30 things before 30

30 things that shaped my 20s

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

Have a vision for your life. My dream job was to work in television. Work towards that goal everyday. Even if it feels like you are off track. JUST KEEP GOING! Everybody’s path is different. This was mine and I hope it inspires you to do everything you want to accomplish. This has been a WILD ride…. Cheers to the next 10!

  1. Being the first in my family to graduate from college - I graduated with my bachelors degree in four years. It was my goal to do it in 4 years and A LOT of blood, sweat and tears went into achieving that. Thank ya Jesus!

  2. College athletics - I cheered all four years in college. I have always loved, lived, and breathed cheerleading. Being a cheerleader in college was a whole other level. Balancing school and cheering every game for football and basketball was really challenging. It kept me really busy and dedicated. I was captain my senior year and the responsibilities grew greater. This began shaping me for the future.

  3. Live in a different city, at least once - I moved to a different city where I didn’t know anyone. I moved to Nashville after I graduated in 2012. After you graduate college, it’s a really weird time in your life. You’re starting a new chapter... and a scary one. You feel so lost and it sucks because you have to start at the bottom of the totompole and work your way up. I was in a new city trying to find a new job with no friends or family. I had so many moments where I asked myself, ‘what have you done?’ But now, I realize that was the best decision I ever made.

  4. Don’t be “too good” for anything - I landed a crappy first job in the corporate world making $24,000 a year WITH a 4 year college degree. I was going door to door, business to business, selling copiers and printers. I would call my dad at least once a week crying but he pushed me to stay in it. He always said be the hardest working in the room and you will succeed. Good thing is, you will move up quickly and you’ll be making double before you know it.

  5. Take a risk - I auditioned for an NFL cheer team without trained dance experience. I cheered in college but its very different than professional cheerleading. This was legit one of the coolest things I had ever accomplished. Over 400 girls auditioned and I was one of the 27 that made it. This was truly a pivotal moment in my life. Looking back, this is where it all changed for me.

  6. Don’t force it - Friendships, relationships, or anything in life. I found that fighting to hold on to something that is not fighting to hold on to you will ruin you. Free yourself of anything that makes you feel trapped, unappreciated, disrespected, and lonely. When you let go of toxic people, you make room for so much greatness your life.

  7. Have a roommate - Some of my funniest memories are living with my best friend in a crappy house with no internet or cable. All we had was us and legit cockroaches. We paid a lot of money to live in a good part of town but the house was caving in. It was disgusting. We were paying our own bills and we were proud of it. THIS is my favorite past time. Living with Kristen and Mariel completely changed my perspective on life. I would call mom and be like THANK YOU for doing all that you did for us. You never realize what mamas do until you have to do it. HA! This experience humbled me. Never ever forget where you came from... and for me, I’ll never forget these amazing times.

  8. Be single - This was always hard for me because I love relationships. I was single for about 1 year until I met my husband. That year was one of the most fun I’d ever had. I really grew into who I was so when I met Austin I had so much confidence in who I was. I had my own life, my own friends, and I took pride in that. I just think it takes time to discover who you are. Give yourself that time to grow so that when you do meet your significant other, you’ll be ready and it will be right.

  9. Vision Boards work and so does journaling - Make a vision board and journal daily of what you want most. Whether its a career, a partner, or spiritual. It is a journey! But I found that if you make specific goals, you will reach them much quicker than you think. Even if its as simple as reading 50 books a year, write it down.

  10. Travel to a different country OR go somewhere new - experience is key. I had the pleasure of traveling to Japan for the Super Bowl. It was really cool connecting with other NFL cheerleaders around the league. The trip was eye opening, fun, exhausting and memorable. That year I had on my vision board to travel to a different country. And it happened. Pretty cool!

  11. Have a mentor - It’s always so nice to have someone to talk to or look up to in all aspects spiritually and mentally. I had a really good community around me at the time. I looked up to my boss, coach, preachers and others who were around me. These people helped shape who I am and I’m thankful for that.

  12. Learn to let go and follow God’s path - I had to let go of people who I didn’t want to let go of... But when God is tugging at your heart you have to listen. Trust me! He knows.

  13. Be thankful - because appreciation goes along way. When you’re appreciative of what you have, you’ll end up having more. Focusing on what you don’t have will make you believe you don’t have enough.

  14. Find your person - When I met Mariel, my life changed forever. She’s my soulmate in girl form. We are connected in a way I can’t explain. When we became friends, our lives elevated at a rapid pace. Having a good community around you will make you better. If you’re lucky enough to find that person, never let them go.

  15. Give back - Even if its not money, give your time. There’s so much in every community that we can be doing. For us, helping other women was something near and dear to our heart. This is how ‘Girls Tour’ formed. This is an event for women to come and listen to other women of all walks of life speak. It’s powerful and life changing. We donate canned food and the money we raise to a local women’s shelter.

  16. Enjoy the journey - LIVE every moment and take it all in - Life is short! We’re not guaranteed tomorrow so I wanted to be able to look back on my life and really be able to say, I LIVED IT to the max. I took every opportunity that came my way and made the most of it. More than anything, the goal is to make God proud and fulfill every assignment on earth.

  17. Don’t take yourself too seriously - My motto has always been to have fun, be goofy, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Yall, we don’t make it out alive anyways.....

  18. Own who you are - Be so completely yourself that everyone else feels safe to be themselves too. There’s a confidence that comes with not being afraid to be yourself. Sure, people will hate it but there’s always going to be people who love you and hate you - and their decision has nothing to do with you.

  19. What God puts in your heart is for YOU - A lot of times, others will not understand because God didn’t put it in their hearts. When you have a dream or vision, only you know what to do with it...

