Women on the Move: 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

3 Little Dresses

Somewhere to go nothing to wear

Love 21 - A woven bodycon dress featuring cap sleeves. V-neckline. Concealed side zipper with hook-eye closure. Fully lined. Light to medium weight.
Ladylike Cap Sleeve Dress
Forever 21

Garanimals is the word that came to my mind this morning and I’m wondering to myself, how can I possibly weave a story around this word? Then it struck…I remembered an invitation I received to an upcoming luncheon affair and I really have nothing suitable to wear to the event.

What does Garanimals and a forthcoming luncheon have in common? At first I thought nothing at all, that is until I look closely at how Garanimals evolved. Who knew that there was a direct link on how children felt about themselves and how they dressed? Since Garanimals didn’t exist until 1972, and the product line was geared to young children, it was too late for me to indulge in this revolutionary clothing. Had I only been younger I could have avoided dressing myself as a nerd but it’s all water under the bridge.

The commonality between Garanimals and my luncheon invitation is the realization that I will have to put together an outfit and find a date for this affair. Without dwelling too long on what I envision my outfit to be I knew almost immediately that I wanted to wear a dress.

Mock neckline. Pencil skirt with exposed gold front zipper. Hidden back zipper with hook-and-eye closure. Lined.
Deep Scuba Dive Dress
Rent the Runway

Since frugality is the focus for Thrifty Thursdays I set a limit of $50 for a frumpless looking frock. So it was with nimble fingers I scoured the internet and found 3 possibilities that I want to share with you.

  1. Coming in at $24.80 – the first entry is the Ladylike Cap Sleeve Dress, a form-fitting, fully lined, V-neckline, coral dress from Forever 21. The length is just above the knee and with the classic lines this dress could easily go from the office to cocktails. The coral color makes for a nice springtime feel.
  2. Next up at $40.00 – is a Camilla and Marc Deep Scuba Dive Dress from Rent The Runway. The retail value of this dress is $520 but why pay a fortune to buy an outfit when you can easily rent one. Rent The Runway has rental periods from 4 – 8 days. They offer $25 off your first rental and at a cost of $29.95 you can get free shipping and insurance per year. In addition they offer “Go-to Girl” service where you can ask for advice via online chat, phone or email.
  3. Lastly at $47.99 – is the Sleek It Out Dress in Olive from ModCloth. I’m not usually drawn to olive but this dress in its simplicity called my name. This is a form-fitting sheath dress with a square neckline, cap sleeves and tailored fit. I have to thank fellow blogger Glenda Dixon Mixon of So What to Twenty for accepting a recent challenge from where she had to create an entire outfit from one item selected by ModCloth. What she came up with was two sharp ensembles that you can check out HEREIf not for Glenda’s challenge I wouldn’t have looked to ModCloth for a dress and I’m so glad I found this one.
With its square neckline and tailored fit, this woven wonder will dazzle from the office to the opera and everywhere in between.
Sleek It Out Dress in Olive

Two things I like most about each of these dresses is that #1 they are all under $50 and #2 all will go nicely paired with nude heels and clutch. Right now I’m up in the air about jewelry but since I have my dress choices lined up the only other outstanding item that remains is a date, ugh!

Have a beautiful day!

“It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.” ~Aesop

Is Normal Perfect?

5 mannequins with physical disabilities (1 with one leg, 1 in a wheelchair, 1 with curvature of the spine, 1 with 1 foot & 1 hand and 1 little person with physical limitations)
Pro Infirmis
Because Who Is Perfect? Get Closer.

It’s a balmy 10 degrees which is considerably warmer than the negative 4 degrees earlier this morning when I took my dog, Mollie, for a walk. I’m in that season of life where I have, what I like to refer to as, “private summers” and when it is so frigid out one would think I could call upon one to see me through but nope! The air was so cold I feared I’d lose my breath.

Today I knew I was going to talk about body shapes since this is a critical piece of determining the appropriate clothing for your body. But then, as often happens, I was inspired to address this issue of perfection or normal. For way too long we have been sold on the idea that there is something wrong with us and we need to strive for this unattainable thing called perfection. I don’t know about you but I’ve always struggled with thinking I was abnormal because I felt like I never quite fit in.

In last week’s Wardrobe Wednesday I talked about how one of the Golden Globes red carpet attendees, Gabourey Sidibe, recieved some very crude remarks on Twitter. The reason for the remarks was because she is a full-figured woman.

Back in December as I was perusing Facebook I found the most amazing video that reminded me of how poorly our society reflects the reality of who we are as humans. Without going into a deep discussion on the video as it is only a small portion of what I need to share today, it’s a beautiful representation of people with varying physical disabilities. At your leisure I urge you to view it by clicking HERE.

