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
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!