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Sustainable Pandemic Style

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A Pandemic Silver Lining

Image 2 Skirt & Mask  is described in the body of the post
#2 Skirt & Mask

So admittedly the last few months are unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetime. As a survivor of H1N1, back in 2009, my heart goes out to everyone affected by COVID-19. Remembering how sick I was with Swine Flu I can’t even fathom how it feels to acquire COVID-19. It’s because of this, I’d do anything to protect others and prevent myself from getting the illness. So yes, I’m proudly in the mask-wearing camp.

While wearing face masks may not be the most fashionable accessory, I appreciate the safety factor and another silver lining. What kind of silver lining can there possibly be in wearing a face mask? The answer: time and money.

When our state-mandated everyone to wear face masks I immediately realized how much time I’d save putting on my face. Time wasn’t the only factor because with a little ingenuity I could save money by using less makeup. Then my timesaving idea stretched to another level with styling an entire outfit bwahaha!

5 Minutes Is All It Took, How’d I Do It?

In recent years, I’ve gradually used fewer makeup products and found to my delight that with the mask I can go totally without. Oh sure, I could go without makeup anytime and most days this is how I roll. But, when going out in public, I typically like to wear a minimum of eyeliner and eyebrows. The face mask changed all this because with oversized sunglasses, mask, and if I want to be really fancy, my wig. Throwing on some cute earrings and outfit and I’m good to go.

The Outfit

It only took me 5 minutes to create a chic look and all of it without a scrap of makeup! Let’s be honest when it’s hot as Hades who wants to wear makeup anyway? Here are all the pieces:

  • Black tee shirt
  • Previously loved denim midi skirt
  • Gold/white striped slides
  • Bronze leather leaf earrings
  • Bracelets
  • Gold ‘white’ cane
  • Sunglasses
  • Face mask
  • Hair/wig

Sustainability & Minimalism

As a minimalist, I’m always looking for ways to eliminate waste/excess, and this year my focus has been on fast fashion or rather abstaining from it. Knowing I can always do better with sustainability in mind motivates me to continually downsize and opt for previously loved clothing.

For ages, I’ve been wanting a long denim skirt or dress and haven’t had success finding what appealed to me. Since I already went through my wardrobe looking to give a new home for some of my previously ‘loved’ items, it made sense to look at ThredUp for a denim skirt.

Before I send anything to ThredUp or any other resaler I take photos for my records until my stuff is sold or given away. By the way, ThredUp Clean Out Kits are free, all you have to do is request a shipping bag/box or print a label with your own packaging. Please note that due to the high volume and reduced staff, the processing time is considerably longer.

For anyone interested in creating a more sustainable wardrobe lifestyle I highly recommend the book “The Conscious Closet” by Elizabeth Cline. The book is available on BARD and Audible and the author offers excellent tips as well as interesting statistics for the fashion conscious.

Additional Resources:

If you are on Instagram here are a few other resources on sustainability.

What are your thoughts about sustainable fashion?

Have a fabulous weekend!

Image Descriptions:

  • Beauty Buzz Header Image: The background is half gray and the other half is a photo of a home office. On the gray half is “Beauty Buzz” in white text with a colorful bumblebee at the end of the word. White text on the photo says “Blog Biz.”
  • #2 Skirt & Mask – Photo of Steph standing outside in her ThredUp midi denim skirt, black tee, gold/white striped slides, gold “white” cane, and facemask sans makeup.
  • #3 Photo Gallery – Midi skirt 3-panel collage 1) Rear shot of Steph standing 2) Steph sitting on a picnic bench under a tree 3) Steph standing in the sunlight holding her face mask.
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Mom Still Gets Her Grooves On



Editor’s Note:

Award-winning author of “The Bright Side of Darkness” and groovy mom, J. E. Pinto aka Jo Elizabeth, has written another book. Previously featured here as a Woman On The Move, today J.E. shares a “middle-aged moms are still hip” vignette from her latest book: “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark.” The following exchange between J.E. and her daughter is simply delightful. Enjoy!

Age is a state of mind … or maybe it’s a state of complexion. Either way, moms can still be groovy even as they’re pushing fifty.

