Saturday, December 31, 2016

Set Our Hearts on Fire

There are updates I want to share, like Ezra's nursery theme, but as this is my last post for 2016, I prayed about sharing something a bit more impactful. Today my Chloe + Isabel team leader shared a story I found to be very thought provoking and empowering. As I pondered this story I'm about to share, I kept hearing this "small voice" telling me to think deeper about it. Here is the story:

Two physicians late in years...we'll call them Charles + Isadore, old friends from medical school, were visiting at Charles house one winter evening. Isadore had retired several years prior. Charles was still treating patients. 
As they were catching up, Isadore asked Charles how he could still be working after all these years.
Charles asked Isadore to try and blow out the candle on the table. Isadore did this with minimal effort. Charles then asked Isadore to blow out the fire in the fireplace. Isadore laughed, tried, but of course could not.
Charles said to Isadore..."When your passion for what you are doing is like that of a candle, it can easily be blown out with the winds of life. When your passion is that of a fire, it withstands these winds. That is how I feel about helping my patients."


That's good, right? As I said, I've been thinking about this story and kept feeling like there was something more for me to get out of it. This got me to thinking about my faith. Those of you who have followed my journey throughout the last few years, or if you just know my heart, know that I am a Christian. I'll be honest, writing that feels so awkward because the very label has so much meaning to so many different people. Some are inspired and encouraged to find a sister in Christ. Others are cautious, fearing my judgement. Still others are completely turned off and no longer view me as a person worth their time. Either way, the truth remains that I wholeheartedly believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah and will return again. I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior many years ago and I am not ashamed of that.

I started playing with the above story and decided that a few substitutions were in order to give me peace about the "deeper meaning" I've been compelled to find in it. My version reads as follows:

Two church goers late in years...we'll call them Charles + Isadore, old friends from school, were visiting at Charles' house one winter evening. Isadore had left the church several years prior. Charles was still an active member.
As they were catching up, Isadore asked Charles how he could still be such a devoted follower of Christ after all these years. Charles asked Isadore to try and blow out the candle on the table. Isadore did this with minimal effort. Charles then asked Isadore to blow out the fire in the fireplace. Isadore laughed, tried, but of course could not. 
Charles said to Isadore..."When your faith in Christ is like that of a candle, it can easily be blown out with the winds of life. When your faith is that of a fire, it withstands these winds. That is how I feel about helping my Savior."



My businesses, my blog, my jobs, and my personal life are all centered on my faith. There are times I fear my faith might be like a candle, but there's always a burning ember that reignites and restarts the fireplace within my soul. My prayer for everyone, now and always, is that you will find (if you haven't already) The Spark that will set your spirit ablaze! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ezra The Scribe

It's been a few weeks since I last posted and much has happened. At 22 weeks I'm definitely showing and had my anatomy scan ultrasound. My HunnyBee's movements are getting stronger and more frequent, particularly in the evenings! If you've been following me on social media, you may have seen my Facebook Live video, where I announced we are having our second boy. He will be named Ezra...

Before I move on with sharing details of why we chose Ezra as our HunnyBee's name, I need to share a confession. As I looked through this blog, I was re-inspired by the transparent stories of all the DiversAble Models on here and I remember committing to be just as open and honest with my own story. That said, I have to admit I felt a twinge of disappointment that I'm not having a girl. Then I felt extreme guilt for feeling this way! I have so many friends who would give anything to just have a healthy baby, yet here I was feeling disappointment that I'm having a boy. I praise God for good friends because as I expressed these feelings to one of them, she gave me permission to feel what I felt. It was so good to have someone say, "It's ok to feel that way." So if you read this sweet friend, THANK YOU <3

Now that I'm passed that initial emotion, I'm actually quite excited at the knowledge that I'll be the only female in my house! Even at 2 years old, my Little Bear is very protective of me. It will be beautiful to have my 3 men caring for and protecting me. I love all three so very much!

Ezra Dean ____ Frantz! We're working on a second middle name (it's a thing for us), but we love what we have so far. First, we love how Xavier and Ezra sound together. They're both strong names that we haven't run into often around here. Ezra is also a biblical name. You can learn about Ezra in the Old Testament in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah, but he was a scribe and a priest. After the Babylonian exile, Ezra lead a group of Judean exiles back to Jerusalem. He reintroduced the Torah and enforced it's laws. Before Jesus was born, following God's laws was the only way to really ensure His blessings (thank God for Jesus because we all fall so short of the law!).
Now, why is this important to us and naming our son?

We believe words and names are powerful/meaningful. Many names in the Bible had meanings, but we like the significance of the name Ezra. Ezra of the Bible helped bring people home. He then taught them and helped ensure they followed God's ways. We hope both our son's will learn to love God and follow His ways. Our prayer is that out of their love for God, they will teach others His ways and bring people to "the cross," where they will find Jesus and be saved! These are big prayers and hopes, but nothing is too great for my God.

There you have it...My most current update. Stay tuned because we've already chosen HunnyBee's nursery theme and we're upgrading Little Bear to a "big boy room" with a new theme ;-)

Here's a clue to our HunnyBee's nursery theme...guesses are welcome:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Heart Beat

I haven't posted an update in a few weeks, which always means life is just too hectic. In the midst of this crazy election, I'm reminded that my God is sovereign and I appreciate the miracles I get to experience each day. Last week, I heard my HunnyBee's heart beat for the first time. Strong and fast, in the 130s!

In some ways, this pregnancy has been easier than my Little Bear's, but in others it has been more difficult. The body pains I felt at the 6-7 month mark with Little Bear are back with a vengeance at just over 4 months. Though I have some of my energy back, I find myself still very exhausted a lot of the time. Most of my nausea has passed, though it kicks up in waves. Overall, this is what my doctor calls the "coasting" phase. This will be the easiest part of my pregnancy!

On another note, I will not post my thoughts and feelings about the turnout of this election. As a believer, I have love and compassion for all sides. We can't go forth in fear if we walk in faith! I still love all my friends and I look forward to seeing God's plan unfold <3

Friday, October 14, 2016

Kicks & Wiggles

Almost 13 weeks in and I'm already feeling little flutters of my baby moving! In my first pregnancy, I didn't feel these flutters until about 18 weeks, but they are definitely there now. My body is very sensitive so I'm not surprised that I'm feeling movement earlier (most second time moms do!). I'm actually excited because those kicks and wiggles, which can become uncomfortable later, are a beautiful reminder that my baby is ok.

I have sparingly taken my nausea medicine (only twice since I got the prescription), and it definitely helps. I am starting to get a bit of my appetite back, though I have no crazy cravings to share yet.

This weekend's major adventure is going to be dress shopping with my ever growing baby bump. I have a big fundraising gala to attend next week and need a dress. I'm loving the new jewelry I got from Chloe + Isabel. I'm loving the Confident Curves options from my La Senorita Jolie business, so I'm going to start there. I'm open to suggestions too though, so shout 'em out!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

HunnyBee's First Selfie

Yesterday was the big day! I got my first ultrasound and feel very relieved that everything seems to be going just fine with my HunnyBee. In fact, I found out I'm almost a week further along than we all thought, based on my baby's development. Sunday I will officially be 3 months, the completion of my first trimester.

As for my nausea and vomiting, I've been having good and bad days. Unfortunately, after throwing up mints after trying to control my nausea last week, they no longer soothe my belly. My doctor did prescribe me meds to help control my sickness, but I think I'm going to try and hold out just a bit longer.

I know everyone really wants to know the baby's sex, including my husband and myself. I did ask during the ultrasound and got mixed messages. I will hopefully know after my next appointment, which is a month away, haha! In the meantime, we'd love you to comment your guess!!

Ok, the moment you've been waiting for:
#HunnyBee at 11 wks 4 days

Friday, September 30, 2016

Blessed

Earlier this week I heard on the news that women who experience nausea during pregnancy are less likely to have a miscarriage or give birth to a stillborn child. I think I mentioned in one of my posts that I know this "suffering" is a blessing. I know so many women battling to have children, so I am blessed.

It doesn't make this discomfort any easier though. Some days have been better than others this week, but the rising hormones are definitely impacting me. I've been taking naps in the early evening and trying to eat small frequent meals. I've switched from Tic Tacs to Altoids since Altoids are sugar free. Oatmeal also seems to soothe my belly for a little while.

This week I'll get my first ultrasound on Thursday and I'm super excited! I'm pretty sure it's still too early to determine the baby's sex, but I'm looking forward to hearing its heartbeat. Next week's update will include the ultrasound image!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tic Tac Cure

9 weeks has brought about the discovery of Tic Tacs! The white peppermint candies are the only things that have been able to calm my nausea. A few friends have suggested Preggie Pops, which I'm hoping to get my hands on this weekend. My latest routine has included feeling sick all day, but actually throwing up at night :-/

In 2 weeks, I'll go to my doctor to see my HunnyBee for the very first time on an ultrasound. Although I have faith that everything is just fine, there's always a little worry. Seeing my baby and hearing everything is fine will really put my spirit at ease.

The other big symptom I'm struggling with is fatigue. I just have very little energy and hardly feel like myself at all. The hardest part of all this is still being a good Mom to my Little Bear. As a 2 year old boy, he has so much energy and really loves my attention. I'm grateful for all the support around me, but I'm looking forward to getting my energy back up. My businesses have also taken a hit because of my exhaustion. It's so much fun running my own businesses, but it takes a lot of work!

The biggest lesson I've learned so far is to take it easy. My best is all I can give!

Friday, September 16, 2016

2 Months + Challenges

A lot can change in just one week. I went from feeling ok, with small bouts of "morning sickness," to having all day sickness. Though I haven't been throwing up, which is progress from my pregnancy with Little Bear, I'm still feeling pretty nauseous. I'm not sure if it's because of my Diverse Ability, or just me, but any change at all in my body affects me pretty severely.

Speaking of my Diverse Ability, let's talk about a few things that are a direct result of it that have come to the surface again. Last week I went to my first OB/GYN appointment for this pregnancy. All went pretty well, though we did discuss my need to limit my weight gain. All women are told to eat healthily and to try not to gain too much weight, but this is even more important for me since I have such limited physical mobility. During my first pregnancy, I gained about 35 pounds. My doctor has asked me to keep a weight gain goal of no more than 25 pounds, though she even acknowledged that this is a very difficult goal for any woman.

Next, every pregnant woman is at greater risk for blood clots during pregnancy due to the increased levels of estrogen in her body. However, add my inability to walk and that risk goes even higher. For this reason, I have to take a blood thinner for a good portion of my pregnancy. The blood thinner is in the form of a shot that my husband must inject me with every night. The liquid burns for several minutes once injected into the skin. I have to alternate areas of my body, specifically my thighs and abdomen. It's painful and not pleasant for me. My husband hates having to administer these shots because of the pain it causes, but we remind ourselves of how worth it everything will be.

Finally, running blood tests on me can be quite a feat. I have very small veins that roll and it's very difficult to draw blood. This also makes it challenging to give me IVs (I've had them in my neck before). During my appointment, I was stuck 3 different times with no success. I have to schedule an appointment at a lab in hopes someone there will have better luck. There are so many blood tests that need to be run to ensure my health and the health of my unborn Hunny Bee. It's frustrating and painful to not be able to just have blood drawn like everyone else.

We have a long journey ahead and it's been a bit more challenging feeling sick while caring for my Little Bear. We are preparing him for some big transitions, including a room change, and a bed change. There is lots to be done and I'm so grateful for everyone's support. All my commission from my businesses will be going towards preparing Little Bear's new room, so every purchase you make is going to this cause!

Jewelry: Mandi's CandI Shop
Clothes: La Senorita Jolie


Friday, September 9, 2016

#HunnyBee's Story - The Beginning

When I first started The #DiversAbleModel Project I knew I wanted it to evolve into something bigger than just fashion. I wanted the blog and the project itself to give people a place to openly share their "normal" lives. I wanted to help everyone understand that everyone is part of the #DiversAble population because we all have Diverse Abilities. I'll be honest, it's been very frustrating lately feeling like I just can't get the content that I once had, content that is genuinely impactful and has power.

This may sound strange, but last night I had a dream that I documented my pregnancy journey on my blog. I woke up thinking about all the doctors that have told me how little information on pregnancy and Arthrogryposis (my Diverse Ability) there is. When I was researching the challenges I might face during my first pregnancy, I was so disappointed at the lack of information. For this reason, I'm going to do my best to be part of the solution. I'll try to share here at least once a week, sometimes through writing and pictures, other times through video. Some of my experience will be the same as every other woman, while others will likely be very different. Either way, I hope this journey will empower you to strive for all your goals and to be there for those who need a little help achieving theirs! 
 
xo, Mandi
 
My first confirmation that our #HunnyBee is on it's way!
 
