Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS

I’m currently not doing the social media thing right now but when I finally caught up with the news I had to say something. I spent 5 years in South Florida. I was a marketing director that worked closely with schools. Stoneman Douglas was one of my schools. I remember it because it was a top school that we partnered with. Good students and teachers. Parents that cared. I visited many times. I even set up a successful function with them. I can’t believe that this was the school. It was a safe place. You would never think twice walking down those halls. My stomach turned violently when I put this together. This is the most terrifying thing I have ever allowed my mind to fully grasp. I sympathize with every parent out there that’s feeling this fear. It makes me not want to ever become a parent. I just couldn’t bare to let my child go if I was.  

Let’s Get Naked

IMG_2929.JPG
IMG_2930.JPG
IMG_2928.JPG
IMG_2919.JPG
IMG_2920.JPG
IMG_2921.JPG
IMG_2976.JPG
IMG_2981.JPG
   

Ok, so that title was a little bit of a bait and switch. A way to lead into talking about one of my favorite dress brands, Naked Wardrobe! Recently I wore this brand while on tour in Japan for NJPW and Wrestle Kingdom and man was it a hit!  From the red carpet to the streets of Tokyo I was turning heads left and right, thanks to these key, must have pieces!

 

What I love so much about this brand is that they cover the basics, but not in a basic way. This is, after all, Not Another Basic B...so when we cover basic pieces, we have to do it differently! That’s Naked Wardrobe. Take for instance the pink 2 piece set above...its classic in color and silhouette however, it’s got a hint of sex appeal that other brands just don’t have. The extra curve hugging really sets it apart and makes it stand alone. Paired with simple pumps, it’s still a “life of the party” look, without going over board.  

 

This black ribbed turtleneck dress offers options in styling. The ribbed look is subtle, so I could still wear these flashy star stockings and not feel out of place in any setting. I actually wore this look to Wrestle Kingdom! It was perfect for the occasion.  

 

This green ribbed dress is my favorite, for the unique cut, and the embellishments. The buttons are actual snaps, so you can control just how much thigh you want to show! This piece I wore for the Wrestle Kingdom press conference. As the only woman there, I felt chic, sexy, memorable and understated. And I got plenty of compliments!  

 

To shop any of these looks, head on over to Naked Wardrobe! You’ll find that their price points are quite pleasant and they always have fantastic sales!  

 

 

The Perfect Shade of Coat

IMG_2419.JPG
IMG_2420.JPG
IMG_2421.JPG

For as long as I can remember I’ve been looking for the perfect camel colored coat. Honestly, it’s been about 2 years. And I’m not one to splurge on coats, because I don’t have to wear them for as many months as some of you, but this year I figured it was time to get what I actually wanted!  

 

My Christmas gift to myself this year was this gorgeous Burberry coat. It’s the perfect shade of camel. It’s heavy enough to hold up in rougher winter weather, like when I travel to Colorado next month to ski. But it’s also still very chic, and can be worn to classy dinners and parties, and not look out of place. I think it was worth every penny and can see myself having this coat for a very long time.  

 

Now I realize, a thousand dollar coat is more than a splurge for some, it’s not on the menu at all. But there are plenty of beautiful camel coats to fit any budget (I would know, I’ve searched and searched!). So I’m linking those along with this Burberry Beauty here and on IG via the LIKEtoKNOW.it app! If you haven’t downloaded this app yet, get on it!  It’s the free way to shop your favorite fashion influencers looks via Instagram, including MOI! So download that app and screenshot any of my IG pics. They’ll go right into your app with shopping links and you can shop my looks direct from the stores I got them from. Every single piece, down to the earrings! It’s the day after Christmas, go spend those gift cards.  

 

Oh! And share with me what your favorite fashion piece was that you got for Christmas! Mine was this coat, and I’ll say my new Nikon camera (to take more fashion/blog pics with).  What were your faves?? Leave them in the comments! 

Staying Fit over the Holidays

IMG_1747.JPG
IMG_1746.JPG
IMG_0841.JPG
IMG_0843.JPG

I’ll be honest with you guys, ok? Really, really honest. I would be eating my weight in gold right now if I didn’t have two upcoming fitness shoots and a bunch of matches over the next week. Having to wear spandex on the regular does something to you...it scares you straight! LOL. My favorite thing about the holidays is pretty much the food. From Thanksgiving all the way to New Years is a free for all for many of us. And it’s where many of us get set back. Come Jan 2, we step on the scale of doom and face our fate. But we knew it wasn’t going to be good, since we started noticing a little extra booty jiggle right around Christmas Eve, and not the cute kind 😳.

 

So how do we not fall into those ways? Today I’m sharing things I personally do, and use, to help keep myself from falling completely off the health wagon over the holidays.  

 

I try to have a goal in mind to look forward to. That can be a weekly cheat meal, or perhaps an upcoming trip that you want to let loose a bit on! When you know you’re working toward a goal, you’re less likely to have little “cheats” along the way. Or big ones!  

 

Have an accountability buddy, that will legit smack your hand away from the cupcakes at the Christmas party. Seriously! My husband and I are accountable to each other since our end goals are usually similar.  You cannot be sensitive when your accountability buddy actually holds you accountable though!   It’s not fair to ask someone to help you stay on track, and then cut their head off the moment they do! Truly it’s in our best interest and meant with love. Remember that before you start turning green, Bruce Banner. 

 

Next, I keep healthy food in abundance in the house. I like prepped meals, so I always keep my favorites on hand. Aside from that, low calorie protein shakes and bars are always in my house as well as a few healthy snacks. Fruits and veggies are always a good idea too! I like to snack, so having something I can reach for when I start starving, that’s not a cookie, is always a good idea!  

 

Finally, find out what kind of exercise regime you can get excited about, get on board with it, and stay with it! No matter what! I have one rest day a week. And honestly, I feel weird taking a rest day. That’s how into my workouts I am. I’ve figured out a routine that keeps me excited and challenged and it really goes a long way! Once a workout becomes boring or monotonous, it’s time for a change! I recommend checking out some fitness trainers on instagram! I get a LOT of inspiration from popular IG accounts, and I’ve even downloaded apps and work outs from these trainers! Not a bad way to switch things up and keep your body guessing and challenged! 

 

If all all else fails, wear more spandex 😂 Trust me, it’ll scare you right away from that dessert table! As usual, you can shop the looks above right here! Buying new fitness clothing is also another great way to feel excited about your workouts! It’s true! So get to shopping! 

 

The Cream Always Rises

IMG_1763.JPG
IMG_1761.JPG
IMG_1765.JPG
IMG_1767.JPG

I think I’m a good person. I think most of us think we are good people. We aren’t on drugs, we pay our bills, we treat others with respect and kindness and we focus on having friendly dispositions. These are some things I use to define my “goodness” I don’t know what you use. But we go along in life following these “measurements” and working out hardest. However, we run into these obstacles. Yet, Sally, who works across the way from us. Who’s been working here a shorter time, is late 4 out of 5 days a week, calls in sick when she’s clearly not, and has been written up a time or two...SALLY gets the damned promotion that WE were owed! We earned it, right? We deserve more responsibility, more money, more...RESPECT! 

 

Dont you hate it when people tell you life’s not fair? I can’t stand it. What a crock! How is that an answer? Well, shamefully it is. But you know what else is an answer? The cream always rises.  

 

You know what that means for us good guys? We get to live to fight another day and we don’t have to take no for an answer. Because we are good. Because values count for something. Because not everything is right here right now. Some things are worth more. WE are worth more. So how do we ensure that the cream rises? Well, sometimes we have to get really real, and that does NOT take away from your cream crown.  

 

Sometimes, you have to tell a mother lover OFF. Keep your crown on while you do this.  But the next time Sally gets promoted before you...learn to SAY NO.  “Hey Brandi, Sally can’t do XYZ today can you?”  “No I can’t. That’s not my responsibility though and I’m SURE Sally as the new Sr VP can figure out a way...after all she was the best candidate for the job!” Smile, blink, walk away. Adjust crown. People love to take advantage of us good folk. Learn the difference between appreciation and being taken for granted, and don’t allow it. 

 

Stay creamy. Don’t stoop to someone else’s level. If it’s beneath you to be catty don’t be catty. People will be disappointed when you won’t gossip, when you won’t throw someone else under the bus.  When you won’t lie to make a buck. But trust me, in the long run it will be worth more that you didn’t compromise your values to coincide with someone else’s agenda. Being true to yourself will pay off when you FINALLY align with likeminded people who understand your values and your vision.  

 

Learn to walk away. We live in a society where the amount of time you spend doing one thing is supposed to define you. I worked here for 10 years, I started a school program and I finished it. This is all great if you LOVE it. But if along the way you discover you don’t love it, and more importantly, you don’t love how you’re treated or are being kept from reaching your full potential: here’s the only phrase you need to master: “Thanks for the opportunity but I must move on”. SEE YA BYE!!!! If someone doesn’t recognize your worth, tell ‘em boy bye. (Or girl). Preferably after you’ve devised a plan of what you are going to do next to fill your soul AND pay your bills.  

 

I felt the need to write this after an eye opening evening of a lot of professional BS. Had to remind myself that I’m the cream and I don’t have time for anyone trying to pull me down while I’m getting my rise on. 💪🏾 Anybody feel me? Let me know in those comments y’all. 💛

Where to shop for YOU this season!

IMG_1753.JPG
IMG_1754.JPG
IMG_1751.JPG
IMG_1028.JPG
IMG_1027.JPG
IMG_1757.JPG
IMG_1758.JPG

Let’s face it. It’s hard NOT to shop for yourself over the holidays! I know we are supposed to be shopping for others BUT with so many great deals RIGHT in front our our faces...I mean, how can we not?! So if we are gonna do it, here are some of the places I recommend for the best deals...that way we don’t have to feel quite as guilty about it! 😊

 

Starting with my first look, the dress I got SO many compliments on from Instagram...my little sexy pilgrim look. This dress comes from one of my favorite online shopping destinations: Shopbop. It’s on a ridiculous sale right now...under $30!!! And that’s characteristic of Shopbop, as they often have all of my favorite designers at up to 70% off in sale! So if you’re itching to shop some new fall and winter looks, I highly recommend giving them a look! 

 

The second look is from South Moon Under. They also often frequently discount excellent pieces down to unbelievable prices! They also have a small men’s selection, for my hubby, which he enjoys, AND they offer frequent denim deals from great brands like AG and Blank NYC! 

 

The thirds look is a hodge-podge of many favorite places, but let’s focus on the jacket. How seasonally appropriate, right? I love plaid for winter. Anywho, this little baby was scored from Von Maur! Here’s the secret about Von Maur...their markdowns are predictable. Yup. Every Wednesday is the first wave of markdowns and Thursdays are further markdowns. I caught the jacket on a second markdown. And I’m obsessed with it. And we all lived happily ever after! 

 

As always, you can shop my looks via the LIKEtoKNOW.it app, available on iPhone AND Android now! Or you can follow this link to shop my looks!  

 

 https://www.liketoknow.it/thebrandirhodes

What do Frugal People Spend Their Money on??

IMG_1043.JPG
IMG_1047.JPG
IMG_1045.JPG
IMG_1044.JPG

I pride myself on being relatively good with money. It’s easier for me to save than to spend. When I see something that I like I often find myself asking “will this go on sale in a few weeks and make me angry?!”  Haha. Most of the time I let it ride. Like this bag at Anthropologie that I’m currently stalking. It will go on sale, and it will be mine! 

 

Being a frugal gal doesn’t mean I don’t spend though. Obviously, I have champagne taste, and I’m not interested in the beer budget category if it’s not completely necessary but, I’ve come to learn that frugal people will go the extra mile when it comes to certain things... so I figured I’d share mine to see how I line up with the rest of you frugalistas! 

 

1. Gifts

I NEVER budget shop for gifts, unless I’ve agreed to do a budget with the party I’m exchanging with. I go with my heart on gift giving. Sometimes gifts are expensive and otherwise not at all! If I feel the person will love it, I get it. Simple. 

 

2. Skincare

I think budget skincare is bad juju. I have sensitive skin and I do whatever it takes to keep it happy. As I get older, that seems to be a hell of a lot more haha! All these moisturizers and eye creams and SPF 50 everything...it’s a wonder I don’t drown in skincare! Under this umbrella I’m also going to place Makeup. Quality make up looks better and lasts longer AND...doesn’t break me out. I’ll always pay more for that peace of mind!  

 

3. Housekeeping

I have a husky. Enough said 😂.  But honestly I love a clean house. I wasn’t blessed with domestic ability.  I can style, design and arrange, but when it comes to cleaning I am helpless! I like to entertain so, it’s imperative to have a housekeeper so that people aren’t subject to my dogs hair every time they come over. Or dust everywhere for that matter.  

 

4. Recently - Cars

I used to be so frugal about cars. I always thought they didn’t matter. Until I started driving a lot, and my family became 2 humans and 3 dogs. It’s not possible to tote all of that around and luggage in a Mustang. Sorry.  So when I bought my Mercedes SUV I told them everything I wanted in a car, including the color, and they delivered. I also added the package for free car cleanings because...again with the dog. His hair is a curse. I want my car to always feel brand new! So...it was money well spent. Happy family!  

5. Home

Our home in Dallas is a dream house. We again, decided everything we wanted and set out to find it. Hoping to do the same thing here in GA, our home here is very much temporary as I had about 10 seconds to get here from across the country to film WAGS.  (Seriously, I had two weeks to find, move into and set up a place and PART of those two weeks I was in ENGLAND! 🤦🏽‍♀️) It’s not my style, but it works for filming purposes.  But I of course miss our Dallas home SO much! Fingers crossed we can find another perfect place in ATL!  

Now I flip this over to you guys! What do you spend your money on? What will you pay whatever it takes to make sure it’s right? Leave it in the comments!  

WAGS ATL

FINALLY the cats out the bag about WAGS Atlanta! I begin press tomorrow regarding the show, so stay tuned to social media for info on interviews and appearances etc. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_1419.PNG

To answer a few key questions off the top: yes you will see Cody on the show, and YES they did film at one of my WOH matches, so hopefully you will see that (and if you already suspected the show, that's probably how you found out, as many saw camera crews at one of the ROH shows 🤷🏽‍♀️)

 

Anyways, it was a BIG news week for me! On a Friday I was also named one of the 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans by Modern Luxury! How cool is that?! There are tons of beautiful women in Atlanta, I feel like a princess having been chosen!  I'm in the current issue of Jezebel Magazine representing! Be sure to pick up a copy! 

 

But now that it's out I want to hear from you guys!! Was it what you thought I was working on over the past few months? Was it a surprise? Are there things you are hoping to see from me on the show? Things you're hoping not to see? Are you guys excited? Let me know in the comments!  

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_1485.JPG

The New Name

IMG_1031.JPG
IMG_1032.JPG
IMG_1033.JPG
IMG_1035.JPG

Soooooooo....the blog got an overhaul!!!! Yaaaaaas!! I felt that the previous design made it a bit difficult for folks to find the most recent posts. Too much jumbo jumbo in the way. This puts my latest posts at the top so now, no more searching! You can't miss it.

 

And...with the mighty overhaul came the new blog name: Not Another Basic B. It's not rocket science.  There are a lot of blogs out there. This one isn't basic. 🤷🏽‍♀️ And this "B" is truly thankful for every single person who reads it and shops my feed. We've grown a lot over the past couple of years and I thought my readers deserved a little more fun with this blog, so that's all this is about! And the outfits above? Totally randomly attached to this blog so you could easily follow the picture over from my social pages 😂  Please tell me it worked. (You can totally shop the look too, worry not).   

 

So....what do you guys and gals think of the new name? Basic? Not Basic? Everything you ever hoped it could be? Leave it in the comments 😉 

Velvet Crush

IMG_0845.JPG
IMG_0846.JPG
IMG_0848.JPG
IMG_0849.JPG

I LOVE VELVET!!!!! Ok, just needed to get that out. I'm ready to Adult now. But seriously, I've been a velvet lover since I was a kid. I figure skated my entire childhood and I always wanted velvet dresses for competitions and shows. It just always felt special, luxurious. To this day, I feel the same. I love when fall comes around because it becomes okay to "velvet things up".  And that's just what the heck I do!  

 

This pink velvety goodness is actually 2 pieces.  The top is a bodysuit. It goes great with everything, as I'm sure you've seen me pair it with denim on my feed. But nothing compares to it paired with its wrap skirt mate. It's a match made in heaven!  The two pair so seemlessly, it's often mistaken for a dress, but no,no. These two are star crossed velvet lovers 😍.  You of course can pair the skirt with any bodysuit or crop top of your choosing and it will look magnificent as well. 

 

This outfit fit comes from my friends at Band of Gypsies.  They are an LA based brand and they are at the top of the trend charts! Check out their pieces, they are sure to wow you and make you into a fan, of you aren't already!  

 

You can also shop this look right here!  

 

Also, my hair is slayed by Samantha Gunn of Gunn Glamour in these pics. What do you guys think of me with a bohemian braid??? 

Loew's Sapphire Falls Hotel- Orlando Resort

IMG_1018.JPG
IMG_1019.JPG
IMG_1015.JPG
IMG_1016.JPG
IMG_1017.JPG
IMG_1013.JPG
IMG_1014.JPG

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of theme parks.   However, I'm almost as big of a fan of the resort hotels associate with most parks, as I am the actual park experiences. This has been my second time staying at Loew's Sapphire Falls Resort, at Universal Studios. I've had the pleasure of being a guest two years in a row now for Halloween Horror Nights. So in turn, I'm treating you guys to a look inside of one of the one bedroom suites that we have recently stayed in. 

 

The theme of this hotel is Carribbean Luxury, and that is just what you get. The bold blue colors and intricate tile patterns are signature throughout the hotel, and also in the rooms. The wide open spaces offer an ideal set up for entertaining. It's great to be in these rooms for multiple nights, because you can really spread out, and not feel a slight bit cluttered. These suites also offer full kitchens, which is great for stocking up. Even though the hotel has 3 fantastic restaurants and round the clock room service, sometimes it's just nice to have your own food and drink on hand! My husband and I bring our meal preps along and eat them, so that we don't go overboard in room service calories!  

 

One of my my favorite things about this hotel is how much they are into the Universal Themes and spirit. Currently, its Halloween, so they offer a special Halloween Horror Nights Inspired, late night food menu that's pretty cute. And of course these complimentary scary chocolate covered strawberries are plenty of fun as well!  

 

Certain resorts offer transportstion to and from the parks via a ferry ride. Thankfully, Sapphire Falls is one of them! This is so much more convenient than trying to Uber or arrange your own transportation. You just hop on the boat and sail right over. It's drama free, and the boats are never jam packed. The drop point is the closest you can get to the park, transportation-wise.  Save your walking for the park itself!  

