perfume from knowing what the bottle it came in looked like.

In addition to beauty products, Kenna is responsible for hygiene and contraceptive products.

She was working at Walgreens in Indiana when a gentleman casually asked her where the rubbers were.

"I was new, and I wanted to be very professional, so I took him over to the section and I was letting him know we have a big selection to choose from. The man was old and bigger than me. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘This is what they mean by a generation gap.' He was looking for rubbers for his shoes."

"I love my job. I love the customers," Kenna said. "Payson has grown, but it is still a friendly town."

Profile

Name: Lisa Torres Kenna

Occupation: Senior Beauty Adviser

Employer: Walgreens

Birthplace: Tempe

Family: Mike, my husband. Anastasia and David, our children. Our 4-year-old grandson, Kyle.

Personal motto: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Inspiration: My mom is a great inspiration. She has overcome many personal hardships in her life and been very strong throughout everything and never given up.

Greatest feat: My husband and I built our first log cabin together from the ground up and are getting ready to build our next.

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Outdoor activities, hiking. I like looking for rocks and crystals.

Three words that describe me best: Friendly, honest and fun.

I don't want to brag, but ... I am really happy with my life. I have a lot of good friends and a great family. I just feel really lucky to be in the spot we are in.

Person in history I'd most like to meet: I know nothing about my background so I would love to meet some past relatives. I am first generation born in the United States. My grandparents didn't speak English. I didn't speak Spanish. My brother and I are the only ones in the family who don't (speak Spanish). My father raised us not to be Mexican -- not to look it, act it, talk it. He felt such strong prejudices against him when he was growing up that he wanted to give us a better life. He didn't realize that the times had changed, that learning the language and being proud of the heritage would have been beneficial.

Luxury defined: Pampering myself with anything and everything that can go in the bathtub.

Dream vacation spot: Australia because of the varied terrain. Vacations are learning experiences.

Why Payson? Payson is a hometown community where you can build relationships.

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