Making Makeup Accessible

Hello Everyone,

There are so many people that think that I am not able to wear makeup because I am blind. There are also a lot of people who are not sure how I am able to decipher which products are which when getting ready. I will show you today and try to explain how I am able to do this today !

I use three methods to know what products are which, the first one I use is common sense I am able to remember certain products due to the unique shape of their packaging. I also use a Pen Friend which is a device that looks like a large pen that you wave over re-recordable labels. I also use braille labels, not that often but I do use them sometimes.

Pen Friend

The picture above is the Pen Friend you will see throughout this post that on many of my products there is small round white stickers on them. These are the recordable labels that I am able to record the colour and or brand or whatever else is pertinent. So for example my Kat Von D lipstick I have, has a label on it and when you wave the Pen Friend over it it reads” Kat Von D Lipstick Lolita a darker nude shade.” This is the information that I get when I am shopping for my makeup and I will usually ask my good friend whom I trust with the descriptions of colours.

braille bronzer

Here is a photo of my bronzer which has a braille label on it, this is the one I grab most days so it was just easier to put a braille label on it. The Braille says br which is short for bronzer when I use them on blush for example it will say bl.

shampoo and toothbrush

Here is a photo of my Shampoo and Conditioner and I threw my tooth brush in there as well. This is a simple way of being able to distinguish my shampoo from conditioner because the bottles feel the same way. The one with the elastic around it is the shampoo and you guessed it the other is conditioner. I also use a elastic on my tooth brush, I love my husband but I am not fond of sharing tooth brushes.

Clinique products

The above photo is of my facial cleanser, toner and moisturizer. This is an example of common sense the bottles are all different therefore it is easy to distinguish between the three of them so there is no need to mark them.

Here is a collage of my other makeup products that I use on a regular basis, you will see that some have labels on them and some do not. I memorize a lot of things for my day to day life. I am able to go through my closet and know what most clothing items are just by feeling them. So with my brushes this is what I do, I just use touch to figure out which is which. With my eye liner I am able to tell them all apart right now but there have been times where two will feel very similar so i have marked them with a Pen Friend label. My mascara has a orange bump on dot, that raised dot tells me that when my finger is on it the curve in the brush of the mascara is up. All of my powders and blushes also have a pen friend label on them and or braille depending on what I mark it with when I get it. My lipstick all have Pen Friend dots on them and I usually try to say what the colour is like and what it goes well with. My foundation I just use the shape of the bottles but have marked them with braille or pen friend labels. My eye shadow pallets I have the colours that will look good on me memorized. If I want to use a colour I have not memorized I will video chat with a good friend and have her describe the colour to me and then I will also have her check if it looks ok.

There are many things in my life that I have just found a way to do them and this is one that I am happy I was able to make it work. I enjoy makeup and the challenge of putting it on and making it look good. So many times people think that my husband puts on my makeup and he is great at painting nails but I do not think he could do a better job than me putting on makeup.

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick


Instagram : ashleyandguiderick

Twitter :@NemethAshley

Technology Not A Magic Fix for Everyone

Hello Everyone,

Lately there has been some media coverage on a form of technology for the blind, and it has been made out to be that magic pill that will give your sight back. Now I want to preface this post by saying I am not against technology, I believe you should use technology to enhance the vision you have and to help you make life easier if possible.

What I do not agree with is technology being portrayed in the media like it will fix the person and make them be able to enjoy their life again. There are a pair of glasses that magnify the world around you on small screens in front of your eyes, these can be a great tool for people with low vision when trying to read or see things around them but they do not give them their vision back. They will not make them sighted again, they are simply a tool that one can use if they have low vision. Also the group of people that these glasses work for is so small it is not a “fix” for many people. When they are advertised as “blind woman sees her children for the first time.” I have a real problem with that because it is misleading.

The reason I am bringing this up is because these glasses have been in the media lately and last night my grandma called me very excited. She began by saying “Oh Ashley, they have these new glasses that will help you to see again, there is a lady on the news that is totally blind and if she can get these glasses they make it so she can see her children again and have her sight back.” I knew what she was talking about and I had to then try to explain to my grandma the reality of what these glasses really were and how they worked and that the woman was not totally blind. My poor grandma was heartbroken and then asked me why on earth people put these stories on TV and in the paper and make them sound so much different than what the actual reality is. She said that they are giving people false hope. Even my grandma was given false hope, she just wants to find that cure for me and she really thought this was it.

I have now had the conversation with my grandma explaining that I am not looking for a cure or a magic fix, because I am not broken. I am really happy and comfortable in my life, I would not change a thing. These magic fixes do not give me that ability to work, to be happy to fully participate in my children and families lives. Because I am doing all those things successfully right now with no vision at all. Vision does not equal happiness, vision does not equal success. It is crazy to think that there are people out there that associate blindness with such negativity and inability. Life is what you make it, and I will not sit back and let blindness define my life. I will live life the way I want to.

This notion that I need to be able to see my children faces to be happy and to be able to fully participate in their lives is craziness. I am fully participating in their lives every single day. I am enjoying their laughter, the feeling of their arms around me when we hug, the conversations we have, their descriptions of their art work they hang on the fridge. I am loving the family vacations we take, the sightseeing we do, playing in the back yard with them, going for walks and spending time doing their homework. So explain to me what I am missing out on?

When people say with these glasses it will enable me to work that is not entirely true. You have the ability to work even without vision and your ability to work is not the issue. Despite all the technology that can aid employment of people who are blind and partially sighted, convincing employers that you have the ability to be a productive employee and an asset to their company is the problem. Just because you get a magic pair of glasses does not mean you will change society’s view of blindness. So if we have people who are partially sighted or blind saying that with these magic glasses they can finally be happy and live their life fully, how are we going to convince society that vision does not determine what you are capable of?

I know the difficulties some people have with accepting their blindness, there was a time in my life where I would hide my sight issues and did not like to admit to my blindness, it was like admitting defeat. However, at that time in my life, I was not truly happy either. You have to look deeper than your eye sight and truly love yourself and every fault and imperfection that you may feel you have. This does not happen overnight, but it will get you much farther in life than playing the poor blind girl card. Everyone in life has difficulties, even if you were sighted life would not be perfect because that is not reality having things you need to work on and overcome is reality. Having people look at you as the poor blind woman, is not healthy for you or anyone around you. I want people to see me as a strong independent woman, and have my disability not even part of the equation because it does not define me and what I am capable of!

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

Myths behind blindness

Hello everyone,

There are so many myths out there about blindness and what we are capable of doing. So many of these myths simply are not true and we are capable of everything you believe us not to be capable of.

Three of the main myths that I run into on a daily basis are :

Blind people are not able to work.
This is not true at all there are only 1/3 of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted who are employed not because they are not capable, but because they are not given the opportunity. Many people who are blind or partially sighted have a vast variety of skill and or degrees if given the accommodations such as a screen reader, large print, or scanners we can all be productive members of society.
I have always been employed up until 3 years ago when I lost the remainder of my vision, the only thing that changed was that I was not able to hide my visual impairment. I have the same skills, the same drive and the same desire to have a successful career however as soon as my blindness comes up I am not able to get the perspective employer to look beyond my disability and see me as a person. All they see is my guide dog and sunglasses and they assume what I am capable of. Given the chance I would prove you wrong, I am independent, capable and willing to work look at me as a person first and not my disability as my disability does not define me as a person.

2. All blind people see black.
There is a wide spectrum of blindness, I personally used to be legally blind when I was younger and could see colour and shapes and large print up close but I could not see fine detail like facial features. When I would look at a tree I would see that it was brown on the bottom and I would just see a puff of green on top, I could not see the detail of the leaves and the branches intertwined in amongst the leaves. Now I see small amounts of light and no shadow or movement so I am completely blind but I can tell you when the lights are on or off if the light is bright enough. There is a wide spectrum of blindness from people who are able to read large print and people who can not see even light but most do not see just black.
I wear sunglasses because the light really bothers my eyes, it is quite painful to be honest so it is more comfortable for me to wear them even inside. I am not hiding my eyes because they do not look normal I am simply saving myself the pain and discomfort of having the lights shine in my eyes. So just because you see someone with a white cane or a guide dog do not assume that they can or can not see anything.

3. Blind people can not live on their own.
Why Not ? What would be stopping someone from living alone. People who are blind or partially sighted are more than capable of cooking,cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills, answering a phone, telling time so what would be the reason that they can not live alone. This one is ridiculous to me, this notion that people who are blind are helpless individuals who are in need of help all the time is crazy. There is absolutely no reason why someone who is blind needs to be treated like a toddler.

There are many myths about blindness out there, we need to remember that people all have different abilities and lifestyles and their disability should not be a factor in why you think they are not or are doing something.

Blind Parenting

I am blessed with three beautiful children, ages 12, nine and eight. Things are a little crazy at our house, but isn’t it always with three kids?

My ability to parent as a person who is blind has come into question many times. Not because I’m not capable of raising my own children, but because people can’t understand how I can do it blind.

There is no reason why someone who is blind or partially sighted can’t raise children if they so choose to. I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and this is the same whether you are sighted or not. Having a support system in place has been essential for me. My support system however, doesn’t help me with the day-to-day care of my kids. They help with the things that are barriers to being blind. The main one is driving. I live in rural Saskatchewan and need to travel to appointments and to get groceries. This is hard with no public transportation in my community, so I need help with this.

Many people can’t believe I don’t have a nanny because I am blind. I don’t need a nanny, my kids are not in any danger and never have been. Yes, I have had to do things a little differently, but this never affected my ability to be a good parent.

When the kids were toddlers they had to stay close to me when walking, or at the park they were not allowed to run away. We also established rules like: when mom calls your name you answer and come check in. Visiting places I was not familiar with, or in crowds, my kids benefited from my low vision because I was always right there playing with them, so that I could keep them in my view. Did they miss out when they were younger on all the things that toddlers and young children like to do? Not in the slightest.

When it comes to making sure they are safe in our home, I have established rules and we communicate all the time. When I ask a question the kids know that a head nod will not suffice and they must answer. They have also learned that mom can hear an eye roll in their voice and you will never get away with walking in the house with your shoes on!

There are things in the home that I have to ask for help with, but they don’t affect my ability to parent. I ask my husband to measure out liquid medications and help me figure out the dosage. I also get my kids to help read instructions on foods or recipes, which has made us closer and teaches my kids new skills.

People’s perception of what I am capable of is what makes it hard to parent, not my abilities.

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick