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No Excuses!

Blind People Can Exercise

bsolute Inspiration. Sami is blind and she competes on her school's cross country team. No Excuses
Pinterest – Absolute Inspiration. Sami is blind and she competes on her school’s cross-country team. No Excuses!

(Article reposted with permission from Mel Scott, Founder & President of BlindAlive):
According to officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Half of the 21 million Americans who have a disability don’t exercise, and that lack of exercise is jeopardizing their health… Among these 11 million inactive adults are people who … have problems seeing… Many of these disabled adults are able to exercise, but don’t do so regularly or at all.” ( HealthDay Reporter on TUESDAY, May 6, 2014.)

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be included in the 11 million disabled people who live a sedentary lifestyle. It is challenging enough being part of the 21 million who are considered “disabled”. Blindness is no joke that is for sure and there are countless tasks I encounter every single day that I wish were easier but I CAN EXERCISE!

Now for the big confession, I do not like going on long hikes with rough terrain, swimming laps in a pool with lots of other people, nor do I like going to a gym with machines and loud noises. Are you getting the picture? Many of the kinds of fitness programs that are enjoyed by sighted people make me anxious: I’d rather not do them. Fortunately, I don’t have to cause myself more stress. I CAN EXERCISE at home with my own stuff in my own space.

No More Excuses! I can't do it, I have bad genes, I'm too tired, I've failed before, I'm all alone, I love food, I'm too busy, It's too hard, I'm too old, I'll do it later, No will-power, I hate working out

Blindness and low vision really have very little if anything to do with whether or not you feel good in your body. Bodies require movement to stay moving. It is up to us to take charge of our bodies and MOVE IT! So, let’s start a movement to get blind people moving!

And starting small is just fine. And the more you move the more confidence you will build: I promise! It is time to inspire and encourage each other to do what we can do even if we need to start by just wiggling our toes.

That is why I created BlindAlive: a completely described, eyes-free exercise program for everybody who wants to be part of a different club: the healthier, stronger club.

Mel Scott Founder and President

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Style Word Association Part II

Boho, Glam & Casual Chic

Headshot of me and my "Edgy" hair.As promised in today’s post (a continuation from last week) I will talk about the 3 remaining styles (boho, glamorous and casual chic) referenced on Stitch Fix. To refresh your memory below are the 7 styles with one word that comes to my mind whenever I think of each style:

  1. Preppy – The Hamptons
  2. Romantic – Feminine
  3. Classic – Timeless
  4. Edgy – Risk-takers
  5. Bohemian Chic – Free Spirited
  6. Glamorous – Hollywood
  7. Casual Chic – Relaxed

I had so much fun with last week’s post that the very next day I was feeling “Edgy” and decided to dress the part. Now I’m not about spikes, studs or combat boots but when I turned 35 I did something so counter to my personality for me it was considered radical. Yup, I got a tattoo, leather biker jacket, and I was gonna sign up to learn how to ride a motorcycle but then I just settled for leasing my first new car (a five speed). No one could tell me I wasn’t cool – well no one except for my kids – and all because I had this thing for obeying the speed limit. Before I get into today’s three styles I wanted to take a quick moment to review my “Edgy” look:

  • St. John’s Bay White Keyhole V-Neck Tee (old) JC Penney’s
  • Style & Co. Dark Rinse Skinny Jeans Macy’s
  • Black Faux-Suede Jennifer Lopez Moto Jacket (similar) Kohl’s
  • Black Faux-Suede Rampage Kavi Wedge Mules DSW
  • Silver Accessories: Short pendant necklace on leather strap, medallion-like drop earrings, chain bracelets, 2 rings
  • Asymmetrical/tousled pixie cut wig (similar)

1-DSC00621 1-DSC006121-DSC00609

My hair was the edgiest part of my outfit and to test it out I posted a picture on Facebook and got all kinds of “I love your hair” comments. I like the way the hair falls across my left eye and has a tousled look on top (I feel radical whenever I wear it). Ok enough with edgy let’s move on to boho.

As a child in the 60s I remember the whole love, peace, flower children movement. While the bohemian style of today is not quite as hippie-like as in yesteryear whenever I hear boho it conjures up thoughts of a free-spirited, artsy, eclectic type individual. I have a few friends who fit into this category and they are the most creative, intelligent, easygoing, outgoing people with whom everyone wants to be around.

The boho style is carefree. Think layers and mix assorted textures like a tank or tee with a fringed cover-up or gauzy kimono. The look can be as simple as a breezy ethnic-inspired print dress, sandals and a hat. Prints range from paisley, florals, to fashionable and colorful patterns.

