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WOTM 9 Featuring Emily Davison

Featuring Fashioneyesta – Prepare to be Awed!

I find it interesting how we can meet people in this high-tech virtual world we live in and feel a kindred spirit that can’t be duplicated even in face-to-face interactions. For me Emily Davison is one of those people who, while there is a span of decades between us, we share common philosophies.

Collage of 6 Images of Emily Davison Fashioneyesta.com
Emily Davison
Fashioneyesta

Emily, who spent her entire life in South East London, is currently studying for a degree in English Literature at Goldsmiths University, London. As a Journalist on the Huffington Post UK, Emily simultaneously works at the University as a paid Student Ambassador. In July 2012 she founded Fashioneyesta an online Fashion and Lifestyle resource for blind and partially sighted people.

Fashioneyesta.com serves to present visually impaired people with the tools, the skills and, the knowledge of fashion, beauty and, style to enable them to use their remaining senses to gauge the world of fashion and to create their own unique style.

An advocate at her core, Emily also works with a number of different charities and organizations to raise awareness of Fashioneyesta. She functions as a fashion correspondent alongside the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB’s) Insight Radio and Able Radio.

Being blind or visually impaired does not automatically mean that you have to be unfashionable. That is the message at the crux of my blog “Fashioneyesta.”

Fashion has always been a huge element of Emily’s life. When she was growing up, she was captivated by old Hollywood films and style icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. The fashion houses, vintage stores and many delightful chic-lits were the inspiration for her to delve into the history and the beauty of fashion. By the time she was 14, her mother bought Emily her first designer bag and the rest as they say, is History!

“Fashioneyesta” aims at giving visually impaired people the right set of knowledge and skills to be able to develop their own unique style.

Emily describes her style as feminine, with exotic flares, vintage twists and a lot of costume jewelry. She’s very versatile and changes her look as her mood dictates. One day, she may step out in an Asian inspired outfit and on another day go full-out Vintage with Victory Rolls and a 1940s inspired tea dress.

My thesis as a fashion blogger is that style should reflect your own personality and that you should put your own stamp on an outfit.

Septo-optic dysplasia, a rare congenital anomaly, is the condition responsible for Emily’s visual impairment. The condition has disabled her optic nerves, leaving her with no sight in her right eye and 10 percent central vision in her left. Even with this debilitating disability Emily has not allowed it to hinder her love for fashion.

Now, with her beautiful Guide Dog, Unity, in tow, Emily is exploring the world and expanding her blog. A blog that she hopes will inspire other visually impaired people to embrace fashion, old and new, to find their own unique style.

Always remember to be daring and don’t conform to what society expects you to be!

Mainstream media is good for bombarding the public with news of gloom and doom. In such a fast-paced world as we live in today I am always overjoyed to hear about young people taking it upon themselves to make positive change happen. Emily you are to be commended for your selfless volunteerism and your dedication to banishing the aged-old stereotypes of blind and vision impaired people. Thank you Emily for all you do. Because of you we are one step closer to eliminating the erroneous misconceptions by education and building awareness.

For more information on Fashioneyesta or Emily Davison please see links to her social networks at the end of this post.

“The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.” ~Author Unknown

Social Links

“My blog is featured every week on RNIB’s Insight Radio at 2:15 pm on the Daily Lunch every Friday. I have also been featured on BBC4’s inTouch radio. I do regular blog posts every week, they cover different topics from certain styles and how to achieve them to a selection of my top picks for a particular month.”

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Trending Now – Confidence!

A gold medal is a nice thing – but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it. ~From Cool Runnings

Image of a heart drawn with crayon
February is National Heart Healthy Month

So I just got home from a visit to my low vision specialist. I got to try out a couple of new gadgets like a pair of reading glasses with this cool bubble on the one lens. To use them I need to hold reading material very close to my face but it gets the job done. They would allow me to read instructions on medicine or a recipe even.

To get to the doctor’s office I have to walk down a number of long corridors. And of course there’s no hiding the fact that I use a white cane as one can hear the echo of the ball tip rolling to and fro with each step I take.

