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Eyebrow Solutions

If eyes are the windows to the soul then the eyebrows are the frames

e.l.f. Eyebrow Stencil Kit
e.l.f. Eyebrow Stencil Kit

I am so excited!! Over the weekend I received in the mail 2 tools that I mentioned last Monday to help with applying my eye makeup. Both items come from e.l.f. www.eyeslipsface.com and I can’t wait to share my feedback.

The first tool is the Eyebrow Stencil Kit and my immediate observation right out of the box was the great flexibility of the stencils. No stranger to eyebrow stencils, in the past I’ve tried a couple of different types and they were either too rigid or the shapes weren’t even close to my natural brows.

The e.l.f. eyebrow stencils come in 4 different shapes:

  1. Soft arch – is a gently rounded shape that follows the line of the eyelids. Soft arch eyebrows are perfect for women who have sharp, angular features, as they enhance softness to the overall look.
  2. Structured arch – is noted for a sharp slant upward from the inner corner of the eye, and a downward slant toward the outer edge. Women who have rounder or wider facial features can benefit from the vertical line created for a slimming look with this style.
  3. Curved arch – is a mixture of the structured and curved arches and is characterized by an upward slant from the inner corner of the eye to almost two-thirds distance, and finishing with a slight bend downward along the outside.
  4. Full arch – is depicted by minimal curvature along the length of the brow, and is good for women who have very narrow faces, or widely spaced eyes.

“Knowing your face shape is the first step to creating your most beautiful look” ~Kevyn Aucoin

The very first step in determining the shape of your eyebrows is, knowing the shape of your face. There are 4 basic facial shapes and I’ve provided the arch that works best with each shape:

  • foraywhileOval – forehead is wider than the chin with prominent cheekbones, face tapers to a narrow oval chin (soft arch)
  • Round – face is almost as wide as it is long, face is widest at the cheeks (structure arch)
  • Square/long – forehead, cheekbones and jaw line are all about the same widths with the squared jaw line being the most obvious feature (soft arch or full arch)
  • Heart – similar to oval but the chin tapers to a point (curved arch)

How to apply eyebrow makeup

  • Run your finger along your eyebrow to get an idea of the natural brow line
  • Place your index finger straight alongside your nose to the top of your brow line. (This is the start of your eyebrow).
  • Place your index finger alongside your nose and angle it outwards to the outer corner of your eye. (This is where the eyebrow ends).
  • Once you have determined which stencil to use, line up the widest end of the stencil to the beginning of the brow line
  • Likewise with the end of the brow line the thinnest end will be at the outer corner of the eye
  • Once you are satisfied with the placement of the stencil you can use eyebrow makeup to softly fill in area.
  • After you have applied the eyebrow makeup you’ll want to use an eyebrow brush to gently groom the brows and blend the makeup color for a more natural appearance.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

If you are using eyebrow stencils for the first time it is going to take some time to get used to them and you may have to try several different types before finding ones that work for you. I really like the ones I received because I found them easy to use and my brows looked awesome (this compliment from my son who notices little).

The second eye makeup tool I received was the Mascara Guide from e.l.f. I will explain how to use this guide next week but I can tell you that I think it’s a great tool especially for my upper lashes.

e.l.f. Mascara & Shadow Shield
e.l.f. Mascara & Shadow Shield

Overall for a cost of around $6.00 I definitely feel these two tools are worth the money. I’m still waiting on a couple of other items and once they come I’ll let you know my thoughts.

Ciao

“I just like playing with makeup and clothes – so I really don’t feel like there are rules, and if there are rules, then I think it’s up to you to break them.” ~Kesha

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WOTM 6 Featuring Libby Thaw

WOTM Featuring Libby Thaw

Libby The Visionary

Collage of Libby Thaw (one picture of Libby performing at the microphone and two headshots of her)
Libby Thaw

In December, 2009 it had been 6 months since I was declared legally blind and it felt as if everything in my life was spiraling out of control. Since my vision loss is a hidden disability this was one of the most challenging aspects of the ordeal. It was right around this time that I met Libby Thaw who offered me a lifeline.

The feeling of isolation one can experience when they lose their vision can leave you with a paralyzing fear that you can never make it out of the dark abyss. Because I knew I wasn’t emotionally ready to use the white cane Libby’s Checkered Eye Project (CEP), an international low vision awareness effort, was the perfect solution for me.

“Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions. Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.” ~Libby

Libby Thaw, a wife and stay at home mother who resides in Port Elgin, Ontario Canada founded the CEP in 2000. I remember during one of our many conversations Libby told me the CEP idea evolved out of a chat with a couple of like-minded individuals. The concept was simple and revolved around a discreet hands-free option for people with low vision to self-identify to let others know of their disability.

