Not Black Enough

Disclaimer: get ready for this to get deep. I'm tired of being soft spoken because I'm a celebrity. I am who I am and I don't apologize often. So come on in and sit comfortably, because some of this will make you feel some type of way, indeed.

 

In the midst of a time of absolute crisis in our country I am thinking a lot about senseless hatred and how it becomes something so profound that it leads to the loss of life. Sounds insane, but it's becoming common place. We are becoming a culture dedicated to finding differences in others and making them pay for being different. There's hatred in sexuality, no matter what it is.  Hatred in race still exists in such a major way. Sexism is still a thing, look at any workplace where men and women co-exist. But the hatred itself, that's what's scary. 

 

I've been being hated for "not being black enough" since I was about 4 years old. Yes...I said NOT BEING BLACK ENOUGH. That's a thing in some areas of black culture. I was born with hazel green eyes. Not my fault...but it's seen as different and it attracts attention, and along with attention sometimes comes hate. The neighborhood I was born in was rough. When my parents first bought that house it was considered "up and coming". By the time I was born however, it had taken a turn for the worst. The public school was unacceptable, not to mention the fact that I couldn't play outside past a certain time. Gunshots were commonly heard at night. Hell, someone robbed us by breaking into MY bedroom window and stealing a child's piggy bank. Picture painted, it was rough.

 

My parents spent every last dime to send me and my older brother to a private school in a predominantly white neighborhood nearby. They wanted me to have a better education and safer learning environment than our  neighborhood offered. They didn't think about things like me and my brother being the only black kids in the entire school. The administrators of that school certainly didn't care that black children were joining the program. They were just good people helping kids learn. So they did what they thought was right. Little did they know, their efforts in educating their kids and exposing them to other cultures would result in them being targeted down the road.

 

I remember as early as 4, being teased for "talking proper". I didn't try to speak differently, I was being taught this at a young age. I decided I liked knowing the proper ways to speak, using new and intriguing words, and that doing those things in most environments was met with reward. Adults would comment on how smart and mature I was.  But in a few environments, it was looked down upon. I was accused of thinking I was better than others for saying yes, please and no, thank you. 

 

Now, one thing you'll never hear of, is someone being "too black". Quite frankly, I don't know how you would define something like that. What the hell are "levels of blackness"? There's no such thing as being "too black" in my ethnic community, so why is there "not black enough?" It's just silly. People are who they are. Certain uses of speech or articles of clothing shouldn't make you more or less black. The company you keep, the God you worship, the job you have shouldn't make you less black. My mother sometimes wears African wraps...because she likes the way they look and enjoys the nod to her heritage. Not because she wants to be more black. Is it just me or is all of this sounding crazier by the second? 

 

When I got into high school, I met more people like me (thank goodness) who were raised similarly, who understood what it was like to be treated differently because of how you spoke, or some of the company that you kept, or the hobbies you enjoyed. For instance, I was a figure skater. Not many black people skated, so it was instantly dubbed a "white sport". I was damn good at it and loved it, so I couldn't care less what people called it, I was going to do it and do it well and so that's what I did for 17 years. I knew a kid in high school who played soccer and golf, and was constantly teased over it and accused of wanting to be white. Why knock a guy for loving sports? Who was he hurting by kicking a ball around and swinging a club? You think that means he thinks he's better than you? You better pay closer attention.

 

I surrounded myself with a multicultural group back then, kind of like a "screw you" to people who didn't think we should be a melting pot. My best friends were Korean, Indian, Puerto Rican and white. I was the black one. And I felt empowered whenever I walked down the halls with any of those women. Race never mattered to us, but it sure got some people's underwear twisted up.

 

So here's where it gets really bad.  It's bad enough when you're black and people of your own heritage don't want to support and empower you in your differences, but it's even worse when people of OTHER cultures you've befriended start mocking you for who you are. This is a hot button topic for me. In a joking setting there's always one white person who will say "oh you know Brandi isn't black she's white like us".  

 

I'm sorry, am I like you? Because I figure skate? Cause you don't figure skate. Because I'm higher educated? Because the school you went to isn't rated nearly as highly as mine. Because I wear certain brands of clothing? Baby, maybe you're LIKE ME. My ideas are original. My style is unique and I don't have anyone else in mind when it comes to feeling like me. So maybe it's you who's trying to be somebody. I already know who I am...a damn unicorn. Uniquely awesome. Soul search yourself before you come at me for being me. And if you ever do say that to me? Escort your stupid ass out of my life permanently, trust me, you don't want me to show you the door.

 

NEWSFLASH: if you still feel skeptical about me and my roots, two things. 1) You're an idiot and don't deserve this but...2) I LOVE being black. I wouldn't want to be anything else. I love every gift God has given me. My heritage is a large portion of my make up and I couldn't be more proud of that. I also love that my husband and his family are white. I love watching our families blend together and love each other. It's the best thing to see. Awkward at times? Sure. But I would never trade it.  

 

My own personal experiences with hatred don't compare to the horrors that are taking place in this country right now. I just wanted to speak up and put focus on how easily hatred starts and grows. I wanted to say the words NOT BLACK ENOUGH outloud.  If this is something you find hate in your heart stemming from, say it to someone you respect. Tell them "I hate people who arent black enough" and if they don't respond by saying "uh...what?!" There's something wrong with them. Move on from them. Hatred stems from simply being different than a group. Having different religious, political, sexual, educational, leisure time views than someone else can lead us to where we are today. Judgement leads to hate, hate leads to horrific events. Just stop it. Stop hating people you don't know for no reason. It will consume your heart and once it has your heart it has your life. You only get one of those. Don't waste it by consuming yourself so heavily with hate for someone who's just different than you. 

LIKEtoKNOW.it - how to shop my Instagram!

I gain new followers daily, so although some of you may be familiar with LIKEtoKNOW.it and the LTK App...quite a few are not! I'm often asked questions like "what lip color are you wearing?" "Where'd you get that top?" Or where can I find those shoes?"  It's all so simple my darlings! I make it that way for you so you will rarely have to ask...you can just like my picture, or screenshot my picture and shop the entire image IMMEDIATELY!  

I am able to do this through LIKEtoKNOW.it. It's a program and app designed for top level bloggers to share their looks with their followers quickly, and it allows you the ability to shop and consume those looks at your leisure!  Let me break it down for you guys, step by step!  

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First you're going to want to download the LIKEtoKNOW.it app. See above. It is FREE! Once you've downloaded and signed into the app, you'll be able to screenshot and shop ALL of my looks. Super simple. Say you screenshot this image..: 

 

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Moments later, you will find it on the main page of your app, and you'll be able to click on individual items below the photo to shop them. So if you're just after these Alice + Olivia pumps, no sweat! Just click on them and you'll be taken to the place I got them from, you'll be able to shop just like any online shopping experience! And yes, you can return items that don't fit. It's literally just like shopping at Nordstrom or any of your other fave stores...because YOU ARE shopping there! You're just getting directly to the items you're looking for by way of my image. Make sense? Let's try... 

 

First I find a photo that I want to shop... 

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Notice the app lets me know RIGHT AWAY when the image is ready to shop! So I head on over to the app now... 

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I find the image all broken down. Dress, jewelry, bags, shoes etc. I decide I want to buy this shell necklace, so I click on it below... 

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This takes me to Anthropologie (where, surprise! I bought this jewelry). And check that out! It's even on sale! 😍 I decide I'd like a necklace like this so... 

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I add it to my shopping cart as usual and I proceed to checkout just like I would normally. 

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See! It's your normal shopping experience, I'm just getting you to the products you want immediately instead of you having to guess and then sift through all of these items you don't want! It's streamlined and awesome and it's how I shop ALL OF THE TIME.  It's like having a personal stylist working for you, without having the pay them!  

Now, let's say you're not into apps. No problem! Just go to the LIKEtoKNOW.it website (it's just like above. No dotcom, it's dotIT) sign up with your email and then every time you "like" one of my pictures on IG those shopping breakdowns will be emailed to you instead of sent to an app. You can shop them just like I showed you above, except it will be from an email.  

 

Isnt that awesomely easy?? I hope you think so. Go try it. Let me know if you have any troubles at all. I'm happy to help guide you guys further. Trust me, this has changed shopping for me and it's gonna change it for you too...I promise!!! 

Sephora Glam Sesh

I'm a VIB Rouge at Sephora. That means, I spend way too much money there, in a nutshell. It's the top tier of their rewards program...meaning it comes with perks!

Yes, you get discounts that are exclusive to you, free shipping on online orders, free brushes BUT the single BESTEST thing (to me)...free Glam sessions! If you're like me and get glammed a lot, that's a perk. I spend almost as much money getting glammed as I do on make up. Free is free guys. 

Of course I wondered about the quality of the Sephora glam. I'm used to working with TV make up pros so my expectations were HIGH...what if it didn't meet my expectations? Well, I HAD to try. So I booked make up at Sephora for my BFF's wedding up in Michigan this past weekend. Dangerous move. I had only ONE HOUR to get done by a person I've never met and make up isn't easy to do. Not even kind of. It was a risk, but I was willing to use that perk and see where it got me.  

I arrived at Sephora in Troy, MI RIGHT on time. I was coming from my hair appt that in my opinion took about 10 min too long. I was anxious to get done and be on time so my bestie wouldn't kill me. She's tough. Murder isn't out of her wheelhouse. It was important.  

They started me 10 min late. I was ready to smack someone and panic. But then came a cool, calm and collected young lady named Norma to do my make up. She listened as I frustratedly barked orders at her about what I needed and how quickly I needed it. She gathered supplies and dillegently got to work. 30 min later, YES, 30 min later...I was perfectly contoured, highlighted, had a perfect lip color, a gorgeous smokey eye and lashes ON. I didn't even have to have her change a single thing. She listened, she focused and she executed like no other. And guys...it was FREE. 

 

I'm blown away by the Sephora beauty studio. Mind you, Norma doesn't work at every Sephora nationwide, but she is a testament to the kind of talent that you can find at the Sephora beauty studio. Quality awesomeness! I won't hesitate to book the beauty studio for shoots going forward, definitely booking them for my upcoming wedding anniversary! My only complaint is that you can't tip your makeup artist. I would have totally tipped Norma...girl deserved a medal!!!  I encourage you to try them out if you're a Rouge. If not, you can have makeup done at the beauty studio with amy $50 purchase, which is still in many cases cheaper than going to a salon or hiring someone to come to you! 

 

Have any of you ever had makeup done at Sephora or MAC? Share your experience below! 

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Dressing Room Round Up

Trying this...the other day I tried on a whole slew of items at Nordstrom, some were to purchase, others were just brands I was unfamiliar with and wanting to try for fit. I decided to snap picks in all of the outfits and document the experience for you guys and let you know what looks I was feeling, or not so much...so here we go!  

 

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Kicking the compilation off with the rompers. I'm a hard sell on rompers. I LOVE them. But the fit is always tough. I suppose I have a long torso, because many rompers steal my joy by giving me some kind of wedgie or another, I'll let you figure that one out. But this romper had the right ratio for me, as you can see, wedgie free. Super cute! I love the beautiful and unique olive color.  However, I chose to pass on this because of the pockets. Unless I had my hands in them, they were just kind of awkward. I suppose if you have a less curvey figure, the pockets would lay flat at all times and be less noticeable!  

 

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Romper number 2! Ever since the Stardust days I've been attracted to anything starry. This romper of course caught my eye. The pattern is exceptionally cute. It offers up the opportunity for some GREAT cleavage if you want to flaunt the girls without being totally over the top. Other than that, it didn't really do much for my figure, and I couldn't see myself wearing it really, so I passed on this one too. But it's really cute for the right figure and style!  

 

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On to what I DID choose to take home. First was this top. 😍  I'm a sucker for ruffles, and this has all of the ruffle action. I like the asymmetrical line of the one shoulder look, plus the ruffle. Really striking and different! What sold me fully on this top was the gorgeous color palette though. It's rainbow, but not obnoxious. I love the flowers! They are so classy and fun. This is a top that can be worn for many occasions and will get you plenty of compliments!  

 

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Finally, I chose to pick up this outfit. The American Flag never did me wrong, and I'm Mrs Nightmare for goodness sake.  I kind of have to own the patriotic look from time to time, and this is a subtle nod to the game! So the top is just a normal T. I Brandi'd it up by making it a cut off for the photo, but you can wear it and have your tummy covered, that's how it's meant to be worn. The shorts are amazing and my favorite. I have lots of destroyed denim shorts, none with American flag pockets, until now! So fun, not too over the top and probably the best thing is I think they were only 40 bucks! They fit fantastically. Just the right amount of stretch, not obnoxiously short. Perfect.  

 

I'm linking ALL of these looks on my IG via LIKEtoKNOW.it. By now I hope everyone has the app...it allows you to shop all of my looks easily and direct from the stores I bought them at, in this case, Nordies. For this post, all of these looks will be linked under one pictures.  

 

Happy Shopping!  

Fashionably Late

Last week was my worst nightmare. I was on my way to a media interview and the garage wouldn't open. My car was inside. I tried it a million times. No budge. I've never had to manually open a garage before so luckily I was able to figure it out within 10 min. Still on time (I always leave early anyway). So I was going to be RIGHT on time.

 

But then I got in the car and the address I had been given didn't show up on my gps! 😏 So...I guessed. In Atlanta, this is a mistake. Because there are a million streets called "Peachtree someting or another". I picked the wrong Peachtree and went to Buckhead, when I should have gone downtown. I was able to sort this, but by the time I parked and went through security to get to the suite I was going to I was 20 MINUTES LATE!!! 

20 MINUTES LATE!!!! 

Where I grew up,  this sort of thing is unacceptable but when I arrived to my meeting they were as nice and chipper as ever! They didn't mind at all that I was super late, they were just happy to see me! Mind you, I was going to the cities number one fashion publication, I was mortified by my gratuitous tardiness 😬   

 

Maybe I was just "fashionably late"? I don't usually subscribe to this theory. If you're not 5 min early in my experience, you're late, but in big cities like Atlanta, LA and Miami...people seem much less phased. Maybe it's just the culture. Maybe it's a grace period and understanding of the traffic that plagues these busy cities? Maybe it's the fashion industry. Maybe it's just principal? Honestly guys, I don't know the answer. People are just always late in big cities.  

 

However, despite my recent findings, I'll continue to stick to my gut and plan to be early out of respect for others and respect for my upbringing. 5 min early is always on time for me...what about you guys? Are you fashionably late, right on time or always early?

 

I decided to use this set of photos because of the movement of this beautiful Show Me Your Mumu maxi. It looks like I'm on a mad dash in many of these photos and felt appropriate 😂 You can shop it on my IG via LIKEtoKNOW.it! Hope everyone's weeks are off to a good (timely) start!  

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Photos by Kelly Lane Photography  

Peace

Clearly our country is on the fritz. Yelling at one another via social media channels doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere. Hmmm.  What to do? Who knows. In my case I chose to wear the message that I was hoping to convey in a destroyed tank top by one of my favorite t-shirt brands. It's more than a shirt. It's an affirmation of faith that these times will pass. That people will stop yelling at and criticizing one another for whatever reasons. And that we will find ourselves in a state of peaceful harmony at some point. It's just a shirt with one word on it, but the message is worth a thousand words. If you like this shirt and it's message, buy it today. Don't buy it when you get paid, throw it on the credit card and buy it today. It's not very expensive and it's an easy way to work towards a goal and not argue. Here's how you buy this shirt easily. Download this app called LIKEtoKNOW.it. Go to my Instagram page and take a screen shot of the pic in which I'm wearing this shirt. Go back to your app. The picture will be in there now, click on the pic and shopping links will be right there for you. I've linked a few different places where you can find the shirt. Let's get to work guys! I want to see posts of you guys wearing it too and spreading this message. Make sure to tag me in those posts! 

 

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Stepping Out

There's nothing like a great summer night out. When there's clear skies and a cool breeze blowing it's always going to be a good night!  The scene in Atlanta always allows you to take advantage and dress up a little too! Whether you're dining out in Buckhead or catching a movie out in Brookhaven, it's fun to get out and let your hair down just a little bit!  

Two of my favorite colors for a night out are always a bold red and a classic black, so I'm showcasing both of these sexy new looks today! 

Lets go red to begin! I LOVE this curve hugging dress! It's a good length so not too over the top sexy where you can't wear it for a work party, but the curves are highly accentuated for that bit of mystery. The off shoulder look is perfect for a hot summer night. It brings an heir of drama and offers up a unique style. Not your basic red dress.  We don't do basic over here. No ma'am! I paired this look with my favorite new pair of Christian Louboutins. Red bottoms with a cherry on top! I love a red bottom with a red dress. So chic! This look is also partnered with the summer "it girl" bag, not convenient if you're carrying small items, they will fall right out! But for a night on the town where you're carrying a lighter load, this is quite perfect! The beautiful thing about this dress is that you can accessorize it up heavily, like I choose to with a bold statement necklace, or you can go bare and it still looks lovely. 

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Now on to the little black dress! I have so many black dresses, to add another to the collection it's gotta be unique and worth the space in my closet. This dress checks all of the boxes. The slits! The sleeves! The shoulders! THE DRAMA!!! Oh, I love this dress. Form fitting and flattering on the hips, a perfect neckline for a bold necklace (hello my friend, your transitioned from red to black without batting an eye you little minx!) I love that necklace, in case you haven't noticed, it's quite versatile! The sleeves on this dress are what you want to write home about. They are trendy, because everything right now is about the bell sleeve, BUT the slits in the sleeve make it unique. Everyone isn't wearing this dress honey, YOU ARE. And you're KILLING IT! I chose to pair it with a trusty pair of wedges and they work nicely but really, any heel will do! This dress plays well with others and it's a show stopper without needing sequins. Dress it up for a big event! Wear it as is for dinner. Sold!  

 

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As always lovelies you can shop my looks via my IG! Sign up for LIKEtoKNOW.it and download the LIKEtoKNOW.it app. You can shop my looks by screen shorting my IG images OR by liking them and shopping details will be emailed right to you! Happy Shopping!  

Racism Isn't New

Something terrible happens. The media jumps all over it and we are talking about racism again. Racism might exist when current events occur to you, but it exists everyday for me. That is because I'm black and a public person. This won't be a long heartfelt post about how we have to love each other and be better. This is a post to turn a lightbulb on for those who truly don't get it. Walk a half a mile. Shut your mouth, stop putting tweets together, and pay attention for 10 seconds.  Please.  

My husband tweeted a wedding photo today. It's one of my favorite pictures in the world. He tweeted it with a caption that he thought was hopeful and thoughtful. He tweeted it in connection with what is going on in our country today. For the most part it was well recieved as a message of hope as intended. In other cases...well just read.   

 

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Now mind you. I didn't post or repost his message. However, I am tagged in the original photo by my husband, because I am in the photo. Is that deserving of all of these messages? And that's just the tip of the iceberg folks. I can't post a hundred messages here. But hopefully those are enough. Racism exists. It's not going to go away. Stop arguing about it on social media and just love your neighbor. Your black, gay, transgender or whatever is different than you, neighbor.  And if you can't do that, then just look in the mirror and let your hate out there. It's a reflection of you anyways, literally. That's my piece. And by the way...I left the twitter handles of these people on here on purpose. You know that employers pay attention to social medias right? And that even if you think you're annonymous, you really aren't, right? Yeah, I'm sure these people know all of this. So when they delete their profiles it won't be because they didn't know. It'll be because...they just felt like it. 

The Dots

We talk a lot about current fashion trends but we don't talk much about my in-ring fashion and what it all means. When I first started wrestling my name was "Eden". I'm traditionally an over prepared person, so before I had my first match I had plenty of gear made and ready to go in the case I got called to wrestle on the fly. Back then, Dusty was one of the head trainers at FCW in Tampa. The creative direction for "Eden" was significantly similar to the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden. A temptress who listened to the serpent, eating and sharing the forbidden fruits with Adam, bringing paradise to an end. I'm a huge fan of the Biblical story, and I wanted snakes on my gear to represent that.  And that's the story! I continue to wear the gear because it was a cool idea, it's beautifully made, and it feels like me. No slight to any other companies I've worked for in past, just creativity that is part of the path to me continuing on this path in wrestling. Sorry, there isn't "juicy dirt". You can find plenty of that elsewhere! 

 

Now recently, I decided to mix my snakes with Dusty Rhodes' signature black and yellow polka dots. I was worried about doing this. Others have done tributes to my father in law and as well intended as they may have seemed, it's never really been well received, except when Stardust did at Wrestlemania. However, it was on my heart to do this for some time, and bearing the Rhodes name I figured I would take my chance and hope that it meant something. I knew it meant a lot to my husband and myself, that was going to have to be enough. 

 

I have never ever recieved so much positive energy towards anything I've ever worn in my entire life. Fashion is a passion of mine, for sure.  But the dots make people feel good. They make people remember. They start conversations and encourage fans to tell me their favorite Dusty stories and moments. It's really surreal and it helps people come together and enjoy themselves that much more. That said, don't worry, the dots aren't going away. I will definitely bring them back from time to time to help people feel good and to remember. Also, I feel like I should state this because, well hell, somebody's got to. Just because I'm black, doesn't make me in polka dots a Sapphire reference.  She was amazing and I enjoyed her and Dusty immensely. But Cody and I are never trying to be this. Cody is Dusty's son and I never had the pleasure of meeting sweet Sapphire. I would consider it disrespectful to her family to try and "represent" her.  That's their right and their lineage, certainly not mine. 

 

Side note, last night I had the pleasure of meeting Tully Blanchard for the first time. I was wearing my dots and I got the chance to tell him how awesome the roll of quarters match was with him and Dusty, as I had literally watched it just the night before. That had little to do with fashion, it was just a very cool moment.  

 

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Parisienne Summer

Its been a while since I've been in the beautiful, fashion-forward city of love and lights. Paris. One of my absolute FAVORITE cities to explore! The shopping, the food, the museums, the ambiance...the shopping! 

When I found this beauitful striped, off-the-shoulder summer dress I knew I had to have it. It reminds me of all things Parisian. Black and white stripes are signature. The bare shoulders and body hugging fit of the dress provide a little sexiness and mystery. I'm obsessed with any type of ruffle this summer and this dress doesn't skip out on that charm either! It is both sexy and comfortable, making it perfect for an evening out on the town, quite like Paris! 

 I paired the look with these adorable black satin Chanel pumps with bows on the toes for that added bit of flair and luxury, and of course my new Louis Vuitton Double V handbag, which is almost sold out worldwide, by the way. If you're in love with it, you better score one soon or forever hold your peace!  

When you have a dress that is a bit understated, it's a great opportunity for some of your luxury pieces to shine! Hence the double dose of Louis and Chanel. It's such an easy and breezy piece that it can hold its own with both high end staples as anchors!  

The only thing missing from this look is a clever hat. A nice straw summer hat would be very nice with this look! A raspberry beret perhaps? Or a dangling earring! What would you add to this look to make it your own?

If you guys haven't yet, please make sure to download the LIKEtoKNOW.it app and shop my Instagram! You can shop simply by screen shotting posts to my page or even my Instagram stories! The app loads all of the details for your own personalized experience making it VERY easy for you to shop or browse my looks at your leisure. It's how I do A LOT of my shopping! It's so easy and fun to use I cannot express that enough! So go get it now and leave me a comment letting me know how you like the app!  

 

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Coming Up Roses

Everyone likes roses, right? They've become an international love statement and now they are very much becoming a fashion statement. Roses are found everywhere from our denim to our shoes and in this case, roses and velvet are making quite the impression as an unlikely, but unforgettable duo.  

 

I'm new to the bodysuit scene. Discovering how easy a bodysuit can make your life is priceless. Especially a well fitting bodysuit that can match with ANYTHING! Pants, skirts, shorts, leggings, denim. Those are my kind of bodysuit! This beautiful, wine-colored, velvet one piece can go with so many options. In this case, I've got it paired with a favorite pair of charcoal distressed jeans, but I've worn it with just about everything. It's unique velvet texture and rose appliqués allow it to dress outfits up playfully, like destroyed denim or short shorts.

 

I had to go the extra mile when I found these gorgeous booties too! An exact match to the bodysuit, except in their champagne color which I actually find to be absolutely complimentary to the wine. (Who says champagne and wine don't go together? Please. They're cousins!)  

 

This entire look is matchy, but not over the top, and honestly just fun. I love the low neckline of the suit, the low-riding waistline of the jean and the lace-up fashion of the bootie. Apart from each other, the pieces in this outfit could be pretty bland, but together it's a funky, creative sort of harmony! And the colors will take you right into fall where berries and champagnes live on for quite some time. Of course you'll want to throw a jacket on at that time! Maybe a bomber with rose accents? Too much? Not enough? You tell me.  

 

This Louis Vuitton Double V bag would be a fit here in either color (it also comes in a light pink shade that is to die for). But act quickly on the Double V. As I've said before, she's nearly sold out worldwide! She's an unforgettable and dreamy little staple.  

 

What other stand out pieces do you have with rose accents? Are you a flower power child of summer too? Leave it in the comments, and hey, shop this look on my Instagram anytime 🌹  

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Adults Do Disney

My husband and I have been talking about taking a Disney (World) only trip for over a year now. As Universal people, this would mean visiting only Disney parks and attractions, staying at a Disney Resort and not cheating our way over to the comforts of Universal at all. Finally the schedule opened up for both of us at the same time. I booked us plane tickets and we were on our way. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge was our home of choice throughout the visit because of my undying love of animals and my fondness for giraffes...which I saw outside of my window EVERY single day. I even named one Jeffrey, or maybe it's spelled Geoffrey...I don't know! My biggest concern with staying at a Disney hotel was that it wouldn't be adult friendly. Boy was I wrong! Animal Kingdom Lodge is very adult friendly, from its upscale dining options like "Jiko" to its lobby bar serving all sorts of great libations until midnight. The gift shop was also well equipped with adult bevies and cigars! They know what we adult types like there. :) I was also pleased to learn that the gym was open 24/7 (we still have to work out on vacation 😣) so having that access at all times was so important to us. The pool having a great bar was another plus...just stay at least 6 feet back from the water while indulging to keep the lifeguards happy! 

With the help of some great friends on the staff we were able to enjoy Club Level access which allowed us to get drinks anytime we wanted just by stopping by with our magic bands...and the magic bands alone might just be the most exciting things about Disney. They work at all of the parks, hotels and attractions. Leave your wallets at home! You can charge EVERYTHING to your magic band, you can load your tickets and fast passes on them and you can even open your room door with them. It's such a simple and streamlined system. Our magic bands never failed us. Not even once!  

My favorite park of course was Hollywood Studios, home to one of my favorite rides, the Tower of Terror (see my Twitter for our unique ride experience, which was also purchased with, you guessed it, my magic band).  I like to ride in the front on coasters, so if you followed by IG story that day you saw that I made an awesome friend on Rockin' Roller Coaster rand scored fast passes for the entire day INCLUDING THE NEW PANDORA RIDES! I was like a kid in the candy store being able to ride all of the rides I wanted to without some of those lengthy waits! Super fortunate and grateful for that! 

So yes, absolutely, we hopped over to Animal Kingdom next and got right on Flight of Passage which is SO awesome. It's a unique experience that's difficult to explain. Think Star Tours mixed with Soarin' but uniquely different in its own way.  

My Magic Kingdom highlights were the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a really fun little coaster and of course my dining experience at Be Our Guest Restaurant. First of all, they were on time with reservations which is a HUGE plus because of how darn busy that place is. It's the only place in the park (currently) to score alcohol and it did not disappoint with its extensive beer and wine list. AND the Beast was awesome. He's larger than life, charismatic and an all around great host. He is so formal that you kind of feel bad to have shown up to see him so casually dressed! Next time I'm changing before dinner, ha! And OH MY GOSH...the Grey Stuff...it truly is delicious! Leave room for dessert,  it's a must! 

Epcot is always a fave of mine. Cody and I always attempt to "Drink Around the World" and guys, I never make it. I don't think it's possible. But it's always definitely fun to try! The restaurant in Morrocco is delicious. Give that a try if you can! The lamb sliders were legit! 

My last stop on the Adult trip was Disney Springs. An absolute gem. Free parking. Luxurious shopping and fine dining. Live music everywhere and great bars. We stowed away at the Hangar Bar and did the most haha. Great drinks, fun atmosphere. Not much more you can ask for.  

I was very pleased with the kindness levels of staff at Disney. Everyone is very accommodating, and I know not everyone is in the public eye that reads my blog, but those that are really understand and appreciate how great it is to be treated nicely when someone recognizes you. Not once were we made a spectacle of, or made to feel uncomfortable being approached. We were treated professionally and like friends, which was very cool.  

Needless to say we will be back for another Adult All Disney Trip soon, and I can wait to see what other unique experiences come our way in the future. Toy Story Land and Galaxy's Edge are top on my list to try the second they are up and running.  

 

 

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Summer Shandy

On the record, my favorite color is yellow. Light, bright and beautiful yellow. For me it's the color of two things I love: summertime and happiness. One of my favorite drinks of summer is Summer Shandy beer. It's craft, but refreshing with its bold infusion of lemon. Ugh, I'm thirsty just thinking about it! But, I have to behave otherwise my summer bikini bod will take off faster than Atlantans from work on a Friday afternoon! 😂 However, one of the reasons I like Summer Shandy is the bottle in comes in. The label is that beautiful, bright, inviting shade of yellow that's guaranteed to be a good time. 

When I saw this beautiful sundress I thought, THIS screams summer...in the most delicious way! It's light and breezy and flows back with every blow of the wind. It's thin, but double layered so you can't see through it, but you won't swelter in it. On this day it was 89 degrees outside, not a cloud in the sky! I survived!  

I love the tassel details on the shoulder ties. It's a very simple sundress and these tassels are just interesting enough to give the dress a fun hint of character and detail.  

I paired this look with one of my favorite pairs of wedges. They have bright, multicolored stiching in green, pink, blue and of course that perfect hue of yellow. They are so much fun to pair with just about anything, but I especially love how they compliment this beautiful dress. Such a playful and pretty summery touch!  

This entire look is linked on my Instagram. You can shop it by signing up for LIKEtoKNOW.it! Once you've done that, you can either like or screenshot my pics to having shipping links from my looks emailed right to you to shop as you please! Happy Summer Shopping!  

 

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Champion For All

My church has been talking about heroes for the past few weeks. What heroes often look like.  Underdogs. Superheroes etc. But today I'm going to talk about the sports hero. The common man, for those who understand.  

Last night I watched in the upper balcony as my husband realized his childhood dream and beat the odds by becoming a World Heavyweight Champion. Something that's been 11 years in the making, it's been a very hard road to get there. He's heard every excuse in the book as to why he wasn't "Champion material" from his build, to the astounding measure of his father's shadow. He persevered and he succeeded and I'm happy as a clam for him. So happy that I fell down a set of stairs racing to get to him last night. My ankle...well, let's not talk about it. He's the one with stitches in his lip. I'll stay on track. 

Champions and heroes go hand in hand to me. The champion sets the tone for whatever sport he is successful in. In wrestling, new champions set the tone for the locker room. Whenever a title changes in this business, the peers gather to offer their respect and hear the Champion speak to them for the first time. I've been in wrestling for 5 years now. I have heard many speeches from champions in this time period. My husband's surprised me and inspired me to write this, here's how. When he got to the end of the speech he said "I've sat through many promo classes which taught me that you have to finish (these speeches) strong. But I want to finish by saying that tonight is my wife's birthday. She chose to be here, ROH brought her here and I'm thankful. So I want everyone to join me in singing her "happy birthday".  Everyone did.  

It's not about the song. It's about the champion. Someone who in his long awaited moment of glory, with the lights down and no cameras in sight, just decided to uplift his wife. How uncharacteristic. How uncharacteristic these days for a man to make his win about his wife. But shouldn't that be a characteristic we accept...and celebrate? 

It has become too common place that our heroes, our children's heroes have these dark sides. They have families but don't behave as family men. They allow power to supersede the example. They fall short everywhere except in the sport at which they excel and we accept that. Our sons accept that. Our daughters accept that. My husband gives us reason not to accept that, but to expect and demand more. He is not a perfect man, but he's a man that chooses to share in his successes, not keep them all for himself. He's a man that respects women, from his wife to his mother, to his peers, coworkers and fans. He's a man who puts his morals and marriage first. A man who doesn't allow circumstances to change who he is at the core. My husband knows that setting a good example is hard, but he still wholeheartedly tries because he is a good person. He's a man who shed tears last night winning his first championship, just like one of the greatest heroes of all time, Jesus. That man openly wept, a thing we tell our sons it's not okay to do anymore, stripping them of their own emotions. And we wonder why men become too hardened and cold against us women, well maybe we should pay attention as well.

That is a champion. That is a hero. That is what I want my son or daughter to look to. Not a philanderer. Not a womanizer. Not an alcohol or substance abuser and certainly not a megalomaniac or sociopath. A man who works hard and loves hard. Like the man who raised me up in my childhood home. It's also great to see my husband standing alongside of moral men, I'll single out the Young Bucks here because they are Bullet Club (4444 life) but there are so many great moral worthy men in wrestling and sports in general. In entertainment...the Colin Donnells. The Stephen Amells.  Super heroes and real life heroes.  These men are exemplary. Hard workers. Trail Blazers. Husbands. Fathers. Role models. Celebrate them! 

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged my husband along the way to be such a great human being and a hard worker. Isn't it great to have moments in this world where good things happen and we lift each other up and enjoy the moments? I sure think so. This is a great time for our little family unit. We are greatful and so happy. Expect a lot from heroes and champions. Make them accountable for the positions that they hold. God bless the American Nightmare, by way of the American Dream.  

 

 

She looks right out of her eyes

So the title of this blog is courtesy of my friend Kaylin Jurrjens mother. One day we were hanging together, we took a selfie and she sent it to her mom (who I've never met). Her mom said "Brandi looks right out of her eyes". Which I had NEVER heard before in my life. But I instantly wanted to know what that meant. Most of the time people comment on the appearance of my eyes. Their unique color.  Or they ask if I wear contacts (which I HATE! Is it that unbelievable that someone got something of beauty from God these days???). But this comment seemed to speak of my soul by way of my eyes, so I loved it.  

When someone says someone "looks right out of their eyes" it means they feel a good presence from them. It think it's cool that a picture can say so much, and you know moms, they are rarely wrong about these sort of things :)

In general, she's right. I tend to be the calming presence for many during their life storms. It's something I take pride in. I tend to be less of a stormy person myself. But now I'm in a bit of a stormy season myself. You know those times in life where it seems nothing will go right? Those times where you have an ugly breakout and you feel SO self conscious about it but you go hang out with family anway and yep, leave it to your mother in law to make some kind of public spectacle of it! Those times when you're on the cusp of something great but people who harbor bitterness for some reason or another keep setting out to make your achievements difficult? These are the times I'll admit, I have trouble getting out of bed. 

So, how do you get out of bed on a flurry of rainy days? Here's some tips I'm using right now to make sure I make life happen, even on the cloudiest of days.  

1.) Focus on what's going well and why it's going well. Right now I'm working on EXACTLY what I wanted to be. And I landed this gig less than a year after leaving my old "good" gig and ITS SOOOO MUCH BETTER!!!! That's a heck of an accomplishment right? That's something worth leaping out of bed for every morning and yelling HALLELUJAH! I'm sure there's a motivator in your life right now. Let that force drive you onward and upward! 

2) Let love win. My husband tells me how much he loves me every single morning without fail. It's so great to be loved especially when you need a little extra. Accept that love.  Be it from your family, your friends, your pets, God. Allow yourself to feel it and be showered in it.  

3) Relax. Take time to relax if you need it. I need it every week. Whether it's a light work out, or a trip to the day spa, some retail therapy or going to see a great flick. Whatever relaxation means to you...find it and do it. Often times we feel ourselves pulled in 100 different directions. Sometimes you have to just take time out for #1 (that'd be you my friend). Carve out that time every week and don't allow any noise in. You'll find you are much more fun for others to be around when you've taken care of yourself a little bit.  

What are some things that motivate you on rougher days? I want to hear them!! Drop a comment below! (Oh and the first pic is the picture we sent Kaylin's mom :)  

 

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Hydra Facial - Holy AWESOME!

My skin has had a little trouble adjusting to the Atlanta weather. My pores were feeling SUPER clogged and I was plagued with annoying breakouts. I tried everything I could think of the remedy it and I just couldn't get it back under control. 

I was at my spa and saw an ad for a Hydra Facial. It promised to unclog my pores and flood my skin with antioxidants and just completely hit the reset button.  

Well at $150 for the basic, and $225 for the extended, I figured it had better work some kind of miracle! And boy did it!

I chose the basic just to see how my skin reacted and let me say, next time I will be going for the extended version. Oh LAWD girls! It did exactly what it promised. I left feeling like my skin had come out of the desert and been treated to an ice cold spring! For hours after the Facial I felt rehydrated and smooth. 

Later that evening I was able to wear make up for an event I attended without any agitation or aggravation and the hydrating effects lasted throughout the week. I am eagerly awaiting my next hydra Facial, which will include red light laser therapy (to assist with dark spots) and a hydrating mask.  

My face is spoiled now ladies. But it's worth investing in its health to see these kinds of results! 

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Keeping Score

We all do it. We say we aren't going to do it but then the spite takes over and we are caught doing it.  

"I got my best friend a gift from Tiffany's for her wedding. TIFFANY'S!  And she had the nerve to get me a Target gift card?!?!" 

"I bought dinner for my cousins the last two times we went out and THIS time...THE THIRD TIME...they didn't even reach for the bill when it came!!" 

"When my sister was stranded without a car I volunteered and helped her with all of her errands until she got it back. Now the tables are turned and that witch doesn't even ask me if I need any help!"  

Okay...these things above would ALL piss me right off. Some of them have happened to me in some form or another. Especially being dubbed as "reliable" my entire life 🙄 But maybe if we break this down together it will become easier to be bigger than keeping score, no promises. But let's at least try 😉

If you don't keep score, you might feel taken advantage of, right? Or somewhat like a pushover. Well, I've thought this many times. But keeping score and having "expectations" has actually made me angrier than not. Why expect more from people than they are generally capable of? So be reasonable.  

Dont offer to pay for bills with people you don't know very well. Always go for the split. That way you can get comfortable and see what someone else's dining style is. Some people are NEVER going to volunteer to pick up the bill. It could be because they simply don't have the money to pay for two meals, or they are used to others always picking it up for them. So to avoid embarrassing them, or putting yourself in the enabler category for them, just offer the split. There's nothing wrong with this, and it will save you from paying for every meal and growing angrier by the day! 

Gifts are tough. I don't do gifts as much anymore because they just seem to cause grief, when the point of giving is to do it with joy! Ass backwards, right? Well here's my solution on gifts. Stick to lists. Ask people for a list of what they want. Tell them your on a budget and hopefully they stick to that, respectfully. When it comes to weddings, definitely stick to the registry. Going off registry to be "creative" or "thoughtful" might actually insult someone. Monetary gifts certainly can offend some. And if you are very generous, don't expect people to remember and return the favor. As gift giving goes...we all soon forget what others do for us in these regards. Better to do something reasonable, rather than to stretch the limits and expect a return on investment! 

Your time is VALUABLE! Don't volunteer it unless it's going to make you happy! If you have a friend who needs help and you want to spend the time with them anyway, volunteer away! But if you are looking to get a favor down the line...yikes. Don't count on it. For instance, our good friends helped us pack our moving pod this year. We moved all the way across the country. You think we can help them move next time? Hell to the no! We live on the other side of the country now! But we got to spend our last day in town with great friends and we are forever grateful for that help. 

Did this blog help anyone feel better about keeping score? It helped me a bit to write it honestly. But I can't say that I'll never do it again. Hopefully when I feel the anger boiling up in my soul the next time I feel slighted though, I'll recall this blog, count to ten and adjust so that hopefully there won't be a next time with the same party!  Also, think about what would happen if our parents kept score 😳  Yeah. Let's hope they don't start! 

Cupcake Wars

So...I love cupcakes. Cakes in general actually, but I'm particularly partial to the cupcake because it's single serving deliciousness. A long time ago, I used to write a food blog. I did cupcake wars back then where I featured some of my favorite local bakeries. Now that I'm back in Atlanta I feel it's fitting to do it again. I'm comparing my two faves here, but they aren't just locals, they are super successful chains, which means you can seek them out in places other than Atlanta and let me know what you think!

I've chosen to compare the OG Sprinkles and Georgetown Cupcake! Now everyone seems to know Sprinkles. They are the original cupcake boutique! They even have an ATM you can use to get cupcakes anytime, like a money ATM! Craziness. But what a concept. 

Now Georgetown has been featured on Food Network's Cupcake Wars and has really made a name for itself in recent years. It has a super posh spot in The Shops of Buckhead and it truely belongs! So how do the two match up? 

Location: Sprinkles, being in Lenox Mall is a bit more accessible, but Lenox is a busy Mall. Parking is almost always difficult and you always have at least a small line to deal with. Georgetown, while being in the swankier of locations is kind of difficult to find and find parking for. Both being in high traffic shopping areas, they are perfectly located for casual shoppers.  

Appearance: Sprinkles is bright and fun! I love the little candy decorations that are signature to the brand. Georgetown has a New York bakery appeal, with white walls and black lettering. It's a very sophisticated vibe, the fun is all in the cupcakes.  

Flavors: Sprinkles offers good variety and traditional flavors. The location in Atlanta is limited, and does not offer mini cupcakes, which is kind of a bummer. Georgetown has every flavor you can think of. Including unicorn? Unicorn! 🦄 both shops are big flavor for the taste buds. Nothing bland and nothing dry about them. The cakes are soft moist and delicious! Georgetown is a bit more generous with frosting, which makes it a bit tough to take graceful bites. Sprinkles cake to frosting ratio is a little more manageable. 

So...who actually wins? At the end of the day, I just love them both and cannot choose a winner. Both are the definition of what a cupcakery should be. They are the standard and they make damn good cakes on the regular. Putting smiles on faces is what it's about, and the thought of a Sprinkles or Georgetown Cupcake makes me grin from ear to ear 😊 

 

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A Marriage Well Traveled

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Cody and I are the ultimate jet setters. We have traveled all over the globe and being pretty young and without children, we are nowhere near finished traveling. I doubt we will ever stop. Something that gets in your blood like this is hard to put down. In fact, I find that if I am home for too long I start feeling a bit depressed. Travel for me is somewhat a necessity.  

So what happens when travel takes you in different directions most of the time? Cody's primary work is wrestling. Wrestling is one of many travel related things I do. We usually aren't on the same page workwise, which is important. We have different goals and different dreams. As a true 2017 couple, we are both allowing each other to chase our dreams. I'm very glad we have a relationship that allows both parties to dream chase. The older I get, the more of a rarity it seems to be that one partner is not having to make major sacrifices. I'm fortunate for that and grateful.  

This morning I had a 4am wake up call to travel from Vancouver back to LA.  Cody had gone to set the night before at 5pm, and was prepared to shoot until about 5am the next day and go straight to the airport. I did not expect to see him until after the weekend. At about 3am my heart leapt into my throat as I heard someone playing with the door handle to my hotel room. I got up and looked in the peep hole. It was my husband. With all of his bags. He could have stayed in his trailer on set and slept, which would have been MUCH easier for him. Or he could come back to the room, sacrifice sleep and see his wife again...just for an hour. He made the right call. I would have done the same.  

When you have crazy schedules making time like this is so important. Cody always says "if you know it's a stress, then it's not a stress". We know that a lot of times our travel schedules are going to be stressful. But we got the memo, and the heads up, there's no reason to have a meltdown. Instead, embrace it and make the most of it.  

If I know I'm not going to get any sleep, I may as well have fun with my husband. This isn't irresponsible, it's the exact opposite. Irresponsibility would be ignoring my primary commitment, my marriage, for the sake of my career. Of course there are times when it's not possible to see each other, he's in Japan and I'm in Canada...well there's no way to make that work. But, thats why I come with him if I've nothing pressing going on, and via versa. I came to Vancouver for a few days, because I knew I had the time to carve out. In a few weeks I will not have that time and luxury as I begin filming for another project myself. By that time, Cody should have some time off and he can come be with me while I'm working. 

This has been a particularly busy month. Usually, we only spend a couple of days apart, but there are months when we spend a week or two apart. But it never changes. When you care you make time. FaceTime, phone calls, texts, love notes. All great ways to keep relationships fresh and fun when you're absent from one another.  

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. That is true. In situations I see husbands and wives take each other for granted, but then when one of them has to take a trip without the other, they panic. After the long weekend apart they are usually jumping at the chance to see one another again. That's our life pretty regularly (not the taking each other for granted part, we do get on each other's nerves sometimes, but they are few and far in between, and always short lived). But the excitement of seeing each other again after every time we spend apart. It's almost electric. Would I rather have my husband around all of the time? Sure! And I'm sure he'd say the same about me. But I want him to live out his dreams. That's the thrilling entertainment lifestyle. You go where the work calls your name and wherever else the wind blows. Wouldn't change it for anything. At least not right now 😊