 

We were lucky to be treated to a relaxing day by the pool with a private cabana,  and I'm telling you, it was so lovely! They offer waitstaff for both kitchen and bar service, towel service and of course unlimited access to the sun and the pools! There's a water slide for kiddies and a sprawling jacuzzi for adults. It was so relaxing, I actually fell asleep for a good hour in the cabana under the fan watching the football game on our flat screen TV! An excellent way to spend the day. Cocktails, poolside, great food, naps and football all in one spot! 😉

 

Customer service is always top tier at these resorts. No matter what, the staff is always kind and happy. They will trouble shoot any issue and help you out with anything that they can. Every member of thestaff seems to enjoy being there and working there. I've noticed this across the board with every Loew's hotel I've stayed at. People are helpful and pleasant, and this is one of the reasons that I'm so fond of this hotel chain. They are definitely leaders in luxury!  

IMG_1152.JPG
IMG_1148.JPG
IMG_1151.JPG
IMG_1150.JPG
IMG_1149.JPG

Any favorite hotels/resorts to share? Share them here! 😊 

Harvest!

IMG_1001.JPG
IMG_0959.JPG
IMG_0960.JPG
IMG_0903.JPG
IMG_0907.JPG
IMG_0919.JPG
IMG_0920.JPG

Fall is my FAVORITE time of year to decorate the house. Christmas is a close second, but I just love the colors of fall. They are so gorgeous and offer up so many options when it comes to choosing your decor! 

For the outside of the house, I wanted to really showcase the colors of fall, especially with our red door. So I played up the brilliance with a very colorful wreath, pumpkins and Indian corn. I kept the welcome mat basic this year with Autumn leaves so it would work with any decor I chose, and I love it!  

 

For the dining room, I decided that I wanted a more contemporary and dazzling look! So I chose to work with a combination of silver and gold with basic white. And yes, a hint of glitter indeed. I'm a show gal. I like my sparkle 😉.  Mixing silver and gold in moderation can truly be a beautiful thing. You just have to know when to stop! I let silver lead this duo. Gold was my secondary color and very subtle. Now, I feel silver and gold can also be a bit gaudy.  And I definitely didn't want to be too extravagant. So I left some traditional elements in there, like the oak leaves and the wooden napkin holders.  

 

Its so so nice to have decorations complete! And now here's the kicker, NO ONE is coming over to enjoy them 😫  We are heading up north to visit family for the holiday, so the look is just for me and my husband to enjoy this time. I'm totally okay with that! Hey, at least we took these fab pics! 😂 

To shop the tablescape and entry way decor just click here

I'll take success, with haters on the side please.

IMG_9995.JPG

The most common question I am ever asked is this: "How do you deal with haters?"   

I have a fairly large following on social media. Most of this following seems interested in my well being and keeping up with my endeavors and successes, but a pocket of them wish for the opposite. I get everything from angry wrestling fans who think I don't deserve the opportunities I've been afforded, to people who don't like the color of my skin, or the color of my husband's skin, for that matter. With social media, you just never know what you're going to get and a lot of times, what you get is hate.

Theres no manual on how to deal with hate on social media. For many of us it takes time, and for a lot of us entertainers, it's a learning curve. I definitely don't handle social negativity perfectly all of the time, but here are a few things that I've learned along the way that seem to help me deal...

1)  It won't ever go away. 

You cant wait it out. Social hate is never ending, so long as you are moving forward. So get used to it. Settle into it and just learn to deal.  

2) Shock Value

Haters go for shock value. When my husband suddenly lost his father a couple of years back people said things you wouldn't believe. Things no human should ever say out loud. Things that make me understand exactly why some of the terrible things in this world happen. There are sick people out there and the internet is accessible to all of them. They will say the most shocking things they can dream up just to get an answer. Sad, but true. But...you don't have to always react. That's the hardest thing to me. When people attack innocent friends and family members, those are the times I've lashed out. But it's done no good. People continue to be awful whether you acknowledge them or not. Ghosting them is the best option. 

3) Do Not Block!

There are accounts who's entire goal is to get as many celebrities as possible to block them so they can brag about it. Silly, right? I won't give them the satisfaction. I mute them and let them talk to themselves....FOREVER.  It drives them crazy that I won't block them. It gives me peace of mind because I can't see their jibber jabber anymore. It just works! 🤷🏽‍♀️ 

4) Haters Aren't the Majority

Social is weird. You get a lot of positive comments, but the negative ones stick out like a sore thumb. 100 people can tell me I look great, but if one says I look fat, it's tough to look past. In those cases I try to remember the numbers are greater on the light side than the dark side. Many times I'll comment back to the positive people and skip the negative blatantly. It makes me feel better to focus on the positive and treat the negative like it simply doesn't exist.  By the way, thank you SO much to each and every one of you guys that comments frequently here on the blog. I love it. You're all amazing and positive. Even opposing thoughts are positive and respectful. I truly appreciate that and encourage you guys to help me keep this space so cool and open!  

4) Keep Doing You

The best revenge is success. Keep climbing that mountain. Keep making moves. Stay happy and positive and celebrate those blessings in life. Sure, it's going to make the bitter hate even more, but that's not your problem. My job as an entertainer is to shoot for the stars and make others happy. In the midst of that I feel fulfilled and happy myself. I can't jeopardize that for a few negative Nancy's, and I won't. Onward and upward we go and the amount of vocal naysayers grow. If they were right...I wouldn't be where I am today  and if they didn't exist, that would mean I wasn't doing anything noteworthy and THAT would be a bad thing. I'll take my success with a side of haters please, extra salty 😉

With everything going on with me in 2018, the white noise is going to get louder. But I will remain positive, and so will you! ✌🏽 

Ode to the T-shirt dress 👗

IMG_0596.JPG
IMG_0615.JPG
IMG_0613.JPG
IMG_0397.JPG
IMG_0203.JPG
IMG_0142.JPG

I used to not understand t-shirt dresses. I thought they weren't figure flattering, and perhaps lazy. Guys, I was so wrong. T-shirt dresses are AMAZING! They can be styled to dress up or dress down, as you can see from the two different photo sets I've featured. Both of these are graphic shirt dresses, which are really fun and edgy. I'm a music lover, so how could I say no to The Stones or Guns and Roses on a dress? These dresses offer you so many options. You can accessorize them up, like with these gladiator heeled sandals and chic Chanel bag, or play it down a bit with a more basic bootie and more casual cross body bag. When it comes to styling these, just bring your creativity and imagination to the table. The world is your oyster! I wore the heeled option to the movies with the hubs to see "It". Have y'all seen it yet? It's PERFECT...even for non-horror junkies, completely enjoyable. The second option I wore to a fun little wine tasting at one of my favorite little neighborhood happy hours.  These dresses are also perfect for travel. Comfy, yet cute. I love looking like I tried hard (when I totally didn't 😂).  

 

Click here to shop the looks above! And as always, you can shop my IG via the LIKEtoKNOW.it app! 

HHN 27 - 7 years for me!

This is my 7th year attending Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando. I can't believe it! It seems like just yesterday Cody and I were on one of our first dates there 😍.  Now we've been married 4 years and become total regulars. We get to hang out with our pal Creative Director Mike Aiello all night, and we are showing our pals Matt and Chelsea the ropes. Gosh we are old pros! Anyway, this year was none short of fantastic. The scares were fantastic, even the houses I had NO expectations for, in fact, my top three will surprise you! Don't worry, no spoilers here. Just telling you my top three houses and how they made me feel! 

 

3. American Horror Story

Upon a revisit, this one could very well move up. It was our first house of the night and I spent most of it trying to decide if Chelsea was having fun, or if she was gonna rip my arm out of its socket and I was going to have to go to the hospital 😂.  She was having fun! Anywho it features Asylum, Coven and Roanoke and does an excellent job making you feel like you're in each one. Characters are very well represented and the scares are frequently and fun. Highly recommend resisting the temptation to do this one first. It's very good. Make yourself wait.  

 

2. Blumhouse

I had high expectations for this one as a big fan of Sinister and Insidious. It delivered on all levels. One of my issues is I confuse those two movies often. I wasn't confused at all in this house, everything was perfectly sorted.  And the two being separated by Purge really helped me discern between them. The scares were really packed on. I found myself getting double and triple scared in some rooms, which I absolutely love, it's kind of the only way to get me, and they got me. Good. Multiple times. Loved it. 

 

1. The Hive

This house wasn't even on my radar. It's about a hive of blood thirsty vampires, which I wasn't sure how you do that differently, oh but they did! This house impressed and scared me the most. It's very well thought out and intense. I can't say too much, otherwise I'll give too much away but I could do that house a thousand times and still get scared. Let that be my summary.  

 

This year, there was no house that left me longing for more, with nine houses, that is so hard to do and they killed it once again. I'm currently looking for time to go back and hopefully indulge in a daytime behind the scenes tour of some of the houses. It was SO good. And there are so many things I'm curious about! ESPECIALLY some of the effects in the Fallen...another fantastic house you MUST do. 

The Trick or Treat scare zone was a favorite in our group. We went through it a couple of times. Once at dusk and once at nightfall. Completely different looks day vs night. I recommend going through a couple of times!  

Also of course, bittersweet, the final Bill & Ted's 😭 It was amazing, and YES, there's a wrestling reference, actually a fun one, not a watered down overdone one. You'll enjoy it 😉 Those actors and dancers do an incredible job. I'm sad they are replacing it. Whatever comes next will have its work cut out FOR SURE!  

 

Overall, 27 has been one of my favorite years by far. Truly hope I get to go back this year and scream my voice away once again! Have you gone yet? If so comment with your favorite houses. If you haven't gone, but are planning to, let me know which houses you're most looking forward to! 

 

IMG_0647.JPG
IMG_0640.JPG
IMG_0644.JPG
IMG_0656.JPG
IMG_0657.JPG
IMG_0658.JPG
IMG_0660.JPG
IMG_0664.JPG

Falling for Velvet

I love fall, for so many reasons. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Moto Jackets. Colorful leaves. But damn it do I love velvet. It's like some feverish disease, if I see it, I need it. Boots, dress, jacket, pants, skirts...it doesn't matter. I want it, I want it, I WANT IT!!! 

 

But...you can over do Velvet. It's important to break it up a bit. I had a show this weekend where I wore the beauitful crushed velvet dress featured in this post. The next day I tried to wear a pink velvet bodysuit and someone had to stop me. "Maybe don't pull out all of the velvet all at once."  Damn it. They were right.  

 

So how how do I not over-do velvet this fall? Well I have a plan. I'm going to commit to two pieces of velvet in one setting. In the case of this look, velvet otk boots and velvet mini dress. I'm almost overdoing it here but I broke it up with a clean, cream colored jacket. However, had the bag also been velvet, that would have been a situation.  

 

Im also committing to only wearing Velvet twice a week. That's going to be tough. I have somehow already stockpiled my fall wardrobe with a lot of these luxurious pieces; MUST. HOLD. BACK.  

 

Velvet tends to be dressier, so I'm going to try and save my pieces for events and special occasions. So fully expect to see me in velvet for Halloween and Thanksgiving! 😉 

 

 

IMG_0283.JPG
IMG_0306.JPG
IMG_0284.JPG
IMG_0305.JPG

This look is available to shop on my Instagram! Download the LIKEtoKNOW.it app and screenshot the IG images to shop instantly!  

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!  

IMG_9974.PNG

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..: 

 

IMG_9973.PNG

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... 

IMG_9976.PNG

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

IMG_9977.PNG

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... 

IMG_9978.PNG

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... 

IMG_9979.PNG

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

IMG_9980.PNG

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! 

IMG_9813.JPG
IMG_9812.JPG
IMG_9801.JPG
IMG_9833.JPG
IMG_9803.JPG

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!  

 

IMG_9756.JPG
IMG_9759.JPG

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!  

 

IMG_9758.JPG

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!  

 

IMG_9757.JPG

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!  

 

IMG_9500.JPG

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!