DESIGNER TUX BY EVA DIXON Jess’s custom, Rat Pack-inspired suit was created by Eva Dixon, designer of I DO Designs by Eva and owner of Once Upon a Bride and Groom. Dixon has over 17 years of experience in bridal wear and has been sewing and designing since she was a child. She offers a full-service experience encompassing everything from bridal gowns and accessories to suit rentals. Dixon’s professional achievements are even more remarkable, given that she has recently overcome some serious obstacles—she spent months in the hospital last year recovering from an intestinal blockage, then went on to suffer a heart attack and stroke resulting from post-surgery complications. She hasn’t let health issues slow her down though, Dixon is incredibly dedicated to her clients, going so far as to bring her sewing machine to the hospital to have fittings with brides. “You end up on the ground and you come up swinging,” she says. This determination is also evident in her commitment to ensure that every bride (or groom) looks and feels their best on their special day. As a designer, Dixon works closely with each bride to understand her vi- sion of her special day. Every bride has unique needs, whether petite, tall, plus size or even those dealing with concerns caused by medical issues. Dixon enjoys working to create gowns that will make each bride feel fabulous on her big day. As an experienced industry professional, Dixon has a wealth of knowledge. She educates brides on the frequently complex process of selecting and purchasing a wedding gown. Her #1 piece of advice? Start early. Dixon is happy to help brides simplify the planning process by offering exceptional service, from one- on-one appointments to in-home fittings and delivery, to ensure that every bride truly feels like a princess on her special day. Branas and I were among the 100 women chosen to be featured in Dr. Shellie Hipsky’s Common Threads trilogy that shares success secrets of empowering women. After reading about her, I knew I wanted to meet her. In March 2016, I had my opportunity at Dr. Shellie’s Inspiring Lives Mastermind in Pittsburgh, Pa. It was a day packed full of powerful women speak- ing about their lives, goals, and missions. When Bra- nas was about to take the stage, I noticed she radiated joy, confidence, and enthusiasm. As she spoke, her passion for helping women was infectious. Her vibe, contagious. Branas actually “Jess taught me to love teaches one of her who you are and be strong, secrets to having such an inviting no matter the situation.” presence in her —Leesa Miscevich Kassler first relationship book, Seeking Her, Knowing You. Part of her attracting energy is that when she speaks to someone, she is absolutely focused on them 100%. In the fall of 2016, Branas released her second best-seller, Zero to Ninety. It goes through the first 90 days of dating and building a strong foundation in that important time. Not one to sit down and say “that’s good enough,” Branas is far from done sharing her ex- periences. She is ready to tackle a third book and has many more goals for 2017. “I think a documentary about dating and relation- ships is next,” she said excitedly. “It would be a really cool project. It’s such a big topic to tackle.” Over the past year, I actually applied her relation- ship advice with my boyfriend of four years. The lessons resonate with anyone who wants to do better in life and love if you’re willing to listen. Branas said, “At the end of the day, on the inside, we all have the same organs. The dif- ferences, the rest is just in our head. We all go through similar experiences.” It’s also important to note, Branas lives what she teaches. At the Inspiring Lives Magazine launch last fall, she was a stand-out star in the room—and not just on the dance floor! That evening, I noticed that she could start a conversation with anyone and ended up exchanging phone numbers, posing for photos, and making new connections every single time.