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Housewife Hustle Talks Beauty, Blindness & Makeup

WOTM and Blind Beauty Jenni Dunlap wrote this amazing article on beauty, blindness, and makeup. As a body-positive guru, I love how Jenni concludes Blindness and Makeup as it’s a reminder that Real Beauty Transcends Barriers. Thank you, Jenni, for giving Bold Blind Beauty permission to republish here.

Housewife Hustle Talks Beauty, Blindness & Makeup

As a woman with low vision, I hear a lot of surprised reactions when people find out that I love beauty and style. Just because people with visual impairments can’t see well, doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy feeling beautiful or love beauty products in general.

It’s not complex or revolutionary- blind people can do their makeup and pick out clothes on their own. It might not be the same process, or as easy as it is for the sighted, but don’t count us out of the beauty world!

Tricks & Tools

I didn’t learn how to do my makeup growing up. I watched my mother, who is also blind, get ready to go dancing with her girlfriends sometimes, but I figured out how to apply most of my beauty products on my own. To be honest, I still don’t know all the ins and outs of makeup, because I’m pretty set in terms of my routine. I do want to keep learning and branch out though. It’s just easy to keep doing the same makeup routine.

For example, I don’t use foundation. Instead, I use a tinted moisturizer or BB cream. Sometimes, I even skip those all together and just use a primer. I don’t use a bronzer. I rarely use lip liner unless I have a liquid lipstick that desperately needs a helper. I guess I never really do a full face because I tend to like a simple, natural look. Although, a full glam face is something I want to learn.

What I do is watch and learn from a variety of places online, and then I figure out what works best for me. My favorite tools are my fingers because I use my hands like eyes sometimes. I feel where things go rather than see. I do own brushes and sponges and use them too, but the majority of my application process is with my fingers.

I can see a bit, and I’ve talked about the way I see before. My visual field is like looking through a straw, but at the end of that tunnel is almost like broken glass. I have no peripheral vision, and I also have a lot of floaters. I don’t see color the same either, but I still find a way to make it work.

I do use a magnifying mirror when doing my makeup. The only time I find myself needing the eyes of someone else is when I ask my husband if my eyebrows are even, but that’s about it.

Products Galore

I have a lot of makeup, but I also have a handful of favorites that I use regularly. Not only am I a bit cheap, I have to find makeup that is sensitive enough for my eyes, so the combination of budget and sensitivity can be tricky sometimes.

I love Almay, Rimmel, and Maybelline products. I use a decent amount of them, and my new favorite eye shadow palette is Rimmel Magnif’eyes Nude Palette. It has the right amount of shimmer and gold tones for spring too.

The products in the picture above are pretty much what I use if we are running errands. I switch out eye shadow palettes occasionally, but I’ve been using this one for a week or two now.

Step By Step

When it comes to the application process, it’s fairly simple and just like a sighted person. I just poke and touch my face a bit more.

Primer

First, I put on my primer. I put two or three pumps on my fingers and spread it around my face until it’s all covered. After my primer, I do the same thing with my BB cream. It’s not full coverage, but it blurs and minimizes the appearances of my freckles and uneven skin tone areas. Some days, I skip the BB cream though.

Brows

While my primer and/BB cream is drying, I use my pronged brow pencil to darken and shape my brows. I try to tweeze the unibrow and all the unruliness that isn’t where the hair is supposed to go, and then I fill in.

Eyes

I start with my eyes, and I put concealer on the lids and under the brows. Then, I put my highlight shade under the brow and in the corner of my eye. Next, I cover the center of my lid in my base color, which is usually a neutral tan. Sometimes, I mix it up and do something that isn’t necessary neutral. Then, I add a dark shade to the outer edge. Finally, I blend.

When I do my eyes, I line the top lid after I do my center/base color, and I also line the bottom then too. I do a few swipes of mascara after all the shadow and liner is on.

The last step to my eyes is putting concealer under my eyes and cleaning up any shadow that is out of place. I use q-tips or wet a brush if I have too much of a mess. Usually, the concealer takes care of any little smudges.

