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New Beginnings…Again

Some Good News & Some Bad News

Living/dining room  with sliding glass door to deck
Living Room

First the good news: I recently closed and moved into my new condo – Yippee!!!

Now the bad news: I have a confession…I’m a slacker. Yup it’s true, allow me to explain…

I can’t believe I’ve been offline for a month. So much has happened over the past few weeks I hardly know where to begin so I’ll start by saying I’ve missed you!!

Having previously purchased a home 10 years ago, I was no stranger to this stress induced process. From lessons learned I knew I had to be proactive by taking a hiatus from the blog to accomplish all the necessary tasks associated with homeownership.

I should have recognized the ominous signs the Friday before my closing. My son had just completed taking me out to run some errands in anticipation of the upcoming move and I said to myself “hmmm I’ve been doing real well on Weight Watcher’s so I need a tasty snack.”

It’s one thing to think to oneself a quiet thought and quite another for one’s mouth to open against one’s will and speaketh the following: “Can we swing by KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and order a 20 piece hot wings and potato wedges please? Oh, and you can order something for yourself too.” I knew I was way out of line here but again I kept telling myself “you have a reason to celebrate and deserve this one guilty pleasure Steph.” Unfortunately I allowed myself to believe the nonsense spewing forth from my brain and after inhaling the wings to my horror this scrumptious little treat was the beginning of my healthy demise.

Living/Dining Room
Living/Dining Room

The morning of the closing was spectacularly beautiful and I couldn’t wait to attack the day. First order of business was to meet my realtor at the condo at which point I was given the keys (I think I was gushing). Then it was off to the closing to sign my name a zillion times and finally the words I was longing to hear “Congratulations, you are now a homeowner!!”

My cousin dropped me off at my new place so that I could meet the locksmith to change the locks then subsequently my brother would be bringing all of my packed totes and smaller furniture pieces. The transitory phase as I like to refer to it is that stage of moving when you no longer feel at home in your previous residence and yet you’re out of sorts in the new home.


Thoughts of everything I need to do, cleaning, moving, organizing, companies to contact, contractors to secure, and quotes to obtain, future purchases that have to be made were swirling around in my head and I kept telling myself to breathe lest I begin to feel overwhelmed and lose heart. Once I have a vision though I can’t rest until it’s a reality.

With summer just around the bend the deck is taking first priority of being scraped and prepped to be repainted. This past weekend I settled on wall colors for the bathroom and kitchen and once these are painted the carpeting in the living/dining and hallway areas will be removed and replaced with hardwood.

A kitchen remodel and converting the second bedroom to an office are the next projects on the agenda and I’m eagerly looking forward to the updated spaces. Replacing windows and the large sliding glass door in the living room will have to happen before winter comes around again. Ahhhh, to be a homeowner!!

Dining Area
Dining Area

Immediately after the closing as I was sitting here all alone with nothing but my thoughts to keep me entertained I was wondering if I would feel the “buyer’s remorse” that I felt very quickly after my first home buying experience. One of the things I was so glad I had in my possession this time around is my trusty steno pad. With so many tasks to be completed I was able to quickly jot down what I needed and then cross off those items that have been resolved.

After the locksmith left I allowed my cousin and aunt to talk me into going to a late lunch at one of my favorite restaurants Armstrong’s (they have the absolute best Reuben sandwiches). So again I play this “time to celebrate” routine and order a Reuben and French fries that are no less than a gazillion calories. I won’t even begin to pretend that I plugged this mess into Weight Watchers because I didn’t. As a matter of fact I haven’t gotten on the scale in weeks although I did go to Planet Fitness with my cousin and the plan is to go there 2-3 times a week however I’m thinking I just may join a local gym close to where I live.

The day after my closing (Friday) my friend Lori came down from New York to help me move on Saturday. So for those of you keeping score I had the pre-closing celebration, the closing celebration, the after closing celebration (yes, I was on a roll), now it’s the “my friend came from New York celebration” and we went to one of our favorite haunts where I ordered either a club sandwich and fries or a chicken salad (can’t remember which but neither were the healthy variety).


On Saturday morning (moving day) after preparing for a very busy day I go to Dunkin Donuts to order a container of coffee and a dozen donuts (a few of which have sprinkles on them – yum). What kind of monster am I? I can’t expect my friends Carl and JT to help me move and not offer some energy food right? In case you’re wondering I had a total of 3, yes 3, donuts and they were positively scrumptious.

I’m a tad saddened to say that the remaining days and weeks after my first foray into the diabolical world of unhealthy food were more of the same. I went to places like Chick-Fil-A, IHOP, Olive Garden, more Armstrong’s and Bob Evans and I’m beginning to feel the effects of the sludge moving through my veins.


I will get back on track with Weight Watchers and going regularly to the gym after all I have some cute outfits that I won’t be able to wear this summer if I continue in this manner. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to share some of my recent finds over the next few weeks.

So as you can see the good news is very good and the bad news is, well, bad but I’m a great believer in taking the good with the bad and in this case even the very bad.

It’s great to be back in the saddle or in this particular situation at the desk and I’ll talk with you again tomorrow.

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” ~John Ed Pearce

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WOTM 16 Featuring Leigh Anne Focareta

The wonders of life and how so many pieces can come together so perfectly never ceases to amaze me. When one has OCD tendencies you tend to want to have control of your surroundings so when placed in a situation where there is no control you can feel helpless and lost.

Shelves containing books Photo credit: xandert from
Photo credit: xandert from

A good example of this lost feeling is when I began losing my vision and I had to learn how to focus only on what I could still see. When I allowed myself to think “I wish I could see further ahead” that was when the fear, helpless and hopelessness would set in. Looking at just the point where I was became so much more manageable. This learning process hasn’t been easy and it is ongoing.

While I am not capable of understanding why I lost my sight I do believe that it happened in part to bring me where I am at this moment. I’ve talked previously about some of the remarkable people I have met out here in the blogosphere so it was a welcome surprise that when my friend Marcel did my photo shoot he mentioned that he needed to introduce me to Leigh Anne, a friend of his. He said that she might appreciate my blog since she is also vision impaired. I immediately told him “yes” to get us (her and I) connected. And then I forgot the conversation.

Later that evening when I was looking over comments on my blog I came across one from a woman named Leigh Anne with whom I previously exchanged comments with on her blog. I thought “hmmm, could it be?” Having nothing else to go on but her name and location I sent her a comment asking if she knew Marcel. She did.

I must mention that when Marcel was talking about Leigh Anne he said she is just a wonderful person and one of his favorite people. There aren’t enough words to express how delighted I was to know that Leigh Anne was the same person Marcel spoke of so highly earlier in the day.

Leigh Anne and I talked via email and of course I asked her if I could profile her on Bold Blind Beauty because I love the way she writes. And the rest as they say is history.

Leigh Anne is a Senior Librarian in the Reference Services department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She and her coworkers collaborate to provide accurate information to the over 13,000 inquiries a year that are received via in-person, e-mail, virtual chat, telephone, and regular mail.

As one of the book buyers for the current events collection, if you heard about a book on the radio, saw it featured on television, or read about it in print or online, Leigh Anne is probably one of the people who purchased it for the library.

Leigh Anne is also the lead editor for the library’s adult reading blog, Eleventh Stack – every weekday that the library is open, they publish news and information about great books, music and movies to check out, as well as other library programs and services.

In addition, Leigh Anne is part of the team who produces the monthly Reference Department newsletter, “Just the Facts,” which you can sign up for here and which provides the inside scoop on the many different kinds of tools you can use to help get your questions answered. Her most recent special assignment is to serve on a work group that will investigate ways to make the library even more accessible for people with disabilities in the Southwestern PA region.

Offline, Leigh Anne is a playwright who has had work produced at Duquesne University, The Pittsburgh New Works Festival, and Pittsburgh Technical Institute. Occasionally her work touches on her experiences with congenital nystagmus. An extremely gifted writer, she also has two blogs at Be Less Amazing and Reading Challenged

Congenital nystagmus, a condition present at birth, is the cause of Leigh Anne’s vision impairment. With this condition, the eyes move together as they oscillate (swing like a pendulum). Leigh Anne’s nystagmus has rendered her legally blind in her right eye, and severely restricts her peripheral vision on that side. But as you can clearly see Leigh Anne’s vision impairment has not deterred her from being a person who goes above and beyond. I love what she posted on April 8 and wanted to share it with you. This was a writing challenge of 50 words:

Reading for Beginners
By libraryalchemy

Begin with the Bible, even if,
Later, you put it aside, because
In the beginning Was the word.