Even though I’ve been using my cane for about three years now I still can feel a little self-conscious so my remedy is to walk like I own the joint. So it was with head held high, sunglasses, black leggings, black tank top, black boyfriend jacket, black & white zebra/leopard print fringed scarf tied around my neck, I made my way to my destination.

I am always so inspired by out of the ordinary occurrences. When I was waiting for my para-transit ride home a woman sitting in a chair next to me said “we have the same stick.” I laughed, we exchanged pleasantries, got into a discussion on our individual vision impairments and I ended up recruiting her for the Low Vision Committee of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.

On the way home the song that I’ve claimed as my mantra, Make it Happen by Mariah Carey, kept swirling around in my head. It shouldn’t have been a surprise because when using the treadmill this morning I heard this song and was reminded that life is tough but we need to persevere even in the face of adversity.

Trials happen and some can challenge our confidence but we must keep pushing forward. I should not be where I am and had I listened to naysayers I would not have progressed to this point.

We have to wear clothes because to go around nude would be, well, unacceptable. However I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say that confidence is the most important item we can wear.

Trends come and trends go but how you feel about yourself is paramount. So when thinking about trends, you want to go with what flatters your body. For example I cannot wear tunics of any kind due to my body type. I don’t consider this a flaw I just need to find a suitable alternative which leads me into today’s trending topic.

Shape Shifting Style

Since the numbers indicate 46 percent of women are rectangle in shape. Rectangles do not have a defined waistline and the key here is to create curves. Following are clothing tips for you rectangles.

  • Form curves: Look for scooped or sweetheart necklines; tops with collars, ruffles and detail will define your curves. You want to avoid high and square necklines
  • Cinched waistlines: To provide distinction between the size of the waist and the bust, a cinched waistline will add definition. Tops, jackets and coats with a cinched waistline are ideal for this shape. Adding a belt also helps to create the illusion of curves.
  • Looking Lean: Long and lean jackets accentuate the rectangle shape.
  • Layers: Wear clothes that have layers for example wearing a tee-shirt inside your shirt or just a sleeveless tee-shirt on top of another tee-shirt.
  • Pants: Pencil pants emphasize the legs and make you look lean although the rectangular shape can wear just about any pants with the exception of baggy jeans.

Next week I’ll talk about the Pear Shape.

“Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be.” ~Karen Ravn

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WOTM 8 Featuring Jule Ann Lieberman

“Not faking, not amazing just living the best I can beyond vision loss”

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Jule Ann and Johann (her guide dog)
Jule Ann and Johann

The title of today’s Fierce Friday sums up the life’s journey of Jule Ann Lieberman’s progressive vision loss. At a mere 9 years of age, holding books closer to read, not being able to see her teacher’s face or the blackboard beyond ten feet, were the first clues that there were issues with Jule Ann’s sight.

After several years of visits to the ophthalmologist without any signs of visible improvement, even with eyeglasses, Jule Ann eventually was led to a retinal specialist in Philadelphia. It was at this visit both she and her sister would be diagnosed with Stargardt Macular Dystrophy.

…much of my life has been in work with persons with vision loss or blindness including my recent Master of Science degree in Low Vision therapy and certification.

Stargardt Macular Dystrophy, the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration, is a genetic eye disorder that affects the retina and causes progressive vision loss. The macula (center of the retina), is responsible for sharp central vision, which is needed for detailed tasks like reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

Jule Ann’s challenges became greater during her junior year in high school as reading demands increased while her vision decreased. Prior to this point she was able to maintain honor roll status by putting in many extra hours struggling to read print. If not for the astute observation of one of her teachers who investigated support systems for her, Jule Ann’s outcome upon graduation could have been very different.

One of the things that made the most impact early on was Jule Ann’s tireless self-advocacy. Since she knew her vision loss impacted many facets of her life she would speak up to get her needs met. In school she would ask for a front row seat to be closer to the chalkboard. On an adventurous solo trip using both regional rail and trolleys to an unfamiliar area in Philadelphia, at 17 years old, unable to read the street signs sounds scary but Jule Ann managed by asking passersby for directions.

