on
August 27, 2018

Note to self: Be Brave

photo by: Sami Saunders Studio

Hey you! If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen this cocktail post pop up on your feed a couple days ago along with my IG stories with all the responses. (If you dont… let’s be IG friends over on @unconditionallycreative) All of the things people were celebrating made my heart leap… you are all so incredible and YOU are the reason I am celebrating today. However.. someone sent me a direct message relating to this post that has really been on my mind..

 


She wrote, ” Hey Dannie! I’ve been following your instagram for a while now and I love what you promote! Your posts always make me smile. I’ve been thinking about blogging and I’m just curious…Are you ever scared when you post stuff like this that ppl won’t respond? A fear of mine is that ppl just won’t care about what I’m posting. How do you overcome this?”

So first of all – sobbing. Just take my heart. You can have it. Honestly, you guys don’t understand how 1. much messages like this mean to me and 2. how incredible you are.

Here’s the thing… This question has weighed  on me since the second I read it. Unsure how to correctly respond, I thought I’d write you a blog post – because let me promise you this – you are not alone.

Yes, of course there are fears of “What if no one cares? What if no one engages?” I think everyone has a little bit of that fear when it comes to being open on any type of social media. It’s like saying “here you go… take a look at what’s on my heart… and please, judge it by tapping your screen.” What a vulnerable situation to be in.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you get zero engagement or so much that you can’t keep up. Don’t believe me? I have three reasons why I think you should go for it… why I think you should hit post….. why you should BE BRAVE!

  1. Your words could impact, relate to, or change even just one person’s life. If they comment or not, you may have started the conversation in their minds. Take this post for example: my goal wasn’t just to get engagement on my picture. It was to make whoever was reading it have that moment of “What do I have to be grateful for today? What’s something I accomplished? What’s something I am proud of?” My main goal of this post is just to spread that feeling of gratitude. If you start sharing your mind with that perspective, you cannot fail.
  1. The people who don’t like what your posting will leave… and as hard as it can be to hear… THAT’S A GOOD THING. You might loose some followers who don’t believe in the same thing as you, but do you want negativity  towards you or your vision on your page anyways? You will gain plenty people who believe in your vision and support your heart. Those are the people you want to create connections with. Those people are your tribe.
  1. Your voice is unique. Your story is yours to share. Something about sharing your heart so openly is so raw. So powerful. Don’t deny yourself of your power.

I hope this helped you feel brave today, if that means starting a blog or just doing something out of your comfort zone. Go for it, be all in, be brave.

 

 

PS. Its been a while since we met over on my website… huh? Well, I’m glad to be back and I’m even happier to have you here! To make the most of my blog, I’m planning to start posting again every Sunday night and I’m looking to you for some ideas! Send me over topics you’d like to read about, something we can discuss together! Any ideas are welcome! Can’t wait to chat!

 

 

 

on
December 8, 2017

Whitening coffee Stains: Does it work?

Do you drink coffee, tea, or wine…

listen to this little advice of mine.

With Smile brilliant you’ll have pearly whites,

your teeth will sparkle like Christmas lights.

You can whiten here or there,

you can whiten anywhere.

Whiten while you Instagram,

or while listen to your favorite jam.

Whiten while you paint your nails,

or scrolling through those online sales.

Perhaps while reading a really great book,

regardless, the results will have you shook.

You will be smiling bright in no time,

Are you laughing at my little rhyme?

Continue reading on for a honest review,

because trust me, I would never lie to you.

 

Okay, okay…. enough with the rhyming. All silliness aside, this sh*t works. I have to admit, after years of trying different kits, whitening tooth paste, and even attempting to ditch coffee (gasp!!! that obviously did not work), I was a little skeptical but still very eager to try it out. When I received my cute little blue box in the mail, I hurried into my apt to rip it open (but obviously tried to keep it neat, because hello, you know I wanted to do a lil insta story unboxing.) Inside was two mouth guard looking trays, little containers filled with blue and white clay, and two different color syringes.  However, the process couldn’t be any easier! All I needed to do was use the clay to create molds of my teeth and send them back! About a week later, I received my whitening trays…and yes, I did repeatedly show Joe saying “LOOK! This is what my teeth look like!” Hehehe, you could say I was kinda excited. (By the way.. a custom fitting tray from most dentists would cost at least $500. This whole kit is a FRACTION of that cost, and even less if you use this 10% off code: unconditionallycreative15)

 

Now here’s where the magic happens. All you do once you have your molds is line both top and bottom with the teeth whitening gel from the syringe, pop those babies in place, and you have 1-3 hours to pretty much do anything you would normally do. I usually like to do this before bed. This way, I can whiten while I watch Netflix with Joe, shower, maybe do a facial, check some emails, basically anything I would normally do to wind down before bed. Some nights I do an hour, some nights I even do 3! When you are done, you do the same process with the desensitizing gel but for 15 minutes – my fav part because it actually really feels nice.

The reason I do this before bed is because it works with my lifestyle and well… its recommended. Immediately after the process, the pores are more likely to allow stains in. Going to sleep afterwards gives your teeth the night to begin rehydrating and remineralizing (idk what that word is, but its on their website and sounded fancy…they know what they are talking about).

The one and only bad thing I can say about this product is the same as literally any whitening product I use… It kinda hurts me slightly, mainly because I have very sensitive teeth. GOOD NEWS though, there are different kits for each level of sensitivity AND they have many tips to help this issue. The company was so easy to contact and so incredible helpful!

So basically, now I’m just walking around smiling at everyone and humming “Shiny Teeth and Me” all day everyday (S/O to you if you know what song I’m talking about). If you’re tryna smile like a whole lot more, I definitely recommend using this! As always, I’m here for any other questions you may have about this product!

 

 

Smile Brilliant and I have teamed up for a GIVEAWAY ($139 Smile Brilliant credit) just in time for the holidays!! It’s super simple and easy to enter! Follow this link and fill out the form! www.smilebrilliant.com/g/unconditionallycreative It is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents. Good luck!!

P.S. all photos taken by my girl, Sami. If you missed it, check out the most adorable and inspiring interview I had the honor of posting riiiiight HERE! 🙂

 


Tooth Whitening Gel

 

on
November 28, 2017

Unconditionally Inspired by: Sami Saunders

Well, hello there! Because I have the most incredible tribe of people in my life and a lot of beautiful souls who inspire me, I decided it was only right to start an “Inspired by” section to my blog. I figured what better way to start it off with Sami Saunders (Caun), the lil babe who screamed in her most excited voice
“YOU SHOULD START A BLOG!”

I met Sami in college when we were both studying fine arts. We got super close in our sculpture class where we convinced our professor to let us do a collaboration project (a little foreshadowing to us collaborating as bloggers.) I don’t know what it is about Sami but I completely opened up to her and started telling her some of my darkest secrets that I was going though. I came to learn that I felt so comfortable around her because her soul is so obviously gentle, kind, and loving. All these years later, our friendship has not only remained, but grown stronger.

A day with Sami andI involves the following: Texting all morning about how excited we are to see each other. Her picking me up saying “wait, where are we going?” Starting out at a coffee shop (where Sami drinks like 2 sips of coffee and gives me the rest because she’s already too energized….and we all know I love the extra caffeine.) Exploring random parts of the city and stores we’ve never been to before. Not finishing stories because we get so exited that we can’t stay on one topic for more than 3 minutes. Looking like fools taking pictures of EVERYTHING. Laughing at literally every little thing that happens (like yesterday when I almost peed my pants laughing so hard at the noises she made when she thought she was going to hit a squirrel with her car  *no squirrels were harmed in the making of this blog post*)

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Sami is an incredible photographer, artist, and blogger… but I could never limit her to those descriptors. She is free spirited. She is magnetic. She is a true friend. And so much more. Read her interview below to find out for yourself just what I mean:

Blog: Coffee & Compass
Personal Instagram: @sam_caun
Photography Instagram: @samisaundersstudio

Usual coffee: Iced Coffee with toffee nut and almond milk. I pretty much drink this once a day. I am addicted.
Favorite filter: No favorite filter for me. My life changes so much that I can never choose one to keep for a long time. My filter changes with my emotions or with the seasons. For example, in the fall I am crazy for warm tones and in the winter blue tones are my favorite.
Favorite app: Instagram!
Most used emoji: The green heart!! I use it always. If I don’t use the green heart, I use a pine tree.
Dream job: Owning my creative company 🙂 Im on my way.
Personal hero: My husband Josh. Long story short, he is a dream. The exact person I was waiting my whole life for. He is my hero everyday.

 

UnconditionallyCreative: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sami: Oh my, I wanted to be everything. Seriously, but mainly I wanted to be a vet! I love animals SO much. They are a big key to my happiness.

UC: Can you tell us a little bit about your photography?
S: Sure! When most people see my work, they see how I shoot for bloggers and I wouldn’t call that my “style” but I try to combine a journalistic approach with a lot of movement. I would describe my main photography style as whimsical, free & happy. When you look at my photos, I want you to feel those emotions.

UC: What inspires you?
S: Wow this is a tough one. In today’s society, so much of our lives are staged. What you see on social media is hardly ever reality. I am so inspired by reality; little coffee shops, nature, and other creative people. Well, I also love a great flat lay! I just love when people use their talents and channel it towards art. A beautifully designed room or a truly well dressed person. Happiness.

UC: What does creative mean to you?
S: Creative is who I am as a person. When I think of the word creative I think of it as an feeling. In my eyes, creativity is driven by your mind. Our minds are the most powerful thing we have.

UC: Can you name a couple key turning points on your journey so far?
S: Well I used to want to be a physical trainer. Um…ya we can all take a moment to laugh about that. My first year of college was spent studying exercise science and spending countless hours at the gym. So much that I didn’t make time for friends, food or myself. I was so unhappy. I used art, photography and music as an outlet and it guided me to where I am today.

UC: What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
S: I LOVE ADVENTURES!! If I could go out west and road trip for a month I would die of happiness. There is no specific place I want to go more than the other, I just want to see it all!

UC: What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
S: I love creating pretty much anything. If time wasn’t an issue I would spend more time making clothes, decorations or even spending more time on making music. I love to sing and play guitar, its one of my favorite past times.

UC: What advice have you gotten that has stuck with you over the years?
S: oooo I love this one.
-The way you spend your morning is the most crucial part of your day.
-Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s! I love the saying about how you shouldn’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end. (or something like that)

UC: Name three things you wouldn’t want to live without.
S: AHH I wouldn’t want to live without Josh of course. Also, coffee. I really love coffee. Lastly, I wouldn’t want to live without my friends and family. I know thats so cliche but the little group of people I surround myself with support me, push me and motivate me.

UC: What do you hope to be doing in 5 years?
S: AH!! Okay so in 5 years I will be 29 so I hope to be settled into a home with my husband with our little one and a few dogs. I hope to have had my business grow to the point that I have a team of creative individuals helping others create the businesses of their dreams. I want a creative company that inspires people and makes them push to reach their own goals and dreams. I really want to make travel a priority and reach others just like me through my blog. Basically I want to be helping people the most I can!! I want to do everything. I can’t decide.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’re as inspired by Sami’s interview as I am.

