Beauty Buzz/Blog Biz
When Bold Blind Beauty Advisory Board Member and Contributor, Sylvia Stinson-Perez pitched me the idea of starting a podcast I was skeptical. If I were to be totally transparent, a large part of me was also very afraid because of my workload. However, after meeting with Sylvia and Nasreen Bhutta, our Chief Communications Officer they convinced me to at least try it.
Today, I can say I’m so excited about the possibilities of extending Bold Blind Beauty’s message on the importance of A.I.R. Launching Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. provides us with greater opportunities to promote Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation to a broader audience. To help celebrate the occasion we are offering a new product in our lineup: Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. Enamel Mug that features our cool podcast logo.
I’m still scared but when I remember why I’m an abilities crusader, my desire for positive change within the disability community outweighs my fear. Will the podcast be perfect? Hardly, but as long as we are willing to learn and put in a solid effort it will be alright.
You can visit our podcast by clicking the button under the Editor’s Note, listen to it on YouTube or you can read our transcript beneath the button. Please excuse my Zoom photo included in the transcription as my laptop camera is horrific. I hope you enjoy our first episode. ~Steph
Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. Transcription
Hi everyone, my name is Stephanae McCoy the founder of Bold Blind Beauty. Welcome to our first podcast edition of Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. Everyone on the planet needs air to survive. Bold Blind Beauty adopted the acronym A.I.R. (Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation) because it’s essential for people with disabilities. People with disabilities need accessibility, inclusion, and representation, not only to survive but to thrive. Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. is clearing the air for more A.I.R.
Each edition of Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. will be broken out into three segments, where we will discuss topics under Bold concepts, companies and or people Blind accessibility ideas, tips and or products and Beauty products and services, inner and outer beauty. Within each of these segments, the overall message will center on Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation.
So let’s dive into introductions. I’ll go first, then I’ll hand it off to my lovely co-hosts, Sylvia Stinson-Perez and Nasreen Bhutta. Each of us will tell you who we are, where we live, and share our sight loss journey.
As I mentioned at the top of the program, my name is Stephanae McCoy and my friends call me Steph. I live in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
My sight loss journey began out of the blue in 2005 and spanned 4 years. It all happened when I took out one of my contact lenses and when I looked at my reflection in the mirror half of my face was missing. The cause of my missing face was a singular macular hole that stole my central vision. Several macular holes, a torn retina, glaucoma, cataracts, numerous surgeries, and a uveitis diagnosis I was diagnosed legally blind.
As my sight dwindled from 20/80, 20/200 to 20/400 and so on, each level of loss took my breath away and I had to constantly readjust. During that time I felt like everything was on the line because I’d just bought a new home, received a great promotion at work, and got married. I can’t tell you how scared I was, but thankfully everything changed when I faced my fear and reached out for help from several blindness organizations. Seeking help was my salvation because for the first time in my life I met, engaged with, and befriended other blind people. Immersing myself in advocacy with other blind people is what eventually led me to create Bold Blind Beauty. I will now hand it over to Sylvia.
Hi, everyone, as Steph said, I’m Sylvia Stinson-Perez and I am coming to you from Monticello, Florida, which is just east of Tallahassee. My journey is quite a bit different than that of Steph and Nasreen. Because I was born with a visual impairment, I was actually born legally blind.
Growing up, I had some decent usable vision. I compare that to what I have now, I guess. I could read really close up. I could not, however, see the board at school, signs, baseballs coming at me, or street signs. But I learned to adapt and figure out lots of strategies, listen well, etc.
I would say that I probably grew up fairly typical with many of the same challenges that kids who are visually impaired grow up with, had really challenging times with lack of acceptance from my peers. Fortunately, I had a really nice supportive family at home. I went to college, got a degree in social work, met and married my husband of 27 years and we had a daughter, who’s now 21 years old.
In my mid 30s. I mean in my mid 20s right when I’m getting set to go into my career looking for jobs, I started noticing that I was having trouble seeing the computer screen. I got the retinitis pigmentosa diagnosis then, and I knew what that meant. I knew that I would gradually lose my vision, and potentially all of my vision.
Today, I only have light perception left. I was really fortunate to find great mentors who are blind, and to learn the skills that I needed to learn, to live, and to work as a person who was blind. I’ve been so fortunate to have just an amazing career, helping make a positive difference in the lives of people who are blind. So now I’m going to kick it over to Nasreen to tell you a little bit about herself.
Thanks, Sylvia. Hi everyone. I am Nasreen and I am from Toronto, Canada. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with something called retinitis pigmentosa, which is an eye condition. Eventually, it leads to full complete blindness. There are stages as Steph mentioned, and I still remember sitting in my ophthalmologist’s office and when I got the bad news about what my test results were revealing at the time, and I just couldn’t believe him saying to me that you have this thing called RP. This is what it does over time, it gradually leads to full blindness. And he actually gave me a timeline of when that would happen. I did not meet that particular timeline that he gave me, I do have central vision loss which is deteriorating but I do have my peripheral vision.
Like anything sight loss, there are different acuities with it. So we all see differently. We all see different variables. There’s not one, if somebody has RP, it’s not like we all have the same type.
I am a parent as well. I have one child, a lovely young lady who has now grown. At first it was hard and rough coming to terms with the diagnosis that I was given. My focus was to do my best raising my daughter. And that also at that point in my life when I was diagnosed, a couple of things happened. I was you know, I found myself going through a divorce and being a single parent, and now diagnosed with this debilitating disease. So all the three whammies that anybody you know, nobody needs in their life.
There were struggles and challenges in the beginning, I must admit. So I had to push through, I had to persevere, I was determined to do so I developed a drive, you might say as a result of having RP that drove me to do more to excel to find different ways. It also brought out the passionate side of me to be the best I could but I used to be an introvert in my adolescence, but I think my diagnosis has actually turned up to the reverse and made me more of an extrovert. I’m more vocal, I’m more of an advocator I like to try new things. I become you know, a trainer of sorts, a facilitator, I like to help people and assist them in what they’re doing. I classify myself as a self starter and someone who is kind of you know, I have, I can honestly say launched my own career again, from where it was before I was diagnosed with RP.
I also enjoy helping others to reach you know, their heights and their goals and will you know, relaunch their careers. I am the chief communications officer here proudly at Bold Blind Beauty. I am so glad to be part of this wonderful team with Steph and Sylvia. And, you know, thank you all for listening to our journeys. I’m going to turn this over to Steph, and we’re going to talk about our major lessons learned. So back over to you, Steph.
Thank you, Nasreen. The major lesson I learned about living a Bold Blind Beauty life is that things aren’t always as they appear. “My sight loss taught me perception is more profound than seeing. I may have lost my sight but my clarity has increased exponentially, and for this I am grateful.” Over to you Sylvia.
So what I have learned through my journey of vision loss, a couple things I’ll share. One is that it takes a lot of courage, determination, and energy.
The second thing I would say is that we are not alone. Many people think they’re alone. They might not know anyone else who has a visual impairment. But there are millions of us across the world. We’re not alone.
We’re also not alone in making things happen. Many of us including myself, and I know these ladies, too. are fiercely independent. But independent doesn’t mean we do everything on our own. It also means that we recognize when we need help, or we use interdependence. Helen Keller said that “alone, we can do so little together so much” and I think that’s one of the reasons that we have this podcast, and that we have joined together is that we want to encourage people to help them find their authentic courage, confidence and beauty. So Nasreen, what lessons have you learned?
Thanks for asking Sylvia so I’ll tell you. The lessons that I’ve learned about living a Bold Beautiful life is always, for me, it’s important to be confident and accepting of myself and my abilities. Because if I do that, then others will see as a result that will see me the same light that I see myself in.
I’m not one to use a blind card. Like Sylvia mentioned, I only pull it out when I’m absolutely struggling and I cannot do something and I do need some help. Otherwise, watch me go. And I also believe to succeed, hard work is needed. Never stop learning. And I find that through experiential learning, you can gain so much. That’s what I’ve learned Sylvia. I really appreciate that. Thanks so much. I’m going to turn it back over to Sylvia now, because we’re going to talk about goals.
