My Story

Just before classes and campus commitments get back into full swing, Kirsten, our other Shades Brand Ambassador, took time out of her busy summer to share where her fondness for sunglasses comes from. By the end of this blog post, her touching, personal story will have you feeling like you've known her your whole life. Continue to follow Kirsten and her love for food on Instagram @thegirlwhoatepgh, and you'll quickly realize just how good her taste is in not only Shades, but also cuisine. 


My Story

In order to share my love of sunglasses with you, I must first share a small piece of myself. Approximately 20 years ago, in Milwaukee, WI during a Badger Game, I was born. Within 24 hours, the doctors noticed that something wasn’t quite right with my left eye- I lacked a pupil, or so they thought. Upon a year and a half of examinations, we learned that I did indeed have a pupil but it was too small to get the job done. It was operating at about 20%.
My parents then dressed me in lady bugs for good luck and sent me into surgery where my ophthalmologist made two smalls cuts, creating a larger opening and giving me vision. I can now see (on a good day) 20-25 with correction, nearly perfect! I am so lucky to have parents who did everything they could to provide me with the best outcome. (Seriously, thank you Mom and Dad for being so diligent on my eye drops, eyepatches and eye appointments; I didn’t always appreciate it at the time, but I certainly do now. Thanks for always looking at my bigger picture.)
The only difficulties I face are light sensitivity and slight lack of depth perception (this part is up for debate, but I like to use it as an excuse for my actually-comical lack of hand eye coordination, so I included it for arguments sake). This is where my love for sunglasses comes in. Between my light blue eyes and my man-made pupil, it’s hard to keep from squinting in the sun. Sunglasses help me enjoy the outdoors, which are a huge part of my life. As a marathon runner (no hand-eye coordination needed haha!) and bruncher with my fellow brand ambassador, Jensen, previous lifeguard/camp counselor and avid book-in-my-hand sunbather, I’m outside as much as I can be and enjoy it far more in sunglasses.
When I first started sporting shades, I had the kind that clipped onto my glasses; my parents never wanted me to sacrifice my ability to see clearly with my ability to see in the sunlight, so we had to sacrifice style. Over the years, my clip-on shades became prescription sunglasses which I loved; they made me feel normal. When I hit middle school, I begged my parents to let me get contacts. They were hesitant to begin the process because they were unsure if it would be possible with my eye condition. I remember perfectly the day I went to my eye doctor’s office and met with a guy who specialized in contacts. I remember crying when he told me it was possible and my mom crying when he told her it could even improve my vision- and it did. I also remember how it took me over an hour to put the contacts in for the first time- I thought I’d poke my eye out!
Getting contacts was a game changer. It instilled a new confidence in me. I no longer hid behind plastic frames that would slide off my nose, “Granny Kirsten” glasses, as my dad would call them, and therefore, I no longer was limited in my sunglasses selection. In retrospect, I don’t know why I thought choosing pink frames would help hide the fact that I wore glasses. I guess if I had to wear glasses, I was going to do it in style.
Although I now wear contacts more often than glasses, I will always be a glasses girl; it’s who I am. As the Webster definition of a girly girl, I love all the possibilities I have rotating between glasses and sunglasses. They add so much character to any outfit. Conveniently for me, glasses have worked their way into style and now my glasses feel like less of a necessity more of an accessory, something I’m excited to add to my outfit.
But Why Shades On Point
When making shades purchases, polarized lenses have always been essential to the choice. I LOVE that I can rep my city wherever I go in Shades that are protective and ecofriendly- and oh, are really cute too. Having been a Pitt student for a year now and a member of the Pittsburgh community since 2009, I consider the Three Rivers city home- and I’m very proud. I like to work in “Pitt beat Penn State” and “Back to Back Stanley Cup Champs” into as many conversations as possible. I like to talk about all the great restaurants and businesses filling the streets and the people who make it home. It’s funny though, how in the eight years I’ve lived here, that group has changed and so have the restaurants, businesses and team records, but it all the while has felt like home. For example, I use to live in the suburbs of North Hills, but now that I live in Oakland, I have a new perspective.
The following images are some of my favorite shots of Pittsburgh I’ve taken, and will give you a take on what Pittsburgh looks like to me behind my Mons. They also offer inspiration for new, fun spots to check out. As Jacque mentioned in the first Fountain of Youth, we all bring different viewpoints to the table. This is my view on my city, my Pittsburgh. And yes, you will recognize an emphasis on Cathy (the Cathedral of Learning). I wouldn’t be a Pitt student without “her.” I hope you enjoy and please communicate back what some of your favorite views of Pittsburgh are!
It’s summer (well, sometimes Pittsburgh likes to trick us into thinking it isn’t) so let’s get out and get exploring in our Shades!
And to all you glasses people out there, be proud. The gift of sight really is a gift (no matter what package it comes in.)

                                                                                     Kirsten Beck

 Baron Batch butterfly

Baron Batch elephant

PPG Paints

Cathy in a storm

Cathy at sunset

Station Square

Schenley Oval

Heinz Chapel

William Pitt Union






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