City Guide: Dallas

It’s obvious, you get it, we LOVE to travel. So each month we’ll be featuring one of our favorite cities and showing you the must eats, the to dos and the how to do it. Today we’ll be featuring BB Headquarters hometown of Dallas, Texas! Come on an adventure with us and travel around this Texas-sized city one drink, park, patio brunch and museum at a time.
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The four places you will not want to miss:

Truck Yard // “If you like beer, food trucks, ice cream and tree houses then you will love the Truck Yard!” The Truck Yard located in Lower Greenville is one of a kind and offers a unique experience.  It is a great place to go to enjoy patio eating and drinking with a great group of friends.  You can view the food truck schedule online (however, they never disappoint) and live music is offered multiple times a week.

Five-Sixty // “I love the ambiance of this restaurant and the view of course, is stunning…” Five-Sixty is located 50 stories up in Reunion Tower in the middle of Downtown Dallas (better known as the glowing ball located in the famous skyline).  This dinning experience is a tad expensive, however the experience is worth it.  When entering the restaurant you are greeted with a floor to ceiling, 360 degree view of Dallas.  The restaurant floor is revolving, so as you dine your view will constantly be changing. On top of the wonderful view the food is Asian themed and absolutely delicious. It’s safe to say this is a dinning experience you will not want to miss, so be sure to make a reservation before hand!

Anvil Pub // “Their liquid brunch bloody mary’s and mimosas are amazing and perfectly unique.” Anvil Pub located in Deep Ellum is the perfect place to brunch.  They’re famous for their Sunday F*ck Brunch, which is your choice of either a mimosas or bloody mary filled with skewers of food.  Not only are they famous for their drinks, but the food is delicious.

Sprinkles Cupcakes // “It’s delicious and definitely deserves all the hype.” Sprinkles Cupcakes located in the Plaza of Preston Center is worth every penny.  Although, this is not a Dallas native it is a must.  Every cupcake is bursting with flavor and if you check their facebook you might be able to score a free cupcake by using the “secret word”.  Don’t forget to check out their ice cream shop next door.  Also, the cupcake ATM located outside is a must for late night cupcake runs.

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Night Life // Grab your friends and hit the town.  We promise you won’t regret it! The age group varies and there is a unique spot for everyone. Start off on McKinny Ave, this street offers a variety of popular bars that are walking distance apart. When it’s time to head home be sure to use the app, Uber (your first ride is free!).

Shopping // Get your credit cards ready because Dallas is known for its shopping. You’ll find something you want to buy in every area of the city.  Don’t miss out on the latest trends or sales in West Village, Plaza at Preston Center, North Park, and Highland Park Village. Each of these locations offer a variety of shops from popular chains to luxury boutiques and one-of-a kind stores you will not want to miss.

Sights & Museums // If you’re only in town for a few short days visiting one of these famous spots should be at the top of your list.  They are perfectly unique and offer a great learning experience for adults and children; Dallas Museum of Art, The Perot Museum, The Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Arboretum.

Stay // If you’re in town for a girls weekend then we highly recommend Hotel ZaZa. Hotel ZaZa offers an experience unlike any other hotel.  They treat their guest like VIP members and each room is decorated with a different theme.  Plus their pool and spa are to die for! Other hotels that are worth the stay in the Dallas area: The W, The Stoneleigh, and The Crescent.

We hope your experiences in Dallas are as big as the Texas sky and as bright as the stars that shine at night! Enjoy!

xoxo

Blaine

Natural Beauty Remedies

Do you have acne or skin problems? Say hello to your two new best friends: Apple Cider Vinegar & Coconut Oil.  I know what you’re thinking, we’re crazy for putting it on our face. But trust us, these two household items will do wonders for your skin!

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Apple Cider Vinegar

How and why Apple Cider Vinegar will help your skin:

  • ACV helps balance your skins natural pH level.  The solution contains a pH level of 4.5-5.5 which is the ideal number for the skin. This helps your skin balance the production of sebum, aka it helps your skin from becoming too oily or too dry.
  • The solution unblocks pores and allows skin to breathe correctly by removing excess oil.
  • ACV contains malic acid, which causes anti-fungal and antibacterial properties in the solution.
  • ACV helps with age spots by removing dead skin cells
  • It has little to no side effects and works great on most skin types

Tools to making your ACV toner:

  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Container for your solution
  • Filtered or distilled water
  • Cotton pad

FaceCollageInstructions:

  1. Mix together one part ACV and one part water in the container –  ACV is extremely potent and needs to be watered down.  Putting the vinegar directly on your face can potentially damage your skin. If you have sensitive skin you may want to start off with one part ACV and two parts water.  You can always increase the intensity of the vinegar once you skin adjusts.
  2. Test the solution – There are little to no side effects for putting the mixed solution on your face.  However, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Therefore, test the solution on a part of your skin to make sure an irritation does not occur.
  3. Apply to skin – Wash your face as normal and follow up with your ACV toner.  Shake your container before each use, then put onto a cotton pad.  Apply the wet pad on your face, paying special attention to troubled spots.  Be aware that the solution may burn, but don’t worry thats just a sign of it working!  Also, you will notice that the solution doesn’t smell too pleasant (almost like a dirty socks), but it wears off within a few minutes.
  4. Finish up your new nightly routine with your favorite moisturizer (or coconut oil).

But wait, there’s more! 

ACV can be used for many other beauty fixes. Celebrities such as Hilary Duff and Scarlet Johanson are big ACV fans.

  • Use as a hair rise – ACV contains acetic acid which helps remove hair buildup from shampoos and products we use daily.  A few times a month add the solution to your hair routine by massaging into scalp after shampooing and rinsing off a few minutes later.
  • Use to help with burns – The amino acids that are found in ACV will balance hydration and calm irritations.  This is great for calming a sunburn or razor burns.

Coconut Oil

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How to use Coconut oil:

You can use coconut oil in so many different ways. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  A little goes a long way with this oil, making this a beauty steal! Just like Apple Cider Vinegar, the solution is antibacterial and anti-fungal.  It’s great for stretch marks, fine lines, and wrinkles. The list goes on, and on but here are a few of our personal favorite uses!

  • Eye makeup remover – The oil breaks down the makeup and leaves your skin feeling hydrated. This works wonders with waterproof mascara! Gently rub the oil on your eyes and remove with water.
  • Face wash – Products that are now available on the market contain tons of harsh chemicals that will strip your skin. Coconut oil removes nasty dirt and makeup without stripping your skin of its natural oils.  The oil will leave your skin feeling super clean and hydrated.  If you’re feeling daring, remove your cleanser from your daily routine and stick to just coconut oil and ACV.  Wash your face every other day with coconut oil and use your ACV toner on the other days. When using Coconut oil as a face wash, apply to skin in circular motions and remove with a warm wash cloth.  Note: do not follow up with your moisturizer! Your skin will already feel super hydrated and adding more may overdue it.
  • Everyday body moisturizer – If you haven’t already discovered, Coconut Oil is super hydrating.  So why not use it all over? The oil increases hydration while reducing water loss in skin.  Remember a little goes a long way!
  • Shaving creme – My personal favorite use.  Just like cleansers, shaving cremes available on the market are full of harsh chemicals.  Using Coconut Oil while shaving allows for a closer shave, while leaving your legs feeling super hydrated all day.  Plus, you’ll smell like you spent your day on a tropical island! Note: Be super careful while using this product in the shower.  It is an oil and will make your shower floor your own personal slip-n-slide.  Lesson learned!
  • Deep-conditioner – Because the solution is antibacterial and anti-fungal it has the ability to penetrate your hair better than high end brands.  Comb the coconut oil through your hair, put into a bun and cover.  Leave on for a few hours or over night and rise out. If you sleep with the solution in your hair be sure to lay a towel down to avoid a mess.
  • Body scrub – Melt a portion of the solution and add brown sugar.  Add your favorite essential oils to change the smell up.
  • Lip gel – Apply before bed for a hydrating lip balm that will heal dry and cracked lips

You won’t believe what just a few simple changes to your routine can do to your body. With these natural beauty remedies, your outer beauty can shine just as brightly as your inner beauty. So, go out there with confidence and shine B Babes!

XO Blaine

Rolling With the Punches…

BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO SAY, ‘SCREW IT’ AND GET OVER IT…

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Hi love bugs!

