Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Just popping in to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you all enjoy this day, whether you're spending time with your friends and family, or going to see a movie, or just staying home and staying warm.

I'm going to take the rest of 2018 off to really enjoy the time with my friends and family, and I'll be back in 2019 to ring in the new year with you!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas Eve! I've been having the best, most relaxing last few days before Christmas. I've done some visiting with friends and some last-minute shopping (which is my standard - I always work best with a deadline!), but mostly I've been hanging out and relaxing. I know that I really needed this time, and it feels so good. I've been trying to work on so many different projects at once, and it's been taking a bit of a toll on me. So this time has been amazing.

I've also been taking part in some of my Christmas traditions! I don't know if you guys have any traditions that you do every year around the holidays, but my family definitely does. Some of them are more "real," and others have been turned into a little bit of a joke, but we continue to do them regardless.
ONE - Christmas Movie Watching
I know - this is a tradition shared by many, many people. Some of our favorites are Elf, White Christmas, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life. I like to watch with a nice warm hot chocolate, and plenty of mini marshmallows.

TWO - Family Shopping Trip
Every year, my mom, my dad, my sister and I all go out to the mall to buy Christmas gifts. As we've gotten older, the trip has gotten pushed later and later and closer to Christmas, which makes the mall a little bit crazier, but we survive. Sometimes I buy more things for me than for other people, but I still get things done! And we always finish off the night with dinner at either Cheesecake Factory of California Pizza Kitchen.

THREE - Seeing a Move
We always try to see one movie over the Christmas "break" as a family. Sometimes it's a Harry Potter or Star Wars movie - this year I'm hoping that it's Mary Poppins Returns. Sometimes we go out to dinner afterwards, and sometimes we eat too much popcorn during the movie and the thought of another meal makes us sick!

FOUR - Christmas Eve Mass
For as long as I can remember, we've always gone to Christmas mass on Christmas Eve. The time we've gone has changed - and recently I've instituted my own tradition of a blowout at Drybar before mass! - but it's always been Christmas Eve. When I was younger, my dad would read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to us after we got home, too.

FIVE - Snoopy and the Red Baron
This one is a tradition that my dad started when we were younger, but it stuck and continues to this day. Every Christmas morning, before we can come downstairs to start opening  presents, he has to play (very loudly) "Snoopy and the Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen (you can listen here). You've probably never heard it (even though my dad claims that it's a classic), but it is a really fun and catchy song.

SIX - Day after Christmas Family Gathering
When I was young, we'd always go to my grandparents house on Christmas Day. But after my grandparents passed away, and my cousins started having kids of their own, it was harder to get everyone together on Christmas. So now, the big holiday gathering is held the day after Christmas. Some of the holiday stress is over, so it's more relaxed, and everyone has a great time seeing each other and spending time together.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

I probably say this too often, but - what a week! I'm off from now until after New Year's, which is great, but also means that this week was really busy at work getting things wrapped up. Plus, I accidentally spilled water on my laptop at the beginning of the week, and it had to be sent out to be repaired - I probably won't get it back for another two weeks, which feels like SO LONG! Luckily, my sister had an extra laptop she wasn't using (thanks, Jess!), but it's still not "mine" and it just makes everything a little bit more complicated.

I am really looking forward to this time off, though! I have some fun get-togethers planned with friends and family, but I'm also looking forward to having some time to just RELAX! I hope that you all get to do some of that, too.
Read on to find out my favorites from this week.

ONE - To All the Boys sequel
If you're anything like me, you've watched To All the Boys I've Loved Before at least once on Netflix, if not multiple times! This week they announced that the sequel is officially happening, and I am officially excited.

TWO - The joy of "Schitt's Creek"
If you haven't seen "Schitt's Creek" yet, you definitely need to watch. It is hilarious and delightful and cheery and every other positive adjective you can think of. This article is a really fun look at the show and the culture behind it.

THREE - The Final #Hamildrop
How could I not share?! I'm so sad that these are coming to an end - it's been such a fun thing to look forward to each month. How many other musicals have remixes where former presidents appear? It's just crazy! Plus, hearing Christopher Jackson sing this song is just truly so incredible.

FOUR - Best Movie List
I love end-of-year lists, so here's one of them - the best movies of 2018. I have not seen all of the movies on this list, but hopefully I'll get to rent one of two of them over my break. Let me know what you think the best movie of the year was!

FIVE - First pictures from the live-action Aladdin
I'm so excited for all of the new Disney movies that are coming out in the next year or so - the "live action" Lion King, and then this! Check out the pictures to see a first look at how the cartoon is coming to life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Winter Wonderland

If you've ready anything I've ever written here, there's a good chance you know that I don't like winter. It's cold, it's hard for me to get around, and I end up stuck inside for hours on end. But... sometimes it is pretty. I'll give it that. Decorations are out in full force right now, and there's nothing that will put you more in the holiday spirit than looking at a gorgeously decorated tree, or a bright and shining light display.

Sometimes I get called a bit of a grinch... I'm not one to start watching Christmas movies or listen to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. It's just not my thing, and it never will be! But I do always enjoy getting together with family and friends. So my favorite things to do in winter are things to experience with my favorite people.

So if you're looking for something to do in Pittsburgh right now, here are my suggestions.
I went here earlier this month for a holiday after-hours event, and the Hall of Architecture had been turned into a winter wonderland. The room was filled with six giant Christmas trees, each decorated with a different theme. This one was my favorite - though I won't lie, I don't exactly know what the theme is supposed to be. They also have an elaborate Nativity scene on display (or, technically, a presipio, according to the plaque). And once you've had your fill of decorations, you can browse the rest of the amazing museum. Before or after, stop at the Cafe Carnegie for a bite to eat or a a really delicious cappuccino.

I am so excited about this one - it's new this year! Coffee Tree Roasters in Bakery Square has a few "igloos" set up so that customers can enjoy their coffee (or hot chocolate) outside in their own personal igloo bubble. I could not wait to check this out, and am now definitely a fan. It combines some of my favorite things... coffee, and not having to talk to strangers!

I pass by Phipps almost every evening on my way home from work, and even from the car you can tell that their holiday light display is stunning. They really go all out, and it is completely worth it. If you're planning to go, make sure you go online and buy your timed ticket entry ahead of time - the closer it gets to the holidays, the more and more crowded it gets!

This one isn't on my personal winter list - wheels don't get great traction on ice - but I know lots of people love it. It may not be Central Park, but ice skating in Schenley Park is very popular and almost certainly less crowded. And if you're looking for something a bit closer to shopping and restaurants, go downtown to PPG. When you're done skating, you can walk to Market Square and do some shopping at the Holiday Market booths.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Consider It: The ADA

Normally, this would be something that I'd mention in passing in a Friday Favorites post, since it's based on a video, but there are too many things I want to say about it, and I think that it deserves it's own post.

A while ago, I wrote about the Divided States of Women (here) - a show created by Liz Plank where each episode addressed a different topic facing women at the time. She's back now with another show - Consider It. This time, she and her co-host, political consultant Shermichael Singleton, discuss issues dividing the nation.
I've always loved that Liz includes disability rights along with all of the other topics she covers. It sounds obvious, but disability issues are still often not covered or considered along with other human rights/equality issues. In the most recent episode of the show, the topic they consider is the Americans with Disabilities Act, and whether it's still effective.

I also love that no matter what topic Liz is covering, she makes sure to include people actually affected by the issue in her conversation. So in the episode about the ADA, Liz starts out by talking to Emily Ladau, a well-known disability activist.

Emily made SO MANY points in this episode that mirrored my exact thoughts. I kept nodding at the screen and saying "Yes! Exactly!" If anyone had seen me, I'm sure they would have been so confused. Emily talked about how the ADA didn't have "enough teeth" - there is no one to enforce it. Liz made maybe my favorite analogy ever, comparing it to decaf coffee - "it tastes good, but then what?" They talked about how great it would be to be able to just go out without having to plan every step of the process ahead of time, and the stigma around disability to society and the weird things that people say to Emily when she's out and about.

Later on, actor/comedian/activist Maysoon Zayid joins the conversation, and talks about how it's absurd that all of the responsibility of the ADA is placed on the person with a disability. They also talk about the lawsuits that are sometimes filed against inaccessible businesses, and how sometimes, many are filed by the same person. And here, Maysoon makes one of the arguments that I make all the time - just because they were filed by one person doesn't make them any less valid. She goes on to say that if she had the time, she'd do the same thing - go to every place she might ever want to live/work/visit and sue them if they weren't accessible. This may sound harsh, but you have to remember - the ADA has been around for over 20 years. It's federal law! Places that remain inaccessible are choosing to ignore the law, and are telling people with disabilities that they don't matter.

The episode is really well done, and I highly recommend that you check it out. You can watch the ADA episode here.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Celebrating the Season

Now that my final is over and the semester has ended, I can finally feel like I'm starting to get into the holiday spirit. I watched my first Christmas movie over the weekend (I guess, technically, it was my second - I couldn't resist checking out Christmas Switch on Netflix).
One of my favorite things to do is going to concerts/live shows, so I figured - what better way to get into the spirit than to go to holiday concerts?! So this past week, I went to not one, but two, holiday shows - Ingrid Michaelson and the Broadway Princess Holiday Party.

Ingrid's show was at the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall. I'd actually never been here before - it's an old library, but it doesn't look like anything you'd expect when you hear the word "library." It's beautiful and grand, and looks like it could've been a wealthy family's private theater in their mansion. The accessible seating was a little bit tight, but the location was close to the front, which was really nice.

The show was great - a perfect mix of holiday songs and her classics. I love concerts that aren't too "rehearsed," and this one definitely fit the bill... at one point, Ingrid saw a tiny baby and her mom going back to their seat, and stopped the show to say hi to the baby and hold her on stage! That's my favorite part about live shows - experiences like that, that you don't see on TV or a concert DVD. And, of course - Ingrid has an amazing voice and the songs definitely put me in the holiday spirit.

And then I finished off the week with the Broadway Princess Holiday Party! I was SO excited for this show, and it didn't disappoint. I've watched YouTube videos of the show when they perform at 54 Below in New York, and I couldn't believe I'd get to see it live. It was at the Improv, which is another place I hadn't been before. The event description invited attendees to wear their best princess gown, so I couldn't pass up the chance to wear this dress again!
The show is called a "Princess Party" because the performers are Disney and Broadway royalty. They're the original Broadway Cinderella, Jasmine, and Belle (who is also the voice of Meg in the movie Hercules, who sings one of my all-time favorite Disney love songs). And because this was a Holiday version of the typical party, they sang a mix of Disney classics and holiday songs. It was incredible! I went with a group of friends who are all Disney and Broadway fans, and after every song we kept looking at each other and making faces that said "OMG they're singing this song too!?!"

Laura Osnes (Cinderella) sang a song from Thumbelina, which is definitely a lesser-known movie, but one that I used to watch all the time with my friend and my sister. Courtney Reed (Jasmine) sang a version of "All I Want for Christmas is You" that definitely rivals the Mariah version! And hearing Susan Egan (Belle/Meg) sing "I Won't Say I'm in Love" live was just so amazing. And I have to also mention Benjamin Rauhala, the Fairy Godfairy/Music Director who did such an incredible job arranging the songs into beautiful three-part harmonies.

Both concerts were so much fun, and really helped to me to start feeling like "it's beginning to look (sound?) a lot like Christmas!"

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Favorites

This week was both a stressful and an exciting one for me - stressful because my final was this week, and also exciting because my final was this week and now it's over! It'll be nice to have a few weeks of break from classes before they start up again in January.
I'm celebrating the end of the semester by going to see the Broadway Princess Party tonight! I have been looking forward to this for WEEKS and am so happy it's finally here - I'll be getting to see original Disney and Broadway royalty perform! I have actually watched YouTube videos of their New York performances, and still can't believe they're coming here and I'm going to see them live.

My favorites from this week:

ONE - Billy on the Street
I love Billy on the Street - it's really funny to see how people react when they're approached (semi-aggressively!) out of nowhere. And of course, Billy on the Street with Lin-Manuel Miranda is a wonderful intersection of my interests! Sometimes I can't believe there are people that exist who haven't heard of Hamilton, but this is proof that there are.

TWO - Disability Holiday Gift Guide
Another great gift guide for any holiday shopping you have left! The gifts are not all disability-related (though some are), but they are all sold by people with disabilities. If you're someone who likes to support small businesses, these are great places to look.

THREE - Thank U, Next Video
I know this came out last week, but I can't stop watching/listening. The video is an homage to so many of my favorite romantic comedies - Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, 13 Going On 30, and Bring It On. It's so fun to watch and catch all of the different movie references, and the song is super catchy, too.

FOUR - Buzzfeed's Best Fiction of 2018
I'm really looking forward to spending some serious time reading during my "break." Buzzfeed published a list of what they believe to be the best fiction of 2018, which seems like a great place for me to start when I'm looking for my next book. I've actually only read one on the list so far (Circe, which I loved), so I have lots to choose from.

I had the best time seeing Taylor Swift in concert over the summer, and I can't wait to relive it by watching the video of her stadium tour. The trailer looks amazing, and the actual video will be released at midnight on the morning of New Year's Eve, so it'll be the perfect way to close out 2018.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Kandy Kane Xpress Holiday Festival

This weekend, I took a short day trip back to Stow, Ohio to make an official appearance as Ms. Wheelchair USA and to celebrate the season at the Kandy Kane Xpress Holiday Festival with the Dane Foundation.
I've mentioned the Dane Foundation before - they're the non-profit behind Ms. Wheelchair USA, but they also do a lot of work around quality of life items for people with disabilities, especially toiletries and other household items that are often taken for granted but are not generally covered or provided by other services. The holidays are a really special time for them, as one of their initiatives is Project Elf, which allows community members to provide gifts for people with disabilities in their area. The Kandy Kane Xpress is one of their annual fundraisers that helps to raise money to make Project Elf possible!

The Festival took place at Stow City Hall, which was totally decked out! There were cookies to decorate and enjoy with some milk, letters to write to Santa, and other crafts to do, too. And of course, you couldn't leave without getting a picture with Santa and Mrs. Clause! The Grinch and Elsa also stopped by to say hi to everyone. It was really great to see all of the families running around and having a great time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

An Afternoon with Sonia Sotomayor

As much as I love living in Pittsburgh, sometimes I feel like we miss out. Some people consider it the midwest (I do not), but we're certainly no New York or DC. Lots of tours either do not make it here at all, or make it here mid-week at 8 PM when you have to be up for work/school the next day. Less than ideal, for sure.

But sometimes, things happen in Pittsburgh that I cannot believe I am lucky enough to be able to attend. That's what happened last week when I went to Duquesne University to hear Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor talk and receive an award.

Going into the event, I didn't really know what to expect. Details had been kept very vague... all we had was a date and a start time. But it ended up being a fascinating, Q and A-style discussion. Justice Sotomayor answered a few questions from the President of Duquesne and from Judge Rendell, a local judge, and then went on to answer a series of questions that had been pre-submitted by a variety of Duquesne students.

Justice Sotomayor used these questions to share stories about her life - growing up in the Bronx, making it to Yale, what it's like being on the Supreme Court - and her story is truly a fascinating one. But there was one answer she gave that really stuck with me.

One of the students asked about affirmative action, and how Justice Sotomayor responds to claims that that's the only reason she got into Yale. Her answer? "So what?" I'm sure I'm paraphrasing now, but she essentially said - it doesn't matter how I got in, what matters is what I did after I got in.

That's something I think about a lot. At time, there are things - I call them #WheelchairPerks - that I get from being in a wheelchair (for example, I got to sit up front at this event), and even more doors that are being opened to me as Ms. Wheelchair USA. It can get to be overwhelming to think about whether or not I really "deserve" to be places or do things. But her mindset of not worrying about why/how something came to be, and instead focusing on what I can do because of it - that's something I can get on board with.

People use the word inspirational a lot now, but to me, her talk was inspirational in the truest form. It really did inspire me, that afternoon, to think about my life, and my path, and what and how I want to do to keep moving forward.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Pajamas

I love being festive and getting new pajamas each year for Christmas, but I also love being comfortable. I'm not a huge fan of button up pajama sets - they're usually not soft enough for me. So this year, I decided to go less obvious with the Christmas theme, and picked something up that I could wear for the holiday and the rest of the year, too.

Each year on Christmas morning, we have family over for "brunch." But as people have gotten older and gotten married and had kids, the crowd has dwindled a bit, and now it's a smaller and more relaxed gathering. So what I really wanted was something that I could get away with wearing to brunch, without being too sloppy!
Clockwise, from left: harem pants, sweater, top

I picked up this pajama top, this pair of harem pants, and this sweater from Aerie. Anytime a pajama top says "softest," I am in. I love the lace detailing on the top, and how comfy it is! I know the top is part of a matching set, but I wanted to be a little bit festive still, so I picked up these harem pants in red. I'm not usually a harem pants fan, honestly, but for pajamas and lounge clothes, all bets are off. And since a little tank top is not really enough for December in Pittsburgh, I grabbed this sweater in green to complete the Christmas color scheme and make sure I kept myself warm enough.

I can't wait to wear this on Christmas morning and celebrate with my family!

This post uses affiliate links. All opinions are my own, but I may earn a small commission on any purchases you make.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Favorites

This week has been a long one for me. I'm getting over some sort of cold, so I can't stop sniffling, and have had to carry Kleenex with my everywhere I go. This always happens to me - when things finally start to slow down and relax just a little bit, my body decides that it's had enough and can't take it anymore. But I'd rather have this than a cold WHILE everything else is going on, so I guess I'll take it.

In very exciting news, though, one of my best friends had her baby, and I got to meet him!
On to this week's favorites...

The Eat'n'Park Christmas Tree Commercial
Back before TV was mostly watched on Netflix/Hulu, I watched a lot more commercials, and the Eat'n"Park Christmas Tree commercial is the most iconic. I love reading about the story behind the commercial, and if you haven't ever seen this, you should definitely watch.

DJ Earworm 2018
I will be honest - I do not know most of these songs! But it's fun to listen to a mash-up of the year's most popular. I have been listening to Thank U, Next, so I did recognize that at least!

 Pittsburgh is on the cool list
Lots of love for the Burgh this week! I love whenever Pittsburgh makes the news for a good reason, and this one is definitely good. Pittsburgh was the only US city to make National Geographic's "global cool list!"

GFY Gift Guide
I posted a tech gift guide earlier this week (here), but each year one of my favorite blogs Go Fug Yourself does a really comprehensive gift guide. I love their picks, so if you're in need of some inspiration, check it out.

Hamilton duet
I know, I know - another Hamilton song?! This is from the Mixtape, and it's a song from the musical sung by Regina Spektor and Ben Folds. It is gorgeous, and it will definitely put you into a good mood on a Friday and start your weekend off on the right note. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tech Gift Guide

I'm a huge fan of "smart" technology. For me, they're more than just fun and novel - they actually give me independence and help me function better! Things like turning lights on and off, controlling other electronics, keeping a cup of coffee warm... these are everyday things that are made so much easier for me by smart technology. But the best part is, they're not made just for people with disabilities - they can be used by anyone. That's my idea of universal design, and I love it.

Since it's the holiday season, I wanted to share some of my favorite smart technologies in a gift guide. Whether or not you're buying gifts for someone with a disability, it doesn't matter - these gifts will be appreciated by all!

Apple TV
I love my Apple TV. I can watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes.... it works with all of the streaming platforms! It also syncs with my music, which is great, and also pairs really well with my phone. It comes with a remote, but I can use my phone as a remote instead, which is especially convenient when I'm watching from the comfort of my bed!

Amazon Fire Stick
I actually don't have one of these, but my sister does. If you have more Amazon things than Apple ones, I can see how this would be the way to go. It pairs with Echo devices, so you can tell Alexa to "pause Fire TV" and she does!

Apple Watch
I wrote a review of my Apple Watch here, and I still recommend it as highly now as I did then. I don't use it for fitness tracking (although it's great for that), but I do use it to read and reply to texts, see what e-mails are coming in, etc. My favorite fun feature is the ability to control the camera on my phone. I can't take selfies because I can't hold the phone up high enough and reach the camera button, but being able to press the "shutter" button on my watch makes things easier!
Philips Hue Starter Kit
I've written about these before, too (here). They are my absolute favorite thing. I have the "white ambiance" kind which means they can be both bright white, yellow white, and everything in between. I have them set to turn on slowly, like sunrise, every morning, which helps me wake up just a little bit easier. And I can use my Echo to turn all my lights on and off, so I don't have to worry about having another separate switch. Plus, who doesn't love being able to control the lights from bed!

Amazon Smart Plug
This is the easiest of everything on the list, but still really useful! It makes anything plugged into it "smart" - so if you don't want to buy the fancy smart lights, you can just plug your lamp into a smart plug and control it that way.

Philips Hue Single Bulbs
This goes along with the starter kit, above, but is just additional single light bulbs. The starter kit comes with either two or four bulbs, but if that's not enough, you can buy more separately.

Amazon Echo Spot
I know - definitely not the first time I talked about this (here and here). I think the Spot is my favorite Echo - not too big, but still has a small screen so you can see videos or look at the weather forecast.

This post uses affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for any purchases you make, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Very Velvet

I love wearing leggings. When you're sitting for hours, wearing something with a thick, stiff waistband and a button and zipper is just not comfortable. Now that I've worn leggings/jeggings, I know that I can never go back. I don't know what I'm going to do if or when they go back out of style... buy a ton of them and stockpile, I guess?

But I also like to look nice, and not just sloppy - and sometimes leggings just feel too casual. So what's great about leggings being in right now is that there are dressier options. I've already written about my obsession with leather leggings here, but I recently discovered velvet leggings, too - another new favorite.

I actually wore this outfit on Thanksgiving - I wanted something that looked nice for our family meal, but was also comfortable, since it is a holiday centered around eating! They were so comfy, but definitely looked more polished than just regular black leggings. They're festive, too - I think they're perfect for the holidays. I'm sure they're going to pop up in some more pictures throughout the rest of the winter, because I'm definitely adding them to my rotation.

I can't share my exact leggings because, like most of my pants, they're actually a kids size. Women's sized pants are so long on me (even petites) that it's not even worth it. Luckily for me, though, there are some really well-dressed kids out there!

I've been seeing velvet popping up all over - not just in leggings, but in tops and dresses, too. I picked some of my favorites in the widget below.

This post uses affiliate links. I may earn a commission from any purchases you make, but all recommendations are my own!

Monday, December 3, 2018

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities! Don't worry if you didn't realize this was a thing until now... I'll be honest and say that I didn't, either. But this day was actually instituted in 1992 by the UN, to promote rights and well-being of people with disabilities, and to increase awareness to people with disabilities in all aspects of life.
The 2018 theme is "empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality." I love this theme! It fits in perfectly with my own passions and goals, and everything that I'm working toward during my time as Ms. Wheelchair USA. I'm really excited to learn about this holiday, and to be able to share the message with other people, too!

I thought that in honor of the day, I'd share some of my favorite disability advocates that I've found via social media. They're great people to follow to learn more about disability issues, and living with a disability.

Molly Burke
Molly is an amazing YouTuber who is also blind. She makes some great videos - some about disability, some not. This recent video of hers is one that I highly recommend watching - it's a great reminder about why people may not always want to talk about their disability.

Alice Wong
I talked about Alice Wong before in this post. She has SMA like I do, and is really involved in disability advocacy and activism. She's great at sharing issues and amplifying people's voices. If you want to learn more about disability issues, she's a great person to follow.

Jillian Mercado
Jillian was the first model with a disability featured in Teen Vogue, which I think is so cool and so impressive. Her work focuses on increasing representation of people with disabilities in the media, and she shares stories of her travels on Instagram and Twitter, so follow along! She actually got to go to the UN in New York earlier this year to speak about disability representation.

Nyle DiMarco
You may know Nyle from his Dancing with the Stars win - if you do, you may already know that he's deaf. Follow him to see the work that he's been doing since his win to increase awareness to Deaf culture and other disability issues.