 
P.S. Of course there will be lots of fashion included in this journey! A momma has to look good, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Speechless







This young man is Micah Fowler. He is an actor who debuted in the 2013 film, Labor Day. This September, Micah will be starring in the new ABC sitcom, Speechless. All I have to say is FINALLY!!








Speechless is a comedy that will follow a middle-class family with strong personalities, as they move to an upper class area. There are two very exciting things about this show:

1. Micah Fowler will play a teen with cerebral palsy
2. Micah Fowler has cerebral palsy in real life

That's right!! There will finally be a show featuring a real DiversAble Model. Micah hopes this show will help people grow more comfortable being around people with Diverse Abilities. He wants people too see how "normal" we are, to see that we laugh, cry, and have a great sense of humor.

In an email he wrote to The Mighty, Micah states, "In real life, I live every day conquering challenges brought on by cerebral palsy. In addition to the physical challenges, one challenge I have noticed is that sometimes people who have not met me, seem uncomfortable around me. I hope as people watch “Speechless,” they get to know JJ as a very normal person, to the point that they don’t even see the disability."

Check out the show's trailer:


Today you can show your support of Micah, and all DiversAble people, by placing an order on my c+i boutique! A portion of all proceeds will go towards The DiversAble Model Project, Unveiling True Beauty: ORDER HERE

Friday, July 8, 2016

Am I doing something that matters?

When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself, "Am I doing something that matters?" This is a question that has haunted me since the end of 2013. I look around me today and see friends becoming enemies, lives unnecessarily stolen, protests, and overall chaos. God has been gracious in protecting me, but I still think, "Am I doing something that matters?" 

At the end of 2012, I thought I had the perfect life, the one I envisioned for myself. My marriage was on the up, in the reconciliation process. I had my dream job, working for a Christian ministry serving inner-city youth. We just found a wheelchair accessible house in a decent neighborhood with a backyard for the dog, and enough space to start a family. It was perfect!

In just two years, everything changed! After having my #LittleBear in 2014, my husband's Depression began rearing it's ugly head. I was struggling in silence with Post-partum Depression. My job changed leadership and I knew God was calling me away, but to what? 

I started my Chloe + Isabel business in September of 2014, hoping it would help keep my family afloat until I found another full-time job. I finally obeyed God's calling me away from what I thought was my dream job in November of that year. We struggled, financially, maritally, emotionally, and spiritually. I took a part-time job way below my experience and financial needs, while still working my c+i business. It was so hard, but we trudged through. 

By April of 2015, things were on an upswing. I was hired as Program Coordinator for KEEN New York, a national non-profit organization providing free sports and recreation activities for youth with Diverse Abilities. My c+i business was transformed by The DiversAble Model Project, and my baby boy had just turned 1. The only thing I felt was missing was me doing daily ministry. My job at KEEN and with c+i are both "secular" and I missed being able to openly share my faith. I missed when my job WAS sharing my faith, teaching people that true love isn't judgmental, angry, or harsh. Teaching people that the God we formulate in our minds, the old man who is always scolding us, is not real. I missed the freedom to tell people that their pain isn't because God hates them. Love! I missed showing and teaching love.

When I woke up this morning and asked myself, "Am I doing something that matters?" God gave me a resounding, "Yes!" When I shared God's love for work, many people figured I was doing my job. Maybe they even thought I was really good at my job. Many were touched by the Holy Spirit. He was able to use me no matter what, but it was still my work. Since working for KEEN and c+i, I have had real encounters with real people about the real God. This didn't happen because of my job, but because God lives in me. My life's work matters and I don't need a title to live in my faith. I've shared God's love with literally thousands of people through c+i. They may not even know it, but it's true!

As I look around and see the division between black and white, police vs. people, homosexual vs. herterosexual, religion vs. religion, my heart breaks. I long to do more! I desire to bring peace, joy, love...God! 



Though it often feels like sports and recreation for DiversAble Youth makes no difference to the problems our world faces today, that's a LIE! Though it feels like my jewelry business is useless to the chaos that has consumed our society, that's a LIE! I am uniting people through both of my jobs. I am demonstrating God's love through my own faith journey. I am empowering people. What I do matters!!

What do you do and do you believe it matters?
 
Support The DiversAble Model Project by placing an order on my c+i boutique. A portion of all proceeds will be used to further develop this project: ORDER HERE

Monday, July 4, 2016

D.O.A.


Aimee (Mom), Dan (Dad), Emily (Superhero)

Happy Independence Day!! I know we're celebrating our breaking away from Britain, but today is also about celebrating the heroes who helped make that happen. As I got to thinking about heroes, I realized that people with Diverse Abilities are often viewed as "inspirational," but not really heroes. For this reason, I'm taking you to the U.K. today to meet Emily.

She is a 10 year old girl who was born with Spina Bifida, a Diverse Ability that affects the spine, usually leaving people needing to use wheelchairs. When Emily's father, Dan White, realized there is a lack of DiversAble icons for his daughter to be empowered by, he created a comic book. He calls his comic book The Department of Ability and Emily is the main character!



As the leader of the D.O.A., Emily is equipped with a "multi-functional airborne wheelchair." She also "stands for truth and justice!" Her team of superheroes is called the Strongbones Superheoroes, in honor of her dad's partnership with Strongbones Children Charity, who is helping Dan publish the first run of this comic book. Many of the characters featured in the comics are based on real children served by Strongbones and friends of Emily.

https://www.departmentofability.com/theme-tune/lyrics-by-sarah-renehan/




What would a superhero team be without their very own theme song? Dan White partnered with an Australian band called Calling Utopia. Sarah Renehan wrote the lyrics and performed the D.O.A.'s theme song, an upbeat anthem, removing the typical sad, "inspirational" music usually associated with media featuring people with Diverse Abilities. Click Here to hear the song!










If you look at today's traditional heroes, they all have what society would consider a "disability." Iron Man is only super because of his robotic (prosthetic?) suit. The Hulk is only strong because of his inability to control his anger. Daredevil is only amazing because of his heightened senses caused by his visual impairment. It is important for every person to find heroes they can relate to. This issue is not just a problem faced in the UK. The United States also lacks positive, strong, independent people with DiversAbilities in media. Dan's comic book is about more than inspiration. It's about giving people with Diverse Abilities the opportunity to see that we are strong, powerful, super!

You can visit The Department Of Abilities website and support their mission by ordering from their Shop (some cute merchandise!). The First Edition of the comic book will be released soon and they do international shipping.



The DiversAble Model Project aims to "Unveil True Beauty."  My Chloe + Isabel business has beautiful accessories that will leave you feeling & looking like a superhero! Portions of all proceeds from my c+i business go towards supporting this project. Please consider placing an order today so we can have ALL people equally featured in fashion, and society. Plus, today is your last chance to take advantage of up to 30% off with my Summer Solstice Promo. Use code SUMMER at checkout when your order reaches $75!! Support Here: Mandi's CandI Shop

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dreamy Eyes Artistry

If you've been reading my blog from the very beginning, then you know that my Diverse Ability is called Arthrogryposis. When I was a teenager, I had to write a paper for school that was basically a mini-autobiography. At that time, I began researching all about this "disability." What I got out of my research was that Arthrogrposis is a birth defect that affects the joints and muscles, mainly causing severe joint contractures. It affects each person differently and doesn't always affect the same joints across the board. The one word that continued to stand out to me during my research was RARE. My condition is described as rare. During adolescence, when we want nothing more than to be accepted, to belong, the last thing a young lady wants to hear is that her differences are RARE!

Throughout my life so far, I've been truly blessed to meet other people with Arthrogryposis. Unfortunately for me, most of them were male, or were females at a very different point in life. This is why I was incredibly excited to virtually meet Jessica Ruiz!

Jessica is a young female entrepreneur who just happens to have Arthrogryposis. Like me, Jessica has limited use of her arms and hands, and does many things with her mouth. At the age of 10, Jessica began developing a love of cosmetology. In an effort to boost her own self-esteem and distract her bullies, this Philly girl began doing her own make-up! When her schoolmates saw how beautiful her makeup artistry was, they began asking her to do theirs too. Yes with her mouth!!


After graduating high school, Jessica applied to colleges where she hoped to hone her talent. However, each school she wanted to attend turned her down. One school told her she would need to bring in her own makeup models, because their models wouldn't want her so close to their face. Another school went as far as tearing up her application right in front of her! Despite these obstacles, Jessica promised her grandfather that she would pursue her dreams no matter what just before he passed away from cancer.

Determined to follow her dream, Jessica began teaching herself techniques by practicing and watching Youtube videos. She launched her own business Dreamy Eyes Artistry and got her first big break working at the second annual Philadelphia Small Business Fashion Week! Since then, she has been featured in People Magazine, Philadelphia Daily News, and TV interviews. She now sees 3-4 clients per week and is raising funds to open her own Glam Bar.  Jessica has almost 7,000 followers on Instagram and is a true #GirlBoss.

Jessica Ruiz wearing c+i's Mirabelle Collar Necklace

It is a true honor to have such a powerhouse DiversAble Model like Jessica supporting my Chloe + Isabel business and The DiversAble Model Project! When you make an order from my boutique, these are the types of people and dreams you're supporting. I'd love to support Jessica's dream and get her GoFundMe page to its goal. Today through July 4th, a portion of the proceeds of all orders of the Mirabelle Collar Necklace and/or the Liquid Lipstick Set will be donated to helping Jessica achieve her dreams!

Liquid Lipstick
Liquid Lipstick alongside c+i's decorative Glass Trays

*Add a set of Color Pop Hair Ties in Pink or Blue for more savings 

https://www.chloeandisabel.com/products/H017/color-pop-hair-ties?m=amandafrantz
No crease hair ties (also available in Blue)
Use code SUMMER when your order reaches $75 for savings!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Same & Different

"In some ways we are different, but in so many ways we are the same."

My 2 year old Little Bear (son) is currently obsessed with Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, a PBS show created in honor of Mr. Roger's himself. I'll admit, I wasn't a huge Mr. Roger's Neighborhood fan, but the man and his show are pretty iconic. Who can forget his jingle? How about his sweater? C'mon, you know you do.

I love Daniel Tiger for many reasons, but today I caught my son watching an episode called "Daniel's New Friend; Same and Different." It featured a character using crutches an wearing leg braces and focused on all the characters differences, and similarities. This made me tear up because I don't think parents today share this concept enough with children. Particularly during puberty, all kids want to do is fit in. We've all been there, and I'm not sure it can be fully prevented, but I'm so excited that my Little Bear will learn that "in some ways we are different, but in so many ways we are the same."

This falls perfectly in line with my vision for The DiversAble Model Project! In fact, it could've been our tagline. For a long time I wanted to disassociate myself from the DiversAble community. It was fear that caused this. I was afraid of being clumped in with people who were considered "incapable, disabled." It took many years for me to embrace diversity, particularly within myself. Now that I have, my desire is to show everyone, both people who do and do not identify with having Diverse Abilities, that we are all beautiful; "Unveiling True Beauty!"

Support this mission today by purchasing a gift for someone you want to remind they are beautiful! GET YOUR GIFT HERE
 
Plus, check out the great savings you can get:
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

DiversAble Hair

And I'm back! I spent the last 4 days in Indiana for a friend's wedding, so I couldn't get here. However, I'm back and ready to share more DiversAble goodness with everyone.

If you know me, or followed this blog since inception, you know I have severely limited use of my hands/arms. My husband takes care of most of my activities of daily living. I get compliments all the time on my makeup and hair. I've taught him my style preferences and we still have lots to work on, but I owe my stylish looks (and my bad hair days) all to him.

This is why I was so excited to find out my Chloe + Isabel business partnered with celebrity harstylist, Jen Atkin! This woman has styled the best of the best celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, and the Kardashians. Whether you like all the celebrities she has styled or not, you have to admit the #girlboss has skills. She also has a vision of inspiring other people and empowering them to learn the skills she has. One of the ways Jen does this is through her site Mane Addicts, from which  Mane U was birthed. There you will find tutorials, Youtube videos, and a schedule of classes.


