Showing posts from 2015

Will You Stand/Speak?

This is Jack! He is one of KEEN New York's young Athletes. KEEN is a non-profit volunteer based organization, providing fitness, sports, and recreation activities to #DiversAbleYouth at no cost to the family.
As the Program Coordinator, I am blessed to be in regular contact with children like Jack: fun, bright, sweet, and resilient. I get to see parents like his every weekend: dedicated, loving, persistent, advocates.
Our society has come a long way in integrating #DiversAblePeople into everyday life, but the journey is not even close to an end. What happens to children like Jack when they grow up, when their parents aren't there anymore? Who will advocate for his best interests? Who will take a chance on giving him work? Who will offer a helping hand so he can do the "normal" daily life activities?
Jack has a lot more "abilities" than some of our other Athlete's and I often ask, "Who will stand up for them? Who will be their voice? Who will see them…

A DiversAble Boob Story!

Every one who knows me know pink is my favorite color, particularly baby pink. This month in particular always draws my attention to Breast Cancer Awareness because I'm surrounded by baby pink! I would love for you to watch my video and considering making pink, not just a fabulous color, but a color of hope <3

Still blessed by these memories!

Shop here for these beauties & so much more:

14 Years: Don't Forget

14 years ago I had just returned to the U.S. after a wonderful trip to Ireland. A new school year had started and I was in my 10th grade first period Science class. I remember my friend Miracle rolling into my classroom and saying, "The Twin Towers were hit by planes." I didn't understand then the seriousness of the situation, but my teacher's face spoke a thousand words.

The rest of that day is such a assembly in the gym, teachers crying, kids playing, bridges shut down. I knew things would be different. Every school bus was escorted by police to the bridge that would take us city kids home from Long Island. It was late, maybe 8:30pm. At home I watched as the video of the attacks replayed, the death count rose, missing persons were called in, people walked miles to get home. My city was turned upside down.

In those dark, scary, painful moments, I got a glimpse of God's glory. No one cared about each other's sexual orientation, disability, race, g…

KEEN for Coffee

Hello to all my blog readers!!

It has been quite some time since I've posted here. Those of you who keep up with me on other social media platforms know I have been working very hard on several different projects. Between exploring The Axis Project, running my Jamberry Nails business, and officially becoming a Merchandise Manager (MM) with Chloe + Isabel, plus family responsibilities and my "day job," it's been hard to post as much as I'd like.

As a CandI MM, I am in the process of getting a team of at least FIFTY Merchandisers! My responsibilities are to inspire, motivate, and challenge them to achieve their individual goals. Every one of you who reads my posts has had a hand in helping me achieve this level of success in my business and I'm so grateful. I went back and forth on names for my team and finally chose #candiconquerors. Check out my Facebook post from a few days ago to read about the inspiration behind the name.

On another note, I want to share a…


A friend of mine shared an amazing link with me and I have to share it with all of you :-)

As you may know, one of the methods The DiversAble Model Project is using to create opportunities for the inclusion of people with Diverse Abilities is promotion in the fashion industry. Though we started out focusing on women, I was very excited by the launch of the c+i's Men's Shop. I have been able to reach out to those DiversAble Male Models! This week in NYC is the first Men's Fashion Week and if you're a #DiversAbleMan going for an urban look, then you'll want to get this bracelet and a pair of Nike FlyEase sneakers.

What is a Nike Flyease sneaker? Here's the link I was talking about:

Be sure to watch the video to get the full story. Matthew Walzer took a chance, raised his voice…

Where's the Pride??

On June 28, 2015, the day of the Gay Pride March, Newsday reported that "hundreds of thousands attended the march..." to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage across the nation. The event interrupted regular TV programming.

On July 10, 2015, the US celebrated our woman's team winning the Soccer World Cup. According to an ABCNews article, over 12,000 tickets were requested to this celebration for a venue that could only hold 3,500 people. This event also interrupted regularly scheduled TV programming.

On July 12, 2015, The Wall Street Journal said the Disability Pride Parade "attracted 3,000 people..." and it "was relatively small..." TV programming carried on as scheduled!

I spent two hours flipping through channels to see coverage of the parade, but found not a single live report. Many people may say, "Well, this is only the first one." To that I say, for that very reason it should have been one of the be…


Whew! It's been too log since I've posted. Forgive me for the hiatus, but life does get crazy when you're trying to change the world! :-)

Let me ask you a question: How do ribbons and "disabilities" relate to each other? Read on to find out...