So goals are really important. How many of you have set goals? Now I’m going to ask Nasreen and Steph, if they’ve set goals too.
I really strongly believe in goal setting. And here we are in January a great time to set goals. But even if you’re listening to this podcast in February, or March or August, or too late to start goals, and there’s not a designated day that ‘that’s the day you must set your goals.’
Goals are really important. And studies show that people who write them down actually are way more likely to achieve their goals. So just some very quick tips on setting actionable goals. Because winning the lottery, being successful, being more healthy, even eating better, losing weight, those are not real goals, those are ambitions.
Goals need to be actionable. So specific, measurable, achievable. So something that’s in your control, realistic, and relevant, something that’s really important to you. And timebound, there needs to be a time limit around it.
So I’m going to give an example of a goal of mine for 2021. I want to really be a person who gets out there and encourages people who are visually impaired to live their best lives. But I also want to reach people who are sighted to help them understand that we’re just people who can’t see we have the same dreams and ambitions and needs. So one of my goals is to do at least two podcasts, webinars, blogs, or articles, a month. Nasreen what’s one of your goals?
Great question, you know, I gave this a lot of thought. And I really feel that since I wear many different hats in my professional vertical. And the goal that I wanted to set that would be fitting for all of this is to kind of better brand myself. You know, to develop a better message overall, that kind of sums up who I am, what I do, who I help. I want to kind of sum all that up together in and having sort of a core meaning which leads to a certain value that I’d like to project. But in 2021 I really want to pull that together and come out on the other side with that sort of branded statement. So that’s my actionable item this time Sylvia and Steph.
So your SMART goal is to develop a brand identity statement.
Thanks Nasreen. My major goal for this year is to improve my advocacy efforts within the beauty realm. I’m going to do this by reaching out to and reviewing products and or services from at least one company per month. Once I’ve done this, I’ll share my review with the companies on Bold Blind Beauty and related socials. Back to you Nasreen.
Awesome stuff, Steph. As far as our beautiful part of our whole Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R. goes, we do have our first guest today. And he happens to be a friend of Bold Blind Beauty. He’s the head of partnership at usable dotnet. He’s also a medal-winning athlete and public speaker. This guy is totally fit. And he also developed his own fitness program. He’s here to share his fitness hacks with us for 2021. So please welcome Tanner Gers.
Hey, Nasreen thanks so much for having me. Hey, Bold Blind Beauty love you guys so much. I’m so grateful to be here.
Good to have you. So I’ll turn this back to Sylvia.
Tanner tell us a little bit about yourself and your blindness journey.
Sure, so I actually became blind as an adult, I was in a really bad auto accident. And I woke up in the hospital totally blind as a result of that accident. Since then, that’s when I really started to discover how difficult things are for the blind and visually impaired community. I never had these hurdles before in my life. And so since then, since 2004, I have been working my darndest to, to make things right and make things better, and make things more inclusive.
Awesome. So Tanner, I started working out with you a few months ago on your 21 day fitness challenge. I’m probably saying that all wrong. So you can correct me. And let me tell you, it’s hard, I’m still trying to figure out how a seated push up is even possible for me, my booty still on the floor, dude, okay? But, give us five of your best fitness hacks, that those of us who can’t get our booties off that floor for the seated push up can actually do this year.
You got it. And thanks so much for the opportunity to help out fitness and health is super important for me, especially right now the time that we’re in, where, you know, just catching something could put you in the hospital, or, you know, further disable you if not kill you.
I think it’s really important for us to focus on our health. So here’s five quick and dirty tips that you know anybody in the Bold Blind community can use today, because none of them require a gym or equipment. And that’s number one
- is that your body is your best gym, you know, we all weigh a particular amount. And we can use that weight, our body weight to really improve our fitness in a multitude of ways, whether it’s just doing some squats, or lunges or sit-ups or push-ups. You know that’s definitely hack number one is use your body and do fun things with it, whether it’s hiking or just crawling around on the floor with kids or doing some jumps, you can do so much with your body. And I highly encourage everybody to leverage their best asset—their body—to improve their fitness.
- The second thing is, that you can do fitness and make improvements regardless of whether or not you can do a push-up or do a squat or do a sit-up. There’s a ton of different variations that we can incorporate that are safe, that enable you to get the same benefits without actually being able to do a push-up. So the seated push-up that Sylvia was talking about is one where you’re basically just sitting on your butt, your legs are stretched out, your torso is upright.
So you’re kind of in an L, right, where your upper body is the top part of the L in your legs or the lower part of the L and you just put your hands down. I like to use my fists, I put my hands in fists. You just put your hands down/your fists down on either side of your hips and you just push down into the ground and try to get your hips up off the ground.
Using a body position that people might be more familiar with is a push-up position. And if you lay down on the floor, face down, and you get into a push-up position with your hands out to the sides, your body is straight and your elbows are back and out. If you can’t do a push-up, you can still just push and there’s three muscle contractions 1) the centric that’s lowering 2) isometric that’s stopped or static position, and then 3) concentric, that’s where you’re lifting.
So if I was lowering down into the push-up, that’d be a centric. The moment in time in which I changed from lowering to raising or concentric. That’s called isometric and that’s all that is, you just push and you can get stronger just doing isometric exercises. So that’s number two and number three at the same time.
Why I love isometric exercises is because they’re safe. They don’t require high-speed movements. And they can build strength without putting a ton of muscle mass on your body. And I know our women don’t want to be running around looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So doing isometric static holds is a great way to increase your metabolism, to burn body fat, to get really strong, and to not have a bunch of excess muscle mass.
So I’m gonna recap those really quick.
- One is to use your body weight.
- Two is, there’s plenty of variations that we can do. I gave two. If you could just focus on doing those ISO push-ups down at the bottom of a push-up position, that’d be great.
- Three isometric exercises are a great way to build muscle or excuse me, get stronger, get your muscles stronger, burn fat, increase your metabolism, and really make progress.
- Number four is that it doesn’t have to be a really long time. Right? Do something every day. That’s the most important thing. Staying on the wagon is way easier than getting off the wagon and climbing back on and getting off and climbing back on. Just do something every single day, whether that’s walking around the house for a few extra steps, walking around the block, doing some jumping jacks, whatever it is, make movement every single day. And the fifth,
- The fifth one really rings home for me because along my fitness journey, I would work out and I would work out and I would work out and I would work out and I would work out and I would work out some more. I would do two days, I would do three days, I would lift weights, I would do bodyweight stuff, I would do endurance exercise, I would do all these different exercises, but I couldn’t break through a plateau.
And that plateau, that ceiling that I put on myself was a direct result of what I was putting in my body. And not what I was asking my body to do, not what I was putting out with my body.
So drink more water and consume less carbohydrates, less sugars, less breads. I love quesadillas, you know, it’s literally a staple in my diet. But it’s really tough for me because, you know, I know that it’s not great for me. I know that those cookies aren’t great. I know that you know, those milkshakes aren’t good for me.
And right now, you can make a ton of improvements if you just watch what you’re drinking and what you’re eating. When I was figuring this out the only thing I would drink was Mountain Dew. I would have Mountain Dew for breakfast, I would have Mountain Dew at lunch, I would have Mountain Dew at dinner. Whatever the soda was, I was having soda all the time.
And the first step I made was to just stop having soda at breakfast. And then I got it to where it wasn’t at lunch. And then I got it to where it wasn’t at dinner. And now I rarely ever, ever drink soda, I think, you know, in 2020, I may have had three, four, or five sodas total. And it was just a very special occasion, maybe a mixed drink, or maybe going out and having a nice dinner or something. But if you can cut out those calories in your beverages alone, you’re gonna make significant progress. So those are the five hacks that I’ve got for you in 2021.
Thanks, Tanner. So one of my favorites, and I’m gonna be honest, of exercises, because I learned from Tanner. One of my favorites because it’s super easy, is CRUSH the can. Doing it Tanner even when you’re not, you know, you’re not pushing us online to do it. So Tanner how can people connect with you and your fitness program?
