About Us

This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Beauty in "You"

“Will you stand by my side when I need you the most, or will you let your fears prevail, and disappear like a ghost?” One thing for sure is that my blindness not only has changed my life, but the dynamics of my relationships as well. I lost my eyesight two months before my 19th birthday, at a monumental time in life, when a person is starting to learn more about themselves and form their own identity. Little did I know that one aspect of my identity would impact my whole life. Particularly, college was hard for me socially because I was left out of peer groups, due to what I perceive to be stereotypes.
Although I had accepted my blindness, I was made to feel unease about who I was by my peers. At times, the reactions of my peers left me feeling frustrated, sad, and uncomfortable in my own skin. It was my family, close friends, and beliefs that helped give me the confidence to soar above the negative judgments, to which were trying to pull me down. As my college years progressed, that developed confidence turned into relentless ambition. Feeling the need to decry the stereotype about the capabilities of blind/visually impaired individuals was important to me. I wanted to prove to those very people who left me out of groups, that I along with any other student, have the ability and can accomplish the same task they set out to achieve. I’m boasting when I say that my hard work paid off because one of my professors had the class to clap and give me a standing ovation after a debate. So, a word of advice, if I can do it, you can too!
Thinking back on my college and even graduate educational years, I wonder if a person can truly accept themselves if they are not comfortable with who they are? I believe the answer is no because we all have various aspects of our identity that ultimately shapes us into the person who we are today, and will be in the future. Not being comfortable with one part of your identity, is denying yourself the opportunity to grow into the person that you are destined to be. At this point in my life, I can honestly say that I am comfortable with the person I am because I accept all aspects of my identity and feel at ease. If you agree or disagree with this post, please let us know. Beautifully Blind, Inc. wants to know your thoughts!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Accessible Voting Technology....

Along with the right to vote we all should have accessiblity to vote. Jill Piner, a PhD student at Rice University in Houston,
TX is currently working on a project that involves understanding and promoting change in accessible voting technology, specifically for blind and visually impaired individuals. For this study she needs to recruit people that are 18 years of age or older and legally blind. The recruits need to take a survey about their previous voting experience and what changes they feel would be most beneficial. This type of research can help in the changes needed with making voting more accessible and allows our community voice to be heard. The link to the survey is at the end of this post and it should take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. All information is kept strictly confidential and will only be used for academic purposes. No personally identifying information (like name, address, etc) will be collected. Remember "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller.


Happy Holidays Luv Bugs!
Stay Beautiful!

Beautifully Blind, Inc.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


On November 4, 2010, when I heard the words, “flight attendants prepare for takeoff”, they took on a whole different meaning for me compared to previous flights that I have traveled. I was not only taking off to a destination, but to another country unfamiliar to me. As I could feel the rush of excitement in my body, I kept thinking, Jamaica here I come! My journey was about to begin, and I was ready for what my new adventure would entail. I mentally visualized the beaches, coconut trees, mango trees, beautiful ocean water, and tasty fruit, which increased my level of enthusiasm. However, as Toni mentioned in her post, there was a potential threat of hurricane Tomas, to which I was not excited about at all.
When our plane landed in Jamaica, after walking outside to get into the cab, I could feel the warm humid air brush against me. As I got into the cab, I was thrown off because I completely forgot that Jamaica was a country where the driver is on the right side of the vehicle, rather than the left side as established in The United States. So, every time our driver talked to Toni, who was sitting in the front seat, I kept thinking that the driver is sitting on the wrong side of the car. LOL. When we arrived to the hotel, as everyone proceeded to get out of the car, Imani let out a big sigh, and excitedly said, “Wow, this place is beautiful!” By Imani’s reaction, I didn’t have to see to know that we were in an astounding place.
The next couple of days in Jamaica would be those of education, fun, and relaxation. While waiting for the hotel shuttle, a security guard approached my mom and me. The security guard conveyed that some people take things for granted, and treat others, such as disabled individuals, as though they are lesser of a human being. The security guard went on to commend my mom for being a great parent. After our conversation, it was time for us to go on our tour of Rose Hall; a former sugar plantation aka the home of the ghost Annie Palmer. If you’re not aware of the story, I recommend you research it. Very interesting, yet creepy! I was amazed by the tour guide’s descriptive abilities. Through her dialogue, I was able to mentally envision what the house and objects in the home looked like. Being blind, I didn’t feel left out of the tour, but instead I felt a part of the group.
The following day, I enjoyed myself sitting by the pool, listening to my iPod, and the beautiful sounds of nature. Our hotel was right on the beach, so I could hear the strong currents brush ashore, along with the sound of wind. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calmness and contentment. However, as Toni mentioned in her post, her experience at the pool was quite different. LOL.
The rest of the trip was a blast, except for the incident I had with one hotel guest. In the gift shop, I politely asked a woman standing by me if I was in her way, and she sharply replied, “Yes, you are in my way.” It is incidents like this one that makes me wonder what people think my white cane is for. However, my mom told her that I was blind, and the woman seemed as though she didn’t care. The woman’s sister (who I will call Erica) overheard the conversation and rushed over to us displaying an overly nice disposition. I assume Erica felt bad because of the rude and insensitive behavior her sister demonstrated. Erica brought over a shirt she thought I might like and described the shirt in descriptive detail. As Erica was describing the shirt, she conveyed that their father was blind. Coincidently, not only was their father blind, but the two women had another sister named Robin. All I can say about this situation is, hmmm… As our trip came to a close, the driver who took us to the airport handed me my bag, and said “I love you.” It was a sincere statement that left me in shock, but validated how compassionate some people can be. Wow, what a way to end my trip!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Ok so where do I begin?! Our plane ride was great, we were bumped up to first class because the agent said my daughter reminded her of her daughter and she was just so cute...thank you Imani! Jamaica was beautiful! We arrived in Montego Bay Thursday and came back to Colorado Sunday...super short trip. Coming from dry Colorado the humidity felt great! We were a little worried because Tomas was in the works, but luckily it had down graded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and its path was away from Jamaica. We had a nice taxi driver named Baba, he asked a lot of questions about Robin, if she was blinded at birth or diabetes...I told him neither, that she was misdiagnosed...he was saddened. It was strange because one of the security guards came up to my mom and asked her what had happened to Robin and that he thought it was so nice that we bring her out to do things...ummmm what are we supposed to do???? Leave her in a room somewhere because she can't see???? WEIRD!!!! Anyway...the mornings were a little rainy with a light breeze but the sky cleared up by noon. The feeling was very relaxed and laid back, it felt good to not have to rush to do anything, be anywhere or to adhere to a schedule. While Robin enjoyed laying out in the sun listening to her ipod, I ran around the water park trying to keep up with my 8 yr old. Imani, my daughter had a blast going down the water slide...not so much fun for me; I had to carry her tube up a winding staircase and then run back down to the bottom to see her come down; she had me do this about 6 times..the joys of being a mommy lol! We went on a tour of the Great House of Rose Hall, Imani was quite intrigued with the history and bought a book, I was shocked that she still wanted the book and read it although it didn't have any pictures. Not only was she intrigued with the story of the house, she was also intrigued by the many stray cats around...thank goodness I keep hand sanitizer on me at all times! The resort had a lot of amenities for children; Robin and I had a difficult time getting Imani out of the kid zone...we were held captive by her for HOURS!!!! Robin is such an awesome aunt, she played Nintendo car racing games with Imani and spent a loooooooong time singing karaoke while I read a book.

On our way back to Colorado we went through Miami and spent the day on the beach. Because of the weather in Jamaica and the high waters we didn't go out on the beach, so it was nice to enjoy the beach in Miami. We all ended up wet from getting hit by a high wave while getting out feet wet...we had a blast! Imani didn't want to leave! We chilled out on the beach and had a nice lunch. Robin shocked me because she is not a drinker but she drank some of my raspberry lemonade which had vodka in it, she actually liked it! She may be moving away from her virgin strawberry daiquiri lol!

Although it was a short trip, we had a great time! The view was beautiful and the experience was great!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


“A sense of accomplishment and tranquility it offers me, but most importantly, it shows that with motivation, anything can be a possibility.” As learned, karate is the act of defending oneself without the use of weapons, but through sharp movements with the hands, arms, and legs. A while back, I wrote about having the desire to participate in karate, and now it’s been about seven months since I started taking lessons. To some people it is a shock to them that I am getting involved in such a vigorous activity, but to others, including my karate sensei or teacher, there is no surprise. Karate is not only a physical sport; it involves mental concentration to which sound can compensate for the lack of visual reference.
Since I have started karate at Colorado’s Budokan, my sensei has helped me with my balance, coordination, strength, orientation, and pace. In addition to my family and friends, I have seen immense improvements in these areas, which have given me more confidence in my physical abilities. In fact, I am strongly considering on participating in a karate competition that is going to be held early next year.
Honestly, being a true introvert though, I am a little nervous about competing in front of an audience. It is a fear that I must overcome. As my family, friends, and sensei put it, the competition will challenge me by enabling me to step outside of my comfort zone.
Although I am nervous, I had to stop and ask myself what I would be losing if I competed, and the answer is nothing. However, the same thing cannot be said if I chose not to participate in the competition. If I did not compete, I would be losing out on having the opportunity to not only compete with those who are sighted, but the pleasure of knowing that I pushed myself to a new level, strengthened my self-confidence, did not have to wonder about what it would be like to compete, and most importantly, knowing that I tried my best. So, I have a pledge to you. Since I am stepping outside of my comfort zone, I challenge you to find one way to step outside of your own. Ask yourself what you have to lose verses what you could gain in the process.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Listen-I Have Something to Say!

“Please listen to what I have to say, because a few minutes of your time, will make my whole day.” I think that a lot of people underestimate how much power one small action, such as listening, can have on a person. When I talk about listening, I mean truly giving the person your undivided attention and understanding the content behind the conversation. There is a difference between hearing and actually listening. Hearing is noticing the sounds around you, but not necessarily paying attention to the meaning behind them, as listening does.
One illustration of active listening that comes to mind, is around four years ago when I was attaining my undergraduate degree. I was engaged in this lecture about listening, which stuck with me. The professor was talking about the grief she felt after her son went missing during a hiking trip. Although, at complete ends of the spectrum, I feel that my professor and I could relate to each other because we both suffered some type of loss that completely changed our lives.
My professor had asked me in class if I knew what helped her to cope with the loss of her son, and I replied by saying, emotional support. My professor said it was having someone to listen to her pain, not the offering of advice, food, etc. At this time, it was four years since I had lost my eyesight, and after listening to what my professor had conveyed, I went home to reflect on my own experiences.
When I began to reflect upon the time that I was losing my vision, I had a great support system who took the time to listen to me by letting me express my feelings. Honestly, I can say the same thing today about my family and friends; they set aside some time to truly take note of what I am saying. As a result, this makes me feel like I always have a shoulder to lean on when I need to.
I consider myself lucky to have several people who listen to me, because not everyone has someone who will pay attention. This is why I make it a point to take the time to pay attention to the people around me, whether they are family, friends, or acquaintances; every person and moment is precious. I pledge each and every one of you to take the time to listen to what the people in your life are saying, because that small moment may make someone’s whole day. Beautifully Blind, Inc. wants to know how the power of listening has impacted your life. Comments are welcomed!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Who We Are...What We Do...

Well after 6 loooong months and tons of paper work Beautifully Blind Inc. has finally received its 501(c)3 designation! In this waiting period Beautifully Blind Inc. has been focused on letting the world know who we are as people, in this blog we will tell you who we are as a business.

Beautifully Blind Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides grants for assistive technology and optic atrophy research. Beautifully Blind Inc. also provides confidential emotional support to those who have lost or are losing their eyesight and their families.

Applications for assistive technology will need to be supported by an assistive technology assessment establishing the requested product meets the client needs. Applications must be accompanied with a recommendation letter from a third party such as a welfare worker, social worker, or a group that supports the blind or similar that can verify the need and financial status. Persons eligible to apply must have a family income less than $50,000.00 and cash assets less than $20,000.00. Previous grant recipients are not assured of future funding. To ensure the grant is used for the intended purpose, grants service will pay the product supplier directly and deliver the product to the recipient via in person at the Annual Gala or mail rather than providing cash grants. Grant applicants must be legally blind and a resident of the United States. The application will be available starting January 1 of every year that funding is available. The deadline to apply will be June 1 of every year that funding is available. Applications for 2011 will be available soon on the website www.beautifullyblind.org.

Optic atrophy or damage to the optic nerve is a widespread eye condition that affects many people across the world. According to the National Institutes of Health, optic atrophy is tissue death of the nerve; ultimately causing permanent blindness. There are many causes that can result in a person being inflicted with this life altering eye condition. Such causes can include but are not limited to poor blood flow, trauma, shock, glaucoma, brain disorders, and sometimes genetics (National Institutes of Health, 2010). If not controlled, optic atrophy can not only diminish a person’s vision, but also the ability to have light perception. There is no current treatment for optic atrophy due to its irreversible nature. Due to the lack of treatment options that are readily available to people with optic atrophy, research is crucial in order for sight to be restored. Currently, in the United States there are several researchers/scientists whose mission is to find methods to rejuvenate the optic nerve. Such research includes stem cells, gene therapy, and implants. The awarded grants from Beautifully Blind Inc. will allow the organization to assist in these research efforts through financial contributions. Beautifully Blind Inc. will award financial assistance to organizations that are making strides in trying to find treatment for optic atrophy. Research will create understanding, and understanding will hopefully one day lead to a cure. Organizations applying for a grant must qualify under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The organization must have a proposed plan of action and there needs to be a level of collaboration/partnership with others for the benefit of advancing optic atrophy research.

When facing a big loss, such as one’s eyesight, there is a lot of adjustment that a person must make in their daily life. When going through this major adjustment, it can be beneficial to have a person to talk to about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Dear Robin is an option where visitors to the Beautifully Blind Inc.’s website have the opportunity to ask questions or make comments. Confidentiality is held to the highest for individuals who choose to write in to the Dear Robin section. Dear Robin serves as a tool to help blind/visually impaired individuals and/or their families cope with vision loss. Visitors have the option to write in through the website, therefore, their information is kept private.

Beautifully Blind Inc. is ready to take on blindness full speed ahead! We want to help in leveling the playing field in all aspects of life of those that are visually impaired. If there is assistive technology that can aid in an individuals life and will make a difference in them becoming self sufficient and independent we want to be able to provide it. Please help and support us by telling your friends, family and communities about us. We are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beautifullyblind as well as on twitter @BlindBeautiful.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Exploring the Bigger Picture

Walk beside me and you will see, that blindness may not be as scary as you thought it would be. In my life, being blind has created some challenges, but it has also given me a new perspective. Sure, when I first lost my eyesight, there were feelings of fear and sadness, but through time, those emotions turned into enlightenment. Awareness is the key to understanding yourself and others. I’ve had the opportunity to experience life as a sighted person, and now as a blind individual. Both experiences have helped shape me into the person I am today. There’s a greater purpose behind the loss of my sight, to which I believe it is for me to help others.
To those who may not know a lot about blindness, I want it to be known that I am a person who happens to be blind. Blindness does not define me, but instead is one part of my identity. When passing people on the street, my blindness may be all that they see, but to my loved ones and friends, I’m still Robin. I’ve often been told by friends, co-workers, peers, and professors that they forget I can’t see. I engage in a lot of the same activities that I did when I had sight, but with some modification.
On August 11, 2010, there was a release of an alarming study conducted by Surge Research Inc. The study found that most Americans are more afraid of becoming blind than being diagnosed with heart disease, which is the number one killer of people in the United States. It is hard to fathom how some people would rather succumb to a potential fatal disease than lose one of the five senses. Again, this is where awareness and education can make a huge difference. Blindness has not stopped me from living my life. I’ve graduated with a double major and a master’s degree. If you take anything away from this post, please remember that with or without a (dis)ability, all things are possible when you set your mind to it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Access Equals Opportunity...

As the 20th anniversary of The Americans with Disability Act approaches, today many bloggers are setting aside time to write about an important matter; empowering those with disabilities. You might be wondering, what does it mean to empower people with disabilities? Well, in order to answer this question, let’s start by defining empowerment. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, empowerment is to give power or authority to; authorize. In addition, empowerment is to give ability to; enable; permit. With this said, I believe that in order to empower a person with a disability, there needs to be equal access for all. Access is the key to opportunity, understanding, and most importantly, success. There needs to be equal access to education, employment, housing, technology, etc.
One important way to keep moving society in the direction of more equal access is through advocacy for one’s self and others. Advocacy can be accomplished in many ways, such as spreading awareness. Talking to your family, friends, acquaintances, and state/national legislatures can make a world of a difference. It is a known fact that the more an issue is recognized by others, the more likely the issue will be addressed. Beautifully Blind’s mission is to help empower people through the collaboration between both sighted and blind/visually impaired individuals, awareness, support, and access to assistive technology. If you want to advocate for a specific cause, such as disabilities, it takes one person to make a difference in someone’s life. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blind to Your Potential...

"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!" Anne Frank. Don't be blind to your potential. You were not put on this earth to be ordinary. Everyone has his/her own unique gifts and talents, don't allow yours to go to waste being undiscovered. Has anyone told you lately that you are FABULOUS? No? Well why wait for someone else to tell you? Tell yourself and believe it. Go ahead say it out loud..."I am fabulous!" Feels good doesn't it?! Today take the first step towards unlocking your full potential. First, put aside any self doubt...remember luv, you are fabulous! Second, tune out the naysayers. There will be haters! Yes the haters, those miserable people that will tell you that you can't do or become something and will remind you of every flaw that you have. They only hate because they don't want to see you succeed...ignore them and keep it moving. Third, make a list of all the steps you need to take to get to the end of your goal. Assign yourself deadlines to complete each task; you can start with something as simple as making a phone call or sending off for information. Fourth, let the world see you shine!
Until next time.....Smooches!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Making a Difference with Vision Zone...

May 2010 was healthy vision awareness month, which provoked organizations to emphasize the importance of eye care maintainance, safety tips, and/or resources. One organization that seeks to promote eye health through education and retail of assistive technology, is Optelec U.S. Inc. Being an innovative company with several products for blind/visually impaired individuals, Optelec U.S. Inc. seeks to find solutions that will increase the quality of life for individuals with visual impairments.
Launching a national movement to promote ocular health awareness, Optelec U.S. Inc. created Vision Zone. Raising the bar for vision resources, Vision Zone is the first company to establish a live and virtual online community for eye professionals/consumers. In addition to creating online forums for the community, Vision Zone has produced a short film titled, “You’re Not Alone Anymore.” This film seeks to create public awareness about visual impairment and the various products/resources within society.
“You’re Not Alone” follows Brian, a man who is legally blind. The film starts off with Brian trying to order some food in a restaurant, but is unsuccessful and therefore, goes hungry. The film takes a comedic stand by having Brian’s stomach growl throughout the journey. It is not until the end of the film when Brian discover’s Vision Zone’s magnifiers, that he is able to order some enjoyable food and his stomach stops growling. The aim of the film is to illustrate the difficulties that people go through with low vision, such as autonomously ordering and eating at a restaurant.
In my opinion, “you’re not alone” is a great effort to bring about awareness of vision health through comedy. I truly believe that laughter is the medicine for the soul. In my life I incorporate comedy to lighten a situation and to bring a smile to someone elses face. Also, the statistics within the film were very informative and showed the impact of vision loss in our society. However, a few issues that arose for me during the film were first the depiction of blindness in the beginning of Brian’s journey. In my opinion, Brian appeared helpless because he couldn’t see the menu and didn’t know what to order. Visually impaired or sighted, typically when a person eats at a restaurant, he/she will order their usual or ask the server about their entrees. There are other ways to order off a menu besides having to physically look off a menu. I understand the efforts of Vision Zone to emphasize the impact of their magnifiers on a person’s life, but this depiction could spread a misconception about visually impaired individuals.
The second issue was the visual aspect of the film. My sister, Toni, had to narrate the visual representations, such as what was occurring during the silences. It would be helpful if there was some type of audio description so that blind/visually impaired individuals could independently watch the film. Audio descriptive features’ enable movie viewing to be more functional for people with visual impairments. Overall, awareness is the key to education, and Vision Zone is making a big stride to helping those impacted by vision loss. To learn more about Vision Zone, check out http://www.visionzone.org. Also, if you want to know more about Optelec U.S. Inc. and their products, check out http://www.optelec.com/.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sightful Reflections

Day by Day, week by week, I watched my vision slip away.
Tears streaming down, sadness lies within, and fear striking my body.
I could hear people say for reassurance, it will be okay.
Letters on the eye charts were being enlarged in hope that I would see them;
unfortunately, to no avail.
Inside, I can’t help but feel so gray.
Every day is a mystery on how much sight I will have left.
It is hard to find words to convey the pain that I felt today.
Day by day, week by week, I watched my vision slip away.
There is anticipation that my vision will come back,
but then the weeks began to turn into months.
I must come to reality that for now,
my blindness is here to stay.
Blindness for me, is an unknown territory,
but after facing many struggles and obstacles,
I will not let the challenges stand in my way.
Through the heartache, loss, and life lessons,
I have learned that I will be okay.
Day by day, week by week, I watched my vision slip away.

The month May, marked eight years since my eyesight started to deteriorate, which has caused me to reflect back on my experiences. Within these past years, I have faced many challenges and frustrations, but they have all shown me my true inner strength. I believe in that common saying, “what doesn’t tear us down makes us stronger.” At an early age I learned a big life lesson, and that is to not take anything or anyone for granted, because you never know what each second holds. Take the time to think about all of the positives you have in your life, and be thankful; whether it is having the ability to see, walk, hear, or speak. Enjoy each moment and live them to the fullest!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beautifully Blind Inc. on the Pride & Patience Show....

Beautifully Blind Inc. will be on the Pride & Patience Show Sunday May 23, 2010 via intranet radio.  Log on to http://www.livewireurbanradio.com/ and show your support.
Show times:
5-7 PM Pacific
6-8 PM Mountain
7-9 PM Central
8-10 PM Eastern

Pride & Patience is a new internet program designed to raise awareness and promote health, balance and resources within our community!  Your support is paramount and this is a grass roots call to action!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

You Have Questions...We Have Answers....

To help bridge the gap between the sighted and visually impaired/blind Robin and I decided to start "Questions Friday". We believe awareness and education is key. On Questions Friday one can ask any question they may have about blindness by either sending us an email or direct messaging us on twitter. We will try to answer to the best of our ability. So to answer some of the questions...one question was why do I blog about makeup and fashion to the blind/visually impaired? Well I believe that just like sighted individuals, there are blind/visually impaired individuals who care about that sort of thing. Before Robin lost her eyesight she liked to dress in the most up to date styles and wear makeup. Once she lost her sight it didn't change who she was as a person, it only changed how she had to do some things. Robin relies on myself and our mother mostly to help her with what's going on in fashion and make up trends. Any tips that we find that works for her to help maintain her independence we like to share because it may help someone else. Another question is if Robin cannot see why does she care about what she has on. The answer to this is that Robin could see until she was 18, she knows what she likes and she knows what makes her feel confident, again, just because she's blind it doesn't change who she is as a person. Robin and I have always had different styles and even though she depends on me to help her when shopping, her style is still her style. I'll describe something to her and she will tell me whether she likes it or not. There's been times when our mother and I have told her something was cute and if it didn't sound like something she thought she would like she would say no. I'm a short girl;5'1" and I'm taller than Robin so I live in heels. I've been trying to get Robin to wear heels FOREVER and she refuses! Not even a little kitten heel! She likes her flats...so she likes what she likes. Another question is how does she get on the internet. Robin has a regular laptop, but she has a screen reader program called Window Eyes which turns text to speech. Every thing we see on the screen is spoken to her. She accesses twitter through Accessible Twitter which is designed for easier use and navigation with screen readers. Robin has a regular cell phone which she can access Facebook, Twitter, the web and text. She can do everything a sighted person can on her phone through a program called Mobile Speaks which she purchased through her service carrier AT&T. We thank everyone for their questions and hope that you continue to send them in. The only way to dismiss misconceptions is through education and awareness. The more we all can learn about one another the better this world will be. We all have a disability of some kind; all are lacking in one way or another. What matters most is having the faith and courage to know that all things are possible as long as you put your heart and mind to it.
Until next time...stay beautiful!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It doesn’t matter that I can’t see.
It doesn’t matter that I have a disability.
It doesn’t matter that at times I’m clumsy.

What does matter to my niece, the one who can see
Is that I am simply her Aunt, who she calls Tee-Tee.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t see.

Whether through hugs, compassion, or laughter,
I know my niece will look out for me now and thereafter.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t see.

With my niece, I sing, dance, talk, and play
This makes our bond grow more each day.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t see.

Asking questions out of sheer curiosity,
She trusts my answers given, are true honesty.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t see.

Through my niece’s eyes, blindness does not define my identity.
Instead, one simple name does, her Aunt, Tee-Tee.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t see.

I thought it would be fitting to make this month’s blog about my niece since she
will be eight years old this month. It has been an interesting experience being around her, as she is growing up into a beautiful young girl. I can’t believe how time flies by; unbelievable! My niece was born a little more than one month before I started losing my eyesight.
One day, in a sweet innocent voice, my niece asked me if I knew what she looked like. What my niece didn’t know is that I have wondered that same question, and sought out my family for a description. My family told me that my niece is a replica of her mommy, which helped me create a visual image. So, without hesitation, I told my niece that she looks like Toni when she was little. However, my niece took it upon herself to describe what she looks like to me anyway. The reality is that I don’t have to know what my niece looks like physically because I see her heart, and what a wonderful one it is.
It’s amazing how consciously aware my niece is of not only blind/visually impaired individuals, but people with all types of disabilities. My sister has instilled acceptance and understanding into my niece’s life. I enjoy listening to my niece describe visual aspects to me on TV and taking my finger to outline objects to get a mental image.
In addition to describing things to me, my niece is trying to take on a new task, being a sighted guide. This weekend my niece told me that I needed to trust her as my guide. Hmmmm…, not sure I’m quite there yet. LOL. To sum it up, I am truly blessed to have such an astounding niece, who looks beyond my disability to see me for the person I am. HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY IMANI! I LOVE YOU!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Have My Make Up...Now What?

Sorry guys…our blogs have been geared mostly towards women these past few weeks…don’t worry we’ll get to you soon! I promised makeup tips! I must say I am a MAC cosmetics fan as you know from my previous post…in my opinion they have colors for EVERY skin tone and their eye shadow and lip colors are delicious! I always feel like I’m in a candy store when I visit! Experiment with different brands to find what works best for you. Once you’ve found the products you like, how do you apply them??? How to apply makeup is not just an issue for the visually impaired, it also can be an issue for sighted women as well. There have been plenty of times I’ve gotten my makeup done by my MAC guy and then got home and was not able to recreate the look once on my own…ugh I wish I could just pack him up and bring him home with me lol!!! The most important tip is to make sure you have good makeup brushes…the type of brush you use can make a world of difference of how your make up looks. MAC has great brushes, but they can be a bit expensive; if you want a budget friendly alternative try Sonia Kashuk which can be found at Target stores or Eco-Tools which can be found at Ulta. When holding your make up brushes, do not hold them as a pencil close to the end towards the bristles, this will make your make up go on heavier…hold it loosely closer to the middle of the stick or further up so you have a little play…this way you don’t apply too much make up and the look is softer; this tip is also very useful when it comes to applying dark shadows (this is how Robin creates her smoky eye look)! Another tip is when applying foundation (Robin and I use powder foundation – Studio Fix) use a large powder brush instead of the sponge…this can guarantee full cover. A great tip for applying eye shadow is to not apply dark colors higher than your eye ball…Robin always follows her eyeball to know when to apply the next color…it works for her because she has small eyes…I’m not sure how it will work with others…I have HUGE eyes so it depends on the look I’m trying to create for that to work for me; but if you’re visually impaired I think this is a good rule of thumb. Lastly, lipstick...lip liner should blend in so make sure you don’t get too contrasting of a color between your lip liner and lipstick. When you apply lip liner trace the line of you top lip and on the bottom lip only go from the corner of your mouth half way to the center on both sides…do not line the entire bottom lip…leave the part directly in line with the middle of your chic unlined…this give your lips a pop (thanks for that little tip Raphael! LOVE IT!!!) After the lining, fill with color…press lips together and MUAH you have fab lips!!!! Here are some great links for applying make up if you’re visually impaired:



and MAC Cosmetics website because I love MAC lol!!!


Smooches! Until next time…beautifully blind and fabulous!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And The Oscar Goes To...

Sunday March 7, 2010 was a momentous time for people in the film industry, as many were recognized for their efforts throughout the night. Yes, it was Academy Awards time. The night began with all of the celebrities being interviewed and asked questions not only about their nominations, but also what she/he was wearing. As my mom described the various fashions, it appeared as though there were some really glamorous dressed celebrities, while others remained on the scale of being interesting.
Setting aside fashion, I was very intrigued with this year’s Academy Awards. There were a couple of films and actors/actresses, who I was rooting for to win. I love listening to movies, as I am a frequent attender to the cinema. However, due to the high visual nature of movies, I often find myself asking someone what is being shown on the screen. With this in mind, there are a lot of blind/visually impaired individuals who find themselves in similar circumstances; when it comes to movie viewing. Therefore, in 1990, WGBH Media Access Group created descriptive services for the blind.
Descriptive services enable blind/visually impaired individuals to be able to have access to the visual elements as sighted people through detailed narrated descriptions (WGBH Media Access Group). In addition to movies, the descriptive services can be found on some televisions and vcrs by going to the second audio program (SAP) option. The SAP option enables some television programs on PBS, CBS, FOX, and Nickelodeon to have detailed narration (WGBH Media Access Group).
You’re probably sitting there wondering what does descriptive videos for the blind/visually impaired have to do with the Oscars, well it’s a good question, and I’m about to tell you. To my surprise, on Sunday, as I was listening to the Oscars, my Mom and I noticed that two of the award categories had the descriptive feature. The award categories were the Original and Adapted screenplay. It was great being able to have the scenes described, because I had the opportunity to view the same elements as sighted individuals.
Sometimes I feel left out during the Golden Globes and Academy Awards when they show visuals. I feel this year, that during the original and adapted screen play, the Academy Awards leveled the playing field for both sighted and blind/visually impaired individuals; giving everyone a chance to enjoy themselves. Although, there were only two categories with descriptive adaptations, I applaud the Academy Awards for reaching out to all of their audiences by providing the descriptive narratives; giving everyone the opportunity to partake in these most prestigious annual shows. Inclusiveness is the key to success.
Hopefully, the Oscars and other shows will adapt to society’s needs and provide descriptive narratives in all award categories as they plan for their next awards show. I am not sure why the Academy Awards picked the original and adapted screenplay categories to use the descriptive feature, but what I am sure about, is that our society is becoming more aware and moving towards progression. If you would like to give feedback to the Oscars, you can visit them at http://www.oscars.com.

Friday, March 5, 2010


It is believed by many, that a person’s wardrobe is a gateway into revealing what type of personality or mood she/he has. Donna Karen said it elegantly when she stated, “Today, fashion is really about sensuality; how a woman feels on the inside.” With fashion week’s kickoff in New York last month, it is fit that we talk about fashion in my life as a blind individual. Through fashion, people can express themselves in many different styles; whether it is the conservative, professional/business, formal, casual, sporty, and as Toni puts it, “The grown and sexy” look.
My personal choice of style is the casual wear. I have a complete jean fetish, and can’t get enough of them. In addition, I love wearing hats; whether it is baseball caps, visors, or skullies. In fact, for a while in undergraduate, I think I was known as the hat girl. LOL. Whatever I may be wearing for the day, I can always count on Toni and my niece Imani to evaluate my outfit. I don’t have to see to sense Toni and Imani looking me up and down, as they give me feedback; my two fashion consultants. LOL.
Although I have lost my eyesight, my individual style has not changed. There is a misconception within society that blind/visually impaired individuals are not interested in fashion or care about their appearance. Blindness is not a determinant on whether or not a person is interested in fashion, but instead their individual preference.
After being blind for almost eight years, I came to the conclusion that there should be a discussion around how to make the stores and malls more accessible to blind/visually impaired individuals. Accessibility gives way for everyone to have the same opportunity to express their own style. Such accessibility could include Braille labels and paying special attention to the arrangement of the items. In a lot of instances, finding items in stores can be quite difficult because everything is spread out, and not in a specific sequence. Whenever I go shopping, my mom, Toni, or friends assist me in picking out clothes by telling me the colors, sizes, and prices. I assess whether or not I like the clothing by their descriptions and touch.
All in all, the over arching fact is that we need to be more inclusive of everyone in all facets of life; whether it is fashion, sports, technology, etc. Physical ability is not a characteristic and does not define a person, but instead is a mere circumstance. So, let’s all be beautifully blind by helping get rid of the divisiveness in our society and creating awareness.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Yesterday we went to the oh so fabulous MAC Cosmetics counter to try out the new spring colors. All I can say is DELISH ladies!!! Purples, pinks, golds so many choices...which do I choose!!! Luckily my makeup guy knows his stuff and can always point me into the right direction as to which color compliments my skin and knows exactly what I will and will not wear...Robin has her favorite guy that she goes to as well. I decided to try the purples, Robin stuck to the neutrals. Robin has great resources to help her stay divalicious...me of course (smile), her makeup guy at MAC...he tells her what looks good on her and explains how to apply the makeup in a very detailed and descriptive manner, and her hair stylist who keeps her hair tight and brows tamed (thank goodness! You've heard about the eyebrow incident...Robin tried to arched them herself! Good thing they grew back!) Blind/visually impaired individuals are no different than the sighted, just because they can't see doesn't mean that they do not care about their appearance. Robin and I had a discussion about this and she said if she had not been previously sighted or had people to ask about fashion/style how would she know what to was in style or what looked good? She said that there is nothing out there that helps. My suggestions would be if you are blind/visually impaired ask some of your sighted friends who have the same taste as you or know you pretty well to know what you will or will not wear, or go to an image consultant who specializes in looking at the shape of your face to let you know what hairstyles look good on you; what colors compliment your skin tone and what clothes work best with your lifestyle. Image consultants can be a benefit to everyone, sighted or not, and can work with every budget. Joy Love of Joy Love's Hair and Image Studio Inc. is FABULOUS!!!! Check her page out on Facebook.
Until next time....stay beautiful!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brain Overload ~ Just Some Thoughts....

Whew!!! Let me tell you it has been a whirlwind! A friend from www.framethemoment.com (great family owned photography business...check it out!) was telling me about the different ways to social network to get the business name out there...how to link facebook, twitter, blogspot and website all together...ummmm can I just tell you all of this was way over my head! BRAIN OVERLOAD!!! I linked everything the best way I could, even had to rig a couple of things lol! Hopefully it will drive you to the right place without blowing your computer up! Just kidding! Don't forget Robin is the techy in the family...not me...she still has to help me download music to my iPod! Luckily my hubbie is a techy so he can help me get it all sorted out. It's just amazing what you can do with technology. I really want to be able to hit the masses so that Beautifully Blind Inc. Foundation can help as many people as possible. You go through life trying to figure out what is my purpose...why was I put on this earth...what am I suppose to be doing with my life? I totally think I've found my purpose, which is to help people. I think you know what your purpose is when you find something you like to do and it makes you feel good inside and touches other people. I think the same goes for my sister Robin...I think her purpose is to help people too...she's a good listener and gives good advice. Beautifully Blind Inc started out as an idea to start a blog to help Robin express her feelings to cope with losing her eyesight and has branched out into a business to help those that are visually impaired get the aids they need to help them live productive lives. So many wonderful people have been put in our lives and have helped bring the vision to a reality and we thank you! I am now planning our first fundraiser! I will keep you posted! Thanks for the support and please continue to support us so that we can help those who don't have the means to get the tools they need.

Until next time! Smooches ~ make the best of every day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Follow Me....

Hey everyone Beautifully Blind is on twitter...follow us @BlindBeautiful

Thanks!  Beautifully Blind

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Roses are red, violets are blue;
although I am blind, I am still a person like you!
So, please include me; I like to have fun too!
Look beyond my white cane, and you will see,
I am personable, smart, and very funny;
But most importantly, I am still me!
When you ignore me or pretend I am not there,
It makes me think and feel that you really don’t care.
Take the time to look deep, deep, inside,
You’ll find our relationship is more than a prize!

Communication is an everyday practice that everyone engages in through verbal and nonverbal messages. It is these customary interactions that enable people to form bonds with one another. When it comes to social interactions with blind/visually impaired individuals, some people may feel perplexed. In some cases, communication with a blind/visually impaired individual is viewed as being more difficult than it actually should be. In my opinion, good communication skills such as dialogue, active listening, and empathy are efficient ways to interact with someone. There is no formula on how to relate to a blind/visually impaired individual. What should really take precedence in an interaction is the time spent with one another. It is important to cherish and value the people in your life, no matter what their physical circumstances may be.
Since it is the season of love and appreciation, remember blind/visually impaired individuals like to enjoy themselves as well. Do not assume what a blind/visually impaired individual may or may not want to do, but instead ask the person for their input; whether it is going out to dinner, the movies, bowling, etc. With patience and understanding, activities can be a pleasurable experience. Beautifully Blind wishes all of our readers a Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beautifully Blind Inc...