Blush & Highlight

When I put on my blush, I do use a brush, and I smile and hit the apples of my cheeks. I use a fan brush to highlight the tops of my cheekbones. If I’m feeling fancy, I put highlight in a few extra areas.

When everything is applied and I’m feeling good, I finish it all off with setting spray. And there you have it, a blind lady’s makeup routine!

Colors & Textures

I mentioned that I can’t see color very well. As much as I love red lips and my giant lipstick collection, I have a hard time seeing the differences in most reds. My husband helps me pick out a lot of my lip colors.

Eye shadow is an area I’m picky with, but I’m learning to explore new colors. I own a lot of nude/neutral palettes. I love plums and amethyst purples. I have hazel eyes, and those colors always make my eyes pop. I have been gravitating towards rose golds and pinks lately too. Even if I wear color or a metallic, I try not to go crazy. I’d love to have a dramatic smokey eye, but I need to learn a bit more about blending and application. I don’t want to look like a raccoon.

Asking for Help

I’ve thought about taking a class so I have help learning how to do more with my makeup. I’ve watched tutorial videos and been through the makeup corners of Pinterest, but I really need to have it all in front of me to touch and feel so I can get used to it that way.

I don’t have an issue asking for help, but I don’t really know any makeup mavens personally. My family and a few friends aren’t major makeup experts. They tend to have routines similar to mine if any at all.

I also hear a lot of, “you don’t need makeup.” Let me just say, no one needs makeup, but some of us genuinely enjoy it. Loving makeup doesn’t mean I’m trying to hide my face, so that assumption about makeup lovers needs to disappear. I hate when people say “that’s too much makeup.” Mind your business, please. What makes some happy, doesn’t have to make others happy. Just be kind.

Seeing Beauty

I can see beauty, but I don’t see it the same of course. Because of my blindness, beauty is different for me. I see beauty in a way that’s hard to describe. Of course, personality and someone’s character are a major part of their beauty, but when it comes to the bare aesthetics, it is obviously not the same for me.

I don’t know if I’d want to see like everyone else. For years, I struggled with body image, beauty, and eating disorders. I used to blame my vision because I couldn’t truly see how I looked.

Now, I see that my eyes aren’t to blame. It took some time, but I love myself. I love my face, and I’m learning to love my body. Beauty will always be more to me. There’s a bigger picture at hand, and blind or not, I’m going to keep wearing makeup and seeing beauty way.

Calling all makeup lovers: share some of your favorites and tips! I’d love to hear from y’all. ~Jenni

Image Descriptions:

  • Featured image: a white cup with assorted makeup brushes is in the foreground. In the background is an eye shadow palette and beside the cup are more brushes/pencils, etc.
  • Wide assortment of different types of makeup: pencils, lip colors, foundation, etc.
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Juggling Perfection and Efficiency

Juggling Perfection and Efficiency Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Thinking of a career change. Does anyone know the going rate for jugglers? I’ve got tons of balls in the air and just may qualify.

Not too long ago I laughingly shared the above post on Facebook. At that time I was gonna look into prospects of becoming a juggler, because, you know, balls in the air. Then l had to admit that I was dropping more balls than I was catching because I had too much going on.

Juggling Perfection and Efficiency

Juggling Perfection and Efficiency image is a selfie of me (Steph), in my bald glory, wearing a white open back top and my grandson is peeping over my left shoulder.

There’s a thin line between perfection and efficiency both of which I struggle with constantly. I know perfection is highly overrated yet I still become paralyzed when I feel I haven’t given my best. As a life-long abilities crusader (fancy title for advocate), I understand how important it is to be selective. Focusing my time and efforts where they will do the most good is an essential skill. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, desiring to do too many things makes me less effective because I become overwhelmed.

I love the following quote because it reminds me:

  1. my efforts are fruitless when I’m overwhelmed
  2. it helps me to refocus on my ‘why’

“If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I’m going.”

