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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

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Telling Our Stories…|Empish Thomas

Telling Our Stories featured image description is in the body of the post.

Telling Our Stories…|Empish Thomas

The following article was lightly edited and updated. Our featured Woman On The Move is someone I’ve only met virtually by conference calls, email, and phone. Empish and I serve as Peer Advisors for VisionAware and in this role, we offer advice and helpful tips to those new to sight loss. Empish is a prolific writer, advocate, and mentor. She has also been an invaluable resource to me and a voice for blind and visually impaired people.

My Journey as a Blind Writer and Editor

“From the time I was a small child I have always been intrigued by the written word. From checking out children’s books at my local library to reading the newspaper out loud to my parents. Words have always moved and compelled me.” 

~Empish Thomas

Fast forward to my adult life. With a journalism degree and a disability, I focused my career on writing stories and advocacy for people in my community. I noticed the negative and sometimes incorrect portrayal of the disabled in the news media and became proactive in changing that image. I believe language is powerful and people with disabilities must tell their own story. Hence the Nigerian proverb “Don’t let the lion tell the giraffe’s story.”

So here’s a little bit of my own tale

My journey as a visually impaired writer started about 20 years ago. After finishing my rehabilitation training at the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI), I volunteered to write and edit their newsletter. Eventually, the volunteer opportunity blossomed into a paid position. In this new role, I provided information and resources to people with disabilities. Simultaneously I worked part-time as an AmeriCorps member providing peer support and advocacy.

Later, I launched my freelance writing career with an emphasis on the disabled and landed a column in Dialogue Magazine. I wrote career profiles on people who are visually impaired as a direct result of my passion and journalism experience. In each issue, I profiled people successfully working in a variety of career fields from education, government, science, self-employment, arts, and entertainment.

In addition to my column, I worked at CVI as their Public Education Manager. I conducted facility tours, managed exhibit booths at community/resource fairs, and posted InfoLink, our community bulletin board. I’m also a public speaker for United Way and manage our speaker’s bureau. Recently, I entered the blogosphere by managing CVI’s website blog called Sightseeing. This was an exciting undertaking for me as I:

  • blogged about issues that impacted the blind community,
  • solicited guest bloggers,
  • researched story ideas and
  • planned the editorial calendar.

Volunteering within the blind community

And if all of this was not enough I volunteer in the blind community as well! I am a peer advisor and blogger for VisionAware. On this site, I lend my professional and personal experience to people experiencing vision loss. I’ve volunteered with the American Foundation for the Blind’s Career Connect. Here I interacted via e-mail with others interested in pursuing a journalism career.

Previously, I was a volunteer producer for a monthly hour radio show for the blind called “Eye on Blindness.” The show was sponsored by the Georgia area Radio Reading Service (GaRRS). It was an interview-style program which featured special guests who provided information on a variety of topics such as travel, employment, health, and politics.

I am proud that I’ve been able to take my education, disability, work, and life experiences, and combined them. Not only do I have a rewarding and meaningful life but a fantastic career that I absolutely love!

Connecting With Empish:

Telling Our Stories Featured Image Description:

Empish Thomas is seated at CVI Exhibit Table at Coca-Cola’s Disability and Diversity Awareness Fair.

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The Black Blazer A Comfort In Time Of Crisis

Rebuilding Life In Confidence Boosting Apparel

The Black Blazer A Comfort In Time Of Crisis

“Always remember you are BRAVER than you believe, STRONGER than you seem, SMARTER than you think & twice as BEAUTIFUL as you’d ever imagined.” ~A.A. Milne

Make Doing Without, Do!

If a situation caused you to lose most of your worldly possessions what would you do? How would you cope? More importantly, how would you recover?

About 20 some years ago I was in such a predicament. Due to the seriousness of the situation, I immediately went into survival mode. I had three small children who were wholly dependent on me to get us through. When cornered I’ve always relied on 3 key things:

  1. My resourcefulness
  2. My ability to not only adapt to but thrive in just about any given situation
  3. My belief that there is always a way

During this particular situation, I had to look at the big picture, project out into the future and ask myself if I could honestly continue on the current path. Once I had the answer to this question the planning began and then the most critical piece was the execution. My plans may not have been perfect but as problems beyond my control arose I adjusted it accordingly.