PS. All photos used were from Sami and Josh’s wedding – which was SERIOUSLY pure magic. These beautiful moments were captured by Rebecca Dietrich.

on
November 22, 2017

Feelin’ Thankful Friendsgiving

Hello loves! This past weekend, I had the most incredible “friends-giving” with two of local Pittsburgh blogger babes, Maranda of Absolutely Darling and Marah of Marah Frank.  They both brought some beautiful decorations, some yummy dishes, and Aullura Boutique sent us some goodies to keep us lookinglike little fall fashionistas. (Go ahead… click those links. Maranda will tell you how we kept this fun day together under $50. Marah will give you a little book of our outfits. And well.. over at Aullura Boutique you can buy them all, because come on.. OBSESSED)

If you know me, you know I had to bring a little cheesiness to the party (and no, I’m not talking cheesy potatoes) and request everyone do a bonding activity. If you’ve been following along with my insta stories, you might have noticed that I’ve been really focusing on the little things that I am grateful for every single day. Writing it all out has really improved my happiness and has me more focused on the good in life. I decided what better way to spread this than over a thanksgivingmeal?!

 

We all wrote down just a couple things that we were thankful for, placed them all in a dish, and I read them out loud. I’m just imaging at a family dinner how funny it might be to guess who wrote what (for example – I deff wrote the one about my love for wine!) Another fun touch about these was that they were written on tags with wholes in them which with a little decorative string of twine would make perfect additions to any Christmas tree. Let me know in the comments below what you are thankful for… who knows…maybe we will create more ornaments out of them!!

on
September 19, 2017

6 little tips for happiness

 

Phew, that last blog post felt a little insane to post… (If you missed it, you can check it out here!) So many emotions happened directly after hitting that “publish” button, I pretty much ended up just feeling emotionally drained before I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, I was completely overwhelmed by the messages that were on my phone. Messages of love, personal stories, and your struggles. I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for being so brave and sharing with me. You should all feel so proud of your honesty and pureness. Because of this… I was inspired to do a little list of things to make your day just a little happier. These are little tips I have learned from others, from my personal struggles, and that have helped me on my journey! Please feel free to add to this list in the comment section below!

 

 

Pamper yourself in your morning routine.

If you need to know one thing about me, know that I am NOT a morning person….like at all. I always get super crabby when I have to roll out of my cozy bed. However, I have learned the morning is the best time to get your mind in the right place for the rest of the day. Start this by putting something in your morning routine that you love (even more than your bed….GASP!!) For me, this is 110% coffee, obviously. It is a huge part of my morning ritual to wake up, grab a mug, and put on some happy music. After relaxing and enjoying the morning stillness, I move on to the tasks I need to do but I do them with a much happier attitude. Instead of just throwing food into the animals bowls or grumbling about taking the dog out, I acknowledge how much I love them (and how cute they are.) Afterwards, I try to fit in 10 or 15 minutes of yoga or meditation. Then, I light candles, sometimes put on a face mask, add eucalyptus to the shower, and treat my getting ready process like a spa. I completely see the day differently when I treat my mornings this way instead of running around as a late (and cranky) person.

 

Show kindness to others.

I wish more people realized how healing being kind is, for ourselves and others. SERIOUSLY, making people happy helps you be happy. Now I’m not saying that you need to go out and start buying people puppies (I mean… you can.. Send one my way please.) Something as simple as smiling at someone on your morning commute give you those good feels. Something I do everyday at work is see how many genuine complements I can give throughout the day. It might be silly and feel super awkward at first, but watch someones whole face light up when you tell them they have a beautiful smile. Trust me on this one.

 

Press pause on social media.

This is something I need to start and will be doing from now on! I’ve decided that every week I am going to pick a day for no phone, no social media, and have a personal day. We hear it all the time, social media can be toxic to mental health… but it is 100% true. I find myself scrolling through Instagram late at night comparing myself to others, stressing over posts I’ve missed and worrying about silly things that honestly should not keep me up at night. I never thought I could be addicted to social media, but since I’ve started blogging, it is honestly at its worst. What a better way to beat that feeling than to have a break day!

 

Respect your emotions.

This one is a lesson I wish I learned like…the day I was born. Its pretty easy to stay in a bad mood if you’re constantly beating yourself up for being in said bad mood. I’ve learned the phrase “I feel (insert feeling here), and that’s normal.” Trust me, I know this seems easier said than done…but it isn’t. I also know it seems like it wouldn’t even help at all, but just give it a try next time your feeling low. In fact, do this even when your feeling happiest. Learning to respect how you feel, sit with it, and accept your emotions without judgement will seriously change the way you think about yourself.

 

Fall in love with yourself.

What if you could see yourself the way your family, friends, or significant other do? When you truly love someone, don’t you want the best for them? You want them to be healthy, laugh loudly, and be happy. Things like sadness, addiction, and abuse would never be on your wish list forthat person. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Fall in love with yourself and act accordingly. Run towards what feels good and indulge only in the things you feel are highest and best for you.

 

Be thankful.

Everyday, find at least 5 things you are thankful for. Sometimes mine seem little like the way the light shines into my apartment, the fact that queso exists, or how Joe says goodbye to me before work. Always be thankful for the little things in life as well as the big. Being grateful everyday can uplift you and inspire you to change your outlook on your day to day life.

 

on
August 24, 2017

She Won’t Be Denied.

Hi again!

I want to start this post off by explaining the #shewontbedenied movement. It all starts with “Listen, Lucy” ; an extremely  powerful organization focusing on ending the stigma around mental illness. This empowering movement is close to my heart because the main focus is to shine a light on women and our right to be extraordinary. “We want them to see that they are bosses in their own right — whether they are business owners, doctors, mothers, teachers or anything in between….”  Being raised by a girl boss (shout out to you momma!), surrounding myself with best friend’s who are all working so hard towards their dreams, and connecting with business owners in my community, I have learned woman are STRONG AS SH*T.

 

 “…We, as women, can move mountains. It is time to remind us all of that.”

Check out www.listenlucy.org, and @listenlucy on Instagram and twitter. 

As much as I stand behind this movement, for weeks, I had a difficult time thinking about how to join this conversation. Of course, I could talk about how empowered I am as an artist, or even writing my blogs.. but then it hit me. I’ve never talked about something I should have shared a long time ago. Buckle up, because things get REAL, emotional, and terrifyingly personal. However,  #SHEWONTBEDENIED to share her story.

 

I have depression….

There it is, out in the open, hanging there. I also wanted to point out that I didn’t use the term “struggling with” because this is no longer a fight for me. I know now that I am much stronger than depression. It is important for me to share this with you all because I truly believe that no matter who you are, how low you feel, or how heavy even the word “depression” sounds… YOU ARE STRONGER THAN DEPRESSION TOO.

I didn’t always believe in my own strength though. I used to believe my sadness could swallow me whole… in fact, I used to want it to. I was strongly addicted to the sadness because it was more comfortable than fighting. The sadness became my friend, telling me to love it more than I loved myself. Telling me to self harm, to not eat, to eat too much, to drink too much, to not get too close to people…. and eventually it told me to leave this world.

That was the night my reality shifted. I attempted to take my own life in September, 2014. I think a lot of people believe that something specifically bad happened to me that night, or that that’s even how depression works. However, that’s not the case. The only horrible thing that happened was within myself. I didn’t love me anymore and that was the root of it all.

I don’t need to go into detail of how I tried to leave this earth, because that’s not the point of this post. The point is what happened after. 1. My friends broke my door down to get to me. They loved me even when I no longer could, and it saved my life. 2. Telling my mother what I tried to do was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever had to do. In that moment, I vowed that I will never again cause her (or any other loved one) so much pain. 3. I realized my value and the thought of my life being over suddenly scared me to my core. I am thankful every single day that my suicide attempt was a failed one. 4. Today, I am here.

…and I am powerful.

If you are currently dealing with depression…I beg you, please don’t wait until the wake up call that I had. Reach out to me, tell a loved one, see a professional, and save this number in your phone..  suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You are strong.

on
July 2, 2017

Something I’d like to get off my chest…

UGH… Let’s get a little personal and talk insecurities. If you are a close friend of mine, you probably already know what this is going to be about.. If you don’t know, then I’ve done a good job at hiding it. I think it’s finally time to practice the self love I preach and share my biggest insecurity.

Let me start from the beginning. A couple years ago, I noticed a red dot on my chest. I wasn’t too concerned assuming it was just a blemish and would go away on its own. However, it did the exact opposite. It continued to grow bigger with time. I became very embarrassed and started to worry about my skin. Eventually, my Mom and I went to a dermatologist together. Part of me was terrified for my health and the other part was worried that it was just an unremovable blemish. Luckily, my health was in no danger, but I still left the office upset. This particular doctor made me feel as if there was nothing I could do, and I would just have this big read bump on my chest forever. OH, and that it could continue to grow (which it did.) He called it a “spontaneous keloid” and sent me on my way.

Yeah, I know, what the heck is it?? Heres some not so fun facts about keloids:

  1. Keloids are excess collagen produced by the skin in the process of healing…. so basically just a really interesting looking scar.
  2. They are rather common after surgeries and traumas to the skin.
  3. Even though they can be itchy or irritating, they aren’t in any way harmful to your health.

Since thats pretty much all I know about them, let’s get back to the story (I promise there is a happy ending.) I spent the past couple years searching for makeup to cover it, wearing shirts that hide it, and photoshopping it out of my photos. For example….

My frustration led me to see a second opinion. This time, I left with happy tears. There was an available treatment that would drastically reduce redness, size, and irritation. As happy that I am that it is getting smaller with these treatments, heres the real happy ending…

Self love. Cheesy, but true. In the middle of hating something that I couldn’t change (or thought I couldn’t) I put my energy into loving other parts of me. Instead of staring at my keloid all day, I taught myself to love my smile, my little birthmarks, and even the laugh lines already starting on my face. The pressure to hid my keloid began to vanish, because I was putting less focus towards it and more focus on the features I wanted to show off. Even though I’m excited to get this finally off my chest (lol, get it?), I’ve still learned to accept it. I’ve learned that this little insecurity of mine has played a huge role in my journey to self love.

The moral of this long story, I hope you find acceptance in your imperfections and fall deeply in love with at least one thing about yourself daily. At the end of the day, we all have something that we may not love about ourselves, but accepting these flaws makes us powerful.

 

on
June 17, 2017

Skincare that gives you all the FEELS

 Can you tell from this photo how happy Di-ver-gent makes me? No? It makes me SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS kinda happy. I honestly didn’t learn the importance of skincare until recently, and let me tell you, I am so much more confident now that I take care of my face. I don’t even see concealer as a necessity to leave the house anymore (GASP.) That for me is huge, since I struggled most (okay, all) of my teenage years with acne.  I’ve finally found the perfect skin care routine for my skin and a huge source of that happiness comes form Di-ver-gent.

Cruelty-free. Vegan. Natural. Responsibly-sourced. Made in the USA. Formulated for millennials by millennials. 

All that AND it works. Guys, this stuff makes my skin so happy and feel so healthy. My absolute favorite two products from the line “let me be clear!” and “staying’ hydrated!” “Let me be clear” is a face-mask made from Australian reef red clay and sea kelp that detoxifies, heals, and replenishes… sooo, basically its like a gift for your skin. Trust me, your face will immediately thank you. So soft, pores basically vanish, and complexion left glowing. It even comes with an adorable little white brush that makes the application so simple (and fun!)

Okay….”stayin’ hydrated” is SERIOUSLY a must have in my life. It’s the most refreshing, lightweight, and feel good moisturizer that I’ve ever tried. With all the work that “let me be clear” does to my pores, the last thing I’d want to do is clog my pores with a heavy moisturizer. I use this every night and go to sleep with very happy skin. I also like to use this in the morning before my makeup routine to wake up my skin.