Yeah, so I created a fitness program called ABSolutely Lean System Fitness. You can go to absolutelylean.com “absolutely” just how it’s spelled lean l-e-a-n.com. And you can check out ABSolutely Lean System Fitness there. Sylvia was referencing the three-week fitness challenge. It’s basically me applying the principles in ABSolutely Lean System Fitness is a three week, 100% bodyweight training program that I had been doing every month. But due to some personal difficulties, I had to put a pause on January, as I navigate this turbulent personal situation that I’m in, but yeah, that’s where people can find out more.
And once he gets the three-week fitness challenge restarted. Here’s the amazing thing about it. It’s less than 10 minutes. Yeah, he kills it in seven minutes but you know, just saying.
I just thought of something, you can get, I think ABSolutely Lean System Fitness is like $200 bucks. There’s like three levels, beginner, intermediate, and expert or advanced workout routines. I put a ton of time and effort into creating that video program but I believe at three-week fitness challenge dot com (3weekfitnesschallenge.com). I believe you can buy the ABSolutely Lean System Fitness for something stupid like $3 or $5 or something. So definitely go pick it up there.
Thank you Tanner. So you know Tanner, everyone’s gonna want to know what your medals in.
Oh, well, thanks Nasreen I mean, I get super embarrassed about it because I’m not. I don’t even like talking about it. But I’ve medaled in track and field for the long jump for sprinting, in the 100 meters in the 200 meters. And I’ve won a couple of national championships in track cycling.
Awesome. See he’s totally Bold, Blind and Beautiful.
Yeah, and brave, absolutely brave.
We have to now share what our fitness goals for this year are. So I’m sure they’re nowhere close to yours. Okay, so mine is to just continue walking by 7,500 steps a day, which I am really proud to say that I have consistently been doing for over two years. Get a Fitbit and use it. What my other goal is, and I’m putting it out here for accountability purposes, okay, is to get a regular yoga routine going. Here we are, like, you know, well into January and I haven’t done it yet. But it is a goal. Nasreen, what is your goal this year for fitness.
Well, I’ll be honest with you guys, I have bought a skipping rope Tanner. And I’m not sure exactly what I want to do with it yet or how best to get you know packing with it. So maybe that’s something you might want to tell me or show me how to do or give you some insights on that. But I did buy a skipping rope so I’m one step ahead.
I would trip and fall. Steph what about you, would you trip and fall with a skipping rope too?
I have to plead the fifth on a skipping rope thing Sylvia while I wish I could say I have fitness goals for 2021 I’m dealing with some issues that require me to focus more on taking small steps to be more mindful about what I’m putting into my body. So, unfortunately, this is not a SMART goal. It’s more of an ambition. But that is where my focus is.
Tanner, do you have any last words for us?
Yeah, the final words I think would just be is just to make progress every day, whether that’s with your nutrition, or your fitness is like what can I do? What’s one thing that I can do today to be better? And just do that?
That’s awesome advice. And I think that applies in every aspect of our lives.
Yeah, Tanner, do you want to just share your socials where people can find you if you want to plug out your Facebook groups and people can join.
Yeah, I mean, if you want to join the Facebook group, the best way to do that is through 3weekfitness.com. But I’m everywhere at Tanner Gers. And we make it tough on people. So it’s just four letters on that last name G-e-r-s Tanner. Tanner, G-e-r-s I’m everywhere, Tanner Gers.
Awesome. Thanks, Tanner for joining us.
Oh, I’m honored. Thank you all.
Please share this and ask your friends to subscribe to both online and on your podcast. Follow us and join us for our next podcast. Coming to you all soon.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Finding Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R.
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- Steph zoom photo: Steph is smiling and wearing a vibrant red Bold Blind Beauty hoodie with black leather leaf earrings. The white ink hoodie graphic contains fashion icon Abby next to a checklist that says “Handbag, Heels, White Cane.” Directly under Abby and the checklist are the words “Ready To Conquer.”
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