When you’re in a difficult place, it sometimes seems like there is no way out. You can be so overwhelmed with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy that you want to give up. This was the place where I eventually landed after getting me and my boys out of our difficulty. I managed to keep a few personal possessions but everything else (including some precious mementos) was gone.

Losing Everything Changes Everything

Things take on a whole new meaning when you’ve lost just about everything you worked so hard for. Some of the smallest, then, become the most important. A navy suit, my grandma gave me in the mid 80’s was one of the items I was able to keep and I still have it to this day. While it no longer fits, I treasure it as a small reminder of my grandma who bought it for my first real job interview.

One of the other items was a black blazer given to me at the women’s shelter. Anyone who has lots of resources can make themselves look like a “million bucks” but it takes creativity and a smidge of attitude to pull it off with very little.

Versatility is the thing I like most about the black blazer. Following are some of my favorite ways to wear it:

  • Wear it with black slacks, white button-down shirt, black pumps (I love wearing red pumps with this outfit) and subdued jewelry for a classic business look.
  • Wear it with blue jeans, white T-shirt, boots, a long necklace and scarf for a dressy/casual look.
  • Wear it with just about any dress, roll up the sleeves, add bracelets, necklace, earrings, and pumps for a chic look.

Your options when pairing a black blazer with anything are limitless. I wear mine buttoned, unbuttoned, sleeves up, sleeves down or any combination. I like to wear it with different colored tank tops (which can average anywhere between $5.00 on up), button-down shirts, T-shirts, sweaters, jeans, slacks, leggings, skirts, and dresses. 

Provided you have a well-fitting black blazer there is almost no way you can go wrong.

Have a wonderful day!

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My Top 3 Foundation Musts

My Top 3 Foundation Musts Featured image description is in the body of the post

My Top 3 Foundation Musts


A natural born skeptic, I live by the “if it sounds too good to be true…” motto. Just because everyone loves a new anything, this is my cue to question it first, especially if it’s editable or topical.

Bold Blind Beauty

To Believe or Not to Believe

So when BB Creams (beauty balm) began hitting the US market in 2011 and everyone raved, I was skeptical. While the major selling point was the products are an all-in-one to save steps and time I still wasn’t sold.

When choosing a foundation, I look for 3 things:

  1. Does it cause a negative skin reaction? If I’m allergic to a product it’s a deal-breaker. I’ve had situations where initially the product didn’t cause a reaction only to find out later it didn’t work for me.
  2. Is it easy to apply? I’ve had cream, liquid and pancake foundation formulas some of which were a pain to blend in evenly. On an occasion or two even after testing the foundation I would end up with a formula that I didn’t like. When you lose your sight, many things become challenging and I for one prefer my make-up to be one less challenge. Ease of application is a MUST.
  3. Does it give me good results? Depending on several factors like humidity or my skin’s condition, if the foundation is too sheer it won’t give me the desired coverage. If it’s too heavy and I can feel it on my skin or if it doesn’t properly match my skin tone then I either change the formula or the brand.

A Little BB Cream History

BB Creams, technically known as blemish balm or blemish base, is a multi-tasking product that has skin care and coverage properties. Many consider this all in one cream a tinted moisturizer that works as a primer, concealer, and protectant. While overall the benefits of BB Creams seem to outweigh the negatives there are some tips that could ease the application process. 

  1. For example, at the moment the range of shades/colors are more applicable to light and olive skin.  For darker skin, one could add a little foundation to the cream to achieve a blended look.
  2. Since BB Creams are somewhat thicker in consistency than regular moisturizers you might want to use a moisturizer prior to applying the cream.

My first BB Cream (Missha M Perfect Cover B.B. Cream SPF 42 No. 27) is okay but it’s a thick consistency. Since this is a new product for me I’ll consult with one of my friends to see if I’m applying it for proper coverage. Because this is a new product for me, there will be a learning curve. I’ll have to give it some time to learn an application process that works best for me.

My Top 3 Foundation Featured Image Description:

Slightly blurred photo of several bottles of BB creams. 

Have a fabulous day!

“Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates.” ~Kate Angell