Many of you know that this month is a BIG deal for the Diverse Ability community. Tomorrow, July 12th, NYC is hosting the First Annual Disability Pride Parade. On July 26th, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act! I want to briefly share my thoughts.

I'm glad that people with Diverse Abilities will march tomorrow, reminding people that we are here. I'm excited that the march will culminate with performances by DiversAble musicians, DiversAble comedians, and other acts. Yet, I'm also concerned... Just like with all groups of people, there is always opposition, always another group with something negative to say. Then there's the other side, the side w…

**Special Edition** - Hope!

In the wake of the Charleston shooting, I'm reflecting on how many crimes have been called "hate crimes," or "crimes of passion." What drives these people from intention to action??

One theory I have is that many people have a sense of hopelessness. When that hopelessness becomes so unbearable, people are often moved to act. Some people harm themselves, while some people harm others...

What if we reversed this theory for a positive outcome? What if many people had an overwhelming sense of hope? Could hope move people from intention to action?? Could hope cause people to help themselves and others? I vote yes!!

The #DiversAbleModel Project is based on hope. There are many ways that this world needs to be changed, but I have hope that I'm not the only one who cares about equality for people with Diverse Abilities. I have hope that I can help make a difference in my life and the lives of many others. My hope moves me from just having good intentions, to taking…

Fashion Friday - Maureen Lovetro

It's been quite a challenge finding time to blog lately! I apologize to all my supporters for not being more diligent. I didn't want to let another Friday go by without showing off another beautiful DiversAble Model. Maureen Lovetro was excited when I reached out to her and asked her to participate in this project. Since writing her short bio, she has anxiously awaited this post and I'm honored to have her on board!

"My name is Maureen Lovetro and I live in NYC.  My Diverse Ability is Cerebral Palsy. I'm 25 years old and I have just become a certified Child Life Specialist, which means I help children cope with being in the hospital by making sure they understand everything that is happening to them. I explain everything to them in an age-appropriate way. I also run a playroom, giving the kids a chance to just be kids. I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in Play Therapy and Disability Studies. I also enjoy working with psychiatric patients as a Pet Therapist …

Thankful Thursday - Angel Fernandez de Lopez

We all deserve an Angel in our lives. I'm not talking about the white-robed, glowing halo angel. I'm talking about this amazing friend, wife, and mother! She is creative, intelligent, passionate, and overall a Superwoman!

Angel has quietly supported my CandI business and The DiversAble Model Project from the beginning. Her encouragement and positive spirit have uplifted me in times of doubt. She brightens any room she enters and I know she will soon be sharing the success of her own future business!

Angel, we appreciate your support more than you know. You encourage and inspire everyone around you. We look forward to sharing our successes with you <3

Join Angel and support The DiversAble Model Project today!

Tuesday Truth - More Money, More Problems

America was once cutting edge, politically, technologically, socially.  That hasn't been true for the better part of a century.  Sure, we still have a huge technological step up to the world around us, and our entertainment is still cutting edge, but even that is waning.  Our legal system is so slow, and so corrupt, that we're playing with technologies there are no laws for.  When FDR started building the interstate highway system, he was in a unique position to coordinate the entire nation's efforts toward a single goal, something that he had already done with WWII.  In it's day, the interstate network was cutting edge.  The technology exists, today, to replace all standard pavement with an electronic smart pavement that would not only allow city planners to change the signage on the road itself, and use electric heat so that no one would ever have to plow ever again, but could use solar energy to generate three times more energy than the whole country currently uses.…

Thankful Thursday - Love Andujar


Let's be honest, love is the state of being we all aspire to be in.  Love is so much about endearing attention, unconditional positive regard.  Don't we all wish there was someone that liked us, was interested in us, and cared about the things that were important to us?  These is a person who will do that perfectly, and his name is Jesus.  But there is someone who does a pretty good job of representing that kind of attitude today, someone physical right now.

That person's name is Love.  Love Andujar!  There are very few people who succeed at creating an environment of acceptance, and hospitality.  Love Andujar is one of these people.  Not only is her personality great in recreating a little bubble of a more heavenly atmosphere, but she pursues things that are of God's heart as well.  In that vein, we'd like to recognize Love Andujar as a great DiversAble Ally!

While she doesn't have a lot of wealth or stuff to her name, she's seen the value in the Div…

Tuesday Truth - Diverse Abilities on Screen

This is RJ Mitte.  He was in one of my favorite television shows of all time: Breaking Bad.  Mitte played the son of the main character, a teenage boy named Walter White, Jr.  Jr. is an interesting young man, who also happens to have cerebral palsy.  At first, I thought this actor was incredible, because his portrayal of a disability I was familiar with was awesome.  I'm ashamed to say, I assumed he was a typically abled person.  He's not, Mitte has cerebral palsy, and started his career in modeling!

This guy is Sebastien Rene.  He played a severely disabled boy in the movies Starbuck and the American version, Delivery Man. While the disability this boy has in the movie is not labeled, I get the impression that his is a more severe cerebral palsy.  Rene's portrayal of disability was so impressive, actually, the producer, Steven Spielberg, wanted him to come back from the French Canadian production and reprise his role in the American film.  He was the only actor who appea…

Fashion Friday - Jenny Brackenridge

Jenny Brackenridge is quite the accomplished DiversAble Model! Her identity is not in her limitations, but in her abilities. I'm honored that she shares her heart so openly. Read her story:

"My name is Jenny Brackenridge and I live in Glen Head, NY. My Diverse Ability is called Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and I use a wheelchair for mobility.  
I am the youngest of four children,  two older brothers, Craig and Steven, and an identical twin sister Krissy, who is typically able.  Krissy and I were born 3 months premature, exactly 1 minute apart.  I am a proud Aunt to my 14 year old nephew Trey and 4 year old identical twin nieces, Jenna and Kara.  I have a Scottish terrier named Gracie, after Gracie Mansion.  I earned Associate and Bachelor Degrees in Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Psychology, as well as a Master of Sciences Degree in Mental Health Counseling, Master of Professional Photography Degree, and I currently hold Teacher’s Assistant – Level I Certif…

Thankful Thursday - Pastor David Serrano, Jr.

Today I had a conversation with someone about how hurt they feel by a church they attended. In fact, I've heard many stories like this. Throughout our lives, especially our teen years, we have a desire to belong to a group, to be accepted. When people think of the ideal church, it's a place filled with people like themselves. Sure, people may debate on details, but there's no judgement. Most people don't dream of going to a church where they're forced to fit into a very small box, i.e. dress a certain way, give a certain amount of money, pray a particular prayer, etc. People who have a real relationship with Jesus know that these details don't really matter. Most people would love to go to a church for "people like us."

LifeHouse Christian Church is my home church and is the place for someone like me! From my first visit I was impressed by how easy-going and friendly Pastor Dave is. He is a visionary and is determined to empower everyone he comes in c…

Worship Wednesday! Woot woot!

Hey guys!

So, I've been thinking a lot about eternity lately, and what's politically correct to say about it.  I want to start with the Corinthians.  In fact, let's start with I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 35, and read to verse 49; then I want to move to II Corinthians, chapter 5, starting with verse 1, through to verse 10.  Go ahead, go read those passages.  Don't worry, I'll wait here for you, just let me know when you're finished.

Weren't those amazing?  I find that in today's environment, it's a little unpopular to talk about the afterlife.  Who wants to hear that a terrible situation may not come to an end before you die?  That you just might have to live with it.  A lot of things I heard, well, they beg the question: is God a god of Good and Bad, or is he just Good?  We like to think that he's just a loving and good God, that we would spare us harm if he could.  How terrifying would that be?  I mean, would you rather a God who was just …

Mandi's CandI Corner - Fashion Show Update

Hey guys!

Today is going to be about an update.  I know, so many of you are generally really excited about seeing my wife don some awesome CandI and flash it for everyone to see, giving you sage-like advice about what to wear it with all the while. Today's more of another look at the upcoming fashion show we're putting together for October 31st!  Remember how much I said we needed?  $3,000, for this month.  So far, we've got $2,820 left to go.

We really need your help, guys!  This is a huge project, and it's going to impact a lot of people, make a huge statement, but we need your help to get it off the ground.  With Mother's Day just passed, it's not too late to buy something for your mom, or for at least one special mom out there that you know. Also, the number of models we're gathering for the fashion show is pretty impressive; you could help us out twice by buying one of the models a piece of jewelry, which means they get something to wear for the fashio…

Fashion Friday - Trisha Douglas

This beautiful woman is my (Mandi's) friend Trisha Douglas! She has faced much adversity in her life, yet through her faith in Jesus Christ she finds the strength to smile and make others laugh too. She has no fear of saying what's on her mind, so here she tells her story:

"My name is Trisha Douglas and I live in The Bronx, NY, but I'm originally from Brooklyn. My Diverse Ability is called Cerebral Palsy. I was born with Cerebral Palsy because I was born premature at 7 months. I am 27 Years old. I love to read and write poetry. I love fashion and really have my own sense of style. I love certain trends, but I love to put my own twist on them. 
My greatest accomplishment in life so far is being the first one of my siblings to get accepted into college . I'm not enrolled in college at the moment due to tuition issues, but I hope to one day receive my bachelor's degree in Nursing and become an emergency room triage nurse. 
I believe you should never let your physic…

Thankful Thursday - Call for Allies!!

