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Jewelry Storage Solutions

Babies and Baubles

This silver filigree music box from Vicenza features a wind up handle to the bottom, an intricate patterned design decorated with diamant studs and a pearlescent oval centre. The interior contains a large compartment, a small compartment and a ring hold section. - See more at: Debenhams
Debenhams Jewelry Box

It was the wee hours of the morning and daylight wasn’t even beginning to peep through the mini blinds. Yet I heard the unmistakable sound of a low growl. In a pitiful attempt to ignore it, I gently turned on my left side pulling the blankets over my head to get more comfortable. Grrrrr there it was again and then the sound I didn’t want to hear, a gentle rustle of movement and an ever so slight cooing sound. As Mollie continued to try to pull the blankets off me, as tired as I was, I couldn’t ignore it anymore because she would wake the little one.

About 29 years ago when I was between jobs to pick up a little extra money I would babysit for my cousin. I loved watching this baby, I was there when he was born and since he was the first baby that I was in close contact with I could not get enough of him. I would wait with great anticipation for his mom to bring him over each day. Why then at the end of the day was I just as excited to pack him up and send him on his way?

I seriously had my doubts about motherhood and in a moment of clarity I understood why. After the birth of my firstborn I thought my heart would burst, I felt so much joy. He was the sweetest most precious thing I’d ever laid eyes on and the love I felt for him was like none other.

At the end of our first day home when my grandmother asks me what I’m doing I look at her like “duh” but I patiently explain that “I’m putting on the baby’s snowsuit so he can go home.” As soon as the words left my mouth it hit me that this baby wasn’t going anywhere because he was mine and he was home.

Two more sons and 24 years later I have a 1-year-old grandson that I’m just gaga over. Every time he comes over I’m so excited and I have so much fun with him. He has this smile that just lights up a room and even when he cries it’s the cutest thing.

Yesterday, like any other day when I babysit Orion was uneventful, that is, until it was time for him to go home. It was snowing all day and with the bitter cold I couldn’t say no when my son asked if the baby could stay the night. Since my son’s car was out of commission he didn’t want to expose the baby to the extreme elements by walking home and neither did I.

Back to this morning and my need for more rest; I knew I’d have to forgo sleep to care for my charge. Time has a funny way of creating amnesia. I forgot what an energy draining experience it was to have an independence demanding toddler around.

Planning for the unplanned

When you have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) tendencies, order and systems rule the day. I’m not so good with unplanned anything. I plan my plans and then have backup plans for those plans. So when I’m thrown a wrench in the plan it sucks my energy. Add to it the never-ending snowfall and 10 degree temperature and it’s not a pretty combination.

Coaster Traditional Jewelry Armoire, Cherry Amazon $149.56
Coaster Traditional Jewelry Armoire, Cherry

Since I’ve taken the circular route to organization I thought today I’d share some jewelry storage options. I never had a musical jewelry box complete with a little ballerina when I was little and promised I’d treat myself to a nice one in adulthood. I eventually ended up with a Queen Anne style jewelry armoire which suited my needs perfectly for my growing collection of high fashion pieces. That was 10 years ago.

Jewelry Storage Solutions

Umbra-Little-Hanging-Jewelry-Organize 39 clear pockets on one side, 24 hook-and-loop tabs on the other
Umbra Little Hanging Jewelry Organizer

After becoming legally blind almost 5 years ago, the armoire was no longer as useful especially when storing my earrings. What I used to do was keep each set of earrings in these tiny plastic baggies and put them in the armoire drawers. When you can’t see very well it can be a little nerve-wracking trying to locate most things let alone a specific pair of earrings.

The answer to my earring storage dilemma came to me completely by accident when I went to Marshalls with a friend of mine. I found the cutest little black dress on a hanger (not one you can wear) but one that has clear plastic pockets on both sides for earrings. There was no denying the black dress was adorable but I opted for the plain rectangular shape hanging storage. The one I bought has 66 pockets 6 of which are big enough for cuff bracelets.

The nice thing about either of these options is you can label the individual pockets to clearly identify the contents within. Also, for low vision users, different color options can provide useful contrast. Another benefit to this type storage is that it takes up very little space and it keeps sets together.

Following are 3 different resources along with costs associated with each organizer carried by the retailer(s):

 1.      Amazon

  • Umbra-Little-Hanging-Jewelry-Organize 39 clear pockets on one side, 24 hook-and-loop tabs on the other comes in pink, red or black 18.24
  • Household Essentials 80-Pocket Hanging Jewelry and Accessories Organizer, White Vinyl by Household Essentials 10.39
  • Hanging Jewelry Organizer White 37 Pockets Bedroom Closet Accessory Storage by Richards Homewares 8.18
  • Hanging Jewelry Organizer 72-Pocket, 2-Sided by Simply Genius 6.98

2.      Bed Bath and Beyond

  • Umbra Luxury Little Black Dress Jewelry Organize 29.99
  • 39 pockets 24 hook & loop closures (for necklaces)
  • The Macbeth Collection 42-Pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer in Shag Madison 19.99
  • Crystal Clear Vinyl 37-Pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer 9.99
  • Umbra® Little Black Tee Jewelry Organizer 9.99

3.      The Find

  • On are many retailers like Etsy, amazon, Walgreen, etc. who carry a variety of hanging and roll-up jewelry organizers with a price range from $9-$48
  • Colors are varied and I found pink, black, white, beige, camouflage, green

About 2 years ago I ordered another hanging jewelry organizer from Avon. What I liked most about this one was it has a separate section that detaches and can be used as a roll-up travel organizer. The cons of this particular item are the very tight/small pockets and even with my small fingers I had trouble inserting and removing earrings. I did use the hook and loop tabs on the other side for my necklaces but found for heavier jewelry it isn’t very effective. While I still have this organizer I’m not too fond of it and I’m still looking for a better way to deal with my necklaces. Currently I’ve settled for hanging some of the shorter ones on a jewelry tree but I’d prefer to keep all of them in one place. I’ll keep you posted on how I make out with this.

Until tomorrow Ciao!

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone….”~Sam Levenson

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Shoe Smorgasborg

Thank you

"I used to wear heels because I wanted to shoe people I wasn't ashamed of being tall. But I don't wear them any more because you don't have to wear heels to be beautiful." Elle MacPherson
Shoe Quote

Over the past few days I’ve heard from many of you who are blind, vision impaired, and sighted and I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support. It is so gratifying to receive your positive feedback and encouragement on this project that is so very close to my heart.

It’s hard to believe 4 years ago I was on the receiving end of my eye doctor’s “we’re so sorry there’s no more we can do for you…” speech. Self-imposed isolation became my best friend. I did everything within my power to seek a positive resolution on my situation to no avail and was left with fear, anger and self-doubt. Though family and friends did their best to stand by me, they couldn’t comprehend what it was like to no longer see.

Nine years ago is when I began my excursion into vision loss and I never would have imagined that the journey would take me to this place of acceptance and through the process allow me to meet so many amazing people. I’ve always believed that we humans are interconnected but I really didn’t get it until I endured the loss of my vision.

In an earlier post I alluded to how the self-esteem can suffer with the loss of vision in part due to the loss of independence, and the loss of living a life that was once so familiar. Once you connect with people who can understand your plight it’s at that point you are immersed in a new world. A world consisting of white canes, audio books, accessibility software, tactile systems, service animals, and, advocacy to name a few.

The white cane intimidated me. I felt exposed and the subject of unwanted attention but at the same time I deeply needed to find myself once again. One of the reasons why this transition was so difficult was because of the misplaced expectations I put on others.

Prior to the last 4 years I was so confident of my style and I even had dreams of being a model when I was much younger. The model dreams were shattered because at 5 foot 4 inches tall I was too short. This is probably one of the reasons why I always preferred heels and therefore had myself believing I was much taller than I was.

So it was with a heavy heart that I made the smart decision to donate my heels and opt for more reasonable ones for my personal safety. I used to think that heels lower than 3 inches was for lack of a better word blasé but I have never been so glad to be wrong.

Buffet of Shoes

Smorgasborg is the word that pops to mind when I think of shoes and I get so inspired when adding a new pair to my collection. There are just so very many different types, shapes, materials, colors, heels, textures and embellishments to choose from, that it’s mind boggling. And the pièce de résistance is I don’t have to sacrifice my femininity in wearing lower heeled shoes, quite the opposite as I’ve collected a few that are quite sexy.

My shoe preference, with the exception of a couple of pairs of wedges, has always been the pointed toe. So I thought I’d begin this series on some of my favorites and in later articles I’ll talk about how I build an outfit around them.

Isaac Mizrahi New York Grisel Coral 1 and 1/2 inch kitten heel from
Isaac Mizrahi New York Grisel

Kitten heels, sounds so innocent and cute but make no mistake these type heels ranging from 1 to 2 inches in height can be the cat’s meow.

d’Orsays are synonymous with sexy. With the sides are cut away leaving the toe and heel you can’t help but feel like a siren.

Chinese Laundry Kristin Cavallari - Cadence suede lime-punch (Yyellowish color) d'Orsay flats from
Chinese Laundry Kristin Cavallari – Cadence

Slingbacks are in my opinion, right up there with d’Orsays. Combined with a kitten heal the strap on these shoes wraps behind the back of the heel or ankle.

Nine West RemHie dark red suede slingback kitten heel from
Nine West RemHie

Even though I no longer wear the high heels of my youth the feeling I get when putting on the ones I mentioned here today is transformative. So take heart and know that if you too choose to go with lower heeled options you can still get that umph feeling that only a new pair of shoes can provide.

Have a wonderful weekend!

“A single day in my own shoe that is comfortable for me is better than 365 days in someone else’s shoes that does not fit me at all.” ~Israelmore Ayivor

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Featuring Amy Hildebrand

There’s nothing more we can do for you…

Photo collage of Amy Hildebrand, ourtesy of
Amy Hildebrand, photo courtesy of

If you’ve experienced severe vision loss you’ve probably heard these words before and their impact can be devastating. Imagine then, the excitement on the birth of your first child and upon delivery, when the doctor places the baby in your arms he tells you that your baby is blind and has a genetic disorder for which there is no cure. This is what happened to Teri Shields the mother of Amy Hildebrand, the young woman I’m featuring in today’s Fierce Fridays.

“…and the doctors told my parents I was blind. My mom was 20, my dad 24, and as if they didn’t receive enough shock when the doctor placed a white haired baby in their arms, he then proceeded to tell them that I had a severe case of Albinism, and that there was nothing they could do to “fix” me.”

After Amy was born, the doctors told her parents that she wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things because of her blindness due to severe albinism. Albinism occurs when one of several genetic defects makes the body unable to produce or distribute melanin, a natural substance that gives color to hair, skin, and iris of the eye.

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) states that approximately 1 in 17,000 people in the U.S., has some type of albinism. Vision problems that are not correctable with eyeglasses occur in all people with albinism however the extent of visual impairment differs depending on the type of albinism.

While Amy’s albinism makes her unique, I was struck by her resolve to prove the doctors wrong as detailed in an excellent article by Susan Donaldson James (ABC News). One of the things that impressed me most; aside from the fact that Amy’s a wife, mother of 2, professional photographer, and Best Day Ever business owner is her tenacity.

Back in 2009 Amy challenged herself to a 1,000 day journey where she would shoot a photograph that summarized each day and then post to her blog, With Little Sound. She started her challenge on September 14, 2009 and ended it with the 1,000th photograph on June 12, 2012. I have not seen all of Amy’s photos but I can tell you the ones I did see were awe-inspiring. It takes special fortitude to make a commitment and follow through like Amy did on this challenge.

During an interview in 2012 with Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey of Beyond Snapshots, Amy was asked “What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?” “Thankfully my parents weren’t the type to believe everything they hear, and so they started searching for doctors who had studied the albino eye, in hopes there might be some way I could gain my sight back. Ironically enough there was a young medical student here in Cincinnati that was wanting to research the affects of contacts on infants’ eyes. My parents eagerly signed on the dotted line, and at three months I had my first pair of contacts.”

“A few weeks later I was grasping for shadows and the experiment was deemed a huge success. The med student and I were written up in medical journals across the country. The next twelve years or so I was fitted for all different types of glasses and contacts, but around fifth grade I sort of topped out. I can still remember those early days though, around the age of 2 or 3 studying shadows and light on the kitchen floor of our apartment. I think even then I knew how lucky I was.”