One thing that has not changed is my advocacy efforts. From those early days of asking to sit forward, requesting assistance while traveling and workplace accommodations I needed to develop skills in advocacy.

Amazingly it wasn’t until the Pennsylvania state agency, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services (OVR/BBVS), took over services for Jule Ann as she entered college that she had her first low vision exam. At this exam she was introduced to microscopic reading glasses, and a monocular telescope but it was this terrific reading device then known as a closed circuit television (CCTV) that completely astonished her.

One of the most touching moments as a mother came when my daughter announced to an entire congregation at church that her mother provided her with much more than rides to school, or other vision related task as I taught her resourcefulness and independence.

Jule Ann says that her professional success is due in large part to the support, patience and understanding of her family. Her husband of 31 years has coped with her ever-changing vision and her three children had to grow up with a Mom who had to “do things differently” from their friend’s mothers.

My two sons learned patience and respect for persons who are different from life with their mother. This I think makes us all better that we have such considerate young men.

Many times throughout her life Jule Ann found it necessary to explain that she is vision impaired and that glasses would never help. Learning how the eye functions at a very young age and why her retinal damage resulted in poor vision boosts Jule Ann’s confidence during her “teaching moments.”

As you can tell, I am neither faking nor amazing, but a wife, mother and professional who lives the best life.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jule Ann on a committee on which we both serve and met her in person at our Pennsylvania Council of the Blind Annual State Convention. She is such a positive influence on my life and I consider her a go-to person especially on education, technology, functional vision, and advocacy concerns. She’s bright, fearless, and confident and I think the world of her.

“The act of discovering who we are will force us to accept that we can go further than we think.” ~Paulo Coelho

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How Do I Tie Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

6 Ways To Tie The Oblong Scarf

Hinge Patchwork Print Scarf. Bold patterns intensify the graphic appeal of a gauzy, fringe-trimmed scarf. 28 inches wide by 76 inches long. 100 percent wool. Colors are shades of teal and white.
Hinge Patchwork Print Scarf Nordstrom

I think I was in my mid to late 20’s when I wore my first oblong scarf. I bought it to go along with this navy lightweight knit sleeveless dress and matching sweater outfit. The scarf had several shades of blue including a navy identical to my outfit. I fell in love.

While I no longer have that first scarf I have since collected a number of scarves in different colors, shapes, textures and some even have embellishments.

Infinity scarves, like the name implies, have no end. These endless loop scarves, like their predecessors, come in differing lengths, colors, fabrics, and textures.

I really like warm cozy scarves however with the onset of ‘private summers’ I’d have to rip them off. I salute women who can wear them in the summer because I’d probably burst into flames.

How Do You Tie Or Wear An Oblong Scarf?

Scarves are an excellent accessory that can be worn with or in place of necklaces. And you can’t beat the versatility. I’m going to give you 6 ideas on how to wear/tie these beauties:

  1. Women's Fringed Infinity Scarf loose knit 100 percent acrylic with fringes. Coral colored. www.lifeisgood.com
    Women’s Fringed Infinity Scarf
    www.lifeisgood.com

    Drape the scarf around your neck and allow it to hang loose without tying.

  2. Drape scarf around your neck, take one end, cross over your body to flip the end over your shoulder, and allow it to hang loose without tying. You can also add a pretty brooch where the scarf overlaps.
  3. Drape the scarf around your neck and tie the ends in a loose single knot and allow it to hang loose.
  4. Hold the scarf lengthwise in front of you, bring it to your neck. Drape it over your shoulders so the ends drape down your back. This looks especially nice with a dress or a dressy pants suit.
  5. Hold the scarf lengthwise in front of you, bring it to your neck. Drape it over your shoulders then take each end and cross them in the back. Bring the ends to the front. You can leave the loop on your neck or pull it for slack to let it hang a little loose.
  6. Fold the scarf lengthwise, drape around your neck, take the loose ends and place them in the loop. You can leave the loop loose or pull the loose ends to bring it closer to your neck. If I have a long enough scarf I like to take one of the loose ends and fling it over one or both shoulders.

There are many ways to wear scarves and over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will share some interesting ways to use them that you might not have considered.