Breakthrough Or On The Verge Of A Breakdown?

Each day was better than the last, or at least it seemed that way to me. Settling into my new place helped me feel more ‘normal’ and I soon found myself in need of a routine. I had decided now that I had a home I was going to throw myself into work. The only hic up there was I needed to figure out what that work was going to be. I hadn’t had the functionality the last couple months to reconnect with all of my Los Angeles contacts; I knew that was just going to lead to questions that I didn’t want to answer. “How are you? What are you doing back in LA? How was your wedding?”   You can see where this is going and it was a rabbit hole I avoided as much as possible. A week or two after moving into my new place I was asked to go to Hawaii with friends and had zero reason to turn it down, it wasn’t like I was busy. I loved the ocean and for someone living in California I had spent a surprisingly small amount of time in Hawaii. My husband had lived there at one point and had given me advice on places to visit and activates to do while on the trip (yes, we texted semi-often and I had told him about the trip). Yes, this was nice of him to give me these pointers but it also made me want to smack him. Two years prior he had given me trip to Hawaii for my birthday, a trip we never took. Though he managed to take a trip to Hawaii in the past two years, it just wasn’t with me. I could only assume his tourist advice was solid because the photos of he and Katy swimming with dolphins, paddle boarding, having romantic dinners, that she had posted on social media, all looked very fun! Basically I could only assume he took her on my birthday trip, what an asshole!

My friends and I arrived and settled into the house, which had this great infinity pool facing the ocean. After unpacking I sat at the edge of the pool to watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset. Maybe it was the jet lag or the mai-tai’s but I suddenly started to cry… again. This time it was an uncontrollable cry, heaving shoulders, snot running down my face type of cry.   I know what you are thinking and yes, it was very attractive! That day I sat on the edge of the world and just let it all out let and when I was done I felt 100 pounds lighter. I slept like a baby that night and woke up the next morning knowing that everything was going to be ok.   No doubt I have cried since then, heck I think I cried last week while I was writing, but not like that. That was the last time I let myself really cry over him.

While I was away enjoying paradise I got an email from my best friend, he had suddenly become seriously ill. He was like me and rarely asked for help so the fact he knew I was traveling and was asking for help assured me it was serious. I did not only fear for his life but I realized the company we had built together had began to suffer as well. He needed to focus on his health and being the type of friend I am, and some may say pushy broad, I had no problem telling him just that. He and I were as close as two friends could be. We met judging a pageant over ten years prior,  years before I even thought of moving to Los Angeles. He was one of the reason I pushed my first husband to move to California. We had worked together for years (I had ran his talent agency when I first moved to LA), he stood up for me at my wedding, we had traveled the world together- it was safe to say we had a long history of love and friendship.   When he needed me, I didn’t hesitate for a second and I know he would have done the same.

Our company, no his company, wasn’t your typical business, but the business of beauty. He was the owner of the Miss California USA, Miss New York USA and Miss New Hampshire USA franchise and at this point the girls were a month away from competing at the national competition, Miss USA. Needless to say there was a lot to be done and not a lot of time. We had started the business together in 2005, then it was just the state of California, and I had departed the company in a full-time capacity in 2007 to focus on fashion. Though I hadn’t worked for the company full-time in years I knew exactly what needed to be done. I had been the first national title holder to be given a directorship and having been Miss Teen USA myself I understood exactly what the girls were going through. Before even leaving the islands I was on the phone with the employees, legal team, accounting team, public relations team, etc. Informing everyone that I was headed back to LA and would be taking over, all matters needed to be directed to me moving forward, I wanted him to be able to fully focus on his health and know that I had everything under control.   I was once again the Co-Executive director of Miss California USA, Miss California Teen USA, along with the respective titles in New York and New Hampshire. The Devil Wears Prada was a favorite movie among my friends and I; they soon began calling me Miranda (in reference to Meryl Streep’s’ wicked character). I wasn’t quite that bitchy but I didn’t mind the reference, there was a lot to be done in a short amount of time and I was in no mood for bullshit from anyone. I thought keeping myself busy was a genius idea. I soon figured out that those around me were happy that I was working but watched me a bit like a ticking time bomb, just waiting for a the full breakdown. I was soon balancing, therapy, my new home, a new staff and three beauty queens.   I of course thought this was no big deal!

When he and I applied for the franchise license so many years ago we wanted to change the face of pageantry, make it new and fresh!  In a lot of ways we did, he did.  Over a hundred other people had applied for this position and we were thrilled, yet shocked, they picked us. I was not your typical pageant girl but I saw the tremendous opportunities that came from competing in the Miss Universe system- at any level. Being Miss Teen USA honestly changed my life and I wanted to pass that along to other young women. I wanted to make a difference for these girls, and let’s be real, I wanted to make some money. If you are setting out in the world to make money take this advice; do not become a pageant director. The beauty pageant business is a lot fun, a lot of hard work and can be very inspiring but all of those awful stories that are forever tattooed on the world of pageants are true on some level.  Something inspired them and I the moment I started working in office again I was quickly reminded of that!

Though it wasn’t my dream job, per say, I loved it on some level and working made me feel alive. I was in a much better head space when I was working each day. It gave me confidence, purpose, and most of all a reason to get out of bed each morning. I was not used to feeling like I had no purpose in life and no motivation. That had been one of the hardest things about the last couple of months. I had moved out of the house I shared with my husband months ago, so in my mind, as irrational as it was, I felt I should be moving forward at a much quicker pace. The whole grey cloud I was living in made no sense to me and it was extremely frustrating.   It all just made me angry. I was finally starting to get mad and I was being told it was a good thing- I was not so sure.

Not only was the team and I preparing our titleholders for Miss USA, my husband and I were in therapy, a lot of it. I realize that may sound crazy and I am sure you are asking why I even bothered; I know my family and friends were asking me that. So here is the reason, it was simple- I wanted answers. I wanted to know why this had happened and I needed to try to wrap my brain around what he had done. I was desperately trying to understand it. We agreed to go to a therapist in San Francisco.  I would fly up and have a session with her, then we would have a session together, then I would have phone sessions, he would have sessions alone with her and then I would have sessions with my therapist in LA. Needless to say it was way too much.  Though he was pushing for “dates” with me I still had not been alone with him since the night in San Francisco a few weeks after I walked out and I still didn’t want to be. What I wanted was for him to walk into therapy and say, “this is why I did this to you” and for whatever that explanation was, I wanted it to make total sense and for him to give me the answers I needed. As you can guess that obviously didn’t happen. It was a lot of “I am sorry” and “I never meant to hurt you” and “I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you” and “I miss you” and so on and so on and blah blah blah!   Again, he started to sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon.

The one good thing that started to come out of all of this therapy was that I was starting to crack. The numbness was fading and I was starting to feel again. Though what I started feeling was unexpected.  I soon feared I would need even more therapy to learn to deal with all of this.  No one has ever accused me of being touchy feely or call me emotional so this new Keylee that was someone I had never met and I sure hell had no idea what to do with her.   I was weeks away from three girls, I was responsible for, competing at a national competition, I was going to therapy more hours per month than I had collectively gone my entire life, I was partying my ass of to distract myself from all of it and then decided to start making major life decisions.  Was this a recipe for success?????  I will give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

As I started to rejoin the working world I decided I need a few new fun items for my career wardrobe!  Here are a few items to shake up your work wardrobe this summer:


*All of the events I have written about in the above and previous posts are about me, my life, my experiences and from my point of view.

© Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Wanted Him To Leave Me.