When I read the above excerpt I had goose-bumps and I realized that Amy came by her steadfastness honestly. To put oneself in the place of her parents who fought valiantly on her behalf so that Amy would have the same opportunities in life as her sighted counterparts speaks volumes.

“My photos are sometime straightforward and sometimes more imaginative, but I treat every one with the mindset that I never would have seen these amazing images if it had not been for my parents, that med student and God’s grace.”

After reading the Beyond Snapshots interview and the ABC News article, I was not surprised that Amy would eventually come to love and then become a successful photographer. Amy, you are a remarkable person who is proof that in the paraphrased words of Jesse Jackson “if the mind can conceive it, the heart can believe it, then you can achieve it”!

If you haven’t already done so by clicking on the links provided in this post you can visit Amy and her husband Aaron’s website at Best Day Ever.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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3 Little Dresses

Somewhere to go nothing to wear

Love 21 - A woven bodycon dress featuring cap sleeves. V-neckline. Concealed side zipper with hook-eye closure. Fully lined. Light to medium weight.
Ladylike Cap Sleeve Dress
Forever 21

Garanimals is the word that came to my mind this morning and I’m wondering to myself, how can I possibly weave a story around this word? Then it struck…I remembered an invitation I received to an upcoming luncheon affair and I really have nothing suitable to wear to the event.

What does Garanimals and a forthcoming luncheon have in common? At first I thought nothing at all, that is until I look closely at how Garanimals evolved. Who knew that there was a direct link on how children felt about themselves and how they dressed? Since Garanimals didn’t exist until 1972, and the product line was geared to young children, it was too late for me to indulge in this revolutionary clothing. Had I only been younger I could have avoided dressing myself as a nerd but it’s all water under the bridge.

The commonality between Garanimals and my luncheon invitation is the realization that I will have to put together an outfit and find a date for this affair. Without dwelling too long on what I envision my outfit to be I knew almost immediately that I wanted to wear a dress.

Mock neckline. Pencil skirt with exposed gold front zipper. Hidden back zipper with hook-and-eye closure. Lined.
Deep Scuba Dive Dress
Rent the Runway

Since frugality is the focus for Thrifty Thursdays I set a limit of $50 for a frumpless looking frock. So it was with nimble fingers I scoured the internet and found 3 possibilities that I want to share with you.

  1. Coming in at $24.80 – the first entry is the Ladylike Cap Sleeve Dress, a form-fitting, fully lined, V-neckline, coral dress from Forever 21. The length is just above the knee and with the classic lines this dress could easily go from the office to cocktails. The coral color makes for a nice springtime feel.
  2. Next up at $40.00 – is a Camilla and Marc Deep Scuba Dive Dress from Rent The Runway. The retail value of this dress is $520 but why pay a fortune to buy an outfit when you can easily rent one. Rent The Runway has rental periods from 4 – 8 days. They offer $25 off your first rental and at a cost of $29.95 you can get free shipping and insurance per year. In addition they offer “Go-to Girl” service where you can ask for advice via online chat, phone or email.
  3. Lastly at $47.99 – is the Sleek It Out Dress in Olive from ModCloth. I’m not usually drawn to olive but this dress in its simplicity called my name. This is a form-fitting sheath dress with a square neckline, cap sleeves and tailored fit. I have to thank fellow blogger Glenda Dixon Mixon of So What to Twenty for accepting a recent challenge from where she had to create an entire outfit from one item selected by ModCloth. What she came up with was two sharp ensembles that you can check out HEREIf not for Glenda’s challenge I wouldn’t have looked to ModCloth for a dress and I’m so glad I found this one.
With its square neckline and tailored fit, this woven wonder will dazzle from the office to the opera and everywhere in between.
Sleek It Out Dress in Olive

Two things I like most about each of these dresses is that #1 they are all under $50 and #2 all will go nicely paired with nude heels and clutch. Right now I’m up in the air about jewelry but since I have my dress choices lined up the only other outstanding item that remains is a date, ugh!

Have a beautiful day!

“It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.” ~Aesop