Hey guys!

So, I missed this week's Worship Wednesday, and I'll make it up to you.  In the meantime, we got a Thankful Thursday to write.  Well, we're all out of people to be thankful for, you stinkers! I'm just kidding.  Haha!

No, really, we wanted to thank everyone who reads this blog.  We understand that not everyone has the financial ability to support causes they feel strongly for.  Well, come October 31st, the DiversAble Model Project is going to the next level: we're running a Fashion Show in the South Bronx!  It's going to be huge, with some models, hair stylists and makeup artists coming in from out of town, even from out of state!  We're trying to get as much support from local organizations, even coverage from local press is something we're aiming for.  But a project this huge carries with it a substantial price tag. Mandi needs to sell $3000 in jewelry this month just to set this thing up!

And that's where you folks all come in!  Right n…

Tuesday Truth - Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Of course, this isn't a greeting that's entirely applicable to everyone.  In fact, a ton of Americans use it simply as an excuse to get drunk, celebrating their nonexistent Mexican heritage.  Kind of similar to St. Patrick's Day with the Irish. 

Today is an Independence Day for Mexico.  For Americans, our Independence Day is July 4th.  Now, of course, these days represent national sovereignty, and separation from the colonial powers that planted them.  For Mexico, it was Spain.  For America, it was Great Britain.  It's a very specific kind of independence that we're celebrating, one bought with lives, blood, hard work.

It does get a person thinking, though.  For me, it gets me thinking about independence, and how it relates to people with DiversAbilities.

The first high-risk maternity clinic my wife and I went to when she got pregnant with our Little Bear was a disaster.  One of my strongest, most pungently unpleasant memories was a…

Mandi's CandI Corner - Fashion Show

**PLEASE NOTE: Models do NOT have to have visible Diverse Abilities to participate! Models can be any age, body type, color, etc...
If you would like to make a financial contribution to the Fashion Show, please visit and place an order today!

Fashion Friday - Nicole Cavanagh

This is Nicole Cavanagh from Hempstead, NY. She has a Diverse Ability called Athetoid Cerebral Palsy and this is her story:

"I am a 25 year old college student at Hofstra University studying Information Technology.  I went to the Henry Viscardi School (HVS) from kindergarten through 12th grade where I graduated at the top of my class.  HVS was a school for kids with physical Diverse Abilities.  After graduating high school in 2007, I attended Briarcliffe College where I studied Graphic Design for two and a half years.  I decided to switch colleges and my major to Information Technology in 2009.  In 2010, I attended Nassau Community College.  While I loved it there, after another two and a half years, I desperately wanted to live on my own, so I decided to go to Hofstra and dorm there.  All colleges only allow full-time students to dorm (those who take four or more classes per semester.)  Due to my Diverse Ability, I could only attend college as a part-time student because I type …

Thankful Thursday - Curtis Frantz

Besides being a day late, this post is long over due! For those of you who know me, I am blessed with big vision. God has granted me the ability to see something in my head, and then make it happen. However, there is no way any of my vision could become reality without this strong father and husband. He often works behind the scenes and rarely gets the recognition he deserves, but he truly is a DiversAble Ally! Today it is my true pleasure to give an enormous THANK YOU to my husband Curtis Frantz!!!

Curtis was the very first person I shared my idea of The DiversAble Model Project with. He always encourages me to pursue my craziest dreams and often sacrifices his time and energy to ensure my success. He pushes me when I feel like giving up and celebrates my accomplishments.

Curtis cares for me and my Little Bear on a daily basis and makes living a relatively "normal" life possible. He helps me run my business and lends a hand whenever I ask. His posts on this blog barely scra…

Worship Wednesday - God & Fashion

Fashion is about esteem, confidence, and sometimes, in ideal situations, artistic expression.  When God made Adam and Eve, they were created naked, and they remained naked, until they fell out of perfect relationship.  Then they built clothes out of leaves, what they had available.  Not because they were uncomfortable physically, but because they now needed masks.  That's what clothing, and fashion, is all about, mostly.  Create an image you want people to see you by, often create an image that manipulates people into acting a certain way towards you, which can affect how you live in public. 

