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Baring Our Souls For A Vision Of Empowerment

Baring Our Souls For A Vision Of Empowerment

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

~Neil Gaiman

My business partner, Chelsea Nguyen, is from Houston, TX and I live in Pittsburgh, PA. And together we are walking down the street naked.

You see, our accessible online magazine CAPTIVATING!, only 7 months in the making, has received an award from the Texas Rehabilitation Association. The award is for our work in representing people with disabilities in journalism. Isn’t this exciting? But wait, there’s more!

At the time we began our Go Fund Me Campaign we still hadn’t met in person. However, if you read yesterday’s post “Empowering Young People to Soar With Passion & Purpose” you know we met in person.

Chelsea and I envision a more inclusive world—it’s who we are. Changing the perception of disabilities and the people who are living and thriving with them is our calling. Connecting and enlightening people of all abilities is our mission.

If you’ve ever wanted to make an impact would you consider helping our efforts? We invite you to check out our story on Go Fund Me. Help us spread the word. Thank you!!

Baring Our Souls For A Vision Of Empowerment Featured Image Description:

The photo is from our June edition of the magazine. The article was written by Ron Graham of HAVIN. It’s about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Cane and Able which consisted of a group of 12 people, seven of whom were totally or legally blind, and one of them was on a motorized scooter. Visit www.captivatingmagazine.com to check out the article.

Additional Images:

  • Chelsea & Steph – Photo was taken at DFW. We are posing with our luggage and I have my gold cane in my left hand.
  • Level Up Brochure – 2019 Envision program brochure with the theme: “Connect Engage Act.”
  • The Gang – Max, Steph, Chelsea & Jeremy at DFW. Max and I are both holding our white canes.
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Coming Soon…CAPTIVATING!

Coming Soon Featured image description is in the body of the post.

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”

~Christopher Reeve

Coming Soon…CAPTIVATING!

#1 Tri-Collage image description is in the body of the post.
#1 Tri-Collage

Have you ever met someone and within the first few minutes you clicked? That’s what I experienced a few months ago when I noticed a
Facebook post of one of my friends who received a makeover. The before and after was extraordinary and I immediately reached out to my friend to find out who was responsible for his revamped image.

Chelsea Nguyen was her name and I wasted no time getting her contact information. After an exchange of introductory emails, we set up a date to speak by phone. Typically I set aside 30 minutes to an hour for these types of calls―ours went beyond three hours! We share so much in common we both were thinking we must be related.

My friend Chelsea is a phenomenal image consultant and Owner of CN Vision Image Consulting. A fellow ‘Type A Personality’, Chelsea also has a heart for people with disabilities. And get this, not only is she actively involved in the disability community but her business places a special focus on blind and visually impaired people. Was this meant to be or what?

Two Heads Are Better Than One

At this point you’re probably wondering what in the heck am I babbling about, am I right? Eh, maybe, maybe not, but I’m gonna tell ya anyway. Well, not tell all because that would defeat the purpose of the upcoming surprise. It’s just that I’m so not good at keeping the cat in the bag but I’m gonna work really hard at this.

Chelsea and I may be going out on a limb but we got this idea that if we combined forces we could do something BIG. Bringing other people on board to share the love is only a small piece of it. I’m so excited I can’t stand it and am going to have to sign off for now before I spill the beans.

Oh, and one more thing… I will be formally introducing Chelsea to you eventually, just been a bit tied up.

Stay tuned!

Coming Soon…CAPTIVATING! Featured Image Description:

A big, bold, red check mark on a black background.

Additional Image:

Tri-panel collage with images from the magazine. The CAPTIVATING! logo is layered and centered horizontally over the collage. It’s a black rectangular shape and the text is written in white bold All capital letters except for the V which is drawn with an artistic style font in bold, red and looks like a big check mark. And at the end of the word captivating is also a red bold exclamation mark.

Be In The Know & Follow Us:

  • Instagram: @captivatingmagazine
  • Facebook: @captivatingmagazine
  • Twitter: 😱 Oh no!! Our Twitter account locked us out but not to worry we’re on the case.
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Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL

Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL

“Diversity Is Being Invited to the Party; Inclusion Is Being Asked to Dance”

~Vernã Myers

I published a quick blog post earlier today about a new project. The original idea involved creating a fully accessible digital magazine for blind and visually impaired people. As my partner, Chelsea Nguyen of CN Vision Image Consulting and I continued hashing out our plan it evolved. Since we agreed our publication should be wholly inclusive then so should our readers and contributors. So we expanded our idea to include people across the disability spectrum.

Chelsea, a talented image consultant, agreed to give our featured guests and cover models, an online consultation. We divvied up our tasks then got down to the serious business of pulling together a team of contributors. Within a couple of weeks, we had a name, domain, logo, social media platforms and more. The only thing missing? I’m glad you asked. Allow me to elaborate.

We found a cool magazine creation platform that was relatively easy to use if you don’t have a disability. I noticed missing alt text fields which are used to describe images to people who use screen readers. Not to be deterred, we asked a Techno Wizard if he knew of a company who would work with us.

