Show Off The Shoulders

Cody Unser at a Christopher Reeve Foundation event.One of the best ways to look hella sexy from that wheelchair of yours is to bare your shoulders. Yup, that’s right…I’m talking about those slinky and sometimes sexy, off-the-shoulder tops. They’re great for holiday occasions, nighttime events, and of course, summertime.

We sometimes need a fresh viewpoint when deciding what areas of our bodies to accentuate from our chairs. It’s not easy. Lucky for you, I’m here to be that person for you.

While we sit, our chest, shoulders, and face are the first thing that catch people’s eyes. Knowing that, bare shoulders (and wearing your hair in a casual up-do along with the top) is a freakin’ great way to show the world that you still got it. You can’t show off the booty, you can’t strut like a supermodel, but you still CAN bare your shoulders and show some skin.

So go ahead and do it….bring out your inner sex-kitten!

– Tiff

Why Concerts Help Me Forget About My Disability

It was in early 2003 when I discovered a passion of mine that had been lying in wait my entire life until it finally burst forward, exploding into my life after an electrifying small-venue concert: The Stereophonics at The Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It was an incredibly cold, late January night when we ventured out into the into the sub-zero temps to brave the dark, desolate streets, to find a parking spot for my accessible van. But we succeeded. Proof in itself that we were meant to make it to the show that night, -30 windchill and all. Once inside the bouncers ushered “the girl in a wheelchair” to the very front, right by stage (it was General admission, standing room only). They do this out of fear that the crowd might trample me at some point, staving off what would ultimately be a lawsuit by me on them (a nice “bonus” to having to use a wheelchair I guess). At least the concert “seats” are good.

Anyways, back to the show. This unknown-in-the-US-but-widely-known-in-the-UK moody rock band began their set and I was instantly hooked. They started with “Alcoholic” (one of their best known songs), and everyone in the crowd began singing along. A huge wave of energy I had never experienced before filled the room, and I was floating on air: The loud, pitch-perfect sound system, the ecstatic crowd, the hoots and hollers and the clapping; it was all just out-of-body and I was taken, up, up, and away, out of my wheelchair, forgetting for those amazing 90 minutes that I was even disabled.

Needless to say, since that fateful show in early 2003, I’ve been to dozens of shows since and have even seen my idol – David Bowie – live TWICE during his “Reality” tour. In fact, it’s Saturday today and tonight I’ll be heading out – once again – to the mystical Fine Line venue for “Glitter Ball,” a ’70s Glam Rock tribute with 100% of its proceeds going to the Minnesota AIDS Project.

Lucky for me, the concerts never stop. And I’ll never stop going.

Why “Timmy” from South Park Rocks My Socks

I know it’s been discussed by hundreds of other dis-folks before on plenty of other dis-sites, but I just gotta say how much I think “Timmy” (and “Jimmy”) on South Park rules from a disabled person’s perspective; not only for being hysterically funny (making fun of oneself can provide the greatest of laughs), but also how it shows AB kids interacting and being friends with a disabled kid and not making a big deal out of it.

See, they show it without pointing it out and this subtle “non-highlighting the obvious politically correct goings-on” decision has done a lot I believe, in helping AB’s (of all ages) to stop freaking out what others may think if they decide to chillax with a disabled person. Heck, South Park has possibly even made it look cool in certain circles. Ha! The irony!

Famed actress with CP (Cerebral Palsy), Geri Jewell (from “Facts of Life” and “Deadwood”), is rumored to be the inspiration for these characters, but I’m not sure if Matt and Trey have fessed-up to this. But that’s besides the point. The REAL point is that through humor, changes in how we’re accepted can be made, which will hopefully carry on to future generations.

What’s more empowering than making fun of yourself before someone else gets a chance? By doing this, you’re both empowering and enchanting yourself to all the ABs in this AB world. Heck, Conan O’Brien is the MASTER at this. He’s always the first to poke fun at his crazy, uncontrollable red bouffant or his pasty white skin.

So with “Timmy,” the creators of South Park lovingly and adoringly poke fun at “Timmy,” usually by showing comical things that are related to his disability (like with he joined the “Crips”): There’s so much humor in a little boy with CP joining one of the deadliest gangs in the country, I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ll leave you with a most excellently funny link to a “Timmy” YouTube video:  “Timmy on his best.”

Why You Should Check Out “Little Britain”

Andy = The dumbass in the wheelchair.

Lou = The dumbass PCA.

It’s a lot like Dumb and Dumber (as in “the blind leading the blind”), but the kicker? Andy can really walk and Lou is too dense to figure it out. Ha.

It’s classic British humor, courtesy of the hit comedy sketch show on the BBC: Little Britain

I absolutely LOVE this skit and thanks to YouTube, I can get my Lou and Andy fill anytime I want 🙂

Just to show you how great it is, check out my favorite Lou and Andy episode: Lou brings his friend Andy to the swimming pool…

– Tiff

Are You Hungry?

Lower your calorie intake, girls.

That’s how I stay thin, and I haven’t walked in 14+ years. I try not to eat mre than 1300 calories a day, and so far it’s worked. I haven’t become that “overweight” chic in a chair. I eat lots of small snacks during the day (no big meals), I drink coffee every morning, don’t smoke, don’t drink pop, and try to eat as little processed food as possible.

Here’s a great site – Hungry Girl – to give you the latest food/health trends out there.

– Tiff

Whaa? You Can’t Walk? Whatcha Talkin’ About Willis?

Ever have that WTF moment (especially when you first wake up), where you simply can’t believe you’re in a wheelchair? It’s been 14 years since my accident, and I’ve been getting that feeling more and more lately…

It’s annoying and surreal. Just when you think you’ve gotten used to your condition, there goes your brain again, screwing up your coveted peace of mind.

Why in the hell is this happening to me so late in the game?? Anyone, anyone? Somebody help a sister!

– Tiff

1928 Jewelry Lurve

There’s nothing that makes me giddier than gorgeously unique jewelry, that’s also cheap. And 1928 Jewelry fits the bill.

Just check out their Manor House Beaded Drop Earrings (pic to the left) for $26.00. With their Victorian-look, paired with ”simulated” amethyst and pearl (which help create the dropped-effect), make these babies look like they’re genuine antique jewelry that’s worth 4x the amount.

Have fun browsing! Their jewelry is simply gush-worthy.

– Tiff

Falling Out Of Your Wheelchair Never Gets Easy

How many times have you fallen out of your chair? In my 14 years of paralyzedville, I believe it’s been about 12 times or so, I can vivdly remember each time. I remember because it’s embarrassing. I remember because it hurts! And I remember because it’s a brutal reminder of how much I *really* depend on my chair. And I REALLY don’t like the latter part. It also doesn’t help that I can’t get back in it without help.

As I wheel around each day, working, visiting friends, going out, doing my day-to-day mundane activities, I forget how much I really rely on my chair. I forget I’m even using one sometimes, at the height of my business (I really love when this part happens). But then of course that’s usually when I roll by a mirrored-wall and see my reflection, getting reminded just how disabled I really look to the public. It’s crazy and very much an out of body experience.

One of the first times I fell out of my chair was in the middle of winter. I had an old conversion van with a lift, which my brother was operating. He was impatient, thought I had already rolled off the lift, and started bringing it back up, in the process flipping my chair over, with me getting a nice face full of snow. Oh the memories. My front caster wheels had been off the lift, but not my back wheels, hence why I flipped. I sometimes still wonder if my brother feels any regret from the day.

Another time I fell out was during my college days. I was walking with Mike, my blind friend, down the street one day in the middle of summer. I had taken some painkillers earlier on in the day due to a recent surgery I had and, “Whammy!” I got all dizzy suddenly, lost my already horrid balance, and fell out. And why o why does it always seems like I’m in slow-motion everytime this happens? Just another weird thing about chair life I guess.

I’ve been lucky. Out of all the times I’ve fallen out, at least someone was nearby to help. Can you imagine how scary it’d be to fall out and be all alone? I don’t even want to imagine.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Condescend Me When I’m Sleep Deprived

Over the weekend, I experienced an agonizing, two nights in a row nightmare of an insomnia attack. It was horrid. I used to be like this as a kid, but thankfully, as I grew up, I grew out of it; until recently that is. I know the recent family stress that I’ve been going through is the likely culprit, but after I found a solution to my family drama just last week, I thought I’d be on the road to blissful peace within my soul (are you liking the melodrama?).

So last Sunday I woke up with this nasty Unisom hangover, sleep-deprived condition that probably made me the bitchiest person in Minneapolis that day. And that was the day I was scheduled to see the “Pompeii” exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum with my friend Nicholas, and a group of people from his Unitarian church (they were really cool by the way…thinking about going). I was determined to not let Mr. Sandman’s hiatus from my life ruin my weekend plans (and I’ve been itching to see the “Pompeii” exhibit for weeks), so I went and picked-up Nicholas, so we could head on over to St. Paul to the museum (after downing a coffee and Red Bull, of course).

We saw the exhibit. It was pretty cool, but I could feel my caffeine-high wearing off. “Needs more coffee!” my zombie brain screamed at my consciousness. So off I went to the coffee shop down in the lobby. As I waited for the elevator to get down there, the worst thing that could’ve happened to me at that moment, did: I was getting crabbier by the second, my whole body (even my cheek muscles!) ached like crazy, and I was annoyed by every person walking by me….so of course, in comes an old lady – right-up in my face – saying the most condescending thing to me ever, in the most condescending tone EVER: “How are YOU today?” she asks me at 10 decibels louder than needed, as if I were deaf or something. I was set-off. I looked at her like I were Lucifer himself and asked her as rudely as possible, “Why are you talking to me like that??” I demanded of her.


She then mumbled something incoherently and the elevator door opened just then. Save me Jebus! I quickly got inside and went down to the coffee shop, ordering a latte with an extra shot of espresso for good measure.

Lesson learned? Don’t leave the house when sleep deprived. 

Wear a Hat Jack

The founder in her favorite hat.Hats: A covering of the head. A way to retain body heat. And of course, a lovely head decoration, a.k.a., the most fabulous accessory (next to printed stockings) that fashion has ever seen! w00t!

I’m lucky. I have a hat face (or at least people have been telling me so for years). They could be lying, boosting my ego, but who cares, I’ve developed a fetish for hats and it’s sayin’, friends 🙂 Let us also not forget how majorly kick-ass hats are in the “Easiest Way to Look Stylish from a Wheelchair” department.

With that being said, my hat fetish was fully appeased this Fall when the “Cloche” style hat from the 1930’s  returned to the runways. I want one bad. Correction: I REALLY want a vintage one, but I can bet you a pretty penny it’ll cost me a bit more than Nordstrom’s $118.00 version.

So hey…know where a girl can get a cloche hat on the cheap?

– Tiff