Next, pick texts lexiles ahead.
Show potential: Harriet the Spy.

For adolescence, shake up school:
Saga, Watchmen.

Graduate. Go gonzo.
Take this show On the Road.

Grow up. Read. Read more.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

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Eleven Fifty Nine Fifty Nine (11:59:59)

Welcome to My Chaos

Zumba Fitness Disk & Belt
Zumba Fitness Disk & Belt

What a week I’ve had!! Negotiations fell through on the condo I was semi-hoping to acquire. I say semi-hoping as it had a few issues that I wasn’t really comfortable with so when I received word that the seller rejected my offer I took it as a positive sign to proceed forward with Plan “B”.

Plan “B” was requesting my realtor to schedule another walk-through on another condo in the same complex that I had previously dismissed. On this walk-through I asked my cousin Chae (who is also a realtor) to go with me. Seeing the place through her eyes made all the difference so I made an offer, completed the necessary paperwork and waited.

During the interim I continued to pack my belongings in preparation for vacating my current premises. Did I mention that my lease was up at the end of April? Talk about being a tad nervous at the thought of being homeless.
The next day my realtor dropped by to pick up my hand-money (good faith down payment offering) then later in the day he called to tell me my offer was accepted. YAAAAAAY!! My closing is scheduled within the next two weeks and I’ve already started my list to-dos for the new place.

2 DVD Set Shaun T.'s Rockin' Body
2 DVD Set Shaun T.’s Rockin’ Body


My cousin, Lance, is a minister (a quite good one I might add) and he talks about God coming through at the 11th hour. Sometimes it’s not what we might expect or desire but as Christians we walk by faith and know that even in our trials He is using us for His purposes. I knew that I would no longer be able to stay in my current apartment and I also knew that I had to give 30 days’ notice without having secured another home. Every day up to Sunday, April 6 I tossed and turned, unable to sleep and my mind was riddled with fear. Where am I going to live? What if I can’t find anything before giving notice? What am I going to do? I was scared.

5 Books on CD by Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum Series
5 Books on CD by Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum Series
The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
The 9th Judgment by James Patterson

At 10:53 a.m. yesterday I receive this text from my realtor “Steph. It’s a done deal. All is accepted. They will give you a home warranty.” Okay so it wasn’t a literal 11:59:59 but you can catch my drift. Relief flooded my entire being and now new possibilities exist in this next chapter of my life.

Give Aways

As I mentioned on Monday, in view of the upheaval in my life I will make every effort to continue blogging throughout but there may be some lag time while I’m getting things in order. In the interim I have a few small (FREE) things that I need to pass on to whoever is interested. Following are the details:

  • 2 Rockin’ Body DVDs featuring Shaun T. For some reason beyond my comprehension I thought I would be able to do these routines (they looked like so much fun on the commercials but per a previous post I can’t dance). I only opened one of the DVDs in a vain attempt to rock my body to no avail. The 2 DVD set also includes several booklets: Quick Start Guide, 3-Day Slim Down, Party Guide and Never Diet Again.
  • Wii Zumba Fitness Disk (includes Zumba Fitness Belt for the Wii Remote)
  • Book 7 CD set The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
  • 5 Books on CD The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

If you are interested in any of these items please leave a comment below or email me directly at I will then place responses in a hat and randomly pull out names.

Since today is Thrifty Thursday I want to leave you with something I heard Rachel Ray say the other day and it’s something I’ve lived by.

“You don’t have to be rich to have a rich life.”

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Putting on My Face

If I have one complaint about the loss of my vision it would be that it takes so long to do the simplest of things. Take this video for example. Shooting it was no problem, uploading it was no problem, editing – this was a HUGE problem and for today I cannot overcome it.

…Oh well, to avoid further delay in posting today I’ve uploaded the video to the blog as-is.

Another note worth mentioning, since I am in the process of packing and relocating my posting schedule may be impacted this month as I attempt to keep myself sane. I will make every attempt to continue posting with as little interruption as possible however I wanted to give you a “heads up.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” ~Nelson Mandela