Libby, who also happens to be legally blind, understands the difficulties one encounters with loss of vision. On one hand, people with low-vision can be challenged with day-to-day tasks yet on the other hand, to the general public, their disability is not apparent. It’s because of this hidden disability that Libby designed an emblem representative of, and for those impacted with, significant vision loss.

The CE is a pin, patch, or button, which may be worn to subtly indicate its wearer has partial blindness, also known as low vision. In addition, the CE creates a unique opportunity for open dialogue to build awareness on low vision and what the symbol represents.

Personally, I can attest to the sense of empowerment I gained when using the CE. Since I had no control over the loss of my vision at least I could control who I chose to make aware of my situation. And even though I do need to use the white cane now I still wear my pin to increase its visibility.

Libby who has Stargardt disease, the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration, is a motivational speaker, writer, and entertainer (you really should hear her sing). I had the chance to host Libby as my guest when she came to Pittsburgh to attend the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Pittsburgh VisionWalk back in 2011.

Music gives me a great feeling of oneness. I like to take in the sense that we are all in it together; the musicians are obviously in on the cooperation, but the crowd has lots to do with it too. I’m so glad my eyesight doesn’t hinder that. In fact it probably augments it. Since I can’t see people’s facial expressions I project my own ideas of what their movements and body language are saying. ~Libby

Upon meeting her at the airport I was immediately struck by Libby’s energy and enthusiasm. The weekend was a flurry of activities that included a stop at Pittsburgh Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services for a tour of the low vision facility and an opportunity for Libby to talk about the CEP.

To each eating establishment we went during Libby’s 2-day stay she would ask the host/hostess if they had large print menus and this opened the door for further discussion about the CEP. It was refreshing to see someone actively self-advocating while at the same time bringing attention to an issue impacting many people across the U.S. and worldwide.

In October of 2013, Libby was invited by the California Council of the Blind (CCB) in San Diego, California to attend their annual state convention. Not one to pass up an opportunity to spread the word on the CEP Libby packed her bags and traveled to the CCB’s convention. She wrote a very insightful blog on the trip which you can peruse at your leisure by clicking HERE.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the CE is not a mobility or safety device, rather it is a tool for face-to-face interaction only and its use is a matter of personal choice which gives the wearer the option of determining with whom to share their vision loss. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more about the CEP Libby can be contacted directly by email at info@checkeredeye.com or you can visit her website at www.checkeredeye.com.

If you have any questions or would like additional information from me please leave a comment below or email me at smccoy@boldblindbeauty.com.

I think the following quote accurately sums up today’s bold blind beauty. Libby, I want to thank you for being you and in so doing being a positive role model and a ray of hope for people impacted by vision loss.

“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” ~Frank Tibolt

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WOTM 5 Featuring Amy Hildebrand

WOTM Featuring Amy Hildebrand

There’s nothing more we can do for you…

Photo collage of Amy Hildebrand, ourtesy of PetaPixel.com
Amy Hildebrand, photo courtesy of PetaPixel.com

If you’ve experienced severe vision loss you’ve probably heard these words before and their impact can be devastating. Imagine then, the excitement on the birth of your first child and upon delivery, when the doctor places the baby in your arms he tells you that your baby is blind and has a genetic disorder for which there is no cure. This is what happened to Teri Shields the mother of Amy Hildebrand, the young woman I’m featuring in today’s Fierce Fridays.

“…and the doctors told my parents I was blind. My mom was 20, my dad 24, and as if they didn’t receive enough shock when the doctor placed a white haired baby in their arms, he then proceeded to tell them that I had a severe case of Albinism, and that there was nothing they could do to “fix” me.”

After Amy was born, the doctors told her parents that she wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things because of her blindness due to severe albinism. Albinism occurs when one of several genetic defects makes the body unable to produce or distribute melanin, a natural substance that gives color to hair, skin, and iris of the eye.

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) states that approximately 1 in 17,000 people in the U.S., has some type of albinism. Vision problems that are not correctable with eyeglasses occur in all people with albinism however the extent of visual impairment differs depending on the type of albinism.

While Amy’s albinism makes her unique, I was struck by her resolve to prove the doctors wrong as detailed in an excellent article by Susan Donaldson James (ABC News). One of the things that impressed me most; aside from the fact that Amy’s a wife, mother of 2, professional photographer, and Best Day Ever business owner is her tenacity.

Back in 2009 Amy challenged herself to a 1,000 day journey where she would shoot a photograph that summarized each day and then post to her blog, With Little Sound. She started her challenge on September 14, 2009 and ended it with the 1,000th photograph on June 12, 2012. I have not seen all of Amy’s photos but I can tell you the ones I did see were awe-inspiring. It takes special fortitude to make a commitment and follow through like Amy did on this challenge.

During an interview in 2012 with Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey of Beyond Snapshots, Amy was asked “What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?” “Thankfully my parents weren’t the type to believe everything they hear, and so they started searching for doctors who had studied the albino eye, in hopes there might be some way I could gain my sight back. Ironically enough there was a young medical student here in Cincinnati that was wanting to research the affects of contacts on infants’ eyes. My parents eagerly signed on the dotted line, and at three months I had my first pair of contacts.”

“A few weeks later I was grasping for shadows and the experiment was deemed a huge success. The med student and I were written up in medical journals across the country. The next twelve years or so I was fitted for all different types of glasses and contacts, but around fifth grade I sort of topped out. I can still remember those early days though, around the age of 2 or 3 studying shadows and light on the kitchen floor of our apartment. I think even then I knew how lucky I was.”

When I read the above excerpt I had goose-bumps and I realized that Amy came by her steadfastness honestly. To put oneself in the place of her parents who fought valiantly on her behalf so that Amy would have the same opportunities in life as her sighted counterparts speaks volumes.

“My photos are sometime straightforward and sometimes more imaginative, but I treat every one with the mindset that I never would have seen these amazing images if it had not been for my parents, that med student and God’s grace.”

After reading the Beyond Snapshots interview and the ABC News article, I was not surprised that Amy would eventually come to love and then become a successful photographer. Amy, you are a remarkable person who is proof that in the paraphrased words of Jesse Jackson “if the mind can conceive it, the heart can believe it, then you can achieve it”!

If you haven’t already done so by clicking on the links provided in this post you can visit Amy and her husband Aaron’s website at Best Day Ever.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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Makeup Never Leave Home Without It

Makeup Never Leave Home Without It image is assorted makeup products

Makeup Never Leave Home Without It

“The only way I’d be caught without makeup is if my radio fell in the bathtub while I was taking a bath and electrocuted me and I was in between makeup at home. I hope my husband would slap a little lipstick on me before he took me to the morgue.” ~Dolly Parton

Barefaced Naked

maybelline-eye-and-brow-pencil
Maybelline eye & brow pencil

Dolly’s quote sounds laughingly vain and I can so relate. Back in the day, I used to wear a boatload of makeup. Today, depending on the season, I wear considerably less and feel liberated nixing what I feel are non-essentials.

Just like American Express “Never leave home without it” was my makeup. I wouldn’t dream of going outside without my ‘face.’ My reasoning was I felt to do otherwise would be a great disservice to humanity. In other words, I didn’t want to scare people.

I may be overly dramatic but there a time or two where I’d risk death versus being seen barefaced. One time, a few years back, my ex-husband and I were in the ‘non-speaking terms’ zone. So later in the day when I thought I was having a heart attack, I had 3 problems:

  1. I had to be sure it was a heart attack otherwise I’d have an emergency room visit co-pay
  2. I needed to make myself presentable which included a shower, makeup, and proper emergency room attire
  3. Since my ex and I weren’t talking, I would need to drive myself to the hospital

The Wait And See Approach

If you think I did the responsible thing by pushing my pride aside and asking my husband to take me to the hospital you would be mistaken. I did the exact opposite by choosing the ‘wait and see’ approach. I took a shower, put on my makeup, did my hair, and got dressed. All these things I did while hoping the pain would subside, it didn’t.

Then with car keys in hand, I tried to sneak out of the house. The problem with this plan was I had to go past my ex to get to the door. So when he asked me where I was going I told him “to the ER” and kept on rolling.

Astute observer he was, he said, “Steph, you can’t even see to drive.” My response—“watch me.”

Okay, okay granted I sounded childish but I was not going to admit he was right. The end result—took me to the ER.

Long story short, these are the depths I would go to avoid being seen in public without makeup. By merit of me writing this you know by now that the outcome of this particular story was good.

Being comfortable in my skin

maybelline master drama eyeliner
Maybelline Master Drama Eyeliner

Today, I feel at ease walking my dog, going to the store, and all sorts of places without makeup. Once I started taking myself a little less seriously my attitude changed towards a number of things in my life. I actually enjoy wearing it now that it doesn’t feel like such a ritualistic process.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to do so much more with less. Now when I wear makeup I use at most 5 products. Out of the five items, I would consider my essentials to be the eyebrow color and eyeliner pencil.

You know yourself better than anyone else. Even if you are totally blind, with practice you can determine the best way of using makeup. It may take some trial and error but with plenty of patience, it can be done.

Going forward, I’ll talk about makeup for blind and visually impaired people and share techniques that work for me. In the meantime, check out Vision Aware Makeup Application After Vision Loss for very useful information on this topic.

“I think women should wear whatever makeup they want for themselves. Makeup should be fun.” ~Emma Stone