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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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3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers

3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

“You don’t have to be great to start making videos on YouTube, but you do have to start making videos in order to be great!”

~Sam Seavey, The Blind Life

3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers

Have I got a treat for you today! Recently I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite YouTubers, Sam Seavey of The Blind Life. During my conversation with Sam, I asked him what advice would he give to an aspiring blind videomaker and guess what? Yup, he made a video—how cool is that?

Just last week I featured one of Sam’s videos about a friend of mine, Libby Thaw. In Plane Pulling for Sight, Libby was raising money for Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. If you recall, in this post, Libby had to raise $2,500 to enter the event and I’m so happy to report she did it!!! As a matter of fact, here’s a little blurb of hers that popped up on Facebook:

Just a quick post to say that the Orbis Plane Pull event was a very moving day for me! I looked smashing, as you can see, while I mingled with the crowd. I told people that I was going to pull the plane all by myself, and asked if they’d help on the off chance I couldn’t move it. Look how many people jumped in to help!

Libby Thaw

Back To Tips For Blind Videomakers

One of my favorite pastimes is binge-watching YouTube videos. Each time I find a YouTuber who catches my attention I always come back to the same question: how? I mean seriously, every time I attempt to make the simplest of videos it becomes an all-day project. And to make matters worse it always feels forced and I choke.

So seeking some expert advice, I asked Sam for a few tips to improve my video making skills. This is what he sent for Bold Blind Beauty readers. Enjoy!

Thank you Sam!

3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers Featured Image Description:

Still photo from the video of Sam holding his “Hey! I’m Walkin’ Here” Bold Blind Beauty coffee mug.

Additional Images:

  • Smashing Libby is decked out in Checkered Eye gear. Creative that she is, Libby made her entire outfit. From her checkered witch hat inspired headwear to her black and white checkered skirt, she looks amazing. Oh and I almost forgot she is also wearing checkered high heels.
  • Plane Pulling Team is a photo of a number of people holding onto the rope pulling the plane.
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Blind CrossFit Athlete Is Empowered & Unstoppable

Blind CrossFit Athlete Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Today’s Woman On The Move, Kimberley (Kym) Dekeyrel, was recently featured as a cover model on the March edition of CAPTIVATING! An edited version of the following article also appeared in the magazine however we have some exciting news to share! It’s amazing what this woman has achieved in two years after a major lifestyle change.

Blind CrossFit Athlete Is Empowered & Unstoppable

I want to show visually impaired people they can do anything. At the same time I’m showing my children there are no excuses not to be your best. At 37 I am the blindest I’ve ever been, yet I feel more unstoppable now than ever.

~Kym Dekeyrel, Woman On The Move
#1 - Kym, her husband and two sons photo description is in the body of the post.
#1 – Kym, her husband & 2 sons

My story of vision loss began before I can even remember. My parents received my diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) when I was five years old. I can only imagine their devastation when they were told their bright blue-eyed daughter would most likely be totally blind by the age of 18.

Without hesitation, they began to prepare me for life and I started learning braille and taking mobility lessons weekly. I learned cane travel and carried around ridiculously large print books all throughout school. Yes, I was made fun of. No, it wasn’t easy being the kid with the weird orange glasses that couldn’t go out for P.E. But my parents placed me in dance lessons and it became everything to me. I was a natural performer and never felt like the blind kid when I was in the spotlight.

Even though I was the poster child for RP, I was an anomaly to doctors. My vision loss didn’t progress like typical retinitis pigmentosa. I lost my central vision first and was left with scattered islands of peripheral vision. Because of this, I honestly never felt like I was understood by other visually impaired people. I wasn’t in denial of being blind, but when you mourn the loss of your vision your entire life it simply becomes a part of your day-to-day challenges.

Life’s Detour After Devastating Diagnosis

#2 - Kym and her husband photo is described in the post.
#2 – Kym and her husband

So my life carried on. I went to college and earned my degree in dance and kinesiology. After graduation, I went to massage school then later met my husband at my first job at a doctor’s office. It was about this time that life punched me in the gut with a diagnosis of lupus symptomatic of rheumatoid arthritis. The agony I suffered for three years made being blind seem like a walk in the park.

By this time, I had one son named Cooper and knew I couldn’t live a life worth living if I could barely move. After doing research my husband put me on an extremely strict diet that saved my life. Within six months of changing my diet, I was back on a treadmill and ready to have our second son, Easton.

I never returned to dancing but two years ago my husband brought me into a CrossFit gym, I was terrified. How could I do anything if I could not see anything? But by the end of my first class, I knew I had found my new passion.

Now, I am trying to become an empowered representation of the visually impaired in the adaptive CrossFit world. I want to show visually impaired people they can do anything. At the same time I’m showing my children there are no excuses not to be your best. At 37 I am the blindest I’ve ever been, yet I feel more unstoppable now than ever in my life. Being blind is hard, but if you live by faith and not by sight anything is possible.

CrossFit Games

CrossFit photo of Kym is described in the body of the post.
Kym doing her thing

@KymPossibleXoXo as she’s known on Instagram, found out last week that she qualified for the adaptive CrossFit games in July. Her Instagram exploded when @CrossFitGames shared one of her competition videos and get this, it’s been seen over 350K times!

I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive a message from Kym with her news. She even said that while we “technically” haven’t met, she was so excited to share this with me. And of course, I was probably just as excited to hear it directly from her.

The adaptive CrossFit games are held north of Toronto and Canada during the country‘s largest Functional Fitness/CrossFit Festival of the year. Over 1,000 athletes of all levels will participate but Kym is the first blind athlete to be invited as a part of the adaptive athlete division.

As having a visually impaired athlete in the competition for the first time, Kym is nervous and excited to educate the adaptive CrossFit community on how to best adapt movements for blind athletes. We are excited to stand by her all the way! We encourage anybody who would like to support or sponsor Kym through her journey to contact her. You can reach Kym directly via email at kymdekeyrel@gmail.com.

Like her Instagram alias, Kym is showing us that anything is possible.

Blind CrossFit Athlete Featured Image Description:

In the featured photo, Kym is doing what she loves, working out in the gym. She is squatting while holding 90-pound barbells straight over her head. Her workout ensemble is a black tank top with gray and black leggings with geometric shapes and pink sneakers. Kym’s long blonde hair is in a ponytail.

Additional Image Descriptions:

  1. Kym, her husband and two sons, Cooper and Easton, are posing together as a family. Mom, wearing a black dress, and dad, in a blue polo shirt, is standing behind the boys.
  2. Kym and her hubby are standing together looking sharp. Date night perhaps? Kym is wearing a sleeveless plum colored dress with taupe dress shoes and her husband is in a suit. He is holding his jacket over his right arm.
  3. In this photo, Kym is in mid-shot of tossing a big ball against the wall at the gym. She’s in the same outfit as in the featured image.
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#BlindMKLady Hashtag Evolution

I'm Blind Why Should I Wear Makeup image description is in the body of the post

#BlindMKLady Hashtag Evolution

“‘You are not less of a person for using a white cane.’ This takeaway was life-changing for me; the cane doesn’t define you, it’s just a tool. After hearing this I became a different person and people noticed.”

~Amy Wilson

Hello Bold Blind Beauty Readers, 

Some of you may know me and some of you may not. Before I explain what this post is about, I will give a short introduction to who I am. My name is Amy Wilson, a middle-aged thirty-something midwestern woman.

For over 25 years I’ve been defined as legally blind and never considered myself a special or unique flower. Although, I’ve accomplished many things in my life that some say are exceptional. In fact, in the last few weeks, close friends have told me I need to improve my self-promotion skills.

I’m so bad when it comes to talking about myself. My husband is the same way—humble is the name of our game. Not my son though, he is the show off of the family. Each person in my wonderful family has their own disability. I only say this to tell you there is a lot of stuff going on in our household. 

The #BlindMKLady Hashtag Breakdown…

1. Let’s begin with why I chose to include the word ‘blind’

First, saying visually impaired makes it too long, lol, just kidding. In the world we live in, you are ‘blind’ to the sighted community even if you have residual sight. On the other hand, to the blind community, you are ‘sighted’ if you have a little vision. How does that even make any sense? So am I blind or not?

For over twenty years I hated when people would call me blind, I would go on the defense right away. Do you know where that got me? Nowhere really.

Being called a blind person bothered me so much I wouldn’t even use a white cane. So if I have ever shoulder checked you I am sorry. According to my ex-husband, I did it a lot but in 2015 that changed for me. I can remember it very clearly as I met people who I now call family. And you would never guess who they were? Yes! Other blind people!!! 

I mean I had previously met blind people, but these people didn’t let their blindness define them. Adding to this, was my takeaway ‘you are not less of a person for using a white cane.’ This takeaway was life-changing for me; the cane doesn’t define you, it’s just a tool. After hearing this I became a different person and people noticed. I no longer had a problem walking around with my white cane. If anything I think I strutted a little more. 

2. Classification of Being ‘Blind’ 

Last year I heard a speech that changed my viewpoint on being classified as ‘blind.’ It talked about how people put you into categories and how as blind people we do it as well. The point made was, ‘why are we segregating ourselves within our own blind community?’ Whether you have no vision or just been declared legally blind, guess what? You’re blind! Now let that sink in.

I know from personal experience it’s hard to take on the blind label. It’s especially difficult when you are new to blindness. When I heard that speech I made the decision to stop saying “I’m visually impaired” and just say “blind.” By doing this, I’m letting society know that ‘blindness’ is not just the ‘totally blind’ but me too. 

I’m blind so what? I’m still a Rock Star! No way am I a rock star but I think you get my point. And maybe you just have to listen to the P!nk song—”So What.”

3. What’s A MKLady?

The other part of my hashtag speaks for itself as I am a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. I love the company, Mary Kay. This is actually my second time being a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. 

My first time, with Mary Kay I was not confident in my blindness at ALL. I let it get in the way of having my own Mary Kay business. This time is totally different. I got great advice right from the start. If they can’t handle the fact that I am blind then they are just ‘not my people.’ Simple right?

‘Not your people’ can be used in so many different areas of our lives, even with family. Be confident in who you are, no matter what!!! Do I have regrets in my life? You bet, but I don’t dwell on those things—you can’t change the past and the future is tomorrow’s problem. However, you can focus on now.

Knowing Who I Am

I view myself as the #BlindMKLady and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I am not the only #BlindMKLady out there either. I’ve met other MK ladies and am personally building my team of blind and sighted ladies. My goal is to be the first blind Mary Kay Sales Director. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me. My goal is huge even for a sighted consultant. If you want to assist in helping me achieve this goal let’s chat. 

No matter what your goal is in life don’t let something like being blind hold you back. Blindness does not define you. You define you. Put your big girl panties on and make stuff happen. If you want someone to cheer you on, contact me, I will be your cheerleader. 

Be Bold, Be Beautiful and most of all be true to YOU!!!

Yours Truly, 

Amy Wilson, #BlindMKLady

You can find me on Facebook as Amy Wilson or my Facebook group called Wilson’s Wildflowers

#BlindMKLady Featured Image Description:

Closeup photo of Amy looking fabulous with her wavy brunette hair framing her face and sunnies on top of her head. She is wearing a blue/black floral dress with a v-neckline.