Posted on Leave a comment

CoVid-19 TOTD #3

Image is described in the body of the post.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Here at Bold Blind Beauty, our goal is for you to enjoy life, and be well while doing it. During CoVid-19 we want to assist you with that, so here is our CoVid-19 Tip Of The Day. 

CoVid-19 Tip Of The Day #3

By Cheryl Minnette

By now you may have heard that the coronavirus also known as CoVid-19, is able to survive longer in a colder climate. With the warm weather closing in, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Although we are still learning about this new strain of coronavirus, this is what studies have found so far:

CoVid-19 is able to live for up to 28 days
in a refrigerated environment.

What does this mean for us as we buy our groceries and bring them home, placing them in our refrigerators? That is a great question, so here is the answer.

All grocery items brought into the home
should be externally sanitized,
prior to storing.
Especially items to be refrigerated.

This can easily be accomplished by using a virus disinfecting cloth, such as Clorox disinfecting wipes. Wiping down the exterior of all packaging will assist in ensuring that the virus is removed. When using, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions. 

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. If this information is helpful to you, please let us know in a comment below.

Image Description:

Scrabble cubes spelling out the word “Precaution” on a black background.

Posted on Leave a comment

Cultivating Resilience Practice 3: Strengths

Image is described in the body of the post.

Editor’s Note: Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Practice Three:  Utilizing YOUR Strengths in your resilience.  Being authentically you.  

Checking in as we share practice three of cultivating your resilience. I hope you are giving yourself permission to feel (practice one.) Then, practice two to offer ourselves self-compassion and nurturing through our challenges. We could spend so much time sharing further about these two practices. However, for the sake of space, we will go on. (If you want, join me for our course — to learn more!  Details below.)   

We will introduce our third practice today. This practice is about being authentic to you and your strengths. It is about utilizing the strengths that YOU possess in your resilient plan. We all have strengths that can help us navigate the challenging times. Strength focus affirms our potential and it resonates with our authentic self. Sometimes when we are in the midst of that difficult time we may not recognize these strengths. They are there and unique to us. Take a pause and reflect on your Character Strengths. 

The 24 character strengths are: 

Appreciation of Beauty, Spirituality, Gratitude, Hope, Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, Self-regulation, Citizenship, Fairness, Leadership, Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence, Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality, Creativity, Curiosity, Open-mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective, and Humor. 

You may recognize your top strengths from this list and how they have helped you in a time of challenge. There is an excellent, free test: the VIA Character Strengths to understand what your strengths are:  www.viacharacter.org. After taking this test, your Signature Strengths (your top five) will be identified. Dr. Ryan Niemiec explains in his book: The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief, “Character strengths are the positive parts of your personality that define who you are and help you reach positive outcomes. They make up what is best in you — when you are at your best, your character strengths are right there helping you along the way. When you are suffering – overcome by stress, facing difficult emotions, or lost in an argument – your character strengths can be unleashed.”  

So, let’s take a short break while you go take the free character strength test: www.viacharacter.org (The website has amazing resources and information at a later time you can peruse if you like.) 

Welcome back :)! 

Now, to explain further. Your top five strengths are your signature strengths. These are the strengths that are the most energizing and easiest for you to use. They are the ones we can rely on to help us cultivate our resilience. Dr. Niemiec indicates these are most likely to involve the three E’s  Essential, Energizing, and Effortless.   

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is
not enough, we must do.” 

~Goethe

We can know our strengths, we can understand our strengths and then the real benefits come when we put our strengths to use and utilize them in our resilience plan.  

So, this week choose one of our signature strengths and use it in a new novel way, no matter how small each day.  

Some examples may be – someone shared that one of their Signature Strengths is the appreciation of beauty. So, working from home at this time, she created her workspace as a place of beauty. This increased her resilience at this time and was effortless, energizing, and essential for her. Another example may be if someone’s top strength is the love of learning. This again will fuel them during a challenging time to increase their learning. A client chose to take an online course during this time of increased time of isolation to connect with others and also give himself an opportunity to use that strength of learning. Another client used her top strengths as affirmations for her. “I am grateful. I am a leader. I am kind. I am love. I am fair.” Our signature strengths resonate with us and are grounding even in challenging times.  

There is so much we can do with our strengths. They are within us. They are our guiding force to utilize in challenging times. Remember they are what is energizing, essential, and effortless for us.  