Jo Elizabeth pinto

Thorny Devil

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

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Daisy Tee

I got a late start as a mom. My little girl was born when I was in my mid-thirties. When I show up at her school for classroom parties and field day events, some of her friends think I’m her grandma. The fact that many of their mothers are almost young enough to be my daughter creates an interesting time warp for me.

The time warp is amplified by the fact that, as any mom will tell you, kids are living self-esteem busters. Especially little girls. They’re quick to let you know about your new gray hairs or any blemishes that appear on your face, the coffee you drip on your shirt, the dress that starts to fit you a bit too tightly. If they see a lady on a TV commercial whose smile has gotten three shades brighter because she just tried a new teeth-whitening product, they’ll recommend the product to you the first chance they get. My sweet angel, Sarah, is no exception. She means no harm by it; she comes by her blunt remarks as honestly as any other kid born without filters.

So while the truth of my advancing age is no surprise to me, it hit home for me in a new way the other night. My daughter got right in my face with reality–literally.

At bedtime, she read aloud to me from one of her “Scholastic News” handouts. They’re miniature newspapers passed out periodically in classrooms around the country, and the one she chose this time featured ways wild animals beat the summer heat. We read about hippos in Africa whose bodies make their own sticky sunscreen, kit foxes in Arizona whose furry paws enable them to run across the scorching sand, and silver ants in the Sahara Desert whose shiny backs reflect the heat of the midday sun.

The strangest animal we encountered was the thorny devil, a spiny lizard from the deserts of central Australia. Because it lives in such an arid environment, the thorny devil collects water by letting scarce rainfall and nighttime dew pool up in the grooves between its spines. Then the precious water trickles along the grooves on the lizard’s body, eventually ending up in its open mouth.

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Thorny Devil

As Sarah read, she reached out and stroked my forehead and cheek. I sighed, enjoying the unexpected caress. For a moment, I was lulled into a false sense of contentment.

Then Sarah traced the lines on my forehead and around my eyes with the tip of her index finger. “Mom, you don’t have spines, but you have grooves.”

“Grooves?” I frowned. “I have grooves?”

Sarah’s index finger moved down to my cheek and began tracing around the curve of my nose toward the place where my lips parted. “If you sit outside when it rains, does the water collect in these grooves and trickle into your mouth?”

So much for any last hope I might have had of being a reasonably attractive woman of middle age. “What in the world are you talking about?”

“The lines on your forehead and around your eyes and lips.”

After I finished tucking Sarah into bed, I asked her dad about the state of my complexion, since as a blind person, the thought of wrinkles had never really crossed my mind. I knew elderly people got wrinkles, but my face still felt as smooth under my fingertips as it ever had, and I’d never really given the idea of lines around my eyes and mouth a passing thought.

“You look fine. Not young, not old,” he said in a maddeningly offhand way, hardly glancing up from his hockey game. “Nobody would believe you if you said you were thirty; nobody would believe you if you said you were fifty. Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it? Really?” I muttered as I walked away. “Easy for you to say! You can see yourself in the mirror!”

And there I have it. My daughter tells me I look like a thorny devil, and her dad says not to worry about it. I think I’ll sit out on my front porch tomorrow. There’s rain in the forecast.


This piece appears in the parenting memoir I published last summer, called “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark.” The book, made up of short, mostly lighthearted vignettes about my adventures as the blind mom of a sighted daughter, shows that the dents and delights of parenthood are universal, with or without a disability. It’s designed to be an easy read for parents, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, legislators, and others who enjoy kids or interact with diverse family populations.

For more information about both my award-winning novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness,” and “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark,” please visit my author Website at

About The Author:

Jo Pinto at Author Reading
J. E. Pinto at Author Reading

J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audiobooks. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.

The Bright Side of Darkness won a first-place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.”

Image Descriptions:

  • Header – Jo Elizabeth with her yellow Labrador guide dog Anlyn walking on a leaf-strewn tree-lined sidewalk with gold, red, and orange autumn trees.
  • Daisy Tee – Photo of Jo Elizabeth wearing a huge smile and sunny yellow tee-shirt covered in daisies.
  • Hippos & Foxes & Ants, Oh My! Close up images of hippos in the water, an adorable fox, and a singular ant in a gallery.
  • Thorny Devil – Close up of the reptile that looks like a lizard with thorns.
  • J. E. Pinto at Author Reading – In this photo, Jo Elizabeth is sitting in a chair holding up her book “The Bright Side of Darkness.”
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Celebrate #ADA30 July 26, 2020

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Editor’s Note:

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. Every year at this time I recommend a moving PBS documentary about the Disability Rights Movement called “Lives Worth Living.” This year I’m adding Crip Camp, another film that highlights the disability revolution.

Americans With Disability Act Turns 30 Today

While I am not a sociologist I am an empathic person who respects humanity and believes in doing the right thing. Being born into a couple of marginalized groups allowed me to become uncomfortably familiar with discrimination and exclusion. Even so, because I value human life and deeply appreciate diversity, I refused to allow my circumstances to define who I am. Then later in life, I acquired a disability.

Living with a disability is a life-altering uniquely personalized situation that’s been physically and emotionally draining. Adding to this heaviness, confronting an additional layer of discrimination makes day to day life even more uncertain. Losing my independence has been frustrating and enlightening.

Because of my background, I’ve always known that the world we live in isn’t fair or equitable for everyone. As complex as we are as humans, no one can possibly understand what it’s like to live in the body of another person. Even so, our need to classify everything including people, makes it more difficult for us to see our commonalities. The further we drill down these classifications the lesser the value of those belonging to certain groups like, for instance, people with disabilities.

An Ugly History

Here in the United States, it was against the law to be in public spaces if you were “diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object.” As unbelievable as it might seem “The Ugly Laws” as they came to be known in 1975, were enacted in the late 1860s. These ‘laws‘ encompassed the “poor, the homeless, vagrants, and those with visible disabilities.”

Eugenics, also known as a movement to improve the human race, was a process where people who met certain criteria were sterilized to prevent them from reproducing. The laws were put in place by our government and/or the people who thought they were superior to everyone else.

The Fight For Disability Rights Continues

I think the difference between those who fight for social justice and those who are against it is our view on humanity. People who respect differences and are open to accepting others as they are with empathy understand that “life,” no matter who it belongs to, matters. Even the elitists have no more or less value than those whom they deem less than.

“Around 15 percent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities. They are the world’s largest minority.”* The thing that sets our community apart from other minority groups is we are wholly inclusive. Anyone at any age, social status, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. can become a member at any point in their lives. What’s sad is some of us take the stance that disability rights are ‘not our problem,’ that is until we become disabled. However, being ‘temporarily-abled’ as the majority of us are, makes it our problem.

People with disabilities share many of the same characteristics of our temporarily-abled counterparts, we simply do things a little differently. We’ve come a long way since the ADA became law however the fight for Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation continues.

*Resource: Fact Sheet on Persons with Disabilities

Disability Rights Are Human Rights

So what can you do to become part of the movement?

  • Empathize: I think the most important thing any of us can do, is to check our assumptions at the door. It’s wrong to assume people with disabilities have no value or worse yet, no skills or aspirations.
  • Educate: Increase your understanding of the wide range of disabilities and become more culturally aware and sensitive to the needs of the community. Not every disability is hidden and each person’s story is unique.
  • Embrace: Opening your world to include people with disabilities by volunteering for organizations that support the disability community is a win-win. The organization and the people it supports will benefit from the gift of your time. You will increase your knowledge and build relationships with people who will expand your heart.
  • Respect: No one, wants to be reduced. It’s hard enough being human, so let’s eliminate this idea that disability equals deficit. Learning to appreciate differences and accepting people where they are is at the heart of humanity. If you subscribe to the idea that humanity is imperfect, respecting differences can begin with embracing our own flaws. After all, we are all human.

Let’s continue to strive for inclusivity in all areas of life. Hopefully, there will come a time when we fully embrace our differences without condescension. Until then, celebrate Celebrate #ADA30 with me. What other ways can you think of to impact the disability movement?

Image Description:

Graffiti: the word “ACT” is vertical colored letters that spell out “Action Changes Things” on a black brick wall.

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Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!

