Get this Cuff on my boutique today and join the #DiversAbleMovement! http://bitly.com/DiversAble
Monday, March 30, 2015
Saturday, March 28, 2015
|This picture was taken by a Merchandiser from the Chloe + Isabel community|
Order this and more at http://bitly.com/DiversAble
Coming up this week:
Monday - Mandi's CandI Corner - We'll be talking about this awesome cuff!
Tuesday - We'll be looking into life as a parent with Diverse Abilities on Tuesday Truth
Wednesday - Stay tuned for a special musical treat this Worship Wednesday
Thursday - You already know I have thanks to give out to another DiversAble Ally on Thankful Thursday
Friday - I'll be introducing you to a brand new DiversAble Model on Fashion Friday
Friday, March 27, 2015
|Courtney is wearing the Heirloom Crystal Necklace|
"When I was born, I was diagnosed with Phocomelia and Femoral Focal Proximal Distal Deficiencies. I am missing my upper limbs, and stand at about 4'. I've lived most of my life in The Bronx, but attended a school in Long Island for people with disabilities. When I first began college,I felt extremely unprepared and unsure of myself, so graduating with my B.S. in Psychology and Communication and Media Studies is definitely my greatest accomplishment.
The fashion and entertainment industries project a very narrow image onto a wide population whom they do not represent. During my studies, it was made clear that those images, unattainable and unrealistic for so many, shape our (society's) standard of beauty. The images need to change! The images need to represent the people who purchase and wear what is being sold. People with Diverse Abilities need to be included, not to exclusion of the images that already exist, but along with them, to provide an accurate projection of life.
This project is important to me because as a disabled person, it is personal to me. It is shining a light on something that DiversAble people have always known...that when it comes to media, be it magazines, movies, or television, we are grossly under-represented. Through this project, Amanda is taking action and doing something about it. This project has the potential to become a movement for change, not just in the fashion industry, but throughout society. I am proud to play even a small role, in something so huge."
I wouldn't be where I am without a friend like you <3 Thank you for always supporting my crazy ;-)
Find out how you can become a DiversAble Model like Courtney by going to my online boutique (http://bitly.com/DiversAble), and then comment below or message me.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Joanne has known me since I was a baby at Saint Mary's Hospital for Children, where she was my favorite volunteer. This is one of the most kind-hearted women you will ever meet. She began volunteering at the Henry Viscardi School and supported me and my friends throughout elementary school and well into my secondary education. Joanne has always been there for me for all the important happenings of my life.
A few weeks ago, I posted a Facebook status asking for a DiversAble Ally to help sponsor a DiversAble Model. I gave a brief description of the trying situation this Model was facing and I soon received a message from Joanne. She knew who I was talking about and was excited to sponsor her! I'll be revealing the gorgeous model she sponsored tomorrow.
Joanne, I'm so grateful for you and your love and support throughout the years. You are a true DiversAble Ally! Your kindness and generosity has helped so many people like me get to where we are today. Thank you <3
You too can join Joanne and become a DiversAble Ally by going to http://bitly.com/DiversAble and placing your order today.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Courtney, Tiffany, and Jessica, you have truly inspired, encouraged, and empowered me today because you took a leap of faith and supported this project, and me, from the start. I'll be forever grateful <3 To all the DiversAble Models and Allies, I honestly thank God for each of you!
A special shout out must go to the #BestTeamEver, Val's #candigals! Thank you all for seeing me through this every step of the way and for having confidence in me when I doubted myself.
Chloe + Isabel, in particular Chantel Waterbury, you are truly changing lives. There are so many young DiversAble women who will see a face and body like their own and will be uplifted and empowered because you took a chance on me. The older generation of DiversAble advocates will see that their voices, their fight for inclusion and equality, will continue and will succeed!
Thank you, especially to Virginie Descamps, who from the start welcomed me and my friends with hugs, smiles, and friendship.
I saved the best for last...My husband, Curtis Frantz! Today happened because you pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. You support my goals and help me achieve them, even when that means spending hours in an estrogen filled room! I love you very much and I'm so blessed to have you :-*
This is not the end of this project! Today was just the beginning of a HUGE vision I have. I'd love to share my vision with you and ask that you contact me. Please consider supporting this project so that we can continue to support the inclusion of people with Diverse Abilities in society. A portion of all proceeds from my online boutique go towards funding the project and sponsoring DiversAble Models. Place your order today at http://bitly.com/DiversAble
Check out these Behind-the-Scenes pic & be sure to check in this Saturday for a Sneak Peek at a pic from the actual shoot (including not yet released CandI jewels!)
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The second important notice is that today myself, Jessica Lopez, Tiffany Hall, and Courtney Beth are heading down to Chloe + Isabel headquarters for our photo shoot!! Everyone who has shared posts, commented, liked, and/or ordered has made this possible. I want to thank you so very much. You can't imagine the lives you are changing and the people you are empowering!
Stay tuned for EXCLUSIVE VIDEO & PICTURES in a second post after my trip tonight ;-)
Get in on the #DiversAbleAlly Club by placing your order on my boutique today @ http://bitly.com/DiversAble
However, this doll didn't prepare anyone for parenting a child with diverse abilities. Today, I want to introduce you to a real life mom of a beautiful little girl with diverse abilities. Meet Ericka Hostler and her daughter, Coco Loq-Yan Hostler!
|Ericka Hostler with Coco. Ericka is wearing the Deco Fanfare Statement Necklace and matching earrings.|
"Coco Loq-Yan Hostler is 17 months old. She has Down Syndrome and Hirschprungs Disease (bowel disease). I did not know Coco had any health issues until she was born. She had low oxygen saturation and was immediately taken to the nursery to be put on oxygen. As I put her first outfit on, I turned to the doctors and asked them if they could check to see if she had Down Syndrome because she looked like my brother Isaiah that has DS. That first night that we were transferred to a different hospital, and did not know if she was going to be ok, I had some fear in me, but the moment I got to that next hospital and was able to hold her, she was just my baby girl and that fear and worry slipped away. The next 4 months we spent in Children Hospital in San Fransisco fighting for her life. She was also born with 4 holes in her heart and had Open Heart surgery at 2 months old. She also under went 6 different bowel surgeries. After probably the first year of facing a lot of the health issues, things started to get easier and we got into a routine. Right now some of the challenges we face are getting the best medical care possible for Coco because we live in a rural area. Also, finding good child care that me as a mom is comfortable with, and that Coco is getting pushed to her potential. Financially it is a hardship on our family, but so are my other kids:) The biggest resource I have is myself because my brother also has Down Syndrome and I grew up watching him grow up and seeing the struggles and challenges my parents faced. That experience has allowed me to process the emotion aspect a lot quicker than some parents and beware of the local resources available for families such as the regional center, local and internet support groups, California Children Services. Coco's life and story has touched and affected more people in her short 17 months of life than I have in the last 28 years! She has showed me what unconditional love is and what a positive attitude and smile can do for any challenge. I have learned to push her to her limits, and in turn I have learned to push myself to the limits :) My advice to parents would be to not let fear paralyze you or keep you from enjoying every moment with your child."
Thank you Ericka and Coco for sharing your story. I know you have encouraged so many through your transparency and persistence! Go #TeamCoco
This project is intended to support the inclusion of people like Coco in our society today! Show your support by going to http://bitly.com/DiversAble and place an order for yourself or for a DiversAble Model. Comment #TeamCoco when you order today.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Saturday, March 21, 2015
|Left to Right: Meridian Convertible Earrings (shown in both styles), Morningtide Studs|
Order today: http://bitly.com/DiversAble
Coming up this week:
Monday - Mandi's CandI Corner takes you behind the scenes on these beautiful CandI pieces.
Tuesday - Be sure to check out this week's Tuesday Truth where we'll be discussing Parenting Children with Diverse Abilities with a surprise guest.
Wednesday - I promise you don't want to miss this Wednesday. I have an exclusive surprise event this week and I'll be sharing it all here!
Thursday - Show love to another DiversAble Ally
Friday - Be here to read the profile of a DiversAble Model who is very near and dear to my heart!
Friday, March 20, 2015
|Though hard to see, Tiffany is wearing her Birthstone (Garnet) Stud Earrings|
Read Tiffany's story in her own words:
"My name is Tiffany S. Hall and I live in Brooklyn, New York. My diverse ability is called Bilateral Femoral Dysgenesis Syndrome. I was born on January 18, 1984 at Woodhull Hospital. I'm the youngest of three daughters and the only one to have a disability. Though there isn't a lot of information on B.F.D.S., it's basically a fancy way of saying my bones didn't form properly. Needless to say, I've been living in a world made for "normal" people. Being 3'7 and on the plush side of the scale, I've had to find my way around height and fashion boundaries. I've struggled with self-esteem most of my life and I might still have those issues if my best friend, now turned husband, hadn't come back into my life when he had. Though it seems kind of corny, I feel my greatest accomplishments, as of yet, have been graduating high school, overcoming my hatred of myself, and helping raise my two wonderful stepsons.
This project is important to me because jewelry doesn't discriminate! There's no height requirements to wear it, or to enjoy it. As for the fashion industry, I've personally experienced a few issues while shopping. Being short and curvy makes finding bottoms that fit right nearly impossible. The only pants that actually fit me are capris and don't get me started on finding skirts!
I feel society needs to be a bit more open minded and innovative when it comes to the disabled community. For instance, when they make "wheelchair accessible" bathrooms, instead of modeling it for hospital chairs they could have different types of chairs on call to make sure all can fit. Not all wheelchairs are the same size. It would be nice if society would consult us about what we actually need while attempting to improve our lives."
I love that Tiffany said "...jewelry doesn't discriminate!" That's such a powerful statement. Thank you Tiffany for supporting this project and helping to empower people with diverse abilities!!
Please consider supporting Tiffany and other DiversAble Models like her by commenting below and/or making a purchase from Mandi's CandI Shop at http://bitly.com/DiversAble. A portion of the proceeds will help fund this project. If you'd like to donate non-discriminatory CandI jewelry, comment below or message me on Facebook today!
Thursday, March 19, 2015
|CandI: Meridian Convertible Pendant + Paillete Single Drop Earrings|
The woman pictured on your left is not only an amazing mother, wife, nurse, friend, and Divisional Merchandiser Manager with Chloe + Isabel, but she is also a DiversAble Ally! This real life Wonder Woman is Val Laramee!!
I first came to know Val when we had a phone conversation back in October about my vision for my CandI business. Before she even knew about my own diverse abilities, Val was encouraging me to open myself up to my network and to reach beyond my imagination. When CandI announced that they'd be hitting NYC for the Flock Tour (CandI training and convention), I knew I wanted to go and that the time had come to reveal my diverse abilities. I called her up and explained the special accommodations I needed and, to my surprise, Val's response was so nonchalant. It was as if she knew all along and it was no biggie! Her support of my business and her friendship has really inspired me and moved me to go forward with this project.
Val chose to go above and beyond and sponsored one of Mandi's CandI DiversAble Models (soon to be featured). She is an official #DiversAbleAlly! Thank you Val for being an amazing leader, my cheerleader, and a great friend!!
You can join Val in the DiversAble Ally club by sponsoring a DiversAble Model today! Go to http://bitly.com/DiversAble and order any piece of jewelry to donate or for yourself. A portion of the proceeds will go towards funding this project!
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Hey guys! Visiting some more people with disabilities and how they relate to Christ in the Gospels. Also, discovering how supposed "followers" of Christ interacted with these people, and how their shameful types of behavior live on today, and how Christ treated these people with dignity and respect. Who will you emulate? Share your stories, either about how someone in the Church marginalized or ostracized you or someone you know due to a disability, or how someone in the Church represented a God that values his children. We want to foster a community here, of both DiversAble individuals and Allies, where we can be real and genuine with each other. Don't forget to share this post on your social media, and like the videos and posts as much as you can. The higher you rate this stuff, the more attention it will get!
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
1. How do you define "Invisible Disabilities?"
I would define Invisible Disabilities as anything that can affect a person's lifestyle and isn't readily apparent to those around him/her. Any kind of intellectual disability or personality disorder, even some sensory disabilities like deafness or hardness of hearing, can qualify. High functioning autism or asperger's, bipolar disorder, clinical depression or anxiety, these can all qualify.
2. How has your life been impacted by living with an invisible disability?
I would call it a mixed blessing. Some personality disorders are inherited, and I grew up with many of my family members suffering from bipolar disorder or general anxiety. When gone untreated or undealt with, those issues can steal a family's time away, which can cause a host of issues. With me, my own dysthymia has made me rather introverted, looking at my internal vistas, my own fantasy worlds, inspired by movies or books or games, to escape the doldrums of my real life. In some ways, it's caused me to be rather socially awkward, too, so it's made me rather ostracized throughout my school career, at least until I could find others like me.
3. Why do you think it is important for people to be made aware of invisible disabilities and its effects on people?
Mostly bullying. I've known people with asperger's and others on the autism spectrum who got terribly made fun of and picked on, due to the social awkwardness that comes with that. Myself, well, I spent a lot of time trying to find my happiness in others, which can make for socially unbalanced situations: either I was figuratively begging for someone else's attention or taking advantage of someone else's attention which happened to be coming from someone worse off than me. We're not all the same, and if love is the deal of the day, then I think we can prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering.
4. How can someone interested in learning more information or get involved in supporting someone with invisible disabilities?
To be honest, we're all around you! Haha, no, really, we're everywhere, and you'll never know unless we trust you enough to be honest with you. My biggest piece of advice would be "love and respect". Love as best you can, because you have no idea what someone might be going through. Show people the respect God says they deserve, because your judgment isn't as good as His when it comes to stuff like that. Other than that? I'd suggest learning ASL or something, haha.
5. Please share anything you would like for the world to know about this subject (you can include a personal story)
Some of these, like depression, are really hard to deal with even for someone who knows what they're struggling with. Personality disorders and hormonal imbalances have a tendency to influence a person's judgment and decision-making skills. Because of that, sometimes it's really hard to get out of a hole once you're there, because you might not even see it. Everyone goes through this, too, at different times of their lives. I mean, everyone goes through adolescence, right? That's a huge time of hormonal upheaval. For many women, hormonal changes during menopause can be a big deal, too. Sometimes, when left undiagnosed, they can be devastating, personally and to those around a person. We've all heard of mid-life crises for men, too. I just want to throw out there that no one is immune to these, and everyone, at some point or another, can go through a time of disability, when no one might know, not even you.
So, there's a good primer for you, and hopefully a discussion starter. Please, anyone who identifies with anything that's been written here, comment below and share your story. We would love to hear from you. Those that know someone or think they know someone who might identify with this, well, share this post on your facebook or google or twitter feeds, and let the world know. These are issues that are hard to deal with, because they're not so obvious. There's a huge stigma for those identifying with some of these disabilities, even today. I know I took years to finally come to terms with my own personality disorder, because I was so terrified that I'd end up bipolar, like a few of my family members. But bringing these things to light, and talking about them, is one of the first steps of removing that fear, of making them less scary. So, please, share!
Monday, March 16, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Check out that preview of the Flavor of the Week! Get a better look at it in Mandi`s CandI Corner on Monday. Our Tuesday Truth is gonna look at Invisible Disabilities, and for Worship Wednesday, we might be visiting a man that made quite an impression on both Jesus and his followers, but not the same one! Also stay tuned for this week's featured Ally and Model!
Friday, March 13, 2015
|Jessica is wearing the Bead + Chain Multi-Wrap Bracelet from|
the Desert Blooms Collection as a necklace!
I met Jessica at the Henry Viscardi School, where we were both students. As soon as she heard about this project she was excited and really wanted to participate. This is Jessica's story in her own words:
"My name is Jessica Lopez, I was born on December 2,1992. I was born and raised in Queens, New York with Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 3, which basically means that my bones are fragile. O.I often affects a person's hearing. I started losing my hearing in 8th grade. Although I just have a mild hearing loss, this has been one of the toughest things I've had to accept about my disability. It was embarrassing for me to think about wearing hearing aids. I tried to deal with my hearing problem for awhile before accepting it and actually getting help. Once I finally decided to take that step and get my hearing aids, it was as if 10 pounds was taken off my shoulders. I no longer had to strain so much to hear; I no longer missed out on conversations. it made my life so much easier. I am comfortable speaking about my hearing loss now and I've even helped others deal with their hearing loss. I also have scoliosis, which causes severe back pain, but even with all of my disadvantages I don't let any of it keep me down.
My biggest accomplishment has been living on my own for about two years. I proved to myself and those around me that even though I have a disability I can still take care of myself. Not only did I take care of myself, but I took care of my nephew for about a year and a half. It felt amazing being able to take care of someone else on my own knowing that I have always been the one who needed help. I believe in my abilities and I don't and will never let my disadvantages stop me from living my life.
This project is important to me because it's an opportunity for people to see us in a different light; for people to see that we aren't so different in the inside. We still like fashion, we like to dress up, wear beautiful jewelry and feel pretty regardless of our physical disabilities. I believe that society is slowly opening the door for people with disabilities but it is our job to show just how much we are actually capable of. There is still a long way to go but I believe that we can make a difference. I would like to see people with different types of disabilities show that no matter what, we are each beautiful in our own way. I want young kids with disabilities to feel beautiful no matter what their physical disadvantages may be. In the near future, I want them to be able to open up a fashion magazine and see someone just like them and feel great about that. If you cannot change something, then embrace it and remember to never give up on your dreams. No matter how many obstacles you may face in life, there will always be a way to overcome them!"
Thanks Jessica! You're just amazing!
Jessica will be featured on my social media and online boutique all week! Please show her your support by commenting!
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Edwin is also a man of many talents. Not only does he carry himself with the utmost sense of fashion and style, but he creates his unique look for himself and others. There are many direct sales companies geared towards the wants/needs of women (because we have so many,) but Edwin specifically focuses on the modern, stylish man. He hand crafts ties and scarves of all lengths, colors, and styles. His pieces are ridiculously affordable to your "average Joe." Don't worry ladies! He does include many unisex garments as well ;-)
Edwin has always supported me and my ever-changing goals. He has been one of my best CandI customers from the start and an avid proponent of this project. As soon as he learned about my call for DiversAble Allies, he jumped on board and offered to purchase a lovely lady a piece of CandI! He is a true DiversAble Ally through and through.
Thank you Edwin for all that you do and for the amazing person you are! Our gratitude will never feel like enough to demonstrate what your support means to us. Your acts of kindness and selflessness do not go unnoticed!
Please visit Edwin's personal store and show him some love on Etsy. His store is called FormedbyECR. You can also stay up to date with his business by Liking his Facebook page with the same name.
Please consider becoming a DiversAble Ally today! Comment below or message me on Facebook for more details...
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Be sure to check in tomorrow for Worship Wednesday!
Monday, March 9, 2015
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Sabbath Sunday: We spend every Sunday intentionally focusing on God, and spending time with our loved ones. We encourage you to do the same!
Mandi's CandI Corner: Join Mandi this Monday as she reveals her CandI flavor of the week!
Tuesday Truth: This Tuesday we'll be discussing Invisible Disabilities! Check in to read an inspiring and informative interview on the subject.
Worship Wednesday: Tune in on Wednesday for a short video that will help you develop a Christ-like view of people with diverse abilities!
Thankful Thursday: This project couldn't have happened without all the advocates, caregivers, and supporters of people with diverse abilities. Be sure to read about just one of the DiversAble Allies this Thursday!
Fashion Friday: Let's get to know our 2015 Mandi's CandI DiversAble Models a little better! Her profile will be posted this Friday.
DiversAbility (a separate, but closely related movement) is hosting its launch event on Thursday, April 16, 2015 from 7:00pm - 9:00pm EST! Learn more about this amazing movement that started out on a college campus and helped inspire me to start the DMP. Go to http://diversabilitylaunch.splashthat.com/ for tickets and info.
Support The DiversAble Model Project today by going to http://bitly.com/DiversAble and placing an order! All proceeds from orders placed through this link will go towards supporting the project and models.
Friday, March 6, 2015
The first model, and ally, whose profile we will be showcasing is the beautiful woman above and to the left! As I've mentioned before, this is Amanda, and she has put in so much of herself into this project, you all deserve to get to know her better. She's had a roller coaster ride of a life, full of ups and downs, but she's never backed down, she's never given up, she's never surrendered!
Amanda was born in 1987, at a hospital that was then known as Our Lady of Mercy, one month overdue. It wasn't until she was born that they figured out why. Her disability made it really hard for her to wriggle her way out like most other babies. She had a congenital disability, called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. For the first three years of her life, she lived in St. Mary's Children's Hospital, where she learned how to drive her chairs, and where she got a head start on her education.
That head start meant a lot, as she was advanced passed the third grade, in part due to her earlier education, in part due to her brightness as a child. As a child, she had been reached out to by a Christian Ministry called Children's Bible Fellowship, and they had shown her just how much lives could change through advocacy. When she became an adult, she decided to join their ranks, to bring hope to the lives of others. This is also where she met her future "better half", her wonderful and amazing husband, Curtis. Together, they've been through adversity and beauty, having an amazingly beautiful baby boy, Xavier. Not long after he was born, Amanda parted ways with CBF, and found that she needed something else to help her and her family, financially.
That's when she found Chloe and Isabel. Amanda had previous direct selling experience, but C+I was different, in a way she liked, and appreciated. Once she joined their ranks, she found herself in a growing and kind community of women, set on empowering each other. And in that great environment, Amanda expressed her inner advocate yet again. She saw a whole people group overlooked by the whole fashion industry she now found herself a part of. That's how this great project was born, and Heaven only knows where it will end.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Come join us for the launch of our DMP blog, tomorrow, Friday March 6th, at 6 PM!
Friday - Fashion Friday