A Single Holiday.

Being alone at the holidays is its own special kind of torture for a single person. For starters you get fewer presents at Christmas, I know this shouldn’t be a big deal but it is. In my house growing up my sister and I would separate all the gift into piles, depending on where everyone was sitting, and then we would go around and one by one open a gift. You always know who gets the most gifts! At meals you may get designated to the kids table from time to time (the kids table is generally an odd number anyway so everyone thinks, it isn’t a big deal) and best of all you get to see those relatives and friends that you only see once a year give you the “oh really, you’re still single?” look. As my first holiday season alone was approaching, all of these things were going through my mind!

As the end of November grew closer I grew more and more anxious. My anxiety was not about the pageant in New Hampshire or being away from my family during Thanksgiving. I really couldn’t put my finger on it other than it was the holidays, and it would be my first major holiday alone. I have always loved going home, holidays or not, and I love spending time with my family but I had no interest in going home by myself to spend Thanksgiving with everyone. My situation was still very fresh and the thought have having to sit around and talk about what an asshole my husband was, and how “I would find someone who deserved me some day” was not high on my list of priorities. The good news was I would be with my pageant family. Me, my business partner, his partner and Mackenzie would all be together in New Hampshire for the pageant and so we had decided to make plans at a fabulous lodge in the country for Thanksgiving dinner. One thing we always did well was be fabulous!

As we landed in New Hampshire the cool crisp air was a welcome change. LA was still fairly warm in November and after growing up in Kansas the holidays were never the same to me when I could wear flip-flops. I had packed all of my winters finest and decided I would be excited about the trip! My mother has always said that attitude is everything, so I was trying hard to have a good attitude.

We landed in Boston and drove to New Hampshire, to settle into the hotel. We would be working Thanksgiving morning before driving further north for dinner. As we drove through the east coast country-side the leaves were beautiful, the roads winding and the trees towering; it all felt very festive. Living in LA and not having real seasons was hard, I missed Fall the most.

We ate dinner in a very chic converted barn; it looked like a Ralph Lauren catalog advertisement. Every detail was taken care of; the china was mismatched, but perfectly coordinated at the same time. The floral arrangements rustic yet polished, and the food was the perfect balance between traditional dishes and modern tastes. The meal was delicious, but the wine was even better. Once our bellies were full we drove back to the hotel; it would be an early start the next morning, and we all wanted to get a little sleep.

I headed back to my room to get a good night sleep; I washed my face, put on my pj’s and jumped into bed. Suddenly I wasn’t tired. My body was tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I turned on the TV and found nothing of interest, it was Thanksgiving night after all, so I decided to watch a rerun of something I really had little interest in and wrote in my journal.

Journal Entry:
Thanksgiving 2012

“Here I am, my first major holiday….alone in my hotel room. I am feeling very blah. Don’t get me wrong, I am feeling blessed to have spent this holiday being thankful and surrounded by people I love. I miss my family, but most of all I miss the life I thought I would have. I have no one to call late at night, no one to say I love you to and no one to greet me when I fly home. No one to call and tell about my day, no one who tells me they miss me. I know I have been sad off and on for the past nine months (sadness mixed with anger really) but tonight I have no anger- just sadness. I pray this will pass with time. For now, I will just focus on work and getting through the weekend. One day at a time, just as I always have.“

Then I thought to myself, I always have Jaxton. Well ‘have’ is not the right word but I always knew he was there. He was spending the holiday with his family and was only a few miles away. We had talked about me joining him for Thanksgiving but in the end I decided I would probably be a big enough of a mess and adding him and his family into my emotional mix was not the smartest of ideas. I have to admit the romantic side of me really wanted to go. I always wanted to be next to him, but I was proud of myself for making the smart decision and saying ‘no thank you.’ So I did the next best thing; I sent him a late night text. Which as we all know is always a good idea (insert sarcastic look here). I wrote the text about ten times, erasing it and re-writing it. What I really wanted to send was ‘Damn I miss you, I want to be next to you, I love you… oh and Happy Thanksgiving.’ I didn’t send it luckily I had a bit of sense at that moment, and I sent this instead; ‘Happy Thanksgiving, hope you have a nice time at home.’

The next day all of our contestants would check into the pageant, and I woke up knowing that I was going to be too busy that day to even think about being lonely. What I hadn’t thought about was that over a year ago when I was here for our orientation I had just gotten married. Many of the girls I hadn’t seen since that time. So that day I had several ask, “Oh hi, how is married life?” Ugh, even after nine months that question still felt like a hot poker straight to the stomach. I considered wearing a t-shirt or button that stated, “Don’t ask about my marriage.” Just to save myself and the innocent well-wisher from the awkward moment of discussing it and the pity face that followed.

I did what I always do; I put on a brave face on when I was around everyone and then later went to my room and sulked, sometimes even cried- in private like a big a girl.

I knew this was only the beginning; the holidays were just starting and after that it would be the one-year mark from when I walked out. I have used a lot of my inner strength just getting through the past nine months, but as I glanced at my calendar before the final show of the weekend I realized I only had a week until my court date. I took a breath, because I know deep down inside the rough part hasn’t even began.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

As someone who has never been afraid to treat herself to a goodie here and there, I do have to cut back during the holidays to be sure I don’t blow my budget! These are a few of my favorite treats that won’t blow your holiday shopping budget but will put a smile on your face. They make great gift too!

*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 KeyleeStyle.com, 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 KeyleeStyle.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

They Thought I Might Go Home.

Developing the tools to change your relationship habits is like trying to put a five drawer dresser from IKEA together and not have any extra parts- nearly impossible without professional help! So I did what I usually did; I had some wine with my girlfriends and then made an extra therapy appointment that month.

The next day a friend of mine called out of the blue and the first words out of her mouth were, ‘are you sitting down?” I had a bit of a hangover but through my fog I, of course, assumed she was pregnant or something equally shocking, but I would soon learn I was wrong. “Ok, I am,” I said, actually I was still lying in bed but close enough. “I just had lunch with Sandy and I think your husband was sleeping with Rachel as well!” I immediately started laughing, deep hysterical laugh. I don’t think this is the reaction she was at all expecting, but she began to giggle and then ask, “wait, why we were laughing?” It was hard for me to explain but, Rachel was an older woman who was divorced with children and had been our dog sitter at different’ times. Jet loved her so I always felt great leaving him with her when we would travel. I just never even thought my husband was that fond of her as well! I never assumed Katy would be the only one; it just wasn’t logical, but Rachel was the last person I every imagined. One thing was clear; my husband didn’t have a ‘type’. After finding out this new information, I went on to assume that he would sleep with, or had slept with, just about anyone. In all of my research and talking to both therapists, we always agreed that eventually I would learn about other women. Men who have this pattern of behavior never do this just once or with one woman. This was the first evidence, if you can call it that, I had that Katy wasn’t the only one, and I was surprisingly calm about it. I had become so detached from him that I really didn’t care if I found out he was gang banging hookers every weekend. It wasn’t like I ever considered going back to him. Ok, hookers might have been a bit too much but, later I would find out he had a thing for women who looked like hookers (probably real ones too).

Months later I found out that my close friends and family were terrified I would go back to him. This point has always been laughable to me, how on earth could they think that? At first I was offended, did they not know me at all? In my mind, there wasn’t a remote chance in hell that I would ever go back, but those close to me were not so sure. I guess they had never seen me that tortured and dealing with something that was so emotionally gut wrenching. I admit I was sad, I was depressed, I was angry, I was even a bit confused but I was never considering staying with someone who had destroyed every ounce of trust we had. My soul was crushed, but I wasn’t brain dead! I just had to do things my way. My biggest fear in life is looking back and saying “what if.” I have only said it a few times, and it haunts me still. I had to go through the process and find out all of the information I could before officially moving forward. No matter what it looked like on the outside, I was NOT going back. Ever. Even my nieces would sing the Taylor Swift song “Never Ever” whenever his name was brought up, I still think of them every time that song comes on.

November was shaping up to be a great month. I stopped dating (new men), I was focused on work, my divorce was on track and I tried to avoid thinking about the holidays. Since I was an expert at avoiding things, especially my feelings, I was doing a very good job of it! As we prepared to head to New Hampshire for the pageant over Thanksgiving, I was excited, and I had a lot of travel scheduled between now the new year. I knew the holidays would be tough so keeping busy was my solution.

The New Hampshire pageant was my favorite. It was small and very manageable; the people were always nice and it was a good way for us to start off the pageant season. I was even more excited for my travel plans after all the pageants and holidays were over! We had planed a trip to Europe: Jack me, my best friend and business partner Kent, Megan and Mackenzie. I was so excited I wanted to burst!

I was sitting in the office booking a trip to New York for December, and I got a text from Jaxton. He was annually invited on a ski trip for work that took place in Dear Valley, “want to come?” The text read; he always had a way with words. A weekend in the snow with Jaxton, roaring fire, red wine, s’mores, skiing, … how could I say no? I couldn’t, and I didn’t! December was shaping up to be a crazy month, but I was up for it! The best part is that we would be heading to the mountains two days after my court date. I would be in the mountains with Jaxton and free woman- dreams really do come true!

During my next session with Sabrina, I felt focused and ready for her to tell me what I needed in my emotional tool kit! She said the one thing I knew I didn’t want to hear. “You already have the tools; you just need to learn to use them.” I felt like I was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when the Good Witch tells her how she has had the power to return home all along, and she just needed to click her heels. Ugh, such a rip-off answer. I wanted her to look at me and say, this is what you need to do. Steps A, B, and C and then this will all be behind you. But when was life ever that easy?

Sabrina did what any good therapist would do; we talked about how the recent situations made me feel. Then she made me tell her how they really made me feel with out my usual sugar coating. I cried a bit for maybe the second time ever in therapy and then we did our usual session of hypnosis to calm my mind. It was my new favorite thing, after a hypnosis session I felt like I had slept 10 hours. My mind was clear and my heart was light. It took away anxiety, and it helped me deal with situations without giving in to my panic. Sadly it didn’t last a super long time but I would take whatever I could get.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

Don’t we all wish we could click our heels together and find our way? These are heel clicking worthy shoes!

*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 KeyleeStyle.com, 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 KeyleeStyle.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

All I Knew Was Complicated.

I came back from Hawaii feeling energized and solid, strong and centered, I felt much better than I had in a very long time. I realized I felt that way not because it was such a blissful, relaxing vacation, but because of how I was dealing with things in my life. While I was relaxing, I was also dealing with my lawyer emailing me and my husband contacting me the entire time. I went through all of that and dealt with it pretty well; I felt good about it. The time I was in Hawaii was the first instance that I felt strong about handling something having to do with my pending divorce and not falling apart! Go me!

Two days before I left I had received a subpoena for business records and a rejection of a settlement I had proposed. I felt like I was hemorrhaging money, and I wanted to see if my husband would settle with me before we went back to court in December; it would save us both money and time. He didn’t agree, he wanted to drag this out as long as he could. I had to contact my clients, per the advice of my lawyer, to notify them they may be required to provide proof of payment records for the financial discovery portion of my divorce proceedings. When a big part of your business is client confidentiality, it is not a fun phone call to have over and over. He did send me random checks in the mail and kept reaching out. I didn’t want to cash the checks, but I was backed into a corner and didn’t really have a choice. I needed the money.

I felt like I was drowning in discovery and paperwork, files and emails regarding every dime I had spent over the last several years. Who had paid for what, who had paid me for what, searching through earning statements that my husband submitted. The whole process is so overwhelming and depressing. His lies kept revealing themselves throughout the “discovery” process. Before going through this myself I would have been the one to say something like, “how did she not have any clue about the finances?” I was that woman, but I was discovering it all now. As it turns out, having a double life is very expensive.

The bigger issue was that I wanted to get my belongings back. I only had about 20% of my stuff and after the stunt in court to prolong the hearings I decided I did not want to wait until things were final and settled. Who knew when that would be! When I walked out of my house I had left most everything I owned; photo albums, my entire kitchen, wedding gifts from my first marriage, holiday decorations, my cookbooks, shoes (especially my custom made Chanel flats that I had ordered the night I met Karl Lagerfeld in NYC), clothing (lots of clothing), furniture, jewelry, bathroom stuff… the list grew by the day when I realized things I didn’t have. I would go to look for something and discover I didn’t have it. Even when I went back to my house with my girlfriends we only took what would fit in the cars and what we could carry. It wasn’t just the big things like my furniture, it was the little stuff too. My favorite swimsuit and my beach bag (I had left in January and tropical vacations weren’t exactly on my mind), my UV nail light, my fashion books that were stacked in my office, my favorite pillow, my old journals… it was my life. I had walked out nine months ago and still didn’t have my things. As my parents kept reminding me, “they are only things.” The important part was that I was getting out of my marriage and moving on with my life; I could replace all of those things. I had to remind myself of this often but, I still wanted them back they might be just things but, they were MY things!

I emailed my mom during my trip to express my frustrations. After I hit send I realized I had used the f-word more times than was probably acceptable in a Dear Mom email, but she understood. I was upset and pissed. I wanted things to be different, and most of all wanted to enjoy my vacation! Her advice was, “then do just that, enjoy your vacation! If he ruins your vacation and gets under your skin, then he wins.” I am beyond lucky to have such supportive parents!

The good news was that upon my return, I was really busy at work, and the better news was that I had Jack. Jack was an angel in my life, a very fashionable, type A angel with fabulous hair. He kept my calendar, kept me fed, organized my life and my closet and quickly became acquainted with the men in my life. He became familiar with them all, did his research and quickly decided he would shorten the list. Jack was the perfect mixture of a rock star assistant and a Jewish mother. He was equally talented in both roles.

Jack was getting to see the best of me, the focused, strong, positive Keylee. I was making an excellent first impression. It was only his third week working for me, so I was trying to keep it together, I didn’t want to scare him off.

When I got back to LA I had two things on my To Do list; sushi with the girls, Gina and Lisa, and time with Jaxton. Sushi with the girls was just as I had hoped it would be. We laughed, ate our weight in sushi and drank enough sake to get an ox drunk. It was aggressive for a Monday, but it was our routine and I needed to blow off some steam. I hadn’t seen Jaxton in awhile, and he had called when on was on my spiritual journey by the sea. I missed him and jumped at the chance to spend time with him now that I was back in LA. He seemed to be in a good place, and I was in a good place, so what could possibly go wrong… right?

Jaxton decided we would stay in and order food. It was nice. It was nights like this that I missed most being single. Ordering in, opening a bottle of wine, making out on the couch while we watched a movie- it was prefect and exactly what I needed. I woke up the next morning and still had the refreshed strong feeling; I always slept well at Jaxton’s house. Sure, I wished our relationship wasn’t so complicated, but it was. I knew he had zero expectations of me, and I knew exactly who he was and what we were. I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship; I had learned that with Andrew, Sam and so on. I did wonder where we would end up in all of this. I knew being comfortable in a complicated relationship was not a good thing, it was something I needed to examine. It seemed that complicated relationships were all I knew. My relationship with my husband had been nothing but complicated from day one, so in some twisted way the complicated relationship I had with Jaxton was comforting to me.

I wanted to change, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t have the tools…yet.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

Though I felt strong I was still in a grey period of my life, everything was up in the air. Grey just also happens to be one of the hottest colors this season!

*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 KeyleeStyle.com, 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 KeyleeStyle.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Needed A Hit.

Love and Choices.  We make 100’s of choices everyday.  What to eat, what to wear, what emails to answer, whether we are going to have another glass of wine after work (or a bottle), who to sleep with, what route to take to the office, who your friends are going to be, etc etc.  Some choices are big and some are small, some are life changing while others don’t really affect us at all.   Part of being an adult is admitting when you have made a bad choice, accepting responsibility for the choice you made, hopefully learning from it and moving on with your life taking your new knowledge and past experience with you.