  20. Be selfish - and I MEAN this. Your 20s are for YOU! You have your whole life to live it for other people.

  21. It’s okay to make mistakes - I made A LOT! I’m not afraid to admit it or say that I wish I would have done a few things differently. But one things for sure, I learned from every big and small mistake I made. I made a decision a long time ago that I would grow from every experience. Focus on your growth not your mistakes.

  22. Be fearless - DONT BE AFRAID TO FAIL - legit, just go for it because it’s better to do that then to live the rest of your life dreaming and wishing.

  23. Not everyone deserves your energy - Know what and who is worth it. What you focus on is up to you, remember that.

  24. Be a blessing to others - Mama always says leave people better then how you found them. However that may be...

  25. Do it for you - Whatever you decide to do in life, make sure it makes YOU happy. You gotta be proud of your own self. You’re the one who has to live with the decisions you make so make sure you’re making yourself proud.

  26. Don’t have a ‘type’ when dating - sometimes what we want isn’t what we need. You’ll know when you meet someone if it’s right. There wont be any doubts.

  27. Know your worth - This took me a longgggg time to figure out. But always remember that it’s not who you are that holds you back its who you think you’re not.

  28. Learn to forgive - We’re all just people. We make mistakes and hurt people without knowing. Sometimes you have to accept an apology that you never got and you’ve gotta be okay with it. I’ve had a ton of these in my life. Just forgive! ‘Blessed be the peacemaker”

  29. Perspective is key - Happiness lives inside of the smallest moments. Don’t take it for granted. Focus on the good.

  30. Life is full of ups and downs - The bad things that happen in life aren’t meant to break us, but to shape us. I love the saying that says ‘not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.’ You just never know what God is up to. What the devil meant for bad, God uses for good!


Stop shrinking to fit in places you’ve outgrown. Live, Love, Grow!


Even if the odds are stacked against you, keep going and striving. I’m just a country girl from Soddy Daisy, TN that had big dreams. I truly believe that my life has just begun and I haven’t tapped into my true potential. All you have to do is believe!

All my love,

Whit

Meditation

5 Reasons Why You Need to Begin Practicing Meditation

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Meditation has been practiced around the world for centuries and for good reason. The practice dates back to ancient taoist China where it was used to focus the mind and alleviate suffering. 

Pretty cool, right? Since then, meditation has spread across the world, gaining popularity wherever there are people who need to relax and focus. It can really do a lot for you, particularly for your mental state and productivity. Meditation can sometimes be stigmatized as weird and archaic, but it’s something that everyone could benefit from.

 

5 reasons you should start meditating right now  

1. It is great for anxiety. 

Meditation and mindfulness practices are one of the best ways to deal with anxiety. You should still seek out professional help and follow your doctor’s instructions, but if you’re looking for something to do on your own, this is as good as they come.  

Many of you may picture Mr. Miyagi telling you to “clear your mind” when thinking about meditation, but that’s not quite how it works. While it’s true that some forms of meditation do focus on clearing the mind of thoughts, mindfulness meditation, which has become the most popular for anxiety, has you picture and identify your thoughts and then let them pass.

Instead of working against your brain to force it to calm down, you merely let it do whatever it wants while identifying and examining what it’s doing. 

2. It can help you get your attention span back.

Even since the invention of the smartphone ten years ago, the average attention span has been decreasing significantly. In our digital world that’s bursting with information and rapid communication, we are getting accustomed to faster and less detailed information. This has created a firehose effect where we are bombarded with stimuli and information to the point where our brains have learned to not focus on any one thing for too long. 

Meditation is great for building your attention span back up. The act of focusing your thoughts and spending time being mindful of what’s going on in your head without any external stimuli helps retrain the mind on how to focus and relax.  

3. It can improve sleep quality. 

One of the benefits that comes with reduced stress and increased focus is an increased ability to sleep. Without anxiety and stress messing with your neurotransmitters and melatonin levels, you will find it easier to fall asleep and will be more well-rested when you wake up.

Obviously, meditation doesn’t completely remove all stress and anxiety, but it’s an effective way to substantially reduce it. Getting enough sleep is extremely important for staying calm and focused and not getting enough sleep can lead to an increase in stress and mental illness. Meditation can help you sleep more soundly. 

4. It promotes better heart health.

Stress on the body typically causes things like high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. Meditation can help you learn to control and limit these physical responses to stress, which will alleviate some of the strain they are placing on your heart.  

Deep breathing and relaxation techniques can also lower your resting heart rate which is extremely important for individuals who are in higher risk populations for things like heart attack and stroke.  

5. You can do it anywhere.

This sets meditation apart more than anything else. Unlike some other solutions, meditation can be practiced absolutely anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment or medicine; you just need your own mind and body. It’s completely free and incredibly beneficial.

Meditation is one of the most beneficial and most accessible tools for training your mind and body. It can help you control stress, improve sleep, and even improve your attention span. So grab a matt, check out a meditation podcast, and start sharpening your mind. 

The Swan Wedding

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‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." (2 Peter 3:8)  The love that was in the room on our wedding day, January 5, 2019 felt as it was going to last a thousand years. Love is timeless and pure love will last forever. Love is the glue that binds our reality and gives us strength to face the world as long as we have one another. I truly believe that the unconditional love that Paul and I have for each other is sealed and anointed from God. The Bible teaches, “1 John 4:7-8 (ESV) God Is Love.January 5th 2019 Paul and I got married at Childress Vineyards. It was the best day of my life. I truly felt God’s presence and an overwhelming amount of unconditional love that day. On that day I married my soulmate, in front of my closest friends and family, and I must say there was no better feeling.

THAT MORNING

The morning of my wedding was insane and a time I will never forget. I was so nervous and excited all the same time. I was so happy to have my family and best friends by my side that morning.

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My bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon Matron of honor, Jordan Dodson, Evony Thompson, Ashley Parker,Jocelyn Watts, Kristen Stiles, Laura Little, Courtney Little, Jessi Boseman, Morgan Abel, Tiffany Harwell, Amanda Mertz

My bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon Matron of honor, Jordan Dodson, Evony Thompson, Ashley Parker,Jocelyn Watts, Kristen Stiles, Laura Little, Courtney Little, Jessi Boseman, Morgan Abel, Tiffany Harwell, Amanda Mertz

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DETAILS

My new last name is Swan and I wanted to tie that into the theme of my wedding. The song I walked down the aisle to was 1000 years, played by Deans Duets, (cello, harp,violin trio). I wanted everything to have an enchanted feel, because after all I was morphing into a swan (haha) . I used tons of greenery and faux trees to replicate the look of a forest and stuck with rich colored jewel tones to create a warm and enchanting feel. When people walked in, I wanted them to feel as though they were in an enchanted forest.

Dean’s and Duets

Dean’s and Duets

My event planner was Coordinating Dreams and my floral designer was Dahlia’s (Trinity  photography)

My event planner was Coordinating Dreams and my floral designer was Dahlia’s (Trinity
photography)

I also used cream draping in the front, but that is the only draping I used. I wanted to keep the earthy feel of the stones and wood at the vineyard. I used wooden chairs, and tons of trees and greenery. We had cascading greenery from the sky. And used tree/branch cut outs to create more of a forest scenery.

We used greenery, tree stumps, candles, and floral bouquets down the aisle.

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Jack, Maribeth, and Paul (My Mother and Father in Law)

Jack, Maribeth, and Paul (My Mother and Father in Law)

Mother and father (Michael and Victoria lane)

Mother and father (Michael and Victoria lane)

Pete, Oma and Papa

Pete, Oma and Papa

Malachi, Granny Poo Poo, Granny Joyce)

Malachi, Granny Poo Poo, Granny Joyce)

Ashley and Pete (Brother and Sister in Law)

Ashley and Pete (Brother and Sister in Law)

My Daddy and I (Michael Lane)

My Daddy and I (Michael Lane)

The Jumping of the broom (Whit Whit got me a custom blinged out broom as a gift)

The Jumping of the broom (Whit Whit got me a custom blinged out broom as a gift)

At the end of the ceremony Paul and I jumped the broom, which is an African American tradition which symbolizes sweeping your old life away and jumping into a new life together! 

My mother and Mother in Law Victoria Lane and Maribeth Debraal

My mother and Mother in Law Victoria Lane and Maribeth Debraal

My mother wrote a poem, "Mothers' Blessings, A Thousand Years"” and she read it with Maribeth (my mother in law) by her side. Their blessings were to remind the world that both mothers and families were excited that we found each other, and both families believed in the power of love. My mom ended the poem with, “They know that true love will forever stand more than a single day and more than a thousand years."

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VENUE

We had our wedding at Childress Vineyards. Our ceremony and reception was held in the Pavilion and our cocktail hour was held in the Bistro.

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Flower Girls (Tru Harwell; Blair Boehlke ; Zaria Saleem)

Flower Girls (Tru Harwell; Blair Boehlke ; Zaria Saleem)

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Tony Haye’s the saxophone player during cocktail hour

Tony Haye’s the saxophone player during cocktail hour

Pastor Ray Wright married us

Pastor Ray Wright married us

Reception

During my Daddy/Daughter Dance

During my Daddy/Daughter Dance

During the reception I loved the look of massive candelabras with creeping greenery to give a fairy tell feel. For the reception and ceremony I had to have two massive golden swans so I took some swan sculptures I found online and Jack, my father in law spray painted them in an antique gold. Florals played a huge role in the design element of my wedding. I used a huge greenery backdrop for the fireplace during my reception, and our florist, Dhalias made the most beautiful hanging greenery piece to go above the couch near our bar. For the tables I wanted the flowers to have massive floral centerpieces mixed in with the candelabras. Faye Conlin from Coordinating Dreams took my vision and made it into a reality!

Mom and Son dance

Mom and Son dance

During Pete (The Best Man) and Whitney’s MOH and Best Man (speeches) haha they needed each other for emotional support they were so nervous. They did an awesome job!

During Pete (The Best Man) and Whitney’s MOH and Best Man (speeches) haha they needed each other for emotional support they were so nervous. They did an awesome job!

My Daddy’s Speech

My Daddy’s Speech

My Mother in Laws Speech

My Mother in Laws Speech

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Stephanie Finely Cake design

Stephanie Finely Cake design

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Signature drink- The Ticket Bomb  Bartender- Jimmy The Bartender

Signature drink- The Ticket Bomb

Bartender- Jimmy The Bartender

Family

Family

Squad Photo( Whit, AD,Paul, Me)

Squad Photo( Whit, AD,Paul, Me)

Heather Smith Live Painter

Heather Smith Live Painter

AD and Paul hitting the Swan

AD and Paul hitting the Swan

Christian and Paul

Christian and Paul

Jordan,Uncle Ronnie,Dallas, and Aunt Anne

Jordan,Uncle Ronnie,Dallas, and Aunt Anne

The cutting of the cake

The cutting of the cake

Bri and D (Briana Lise and Dallas Dodson my little cousin) played a selection during the reception, Dj a minor behind them

Bri and D (Briana Lise and Dallas Dodson my little cousin) played a selection during the reception, Dj a minor behind them

The TN Titan Cheerleader Alumni ( Jocy, Kristen,Evony,Jen Hill, AP, Stormi, Evony, Tandra, Julia, Heather, Chasity, Stephanie, Tiffany)

The TN Titan Cheerleader Alumni ( Jocy, Kristen,Evony,Jen Hill, AP, Stormi, Evony, Tandra, Julia, Heather, Chasity, Stephanie, Tiffany)

Wedding Party  Groomsmen: Pete Swan- Best Man; Austin Dillon; Malachi Lane- Brother of the bride; Christian Piazza; Alex Kellerman; Tyler beck; Alex Bayer; Derek Doudna; Logan “dopey” Zagrodnik ; Derrell Edwards  Ring bearer: Brady Scheier  Ushers: Matt Schilz; Trevor Marks  Bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon- Matron of honor; Jordan Dodson; Evony Thompson; Ashley Parker; Jocelyn Watts; Kristen Stiles; Laura Little; Courtney Little; Jessi Boseman; Morgan Abel; Tiffany Harwell: Amanda Mertz  Flower Girls: Tru Harwell: Blair Lynn Boehlke; Zaria Ryann Saleem; Nyla Iman Saleem

Wedding Party

Groomsmen: Pete Swan- Best Man; Austin Dillon; Malachi Lane- Brother of the bride; Christian Piazza; Alex Kellerman; Tyler beck; Alex Bayer; Derek Doudna; Logan “dopey” Zagrodnik ; Derrell Edwards

Ring bearer: Brady Scheier

Ushers: Matt Schilz; Trevor Marks

Bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon- Matron of honor; Jordan Dodson; Evony Thompson; Ashley Parker; Jocelyn Watts; Kristen Stiles; Laura Little; Courtney Little; Jessi Boseman; Morgan Abel; Tiffany Harwell: Amanda Mertz

Flower Girls: Tru Harwell: Blair Lynn Boehlke; Zaria Ryann Saleem; Nyla Iman Saleem

Huge Thank you to everyone who came and all of my vendors listed below. This was the best day of my life and you all were a huge part of that!

Photography- Trinity Photography

Transportation- Camel City Carriage

Wedding Venue- Childress Vineyard 

Wedding Gown- RK Bridal 

Event Planning- Coordinating Dreams 

Videography: Jonathan Ford

Hair- Kendra Currie

Make up- Bree Early & Mc Call Gaulding

Floral Design- Dahlias

Dj- Dj A minor 

Cello/Harp/Violin Trio- Dean’s Duets

Duet- Bri and D

Saxophone- Tony Hayes

Bridal Robe- LeLaurier

Barbers- Josh Leonard,Tim Parker, Chris Breezy ( Washington Park)

Equipment Rental- Party Reflections 

Tuxedo- Stitched

Linens- Hauser Rental

 Cake- Stephanie Finley

Live Artist- Heather Smith 

Bartender- Jimmy The Bartender

Meats- Jack Arnold

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Cheers to us: YEAR ONE

One year down… Forever to go

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Today is DECEMBER 9th. Exactly one year ago I said ‘I do’ to my baby boo AD. I didn’t know what to get him so here is a gift from the heart.

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Life is crazy and time flies. Y’all, it’s been a whole year since we got married! Where does the time go?

In the past year, our beautiful niece was born. We won the Daytona 500 and began filming Racing Wives with CMT.

In honor of our one year, I made AD do a photoshoot in the desert so shoutout to the best husband but also shoutout to the best wife because now I have to go hunting. LOL.

Photography by: @kygirlphoto

Photography by: @kygirlphoto

We found out real quick that a happy marriage involves doing things that makes the other one happiest. I don’t like the quote happy wife, happy life. We’re a team. I like to think its happy couple, happy life.

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Marriage is the most beautiful thing in the world but it isn’t easy. It’s something you have to work at constantly. At the end of the day, were a team. If I fall short, so does he and vice versa. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

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HAPPY ONE YEAR to my world! You challenge me. You drive me crazy and you always make me better. Your drive and ambition is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Your heart is pure and you genuinely love me so hard. I love you with every ounce of my being! I can’t wait to see where God takes us next.

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We know that marriage isn’t always skittles and rainbows but perfection is boring. It’s about what we overcome that makes life worthwhile. We struggle, we win, we lose, we conquer, we fail, but throughout it all, we overcome. You are my angel and I love you more than life.

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Like I always say, it’s about the person who will be sitting on the front porch with you at 90 years old thinking you’re the best decision they ever made.

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Cheers to the next 50! LETS DO THIS THANG!

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All my love,

Whit Whit

Wedding Dress Shopping in NYC

Mariel said YES to the dress

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In the blink of an eye I felt like I was engaged and here Whit and I were again, in New York, searching for the perfect dress. I must say God continues to amaze me more and more with this entire wedding planning process.

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Everything about our trip to New York was amazing. I had my mom (Victoria Lane), my future mom (Maribeth De' Braal), and of course my bff (Whitney Dillon) right by my side to find the dress I will wear on one of the biggest days of my life.

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After going through the process once before with my bff, Whit and I felt like we were NY pros, on finding the perfect dress. I used all the tips Whit suggested and we learned even more going the second time around.

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Wedding Tips      

1. Have a game plan! Make sure you schedule appointments with your favorite stores, boutiques and designers. Know their policies and what time they a lot appointments.

2. Research before hand your favorite types of dresses so you have an idea before you start trying on. There’s so many different types of dresses so it can be overwhelming if you haven’t done any research on the type of dress you like. 

3. Take in every moment of the experience. Bond with the people around you and focus on all the love surrounding you. Don’t stress yourself out over the things you can’t control. 

6. Whitney couldn't have stressed this more.. Don't Tell! Once you've found your dream gown, delete the evidence off your phone. Don't give any details so everyone can be surprised. The dress is a statement and you can't make one if everyone knows. The style, material, brand, and price is 100% confidential. 

