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Style Word Association Part I

Preppy Red & White
Pinterest Preppy

Last week I did a post on Stitch Fix an online styling and shopping service for women. In explaining what the service offers I listed the 7 styles on the questionnaire that gives the consultants insight to a client’s personal style. Today I’m going to once again list the styles and one word that springs to my mind whenever I see the particular style referenced.

  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

Growing up I didn’t have much but was very fortunate to live an affluent area and went to school with a number of kids who were considered preppies. The Hamptons is the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the word preppy and right behind it I could envision a guy named Tad talking with an exaggerated haughty accent to his girlfriend named Muffy. By the way none of my classmates were named Muffy or Tad but they had a certain air about them, were always very well dressed and while they are stereotyped as being stuffy or snobbish the people I went to school with were not (well maybe one or two but the rest weren’t). As far as dress was concerned there were plenty of Polo & Izod shirts, argyle sweaters, boat shoes, penny loafers, plaid skirts, monograms and the like.

Romantic Pink
Pinterest Romantic

The word “preppy”, comes from preparatory better known as expensive prep schools for the upper middle to upper class children in the northeastern states. Though today preppy has evolved into somewhat of a trend it really is a genuine lifestyle that in my opinion cannot be replicated simply by dressing in a certain way. The Daily Prep by Muffy Aldridge (this is her real name) gives some interesting insight into this lifestyle.

Romantic style is the antithesis of my style. While I appreciate all styles and can come very close to drooling over some awfully pretty, soft, flowy, lacy, ruffled, dresses, tops or skirts, every time I have tried one on it looks totally and completely horrid on me.

Edgy Dress
Pinterest Edgy

When I think of romantic style I imagine candlelight, poetry, soft music, the scent of roses, all things feminine. Romantic style is the quintessence of beauty.

Black, leather, studs & spikes are common adjectives that describe edgy. I even like the word edgy because it says “Fearless.” Edgy is an attitude and unshakable confidence, that communicates “this is me, take me as I am or buzz off.”

The edgiest I’ve ever dared to go was with an asymmetrical pixie cut wig – it was so sharp. Or I’ll wear my black leather biker jacket with a rather sedate dress but that’s about the extent to which I’ll do edgy. But I love seeing edgy mixed with romantic because it’s like hard and soft coming together but done right it is sublime.

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.

I describe my personal style as polished professional and gravitate to the classics. My favorite outfit would have to be a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black pumps. When I add a structured handbag and accessories I feel so at home like my outfit is my outer skin.

Classic Maxi
Pinterest Classic

Classics never go out of style and if you have nothing but the basics in your wardrobe you’ll do just fine. What are some of the classical basics? I already mentioned the pencil skirt, white button down and black pumps. Add a white tee, great pair of jeans, LBD (little black dress), wrap dress, cardigan, black blazer, leather jacket, and ballet flat and you’ve got a good foundation. Accessorize with a pashmina, a vegan handbag, and some jewelry and you could be ready for a night on the town.

Throughout this post are 4 examples on each of today’s styles. These looks are all summer styles that I found on Pinterest.

  1. For the preppy look we have a white tank, red shorts with a bow belt and scalloped edges on the waist and hemline, monogrammed tan clutch, cream sandals, gold watch, pearl earrings & bracelet.
  2. The romantic look is pink and white themed. White lacy top, pink cut off jean shorts, cream tote, cream sandals, post earrings, bracelets, ring & sunglasses.
  3. This edgy look is a mixes a white strapless dress with a black biker jacket, black biker boots, sunglasses and chain bracelet.
  4. Of course for the classic I chose a gray and white striped maxi skirt, white tee, tan and white handbag, tan sandal, earrings, bracelet, necklace, watch and sunglasses.

Next week I’ll talk about boho, glamorous and casual chic – so stay tuned.

“I am woman!  I am invincible!  I am pooped!”  ~Author Unknown

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WOTM 21 Featuring Mary (Mel) Scott

Mel Scott
Mel Scott

Isn’t it funny how we go through life and if everything is copacetic we don’t give a thought to those things that cause hardship like a backache for example. For a number of the daily nuisances that I encounter there are workable solutions, for some it’s only a matter of self-advocating by speaking up. For others it’s a matter of creative thinking to develop an answer to an unasked question.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Mel Scott who earlier this year launched a new business, Blind Alive LLC to address the fitness needs of people who are blind or vision impaired. I met Mel earlier in the year and more recently when I contacted her for permission to feature her, she told me about BlindAlive, eyes-free fitness.

I would come across the commercials on TV or I would hear sighted friends talking about how great they felt after working out using an exercise video. When I would hear these commercials, I would prepare my memory to capture the 1-800 number, and run fast as I could to the phone before I forgot it. Sometimes the number was just on the screen and I didn’t even have the opportunity to reach out even if I had wanted to. ~Mel Scott

Among the many misconceptions about blind and vision impaired people is that we either cannot or will not exercise. Some of us prefer not to go to a public gym simply because most of the equipment is not accessible. For many of us who would like to use exercise videos/CDs/DVDs it is challenging when the instructors do not describe what they are doing. Mel understood this situation from personal experience which prompted her to develop BlindAlive.

The entire team at BlindAlive is motivated by a driving passion to deliver eyes-free fitness products to everyone who wants to be healthy and strong. At BlindAlive, we create more choices for more people. ~Mel Scott

Mel, a true force to be reckoned with, was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. In her podcast she talks about the day she received the devastating news and how, in preparation for her upcoming surgery, every day for 5 weeks she did yoga, sit-ups and Pilates. She understood the critical need to strengthen her body for post-operation recovery after a double mastectomy and breast implants.

Mel Scott & Jingles the dog
Mel Scott & Jingles

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) the cause of Mel’s loss of vision, was the diagnosis she received at age 7. RP refers to a group of inherited diseases mainly caused by mutated genes which leads to retinal degeneration. In Mel’s case she and her sister’s RP was caused by a recessive gene because neither of their parents nor their 4 other siblings were affected by this eye disease.

I can’t tell you how happy I was when Mel told me about her business, I mean there’s this whole demographic of blind people who can and do achieve many of the same things fully sighted people accomplish. It’s just a matter of the how we perform any given task.

I thought you know what? It’s time to stop b*tching about excercise videos not being accessible and I just got this flood of energy in my body that said do it!! Go do it yourself take it into your own hands and create products that blind people, and people with low vision and sighted people can do this too… ~Mel Scott

When you visit BlindAlive be sure to check out Mel’s podcasts and the Audio Encyclopedia where Mel gives step by step warm-up instructions. Oh, and before I forget Mel asked me to share with you a promo code for a discount on her first Sculpting with Weights Level One Fitness Workout. The code is “acb14” and it will be good through August.

Mel and her team work hard to ensure her site and products are accessible. She also encourages your feedback to help her provide nothing but the best products and services.

Mel, thank you again, for allowing me the pleasure of writing about you, and BlindAlive. As you say and it’s so true, “being healthy is a choice.”

To follow Mel on Facebook and Twitter the links to both are below this post.


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Skincare has Limitations

Andalou Luminous Eye Serum
Andalou Luminous Eye Serum

Nooooooooo, please say it isn’t so!!!! Skincare has limitations??? That’s it – my hope for a miracle cure has been dashed to pieces forever.

The only people over age 18 who will be looking their age are those in their 20s to 30s because the rest of us are trying to look 20 years younger. I’m paraphrasing here but this was the summary of something I heard or read last week.

It seems that gone are the days of wrinkles and gray hair symbolizing a badge of honor for a life well lived. These days, with the exception of a few remarkably self-assured people, the masses are striving for everlasting youth.

I made a personal vow to not put myself through any invasive procedures to erase wrinkles though I do get hair coloring every now and again to cover my stray gray hairs. Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of getting my hair colored gray (depending on the shade it looks so sharp) thus this will put an end to masking my gray.

If you recall last Monday I did a post on my under eye bags/shadows and how I was using an eye cream for 12 weeks in an effort to minimize the issue. In response to that post a friend of mine from high school pointed me to a great resource. Thank you Janet!!

Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle 12 Percent
Ulta Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle 12 Percent

My friend Janet referred me to a very comprehensive skincare/makeup website that going forward I will use as a resource. The following excerpt is what got me:

Then at the age of 25 (and I’ll never forget this moment), I read the ingredient label on a skin-care product I was using and the fourth ingredient was acetone. That’s nail polish remover! From that moment on I began reading all of the research I could find on skin care and eventually I was able to put together a skin-care routine that completely transformed my skin ~Paula Begoun

In addition to her personal philosophy on skincare, I like Paula Begoun’s (Founder of Paula’s Choice) no-nonsense approach. “Skin care has limitations” is attributed to Paula as is this bit on eye cream:

Unless eye creams contain cosmetic ingredients (like mica or titanium dioxide) that help conceal their appearance, there isn’t an ingredient in cosmetics that can eliminate or even reduce genetically dictated dark circles, puffy eyes, or sagging skin around the eye area. ~Paula Begoun

Telling it like it is makes Paula Begoun my kind of person. When you take in account that the worldwide cosmetic industry pulls in over $170 Billion* dollars a year, it takes guts to make a comment about a product to which so many use as a treatment for their issues.

The 5 other qualities I like about Paula’s Choice are:

  1. They have a “No Animal Testing policy” and are members of the Leaping Bunny Program.
  2. They are strong community stewards by supporting a number of charitable organizations.
  3. They are dedicated to being an environmentally conscious organization.
  4. The Beautypedia section of the site contains over 45,000 expert reviews on skincare products. The 2 products pictured are rated as “Best” the highest rating. They even explain how the rating system works.
  5. And lastly on Paula’s Choice “About” page they even have a section on Accessibility along with instructions.

Ultimately, each of us should be concerned about what we put in, on or to what we expose our bodies. And since it really does take a rocket science degree to understand the ingredient labels and subsequent interactions, we must rely on trusted individuals to provide us with accurate information.

As for my baggy under eyes, since I am genetically predisposed to have them it’s back to the drawing board.

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” ~Samuel Ullman


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WOTM 20 Featuring Maribel Steel

8 Threads to Weave into the Garment of Change


Reposted with permission from the author, Maribel Steel, today’s featured Bold Blind and Beautiful woman.

When I began to lose my eyesight, it was natural to fear losing so many other aspects of my life that I treasured. Becoming an artist and failing to see colour was one of them. But the hardest hurdle to overcome was knowing how to weave positive threads into the garment with the label of disabled.

Did you know that the dictionary defines disabled as: to make unable, weaken, destroy the capability of, to cripple, to have a lack of competent power or strength in either physical or mental abilities, to be disqualified and to make legally incapable: to be deprived of  the right to engage and, lucky last, to be rendered unfit.

Hmm, a pretty disturbing label to be given to anyone. No wonder, as an adolescent, it didn’t appeal as an image I wanted to acquire: but it seemed that Miss Puberty had other plans…

No one had warned me about the sneaky tactics of Miss Puberty, the way she could change the life of a perfectly normal teenager when she brought an exclusive offer to our household. There she stood on the doorstep, bearing the garment of change, insisting I wear the new label of disabled.

“Sign on the dotted line,” she said, holding out an invisible pen. Miss Puberty worked with such authority, there was no option but to agree to the hidden terms and conditions of a membership I didn’t want but had to accept.

“Welcome and congratulations,” she said. “As you now have Retinitis Pigmentosa, whether you like it or not, you can spend the rest of your life freely indulging in any of the labels we proudly stock in our Blind-Bat Boutique. Please take your time to browse and choose carefully from our huge range of richly textured stigmas.”

I didn’t want a new image, or one of their ugly designer garments exclusive to Mademoiselle Black: Itza Shame: X-clude: Inferior Design: Kybosh: De Prive De Paris. I wanted to yell at Miss Puberty, “Take your unfashionable garment elsewhere and drape your labels over someone else’s life. I think you have the wrong house.” She thrust the package into my hands. “Too late. Like it or not, it’s your designer image now, you have to wear it.”

Fashion the garment

02-Choose-red-clothOver many years of trying to cut the cloth to suit my image, with the label of disabled firmly secured to the fabric of my life, it has taken 8 qualities to thread the garment I can now wear with pride. If you find yourself having to wear a particular label you consider quite unfashionable, let me introduce you to 8 colourful qualities essential to transform your dreary cloak of despair with chic threads of elegance.

1. Attitude is the key to accepting change in your life.

Cultivate a positive attitude and be aware of the choices you are making. Often it is fear and self-pride holding back your progress. When you take control of your attitude in a positive way, you begin to infuse your life with possibility.

Thread the colour RED into your new garment: it is the shade of glowing embers that will keep your fire alight.

2. Gather your support team

Don’t be afraid to gather around you a support team of loved ones, friends and colleagues and let them know how best they can assist you. In all truth, they really want to know how to co-operate in creating a balance in letting you take charge of your own life. Asking for help when you could honestly benefit from their genuine support is not a sign of personal weakness but can boost the morale of the entire team. With balance and flexibility, you reach your goals with team work.

Thread the colour ORANGE into your new garment: it is the shade of joyful co-operation.

04-Pink-Chaos3. Courage to commit and courage to be creative

Once you have accepted a different way of doing things, and have a circle of supportive friends who understand your unique needs, you can begin to commit to certain tasks you want to achieve. You can set creative patterns into the fabric of your life. You have renewed confidence, you muster a sense of inner strength that enables you to find creative solutions to the task at hand. With courage, you dare to persist when things go wrong. With a bold heart,  you insist on finding solutions.

Thread the colour YELLOW into your new garment: it is the shade of radiant sunlight, teaming with confidence, hope and good cheer.

4. Tenacity, persistence and effort

With any outcome you want to achieve, it requires a certain amount of focused effort. You may want to train to learn new skills, or adapt to a new way of doing familiar tasks. Effort, persistence, and tenacity can work together in shaping your reality by not giving up.

Thread the colour GREEN into your new garment: be as tenacious as Mother Nature in her attention to detail, in her cycles of consistent renewal.

03-Blue-lace5. Independence and freedom

Having woven the thread of acceptance, co-operation, commitment. courage and tenacity of spirit into the fabric of your life, you also can take brave steps toward reclaiming your independence. Again, this will require training, gathering of new skills but  you can make choices that best suit your lifestyle. You may want to have a guide dog as your seeing eyes or prefer to use a white cane in getting around. Maybe it is time to gain skills in new technologies that can enhance your independence – it is totally your choice. This is an empowering place to be. It is a time to express your talents, and appreciate just how far you have come. Enjoy the sense of freedom as you stride out to conquer those daily challenges.

Oh, and if by chance you find yourself falling into an embarrassing moment, as you will surely do, take along your sense of humour – it will get you out of any sticky situation!

Thread the colour BLUE into your new garment: it is the colour of sky that will keep you boldly stepping onward over the horizon to meet your victories.

6. Organise the chaos

In order to live confidently in a visual world when you are not equipped with sight, you will need a high level of organisation. Not only do you need to be more mindful of just about everything you do and where you last put things, your support team needs a friendly pep-talk to understand how important it is for you to move through their sighted world. It is full of unpredictable obstacles. Much mental effort is required in remembering every inch of your dwelling place – bringing order into the world of chaos is a matter of your survival and happiness.

Thread the colour PURPLE into your new garment: it is the shade where two textures (of red and blue) combine to form one predictable strand.

05-Sensory-Colour7. Trusting your intuition

Intuition is your inner voice, a direct perception of truth independent of any reasoning. Most people find trusting intuition extremely difficult, especially when eyes and brain dominate our sense of reason. As a person with very little sight however, I have learned to reflect and listen to the wise internal voice. It requires patience, stillness and letting go of reason and rationality. Sometimes it is a call to rest and place our own judgements to one side.

Thread the colour WHITE into your new garment: clarity of thought will become clear as you trust the pure guidance of your inner vision.

8. It’s a multi-sensory garment

You can touch your new garment of change, smell it, feel it, it has been skilfully woven by your life’s experiences thus far. It is your own designer garment fashioned from the threads of experience and skilled craftsmanship. Many threads are sewn into the fabric of your being, acceptance, co-operation, courage, tenacity, freedom, humour, patience, intuition,and trust.

© 2014 Maribel Steel

Maribel Steel is an author, writer, mentor and inspirational speaker living in Melbourne.

She has been legally blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) since her teens. She mainly writes nonfiction, expanding on her philosophy that there is an ART in being blind. She has self-published a book of short stories, My Mother’s Harvest, and has over thirty guest posts featured on blogs around the world. She is a peer advisor for VisionAware for The American Foundation for the Blind. For more information, you can visit her author website at: