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One Tube Away from Happiness

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

I have learned in the modeling business and in life that my worthiness doesn’t decrease based on someone not choosing my value. It may simply mean I am not what they are looking for,
but that doesn’t make me less. 

~Catherine Harrison

One Tube Away from Happiness

By Catherine Harrison

Image of Catherine Harrison is described in the body of the post.
Catherine Harrison

What is it about a .13 oz twist-up tube of perfectly tinted, moisture infused wax that holds us captive to its promises of: flawlessly plump lips, a sensually alluring kiss or to become a force of beauty? (Actual ad campaigns for lipstick).

I was chatting with my friend, Julie, about the brand of makeup I use. She asked me to share with her the changes I made over the past two years to accomplish a genuinely confident, model-ready appearance, a new skill set and attitude in spite of my circumstances of blindness.

I could hear the emotional quiver of insecurity and despair in her voice as she confessed how she felt about herself. I listened to Julie question her value as a woman and a mom. My heart ached as she revealed how she struggled with confidence, self-esteem and expressed the genuine need for hope that time hadn’t passed her by. She was seeking solace in different colors, brands of makeup and application techniques with no obvious results. Then she summed up our conversation with this… “I feel like I am just one tube away from happiness”.

Looking For Answers

Her goal, of course, was not to have a drawer full of half-used tubes of lipstick that didn’t deliver what was promised. Her goal was to feel better about herself, to see the sparkle of life return to her green eyes, to be confidently attractive to others and self-assured of her value as a woman. She was looking for answers and started where many of us turn, the mirror.

Julie’s “identity crisis” is a familiar story for many gals over 50 and one I experienced myself. I wanted to give Julie the courage to use her despair as a catalyst for redefining who she is, what her dreams are, what she is passionate about and what she wants out of the second half of life.  

I simply told her, “Well, the good news is your goals are attainable and you deserve to have them. It’s your turn! The bad news is a new tube of lipstick alone isn’t gunna do it.”

Like most women, I can admit, I place value on my appearance. Heck, how I look is a huge part of my job as a model. But I can tell you, the secret for me was not a quick trip to the cosmetic counter or even the plastic surgeon. I knew my confidence and value were not going to come from the changes I made to the outside alone.

Putting In The Work

To move from superficially looking my best, to actually being my best, took longer than I hoped and was much harder than I imagined.

First, I stopped what I was doing, objectively evaluated EVERYTHING in my life, then changed my direction, my mindset and my goals. I had to rediscover who I was, what I was passionate about and what I wanted.

Secondly, I altered any external influences that were negative and made them positive. This included getting rid of the negative people or things in my life, changing the foods I was eating and aligning my fitness habits with who I wanted to be.  

Then finally I stopped giving others the power to decide my worth before I had been given the chance to demonstrate my value for their life, business or our relationship. I had to do more than just want to be valued…I had to work hard and actually believe I have God-given worth, so I could then become valuable.

Before a photoshoot, professional makeup artists apply a brush full of this and a finger dab of that until satisfied that I look beautiful and natural, yet unnaturally flawless. I can admit my confidence is visibly high as I stand in front of the camera when I know my eyes are brushed with just enough shadow to make the green color pop and my lips have that perfect balance of natural tint and shine. But without the hard work to be good at modeling and the time I spent making life changes physically and mentally, then as soon as the makeup is wiped off my value and dreams would be gone as well. 

I have learned in the modeling business and in life that my worthiness doesn’t decrease based on someone not choosing my value. It may simply mean I am not what they are looking for, but that doesn’t make me less. It is, however, my responsibility not to hide my value and then wonder why they couldn’t see it. 

Don’t make it hard for people to discover how wonderful you are or how you can transform their world-make it glaringly obvious. Work hard to be the best at who you are, what you do and what you are passionate about, without excuse. This kind of value cannot be twisted up from a tube, or taken from you…it comes from within and becomes a part of who you are.

About Catherine:

Image is described in the body of the post.

Catherine was diagnosed in 1995 with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), only weeks after returning from serving for two years on the mission field in Nigeria, Africa. She has been a national public speaker and article writer for several magazines, sharing her story of learning to walk with strength and faith behind a white cane.

Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Baylor University and had a wonderful career as an operating room nurse. She is a former ballerina and studied dance at Julliard’s School of American Ballet in New York. She is currently a professional commercial print and fitness model with Grogan Management in Dallas, Tx. She is the proud mother of 3 grown sons and wife of Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Craig Harrison. Catherine serves on several non-profit boards and regularly volunteers in her local community.

Her mission is not only to successfully work as a model, who happens to have a visual impairment but also to empower women of all ages to step into their strength, regardless of their circumstances, with poise and courage.  

Connecting With Catherine:

Image Description:

  • Beauty Buzz Header Image: Background on the header is half black and half white. The words “Beauty” and “Buzz” are white on black and black on white text. At the end of the word, “Buzz” is a colorful bumblebee.
  • Photo credit Julia Wagner at Feather and Root Photography. With short blonde hair and mesmerizing green eyes, Catherine looks very chic wearing a white button-down with blue jeans. She is posing for the camera while sitting in a chair.
  • Bio Photo: In this photo, Catherine is sitting on a sofa with her right arm along the back and eyes downcast.
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The Power Of Three On Confidence & Style After Sight Loss

Terese Goran's image is described in the post.

“When you base your confidence on who you are, instead of what you accomplish, you have created something that no one or no circumstance can ever take away from you.”

~Barbara De Angelis

Today’s Woman On The Move and fashionista, Terese Goran offers her insight on the topic of confidence for those new to sight loss. Terese was featured on Bold Blind Beauty last week, you can check out the article here: Blind Beauty 77 | Terese Goran

Early Love For Fashion & Makeup

I have to confess, when I was asked to write this, I wasn’t sure how to contribute. Personal style and confidence in how we look are so important to our identity. 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. When I was growing up, my parents owned and ran a ladies fashion store, and this is where I developed my love for clothes and makeup.

As someone who has been legally blind all my life, I can’t speak to knowing what it’s like to lose my vision, because I never had it to begin with. However, in my career as an Assistive Technology Specialist, I work with a lot of people who are at the beginning of their vision loss. Most of these people are trying to come to grips with their situation. They may still be overwhelmed and not realize that it is still possible to do most things, even without vision. One question that I get asked repeatedly is “How do you get dressed?”. The simple answer is one step at a time.

Easy Answer To A Simple Question

It is such a simple question and a task that many take for granted. But no matter what your vision situation is, looking and feeling confident and put together can be possible. So here’s my advice:

First things first. Be open to learning to do things in a different way than you have done them in the past. There ARE ways to do practically anything you want to, from putting on makeup to matching your clothes, but they will likely be different than how you did them before. You have to be open to learning new ways of doing things.

Secondly, take things one step at a time and be patient with yourself. Learning to do things in new ways will take time and practice. I’ve had to develop my sense of feel over the years to tell where my makeup is applied. I don’t mean by paying attention to what my fingers feel, but how my face feels as I run my fingers over it.  I have to first put it on and then look in the mirror when I’m done to see how it turned out.

When it comes to makeup and clothing, some days things come together better than others. I remember quite a few days that I thought my clothes matched and when I left the house I realized they clearly don’t. To help with this, ask people that you trust for their feedback. I’ve had a lot of help from my family. They aren’t afraid to tell me if I look like a hot mess. Moms, sisters, and nieces are good like that, but if these aren’t available, close friends or even significant others can give helpful feedback. 

Speaking more generally, I’m a big believer in the power of three. Pick your base, sweater and pants or dress, then add 3 pieces to bring the outfit together. This may be shoes, a necklace, and a jacket. It could also be a hat, belt, and earrings. It could even be your eyeglass frames, handbag, and your cane. Whether you’re in work clothes or a t-shirt and jeans the rule can still apply.

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. At the end of the day, I just want to be the best me I can be.   

Image Description:

In this photo of Terese, she is 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.

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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”

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Trust Is Key To Unlocking Confidence & Independence

Trust Is Key To Unlocking Confidence & Independence featured image description is in the body of the post.

Trust Is Key To Unlocking Confidence & Independence

My other goal is to teach the community that people with visual impairments are just anyone else. They just use additional tools to access the world. This access should be universal and a normal part of day-to-day life.

~Michele Danilowicz
1. Michele Danilowicz image description is in the body of the post
#1. Michele Danilowicz

I am a Michigan-based Teacher for the Visually Impaired (TVI) and a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). My undergraduate degree is in teaching elementary and special education with a focus on visual impairments. In addition, I have a masters degree in Specific Learning Disabilities and Orientation and Mobility for Children. For 14 years I’ve taught students aged 3-26 years old.