Sometimes, very rarely, we use our clothes and our accessories to show the world parts of who we really are.  That's artistic expression.  Mostly, though, we show the world who we want to be, who we want others to see us as.  It helps us believe some of those things about ourselves when we can't do it in our own power.  This sounds sad, and it is a result of our living in a Fallen Wo…

Tuesday Truth - #CutTheBull

Hey guys!

It's me, Curtis, and I wanted to talk with you guys about something that I think needs more limelight:  bullying.

First and second grades were the worst years of my academic career.  Schoolwork was never an issue for me, it was socialization.  I had always gotten on really well with adults, growing up.  It was the other children that were hard for me.  In first grade, I had found a small group of boys that I was fitting in with reasonably well.  I even pretended to really like the Power Rangers to fit in.  By the end of the year, and into the next one, something had gone horribly wrong. One of the boys was Guillermo and he was the ring-leader. His older sister was friends with my older sister.  There must have been some kind of falling out between the two, for Guillermo to wake up one day and say to himself, "I'm going to make Curtis' life a living nightmare!"  To be honest, I'm not one hundred percent sure what did happen, but I do know things beca…

Mandi's CandI Corner - Mandi CandI Stylebox

Do you know what I saw on the news the other day? It was a segment on the latest thing trending, particularly for women. It's the Surprise Stylebox! That's right, it is the thing to shop for this year.

As your personal Merchandiser and stylist, I've decided to help you get in on this latest trend. Beginning May 1st, I will be offering all of you a subscription to a Mandi CandI Surprise Stylebox!!+ This is a perfect way for you to stay in fashion + support The DiversAble Model Project*. Every box you receive will include at least one piece from our latest collection. If you live locally, or are willing to pick up your boxes, I may include extra goodies ;-)

Check out the image in this post to see all the great budget options I'm offering. Once you select your style, budget**, and frequency, or if you would like to discuss other Stylebox options, comment here, message me on Facebook, or email me at and I'll get you set up.

+This offer is EXCL…

Fashion Friday - Alicea Pratt Saldana

On August 2, 1992 a three year old little girl played near her tenth floor window in Brooklyn. Dad was out for breakfast, while mom awaited comfortably in her pajamas. Within seconds, the unthinkable happened. The window guard was loose and the little girl fell down ten stories! I am blessed to present the survivor of this horrific accident, Alicea Pratt Saldana:

She spent two years recovering from her fall and is paralyzed from the waist down. However, as you can see in the picture above, Alicea is no stranger to a good time! She will be 26 years old on May 20th and says her greatest accomplishment is the ability to live her life the way she's always wanted to. Alicea now lives in Freeport, Long Island and is very enthusiastic about The DiversAble Model Project. She joined the project because she believes it gives women with Diverse Abilities a chance to be seen as equals. The project allows women with Diverse Abilities to be just as fashionable as the next person!

Alicea, your j…

Thankful Thursday - Angelica Tineo

Hey Everyone!

This is Angelica.  She's one of our son's Godmothers.  She and her husband Franklyn, they've been lifesavers for Amanda and I.  We've known them for a few years, but really, it feels like we've known them forever.  I thank God, often (probably like every week or so, give or take ;-), for these two, especially Angie.

As a lot of you may have read in my post on Tuesday, life can get a little hairy around here.  Since Little Bear was born, there are very few people that we've trust to take care of him, until more recently.  Angie is on that very short list.  She has done so much to support us in our everyday lives, that's almost enough to warrant calling her a DiversAble Ally with just that.  But there's more!

Even before Amanda started pursuing the DiversAble Model project, Angie has supported her jewelry business.  She has hosted parties, she has helped Amanda set up her displays, run events.  Now that Amanda's added the DiversAble dim…

Tuesday Truth - Spouse/CareGiver

"Oh, you're such a great guy!"  "She's just so lucky."  "She must love you very much."  "You did her makeup?"  "You did her hair?"  "You could work at a salon!" 

These are things people say when they get the five minute version of both how my wife and I met, or a general rundown of our lives.  I must be some kind of saint, right, to voluntarily take on the burden of a wife with a Diverse Ability, volunteering to take on the physical responsibilities of two parents in our family?  Wrong.  I'm kind of part husband, part home health aide, and whatever problems you can imagine occurring with either station, we've had them. 

What are some possible issues you could imagine having with a husband, all you wives out there?  Neglectful or forgetful behavior?  Not spending enough time with you, or not interested in what goes on in your life?  Too focused on his own stuff to want to focus on your stuff, too?  Spending …