Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Year Later

I'm not sure if anyone will read this, but I needed to get the occurrences of that day out of my head and onto paper computer screen.  This only documents what happened to me.  The rest of my family had to witness this first hand.  I'm not sure I would have been as strong as them.  

Note: I've always loved to write, but I can assure you that the below isn't gramatically correct  or error-free. It's basically me doing a brain dump.  Feel free to stop reading at any point, this is free therapy for me.

May 16, 2011

“MANDI!!!” *thump thump thump* “MANDI!!!”

I was dreaming, I had to be. My dogs bark at everything. It was impossible that someone was really outside my house yelling my name…Cooper and Charlie would have been barking their little heads off by now.

I was obviously delirious from excitement. I was set to formally accept my new position at DSW

by phone that morning. I had learned only two days earlier that I got the job,  and my parents were ecstatic that I was going to be closer to home. Yep, I was dreaming.  I closed my eyes to go back to sleep.

….but there it was again.

This time the shouting was louder, and I could hear the distinct sound of fists beating on my door. My first thought was that I had missed my call (it didn’t cross my mind how strange it was that anyone would know this information, much less be beating down my door about it.) I decided it was probably a good idea to head downstairs to see what the fuss was about. I opened the door to find my good friends Chris, Stephanie, and Corey at the door.

“Have you talked to your Mom?”
“No, what’s wrong?”
“Just go call her.”

I ran back up to my room and grabbed my phone. 17 missed calls. This isn’t good.

My thoughts immediately went to my Grandpa Derrow. We'd been at a hospital in Columbus a few weeks prior because he'd had a heart attack scare. Or maybe it was one of my Grandma's.  I began to worry. .

I called my Mom, while my friends waited in the hall outside my bedroom. When she answered, I immediately knew something was terribly wrong. I’d seen her cry before, but this was much different.  Whatever had happened was so bad that I could actually feel her sadness through the phone. We were a 3 and a half hour car ride away from each other, and I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach before she even got a word out.

“What’s wrong?”
“It’s your Dad. Something happened. It’s bad.”

Wait, did she say it was my Dad? I had just seen him 4 days earlier and he was perfectly fine. Whatever had happened, I was sure he’d been through worse and was going to be ok. I bet he fell and hurt his leg or something.

“What happened? He’s gonna be ok, right?”
“He…he didn’t make it, baby.”

After I heard those words, Mandi was gone. I don’t know who or what took over my body, but I was definitely no longer present.  I remember my Mom saying my Aunt and Uncle were going to pick me up, and I just kept saying “I’m so sorry.”

My friends hugged me and cried with me. They let me talk to them and spew out whatever nonsense I was saying.  My dog Cooper never left my lap (it’s so crazy how dogs just know when there is something wrong.)  After a few minutes, I composed myself and thanked them for being with me when I got the news.  Being alone would have been horrible, and I couldn't have asked for 3 more supportive people to be surrounding me.  They headed back to work, and I went to email DSW to tell them that I couldn’t make the call because my Dad had suddenly passed away.

As I typed those words, I knew they weren’t true. They weren’t…my Dad was fine and was going to live until he was 1000 years old, because he was my Dad and that’s the way it was supposed to be.

I pushed send and headed upstairs. Mandi was definitely still gone, and I had to go pack for a funeral.

My Dad’s funeral.

The last pic I had of him...8 days before he passed
I was clearly in full-blown shock mode. I don’t know how I managed to put together several complete outfits:
1. If you know me well, you know my clothes aren’t normally in the neatest state.
Note: I did make one critical error: I only packed one black pump. This was later resolved by wearing a pair of my Mom’s shoes and stuffing socks into the toes.

Chris, Linda, Michael and Brandon (my family from Columbus) soon arrived to haul me, the pups and my clothes to Wellston. Linda drove my car halfway home and Chris took over for the last leg of the trip. We talked and laughed. Mandi was still nowhere to be found.

It wasn’t until we pulled up in front of my house, which I had just seen my dad in the Thursday before, that I realized what was about to happen.

“I don’t want to go in. I can’t go in.”