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The best part of searching for my wedding gown was the process of sharing it with the people closest to me, and seeing the looks on their faces. It gave me, my mom, my future mom, and maid of honor a chance to bond on a deeper level.

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I know for a fact after this weekend we are all closer. Its important that you, your maid of honor,  mom and mother in law create a bond because you will all work very closely together in helping you prepare for your big day. After this weekend I felt an overwhelming feeling of blessed to have so much love around me.

Good luck to all my brides searching for the perfect gown!

Cheers,

The Future Mrs. Swan

My Best Friend's Wedding

The wedding first hand

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December 9, 2017 was one of the most amazing moments in my life. It was insane to see my best friends, Whitney, and AD, become one.

Weddings are so much bigger than many of us realize. It’s an oath you take before God. It’s a chance for us humans to get a glimpse of the love God has for us, through the love we are supposed to have for our spouses, which is unconditional.

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Unconditional love is the love that God has for us no matter what. His love remains patient, and kind. It does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.

Love Never Fails. (1 Corinthians 3:4-8)

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Being Whit Whit’s Maid of Honor was so much more than just standing next to her in a sparkly dress. I could see my best friend enter a different chapter in her life. To witness how far she’s come spiritually, and to see her dreams unfold into reality was one of the proudest moments of my life.

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Aside from this wedding being one of the most beautiful events I had ever attended, you could FEEL THE LOVE all around you. The room was filled with love everywhere you turned, and with people who were truly excited for the union of her and AD.

Austin and Whit are a true testament that real love does exist. Real love is worth waiting for. It may seem difficult during the time, but when you wait on who God has in store for you, it is incredible. It leaves you speechless.

Marriage is a God union, which means only God can orchestrate a successful marriage, where you experience the abundance that He has to offer you in your life. Something I thought that was so beautiful, was before Whit and AD got married, her biggest request was for him to get baptized. He did a couple of days before the wedding and it was such a beautiful and emotional moment. Their relationship is so much bigger than what is seen on pictures and on social media, it is a God union.

I asked Whit when she came back from her honeymoon, “Did she feel different?” Her response was, “Absolutely.” She felt in her soul that she was a brand-new person, and that a new person was born, Whitney Dillon. How awesome is that! And I got to witness it, right by her side. I am forever grateful. Congratulations Austin and Whitney Dillon! I love you two more than you will ever know.

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XoXo – Mariel , love you bunches!

Austin and Whitney Dillon's Wedding: The Details

Details, Details, Details....

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Theme

We chose Childress Vineyards as our venue. It is one of the prettiest venues in North Carolina. The theme of our wedding was rustic glam. My colors were rose gold, gold, and a hint of blush. Everything I chose was very classic - white flowers, gold bridesmaid dresses, and a white wedding cake. I didn't want to look back in 10 years and say, "what was I thinking?"

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Tables and Chairs

We had all sorts of tables. Farmhouse tables, round tables, and cocktail tables. Each of them had different table cloths to create dimension. I'm in love with our gold chiavari chairs. I really think they brought everything together.

The warmth of the room was unreal. A lot of times white tents look 'cold' but our team did an amazing job to keep it warm. Quick tip for brides choosing white tents - We didn't chose 'crisp white' for our tent. We went with ivory for the ceiling and blush for the sides. 

Childress Vineyards / Lexington, North Carolina 

Childress Vineyards / Lexington, North Carolina 

Venue

God smiled on December 9, 2017. He blessed that day with every desire of mine and Austin's heart. Literally, everything we wanted came to pass.

It doesn't snow much in North Carolina and I can't believe we had a winter wonderland for our big day! Austin originally wanted to get married in Montana for the snow so I was thrilled when he got the one thing he wanted most for our magical day.

Reggie's Flowers / Lexington, North Carolina

Reggie's Flowers / Lexington, North Carolina

Flowers

My bridesmaids bouquets were classic, elegant, and glamorous. I chose different variations of white flowers. Reggie's Flowers in Lexington, North Carolina came through with the flowers. They did such an amazing job.

The flowers were one of my favorite things of my wedding. Some people skip on the flowers for the price but they made the venue come to life. I suggest skipping on other areas.

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Also, I met with Reggie's Flowers for 15 minutes. I told him what I wanted and he brought it to life.  The biggest advice I could give any bride is let the experts do their job!!! They do this for a living, not us. I showed him some pictures and said make it glamorous. 

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Some tables had tall center pieces, others had small vases. The groomsmen and bridesmaids table had a massive row of greenery down the center with white flowers. 

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Now, let's talk about my bouquet.....

The Bouquet

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I'm so obsessed with my bouquet holder. I found this company on instagram and fell in love with her work. There are certain things that are next level and this is one of them. It put that extra touch on the bouquet. 

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I love anything extra so obviously I wanted the biggest bouquet Reggie could possibly make. It weighed 15 pounds. YES, I said 15 pounds. Shout out to my maid of honor for having to hold it the entire ceremony. You the real MVP!

I could sit and stare at these photos for hours and hours. Thank you Reggie's Flowers and his staff for making all my dreams come true. You killed it! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

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Maxie B's / Greensboro, North Carolina

Maxie B's / Greensboro, North Carolina

The Cake

Maxie B's made our beautiful wedding cake. We had a lot of different flavors but our main flavor was Fun Fetti. The other flavors were strawberry, chocolate, lemonade, pumpkin spice, and oreo.  I wanted it all white, as tall as they could make it, with flowers hanging off of it. Reggie's did the flower and added a touch of bling. Again, the details are unreal. 

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Chandeliers

For my chandeliers, I chose to have an assortment of different sizes. I had the largest size over the dance floor and smaller ones around the parameter. 

We added drop lighting to certain things we wanted to highlight in the room. You can see where there is a spot light on the cake. 

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Flower Wall

I wanted to highlight our flower wall. This has been a trend thats been going on for several years. When Kim and Kanye did it I was obsessed and knew I wanted one for our wedding. I wanted to mix it up and do something a little different than the usual flower wall. We added greenery with massive flowers, white roses, peonies, and smaller white flowers. Again, it gives dimension. This was our backdrop for photo ops.

Red Carpet

We also had a red carpet with a backdrop that had our logo. Austin had this idea to incorporate a red carpet. We have so much fun in Vegas for the awards banquet and wanted to bring it to our wedding. We never had the chance to get a picture by it but it was a really cool touch.

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Bar Signs

My wedding planner, Ashley Hartman, made our bar signs. She is so talented and I couldn't have done any of this without her. 

A huge hit of our wedding was Jimmy the bartender. He is the best mixologist I've ever seen and made the freshest, most delicious drinks ever imaginable. 

I think it's a cute touch when you name your own drinks. For the ladies, the 'Feeling Whitney' was the biggest hit of the night.

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The Ceremony

Childress Vineyards has a pavilion so we used it for our ceremony. We draped the entire pavilion with ivory and the front had blush draping. We had tons of chandeliers and gold chiavari chairs.  

It felt so Heavenly. I truly felt like a princess getting married. It was just so magical and beautiful. The drapes almost looked like beautiful clouds hanging over us. It was perfect.

The flower petals, vases, and candles were also done by the winery! Their little touches made everything so complete.

Videography

Heartstone Films did an amazing job with our video. We don't have the full version but here is a sneak peak - CLICK HERE

Photography

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Kristin Byrum and her hubby Aaron did an amazing job on our photos. They also did our engagement pictures. We loved them from the start and they made us feel so comfortable. They are some of the best photographers around and we highly recommend them.

Stay tuned for more to come this week.

Cheers,

Mrs. Whitney Dillon

Engagement Photos

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Austin Dillon

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I think it really hits you when you get your engagement photos back... WE'RE GETTING MARRIED! We had so much fun shooting our engagement photos at Middleton Place Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina. I've always been a huge fan of 'The Notebook' so I wanted to shoot at one of the plantations. Here are a few of my favorite photos...

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Charleston is incredibly romantic. I have to give AD props for shooting the day after his Darlington race which he placed 4th! YAYUH. He's not big into photos but he was a champ. 

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Sometimes you have to get creative with outfits. I envisioned a romantic, bohemian style, white lace gown. I couldn't find what I was looking for so I made my own. This was a short white dress with long sleeves. I found it on clearance for $30 so I bought three of them and sewed it into a long gown. It ended up being around $90.00. Score!!

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I wanted the theme to be bohemian. I'm in love with the look of boho brides. Effortless, timeless, and dreamy.

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I have to give a big shout out to our incredible wedding photographers, Kristin and Aaron with Kristin Byrum Photography. I searched through tons of NC wedding photographers and their photos stuck out the most. They make you feel so comfortable right off the bat and they love Jesus. 

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I can't wait to marry this man! I love you. I love you. I love you. 

XO

The Future Mrs. Whitney Ward Dillon

AD's FIRST Cup Win

Sunday, May 28th at 12:30AM, Austin won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He passed the #48 car with two laps to go. Jimmie Johnson ran out of gas! The #78 was catching Austin quickly with new tires and the #18 was right behind him. The tension was heavy. Anything could happen at this point. I was shaking and tears were pouring down my face as I watched Austin cross the finish line. HE DID IT! It has been 17 years since the #3 car was in Victory Lane. This is LEGENDARY and I’m so grateful to have experience this moment with my future husband.

This is the greatest day in racing because three prestigious races happen throughout the day. The race in Monaco, Indy 500, and the Coca-Cola 600 to wrap up the day. The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the year and is known as one of the crown jewels of racing. 

Austin's Dad, Mike Dillon, Pop Pop Richard Childress, Whitney, Austin, and mom Tina Dillon

Austin's Dad, Mike Dillon, Pop Pop Richard Childress, Whitney, Austin, and mom Tina Dillon

I’ve had a lot of you ask what I was doing and where I was when he won. Our bus driver came running in to get me and said, “LETS GO.” The TV is delayed so I didn’t know he had won but Dkyman was listening to him on the radio and radio is present time. I literally stood there in complete shock, and said, “ARE WE GONNA WIN?” and Dkyman died laughing and said, “WE ALREADY WON, LETS GO.”

Austin's crew celebrating the victory

Austin's crew celebrating the victory

Victory Lane was UNREAL. My best friend, the monster girls, RCR, ECR, Austin’s family, my brother, Denny Hamlin and the RCR drivers all came to celebrate. The only thing missing was my parents and they were dying they couldn’t make it.

Whit's brother Jackson Ward with future brother in law Austin Dillon

Whit's brother Jackson Ward with future brother in law Austin Dillon

The party didn’t stop there either. We finally got home at 5:00AM and EVERYONE was waiting at our house to continue the celebration. People were pouring in with love and support for Austin and his crew. We didn’t call one person to come over and I think thats how you know you’re loved. Almost every person from victory lane beat us home to celebrate. We didn’t sleep at all!

One of the coolest parts was Austin’s epic burnout in his gold camaro. If you haven’t seen it, WATCH THIS! 

When I tell you, I felt like all my dreams had come to pass, everything felt complete. My fiancee, Austin Dillon, is the hardest working man I know. He’s the toughest and he’s a fighter. It’s hard to watch the man you love come home empty handed week after week. This year has been the hardest. We’ve had the worse luck with broken parts, bad race cars, and sheer bad luck.

I always did my best to stay positive and pour confidence into Austin. Austin’s support system is unreal. His parents, family, friends, and fans always keep him motivated. However, during the tough times, God is always trying to show us something. There’s always a lesson to be learned, you just have to allow God to work in you. After all, God’s way is always better than our own. 

If I could give any kind of advice it would be to always be thankful during the hard times because God is shaping you for the good. God cares more about your character and bringing you home to Heaven than any materialistic thing He could bless you with on earth. Lastly, remember to praise God during the bad. On the worst days, fall to your knees and thank Him. We serve a GOOD God and a very intentional God. 

Every week I write a bible scripture in his race car along with a little note. I started this tradition in 2016. I love blessing his race car with God’s word. I believe with all my heart that it keeps Austin safe. 

This week’s scripture was Proverbs 3:4-5 “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” I also wrote a little motivation which read, ‘When you keep God first place, He will take you places you’ve never imagined.' Also, 'GiiC' stands for God is in Control.

This win is a testimony of God’s hand! Every little detail about this race goes back to God. He gets all the Glory. Thank You Jesus!

Lastly, we’re so grateful and humbled by all the love and support. Every single text, comment, message, and like has not gone unnoticed. We’ve tried to reply to all of you but if I missed you here is your thank you. WE LOVE YOU GUYS! 

Cheers to 2017! Our wedding year and Austin’s first cup win!!!!!

XO

Whit + Austin 

Toasting to the big win right after the race

Toasting to the big win right after the race

Accepting his champions ring and watch from track owner, Marcus Smith

Accepting his champions ring and watch from track owner, Marcus Smith

Your Coca-Cola 600 Winner, Mr. Austin Dillon!!!!

FITNESS

Faith Driven Fitness

Fitness has always been a huge part of our lives! We've always been on a cheer or dance team which calls for extensive training. We were professional cheerleaders for 4 years so we've had the pleasure of working with the best of the best.

We never went without working out, running, or taking classes but our downfall was our obsession with being thin over healthy. So we thought, fitness is and has always been a huge part of lives, why not share our journey and invite you all to go on one with us.

We knew we wanted to add the fitness portion to our blog when we launched it, but we wanted to get into REAL shape first. We wanted to be strong, not just thin. We wanted to be able to eat and not feel guilty. More than anything, we wanted to be transparent and do it the right way - not starving, or depriving ourselves from anything. 

We're finally ready to introduce to you - Faith Driven Fitness!!!

Our fitness regimen starts with God. It starts by fueling the right things, cleaning out the bad, and restoring what's right. First, you're going to need a devotional! We suggest Joel Osteen's 'Everyday a Friday.' We choose this one because it's an easy read and it's inspirational. Every devotional is about a page long and it'll help keep you on track.

You've gotta start your day with God! This clears your mind and sets your day up for greatness. Our lives get so chaotic when we skip this step. It feels like everything we do is in vain if we don't keep God first. Everything about our lives just feels 'off.' It's really amazing how when you truly seek the kingdom first, God has a way of aligning the rest of your life in your favor. 
Don't just listen to us, try it for yourself.

Fitness Components:

1. Devotional: This is the #1 component to our Faith Driven Fitness. Find a devotional that will influence you, drive you, and inspire you. If you need suggestions, here's the ones we really love. Joel Osteen's: Everyday A Friday and the Breakout Book Journal. Beth Moore's Hope devotional. Lastly, Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk. Anything will work. 

2. Journal: The second most important thing is a journal. Don't skip this step! When you write down your goals, your hopes, and your dreams, they become your reality. Write down what God's doing in your life. Write down the blessings he's bestowed. Talk to God about your devotionals you do every morning. Also, record what you eat so you can look back and see what works and what doesn't work.

3. Your bestie: The third most important component is finding a person who will do it with you. Find someone who you can confide in and push to become better. There will be days you have zero inspiration, but your bff will be there to get you through it. Everyone needs someone!

We want you to take this journey with us! It only takes one person to inspire someone. If you begin, you will inspire someone else and they will inspire others. Before you know it, there will be a flood of people diving into Faith Driven Fitness! 

"The greatest legacy is not what we leave for people, it's what we leave IN people."

Who's with us? 

XO
Whit + Mariel

Winter X Games

Winter X Games 2017

Mariel Lane and Whitney Ward 

Mariel Lane and Whitney Ward 

Monster Energy Girls with boss Kelly Louch

Monster Energy Girls with boss Kelly Louch

We were beyond excited when we were given the opportunity to work the Winter X- Games this year with Monster Energy in Aspen, Colorado. We want to give a HUGE thank you to our bosses Kelly Louch, the director of the Modeling program, Anayansi Ramirez, and Monster Energy for turning this dream into a reality. 

Celebrating its 15th year in Aspen we got to work one of the biggest X-Treme sport's events of the year. The nationally televised event showcased not only over 200 of the worlds most amazing athletes but musical showcases of our favorite artists! 

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XO

Whit + Mariel 

Johnathan Kayne Spring 2017

Johnathan Kayne Spring 2017

Photography by: Bo Timmons / @bosphotonc / www.bosphotography.com

Photography by: Bo Timmons / @bosphotonc / www.bosphotography.com

Hair by: @prettyinmemphishair

Hair by: @prettyinmemphishair

outfits BY: JOHNATHAN KAYNE / @JOHNATHANKAYNE / WWW.JOHNATHANKAYNE.COM

outfits BY: JOHNATHAN KAYNE / @JOHNATHANKAYNE / WWW.JOHNATHANKAYNE.COM

What’s better than celebrating Christmas with your bestie + Johnathan Kayne? We collaborated with JK and his team to bring to you his Spring 2017 Collection. 

