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Secret Indulgences

Time-Wasting Guilty Pleasures

Step 1 is Cleanse
You can barely tell that I’ve applied the cleanser.

Documentation of actual unscripted situations, otherwise known as reality TV, has not appealed to me. This was up until one lazy Sunday afternoon on flipping through the channels I happened upon a Keeping Up with the Kardashians marathon. Hours later I found myself absolutely needing to know was Kim really going to marry Chris Humphries? On a more recent episode, Kourtney (who’s pregnant with her third baby) was upset that she faced the real possibility of becoming a single mother of three children because her paramour, Scott, is not a reliable person.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when out of boredom I thought I’d catch one episode of Bachelor in Paradise (I couldn’t help myself, I wanted to understand how this series was gonna work). I don’t have to tell you that this was a bad idea because just like a MacDonald’s French fry (you can’t eat just one), the same holds true for Bachelor in Paradise. All I can say is if you can hold out until the series has ended you can watch On Demand for back to back segments at your leisure.

Even though I wasn’t particularly crazy about the show, I’m still trying to come to grips that I’ve shamelessly watched all 11 Bachelor in Paradise episodes. This show featuring previous contenders from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is set in what can only be described as Utopia. Here the contenders vie for a second chance at love as they explore new relationships.

Essence of Beauty

What I found Interesting was the female vs. male reactions when new bachelors or bachelorettes were introduced to the group (during the rose ceremony at the end of each show two people always had to leave). Each time a new bachelorette would come on the scene we would see the other women talking about the beauty of the newcomer. Keep in mind all these women are gorgeous and I thought hmmm if these women felt threatened by what they perceived as a more beautiful woman then this feeling must be sort of a universal epidemic.

Historically women compliment other women but sometimes the nicety sounds as if it comes from a place of envy or lack of self-esteem. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say with over 7 billion people in the world all of us are going to come across someone who is more this or better that than us. The point is even with this many people on the planet each and every one of us is unique.

Step 2 Exfoliate
Just a dab of the exfoliator will do you.

The Foundation to Makeup

Not too long ago I talked about the time my mother told me I should never leave the house without my makeup. After mulling it over a bit my mother wasn’t saying this to be mean (even though I can look all kinds of crazy without my face on), she comes from a place of ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, looking her best. Even though it’s been years since she was diagnosed with Dystonia she still gets up early every morning, cleanses herself, applies her makeup and gets dressed. Most days she doesn’t leave her apartment but this routine is one that has remained with her since she began wearing makeup.

Me on the other hand, I can take it or leave it but when I need to present the best me, I put on my makeup. Let’s face it if makeup didn’t enhance our appearance the cosmetic industry would go broke.

Early in the year I said that the outcome of fantastic makeup was in a good skin care regimen and I still stand by this statement with one major change. For many years I used Mary Kay’s Timewise and after checking the reviews on I decided it was time to sampled new products.

After using the various samples I selected a simple 3-step routine that I use morning and night. It’s been about 4 weeks now since I made the switch from Mary Kay to the new product and my skin looks and feels wonderful. The thing I like most about my skin is that it appears tightened, toned, and even the under eye bags don’t seem as prominent. I’ve uploaded pictures demonstrating the 3-steps and below I explain what I’m doing in the photos:

Step 3 a dab of Moisturizer
I just dot the moisturizer all over my face and rub into the skin.

Step 1 Cleanser – Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser: When I used the samples of this cleanser I fell in love with its silky, smooth texture as I worked it into my dampened face. Unlike the previous product I used, this formula is very easy to work with and it wipes off easy with a warm wash cloth. It comes in a convenient pump bottle and it only takes one pump per use.

Step 2 Exfoliant – Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion: This product (which sheds dead skin) also comes in a pump and like the cleanser, I only use one pump each time I use it (a little goes a long way). Then I dot the lotion on my forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin then, gently rub it into my skin. I should note that when I used the sample 3% AHA lotion my skin was tingling so I consulted with one of Paula’s Choice representatives who recommended I try the 1% BHA.

Step 3 Moisturizer Plus SPF – Mary Kay Age-Fighting Moisturizer: Though the TimeWise 3-in-1 Cleanser didn’t score well on this moisturizer fared okay due to the SPF. Plus I still had some left and I’m using it until it’s gone. I can tell you that the Resist Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 25 samples were very good.

This new skincare routine is so simple and more importantly I love the results I’ve obtained. Next week we’ll review Paula’s Choice Supercharged regimen.

“There are a lot of things that are personally uncomfortable to show, especially me without makeup and completely bloated or crying. But I’ve realized that it’s time for me to show my audience that you don’t have to be perfect to achieve your dreams. Because nobody relates to being perfect.” Katy Perry

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Jill Khoury on the White Cane

about to flip the transformation switch

Toggle switchThe following article is being re-posted with permission from Jill Khoury. If you recall, I wrote a post on Jill back in June of this year (you can view it HERE). To give you an idea of what it’s like to be visually impaired I’ve provided a YouTube video on the day in the life of vision impairment. It’s important to note that due to the vast range of blindness, vision impairment differs from person to person.

Today’s piece spoke volumes to me and I’m sure others who have, or are, experiencing vision loss can identify with some of Jill’s sentiments. The decision to intentionally no longer “pass,” like using the white cane, is deeply personal, life-changing, and to some extent cathartic. Jill, thank you for allowing me to share this with my readers and please know that I’m sending positive vibes your way – you are not alone.  

Family, friends, colleagues, secret foes: I have a life announcement. No, I’m not pregnant and my manuscript did not get picked up. I have a new white cane, and I’m going to start using it full-time.

As many of you know, I have struggled with the concept of passing. Most of my life I did; then for a few years I didn’t, then my mom suicided and I put the cane away indefinitely. I was under the impression that it made me more comfortable to blend in. Maybe for awhile there, it did. But it takes a *tremendous* amount of energy to pretend I’m a sighted person. I’m starting to feel tired. Like, in my spirit.

When I last tried the cane in the city where I currently live, I became filled with anger. I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of alcohol and drugs, hence perhaps lower inhibitions, and I constantly being beset by hassling and offensive comments from men.

The neighborhood I live in now is more obsessed with being proper, so I’m hoping less harassment.

A woman I know, B, who barely knows I exist, is teaching me patience by example. I secretly appreciate her as a role-model for dealing with what I call “the in-betweeners.”

On the street, all over the city, over top of the harassment I got in my neighborhood, I was getting constant offers of help with basic tasks. I did not give a shit if people meant well. It filled me with anger to be condescended to. I was so bottled up with anger that I was almost out of control. In my experience, most people don’t understand what it is to be blind; some people don’t even understand that there are many different types of blindness which make (nearly?) every blind person capable of different things. The constant “helping” made me just … I was just… every muscle in my body was tense with anger.

However. I have met this woman B. Who knows a lot about being condescended to and much worse than that. She is patient but assertive. She has lived a long time and been through much. She seems comfortable with who she is and not having to fit in anyone’s box.

I have watched her interact with these people who “mean well,” and I want to try being like that. Patient but assertive. December draws ever closer. Maybe this is what year 40 will be for me. The year of learning a new way to respond to situations that will be healthier for me in so many aspects. Not to mention, my chances of getting hit by a bus are greatly reduced.

This transition will be so hard. I still have my dad’s voice in my head that I will pretty much be victimized because I am blind –the implication being that I am essentially weaker than the norms.

I have tried this experiment before and failed, so failure is the precedent.

Using the cane, having the signifier, will make me wear my vulnerability on the outside, when I have been preoccupied with quietly trying to stuff it away. Don’t look behind the curtain!

The truth is, using the cane will make me so much less vulnerable. Literally. To cars. On stairs. In crowds. And I will not have to chase fractured images of this world that moves so fast, way too fast for me, like a child batting at a butterfly, because I am so obsessed with passing. Maybe I won’t have to play the “face-name game at readings,” when people forget that I can’t see and presume I know who they are.

So if you are reading this, please send me supportive energy. This is a big, huge, enormous deal for me. It will cause me to move differently, interact differently, and interpret my own social identity differently. To make the successful switch, I will basically have to transcend my current self and become a new self. No big deal. Yeah, I need you. I need your positive vibes. For serious.

[On a more practical note, if you live in the area, let’s make a plan to go for a walk! It doesn’t matter where. This kind of white cane is different than the kinds I’ve used before, and so there will be some relearning of skills and re-acquiring of grace. I may look more awkward –walking with people has never been my strong suit –but I will feel less alone if you are with me.]

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu

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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