Boho outfit from Pinterest
Pinterest Boho

Pinterest has an endless supply of photos and information on anything under the sun. The boho look I selected from Pinterest features cutoff blue jean shorts, a peasant top complete with tassels, sandals, fringed handbag, colorful tribal print earrings, gold ring with turquoise stone and a brass cuff bracelet with turquoise, pink and brown beads.

Grace Kelly, Katherine Hepburn, Lena Horne, Lauren Bacall, Dorothy Dandridge, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Diahann Caroll are among the most glamorous women to grace the silver screen. Glamorous to me is Hollywood and I swear I can hear Madonna singing Vogue in the background.

Glamorous Pinterest
Pinterest Glamorous

Sticking with the summer theme, the glamorous look also has shorts and sandals but it’s the colors and color coordination that makes this outfit look classy. I could see myself adding a summer hat but that’s just me.

The cuffed shorts, tote handbag, sandals and oversized sunglasses are all in shades of tan. The red tank with tiny white polka dots appears to be lace across the upper back and the gold jewelry – bracelet and ring (with the exception of the hoop earrings) also picks up the red of the tank in the stone on the ring and portions of the bracelet. The look is casual elegance and not overdone.

Casual Chic is that effortless yet very well pulled together look. For example a color coordinated jogging suit with coordinating running or other cute shoes, nice handbag and perhaps a scarf and don’t forget the I don’t care attitude.

Casual Chic Pinterest
Pinterest Casual Chic

In the casual chic picture are white jeans paired with a tan dolman sleeved loose fitting top, pink printed scarf, pink watch, gold/tan sandals and gold/tan clutch.

The other day a friend of mine sent me an email stating how much she liked a bit I wrote on style in last week’s post and I thought I’d end this one with that thought. Here goes:

Style like art, is a form of self-expression and communication which encompasses the whole person. An extension of oneself, style begins on the inside with our personality, lifestyle, values, likes, dislikes, mannerisms and it permeates all areas of our life. ~Steph

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Style Word Association Part I

Preppy Red & White
Pinterest Preppy

Last week I did a post on Stitch Fix an online styling and shopping service for women. In explaining what the service offers I listed the 7 styles on the questionnaire that gives the consultants insight to a client’s personal style. Today I’m going to once again list the styles and one word that springs to my mind whenever I see the particular style referenced.

  1. Preppy – The Hamptons
  2. Romantic – Feminine
  3. Classic – Timeless
  4. Edgy – Risk-takers
  5. Bohemian Chic – Free Spirited
  6. Glamorous – Hollywood
  7. Casual Chic – Relaxed

Growing up I didn’t have much but was very fortunate to live an affluent area and went to school with a number of kids who were considered preppies. The Hamptons is the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the word preppy and right behind it I could envision a guy named Tad talking with an exaggerated haughty accent to his girlfriend named Muffy. By the way none of my classmates were named Muffy or Tad but they had a certain air about them, were always very well dressed and while they are stereotyped as being stuffy or snobbish the people I went to school with were not (well maybe one or two but the rest weren’t). As far as dress was concerned there were plenty of Polo & Izod shirts, argyle sweaters, boat shoes, penny loafers, plaid skirts, monograms and the like.

Romantic Pink
Pinterest Romantic

The word “preppy”, comes from preparatory better known as expensive prep schools for the upper middle to upper class children in the northeastern states. Though today preppy has evolved into somewhat of a trend it really is a genuine lifestyle that in my opinion cannot be replicated simply by dressing in a certain way. The Daily Prep by Muffy Aldridge (this is her real name) gives some interesting insight into this lifestyle.

Romantic style is the antithesis of my style. While I appreciate all styles and can come very close to drooling over some awfully pretty, soft, flowy, lacy, ruffled, dresses, tops or skirts, every time I have tried one on it looks totally and completely horrid on me.

Edgy Dress
Pinterest Edgy

When I think of romantic style I imagine candlelight, poetry, soft music, the scent of roses, all things feminine. Romantic style is the quintessence of beauty.

Black, leather, studs & spikes are common adjectives that describe edgy. I even like the word edgy because it says “Fearless.” Edgy is an attitude and unshakable confidence, that communicates “this is me, take me as I am or buzz off.”

The edgiest I’ve ever dared to go was with an asymmetrical pixie cut wig – it was so sharp. Or I’ll wear my black leather biker jacket with a rather sedate dress but that’s about the extent to which I’ll do edgy. But I love seeing edgy mixed with romantic because it’s like hard and soft coming together but done right it is sublime.

Style like art, is a form of self-expression and communication which encompasses the whole person. An extension of oneself, style begins on the inside with our personality, lifestyle, values, likes, dislikes, mannerisms and it permeates all areas of our life.