I soon found myself in a grey area, nothing was black or white, just grey and I was more confused than ever.  I was continually bumping into friends that would ask me about my “breakup” and when I gave them just the minimal amount of information needed they would say some version of this; “OMG, I know exactly how you feel, my boyfriend/ husband/wife/ girlfriend cheated on me too!”   Is that what happened?  Was I cheated on?  I had been cheated on before and this is not what that felt like.  In high school my football player boyfriend was cheating on me with one of my good girlfriends and then in college my boyfriends phone accidentally picked up in his pocket and I could hear him making out with another girl.  That was gut wrenching,  each time I ate a bag of potato chips drank too many vodka soda’s and cried with my girlfriends for a week.  That was not what this was.  No amount of chips or vodka was going to fix this.  This felt like I had been ripped apart limb from limb by some medieval torture device and left in the middle of the highway to bleed to death.   I was not, am not, trying to minimize anyone else’s story, being cheated on is awful, horrible, and should be punished by the removal of genitals using only cuticle clippers, but cheating?  That what not what this was.

From my journal:

“Confusion- it’s all I feel.  My head and heart say two different things.  My head knows I can never go back to him and my heart yearns for the life we had and the life I had in my mind.  I am taking it day by day and some days I don’t know if I will make it.  Some days I feel strong, but most all days I am sad.  Sad about the life that won’t be, sad that he is hurting, sad that I am so broken, sad that I assumed things that I don’t know if they are true and then I feel rage.  Rage that I am in this place, rage at myself for not seeing what was in front of me.  I want to hate him, I want him to leave me- that would be easier.”

It was true and I still feel that way.  I wanted him to leave me.   Tell me that he was madly in love with Katy and ride off into the sunset with her. That way I would at least know that someone would be happy, someone would be getting what they wanted and all of this hurt and pain would have had some purpose!  That was not at all what happened, instead it was like a bomb exploded and as I looked around I saw nothing but total destruction of my life.  Everyone was in pain.  For some reason seeing him in pain was one of the hardest parts.  I hadn’t hit the anger stage yet and knowing that he was hurting, even half as much as I was, killed me.  I wanted to hate him, but I didn’t’ want him to hurt.

Having been in LA a week or so I headed back to the mountains to see friends, after a lot of late nights partying and a lot of fun I woke up one day and knew I had to get back to LA and start my life.   I had avoided being a grown for as long as I could.   I had decided I needed to move out of my friends place and try and stand on my own two feet.  I had nothing stable in my life; no work, no home and no relationship.  I was at a tipping point and I knew what I needed to do.  I had to make something in my life stable.  Each time I ran into an old friend in LA they always asked how they could help.  Ninety-nine percent of the time I smiled my fake smile and said “oh nothing, thank you so much for offering, I will be fine.”  When I ran into a friend who was a fabulous Beverly Hills real estate agent at the gym one day and I decided to ask for help.  Soon we were looking at apartments and I started to feel like I could see a small speck of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.

With in two days I found a fantastic little place in West Hollywood that made me feel like I was living in a hotel suite (my secret dream in life)!  It was a mid-century building and my tiny little slice of heaven over looked the pool surrounded by palm trees. It was a dream.  I could feel myself starting to be a tiny bit settled and that was a wonderful thing.  I didn’t really have much to move; clothes, jewelry and personal items mostly. I asked my husband for my couch and bed that we had moved into the Santa Barbara house when we moved to San Francisco.  He agreed and then proceeded to send the couch and bed to me in an open air pickup truck with two delivery men, my white velvet couch and mattress riding down the highway gathering who knows what!  I was livid but decided it was easier to have them cleaned then to make a big deal about it.  I was just happy and thankful to have furniture.

The next week I made the always-dreaded trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond.   When you had a cart as loaded as mine it was like a large blinking neon sign with an arrow, She’s Starting Over.   As I was standing there picking out a silverware tray for my kitchen drawer it hit me.   It was like that book title that Charlotte, from Sex and The City, is too scared to buy standing in Barnes and Noble; Starting Over Yet Again.  I looked around, surly I wasn’t the only one going through this it’s LA, people start over all the time!   As I looked around to find someone to give me even the slightest bit of comfort I found that on one side was a happy couple registering for there wedding and the other was a beautiful pregnant lady picking out new placemats in spring colors and then there was me… starting over yet again.   We had been separated for months, how is this whole thing still shocking to me?  Somehow it was.  Somehow I had to figure out how to face it all and I would, but that moment was not the moment I was going to face it all with grace.  I started to get choked up, soon my eye were burning.  I knew what was going to happen, I was going to loose it at any moment and their was nothing I could do.  I really needed the items I had in my cart but I could feel the waterworks building up and I could tell it was going to be a hell of a show.  It was like I needed to wear a sign pinned to my shirt so people didn’t think I was just a crazy lady crying in silverware aisle.   It would read “Don’t worry, I am fine, just crying because my husband has a double life.”  But I didn’t have that sign and I was about to be the crazy lady crying in the silverware aisle, before I knew it I was pulling out my sunglasses and ditching my cart practically running to my car.  I sat in my car for about 10 minutes and cried, finally I pulled it together, kept my sunglasses on and went back to find my cart right where I left it!  God bless lazy retail workers that felt no need to put my items back!  Victory!  I had managed to get everything I needed.  Once I got everything packed into my car, I cried the whole way home.

That day was a tiny step in a forward direction.  I knew it was small but it was all I had.  I went home, unloaded my car by myself and sat on my dirty white velvet couch, opened a bottle of wine and ordered Chinese take out.   As I finally fell asleep I repeated over and over in my head; tomorrow will be a better day, tomorrow will be a better day, tomorrow will be a better day…

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

The good news about starting over is that you can decorate your new place anyway you like, dirty white couch and all!  Here are a few fun spring items for your home!


*All of the events I have written about in the above and previous posts are about me, my life and my experiences.

© Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

We Told You So.

I had such mixed feelings going home.  My friends poured my bags and I into a town car and I assured them I would find my plane and make it safely to Kansas.  As I sat on the plane I decided should write in my journal, I hadn’t in quite a few days and I had a lot to write about.  A kind looking lady sat next down to me, I am one of those people who never talks to strangers on a plane and I wasn’t about to start now but, I kept imagining what that conversation would be like.  “No, I am not going on vacation.  I am going home to be with my family because my husband has a double life and has been lying to me for over six years.”  Yep, that would shut her up for sure!

As I got off the plane my mom, sister, and nieces were all at the airport waiting.  I hugged everyone, we got my bags and loaded up in the car.  They looked as if they wanted to bust into tears and I felt nothing.   We picked up Chinese food (it seemed to be my main food group these days) and went home.  My dad and brother-in-law were both there so we all sat and ate and I opened a bottle of wine.  We talked about the matter at hand briefly but it wasn’t really registering clearly with me.  I could tell none of them wanted to push but they were thirsty for details.  I told them about my conversation with Katy but other than that I didn’t have any new news and suddenly I felt utterly exhausted.

The next day my mom gently woke me up and my sister told me we had to go into town for an appointment.  I didn’t plan on going anywhere nor did I feel like it was even possible for me to drag myself out of bed, but I was given no choice.  I figured they were trying to cheer me up somehow; maybe we were all going for mani/ pedi’s.  Half way into town they told me where we were going, the gynecologist.  My first thought was “shit, I wish you would have told me because then I would have showered!” and then I thought “ugh, I don’t really care.” But a gynecologist, why?  I wasn’t pregnant and always kept on schedule for my yearly exams.  “Keylee, your husband has been sleeping with at least one other woman and I am sure there were more, who knows what you could have.”  My sister wasn’t known for sugar coating things. As if going to the lady doctor wasn’t bad enough now I was going to a total stranger and I was going as a 34 year-old married woman who needed STD testing.   I suddenly wished we were going to the nail salon!  The doctors’ waiting room was full of women with round pregnant bellies and smiles on their faces, they were so happy.  I wanted to be one of them so badly but instead I was a no makeup, swollen eyes, matted hair girl who looked like she had been drug behind the car.  Finally they called my name.