Our website is now up and running!  Thank you Nicole Williams Design @ http://www.nicolewilliams.info/
Please check out our new site at http://www.beautifullyblind.org/

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Wonder...

Life can be scary because there are no guarantees of what will and will not happen at any given time. It is like Forrest said in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump, “My Momma always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Generally speaking, the world is an unpredictable place where some people are born with/without one or more of the five senses. It is these life circumstances that ultimately shape what we think about ourselves and others. In the midst of life circumstances/experiences, comes emotions; how we feel and deal with what we’re given.
Some people could say that I have experienced two sides of life; with and without sight. For eighteen, almost nineteen years, I was able to see everything around me such as, shapes, colors, objects, etc. Since I have lost my eyesight, especially when I was attending school, people have often inquired about whether or not it is easier for a person who is born blind to prevail over their situation compared to a person losing their sight. In my opinion, there is no clear cut answer to this inquiry because people handle situations differently, no matter how long they have been living with a particular circumstance. For example, not all people who are born blind want to have the ability to see; everyone is different with various desires. We all feel and heal in our own way, on our own terms.
This topic has intrigued me for a while; therefore, I decided to do some research. There were quite a few articles and polls that peaked my interest. Specifically, there were two polls that asked similar questions, but generated different results. One poll titled, “What would be harder to overcome, being born blind or becoming blind later in life?” by answerback. The results of the poll concluded that four respondents voted it would be harder for a person who is blind to overcome their situation compared to two respondents who said it would be harder for a person who loses their sight. This poll shocked me because I thought it would be harder for a person who loses their eyesight later in life to overcome their situation because they’re entering into a world of unknown; whereas, people who are born blind, that is all they have known. However, what makes this topic interesting to me is the fact that I wonder if there is a sense of longing for something you never had. Living in such a visual world, I presume it would be harder to adjust and relate to things that you have never seen. Sure there are other ways to visualize what is around you, such as through texture, height, and shape, sound, smell, but it seems as though the association would be more difficult.
The second poll that I located is titled, “Would you rather be born blind or go blind at the age of 20?” by yahoo polls. The results of this inquiry revealed that seven respondents reported that they would rather be born blind compared to five respondents who said they would rather lose their sight at the age of 20. Some people feel that it is easier to deal with blindness, if you have never had the ability to see in the first place. Losing something like your vision, to which you have had your whole life, can be traumatic. Whereas on the other side, people who lose their eyesight have had the opportunity to experience what the world looks like.
In terms of my situation, when I took my undergraduate math course this topic of discussion arose between myself and professor. We both concluded that it was probably easier for me to navigate through the class because I could visualize the graphs and charts from when I could see. It was also interesting because my professor told me that when I was trying to solve a problem, I would close my eyes, as I was trying to think my way to the solution. When I travel to various places and the scenery is being described to me, I have the ability to recall and compare it to what I know. As my niece gets older, she is becoming more inquisitive, and often asks me if I know what she looks like. The last time I was able to physically see my niece with sight, she was a baby. With this in mind, to help me visualize my niece, my family told me that she looks exactly like Toni when she was little. Of course it is still hard not being able to visually see my niece, but at least I have some depiction to imagine what she looks like.
Whatever the case may be, being blind can cause a person to face interesting, challenging, shocking, and wide awakening experiences that ultimately create an atmosphere of learning. My blindness does not define me as a person, but instead it is an addition to my identity that I am learning everyday from. Our experiences shape our unique perspectives; therefore, Beautifully Blind invites all of our readers to share what’s on your mind.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Beginnings…

It’s a New Year, a season of change…a time to bring forth new ideas and to try new things. This New Year I made a list of goals I want to accomplish, dreams I want to fulfill and fears I want to conquer. I am going to go down that list one by one and cross them off after each one is completed. Anyone who reads this I encourage you to do the same. Write down everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing, goals that you’ve procrastinated reaching and make the first thing on your list the very thing that you wanted to do but someone told you that you couldn’t or that it was impossible. There were so many things that my sister Robin thought that she could no longer do because she was now blind, but the truth of the matter is that anything is possible as long as you’re determined. This holds true to anyone. Who sets the limits of our lives? Is it ourselves or do we let someone else’s opinion dictate what we can/cannot do or who we can/cannot become? Why do we allow those limits to be set? There are some things that I’ve wanted to do or try but didn’t either because of my own fears or because I listened to other people’s opinions of whether or not they thought I would succeed. This year is going to be a year of no regrets…a year of no “what if’s”. Who’s with me to start your list? Leave your fears back in ’09…if we try something and we suck at it…oh well…move on to the next thing and you may just discover that you’re awesome at that thing! The first thing on my list is to learn to swim and Robin’s going to learn with me (she doesn’t know it yet hee hee hee!). I am terrified of the water after an incident at Water World in the 3rd grade (my cousin Kim told me it was ok to go down the water slide that the water was shallow at the end…yeah if you’re over 4 ft!!! I was a very small 3rd grader lol!!!…thank God for my cousin Gina for saving me, I saw my short life flash before me! I am going to learn to swim and complete a triathlon with no stand in swimmer…that’s in open water!!! We’ve only got one chance at this thing called life people so seize the moment!