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Authenticity is the Heart of Beauty

Beauty Buzz Page Header is described in the body of the post.

Editor’s Note:

Beauty Buzz is a new section on Bold Blind Beauty that we are still developing. Stay tuned for more details. ~Steph

Authenticity is the Heart of Beauty

Yesterday morning I received a message that touched me so deeply I asked the author if I could share it and they said “yes.” What I like most about this piece is that it gets to the heart of Bold Blind Beauty’s ‘WHY.’

Real Beauty Transcends Barriers

~Bold Blind Beauty

“Every time I listen to your message, I find new bits of wisdom and inspiration.

We went to visit my brother’s girlfriend, a lovely lady who has had enormous health problems in the past five years. I remembered her daughter as a striking young woman from many years earlier. But over the years, she got involved with heroin.

She has now been off it for six months. That she went this route has always made me sad. I grieved for her, in fact. Today she has low self-esteem. She was embarrassed to be seen without her teeth. I thought of your video, and I realized she and I are more alike than different. We’ve had to redefine beauty, and our self-esteem. But we are the same person inside.

She mentioned how judgmental her sister is of her. I wanted to hug her and say how beautiful she was with or without her own teeth. And the words from your video came to me, “But when we are out there living our lives, we are bold. We are embracing our blindness. We are blind and we are beautiful. We’re beautiful because we are out there doing that, living our lives.” It’s just so profound. You can insert any word for “blind” (like recovering addict).

This woman is out there living her life, trying to overcome and be her best self. She comes up against prejudice, preconceived ideas, judgment and she has to develop self-love all over again.

Again, your words speak truth. “I would just like to change the perception of how we view people. Period. I would just like to see a more inclusive world for everyone, and accept people as we really are, stripping away the outside and getting to the heart of who we are a people.”

When I thought of myself and my fears (and the fears I still have), they are strong, and yes, bold, words. But when I think of this young woman, I feel the same — that she needs to begin to love herself exactly where she is at. She didn’t die of an overdose. She brings her mother great joy. I celebrate who she is, her dreams of becoming her best self in the journey ahead. I think I will share your video with her with a letter with my thoughts.

Today is a day of gratitude, and love expressed. I think my strength is loving others and helping them to gain confidence in themselves. But it is through the words of others like you, who express so well the desire for change, and who are battling their fears openly that shape my outreach. That video will speak to many in so many ways. You have such a beautiful heart.”

The video she mentioned in the narrative has been previously shared but I’ve included it here for easy reference. In place of audio description I’ve provided a summary of the video below.

Video Summary:

First scene opens with Stephanae sitting at her desk in front of her 32-inch monitor working out on the keyboard. She’s wearing a gray short sleeve tee, her head is clean-shaven and she is not wearing any makeup.

The camera pans to a blurred close-up of an acrylic makeup organizer with assorted lipsticks, brushes, pencils, etc. Stephanae slowly twists a lipstick then inserts a dangling wire earring into her right ear. The camera focuses in on the delicate lacy silver leaf earring.

In the next scene, Stephanae is at her desk talking about the moment she first lost her sight while pointing to her left eye.  

The camera is focusing on assorted jewelry hanging on a necklace tree while Stephanae’s hand touches one of her favorite statement necklaces. In slow motion, the camera shows her sliding a blue floral glass ring on her right ring finger.

Panning to the keyboard and monitor the camera picks up the magnified content on the screen as Stephanae scrolls through Bold Blind Beauty’s website. The camera zooms out to show Stephanae working.

In the bathroom scene, Stephanae is at the sink cleansing her face and putting on her makeup. She uses plastic eyebrow stencils to draw her eyebrows and a thin liner crayon/pencil to line her eyes. The finishing touches include mascara and a dark gray ballcap.

Back at the desk, Stephanae is talking about how vulnerable she feels when she is in an unfamiliar environment. While talking with her hands she gets a little emotional and her voice cracks as she shares what this fear is like.

Outside, Stephanae is getting into her son’s car and we’re headed to a nearby mall. She’s wearing a gray and black raglan shirt, with black capris, ballcap, sneakers, and sunglasses. The next few scenes are taken from inside the car, in a department store with Stephanae walking with her ‘black’ white cane towards and away from the camera, and, looking at items on clothing racks.

In her dining area, Stephanae is opening boxes of Bold Blind Beauty coffee mugs. All of the mugs have Abby (Bold Blind Beauty’s fashion icon) along with a cute saying i.e. “Hey I’m walkin’ Here!” “Relax It’s Only A Cane!” “Blind Chicks With Attitude!”  

Closeup of Stephanae sharing her wish for a more inclusive world. “Stripping away the outside and getting to the heart of who we are as people.”

Beauty Buzz Header Image Description:

The background is half gray and half white. On the gray half is “Beauty” in white text. On the white half is “Buzz” in gray script text with a colorful bumble bee at the end of the word.

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Blind Beauty 81 | Catherine Harrison

Featured image is described in the body of the post.

“I am not the victim, the enemy or even the hero…I am the author of my dreams. I am not afraid to fall because I know how to rise with strength and dressed on point”.

~Catherine Harrison

While I’ve shared with you my frustrations on the pitfalls of social media, there is an equal amount of positives. One of those positives comes in the form of today’s featured Blind Beauty, Catherine Harrison.

I was introduced to Catherine by Vicky, a good friend of mine who lives in the UK. Vicky felt that Catherine would be an excellent feature on Bold Blind Beauty because of her line of work. Catherine is a Commercial Print Model by trade whose outer beauty is incomparable to her inner beauty. And believe me when I say this woman is gorgeous!

The Author Of Her Dreams

“Sassy blind southern gal encouraging bold strength while swinging a cane & in high heels”

Catherine harrison

During our first telephone conversation, I learned that Catherine was a Registered Nurse prior to her sight loss. When her eyesight worsened to the degree she could no longer be effective in nursing she chose a different career path. What struck me most about Catherine, aside from her humanity, is how warm, funny, and down to earth she is. I guess the saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas” is true because as a proud Texan Catherine’s personality is stellar! The above quote from her Instagram profile should have been a clue as to who she is. And make no mistake, Catherine “KNOWS” who she is and she shares her inspirational wisdom with others. A very well-rounded individual, following are some of Catherine’s hobbies/skills that include:

  • Weight training/working out,
  • Waterskiing
  • Snow skiing
  • Public speaking
  • Writing
  • Ballet
  • Western horseback riding
  • Handgun shooting
  • Social media marketing
  • Event planning and fundraising

Catherine also spends a great deal of time giving back to the community in numerous capacities. From serving on numerous boards and committees to major fundraising activities, Catherine is the epitome of a warrior of change.

Stay tuned to learn more about Catherine when she will be featured in Women On The Move in January 2020!

Connecting With Catherine:

Image Descriptions:

  • Photo credit Julia Wagner at Feather and Root Photography.
  • Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. With short blonde hair and mesmerizing green eyes, Catherine is on the cover wearing a stunning red keyhole top. The neckline on the sleeveless top is cut to partially expose Catherine’s shoulders. Blocks of text superimposed on Catherine’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”
  • A gallery of 5 photos from a professional shoot:
    • Catherine is rockin’ her white cane in a chic blue halter dress.
    • Another white cane photo, this one in black & white. Catherine is in her red keyhole top, white leggings, and white heeled sandals.
    • Catherine in the blue halter dress and wedge sandals is posed against a wooden column.
    • In this white cane photo, Catherine is wearing a white long-sleeved keyhole dress.
    • The last photo is a close-up headshot of the third photo.
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Dressing To Align With Personal Values

Image is described in the body of the post.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

~Harriet Tubman

The mission of “improving humanity by changing the way we perceive one another” was my dream for Bold Blind Beauty. I hoped to empower blind women, connect sighted and blind people, and challenge everyone to view people on a deeper level.

My idea for this site evolved from my sight loss and what I experienced every time I would meet someone new. “You don’t look blind,” or “you’re too attractive to be blind,” among other misguided comments weren’t meant to injure me. On the contrary, these sentiments were an awkward attempt to compliment me and help me feel more accepting of my blindness. Ironically, the problem was I’d already accepted my blindness however those who encountered me did not.

Since I didn’t fit within the confines of others’ views of what blindness looks like then that must mean I’m not blind right? I mean how can someone who is blind put on makeup or dress stylishly? More importantly, when eyesight is diminished why should anyone care about their appearance? For me, the answer is as simple as beauty is boundless!

Image & Real Beauty

The tagline “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” is at the heart of Bold Blind Beauty as valuing people is Real Beauty. As a creative person, I’ve always been a dreamer and believe in my heart and soul that anything is possible. I’m not sure if my dreams fuel my passion or passion fuels my creativity, maybe they are one and the same? All I do know is when you believe in possibilities you must do all you can to make the dream a reality.

Tackling image or appearance in blog posts about makeup and fashion from a deeper perspective has, at times, been challenging for me. Having worked in corporate America for many years, I understand the importance of a professional image. And while I try to incorporate more meaningful messages in my blog posts I sometimes struggle. The reality is ‘public impression’ or how things ‘appear’ are more appealing to the majority of the world. Yet the dreamer in me still believes that people crave authenticity and are open to a more genuine conversation about beauty.

My values; kindness, compassion, and social justice are important to me. Incorporating mindfulness, a recent practice of mine was the missing link that now balances my values with how I live my life. So I was thrilled to begin reading The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline this weekend as many strategies in the book align with my principles.

What I’m Learning

As a minimalist, I am happiest when I’m purging. Doing so, in every area of my life from wardrobe to my work is freeing and has allowed me to reclaim my time.