~Jackie Joyner-Kersee

While advocacy is around the clock, work, a friend reminded me that we should plan our work around our lives. Advocating for Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation is why I do what I do. However, to be effective, I have to reassess, narrow my focus, and let some things go. Afterall there are over 7 billion people on the planet and none of us have to go it alone. There are many great causes in the world and plenty of opportunities for everyone who so chooses to make a difference.

The Internal Struggle

I cannot be the only person in the world who thinks there is way too much of everything around us. A simple example that comes to mind is light bulbs.

Not too long ago I was looking for some bulbs on Amazon—simple right? Wrong! A quick search returned over 50,000 results. Of course, there are options to narrow the search and even options within the options like:

  • brand
  • color temperature
  • usage
  • wattage
  • size
  • shape
  • brightness
  • features

Geez, all I wanted was some bulbs to illuminate my home and it ended up becoming a research project. I learned far more about light bulbs than I ever expected or desired, not to mention the time wasted. At one point I got so frustrated I had to take a nap and resume my search later.

Anxiety over buying light bulbs sounds silly, I know. But, when I multiply this one choice by all the others, made within one day I can easily feel paralyzed. The simplest tasks become complicated burdens and losing focus because of overstimulation rules the day. As a result, clouds of guilt, shame, and a sense of unworthiness smother me and I feel like a failure.

Placing way too much value on my work and not enough on myself is destructive and I have to change. I love what I do here on Bold Blind Beauty and I love the connections I’ve made. This community means the world to me and I’d be lost without you so I’m evolving by taking a stand.

Taking A Stand To Create Meaningful Change

When clarity begins to fade due to trying to maintain a frenzied pace something has to give. Because I’m adaptable and very low maintenance it’s easy for me to declutter. Self-compassion however, is a more challenging process that requires an overhaul. Here are some of the steps I’m taking to reclaim my clarity and overall sense of wellness:

  • Self-compassion: Being kind to myself is the only antidote to self-hatred and unworthiness. Craving acceptance is what led me to believe that my work was the only measure of my worthiness. A recent reassessment of my life revealed the cause of this toxic thinking. Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness are the keys to restoration.
  • Flexibility: Embracing flexibility has been one of the best gifts I’ve given me. Changing direction at any given point is a welcome escape from being so rigid and it feeds my creativity.
  • Adaptation: Life is constantly evolving and so are we. Recognizing I am not the same person today as I was yesterday means doing things a little differently. Being low maintenance along with the ability to adapt breeds contentment and balance.
  • Simplicity: Like my light bulb example in the “Internal Struggle,” I do not need lots of anything. Cutting the cable a few years back was so liberating. Limiting time spent in other areas like, say, social media can also be freeing. With the exception of Instagram, I don’t have any other social media on my phone. I don’t want to be connected 24/7.
  • My Voice: Remembering my values while remaining true to who I am and what I stand for sets me apart.

The Way Forward

I’ve begun the process of shifting my workload to restore my sanity. Some of this involves asking for help from others and some of it means letting go. While focusing on self-compassion will be my primary goal, for Bold Blind Beauty there will be a renewed emphasis on:

Kindness, compassion, and a deep desire for social justice are central to who I am; these are my values. Bold Blind Beauty was born out of a personal need for empowerment that I wanted to share with others.

I began this post in a lighthearted way to help anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. When you add the need for perfection into the mix it can do a number on your psyche. Please know that if you do feel this way from time to time you are not alone. Sometimes the best course of action is to drop some balls to improve our juggling skills. Here’s to ball dropping perfection! 🥂

Juggling Perfection and Efficiency Featured Image:

A woman in business attire is juggling a house, alarm clock, cell phone, sippy cup, and laptop.

Additional Image:

Selfie of me, in my bald glory, wearing a white open back top and my grandson is peeping over my left shoulder.

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Why We Need AIR: Accessibility Inclusion Representation

AIR is vital to sustaining all life. For people with disabilities, AIR is equally important to our survival. AIR, in this case, symbolizes Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation 3 key elements required to break down barriers.

Why We Need AIR: Accessibility Inclusion Representation

Capitol Crawl

July is Disability Pride Month and today is National Disability Independence Day. On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law.

Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation matters. As a person of color, over 50, female, and living with an acquired disability, I know how exclusion feels. Exclusion is one of the reasons social justice has always been important to me.

When you’re born into several marginalized groups there’s a certain amount of uncomfortable familiarity where discrimination and exclusion is concerned. There is a whole other level of discrimination when becoming a member of the disability community that makes day-to-day living a bit more uncertain. Well-meaning friends and family try their best to understand our experience and we try to help them by inviting them into our world. Living with a disability is a uniquely personalized experience for every. single. person. None of us, even those who share the exact same disability will live with it in the exact same way.

Many people aren’t aware that the disability community is the largest minority group in the United States. What makes our minority group different from others is anyone, at any time can become a member. Our community doesn’t care about your social status, education, sexual orientation, age, etc. ANYONE can acquire a disability during their lifespan. As we get older the likelihood of acquiring a disability increases significantly.

While we’ve made strides towards increasing accessibility, inclusion, and representation we still have a long way to go. The fight for equal rights in housing, education, employment, transportation, and more continues as we still face many barriers.

The Fight For Disability Rights

“The “Capitol Crawl” protest for disability rights on March 12, 1990, might have been the single most important catalyst for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25 29 years ago. The law aimed to end segregation of physically and mentally disabled persons and promised them equal opportunity to participate in society, live independently and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

See Capitol Crawl Image Description

PBS did a moving documentary in 2011 on the Disability Rights Movement called “Lives Worth Living.” The first time I saw it I felt sadness, anger, and the need to act. People with disabilities share many of the characteristics of our non-disabled counterparts, we simply do things a little differently.

In “Observing 25 Years of the ADA” I found this bit which I’ve edited: Our lack of understanding, fear, and inhumanity towards people with disabilities I believe, promotes continuing injustices. It’s no wonder when a life-altering event occurs and we acquire a disability, we have a difficult time adjusting. Coming face to face with our prejudices, then navigating a still-flawed system to protect our new status, can be a difficult transition.  

Sadly, some of us take the stance that disability rights are ‘not our problem,’ that is until we are disabled. However, being ‘temporarily abled’ as the majority of us are, makes it our problem.

Air is free yet there are some who believe not everyone is deserving of AIR. Disabled lives are human lives and all human lives matter.

We’ve come a long way since the ADA became law however the fight for Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation continues.

Why We Need Air: Accessibility Inclusion Representation Featured Image Description:

A bright blue sky with puffy white clouds is in the background. In the foreground is a big red sign with white capital letters that says “No Problem.”

Capitol Crawl Image:

A group of handicapped people led by 8-year-old Jennifer Keelan, left, crawl up the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, March 12, 1990, to draw support for a key bill now pending in the House that would extend civil rights to disabled persons. The group of about 1,000 people or rode in wheelchairs down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol. (AP Photo/Jeff Markowitz)

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My Journey to Becoming Fully Me Albinism & All

The Journey to Becoming Me featured image is described in the post.

My albinism doesn’t define me, but it sure makes me who I am. It is because of my albinism that I have become an incredible problem-solver and out-of-the-box thinker.

~Antonia Lliteras Espinosa

My Journey to Becoming Fully Me Albinism & All

Baby Antonia
Baby Antonia

I was born with albinism a rare genetic condition, which affects about one in 20,000 individuals in the United States. Albinism is the lack of pigment in hair, skin, and eyes. The type of albinism I have means I have no pigment or melanin in my body. However, there are other types where some melanin is present. Persons with albinism are visually impaired and often fall under the legally blind category. I am legally blind and have been since birth. 

Growing up I was very aware that I was different, even so, I had a happy childhood. My family was incredibly accepting and they were fierce advocates on my behalf. I always had everything I needed in school and my parents pushed me to become my own advocate. Self-advocacy began from a very young age and for that, I am ever so grateful.

I grew up in Spain where most people have brunette or black hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. Standing out from the crowd, I was often teased by my peers because of my appearance. However, since I grew up in a small town, my appearance became normal and my classmates moved on to the next thing.