My passion is teaching students to help them gain confidence and independence so they are successful adults. I work with students on accessing and using the technology and tools they need to live independently after they age-out of the system.

Oftentimes, students with visual impairments are led to believe they can’t be successful, independent adults. So the most important part of my job is building trust with them. This enables them to believe me when I tell them that they can do anything.

How Trust Delivers Results

I had an elementary student who lacked confidence and hesitated while crossing streets. His parents were fearful and did not want him crossing a street on his own either. He was a fourth grader and at this time was not independently doing what his peers were. Together we went out weekly rain, snow or shine to work, navigate the neighborhoods, and cross intersections. So he was able to walk to friends houses to play and hang out.

I never pushed him if he ever felt uncomfortable to cross. We would cross the street when he built up his confidence. He achieved all his goals that year and crossed at stop signs and even small, lighted intersections. Once he began, he advanced so quickly after he gained confidence and is now unstoppable.

Building trust with parents is crucial also. So after he mastered some of these skills, I invited his parents to a lesson. His parent’s witnessed how confidently their son now crosses intersections, independently and safely. Seeing him progress was so rewarding!

The Long-Lasting Effects Of Trust

Recently, a former student contacted me to tell me she was accepted to a dual masters program. This student and I worked together ten years earlier. I was beyond excited to hear that she is starting a master degree!

She has been living independently since starting her undergraduate degree. Now she is moving across the state by herself to start and complete her master’s program. This student also made a huge transition in her life and is transgender. I was so grateful to hear from her and learn that she trusted me enough to share with me, her transition. The trust and confidence that she has built is amazing!

Passion & Pursuit of Personal & Professional Goals

2. Two women presenting image description is in the body of the post.
2. Two women presenting

My other goal is to teach the community that people with visual impairments are just anyone else. They just use additional tools to access the world. This access should be universal and a normal part of day-to-day life. Part of my job is to teach awareness in local schools about the tools people use who are visually impaired. I also spread this awareness to the public about what helpful accommodations they can use. Along with how to help (or not help) people in the community.

Recently, I was teaching an accessibility workshop to third graders. One of the students stopped me before I walked into the classroom. She said she knew someone who was blind and felt sorry for them. My immediate response was there is no reason to feel sorry for someone who is visually impaired or blind. They are people just like you or me they just access the environment differently. I told her how I knew many successful people doing amazing things. They read by using braille and travel the community and even the world, independently with a cane. The cane helps them to “see” where they are going.

I began the presentation and thanked the students for coming to hear about how everyone can be independent and successful. Everyone just approaches it differently. This is one of the most important parts of my job, educating the public on how and when to help. To not pity visually impaired or blind people, but to appreciate how they navigate the world with the tools at their disposal. When the average person realizes how independent the VI community members are, it gives them a whole new level of respect. Respect is most important, not pity.

3. Table of materials image description is in the body of the post
3. Table of materials

Featured Image Description:

A woman talking while holding up a white cane looking off camera. There are backs of participant’s heads watching the woman present about white cane safety.

Collage Image Descriptions:

  1. Pedestrian Walk Sign: Woman (O&M instructor) is holding a folded white cane, smiling looking off camera, standing at a detectable warning next to a pedestrian walk sign.
  2. Bus Stop Shelter: Woman (O&M instructor) smiling at camera holding a folded white cane standing next to a bus stop shelter.
  3. A city bus. 
  4. Boarding Bus: The back of a woman (O&M instructor) walking onto a city bus. 

Additional Image Descriptions:

  1. Close up of Michele Danilowicz with long brown hair in her 30s smiling at the camera. 
  2. Two women presenting on cortical visual impairments. The power point presentation behind them says: “Tips for Providing Interventions cont.” One presenter is looking at the camera and smiling. The other presenter is looking at the audience holding up a red Elmo stuffed animal and a red and yellow stuffed monster. They are both standing behind a table full of red and yellow materials and toys. 
  3. Table with materials scattered across, a light up magnifier, dome magnifier, Braille writer, telescope, two vision simulation goggles, Braille book, large print book, large Braille cell drawn on paper with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 next to the dots and worksheets to learn Braille for print readers. 

Connecting With Michele: