accessibility

my cookbook is now accessible for those with vision loss

Whether at events, conferences, online, or via Facebook or Twitter, a question I often get is, “Will your cookbook be accessible for the blind?”

“Well, uh, that’s a good question…”

And then I’ll spiel into how my cookbook being accessible was a top priority (it was, and still is); how the editor and publisher agreed (they did); but that in the end, the economics just didn’t make sense—the cost of printing my cookbook in Braille would be too high, and the publisher would have no choice but to pass along that cost to the consumer. And we all know my cookbook may have been a NYT best seller, but who are we kidding? Nobody’s going to buy it for $200!

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being blind doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I as a vision impaired woman apply makeup. I even created Blind Life episode 3: How the Blind Put on Makeup because so many people had wondered how I managed to make myself presentable in public.

This week, along the same lines, I’m going to talk about one of my (and many women’s) favorite pastimes: shopping.

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igrill makes grilling easier for the blind (and sighted) chef

With Memorial Day a couple of weeks away, summer is lurking right around the corner. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. It felt like just yesterday, I was ringing in 2014 with my grad school friends, and just the other week, I was in diapers.

Okay, but really. I have a theory as to why time seems to pass by quicker as we get older. One year when you’re, say, four years old, is 25% of your life. But one year when you’re 35 years old is 0.02857142857143% of your total life. So by percentage, time becomes a smaller fraction of your entire lifetime, making it appear to happen quicker. I know I’m not the first person to think of this. Nor am I a metaphysicist. So let’s just get back to what I am an expert in: cooking and blindness.

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the afb 2014 helen keller achievement awards

I’ve been sitting on this exciting news for a while, but I didn’t want to announce it until the dust started settling. There are a lot of moving parts to an event of this caliber, you know.

I chuckle when I think back to a particular challenge on my season of “MasterChef”: it was when there were six of us left, and we were divided into two teams and commissioned to run the back of the house for dinner service at one of L.A.’S Michelin-rated restaurants, Hatfield’s. It was the boys versus the girls, and I was on the team with Becky and Monti. Becky was team captain over vision impaired me and hard-of-hearing Monti. In between footage of us scrambling in the hot commercial kitchen putting together branzini and venison chops, the camera splices to me in my confessional, laughing: “Poor Becky’s got Team Helen Keller on her hands” (or something to that effect).

When this episode aired, I got a handful of hater comments on Facebook and Twitter, people aghast at my blasphemy. “I’ve lost all respect for Christine. Helen Keller was a magnificent role model.” “How dare you, Christine! Helen Keller should be respected.”

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the sochi 2014 paralympic winter games

The Paralympics always take place a week after the Olympics in the same town. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the eleventh of its kind, just saw their closing ceremony Sunday. Forty-five countries participated in 72 medal events in five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, and wheelchair curling. 2014 also marked the debut of my favorite winter sport, snowboarding. The USA sent 74 Paralympic athletes, and it was the first Paralympic Winter Games for Brazil, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

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how to guide the blind

Last week, I discussed some of the things I’ve been doing to get in better shape and my dislike for blind running. The AFB offers some good tips on how to guide a blind runner, and to follow up on the matter, I found the YouTube video above about Paralympics track and field.

But guiding someone who is visually impaired extends way beyond the jogging trail. It’s part of the daily routines of my family, my friends, and mine. When my eyesight decreased to the level it’s at now, the boyfriend-turned-hubster had to learn how to guide me when walking around. He was never one to make me feel handicapped, so he was not super attentive when guiding me–”tough love,” he calls it. My friends have also since learned how to guide me, and most of them are very good. Some are more attentive than others, often holding both of my hands and walking backwards through a crowd, while others are easygoing and merely mention a change in terrain when they deem it absolutely necessary. I myself prefer a middle ground.

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getting fit

It’s nearing the end of February, and judging by the crowd I encounter on the evenings I hit the gym, people are still keeping up with their 2014 new year’s resolution to get into shape. I’m not one to make resolutions, as I believe goals should be made when a person finds the desire and is ready to do so. I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to stop smoking, start eating healthier, start exercising, etc. If you know you should stop drinking two liters of Coke a day, and you’re ready to take that plunge on December 8th, then do it on December 8th.

Ever since I turned thirty and grew a muffin-top, I knew that I would soon have to undergo some lifestyle changes. No longer were the days when I could eat fried chicken, pizza, eggrolls, and pan-fried noodles to my heart’s content without worrying about my waistline, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. But I wasn’t ready to take that next step to getting fit. I wasn’t ready to drink kale juice and enroll in bootcamp classes.

Until the summer after I turned 34 last year.

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the eone bradley: telling time by touch

Telling time has been the bane of my vision-less life. When I was still in grad school, I was wearing a talking digital watch. It had a button on the face, and when you press the button, it announced the time in a muffled, mechanical voice. It never failed: every class period, I’d accidentally knock my wrist against the table or chair, and the voice would say aloud, “You’ve still got another painful 98 minutes of class.”

Okay, just kidding. It would read the time, but it was embarrassing nonetheless, and I felt like a dunce. My ears would burn, and I’d apologize, even though nobody seemed to care. I just didn’t (and still don’t) like a lot of attention on myself (which is why it’s all the more surprising that I chose to do a televised competition).

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“four senses”: my new cooking show premieres jan. 24th on ami in canada

Late last year, it was announced that I would be co-hosting a new culinary show in Canada with the winner of “Top Chef” Canada season 2, Carl Heinrich. Now, the show, called “Four Senses,” is about to make its debut on the small screen one week from tomorrow!

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yahoo! japan 3d printer helps blind children surf the web

Ever on top of the tech news, the hubster sent me a link to this article about the 3D printer from Yahoo! Japan that helps the blind navigate the web. I’ve only recently learned of the 3D printer concept (thanks to the geeky hubs), and because I can’t see to watch a video demo of it online, I’m still unclear on the concept of a 3D printer. For some reason, I keep picturing paper scrolling out of a regular-looking printer but then suddenly popping into 3D shapes much like a pop-up book—you know, the kind that we used to read when we were little with the cardboard pop-ups on each page?

Regardless, it’s news like this that makes me happy to know the world is advancing in ways that help level the playing field for the visually impaired. What do you think of this concept? In what ways can you imagine this helping not just the blind world, but the world in general? The imagination is endless. I love it.

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