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Abby | Fashion Icon Extraordinaire

Image is described in the body of the post.

Editor’s Note:

The following article, originally published on the Meet Abby Page is a work of fiction and is being republished to reintroduce her to our readers. As Abby’s role expands here on Bold Blind Beauty we felt now is as good a time as any for a reintroduction.

Going forward, 4 of our main series (Men In Motion, Women On The Move, B3 Magazine (formerly Blind Beauty), and Cane EnAbled) will be published monthly on Mondays). For example, Men In Motion will be published on the 1st Monday of each month, Women On The Move the 2nd Monday, B3 Magazine the 3rd Monday, and finally Cane EnAbled will be published on the 4th Monday. The balance of our content will be a mix of reviews, Q&As, and more.

Abby Fashion Icon Extraordinaire

“Blindness is not always obvious. For us to transcend barriers we must change the way we perceive one another. ” 

~Abby

Abby aka Abigale is a bold and stylish fashion icon who always walks in confidence with her white cane. Forever on the move, she reflects the beauty of her blind and visually impaired sisters worldwide.

A fashionista who radiates sophistication, Abby shares tips, answers questions and moderates discussions about beauty and fashion. Her vast experience and life adventures have given Abby the tools to help us change the way we perceive blindness. The goal is to improve humanity, one attitude at a time.

So what’s in the name Abigale?

Abigale’s name is a combination of ‘Abilities’ + ‘Nightingale.’ Reflective of her boundless Abilities and Nightingale–the small ordinary bird, known for its extraordinarily beautiful song. The Nightingale is also a symbol of freedom and joy for literary enthusiasts throughout time. 

Abby’s Fortitude

Abby became the fashion icon she is today after she evolved from imagination to an illustration of a woman of indeterminate age. Diagnosed with a rare eye disease that stole most of her sight, Abby did not let this set her back. Rather she embraced her blindness, accessed tools available for blind and visually impaired people, and moved forward with her life.

Global Adventures

After graduating from her Ivy League school in business and law, Abby landed at a prestigious global law firm on Wall Street where she advanced to managing partner. This would be enough for most women, but Abby felt there was more to life than just business. So she took a much-needed hiatus from the high-pressure corporate world and became an avid adventurer. Traveling the four corners of the world, Abby scaled mountains, sailed stormy seas, explored the deepest caverns, and strutted the runways of the major fashion capitals. Along the way, she met a diverse array of people from all walks of life, and even led a jazz trio as a popular singer!

In Her Spare Time

When Abby isn’t working or volunteering, she enjoys painting (yes, blind people can paint!) and spending time with Alexis, her retired guide dog. Abby and Alexis, an adorable Yellow Lab, live in a beautiful home decked out in decor from her world travels.

Putting it all together

With her incredible travel experiences under her belt, Abby was ready to combine her business and legal skills with her passion for fashion. She applied her knowledge to empowering blind women to be all they can be by joining boldblindbeauty.com. At Bold Blind Beauty Abby provides tips, answers questions, and moderates discussions on fashion and style.

Finding Abby

You can find Abby exclusively at boldblindbeauty.com the site which empowers blind and visually impaired women. Our commUNITY celebrates beauty, fashion, and style while connecting sighted and blind people. The goal of Bold Blind Beauty is to eradicate misconceptions about people living with blindness or sight loss.

You can join Abby in “Abby’s Corner” where discussions are always about fashion, style and being bold, blind & beautiful!

10% of all profits are donated to organizations who work to improve employment opportunities for people who are blind & visually impaired.

~Bold Blind Beauty

Abby Featured Image Description: 

Abby is holding up a teal dress on a hanger in her right hand. She is wearing a stylish black off the shoulder dress, black heels with ankle straps and a white hat with a black band with a loose end waving. In her left hand is her “gold” white cane.

Copyright: The Abigale (Abby) copyright belongs to Bold Blind Beauty and Abigale Style, LLC. The icon does not replace the nationally recognized white cane icon. 

Abby and her back story are a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious way. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real events is purely coincidental.

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Bold Blind Beauty Reveals

2020 A Year Of Vision Image description is in the body of the post.

POSTED ON DECEMBER 7, 2019
BY CHELSEA NGUYEN
POSTED IN FASHION & BEAUTY
TAGGED BLINDNESSBLINDNESS AWARENESSBOLD BLIND BEAUTYEMPOWERMENT

“2020 A Year Of Vision” Campaign

By Chelsea Nguyen

Abby

Today we have a special guest visiting CAPTIVATING! who will be sharing some exciting beauty news with the blind community in mind. Abby the fashion-icon-extraordinaire of Bold Blind Beauty is with us and will be unveiling her new campaign called “2020 A Year Of Vision.

