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Living Abundantly | Abby’s Reflections 32

Living Abundantly featured image description is in the body of the post.

Living Abundantly | Abby’s Reflections 32 

“Living abundantly is not only possible for blind persons, I feel it is almost a better way to live. I feel we perceive the world in a deeper, richer, and more profound and meaningful way as sightless persons.”

My life is full of daily adventures and discoveries of the world in a whole new and different way:

  • Using the blend of the rich fabric of sound,
  • The touch and feel of a human hand or hug,
  • Aromas of a café,
  • And the enjoyment of a wonderfully tasty meal.

It is an opportunity to show the world we are a beacon of hope as we communicate with everyone around us. We are a diverse bunch of “whole people” who do most everything our sighted friends can, and often more. We’re people who’ve gained new skills in using our other senses to experience the wonderful world we live in.

Living Abundantly Featured Image Description:

A white, teal and gray boldblindbeauty.com template uses the ‘Abby’s Corner’ image. Abby, sporting her signature explosive hairstyle is sitting cross-legged in her PJs (gray bottoms & white top with a gray collar). She is using her teal Abby logoed laptop with a headset/microphone and her white cane is propped up next to her.

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Customer Service Is For Everyone

Customer Service featured image description is in the body of the post.

Customer Service Is For Everyone

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ~Henry Winkler 

Instant Gratification Can Come At A Great Cost

Eight connected gears are in the background of the word "Service" in red letters.

If you visited Bold Blind Beauty over the past two days you probably found the site was down. So what happened and how was the issue resolved?

Since accessibility is of the utmost importance, I am working with someone to make BBB fully accessible. The process involved moving the site to a self-hosting platform. In preparation, my accessibility guy spoke with the host company as did I with a list of extensive questions. Everything was copacetic until it wasn’t.

The process began by live chat around 5:00 or so Wednesday evening. After speaking with a wonderful sales representative from the hosting platform, I felt confident about my decision. Once signed up with the new service the sales rep turned me over to a technical professional.

Typically, I don’t explain my sight impairment but in this situation, I wanted the hosting company to understand my needs. After fours years of hard work, I wasn’t in the mood to lose all of Bold Blind Beauty’s content. Each person I spoke to assured me everything was going to be “smooth and easy.” This should have been a red flag.

By Thursday, while I appeared cool and calm on social media, in reality, I was losing my mind. I was “live chatting” with the hosting company throughout the day while taking screenshots of our conversations. Since I couldn’t access my content all sorts of nightmare scenarios were floating through my head. Even though I had a backup of the site my nerves were on edge because of the downtime.

On Friday morning I awoke with new determination; I was going to go back to WordPress. The first thing I did was contact the hosting company and requested transcripts of all my chats. Then I contacted WordPress, explained what happened and was able to put a temporary solution in place. Once I had the transcripts, I canceled the transfer of the domain to the hosting company and requested a refund.

Customer Service In A Fast Paced Digital World 

We are living in a world full of 1-800 numbers, big box stores, and at least a bazillion online service organizations. Gone are the days of rabbit ears, phone booths, taxicabs, and ice boxes. In exchange for instant gratification, customer service can go by the wayside.

Today, if we make a call we may find ourselves in the ninth circle of voicemail hell. Don’t even get me started on interacting with internet service providers, cable, cell phone, and utility companies. Then we have scripted, off-shore call centers where cultural challenges can be barriers to a satisfactory experience.

Life is challenging for everyone. For people with disabilities (PWDs) working hard to find ways to adapt can be especially frustrating. While we still have a long way to go, we have made some strides:

  • Social changes in society have led to greater enlightenment. Remember the days when PWDs were institutionalized for their entire lives?
  • Legal protections are in place for protected groups. Acts of discrimination are against the law.
  • Rapid change in technology has allowed PWDs to connect with the world around us like never before.
  • PWDs work very hard to assimilate because this is the world in which we live.

Breaking down barriers is hard, never-ending, and necessary work. So when we deal with customer service representatives who can’t respond to our needs it compounds our challenges. Makes one wonder where the care is in customer care.

Even with the barriers and other challenges presented to us, there is an opportunity for positive change. Here at Bold Blind Beauty, we are empowering blind women to transcend barriers and live productive and fulfilling lives.

My SITE may have gone down but my SIGHT is focused on moving forward.

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Faith & Savannah | Blind Beauty Issue 41

Blind Beauty Issue 41 description is in the body of the post

Faith & Savannah | Blind Beauty Issue 41

“It really is amazing that Sav and I became friends because I am guide dog user and Sav raises guide dog puppies that impact my life daily!! I can never thank her enough for her amazing work for GDB and the friendship she has given me. I am so grateful that we were put in each others lives!!” ~Faith Snapp

Friendship Is Beauty In Action

Today’s featured image made me smile because it is such a happy photo of two friends sharing a laugh. When I found out the story behind the photo it warmed my heart.

There’s something undeniably special about the bond of friendship. Friendships that evolve out of mutual respect for one another are extra special.

An image of two friends laughing while walking their dogs is so simple yet at the same time powerful. While I don’t particularly care for calling out blind people for doing ordinary things, Faith’s photo spoke to me. What it said was one word—joy!

Yes, Faith is blind and uses a guide dog. Savannah is not and raises guide dog puppies. A match made in heaven? Eh, could be. But in this singular period in time, these are just two friends sharing a joyful moment.

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” ~Winnie The Pooh

Blind Beauty Issue 41 Featured Image Description:

The image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Faith & Savannah are on the cover sharing a laugh as they walk with their dogs. Both have long blond hair; Faith’s is in a ponytail and Savannah’s is loose. They are both casually dressed in jeans as they walk on a wooded path.

Blocks of text superimposed on the photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

You can connect with these ladies on Instagram:

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How Do Blind People Exercise?

Jump rope and blue towel

How Do Blind People Exercise?

How cool is it that this month’s guest post from BlindAlive allowed us to introduce you to another blogger? Since I like to keep things on the “up and up” Kirsty Major gave me permission to republish her article shared on BlindAlive. The article that follows is an edited version where Kirsty shares some fabulous exercise tips and tools. To see Kirsty’s original article please visit her site at Unseen Beauty. Okay, let’s dive in. ~Steph

“Being unable to see doesn’t mean that you can’t stay fit! This is what I do.” ~Kirsty Major

So How Do Blind People Exercise?

You may have been asked this question, or perhaps you found BlindAlive during your search for an answer. While many people enjoy Eyes-Free Fitness Workouts, blind and visually impaired people have many ways to remain active. We recently met Kirsty Major, owner of Unseen Beauty. and are pleased to share one of her posts with you. ~Mel Scott

Keeping Fit When You Can’t See

Red exercise hand weightsWhen I worked in London, I got daily exercise without even thinking about it. It was a 30 to 40-minute walk to the train station, which I usually power-walked with my guide dog. This wasn’t really to keep fit, but just because we enjoyed it!

Then there was a 40-minute train ride followed by a 10 to 15-minute walk to the office. Anyway, apart from days when it was pouring rain, or snowing, I really enjoyed these walks.

Still, over 2.5 hours of travel every day is a lot. I was always happy when I negotiated a working from home day. Partly because I didn’t have to commute, and partly because I felt I made much faster progress at home than in the noisy open-plan office.

Taking Action

When I decided to set up my business, I still took my dog for a walk, but I didn’t miss the commute. However, as my dog grew older, the walks were usually not as long as the trip to and from the station. I realised at this point I needed to do something more for my fitness.

So I invested in an exercise bike to make sure I got my daily exercise. This was something I could put in my spare room and use it whatever the weather.

Well, buying the bike was the easy bit. I said I’d use it when I had time, which often meant free time never came. Planning to do exercise when you have time is a bad idea!