  • Strength spotting. Take a moment to pause and think of your strengths and spot them in you. Notice how you are using them and acknowledge specifically in journaling or sharing with someone you trust. 
  • Strength priming. In preparing for a challenging time – reflect on one of your strengths you can bring into that moment. For example, preparing for that presentation. If gratitude is one of your top strengths, you may find it helpful to prime with the character strength of gratitude and acknowledge to yourself for a moment the sense of gratitude for being there able to deliver this presentation.  
  • Tend to the end. Each evening take note of what went well in the day. Be specific as you reflect on the good things that came about in the day. Then, ask yourself what part you played in that good thing happening and what strength you utilized in this process.  
  • A meditation to help. Pause. Take in a deep breath. I am (fill in with a signature strength). Breathe out visualizing how this character strength will help you in this day.

Cultivate Your Resilience Telehealth Course Info:

Cultivate your resilience, telehealth course, 6 sessions – every other week, beginning Tuesday, June 9th at 6 PM MST, $25 for full course; Group facilitated by Becky Andrews, LCMHC.  Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to join us. Group limited to 10.  

Summary

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. Leave us a comment with your strengths and how you utilized them this week.  

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Multicolored, multi-fonts, word cloud image from http://www.viacharacter.org consists of all the character strengths identified in this post.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 
Posted on 9 Comments

Monumental Moment: The Passage To Acceptance

Beyond Sight Magazine cover is described in the body of the post

Editor’s Note:

At various points in my sight loss journey, I volleyed between acceptance and denial which are totally human and natural responses to trauma. Today’s post while written for GAAD (Global Accessibility Awareness Day), deeply touched me and is one of the reasons I created Bold Blind Beauty. When we talk about awareness a huge part of it is simply seeing us and respecting us as part of humanity. Awareness for anyone with a disability is not a trend, it’s our lives. The tools we use to live our lives represent strength, resilience, and independence.

The young woman you are about to meet today, Mady Amirah, has used her white cane for several years. What makes her post monumental is that this is the very first photo of her posing with her cane. She is a Boss! ~Steph

Monumental Moment: The Passage To Acceptance

Image is the same as the header without the cover and Mady is sitting facing the camera.
Mady Amirah

For Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I’m posting my very first white cane picture. For those of you who don’t know, I’m visually impaired and was born with a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Without this white cane, I would be royally screwed after sunset, in any dimly lit area, or in novel environments. Although I don’t like to admit it, I am an independent woman because of devices such as this. I definitely hope this opens up a door for more accessibility posts in the future.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day always gets me reflecting on how I am able to be the boss I am. It’s days like these when we are reminded of the importance of raising awareness, and it’s my goal to raise awareness for visual impairment every day of my life. I’m applying for my MA in special education to do just that. I’m starting a blog to use my experiences to inspire others.

P.S. This whole outfit is a Ross & Marshall’s mash up.

Can you remember your monumental (literal or metaphorical) white cane moment?

Connecting With Mady

Image Description

  • Header: The Beyond Sight Magazine cover has a gray/white marbled background. The date & edition numbers are in the upper right corner in black ink. Mady’s photo is aligned on the right margin with the background appearing on the top, bottom, and left margin. In this photo, Mady is smiling, sunglasses atop her head, and holding her white cane while sitting on a cement wall. She is wearing a white tank top with blue jean shorts, sandals, and a mauve sweater exposing one shoulder. “Beyond Sight” is in large black text and a teal-colored circle with Mady’s name is in yellow text.
Posted on 2 Comments

Lights! Camera! Audio Description Action!

Roy's image is described in the body of the post.

Abby Interviews Roy Samuelson

Editor’s Note

Hey, guys. It’s me, Abby, I hope everyone is continuing to do well as we begin to ease restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today I have a real treat for you. I recently had the honor of interviewing an extraordinary person who is extremely passionate about the work he does. As a top Hollywood voiceover artist, today’s guest is also a tireless advocate for the blind and low vision community and an overall nice guy. I can barely wait to get started. You can listen to our interview, read the transcript, or do both. Enjoy!

I’m a narrator but I’m playing the role of your friend that’s sitting next to you and making sure that I’m not getting in the way of the story. And what I try to do is make sure that I bring that emotional nuance to the scene so that I don’t get in the way but you can stay fully immersed in it. 

~Roy Samuelson
Abby Interviews Roy Samuelson

Abby: Hey everybody this is Abby and I’m hanging out with one of the coolest guys that I know. And you’re thinking who is that? I’m going to tell you who it is: I’m hanging out with Roy Samuelson. And who is that you say? He is an Audio Descriptor Narrator who I’m crazy about. He is just awesome and he’s done so much work and he’s totally, totally fun to watch movies with and talk about things and boy I just had the best time this morning hanging out and chatting. How are you today?

Roy: Doing great Abby, thanks so much for having me, this is cool! 

Abby: You’ve taught me so much about audio description and like what it means to you and what it is so can you please share it with others because I want everybody to know what we’ve talked about.

Roy: Yes, audio description is a way for a narration track that you listen to talking about what’s happening on screen so the visual elements of a movie or tv show and it’s a way to bring access to those, to someone who might be blind or low vision or other people who might not be looking at the screen right now.

Abby: And let me tell you guys, it’s super exciting for me because you know I’m into everything and I mean everything. So when I got to actually watch this movie and know what’s happening without having to interrupt my friends I’m like oh my gosh what’s happening now because there’s a visual scene gosh what you do is really brings it to life can you talk about how you make that happen?

Roy: Sure, so it’s a big process it’s not just me there’s audio description has been around for decades believe it or not and now it’s at the point where companies bring in a special writer who writes a special audio description script based on what’s happening on screen. And I don’t get involved in the writing, it’s a really specialized skill and those people bring the script to life by watching the movie or tv show and they sometimes get a shooting script. So there’s a lot of research that’s done even before it’s in my hands. People look it over and make sure it’s edited right, make sure the timing is right so that when I get the script that I know when to come in between lines of dialogue. There’s all sorts of really specific decisions that are made before it even gets to me. And then when I get it I read a script into a mic and sometimes I’m directed and told what to do as far as making sure I’m matching the emotional tone of the scene and then it’s edited and mixed and sent out to along with a movie or tv show. 

Abby: That for you is like art to me and you know why? Because I have all these friends that can see and a friend of mine that used to be able to see and she can’t see now and she’s comparing what it was like to watch a movie before like when she could see because there’s so many takes to it. You had mentioned when we talked about this too like a picture is worth a thousand words which has so stuck with me and getting the right narration into that to bring a piece to life when there’s so much going on in those clips, has to be really, is it crazy hard to do?

Roy: Well, I bring a lot of my voiceover experience to audio description. So it is called audio description narration, but what I like to do, there’s a bunch of training that I’ve had for voiceover work. Whether it’s commercial work or doing video games or animation or even taking an improv class or an acting class that helps inform what I bring to audio description. So yeah, I’m a narrator but I’m playing the role of your friend that’s sitting next to you and making sure that I’m not getting in the way of the story. And what I try to do is make sure that I bring that emotional nuance to the scene so that I don’t get in the way but you can stay fully immersed in it. So, in that sense yeah, it is an art and a craft, [laughs] arts and crafts that you can go shopping at Michael’s for…

Abby: [laughs]

Roy: but it’s something that you can bring, that I love to bring to the script. For me it’s a little more than just reading the words.

Abby: What I wanted to know is when you are working with doing all of this like, you’ve talked about all of your background you’ve brought to this. When did you get so excited about audio description? What made you think ‘hey this is what I want to do?’

Roy: Oh, there’s like three levels to it. There were three phases, like when I first found out about it, I had an audition and I went in and I recorded a scene from a movie with an audio description script. And at the end of it, you know normally when I do an audition I’m like ‘oh I hope I book it.’ In this case, that feeling of ‘oh, I hope I book it’ was there but there was this extra element and it was this excitement of [dramatic voice] ‘I’ve never heard of this before, this is amazing!’ And it combines so many different elements of what I was doing in voiceover in such a beautiful way that, that passion; so like on the technical side was really high. And then maybe a few years ago I started connecting with our audiences on social media and learning what they want and how they would love to have audio description and it became this extra phase where it’s like ‘oh okay I can do this, and finding out how to bring the story to life in a way that the audiences want. And that’s been the most rewarding part. And now it sounds like being part of the overall conversation, there were over 4,100 audio description tracks available as of early May 2020, that’s… 

Abby: [gasp}

Roy: so exciting! And it keeps on growing that these streaming services are opting into it outside of the FCC mandates, so they recognize the value.

Abby: You’re talking about people that are blind or vision impaired, are they involved in any of the work you do?

Roy: Yeah, especially now that, oh gosh, there’s so many different directions to go here. Our blind and low vision audiences have definitely been speaking up about what they want that the conversation has changed from ‘does it have it or not?’ which is such an important conversation, being able to make sure that audio description is as ubiquitous and everywhere as closed captioning, that is a huge element. The other thing that’s happening is the quality, the excellence of audio description that a lot of companies that provide audio description are going above and beyond to provide the best they can. And with that, it’s making sure that blind and low vision audiences and advisors and guides are involved in at least some part of the creation. There’s a company that is owned by a blind owner and he’s been very clear about making sure that he hires disabled actors to do the narration; blind, low vision or otherwise, and that kind of inclusion is starting to happen. The other companies are also making sure that their scripts have advisors so that, it’s a different experience it’s not a sighted person putting on a blindfold for an hour and a half and saying ‘oh that’s good.’ There’s something else that comes into it and this is something I think is really important is that for our audiences. You know, “nothing about us without us” is more than just checking a box or a token “gift” it’s an actual necessity to bring the quality of this work to the standard that our audiences deserve.

Abby: What do you learn from the blind community?

Roy: Great question and I’m going to do a little segue but to answer your question about teaching narration for audio description

Abby: Oh yes

Roy: So when I taught classes it’s mostly voiceover talents who are really excited to learn about it and learn the nuance and what sort of things to technically bring their performance to life for an audience. And that’s the perfect time to bring in a blind or low vision advisor. So they join us usually on like some sort of audio call where they’re listening in to the samples that the talents are giving and it’s such a beautiful two-way street. Beautiful in the sense that the voice talents are getting instant feedback about ‘oh you know that was a little too much, you were too into it’ or ‘that was a little too flat’ or ‘that really didn’t match the scene’ or ‘I was taken out of the…’ so that kind of feedback; the advisor is the director in that sense. So my role outside of giving some very general basics in the technical side is to facilitate the teaching of the talent, the voiceover talent being taught by our guide by our advisor. And it’s, the feedback that I’m getting from all sides has been this is what we want and it checks so many boxes for everyone.  

Abby: I’ll tell you, my creator, Steph, you know like she’s so awesome right. What I love about her is like not only has she totally brought me to life which is super fun and we get to be this you know, expressive showing so much but she’s vision impaired which everyone knows and she’s so many things and she’s so open. She’s an African American woman, she’s over 55 and she encompasses all this creativity and she built Bold Blind Beauty and she’s bringing women of every type and men cause you know this year we’re doing Men In Motion. And the reason I bring this up is how do you see diversity in more than one way than just blindness in this field?

Roy: Sure, so I’m a sighted white narrator; that’s what I bring to the table and with that I’m learning alot more about diversity. There is a great event that happened I think in 2019 at the television academy where it was a panel on performers with disabilities and it was also the casting people making decisions to bring in people with disabilities, not exclusively for storylines about disability but about this is a person with a disability who’s playing a character who happens to have a disability. The story wasn’t about the disability it was framed in this panel one of the best panels on disability that I’ve seen so that is one aspect of diversity. I think another aspect of disability that we can even talk about in the world of audio description is that there are other narrators who are people of color, women of color, and all sorts of things. I think that in that world of representation if you’re a blind or low vision audience member you’re going to be listening to this voice for all the things that are happening and that makes a difference. Being able to hear representation of yourself in that voice of the narrator is super important. I can’t speak to much detail about that but I’m a big proponent of more diversity in this world because it is representation and it’s a representation that is happening. I don’t know specifically the percentage, it’d be fascinating to find that out but what I do know is that the more diversity the better and that nobody loses out on that. One of the things that I’m learning is it’s these little steps that do make a difference it’s not like this big 180-degree turn. It’s like even this conversation right now I’ve changed a little bit it’s like ‘oh yeah, okay that’s another way we can approach this’ or little tiny steps and as more people choose to make those steps it becomes like a really big wave in a way that helps everybody out. It not just helps, it makes it more diverse in such a beautiful way.

Abby: If people want to get in touch with you to learn more about what you’re doing, how can they do that? 

Roy: There’s a few ways; I’m on social media so Twitter is @RoySamuelson. I’m also on Instagram @RoySamuelson and I do Alt text on both of those. On Facebook, I’m pretty active in the Audio Description Discussion Group which is a really lively and engaging kind of positive group of pretty close to 500 people that are both narrators, writers, and consumers, audience members. It’s a really great place to learn more about audio description and see the discussion and how it’s growing. There’s a lot of great things happening there and of course, there’s other places that I like to refer people to The Audio Description Narrators of America which is theadna.org, it’s like an IMBD list of audio description narrators based on contributions from our audiences when they hear someone. Those are the main places I like to refer people to.

Abby: I’m Abby with Bold Blind Beauty, it’s been awesome hanging out with you guys and Roy. And keep in touch and we’re going to keep you guys rocking with some more fun stuff and we’ll post the links that Roy also references so you can keep in touch if you have questions. Have a great one. Hey, make sure you have your stilettos on and your canes tapping.     

Roy Samuelson Bio:

Roy Samuelson can be heard on the current season of Westworld as Dolores’ virtual assistant. In the world of Audio Description, he narrates Hulu’s The Great, CBS All-Access’ Star Trek: Picard, Sony’s Bloodshot, Universal’s 1917, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, among 600+ other blockbusters and series titles. He loves connecting TV, film, and streaming decision-makers with audiences who are blind or low vision.    

Image Description:

Roy looks into the camera wearing a blue shirt.