Before I lost my vision, when I looked around me no matter where I was, I saw all types of people. Yet when I saw print, virtual or other kinds of ads rarely would I see a reflection of the people out on the street, and I thought, why is that?

Images of full-figured mannequins from swedishmannequins.com

So when I found an article from New York Daily News on a photo of full-figured mannequins that went viral last year I felt it fitting to speak to it here on my post. With over 7 billion humans on this planet I would venture to guess that the vast majority of them are “regular” people? I could go further and say that there really is no perfect body or person for that matter however I believe we (all of us) are perfect in our imperfections.

Depending on where you look there are different references and quantities of body shapes. There are fruits and geometric symbols (apple, pear, triangle, and rectangle). Some charts have only 4 shapes and others have 6 or more. As indicated on the image I found on Pinterest, out of 6,318 women are percentages of where they fit in the following 4 shapes and a description of the shape:

4 Body shapes (apple, inverted triangle, rectangle & hour glass)
Via Janet Diep-Michalsen
  1. Hourglass 8.40 percent – bust and hips are basically the same circumference though the bust can be up to 1 inch larger than the hips. The waist is then 9 inches or more smaller than the bust.
  2. Rectangle 46.12 percent – the bust and hips are basically the same circumference. The waist is less than 9 inches smaller than the bust.
  3. Inverted triangle 13.83 percent – the bust is 3.6 inches or larger than the hips and the waist is less than 9 inches smaller than the bust.
  4.  Apple 20.92 percent – the hips are 2 inches or more, larger than the bust. The waist is less than 9.25 inches smaller than the bust.

Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth I used to be a skinny rectangle. Today I think I’m more of an apple, so I have to think strategically when dressing to draw attention away from what I consider, are problem areas.

The casual outfit I chose for today consists of stone washed jeans, white tank top paired with a cozy off the shoulder grey sweater, tan knee-high suede boots, tan handbag and black sunglasses. I would have to swap out the stone washed jeans for dark denim to play down my hips. The bulkiness of the sweater’s neckline would also take onlooker’s eyes away from my hips.

Blue jeans, white tank top, grey cozy off the shoulder sweater, tan knee-high suede boots, tan leather & cloth handbag, black sunglasses
Via Alessia Angeli

Until tomorrow, be true to yourself!

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Color 4

It’s a Wrap!

I've got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that i'm stressing about for absolutely no logical reason.

Today is my final entry on the trending colors for 2014. When I went back to review the previous colors from the last 2 Tuesdays I realized that I made a major faux pas. Keeping things in perspective, major might be a stretch after-all I’m not saving lives here, but as a perfectionist when I make a mistake no matter how small, I am consumed with an overwhelming desire to right the wrong.

Once I recognized my error I was nauseous and kept wondering how I could have made such a blunder and with every fiber of my being I wanted to retreat to my secluded hideaway. This proved very challenging with my little 1-year-old grandson over for the day, who I might add was not content to play in his playpen, my dog Mollie (a lovable psycho dog with the attention span of a gnat) barking at the naughty washing machine, and finally my brother, whose sole mission in life, I believe, is to get on my nerves (he does it so amazingly well). If this weren’t enough, then my mother calls.

By now I’m a completely frazzled jumble of nerves. My mind is going hither and yon since my sanctuary continues to evade me and I just want to scream…but then I forget why I’m so upset. This is one of the advantages of being in the 50+ club, one minute you feel yourself slipping away and in the very next you can’t remember why. At any rate…

Drumroll Please

Dazzling Blue, not to be confused with Placid Blue, is the only color for this week (I previously said there were 4). Pantone describes Dazzling Blue as a scintillating, polar opposite to Placid Blue.

Blue flower with blue butterfly
via Pinterest

Without getting too technical on the different shades or hues, my favorite color has always been blue. I tend to lean towards teal, turquoise and azure with my least favorite being powder blue. And then there’s the blues that for me are indescribable, like this handbag that I got from sammydress.com. The color was so striking and every time I carry it I get all kinds of compliments, even though it doesn’t have a designer label.

Blue handbag from sammydress.com
Blue Handbag

I will always love black with any other color combination when it comes to clothing. As the ensemble pictured presents; the jacket, handbag and boot accent pieces are prominent against the black shirt and pants. With the exception of the boots (I’d probably break my neck on the heels) I would add silver earrings & bracelets and I could definitely see myself in this outfit.  

Black short-sleeved blouse & pants, Blue jacket with 3 large black buttons, blue handbag and boots.
Black & Blue Outfit
Visit vanesa-klopic.polyvore.com

Colors for many people (including those of us with blindness/vision loss) are just words. As I’ve said before and I will say many more times, confidence is the most important thing a person can wear. With confidence you can wear just about whatever you please and carry it off.

“While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.” ~ Benjamin Franklin