But I haven’t even shared one of the best parts with you yet – the woman behind the brand! Her name is Cathy and well, you’ll see for yourself how kindhearted she is just by reading this incredible interview with her!

What was the thing that most inspired you to start Di-ver-gent?

I’ve had the I Am Selfcare Skincare line for almost 10 years and have great success! It’s the perfect anti-aging skincare solution for women ages 35 and older but the formulas are overkill for younger skin. For a few years now, I’ve wanted to create a line specifically targeted to younger skin – with the ingredients ideally suited to deliver the guaranteed results needed (and wanted) for the millennial gen. I really love how this generation cares so much about society and the world and knew that di-ver-gent’s social values would resonate very well with them. It was also very important to me to keep the price point very affordable because so many of this generation are buried in school debt, looking for jobs, etc. In short, I really wanted to help younger people look awesome, feel great and very confident about their skin. And to be proud of the quality of the products and the brand’s social values where they decide to spend their money.

What does a typical day in the life of Cathy look like?

I’m a very busy girl! My morning starts with taking care of my love-bug cats. I have 3. I had 4 but just lost one last week and I’m still tragically heart-broken about it. He had kidney failure and we had to put him down. I don’t think that I’ll ever get over it. I love my cats so much and they take a bit of time every day. One is a diabetic and I have to give her her insulin shot with breakfast so that’s the most important thing to start my day. I also have a ‘day’ job in Solon, OH where I manage transportation for my division of a huge corporation. It’s a very busy, high-pressure job and I’m always happy when the day there is done :). When I come in the evening, I make dinner for my family, take care of my fur babies again, and then do all of my work for my I Am Selfcare and di-ver-gent lines! That’s what I love doing! I love helping people have healthy, beautiful skin and making a difference in their lives.

In the light of the experience you have now, if you could give some advice to your 15 year old self, what would you say?

The advice I would give tell my 15 year old self is to BELIEVE in yourself and to never stop working toward what you want in life. In all aspects of life! Every step forward is going forward. Some things take longer than others but as long as you are working toward your goals you WILL make them!

Describe Di-ver-gent in three words.

EFFECTIVE. CONSCIOUS. AFFORDABLE.

What does “beauty” mean to you?

Beauty absolutely has a different meaning to me now that I’m older and more experienced. When I was young, beauty was all about physical beauty. Now, physical beauty is not all that important. Beauty, to me, is being a kind person. A person who truly cares about other living things and does what they can to help. That is a beautiful person. It’s awesome if you look and feel physically beautiful – for sure! But, the essence of beauty is to have a beautiful soul.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running Di-ver-gent?

 The very best part of running di-ver-gent, hands down, is when my customers email, text, call, message, etc. me and tell me that their skin has dramatically improved in just a short time by using the products!! And, I’m soooo happy to report that I get a lot of those messages!!

Click here to shop the full line of products and while your there sign up for the newsletter where you’ll be one of the first to hear about new products, great deals, and just stay in the Di-ver-gent loop!

P.S. All photos are done by Amanda Goodin Photography . These are unedited and “test shots” and can we just talk about how seriously gorgeous they are. This girls got MAJOR talent. Check out her work with the link above!

on
May 18, 2017

Moments with Mom

Lets talk about superheroes today… nope, I’m not talking about capes, invisibility, or anything like that. I’m talking moms. I could write a whole book (…or series) of all that I appreciate and love about my mom. Instead of telling you a HUGE list of all the reasons she is my best friend, I’ll share with you just a few of my favorite moments with her.

Okay, this first one I don’t exactly remember because I was just a baby, but it was probably the very first moment that I ever saw a paint brush. I imagine opening my sleepy little eyes, looking up in my crib, and watching my loving mother paint on my wall. She painted beautiful bouquets of wild flowers when she put me down to nap. That is just one tiny example of how my mother opened the doors to create. I am forever thankful that she passed down her artistic gift to me.

This next one is how she taught me about love. As you can imagine, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one moment. Every single day, she is showing my older brothers and I what it is to love and be loved unconditionally. This particular memory really sticks with me though. So…… as many young and naive girls do, I got myself into a little bit of boy trouble. I was in college about an hour from her and I called her bawling my eyes out – poor thing probably couldn’t understand a thing I was saying. However, none of that mattered to her. She dropped everything she was doing just to come hug me. That was the day that I fully realized that I deserve love from her, from my significant other, and from myself.

This one is the time she taught me the value of spontaneity, following dreams, and having fun.  Right after I turned 21, her and I randomly decided to drive to Florida – with my new kitten and our blind poodle, I might add. Since she owns her own business (yeah, I did say super hero, right?) she has the ability to make her office a little bit of paradise for a month or so. I could seriously start a whole new blog about the memories from that trip, but let me just say that  the entire trip was just amazing mom-daughter quality time that I will hold in my heart forever.

I can’t say thank you enough for being you, Mom. Like you always say, Mom upside down is wow… because WOW you’re truly incredible. Single mother of three that always stayed humble, true to herself, and loves with all she has. I love you more than words can explain.

Thank you so much for reading about something so dear to me. Stay tuned for an amazing giveaway with JORD watches on my Instagram, @danniiemae! In the meantime, check out this beauty here! Shop all the gorgeous styles here!

 

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April 20, 2017

DIY • Antique mirror makeover

This past holiday weekend, my mom and I took a long road trip to Chicago to visit my brother, Rich, and his girlfriend, Chelsea. Our time there was filled with amazing conversations, shopping sprees, delicious food, and a little home renovation. Since my brother was offered an exciting new job change, he needed the perfect home office space….and like everything else in their home, it turned out to be stunning.

Back to the point… in the process of cleaning out the room to get it “desk ready” we came across an antique mirror that originally belonged to my great grandparents. The comfort of family heirlooms throughout the home is very important to our family. However, it did have a couple dings, dirty glass ready to fall out, and a brown/gold finish. It just needed some love and I was up for the challenge!

What you’ll need:

Oh, and of course the most important part… your antique mirror. This could be one that has been passed down in the family like ours, or thrifted. You’d be surprised at the beauties you can find at Goodwill!

First, you’re going to want to block off the mirror with your blue painters tape (as seen above.) This step can be time consuming depending on how many curves and details are on your mirror. Don’t skip this step though, because it will save you SO much time in the end. Speaking of tape, check out the back of your mirror while your at it. We used strong packing tape to reinforce the backing. More than anything, this step was for our own sanity because we weren’t sure when it was last replaced.

This is where strong brothers come in handy to open the paint can and give it a good mix. Since this paint had been sitting in storage for some time, it was pretty thick. After Rich mixed it up for me, it still wasn’t good as new, but it was the perfect texture and consistency for this project.

Now for the fun part… blast your favorite music, pick up that brush, and start painting. My mirror had a  BUNCH of nooks creating the beautiful flowers, which took some time (and patience) to paint. It was completely worth it because the details created incredible dimension and interest.

The best tips I can give for this part:

1. Take breaks when needed. If you don’t, you might find yourself a little frustrated..

2. Have an open mind and stay creative. Some of the details were so small that my mom recommended I use Q-tips. I was convinced that they would just fall apart and be messy, but THANK GOODNESS I took her advice. It saved me with the tiny spots.

3. Have fun. Who says you can’t sing as loud as you can, dance like a fool, and maybe drink your favorite cocktail while painting??

After the paint is all on (you might want to do two coats depending on color) and dry, pull off that tape and clean the glass. You’ll have the look of a brand new mirror and the meaningfulness of the history behind it. The last and most exciting part is hanging it up! I had Rich help me again with this since honestly, tools aren’t exactly my strong point. We hung our masterpiece at the end of a hallway and it looked PERFECT! Stunning and ready to be stared at…..a lot.