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Editor’s Note:

In an ongoing effort to increase awareness on sight loss/blindness, Bold Blind Beauty contributor Cheryl Minnette will be inviting readers into the world of what it’s like to live with severe sight loss. These articles are created with the intention of continuing meaningful conversation while further connecting blind and sighted people. We hope you will enjoy these quarterly pieces that will be published under Beauty Buzz & Blog Biz and tagged “Awareness & Sensitivity.”

Initial thoughts…

“Oh no…!!”

“I hope I can do this.”

“A little more variety from the color palette would have helped.”

There are so many beautiful colors in the world, such a vast rainbow to observe. In addition to the many shades, you have your pales, your brights, your darks and your lights. Any color, any hue that you can imagine is some type of blend. So what happens when the color choice is just one? One single color, with no other. No other color to compliment it. No other color to offset it. No other color to contrast with it. How does this single hue appear to you? 

Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!

Come along with me on a journey that will allow you to gain some mental insight into someone else’s world. Indulge me a moment by closing your eyes as I walk you through a scenario. Are you ready? Let’s go!

All are chatting away and excitement is in the air, electrifying it, as everyone is escorted through the venue. Anticipation peaks as a pair of highly arched, white French doors swing open to reveal the outdoor wedding reception. Immediately you step onto the first of a limited number of oversized white steppingstones, that wind throughout the beautifully manicured lawn. With the sun shining brightly overhead, you may just barely be able to see the tables that are spectacularly decorated off in the distance. 

The first thing you must do is get from point A to point B while trying to appear as graceful as possible. The steppingstones may not be too much of a problem, but look out for those unseen changes in the terrain. A beautiful scene, but not the most ideal place for a blind girl in her stilettos. As the maneuvering continues, all are wondering what will take place when the festivities begin.  

Getting situated at your table and meeting the other table guests is always an interesting process. As you get closer, you hear people marveling at the beauty of the vision before them. There are all-white tablescapes that start with a tablecloth that gently drapes down to kiss the lawn, and chairs that have been stylishly dressed with white chair covers that are snatched with a rear bow and shimmering with crystal and pearl embellishments. As you approach the seating area, the multiple tablescapes appear to be a large white danger zone, an accident waiting to happen. Your mind now begins to race as it is searching and wondering, ‘How on God’s green earth will I get through this?’ Caution becomes the word of the day, as you proceed very cautiously to ensure that minimal damage occurs, but hoping there will be none at all. The challenge here is that, although you pretty much know what should be on the table, you just don’t see it. 

For instance, you may know there’s a place setting, but what type is the question. One must consider what their entire place setting consists of. You know there will be silverware, but the number of pieces is the variable, since there may be between three and eight. Did you know that in this setting the reflection from the sun can cause silverware to disappear, as they can appear to be white? Having a clear item on a sunny day like crystal stemware adds another layer of challenges. You know it’s there, but where and how many is what you need to figure out before they are inadvertently knocked over. 

Note that without any contrast, sun or no sun, everything on the table can blend together as one. So with the place settings, silverware, and crystal stemware, rounding out these tablescapes are large green and white floral arrangements in a tall crystal vase, which is set upon an octagon-shaped mirrored centerpiece. White pearl strands are swirled around the table with crystal accents sprinkled all around.

With this scenario, I’m sure you can understand the pitfalls that would be challenging for someone with severe vision loss and contrast challenges. Is the scene beautiful? Yes, it is. Could it become a tragic scene? Yes, I could. Can one acquire the skills to move through this scenario with poise and grace? Yes, one most definitely can!

These are some of the things that one has to process and work through as part of their day to day life style.

On the one hand, if you are sighted, this monochromatic display may be a breathtakingly picturesque sight to behold. On the other hand, for someone whose visual challenge deals with contrast and severe vision loss, having this tablescape could be like walking a bull through a China Shop. The bull may not demolish the shop, but some damage will definitely occur.  

Give us your thoughts as you comment below as to what you became aware of, what you would like to know, and what you were able to relate to. Your insights and expressions are appreciated.

Believing you are capable
is the first step, But
taking action is the ultimate step.

~Cheryl Minnette

Image Description:

A pair of silver wedding bands tied together with white satin ribbon on