Belonging to O.N.C.E., Spain’s equivalent to the National Federation for the Blind (NFB), was a great resource for me and my family. I went to summer camp with other visually impaired kids where we participated in sports and other fun activities. They also provided orientation and mobility ( O&M ) training and any other school or in-home support I needed. Since there weren’t any organizations specifically dedicated to persons with albinism in Spain, this was the best option. Through O.N.C.E. I met a handful of kids with albinism and so I knew I wasn’t the only one.

Smoothing The Way By Assimilation

As I got older, I went to college abroad and lost touch with the blind and visually impaired community. It wasn’t a choice, it was just life.

So, during my adult formative years, I didn’t have role models who used any sort of accommodations. Not having anyone to compare notes with; I didn’t miss it, I was getting by. Even though I was legally blind, I was proud of being able to do everything everyone else did. The only accommodation I had were magnifiers to read. I never asked for special treatment in or out of class. Looking back at those years I marvel at how I got myself through graduate school! I accepted my albinism but didn’t accept that my disability might mean I have to do things a little differently.

When I started working I never disclosed my visual impairment. In addition, I worked really hard to minimize what it meant for me on a daily basis. I’m an incredibly organized person who gets anxiety over going to new places. As much as I could, I would map out routes days in advance. Then I’d even go on a test run the day before I had to be there, just to be sure I would find the location. Similarly, networking events were torture. Sure, it’s partly because I am an introvert, but I had a terrible time remembering people’s faces or recognizing them!

Accepting Albinism Through Social Media

A couple of years ago after joining a few albinism groups on Facebook, I became enlightened. A lot of the quirks I thought were part of my personality, I discovered were probably due to my low vision. I found a lot of visually impaired people get anxious when going to new places; many don’t like networking events. And for me, it is no wonder I can’t remember or recognize people—I cannot see them! 

These online communities quickly became a place of solace, soul searching, and self-growth. I began to see very successful professionals use assistive technology. Also, I began to accept my visual impairment as a strength and no longer viewed it as a weakness. My albinism doesn’t define me, but it sure makes me who I am. It is because of my albinism that I have become an incredible problem-solver and out-of-the-box thinker. I tapped into the strength of the kid who was once such a fierce self-advocate. I knew I could become a better worker and person if I accepted doing things a little differently. Sometimes, I may need help but I realized that everybody has shortcomings and that we all need help at times.

Embracing Me Is Okay

When I began using a white cane it was my biggest moment of growth. It was both one of the best and one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was putting my disability on display for everyone to see, I was showing everyone what, for so many years, I considered my biggest weakness. I also questioned whether I truly needed it or not. With a lot of support along the way, I have found my cane to be so wonderful, in more ways than I expected. 

When I received cane training, I spent quite a bit of time with other blind and visually impaired individuals. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders! I began thinking about my journey and my struggle to come to terms with my blindness. Part of this process was understanding what it meant for me in my daily life. This is what triggered me to start blogging about being legally blind and still live a fulfilling life.

I want to show that my blindness is not my weakness, but an asset. While I can’t tell younger me what I know now, I hope my words will show other young people it is okay to be blind. It’s okay to talk about their disability and to seek help when they need it. They aren’t weak because of their visual impairment, they are strong in spite of it.

Connecting With Antonia On Social Media:

My Journey To Becoming Fully Me Featured Image Description:

Antonia with her crown of white/blond hair is posing outdoors with her white cane. She is broadly smiling as she poses confidently with her white cane that has a pink handle. Wearing a faux wrap light-colored top with jeans and adorable pointed flats Antonia is a beauty. Her jeans are accented with a pink bouquet of roses on the upper right hip.

Additional Images:

  • Baby Antonia is so adorable sitting on the floor playing with a toy. In this photo, she is dressed in a red top with green trim, white pants, green socks, and dark shoes.
  • Antonia is posing in her cap and gown holding a bouquet of pink roses. She has on sunnies and her white dress with black polka dots can be seen with dressy black flats.