Closeup image of a barbell

When I moved in with my boyfriend who owns a cross-trainer, I brought my bike with me. In terms of my exercise routine, I decided something needed to change so now I put it in the diary. Like a meeting, I have to attend—Monday to Friday—every day.

It’s ok if the meeting gets put back a couple of hours, but the meeting has to happen! Only then can I click away from the Outlook reminder and know that the job is done! This is important to me, partly because I have a desk-based job without the benefit of walking to work. Also, there are considerations with being blind where you sometimes have to be a bit more proactive if you want to stay fit.

While I’ve heard some positive experiences about blind people going to the gym. I’ve also heard of people struggling with staff who are not particularly helpful, or machines that are not accessible.

I would rather make the initial investment in exercise equipment and have it at home, for my personal use. There is nobody who will change the settings making it harder for me to use. I don’t have to queue which machines are available or take time to travel to and from the gym. Ok and I don’t have to listen to anyone else’s music choices either. I listen to my own music or podcasts to make sure I don’t get bored!

Tools For Tracking Progress

As I can’t use the display on either machine, I generally do 20 minutes on the bike and 45 minutes on the cross-trainer. I use the step counter on my iPhone to measure the distance and I like to use the app from Withings. The Withings app is generally accessible, apart from some buttons that I labeled myself. I don’t use all of the functions, but I can keep track of how far I’ve gone each day, which is what interests me.

For anyone who wants to measure their blood pressure or heart rate, the Withings wireless blood pressure monitor is fully accessible because you use it with the app. Personally, I think this is a better alternative than some of the talking blood pressure monitors. Since you can store your activity, heart rate, and blood pressure measurements in the same place. Whereas some of the so-called accessible talking stand-alone devices say in the instructions that you need sighted assistance for some functions.

I tried a wrist tracker device, but it annoyed me because it didn’t seem to track all of my steps. Also, I could only read my progress score when I synchronised the device with my phone, which was a faff. I’d much rather check the total going up in real-time on the app. However, if you can see enough to read the screen of the device, it might be ok for you. Here’s the link for the Withings Pulse activity tracker.

Mixing Up Exercise Routines

Last Christmas, my mum bought us a set of York Fitness cast iron dumbbells. I like this particular set because you can change the weight of the dumbbells by adding or removing the metal discs. They come with a set of exercises, which my boyfriend showed me last week, and I plan to include using the weights in my fitness routine – ok, when my arms have recovered, that is!

It’s good to do other physical activities as well. I enjoy going for walks, have been on tandem and canoeing holidays and used to ride horses as a child. However, I see these things as additions, whereas I need a plan to make sure I get enough exercise. Being able to do so whenever I need it, without relying on someone else being available. For me, the exercise regimen with the bike and the cross-trainer is the ideal solution.

I have heard about some audio exercise classes specifically for blind people, which means that the exercises are described. This is something that I would be interested in exploring because I can’t follow normal fitness videos or YouTube classes. If I decide to try them out, I’ll report back later here.

I know there are many blind people who are interested in sports and who play team games or take part in local activities. I don’t really do this, because I need my fitness plan to fit in with my schedule, and for me, it’s about keeping fit rather than finding additional social activities.

I think there are a fair number of blind people who struggle because they haven’t yet found good and accessible ways of keeping fit. However, exercise bikes don’t have to be expensive, especially if you’re not looking for features on the electronic display.

When you consider the price of a gym membership, I think they are a good investment. If that is too expensive, finding a friend who can describe exercises and then write them down is also a good workaround.

If I’m away on business and don’t feel like investigating the hotel gym on my own, I often use these exercises from the NHS fitness pages. However, I still think it’s a good idea to get someone to check the first time that what you are doing is in line with the images on the page.

Summary:

Kirsty lives in England and runs a business teaching English to German-speaking adults. You can learn more at her website.

To view the comments associated with this piece and Explore more of Kirsty’s writing, you can visit her blog.

And of course, BlindAlive would love to have you share your comments and impressions with them. You can comment on their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their informative chat list.