I knew that as soon as I stepped through that door, my life was going to be different.

My Grandma Border was the first person to grab me and that’s when reality set in. Next I went through a line of hugs with my Mom, brother, Kiley, aunts and uncles, and cousins.  I put my head on my Grandma Derrow’s lap and screamed and cried. There were a lot of friends of family also in the room, but I didn’t care. I was having a level 5 meltdown. 

The Aftermath

Flowers from the funeral home.
The outpouring of love my family received over the next week was truly astonishing. My house was never empty, we never lacked for food. The funeral home (which looked absolutely beautiful thanks to Tom and Sharon McWIlliams) had a line out the door for 8 straight hours during the viewing. My Dad’s funeral was held in our (very packed) high school gymnasium. ESPN filmed the funeral.

All of this cemented what I already knew…my Dad was undoubtedly the greatest, most-selfless man I had ever known.  

One year later… 

…I miss his laughter and lightheartedness.
…I want to watch a Browns game with him.
…I want to see him stomp that foot on the court as he coaches the Rockets one last time.
…I want to wake up on a Sunday morning and hear him blaring Bon Jovi…or Lady Gaga…or Young Jeezy. His music was on point.
…I want to watch him play with our dogs.
...I want to go get ice cream with him, Mom, and Bradon and ride around the lake.
…I want to stare at the stars on a clear Summer night and point out constellations (and be totally wrong about what they are.)
…I want us to get in trouble in church because my Mom is embarrassed that we are drawing pictures on the Sunday bulletin (sorry Mom…and God.)
...I want to hear him say "Sooooookie" during one of my Mom and I's True Blood marathons. ...I want to hear him say "...and now, at point guard, KINGSLEY DERRRRRRROOOWWW". (He always wanted to name my brother Kingsley).
…I want him to know how proud I am to call him my Dad.
…I want him to know that I completely realize how lucky I am that I was able to have him in my life for 29 wonderful years. He and my Mom are just about as close to perfect parents as I could get. 

…I want him to know that not a day goes by that I don’t miss his smile.

A year later…I cry every single day.  

Random Thoughts

I want to say a special thank you to everyone who has been by my side during and after this awful time. I wouldn’t have made it without you. All of my Cleveland friends, new Columbus friends, and old friends from high school and're all wonderful...I'm so blessed to have you in my life.
To Mam & Pap B/Mam & Pap D & the rest of my fam: This was especially hard on all of you (understatement of a lifetime).  I am so lucky to have you and love you all so much.

To Brant: You remind me more and more of Dad every single day.  He is SO proud of you.  I love you!

To my Mom: You are the strongest person I’ve ever met. I had to watch you bury the love of your life on the 40th anniversary of the day you met.  You handled this with grace and I can't get over how amazing you are. You are the most special person in the world. Love you.  

To my Dad: I will continue to talk to you everyday.  I know things happen for a reason.  You lived each day to serve others and set an excellent example for the rest of us. I love you forever and will see you soon.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

A non-businessy/photoish update

Where the heck have I been these past few months, you ask? Very busy at my full-time job and with Mandizzle! I've also been having fun outside of work...I will tell the story quickly and through photos...and I PROMISE - from now on, I will be blogging more!

September 19 - Browns Home Opener
My Dad surprised my Mom and I with season tickets for the Brownies this year after skipping last year. No pics, and the Browns lost...but still exciting! (No pics, sorrrrry)

September 24 - Mega 80's
My friends and I once again visited the Cleveland House of Blues to see our favorite 80's cover band. It's basically the most fun you can have in 2 hours for $15.

My gals Kate & Steph and me. Notice the sweet Dizzles.

Our shoes. I'm obvi wearing the pink Chuck T's.

October 3 - Browns vs. Bengals

So fun...Browns first win of the 2010 season and any excuse for my parents to drive up and visit me makes me happy! As a bonus, my Grandma and nephew visited me as well. Yay!

Pregame photo shoot

Mom, Dad and I excited after the win!