I describe my personal style as polished professional and gravitate to the classics. My favorite outfit would have to be a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black pumps. When I add a structured handbag and accessories I feel so at home like my outfit is my outer skin.

Classic Maxi
Pinterest Classic

Classics never go out of style and if you have nothing but the basics in your wardrobe you’ll do just fine. What are some of the classical basics? I already mentioned the pencil skirt, white button down and black pumps. Add a white tee, great pair of jeans, LBD (little black dress), wrap dress, cardigan, black blazer, leather jacket, and ballet flat and you’ve got a good foundation. Accessorize with a pashmina, a vegan handbag, and some jewelry and you could be ready for a night on the town.

Throughout this post are 4 examples on each of today’s styles. These looks are all summer styles that I found on Pinterest.

  1. For the preppy look we have a white tank, red shorts with a bow belt and scalloped edges on the waist and hemline, monogrammed tan clutch, cream sandals, gold watch, pearl earrings & bracelet.
  2. The romantic look is pink and white themed. White lacy top, pink cut off jean shorts, cream tote, cream sandals, post earrings, bracelets, ring & sunglasses.
  3. This edgy look is a mixes a white strapless dress with a black biker jacket, black biker boots, sunglasses and chain bracelet.
  4. Of course for the classic I chose a gray and white striped maxi skirt, white tee, tan and white handbag, tan sandal, earrings, bracelet, necklace, watch and sunglasses.

Next week I’ll talk about boho, glamorous and casual chic – so stay tuned.

“I am woman!  I am invincible!  I am pooped!”  ~Author Unknown

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WOTM 21 Featuring Mary (Mel) Scott

Mel Scott
Mel Scott

Isn’t it funny how we go through life and if everything is copacetic we don’t give a thought to those things that cause hardship like a backache for example. For a number of the daily nuisances that I encounter there are workable solutions, for some it’s only a matter of self-advocating by speaking up. For others it’s a matter of creative thinking to develop an answer to an unasked question.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Mel Scott who earlier this year launched a new business, Blind Alive LLC to address the fitness needs of people who are blind or vision impaired. I met Mel earlier in the year and more recently when I contacted her for permission to feature her, she told me about BlindAlive, eyes-free fitness.

I would come across the commercials on TV or I would hear sighted friends talking about how great they felt after working out using an exercise video. When I would hear these commercials, I would prepare my memory to capture the 1-800 number, and run fast as I could to the phone before I forgot it. Sometimes the number was just on the screen and I didn’t even have the opportunity to reach out even if I had wanted to. ~Mel Scott

Among the many misconceptions about blind and vision impaired people is that we either cannot or will not exercise. Some of us prefer not to go to a public gym simply because most of the equipment is not accessible. For many of us who would like to use exercise videos/CDs/DVDs it is challenging when the instructors do not describe what they are doing. Mel understood this situation from personal experience which prompted her to develop BlindAlive.

The entire team at BlindAlive is motivated by a driving passion to deliver eyes-free fitness products to everyone who wants to be healthy and strong. At BlindAlive, we create more choices for more people. ~Mel Scott

Mel, a true force to be reckoned with, was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. In her podcast she talks about the day she received the devastating news and how, in preparation for her upcoming surgery, every day for 5 weeks she did yoga, sit-ups and Pilates. She understood the critical need to strengthen her body for post-operation recovery after a double mastectomy and breast implants.

Mel Scott & Jingles the dog
Mel Scott & Jingles

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) the cause of Mel’s loss of vision, was the diagnosis she received at age 7. RP refers to a group of inherited diseases mainly caused by mutated genes which leads to retinal degeneration. In Mel’s case she and her sister’s RP was caused by a recessive gene because neither of their parents nor their 4 other siblings were affected by this eye disease.

I can’t tell you how happy I was when Mel told me about her business, I mean there’s this whole demographic of blind people who can and do achieve many of the same things fully sighted people accomplish. It’s just a matter of the how we perform any given task.

I thought you know what? It’s time to stop b*tching about excercise videos not being accessible and I just got this flood of energy in my body that said do it!! Go do it yourself take it into your own hands and create products that blind people, and people with low vision and sighted people can do this too… ~Mel Scott

When you visit BlindAlive be sure to check out Mel’s podcasts and the Audio Encyclopedia where Mel gives step by step warm-up instructions. Oh, and before I forget Mel asked me to share with you a promo code for a discount on her first Sculpting with Weights Level One Fitness Workout. The code is “acb14” and it will be good through August.

Mel and her team work hard to ensure her site and products are accessible. She also encourages your feedback to help her provide nothing but the best products and services.

Mel, thank you again, for allowing me the pleasure of writing about you, and BlindAlive. As you say and it’s so true, “being healthy is a choice.”

To follow Mel on Facebook and Twitter the links to both are below this post.