One of the first recommendations mentioned in the book is to do a Wardrobe Impact Inventory—mine is below. I was ecstatic to find out that my wardrobe, minus socks and underwear, totaled 118 items. And the first thought that popped into my head after arriving at the total was “I can do better.” But here’s the thing, I’m making progress. Five years ago the number of pairs of shoes I had alone far exceeded this total. For the record, I now have 16 pairs of shoes including sneakers, boots, flats, and heels.

Steph’s 2019 Wardrobe Impact Inventory
TOPS
Camis13
Tees20
Shirts4
Cardigans7
Dressy Jackets2
Casual Jackets3
Denim Jacket1
Denim Vest1
BOTTOMS
Skirts4
Jeans3
Leggings5
Pants5
Shorts1
Exercise Capris5
DRESSES6
JUMPSUIT1
FOOTWEAR
Heels4
Flats5
Sneakers3
Boots4
BAGS
Backpacks2
Clutches3
Handbags2
OUTERWEAR
Faux Fur Vest1
Parka1
Dress Coat1
Wool Cape1
Anorak1
TOTAL118

While I’m only midway through the book, I’m finding it’s a goldmine of information. For example, once I counted all of my pieces I tallied the percentage of my wardrobe that I use. Next, I selected 15 different items and took photos of the labels. After magnifying the photos I was able to determine where each item was made and the materials used to make them. On a side note out of all the items I chose only one was from the United States. The majority of my stuff came from China, Vietnam, and the Philipines and a few from Indonesia, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.

Satisfaction & Less Is Enough

The Conscious Closet couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time because I’m deliberately making better choices in my life. Adopting an ‘if I’m not using it I don’t need it’ philosophy in nearly all areas of my life gives it more meaning. The bottom line, I don’t want stuff just to have it. But how do I share these ideas with others when we live in a world of overabundance? The simple answer is to share and let people decide for themselves what works best for them.

I’ve been doing wardrobe inventory for years and the difference now is I use it to identify my essentials. I can’t tell you how helpful this system is especially since I can no longer see. Simplifying the color palette of my wardrobe makes my heart skip a beat because nearly everything is interchangeable. Working with less has also made creating new outfit combinations less aggravating and more fun.

Frustrated with nonstop advertising trying to convince me that I NEED the latest and greatest whatever put me on the path to simplicity. Unsubscribing from retail email lists, and circulars sent by snail mail was my first line of attack. While I’d always practiced recycling my clothing twice a year I wanted to do it less frequently. Implementing a ‘something comes in, something goes out’ process helped tame my compulsion to buy.

Today, more than ever, I feel like I’m living my life far more authentically than ever before and I’m content. Being able to finally interweave my style with my values is gratifying. As I continue to absorb the content in The Conscious Closet I hope to share more insight with you.

Featured Image Description:

The image is a silhouette of a woman with her eyes closed. Incorporated within the woman’s profile is a vast galaxy of stars in shades of black, dark purple, blue, pink, and white.

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Blind Beauty 77 | Terese Goren

Blind Beauty 77 | Terese Goren

Growing up I really struggled with the way I looked, frequently hearing comments about how my eyes looked funny.  Even at the age of 50, there are still some days where I lack confidence in my appearance.

Terese Goran

I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s Blind Beauty, Terese Goren who will also be our featured Woman On The Move next week. I met Terese earlier this summer at Wichita State University (WSU) campus, host to the week-long Envision 2019 Level Up Conference

As a lover of technology, I was naturally drawn to Terese when I sat in on one of her courses during the conference. She’s a brilliant Assistive Technology Specialist whos vibrant personality brightens any room. Later in the week, I got to know a little more about her during a semi-formal networking event as we were seated together during the dinner. I must admit I was thrilled to be seated with Terese as I was dying to pick her brain on cell phone technology as it relates to accessibility.

A fashionista at heart, when our conversation turned to fashion I needed to know more about this beautiful woman. We found we shared a passion for beauty and addressing some of the stereotypes where beauty and blindness intertwine. Terese’s love for fashion is evident in how she presents herself to the world. Next week you’ll get to hear her beauty advice to those who are new to sight loss. At the heart of Bold Blind Beauty is the message of empowerment and confidence and I really like what Terese has to say about this topic:

“I know this world is all about “the look”. Almost every morning I strive to put myself together.  What’s more important is the confidence and belief in yourself. The truth is you can be dressed to the 9’s but if you don’t have the confidence to back it up then that look isn’t going to work.”

Terese Goren

Terese, thank you for allowing me to shine the spotlight on you. You are a Bold Blind Beauty!

Featured Image Description:

The image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Terese’s photo on the cover shows her looking very stylish in jeans, a burgundy top, and a long taupe sweater. She paired her outfit with a gold statement necklace and brown peep toe, sandals with a block heel.

Blocks of text superimposed on Terese’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”