I wanted to get very candid with you all on this post because a lot of things have been going on behind the scenes for the past 4 years, good and bad, and I wanted to take time to really try and connect with you all on an honest, bullshit free level.  I’ve done some heavy soul searching the past few days and I wanted to take some time to write this post because I feel all too often in the world today, everyone wants to make every bit of their lives seem so perfect, successful and fun…which can lead you to kind of, well…secretly feeling like crap sometimes or that something is missing.  How often do you see people posting social photos of their breakouts, breakups, shitty days at work, or that perfect little pocket dog crapping on their carpet?  Right, that would be NEVER.  The “Keeping up with the Jones'” crap has never been for me; my parents didn’t raise me that way.  It’s almost like being human isn’t acceptable anymore.  Instead all we see is perfectly edited photos worthy of a magazine cover, perfect bodies that got there by drinking a tea detox (if I see one more post about getting a healthy body by drinking tea, I’m going to lose it), perfect relationships that rival Will and Kate, some serious job envy where it seems like everyone is succeeding without any hiccups. Well, I don’t know about you, but I like my bullshit served half and half, half truth half bullshit that is.  Because sometimes the bullshit is necessary. Its nice to live in the BS fairytale world where everything is perfect, but sometimes my bullshit meter runneth over. Plus, I’ve just always been a fan of REAL.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty blunt, sometimes probably too blunt. Sometimes I like to be just as surprised at the things that come out of my mouth as you are, I’m laid back almost to a fault and I’m loyal beyond measure.  Some things I could be better at: I’m not a second chance person, i’ll forgive but I don’t forget. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, life comes with hardships that are out of your control, that you don’t need to surround yourself with people who bring you down.  Work and relationships are hard anyways, so I don’t choose difficult relationships anymore or let them stick around me.  When I have free time, I want to feel like its free time an not like I’m still working because it’s so much effort to be around difficult people.  I wish I was better at keeping in touch with my friends and making plans with them. I have a tendency to be a bit of a recluse and just hang at home with my dogs and watch movies while I work to the middle of the night (it’s easy to do with my fiancé on the other side of the country).  I wish I was better at turning off work and taking time for myself. I’ve caught myself at dinners with my family answering emails and not being engaged or present at all. It has even gotten to the point to where I couldn’t tell you one thing they discussed because I was so checked out.  I don’t let people in easily anymore either, I feel like my job has made me very ‘hard’ in a lot of ways.  The fashion industry for me has been difficult to navigate and make genuine friendships. There always seems to be some secret agenda or judging someone on whether they’re worthy of your friendship based on Instagram followers (kid you not, I know a girl who will not be friends with anyone under 30K followers).

Don’t get me wrong, i’ve met some amazing people and made a few close friends who have been supportive since the beginning, but this is a hard industry, which to be honest I think it is just the world now.  This whole notion of only showing the “perfect” moments out there drives me a bit batty. What makes someone or a brand great to me, is rolling with the punches and getting back up every time knowing eventually you’ll get hit again. THAT is what I admire.

From the outside, my social media accounts probably portray that everything is perfect, awesome and I never have bad days. After all, that’s what we’re suppose to let people think, right?  Wrong. I have struggled tooth and nail to keep my company going and it’s not all glitz and glamour.  Any photos you see of me dressed up  took planning – A LOT OF PLANNING. When I say a lot, I mean it’s on the calendar from my manager for me to shower.  If you know me you know I live in workout clothes or jeans and a muscle tee.  I don’t love showering and I don’t go to the grocery store looking like a Cosmo Cover Girl. Homeless would be a more accurate description.  It’s bad enough that every time I leave my building dressed up my doorman does a double take and says he didn’t recognize me, “So fancy.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love to play dress up every now and then, but by no means am I prancing around town gussied up 24/7.  It’s just not my personality and thats fine. The point is, I don’t show you my homelessness on social Only on SnapChat! 🙂 You can see how pretty my skin issues and I are on there, all followers welcome (@Blaine_Bowen)!

So remember, all the companies and people you see on social are going through normal things, because we are all normal people.  Some share their stories and some don’t.  For me, I love it when someone gives me a glimpse into who they are and what is going on in their life. Hardships make them, make all of us, real people and I like that.  We all have problems being thrown at us on a daily basis. I became compelled to write this post after my experience at Swim Fashion Week last weekend. An event that ultimately led me to doing some major soul searching and really made me think what I want out of life and for my company.

The gist:  I was asked by a major swimwear designer to design the jewelry for her runway show during Swim Fashion Week…needless to say…I was beyond honored and completely stoked. This was my Super Bowl. I began working on this project about mid-April.  I spent a majority of my work week for 2 months creating 150+ designs for the runway for 21 models. My manager was working away facilitating the relationship and design requests from the swimwear designer and then creating my linesheets, doing our photography etc.

Since we signed on in April, the designer changed her mind on what look she was going for several times. We went from creating a collection of boho-chic, to dismantling those pieces to create a 1920s Art Deco collection. Fast forward a couple of weeks, to an email telling us the ideas had completely changed, again. What I had been working on for months, was now garbage and I had to regroup and start again. Truth be told I was getting frustrated, but remained grateful for the opportunity and still really excited. You can imagine as a small company it’s challenging and very costly to purchase materials for a specific look and then have it change a month later. In the end, I created a collection that balanced both what the designer wanted and what Blaine Bowen represents. Sadly, I had to cancel going to a childhood friend’s Bachelorette party to go to the show. Again, disappointing, but at the end of the day you make a lot sacrifices for work, anyone with a job does. However, when you own a company, you seem to miss out on a lot more because it’s a 24/7 gig.

End of June came and I submitted my photos of my designs a week before the show for review and was told the designer, “Loved them.”  PHEW! Great! We’re in the homestretch and it’s 12 hours before my flight leaves, I, on a whim, decide to email and see how the fittings went. Result: They ask me to design more necklaces and make new earrings to go with the existing collection. Naturally, my response, “OH GREAT! YEA SURE! NO PROBLEM!” Inside I was panicking, “What the f***?”and, “How am I going to do this?” Step one, no sleep. Step two, suck it up and get to work. I managed to get it all done and I was really pleased with the pieces.  One is actually the pretty necklace from the header photo in this post and I’m obsessed with it.

My manager, Katie, and I arrived in Miami, anxiously awaiting the events ahead. We had a great dinner together and discussed our photoshoot for the next day. We were so enthralled with excitement and planning, we hardly noticed it was midnight, we’d finished a bottle of wine and had to be up in six hours. We were like little kids on Christmas. Sunday mornings arrives quickly and we rise with the sun at 5:30 a.m. to make it in time for a golden hour photoshoot. We shoot for about 2 hours then head to the Wynnwood Walls.  Here’s a major learning lesson for anyone in fashion who goes off and takes photos: DO YOUR RESEARCH ON WHERE YOU’RE GOING. Our Uber dropped us off at Wynnwood and without a single thought we hop out, only to realize we are being screamed at by a man whose anger only increased with each scream. We take two seconds to look around and realize we are not in a good area for two young girls to be alone. I felt stupid because I’m responsible for my team, and here I’ve put us in a bad situation.  The man is much larger than us, (not to be offensive-just being realistic), there is no way he wasn’t under the influence of something. That something was bad and he was aggressive. He was getting more and more upset with us for ignoring him and started banging on a trash can in anger that we wont give him money for breakfast.  All of a sudden, a man in his car almost slams on his breaks in the middle of the street (cars behind him, kid you not) rolls down his window and yells to us “Girls, you need to watch where your walking!” and looks at us like we are the dumbest people alive.  Immediately, we knew being there was a bad idea.  It’s very clear by our company on the street that we are out of place. We know it and they know it.  We were drawing too much attention to ourselves simply by how we were dressed and with the equipment we were carrying.  Thankfully we get another Uber to get us and head back to the hotel.  The point is working in fashion, you’re always looking for the coolest locations to shoot. Just because a location looks perfect online, doesn’t mean its a safe place for you to be.  That was a reality check for me and i’ll never go on location again without researching the area.  I don’t scare easily, but I will tell you this, we got lucky to get out of the area we were in with the amount of trouble we were given.  All I could think in the car was, “I’M SUCH AN IDIOT! And I put us a risk for a PHOTO!” BEYOND. STUPID. NEVER AGAIN.

Back at the hotel, we took some much needed R&R before our big night ahead.  Katie and I go to a great dinner and have a blast together, our nerves going, knots in our stomachs, excitement and fear all at once.  As a jewelry designer, no matter how confident you are, you have doubts.  I kept having nightmares something would break and fall off.  It’s natural.  Arriving at the show, we could already tell things are a bit chaotic.  We checked in and I noticed that there are some really young volunteers wearing a lot of my pieces I made for the show.  I mention the jewelry to them and they have no idea who made it, but they were given it to wear.  To me, this was unexpected, weird and not what I signed on for.  I assumed they must have had a lot left over, so I didn’t give it another thought.

As the jewelry designer for the show we were guaranteed backstage access before the show. I wanted to make sure the jewelry was going to go on properly because I made a few pieces that needed some explanation and designer specific adjusting.  I specifically asked if they needed help with some of the trickier earrings and bracelets. I was assured they had everything under control.  Well, this is just the beginning of them not having it under control.

As the jewelry designer for the show we were also guaranteed prime seating in order to get photos of the jewelry. Not the case. We were taken to seats and told we can choose any seat in the very back row.  Whoa, whoa, what? I wasn’t able to get my photos from there, let alone even see the jewels. Side note as to why this was a big deal: To get photos through Getty Images you can get charged as much as $1,000 for rights to an image. Needless to say we got in touch with our contact and all was thankfully made right. My nerves peak as the lights dim and the music starts.

The first girl makes her way down the runway, my eyes scanning the models entire body for my designs. Nothing. Next model walks out, scan again. Nothing, and again, scan, search, nothing. (Might I add, that while no jewelry was on one model, she rocked her hair tie all the way down that cat walk…). A few girls eventually came down with a ring on here and there, and one cuff design. They looked great, but nothing too special for all the work I did and the look I thought they were going for, but c’est la vie, it was there.  I see a hex nut bracelet on maybe three models and they’re being worn wrong and not in a flattering way. I was not surprised.  I suck it up and wait for the rest. I kept holding my breath, heart beating out of my chest and waited for the next look. The most amazing look of the night for me comes down. The model rocked an awesome ear cuff I made, with a fringe cuff and ring. My heart was bursting through my chest with excitement. Unfortunately, that would be the moment it all changed and went uphill from there – after-all we were only on about the ninth model to come down of 21, and each would have 2-3 looks each. Little did I know, that would be my big entrance and grand finale.

One of my favorite models ever, Rocky Barnes, strutted down the runway and I am on the edge of my seat dying to see what pieces are on her. Heartbreak ensues, she didn’t have a single piece of jewelry on her. NOT. A. THING.  Next came Joy Corrigan, another favorite of mine, I saw something shiny in her hand from the distance and my face turned bright red with excitement, because she was wearing something I designed.  As she got closer I couldn’t figure out what piece she had on, it wasn’t familiar to me at all. Wait for it…Wait for it…it’s mine, but it’s not mine.  This is the beginning of the end for me.

What do I mean, ‘Mine but not mine’ you ask?  Here’s what I mean: The swimwear designer and her team ripped my designs apart to use my materials to make their own makeshift designs What Joy was carrying, was a bunch of loose chain in her hand that had been torn from one of my necklace designs. I felt my heart rapidly beating barley able to keep count between beats. I could hardly breath as my eyes welled up.  I am not an emotional person. I’m sarcastic, strong and rarely let anyone see me upset. But this… this was absolutely devastating.  It was gut-wrenching but, I had to hold it together in front of Katie and everyone else.

The next look came, another design I didn’t recognize. Again it was a bunch of ripped up chain from another necklace I made that they have knotted around the models wrist.  Can I say, “KO, GAME OVER, DEFEATED, UNCLE, MERCY RULE, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT. I’M CRUSHED. TAP ME OUT, I’M DONE.”  That was only the beginning of “customized, [sloppy] looks.” I could barely watch the rest of the show. I hardly remember certain looks and moments because I was so focused on keeping myself composed.

“Just don’t cry. Not here, not now. Breathe, just breathe”.

The models round out their final walk and I am utterly defeated, and I can tell Katie is too.  We’d been looking forward to this moment for months and put insane amount of work into this project. I had turned down other projects that could have been great, lucrative opportunities, but I didn’t want to spread us too thin. What I didn’t know was that God was going to give me a ray of light in the storm.

I headed toward backstage to pick up the jewelry and head back to the hotel, when I ran into model, Kyra Santoro.  I had the pleasure of meeting Kyra earlier this year in LA at a Coachella event and I cannot rave enough about what a great soul she is.  She has the brightest light and gives any and everyone the time of day – she is truly a kind human being.  We made eye contact and I’m legit shocked she even recognizes me.  We talked and exchanged numbers. For a split second she took my mind off the horror that just occurred. Reconnecting with her brought me back to center and see that you have to look for the gems in the dirt. For that night, Kyra was my gem. We said our goodbyes and I continued to backstage.

We’re stopped by a power hungry security guard, who wouldn’t let us back.  She asks a tall man who I am and he legit looks at me with disgust, flings his hand towards me like he’s shooing a dog and yells to this entire group of people, “Ummm Hello! Does anyone know this girl!? Who is she?! Who is this girl!? I mean who are you?! Why are you here?!” His tone was so demeaning, I thought I was going to burst into tears again out of sheer humiliation. All eyes were on me.  A smaller woman to his left looks at me, rolls her eyes and says, “Sweetie…who are you and what do you want?” with a condescending tone and snarky glare. I explained I designed the jewelry and I was supposed to pick it up so I could leave.  She automatically bursts into her clearly kinder and more fake personality screaming, with each syllable elongated, “Oh My God! Blaine Bowen!” She just so happened to be the swimwear designer’s assistant.

After publicly debating whether it would be okay to let me back there or not, we are allowed back. I felt like a sweater in her closet from last season being decided upon whether to keep or throw out. Remember, it was in our contract that we were allowed backstage and there was an agreement for me to pick up the jewelry immediately following the show.  We calmly ask out of curiosity if there was a problem with the jewelry and that’s why it wasn’t really used/altered.  I mean heck, as a designer I want honest feedback because I want to grow and learn. She came back with a snippy response that the swimwear designer wanted ‘dainty’ and I didn’t perform to her expectations.  Flashback to emails and mood boards from months ago. Nowhere throughout the creative process and in the inspiration photos or requests was the word ‘dainty.’  DAINTY is MY THING!  I LOVE DAINTY!  If she’d asked for ‘dainty’ I could’ve done the line in my sleep.  Not to mention, we had emails from their team less than 48 hours before where they all said they, “loved” the line and asked me to design more.  I hold my breath, smile and we let her know that is not what we were told, but basically apologize for the disappointment.  Katie, in the mean time, asks Regina George (aka designers assistant) about the mass amount of safety pin earrings they had me make the night before I left, and asks if something happened since weren’t used and were specifically requested last minute.  Again Regina, in her uber bitch mode now, says they weren’t functional, a design error, and wouldn’t ‘lay right’ (again, remember when I mentioned earlier how I asked them multiple times if I could show them how to put them on, and they brushed me off like a bad date? You guessed it, they were putting them on wrong). Katie asked if they were putting them on from behind the lobe only to be given an answer she already knew, “Well no, but I think the show was still really nice,” and rolls her eyes. Well, Regina, that is what I like to call ‘user error’, not design error, especially when I offered my assistance and it was declined.

Just when I think my night can’t get any worse, I’m approached by different people in all directions who want to talk about it. One being my PR Agency, I appreciated their concern but I didn’t want to be pressed to talk about it. I was still trying to keep the wells in my eyes from becoming actual tears. After all, I was really disappointed and put so much work, time and money into this and it all blew up in my face. So of course I’m sad, I’m beyond sad. I’m catastrophically, epically disappointed and crushed. My Super Bowl of fashion and I lost the big game. They kept pressing me to talk, as I moved away with each word spoken into a dark corner. I begged,  “Can we not do this now,? It’s not the time or the place.” Now it’s a full court press from everyone…I burst into tears.

DAMNIT BLAINE. DAMNIT. DAMNIT.

As they talked about things, I couldn’t get a word out (I’m actually in the middle of writing my mom an email who is in Ireland six hours ahead and I know she’ll be awake soon to talk me through things and make me feel better. She worked in high role in fashion for years and was the head buyer for all of Macy’s and would travel to international fashion weeks, etc.  Basically, she was a boss and I strive to be just as successful as she was).  My hands shook and I cried as they tried to talk to me. Low and behold I get another kick in my metaphorical balls. My sweet little iPhone6 tumbled out of my shaking hands, hit the ground and the screen shattered. Shattered in every sense of the word, it looked like Charlotte wove her web across the screen.  My poor manager Katie is staring at me in disbelief like I’m  a stray dog in the middle of the road she wants to rescue.  At this point, I needed rescuing. Thankfully I’d moved far away from the backstage madness to a secluded dark area under some empty production tents, so only Katie and my publicist witnessed the mess that I was.

Katie packed up the jewelry that was used, noting items that she saw on the runway are missing.  At the same time remembering all the volunteers who were wearing a majority of my jewelry. We hunt them down to politely ask for the jewelry to pack up.  With the wildest look of disbelief, the teeny bopper looks me dead in the eye and says, “I don’t get to keep this? I was told I get to keep this.” Whoa whoa whoa Hannah Montana, pump the brakes! About to channel Britney with her Umbrella circa 2007, I slow my roll, grit my teeth, smile and say, “I’m so sorry, no. Thank you.”  She pulls the jewelry off, shrugging in disgust, as if I’ve just told her Santa isn’t real and plops the jewels back in my hands.

We went up to the hotel room that had all the unused swim looks, other unused products: nail polish line, Sunglasses, spray tan line, etc. Everyone’s products in one chaotic room.  We find the area where our jewelry is laid, and as Katie and I started to pack, we realized, it’s almost all damaged and ripped apart.  All my designs had been turned and chopped into bent silver and chain soup. They had literally butchered my collection.

At the time it felt like the final nail had been placed on my coffin.  Katie and I packed up quickly and jetted back to our hotel in painful silence.  Disappointment, anger, sadness you name the emotion, it was oozing from our pores.  We part ways at the hotel only to meet again three hours later at 4:30 a.m. to leave for the airport.  Clearly, neither of us had slept but were still hoping to wake from the nightmare.  I spent my few hours balling to my fiancé via FaceTime and took photos of the damaged jewelry to forward to the designer’s team.

We landed in Dallas to an email telling us that we should be ‘okay’ with the damages, because a few of our items were used and the ones that were altered have great photos on Getty Images site.  I am floored.  Why do photos make what she did to the jewelry okay?  Most of the jewelry, except for the one stellar look, weren’t my designs, they were ripped creations by their team with my materials.  It was implied that I could use those photos anyways, which I rejected and said it would be a lie and they weren’t mine.  MIND BLOWN…MY. MIND. BEYOND. BLOWN.  The designer expressed her apologies but, still thought it was okay to alter the jewelry because she wanted to represent as much of ‘Blaine Bowen’ on the runway as possible.  To my point and frustration, ripping apart my designs and creating your own IS NOT representing me.

My mind couldn’t even operate the first two days I was home.  I didn’t want to talk about jewelry, think about it or even see it. More so the anxiety and epic disappointment that this big time designer cut up and destroyed my designs.  I felt like a failure. I talked it out with friends and family, and realized that I didn’t need to give this situation anymore of my energy.  I needed to buck up and move on.  We started back to work on Wednesday and are back to our usual happy routine, a little bit stronger and whole lot wiser.

So if you’ve taken the time to read my post today, first thank you, but my point to everyone in talking about this is that nothing is perfect. We all have our own shit.  You just have to grind through it. No matter how perfect things look online, we all have problems and you can’t expect everything to be glamorous and a breeze just because it looks that way for someone else. We’re companies and brands, of course we aren’t going to broadcast the bad, we are trying to inspire our followers! However, being the face of my brand I wanted to get really real with everyone and let you in.  I want you all to feel like you know me and can relate to me.  That’s what I want my whole brand to be about.  A lot of my followers are aspiring business owners for many industries, so I think I would be doing you all (and myself) a disservice by pretending like getting to where I’m at has been easy and without speed bumps and some major cliffs.  I wanted to share this to prove that you just have to keep grinding through bad times, and know that eventually good times are ahead, along with some more bad.  That’s just life.  I want to inspire you all to grind and not give up or listen to haters, you define where your future takes you.  After-all I was faced with an entire backstage of haters who couldn’t look at me like a was a bigger nobody.  All I have to say to them is, thank you.  Because I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I was last week. I’m not going to let this experience define who I am as a designer or a person. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Clearly, I’m not perfect, my company isn’t perfect and it never will be.  The end game is that I love what I do, I work hard and look out for my employees to the best of my ability and try to have as much fun in this life as possible along the way. Regardless of a little airbrush here and there, because let’s face it, none of you want to see social photos of me promoting my jewelry with my hormonal acne breakouts and my Melasma. So sometimes I need a little help, but I will never pretend like thats what I look like all the time or that it happens without warning. My life isn’t all traveling, friends, and events. Most of the time i’ll avoid a fashion event like the plague unless Katie forces me to go.  At the end of the day, I do what I love and I work really hard to be a great designer not only for myself, but for you, my customers. I stress over social media posts for you guys, because your feedback lets me know I’m designing something you all like as well.

So the next time you look at an Instagram and think someone has the perfect life and things must be so easy….just think of me and a few of my stories and know that we’re all going through it.  If you take anything from this post, I want you to walk away with the notion that no matter how much things seem to be going to shit, know that its okay to have crap going on, just KEEP GOING.  Keep being you and keep your head up, you’ll get there.

Check out these empowering women who embody everything I respect in a human being.  From their work ethic, honesty, fearlessness and dedication to their whit, creativity, brains and loyalty,thankfully, I’m so blessed to call them all friends, and you all should get to know them if you don’t already!