Three of my favorite boys - Coop, Charlie, and Bradon taking a snooze at my house

October 9 - First visit to a bar in my 'hood
So I live in Tremont. For those of you not familiar with Cleveland, Tremont is located about 3 minutes from downtown Cleveland and is a really cool, little, artsy neighborhood. There are so many great restaurants and bars...and I'd never gone to a bar even though they are all 2 minutes (on foot) away from my house. My poor brother had to put up with me and his lovely girlfriend Kiley while we had a few delicious drinks at The Treehouse. A church-step photo shoot took place after...needless to say, it was fun.
A tiny piece of our church photo shoot

October 10 - Browns vs. Falcons

Let's rewind really quickly. When Kiley, Brant and I got home from the bar, Ki and I started Dizzling our Browns shirts up for the game. We were up until 4am and had rhinestones and glue stuck all over our fingers. I still have a sparkly floor and am proud to say that my seat at Browns Stadium and the backseat of my Mom's car have also been Dizzled.

Brant and meee before the game. Love my bro!
Check the sweet rhinestones!

Our fam after the game

October 14 - New ride!
FINALLY, I purchased my first new car ever. A white Honda CR-V. After a month, it's still love. :)

No, this isn't my ACTUAL car...I don't have a cool white backdrop which would fit a crossover SUV

My cousin, Kimmi and nephew, Bradon enjoying the car

October 16 - Ohio University Homecoming

I visited my college Alma mater for the first time in 5 years...and I definitely had fun. I apparently reenacted the scene from The Notebook when Rach and Ryan laid down in the middle of the brick road. Normal.

Me & Kiley at the beginning of the night (and this is the only pic that will be posted)

October 23 - The HUNT
My Dad holds a yearly fundraiser which involves a scavenger hunt in the small town I grew up in . It's such a blast and I was on a team with my brother, cousin Andy, and 2 of their friends. The night ended with me in a haunted Southern Ohio forest followed by 4am McDonald's breakfast. Again, normal. (...and again, no pics.)

October 29 - Halloween

A couple of my friends and I debated on what we should be for Halloween. We had a list of everything from 3 Lady Gagas to the JoBros. We landed on "Girls of the Decades" which ended up being a Go Go Dancer (me), a Pink Lady (my friend Meghan), and Sookie from True Blood (a girl of the future? My friend Ellen).

Me (biggest hair EVER), Ellen, & Meghan

The 2 lone "Girls of the Decades"

November 7 - Browns vs. Patriots
Not to quote the WWE, but the Browns totes laid the smack down on Tom Brady and his boys and it was amazing. (No pics)

Coming up: More Browns games and LOTS of fun new Mandizzles to soon be unveiled. Thanks for looking and listening!

Talk to you all soon!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mandizzle is Two!

The Mandizzle Shop turns two today! A big THANK YOU to all of my friends, family, supporters...and of course, my awesome customers!

As a gift to you, take 20% off your entire purchase this week at Please enter the promotion code "TWO" in the notes to seller box when checking out.

Hurry! Ends Saturday, October 9!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rope Me In!

The Ropey was one of the first pieces I created. It's so chic, functional and versatile that it has become a customer favorite.

So, what would I wear with the ropey? Just about anything...but right now I'm really feeling this look for end of summer/early fall.

Laura Lace Dress - Delia's

Winnie Boot (I need these) - Coconuts via DSW

Richelle - Zoya via eNail Supply

Have a great Wednesday!


Monday, August 16, 2010


Ok, I lied. I did not write a dedicated Bachelor Pad post last week (nor the week before) and I'm technically not going to tonight. I do have a few questions:
  • What exactly is this show? What is the point? Ok, I don't care...I'm still going to watch, but if I was expecting more (say, I was a stranger to the show), I would just turn the crap off immediately.
  • Why are they having romantic competitions and there is a girl with a boyfriend there? Oh yeah, to make it more scandalous. (By the time this blog went into production, Gia had already been sent home. So that answers that.)
  • Why is that Elizabeth girl (though beautiful) so crazy?
  • Why is Wes still singing the same song three years later?
  • Why is Melissa Rycroft only on camera about 10 minutes per show (I love her)?
  • Finally, why don't I just write bulletpoints...I really want to. I'm refusing (at least for now).
  • Wait, really quick - Ok, must week looks like it's going to be pretty, pretty good

To divert my attention away from giving in and writing bulletpoints, I'm going to do something I never a recent haul from Ulta. I haven't totally spoiled myself in months, so I went a little crazy at Ulta last week.