“Undress from the waist down and the doctor will be in soon” the nurse told me.

I sat there, half naked with a disposable paper blanket over my lap, I was reaching a new low, which I didn’t even think was possible.   The doctor came into the room and was direct and to the point.  “So what brings you in today?”  He asked.  Tears started to roll down my face.  Not just tears this time, sobs.  All of a sudden I was unable to even speak I was crying so hard.  In between heaving sobs I said, “I, I, I need an STD test.”

“Ok, are you having symptoms? Which test are you looking for?”  He asked with a bit more sympathetic look on his face.   I just cried.

“All of them” I finally spit out in between sobs.   “My husband has a double life and I just found out.”  The doctor was the first stranger I had told and with that sentence I fell back onto the table and put my feet in the fuzzy covered stirrups.  I closed my eyes to try and pretend none of this was happening but tears just ran down the sides of my face.  I couldn’t catch my breath, I just cried… really hard.  He worked quickly and when he was done I sat up.  Next they would need to do a blood draw for the HIV test.   Once he was done he looked at my wet tear stained face and said,  “Are you feeling that you might be depressed?”  If I hadn’t been crying so hard I would have laughed.  Um, you think????

Of course I said, “No, I don’t thinks so.  I am just sad.”  He thought different and gave me a prescription for anti-depressants.   I wasn’t depressed, I just wanted to go home and get in my bed and never get out.  We stopped at Target on the way home to fill my prescription and so mom and Daydree could grab a few things.  I remember my mom sat me on a bench next to the pharmacy and I waited for my new happy pills, I had no plans of taking them by the way.   Even in my comatose state I got bored waiting and started to wonder around the cosmetics.  I didn’t even have the desire to try and new lipstick or nail polish, whoa… I knew this was bad.

Soon we were home and I crawled into bed, before I fell asleep I couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened.  It felt so humiliating, almost degrading, and though I was fairly sure I didn’t have a common STD for the first time I thought, what if I had HIV or AIDS.

I slept through dinner and the next morning I felt too exhausted to get out of bed.  I had been home two days and I couldn’t convince myself to shower or eat.  On the third day I finally go up and moved to the couch, this was a huge victory.  I was angry at myself for not being mad but being numb and not having any feelings about what had just happened, everyone around me had more feelings about it than I did.  My family was angry and sad; the few people who knew were in shock and disbelief and I felt nothing.   Being a bit of a control freak, and not having control over most of my life at the moment, I decided I needed to start having feelings- totally rational thinking.  So I started taking the anti-depressants the doctor prescribed, my thought was that at least I would feel something even if it weren’t authentic.   Of course in my mind I was going to wake up the next day blissful and happy.  Wrong.  In fact over the next week the pills did nothing but make me more tired and more numb.  I quickly discontinued using them, but to this day I keep them in my nightstand as a reminder that I should let myself have more feelings.  I spent the forth day in my fathers’ office obsessed with all of the photos Katy has posted of her and my husband, printing each one out, staring at them and putting together a time line.   My husband and I traveled so much that I kept both of our calendars, I tried to travel with him as often as I could. I thought if I could put a timeline together I could see where I went wrong, when he picked her over me, when I started being not enough…. I now realize it wasn’t me but in the moment it was the only thing I could focus on.

In all of my obsessing I did figure a few things out, none of which made me feel better.  For example:  In February of the prior year his company had opened an office in NY, I had been there for work myself and was excited to stay for a few dinners and the opening party- supporting him was important to me.    It had been a great weekend; the event was fun, I was on his arm the entire time meeting new people and seeing old friends, he was introducing me to clients, and it was all pretty perfect.  We made a great couple and he had told me over and over what an asset I was in his business relationships, it made me feel proud.   The day before I was set to fly back to California he had suggested I take an earlier flight, a friend’s plane would be flying back and I could jump on that instead of taking my commercial flight. It was an easy decision plus I could get home to Jet sooner, it seemed like a great plan and I was thankful to my husband for thinking of it and arranging it.  The next morning I kissed him goodbye and headed for the private airport.  Man, was I a lucky girl or what?  I now know it had nothing to do with me, only that he needed to get me out of town because Katy was flying in that afternoon, which I learned from the photo she posted of them smiling and snuggling on a carriage ride around Central Park on the same day I flew out. 

Putting together a timeline and lining up all the photos helped, helped me become totally obsessed with figuring out every detail. After my successful day I decided to reward myself by taking a shower and my family, seeing I was clean and standing upright, convinced me to go out to dinner.  We headed to our favorite steak and seafood place, which I loved.   After several martinis I decided to excuse myself to the ladies room, I found the waitress and gave her my bankcard.  My family had put up with a lot and I decided my cheating husband should buy them dinner!  Of course, it would never make up for his betrayal, he had lied to them as well, but in the moment it made me feel a tiny bit better.

After my display of having some human life the next day when I woke, around noon, my family was all eating lunch.  When I came into the kitchen they finally said it.  My dad prepared me that he was going to say it and he would only say it once.  “We told you so.”  Ouch! That hurt, but they were right.  They had told me over and over.

While I was home I had no communication with the outside world, well outside of my girlfriends.  When it came time to actually go out into the world with my family (about a week after I arrived home), my mother said.  “Don’t worry, we haven’t told anyone what happened.”  Huh?  She was so loving and so sincere but this statement confused me to no end.   I didn’t understand, what were we hiding?  Were they ashamed?  Should I be ashamed, embarrassed, and apologetic?   I kept thinking that I didn’t do anything but fall in love with the wrong man.   I made a bad choice, we all make bad choices, isn’t that how life works?   I finally realized that she thought I was embarrassed; it was very thoughtful of her but once I thought about it it pissed me off big time.  Maybe it is generational but I wasn’t ashamed, I wasn’t ready to share my story with the world but I wasn’t ashamed.  What I did worry about was people feeling sorry for me.  Pity is the worst!  The look on someone’s face when they hear the story is awful, to this day it is awful!

I often get asked, or people assume, that I have trust issues.   So let’s just talk about it now; my biggest trust issue in the weeks, months, and even year after leaving my husband was not trusting other people, though that has been shaky at times, but trusting myself.   In my mind I thought; how could I make any decisions in my life?  If my intuition was that far off on my husband how could I be trusted to figure anything out on my own?  I didn’t trust myself to pick out an outfit and I am stylist for goodness sake. When I sat in a quite place and thought about it, was my intuition that far off? I had to face reality; did I really have no red flags, no clues at all that something was wrong?  If I am honest then I can say, of course I did.  I chose to ignore it.  I had failed at marriage once and I wasn’t going to fail at this relationship too, I had changed my whole life for this man.  My career had taken a serious dive due to our move, it had strained the relationship with my family (on some level), not to mention the dive in my self-esteem and I was determined to make it work and so I am embarrassed to admit that I ignored the signs.  I take responsibility for that but I must admit he was genius at explaining away discrepancies, it was almost impressive now that I know the truth, and he always showed up with an expensive fancy gift to distract me.  Sadly it usually worked.   I remember my mother once telling me; “Look, no man is perfect and they are all going to screw up sometimes.  Just be happy that you are with a man thoughtful enough to buy you gifts when he does.”  Never in a million years could either one of us known just how bad he was screwing up or what he was screwing.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

Who doesn’t want to shop at Target?  That awful day I didn’t have the strength but thank goodness that has come back!  Here are my favorite Target finds!


*All of the events I have written about in the above and previous posts are about me, my life and my experiences.  © Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.