Lauren McHenry- Founder of City Surf Fitness

Kiersten Rich- The Blonde Abroad 

Kate McLamb- The Core Collective

Jordan Jones- Founder of Packed Party 

Caley Yavorsky (Caley Alyssa)- Radius Fitness Trainer, Yogini, Holistic Health Coach 

Lynsey Eaton- Tomboy KC

Thais Moses- Rio Ritz Boutique

xx

BB

National Ice Cream Day

Life has been a total whirlwind at BB Headquarters. Between preparing for Miami Swim Week and designing the Fall 2015 collections, we’ve barely had a chance to sit down and smell the roses…. or rather eat the sweet sweet ice cream. So today, from Miami Beach, we are celebrating this amazing opportunity to partner with Indah Clothing in their show tonight. How? With ice cream, obviously. We’ll be taking a quick break from snapping photos and decking models out in jewels to grab a treat at our favorite little place, The Frieze. The best part is, we don’t even feel bad for indulging because it’s made from all natural ingredients with no artificial ingredients, additives, or preservatives. In that case, we’ll have another scoop please!

nemo

If you can’t be out by the beach enjoying a sprinkle-covered scoop, then make your own at home! We promise it’s much easier than you think. With our busy schedules, we don’t have time for churnin’, but with this simple recipe, you can have homemade ice cream in no time. And don’t just think you’ll have one bite, this ice cream didn’t last too long in our office. Here are the recipes that keep us screaming for ice cream:

Sea Salt, Honey + Dark Chocolate ChunkNo Churn Ice Cream 5 Ways | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

(courtesy of Half Baked Harvest)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 14 oz (1 can) sweetened condenses milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Directions

Add cream, milk, vanilla, honey and salt to a bowl and mix. Whip until stiff peaks form. Stir in the chocolate. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze 4 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

In our office, we have a severe nut allergy, a gluten intolerance and a lactose intolerance… so our snacks usually consist of apples and sunflower seed butter rather than peanut butter crackers. That being said, we have to give a shoutout to all of our allergen friends out there with this gluten-free, dairy-free delicious ice cream recipe.

Chocolate Dairy-Free (Gluten-free, nut free) Ice Cream

chocOlate dairy-free ice cream

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum, for thickening
  • 1.5 vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Add cocoa powder and half of the almond milk to a saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add remaining almond milk and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally, then remove from heat about 2-3 minutes after. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add egg yolks and whisk until they lighten in color. Slowly add in the sugar while whisking vigorously. The mixture will become thick and have a ribboning effect. 
  3. Scoop 1/3 of the almond/cocoa mixture and whisk to combine. Add until completely combined. 
  4. Stir in xanthan gum. 
  5. Stir in vanilla extract
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours until completely cooled. 

(You can also have fun with this recipe by mixing in any of your favorite GF, Nut Free and Dairy Free toppings before refrigerating!)

Now our sweet tooth is calling, so we’re off to The Frieze! Happy National Ice Cream Day!

XO

Jet Setting + Other Travel Essentials

Now that we’ve hit 99 degrees in Dallas, it’s safe to say summer is officially in full swing and we’re ready to hop on the plane to our next destination. Where to, you ask? We’ve been dying to tell you! Tomorrow the BB team will be heading to Miami Beach for Swim Week. It has taken months of planning, designing, late nights and coffee runs, but we’ve teamed up with Indah Clothing to design an exclusive line to accompany their swimwear down the runway. We’re so excited, and we just can’t hide it! As we start packing our bags, we’re sharing with you our travel essentials and some of Blaine’s favorite travel destinations. Where will you go next?


BB’s Travel Must-Haves
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Crochet-trim bikini, Sunglasses, Tan Towel, Sun Bum, Vita Coco, Hat, iPad, Eight Hundred Grapes book, Baby Lips, Suitcase, Laundry bag, Passport cover, Sandals, BB Palm tank, BB Coconutty bracelet, BB Island Hopper bracelet, BB Chandi anklet, External battery charger


Blaine’s Top 5 Travel Destinations

travel collage

(From left, clockwise)

  1. If you want incredible views and an intense workout, head up to Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, UT
  2. The lifeguard stands are a must in Miami Beach, FL.
  3. Meet some majestic birds while practicing the art of falconry at Dromoland Castle in Ireland.
  4. Swim the seas that surround Blaine’s first home, Cat Island, Bahamas.
  5. Flâner (French for stroll) around Paris and enjoy all The Lourve has to offer.

Need more travel tips and inspo? Check out our favorite travel blogger and good friend, The Blonde Abroad! Here are just a few of our favorite articles from her blog:

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Tips for traveling with jewelry

20 Trips to take in your 20’s

Patriotic Links We’re Loving

Happy 4th of July!

We hope you’re currently enjoying the fresh air, fabulous food and our freedom. Here are links we’re loving today and everyday that show just how wonderful our country is. 

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1. Soldiers Coming Home

2. Great Fireworks Displays in DFW

3. California Couple Turns Lawn into Patriotic Art

4. Adopt a Retired MWD