During our initial email exchanges with the company, we thought they might work out. Sadly during our live demo, while the platform was WCAG 2.1 AA compliant it was a bust. WCAG 2.1 or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is just fancy talk for sites that meet accessibility standards. Our problem was the service didn’t include the ability to create the magazine on the back end.

Where Do We Go From Here?

CAPTIVATING! is the name of our publication. Why? Because we believe people with disabilities are valuable, capable, and tenacious. The problem is society isn’t set up to accommodate many of us. Case in point, CAPTIVATING! Oh, and word on the street is a new content editor isn’t accessible (but you didn’t hear it from me). Thank heavens we developed a tagline that’s fundamental to our belief system: “The power and possibilities of inclusion are limitless!”

#1 CAPTIVATING! Logo description is in the body of the post.
#1 CAPTIVATING! Logo

Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a wholly accessible platform for people with disabilities to collaborate and design a digital publication. In view of this Chelsea and our team had to get a little creative to pull this off. Our end product isn’t perfect and as we keep going we will get better. But imagine how much we could do if we had the proper tools? This is what it’s like living with a disability day in day out.

The world wasn’t designed for us and so many times we have to create workarounds just to do basic tasks that many take for granted. Is it fair? No it isn’t which is why we advocate for change, for inclusion. Disability rights are human rights.

We couldn’t create a fancy online magazine with audio, video, alt-text and yet pretty. It just doesn’t exist yet so we had to improvise. Here is a link to the first issue of CAPTIVATING! An accessible copy of the magazine will be distributed by our friends at the NFB (National Federation of the Blind).

Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL Featured Image Description:

CAPTIVATING! Front cover: on the top Quarter of the cover page Is the logo and name of the magazine, captivating, written in white bold All capital letters except for the ‘V’ in the magazine name is drawn with an artistic style font in bold red and looks like a big check mark. At the end of the word, ‘captivating’ is a red bold exclamation mark. Under CAPTIVATING! is the tagline “The power and possibilities of inclusion are limitless.”

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Creating Change Through Mindfulness & Persistence

Creating Change Through Mindfulness & Persistence Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

Creating Change Through Mindfulness & Persistence

Creating Change Through Mindfulness & Persistence Jessica Cox Image description is in the body of the post.
Jessica Cox

Today, I feel both satisfied and a little guilty. Why? Well, as you might recall, back in December my business associate, Chelsea Nguyen of CN Vision Image Consulting and I launched our dream project CAPTIVATING!

So today I’m excited because we’ve published our second edition of CAPTIVATING! last night. I feel guilty because Bold Blind Beauty will always be my first love and it feels like I’m cheating. In truth, I know my limitations and I decided this year my focus will be mindfulness. Since my purpose is to help make the world more inclusive as long as I remain on this course I’ll be okay.

Bold Blind Beauty’s mission to improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another remains the same. While intentionally broad, I believe if we can give people a chance by getting to know them, then we’re all enriched. Is it a perfect plan? No, it isn’t but then again as homo sapiens, we aren’t perfect either. When you think about it, if we can’t get along with all members of our families how can we possibly hope the same for strangers? We are never going to achieve 100% consensus on anything and honestly, I wouldn’t even waste my time trying.

What’s so cool about both Bold Blind Beauty and CAPTIVATING! is the idea of acceptance. Will everyone agree with us? No, and that’s okay. We are here for people who share a mutual desire to improve humanity period!

So what’s the future plan for Bold Blind Beauty? We will continue to publish content in our three main categories:

  1. Women On The Move
  2. Blind Beauty
  3. Cane EnAbled

Since Abby is a very important element here we are also looking to build upon her story. Stay tuned!

Like today, from time to time there will be some cross promotion among our websites and those of our contributors. It really is all about community and being respectful of one another. When you have a moment or two I’d like to encourage you to check out CAPTIVATING!’s January contributors:

Creating Change Through Mindfulness & Persistence Featured Image Description:

The cover of the January edition of CAPTIVATING! with the logo and name of the magazine on the top quarter. “CAPTIVATING” is written in white bold all capital letters except for the “V” which is drawn with an artistic style font in bold red and looks like a big check mark. And at the end of the word, “CAPTIVATING” is also a red bold exclamation mark. 

Our featured guest, Jessica Cox is smiling while looking straight into the camera in an outdoor shot. She is wearing a light blue short-sleeved crew-neck top. Her long brown hair, parted down the middle, is draped over her left shoulder.

Jessica Cox Image Description:

A meme of Jessica created for CAPTIVATING! In the black frame of the photo is” “The Gift Of Disability Lights The Way For Others | by Jessica Cox.” Here is a snippet from Jessica’s story that she shared with CAPTIVATING!: “I was born without physical arms but my “arms” are used to lift people up…Disability has become a gift—a way for me to light the way for others. The challenges have become more about how to lift other people up in even stronger ways.” ~Jessica Cox

A close-up photo of Jessica looking into a makeup mirror while applying her mascara with her right foot. She is wearing a light blue short-sleeved crew-neck top. Her long brown hair, parted down the middle, is draped down her back and over her right shoulder.