For those of you who don’t know, Bold Blind Beauty is an online community built on the premise that “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” Its main focus is the empowerment of blind and visually (B&VI) women and Abby is going to tell us what’s in store for 2020. So with that, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Abby.

Chelsea: Hi Abby, we here at CAPTIVATING! are so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into your 2020 Campaign can you tell us a little about yourself?

Abby: Hi Chelsea, thank you for the introduction. It’s an honor to be here at CAPTIVATING! where you’ll be the first to hear about Bold Blind Beauty’s 2020 Campaign.

As you said, my name is Abby and I’m the fictional blind fashionista of Bold Blind Beauty. After taking an extended sabbatical from the corporate world I became an adventurer traveling around the globe. From hiking mountains to sailing worldwide, dabbling in spelunking and gliding down runways in the major fashion capitals of the world, I was sought out to run Bold Blind Beauty.

Chelsea: Wow Abby it is so cool being able to interview a fictional character as I believe you’re the first fictional guest we’ve hosted. And your accomplishments are extraordinary. How did you become such an amazing well-rounded fictional character?

Abby: I’m really more of a representation of real-life B&VI people who are doing the exact same things as our sighted counterparts. The only difference is those of us in the B&VI community do things a little differently by using adaptations. Being blind can have its challenges but then again life is challenging and while we have little control over the things that happen to us, we can choose how we respond to our challenges.

Chelsea: You know I’m really glad you brought up this topic as I’ve been an advocate within the B&VI community for a number of years now. I’ve learned so much as a result of the many friendships I’ve developed with those within the community and even developed nonvisual makeup application techniques which I teach as an image consultant. As a member of the beauty industry, I saw an opportunity to bring products and services to the B&VI. How did you get involved in the beauty business?

Abby: Good question Chelsea. I’ve always had a thing for advocacy and given my experiences when I began working with Bold Blind Beauty I was able to wholly tap into my fashion sense. Extending advocacy into beauty made sense to me because there are limited resources in this area for blind women.

Chelsea: It’s unfortunate that beauty resources are limited for the B&VI community. How do you think we can change this?

Abby: Chelsea, this is an excellent segway into the “2020 A Year Of Vision” Campaign. As part of the campaign, the “Triple B Stamp Of Approval” is a beginning that will address the dilemma of limited beauty resources for our community.

Chelsea: Oh, this “Triple B Stamp Of Approval” sounds intriguing. Please tell us more. How will it work?

Abby: Essentially, the “Triple B Stamp Of Approval” is a product review rating system to gauge the accessibility of a product or service. We have a team of Bold Blind Beauties who will test makeup and cosmetic products by our favorite brands in areas such as accessibility, pricing, packaging, user-friendliness, and then they’ll give an overall score, a Triple B rating!

Then each week I will host a weekly podcast highlighting the outcomes of the products tested, to help our community learn about the beauty options available to them.

Chelsea: This sounds so exciting Abby! The “Triple B Stamp Of Approval“ will help brands and companies reach a broader audience and become more inclusive. Can you give us a sneak peek at the system?

Abby: Sure!! It’s a rather simple process where:

  • 1 B = Needs Improvement
  • 2 B = Good
  • 3 B = Fabulous

Bold Blind Beauty will be collaborating with brands/companies to obtain products to test, in exchange for product reviews. The goal of this system is a mutual effort to expand brands/company’s reach to include the over 7 million B&VI adults of whom nearly 4 million are women age 16 and older.

We see “The Triple B Stamp of Approval“ as a unique opportunity for brands/companies to engage with members of the B&VI community and allow our voices to be heard.

Chelsea: What else do you have going on for the 2020 Year Of Vision Campaign? Can you share it with us?

Abby: Sure I can give CAPTIVATING! readers a quick overview of the campaign. First, since the year 2020 is almost upon us, we felt this is an excellent opportunity to bring awareness to blindness/sight loss. With this in mind, we’ve refreshed our branding for the year and in addition to our regular features (Blind Beauty, Cane Enabled, and Women on the Move) we are incorporating:

  • Abby’s Triple B Stamp Of Approval weekly podcast review
  • Men In Motion: A monthly feature published on the first Monday of each month.

Chelsea: It’s cool that you’ll be introducing your audience to B&VI men. Can you tell us what to expect?

Abby: Awe, Chelsea I wish I could but some things still need to be kept under wraps until the right moment arrives!

Chelsea: I’m disappointed yet excited to see what Bold Blind Beauty will bring us in 2020. Thank you so much, Abby, for sharing your news with our CAPTIVATING! readers. And folks to learn more about Abby’s journey, visit Abby’s Corner at www.boldblindbeauty.com/abbycorner.

Connecting with Abby:

Image Descriptions:

  • Featured Image – A simple black outline drawing of an eye on a white background. The iris of the eye is a teal-colored female symbol and the pupil inside the iris is a smaller gray male symbol. The eye is centered above the tagline “2020 A Year Of Vision.”
  • Fashion icon Abby is holding up a teal dress on a hanger in her right hand. She is wearing a stylish black off the shoulder dress, black heels with ankle straps and a white hat with a black band with a loose end waving. In her left hand is her “gold” colored white cane.
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Mindfully Battling The Cold While Looking Chic

Today’s post is a two-fold fashion and mindfulness article. Since I’ve been practicing mindfulness it makes sense to me to incorporate messages related to it whenever possible.

I Don’t Do Cold

Facing right image is described in the body of the post.
Facing Right

It seems a little odd that someone from Pittsburgh would say “I don’t do cold” but seriously I can’t. One would think someone from this area of the country would be used to our arctic-like winters. But not me, nope. Nah uh! As a matter of fact, my gauge for cold is anything under 75 degrees. Could it be that my skin has gotten thinner with age? Or is it a matter of I’ve reached the point where looking cute when it’s cold is no longer a priority? We may never know the answers to these questions but I finally traded in my old parka for a new one that I adore.

I’ve had many different winter coats in my lifetime but I honestly can’t remember having a parka until a few years ago. Part of my reasoning I think was a mindset that parkas didn’t fit within my definition of chic. To give you a little insight my previous fashion sense dictated a strict protocol of dress pants, skirts, dresses and ALWAYS heels. Thankfully as I’ve gotten older and hopefully a little wiser I’ve also expanded my viewpoints even within my sense of style.

The Parka Casual/Chic Look

The warmest coat I’ve ever owned believe it or not I got from Costco eons ago. It was an ankle-length suede coat lined with faux fur and I gotta tell ya if coats had a soul this one was my true soulmate. But sadly that coat expired to be replaced with newer models. However, this post isn’t about coats gone by, nay, it’s about the parka and it’s cool features.

Facing forward image is described in the body of the post.
Facing Forward

In the featured and two additional photos, I’m standing outside with my white cane. I’m wearing jeans, brown hiking boots, brown gloves, and my army green parka. Even with this casual gear on I felt so darn fabulous could it be because I was actually comfortable in the cold? Who knows? But I want to take a moment to run through some of the features of this coat with you.

  • First, it’s army green!
  • It has metal hardware (silver zipper, snaps, drawstring tips)
  • Sherpa lining
  • Removable faux fur trim on the hood
  • 2 chest pockets
  • 2 fleece-lined waist zip pockets 
  • Cinch waist
  • Ribbed knit cuffs
  • Water-resistant
  • Mid-length & cute detail in the rear hem

Though my previous parka was the same color, length, and basic style as this one it wasn’t as warm as the new jacket. But it had gold metal hardware and faux leather trim accenting the zipper and pockets. Also, the hood was trimmed with faux fur but it wasn’t detachable and cuffs were not ribbed. Ribbed cuffs may seem like minor details but they are an absolute necessity for someone who requires significant warmth.

Way before I began blogging I’ve always maintained that real beauty isn’t so much about appearance as it is about substance. In my opinion, beauty without character is meaningless. There’s nothing more empowering than real beauty that doesn’t rely on outer appearance.

Being Grounded In Mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t a passing fancy. It isn’t something we do now then continue with our day. Being mindful requires us to be present, to be aware. Our frenzied pace worries me.

In an age of unbelievable gadgets, apps, and technology, I think we can be easily fooled into believing we can be everywhere and do everything at once. Sure, we can appear to do more but are we really? How efficient are we when our attention is so divided among the many distractions we’re constantly exposed to?

A good friend of mine recently said this to me: “I love how you can make yourself focus in on things and ignore the shiny objects until they fit your schedule.” Ignoring the shiny objects has become a serious practice in my self-care. Setting up boundaries, saying no, and religiously guarding my time is essential. I’ve realized I do not HAVE to do, NOR do I want to be good at EVERYTHING. Doing the best I can with what I have is enough.

It’s taken me a lifetime to reject other’s definition of who I am and to finally be content with myself, imperfections and all. I’m not perfect, never claimed to be but I know this for sure, I’m finally on the right track and really always was I just doubted myself. Getting back to basics and basking in simplicity brings me so much joy.

All of us feel a little lost from time to time and I think the pressure to be “in the know” and “on 24/7/365” is too much for us. The good news is our minds are unmatched simply because we have the power of CHOICE. If you’re feeling overwhelmed take an inventory of your life and whittle down what isn’t serving you any longer.

Image Descriptions:

  • Featured photo – I’m standing outside with my white cane. I’m wearing jeans, brown hiking boots, brown gloves, and my army green parka. My face is turned up to the sky facing left.
  • 2 Additional photos – In these pictures I’m in the same outfit just posing facing forward and facing right.
  • Gallery of 8 photos detailing the bulleted features listed.
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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.