I went in with my Buyers Rewards certificate, which was worth like $10. I spent a little more than that. Rundown of what I got...

Nail Polish:

  • Seche Clear - Crystal Clear Base Coat
  • OPI - Meet Me On The Star Ferry (Hong Kong Collection)
  • OPI - Lucky Lucky Lavender (Hong Kong Collection)
  • OPI - William Tell Me About OPI (Swiss Collection)
  • OPI - Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous (Swiss Collection)
  • OPI - Couture Collection Mini Set (FREE Gift with $10 OPI purchase!)

I've only worn Lucky Lucky Lavender on my nails and William Tell on my toes so far. I am obsessed with Lucky Lucky. So pretty. I have been matching my outfits to it (which is not hard since it's a creamy lavenderish-pink).

Eye Colors

So I went in hoping to only buy the new Urban Decay NAKED palette and get maybe a nail polish or two. The UD palette was sold out, so I figured I could go crazy with my second favorite eye makeup brand...NYX.

  • NYX Purple Smokey Eye Palette

  • NYX Bronze Smokey Eye Palette
  • NYX Natural Eye Palette
  • NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Slate (love all of these)
  • NYX Eyeshadow Single in White
  • NYX Eyeshadow Single in Aloha

So far, I love the Purple Smokey Palette a ton. I am pretty much a spokesperson for purple shadow, though. I love everything else as well, just haven't used it as much. I use the White and Aloha singles everyday and this was probably my third or fourth time replacing them.

Other Stuff:

  • Revlon ColorStay Foundation
  • ecotools - Bamboo Bronzer Brush

  • Pink Quilted Train Case (I was going to dish out the cash for the Sephora Brand, but I think this $30 works JUST as well and keeps my stuff from being spread out all over the bathroom counter, which it has been for years.)
  • Ulta Citrus Cream Shower Gel - My free gift

AIGHT, sorry for going on and on. No one will probably read a word of this, which is fine. :)


Friday, August 6, 2010

mandizzle in the real world - Bride Casey

I got a note from Casey, a bride I worked with on a custom order a few months ago. She shared some of her beautiful gorgeous was she. Love her dress (the back is cray cray in a good way) and her hair piece wasn't too shabby either! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A little English Garden Couture

Hi! Today's Daily Dizzle is:

The English Garden Couture Collection #1

So, I have a freakishly vivid memory about most things. That's one of the things that some of my old boyfriends have definitely not enjoyed...I remember every single, solitary detail of the most minute conversation or event that happens. I'm telling you this because I remember creating this piece on a freezing night in February while watching the Cavs play (and get beat by) the Bobcats on a Friday night. I had a bridal show coming up in a few weeks, and I was not expecting to make anything like this...but I guess my basketball frustration was turning into positive creativity, because I really love this piece. I think it's just a whimsical, classic, garden-esque piece. That I love. Yes.

What could you pair the EGCC #1 up with? Here's what I think:

If you're a bride...

Ivory Silk and Chiffon Backless Dress - Holly Stalder on Etsy

Antique Vintage Inspired Chiffon Wedding Dress - bridalblissdesigns on Etsy

If you're attending a wedding or other special occassion...

Matteo Dress in in Blush - Dallin Chase via Bluefly

If you just want something pretty to wear everyday...

Loop Chain Knit Top (High probability that I will buy this top!) - Forever 21

Ankle Stretch Toothpick Jean in Smoke Wash - J. Crew

Rock Star Sandal in Gold - O'Neill

Rock Candy Nail Polish - essie via The Beauty Clutch

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Bachelorette: Ali and Roberto Edition

The Bachelorette is over. Dunzo (in my best Kristin Cavallari or Stoibs Laguna Beach voice). Finito (in my best chic from Blaque voice from that scene in Bring it On. Side note - ever notice how ridonkulous that song is by Blaque? The one with JC from *NSYNC (a side, side note - I used to be OB-SESSED with him. I mean, OBSESSED.) Anyway, he actually says "are you feelin' my Timbs', my baggy jeans, my thug appeal." Really? JC Chasez and Thug Appeal. Hmm.)
Sorry, I'm making no sense.