This shared vision of inspiring and empowering women is what led c+i's Founder + CEO, Chantel Waterbury (pictured with me above),  to create the c+i X  Jen Atkin hair accessory line! My favorite accessory is the Bun Cuff, which you can watch my husband put in my hair in less than 2 minutes here:

I also love these Wishbone Hair Pins, which my husband also helped style in my hair:

My point? You need these pieces because literally anyone can put them on! Whether you do your own hair, or someone helps make you look fresh, these will help. Plus, if you post a pic of your favorite hair-do on your social media and tag me, I may just send you a little gift!

Get your #nomorehairdonts accessories here: Hair Accessories

Sunday, June 5, 2016

"You've got to be kidding me."





Hello Everyone and welcome back to The (improved) DiversAble Model Project's Blog!! If you missed my LIVE re-launch video, be sure to check out my video post from Friday. There you'll learn more about what happened to the blog and why I'm relaunching now. You'll also get an explanation of our new tagline, "Unveiling True Beauty."

To kick-off our first "official" post (I guess they're all official, right?) I had to share this video! It has gone viral over the weekend, so many of you may have seen it, but this young girl's reaction reaffirms everything this blog stands for. Watch and then continue reading to understand what I mean:


There are so many amazing things happening here! Emma Bennett is a 10 year old girl who has a prosthetic leg. Her mom, Courtney Fletcher Bennett, had an American Doll shipped off to an organization called A Step Ahead Prosthetics. This organization specializes in designing prosthetic limbs for humans, but added this doll's prosthetic leg to their que, even including a personal letter.

First of all, way to go mom!! This is such a thoughtful gift and clearly a moment you will cherish forever. I have to recognize, what I presume to be, Emma's little sister who officially gained #DiversAbleAlly status. Did you see how excited she was for her big sis? Of course, kuddos go to A Step Ahead Prosthetics for taking the time to do this and understanding its importance.

Speaking of importance, this video speaks volumes about the need for a more diverse fashion world! In case you missed it, be sure to re-watch this young lady's reaction, but more importantly, listen to her words:

"You've got to be kidding me."

She says this comment so quickly, you might miss its significance. She is in disbelief. It is unlikely she would have had the same response if this doll looked like every other "perfect" doll she's seen, probably owns. The idea of a doll that doesn't fit the typical mold is foreign. So too, is the idea of a model who looks like me!

"Thank you. Thank you for making a doll look like me."

DiversAble Models throughout the nation long to say this about magazines, social media assets, movies! We don't need dolls created in our image. We're here. We're ready. We're beautiful!

GET INVOLVED: Rise up and help me make an impact in the fashion industry, and the country by placing an order on Mandi's CandI Shop. As an added incentive (as if the cause isn't good enough!), everyone who orders through this link today (by 11:59pm EST) will be entered to:

  • Be featured on this blog
  • Have their photo posted in my boutique
  • Win all Host Rewards*
*Comment if you don't know what this means!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

SNEAK PEEK


I'm so excited about this relaunch, so I wanted to share this video of a DiversAble Model to give you a SNEAK PEEK of the type of inspiration you can look forward to!

My friend Trisha, uses a wheelchair or a walker. Not many people realize how much strength and coordination goes into walking. Trisha walking on crutches is a huge accomplishment and reminds me that we need to take time to appreciate our baby steps, in business and life!!

Click Here for Trisha's video:
https://www.facebook.com/trisha.denise.douglas/videos/1029154827120467/

Sunday, May 22, 2016

DMP Blog Re-Launch - COMING SOON



You read that right! After a (way too long!) hiatus, The DiversAble Model Project Blog is relaunching on Friday, June 3rd. We're coming back bigger and better, as we work on some major partnerships.

You can look forward to meeting powerhouse DiversAble Models and discovering ways you can positively impact change. We've finally come up with our tagline/mission, which we'll reveal in our Relaunch Post!! Of course we have new products to showcase and the inspiration behind them. Plus, you'll get lots of Behind-The-Scenes peeks at how a DiversAble Business is run.

Be sure to stay tuned to our social media to stay updated on all the happenings in The DiversAble Model Project:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MandiCandIShop
Instagram: @mandi_box (www.instagram.com/mandi_box)
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/MandiBox1

Comment if you're even half as excited as we are to see what's coming next!!