Everyday we will be posting a new blog on new dresses. We are SO excited to show off all of his amazing designs. You guys are going to LOVE them! Check back everyday for a chance to see them first. 

We’re especially obsessing over what we like to call his 'nude collection.' Mariel looks effortless in his wide-sleeve nude dress and Whit rocked the fun pants suit. Either of these designs could be worn to Prom, Homecoming, or a special night. Whichever fits your personality, Johnathan Kayne has it all. 

XO,

Whit + Mariel 

Business Spotlight: Extension Specialist

Pretty in Memphis Hair

Our Business Spotlight goes to the ambitious Ashley Jennings. I get asked all the time where I get my hair and where I get it done. Ashley from Pretty In Memphis Hair is my go to for hair. I have been working with her since my cheer days. Her hair is reliable, colors perfectly, and holds curls for days. Not only does she sell hair all over the US, for all of my ladies in Memphis, and the surrounding area, she is one heck of a stylist as well.

When I reached out to Ashley about her brand I wanted a chance for people to get to know her. Not only is her hair amazing, but so is her soul.


What made you start selling hair?

I have to thank my clients for talking me into starting the online boutique. My client's loved my hair and would always ask questions about it, so I decided to open the online store for them.

I knew I wanted to accommodate them further but I was afraid to carry on hand because of all the dangerous things I had heard about people being robbed and even being killed. Once I launched the site, I only set a goal of selling about 7 bundles a week. That was a bundle a day, but the site did extremely well. My clients and other people who had followed my social media account showed tons of support and we ended up selling to 15 different states within our first month of business.

Where to buy Pretty in Memphis Hair?

Although she does not have a public location just yet, their online boutique ships out all over the US! With the holiday season, Christmas is right around the corner. She has tons of promotions and sales and even a giveaway planned. So be sure to follow all of the social media accounts listed below and be on the lookout! Her website is www.prettyinmemphis.com.

What do you want your clients to know?

I want people to know that although my brand was started specifically to accommodate my client's needs, it has grown far more than expected and I'm so grateful of everyone who's ever supported my small business.

How to contact Ashley?

Contact Ashley personally through her customer service email. FaqPrettyInMemphisHair@Gmail.com

Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrettyInMemphis or on Instagram @PrettyinMemphisHair

XO

Whit + Mariel

NASCAR Awards Banquet

Red Carpet Details

Photo by Harold Hinson

Photo by Harold Hinson

NASCAR goes to Vegas to celebrate the top 16 drivers. The top 16 are in the chase and compete for a championship. This year was Austin's first year and experiencing it together was really special. Mariel went on behalf of Monster Energy so having her there made it even better.

I have to brag on AD for his custom suit. He definitely wins the award for swaggiest suit game.

My gown is designed by one of my favorite designers, Michael Costello. Working with him and his team was a dream come true.

Mariel helped me style my look from top to bottom. At the last minute, we decided to throw the leapord clutch in for a little boom boom pow. 

Hair by Ashley with Miguel Julio Beauty/MUA by @makeupbymyia

Hair by Ashley with Miguel Julio Beauty/MUA by @makeupbymyia

Photo by Harold Hinson

Photo by Harold Hinson

Mariel wanted to go for a Golden Globes look. She got a chance to work with her favorite designer, Johnathan Kayne. We both adore Johnathan and can't wait to collaborate with him. Stay tuned!!

Mariel's Details:

Hair: @PrettyinMemphisHair

Styled: @haircandy_byanna

Make up: @makeupbymyia

 

XO

Whit + Mariel 

Street Style

Easy, Sexy, and a Little Bossy

This has been our go-to look. It's super easy, sexy and a little bossy. Mariel is the glamour girl and Whit is the sporty chick with a slight edge.

Here's a couple ways to be both. Personally, we like to call it "Whit's jam" or glam it up Mariel's way!

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Mariel's Outfit

  1. Booties - Charlotte Russe
  2. Suede pants - Forever 21
  3. Sweater - Forever 21
  4. Hat - H&M

Whit's Outfit

  1. Moto Booties - BCBG 
  2. Black Pants - Express
  3. White High Low Top - H&M
  4. Leather Jacket - Windsor Store
  5. Leopard clutch - Forever 21 
  6. Scarf - Forever 21
  7. Hat - Bebe 
PHOTOGRAPHY: BO TIMMONS / @BOSPHOTONC / BOSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

PHOTOGRAPHY: BO TIMMONS / @BOSPHOTONC / BOSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

XO

Whit + Mariel

How to rock Clueless for Halloween

Grab your bestie! Here's how to emulate the ultimate duo of all time, Cher and Dionne. It's been over 20 years since Clueless hit theaters, and we STILL can't get enough of it. Totally iconic! 

Check out how we rocked the plaid ensemble.

Cher Horowitz's yellow plaid outfit

  1. Plaid Skirt, Top, Jacket (comes with white socks) - Walmart, $69.99
  2. '90s Cell Phone - Amazon, $5
  3. White Girly Shoes - Charlotte Russe, $15
  4. Furry Backback - Forever 21, $19
  5. Hair - Curled under
  6. Makeup - Barely any with clear lips

Dionne's Black Plaid outfit

  1. Plaid Top, shirt, skirt (comes with socks) - Walmart, $69.99
  2. '90s cell phone - Amazon, $5
  3. Nose Ring - Claire's - $2
  4. Braided Wig - Beauty Store - $99
  5. Black furry backpack - Forever 21, $24
  6. Black Hat - TJ Maxx - $10
  7. Red Flower - Michaels - $5
  8. White Poster Board - Michaels - $1
  9. Black Girly Shoes - Halloween Store, $20

Dionne's Famous Hat - Buy a black hat, cut poster board 10" high and tape the sides together. Set the poster board on top of the hat and add red flower.