A couple of quick Bachy Bullet Points:
  • I know, I know. I've really been lacking with my BP's this season and it's partly due to the fact that I read the spoilers (kind of accidentally). It just takes the fun out of it. I will be back on track with Bachelor Pad. Please Believe.
  • Ali's family seems really nice and down-to-earth. I really have started to like her a lot more over the season. She is a normal chic who doesn't try too hard like most of the chics out there.
  • Ali looks nothing like any member of her family.
  • It was always pretty obvious that she was going to pick Roberto. I mean he is adorable, and if he is as nice as she claims he is...than best of luck. I'm still skeptical.
  • I think it's great that she went against the producers and let Chris go before the big finale. He seems like a nice guy and I'm sure it was a lot easier than it would have been had he been humiliated after walking up those high stairs.
  • My friend Stephanie made a comment that Ali's hair is always halfway falling out of a ponytail. It's so true. During her breakup with was halfway falling out of a ponytail. Again, I like that...makes her a lot more normal.
  • I cried. The rainbow thing made me cry.
  • Will Chris be the next Bach? I don't know. I'm sure someone does, I've been too lazy to Google.
  • Ali's finale dress was REALLY pretty.
  • Roberto sweats A LOT. I would sweat profusely too if I were in 110 degree weather (I just made that up, how do I know how hot it is in Bora Bora?) Anyway, dude is constantly sweating.
  • Cute proposal, more natural than most. Much more natural than "Monkey, will you marry me?" Bleh, gross. We all saw how long that lasted.
  • After The Final Rose - which is normally my favorite part because of the drama, really kind of sucked. Frank didn't show (not surprising), and Ali and Chris were very cordial - which I was happy about. I want to yell at Ali and Roberto and beg them not to move in together. Is it only a matter of 4 months before Ali is on tv calling Roberto a fake liar? Let's hope not. (To rewind, I can't believe I didn't bullet point about the Jake Vienna situation. That WAS AMAZEBALLS!)

Ok, finallly...this has nothing to do with our beloved Bachelorette Ali, but can we talk about how obsessed I am with some of the new OPI Swiss Collection for Fall 2010 which launched just a few days ago? Oh my gosh...truly need these colors:

Diva of Geneva


Just a little Rosti at this

Lucerne-tainly look Marvelous (MY FAV!)

Ski Teal we Drop

William Tell Me About OPI (My other FAVE)

Ok, sorry for rambling. Sorry for this whole post actually. It doesn't make much sense, but whatevs. :)


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunny Day.

Today's Daily Dizzle is the sunny.

I picked up this pretty yellow fabric a while ago, and one very late night while watching, undoubtedly, HBO on Demand, I wanted to create something really simplistic yet super cheerful. A couple of hours later after experimenting with the fabric and different colors/styles of headbands, I finally put together this pretty combination. It has definitely been a personal and customer favorite.

Check it out HERE.

Summery items I'd love to wear the sunny with:

Long Ribbed Tank in White - Forever 21
Only $3.50 and I ruin tanks like it's my J-O-B.

The Rachel BellBottom - 7 For All Mankind at

7's + Bell Bottoms + Rachel Zoe = LOVE

Paprika Cansee Shoe in Tan - ZooShoo

I need some HIGH heels if I'm going to wear those 7's...and I love camel and manmade leather.

Red and Orange Long Beaded Necklace - Feather and Bird on Etsy
A girl can never have too many lonnnng beaded necklaces.

OPI - The Thrill of Brazil

For the toes and the fingertips (even though I normally have a real problem with matching them. I'm so weird.)

Make Up For Ever Super Lip Gloss in True Red - Sephora

Because I can't wear a heavy lipstick in August. Who am I kidding, I love lipgloss.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, lovelies!