At times Americans take a lot of choices for granted and when we make the wrong choice we often like to place the blame with others.  Admitting a choice is wrong or that we have fucked up is not easy to do, especially when it affects those around us or those we love. Having the choice of who to love is not even an option for women in many parts of the world.  My parents would have picked a suitable young man with something to offer and married me off.  At times I have thought how much easier that would have been, just kidding of course!   Making the choice of who to love might effect our life more than anything else.  Admitting when that is a wrong choice, to ourselves and our circle, is one of the hardest things to fess up to, but can be very powerful at the same time.

I have made very few choices in my life I regret, deciding to get continuous spiral perms as a girl tops that short list, but I have never regretted saying I love you.  I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and we can learn something from every situation.  Some times we make choices that are right for us in the moment not giving a lot of thought to the future and what the fall out might be.  Sometimes falling in love with someone isn’t even really a choice.

That night in the cab with Jaxton I knew I had a choice to make.  I knew in that moment he was probably not going to be the answer to the problems in my life, but he could be the solution to what I needed right then.   To be honest I had no real grasp on what I needed in my life but I knew what I wanted in that moment.  I wanted to feel loved and I needed to feel wanted.

Saying I needed to feel loved sounds so lame.  I know it is a basic human need but it isn’t like I didn’t have love in my life.  I had great friends who were supper supportive and a family that was amazing!  Every therapist I have spoken with starts off by asking about my childhood.  Granted nothing in life is perfect but I had a great a childhood with wonderful parents who loved and supported my sister and I in everything we did.  I was raised on a ranch with animals and lots of land that led to fun and adventure.  I had all of the things growing up a girl could ever want.  My parents traveled with us, they showed up to ever school event to cheer us on, I had a lots of friends, I was not short on love in my life overall.  What I have learned is that love comes in all shapes and forms.  Looking back my husband (both of them and several boyfriends) and I said I love you to each other all the time.   Every morning before he went out the door, at the end of our phone calls, at night before we went to bed but looking back did I ever really feel loved?  Saying I love you is just words.   Once I learned my life was not the truth I thought it was it made me question; was any of that love ever true, was it real?   I have had a LOT of time to examine myself in the past few years and a lot of therapy and I have learned that a lot of the time not feeling loved (for anyone) comes from within, not from another person.  I now see this so clearly, but remember there is a huge difference in the love of your family and friends and the love of an intimate partner.  Your parents have loved you from the moment you came into this world and will love even when you leave this world.  In relationships it all has to start with you.

I dated a guy, Andrew, a while back that asked me how many people I had loved in my life, really, truly loved (other than family and friends).  I just sat there and looked at him with a blank stare!  For some crazy reason I couldn’t answer that question.  For me love has so many levels and layers, it is so unique and different in every situation.  Real or not, one sided or mutual it is all love in some form or another, right?   Sometimes it just looks different than we think it is going to look and sometimes we know that love exists without ever saying it out loud.

I had made the choice to say I Love You each time in my life, no one ever “forced” me to say it, but did I always mean it?  I had made the choice to get married, twice, was it the right choice?  I was now at a point in my life that made me question everything I knew and did.  And it wasn’t just about love or who to love, every decision I made I questioned.  What if I made the wrong choice again?  Loved the wrong person?  It got so out of control at one point that I couldn’t make a decision on what to wear, what lipstick put on, what to have for lunch even.  It all made me feel crazy!  How could I not be able to make a simple daily choice?  I had graduated college with honors, was running two companies at once, had founded three businesses during my career and as a stylist I made major decisions for other people everyday.  I felt truly out of my own body and mind, I knew I had to find a piece of love and quick!  My hope was that if I could get a hit of love I would start to feel more sane.  It would be a short term fix.

That night with Jaxton riding in the cab I was very confident about my decision.  I wanted to feel close to someone, someone I could trust.   The one thing about Jaxton is in the 10 plus years we had known each other he has never pretended to be anything other than exactly what he is.  Most guys, and girls, try to be perfect in the beginning and promise you the world.   The great thing about him was that when we met I was married to my first husband and he and I were just friends, so he was just authentically who he is.  I got to know the real him, flaws and all, from day one and vice versa for him with me.  I never not trusted him.   Not to say that he hasn’t bruised my heart a few times but trust has never been an issue with us.  It is one reason I think we have been in each other lives for so long.

That next morning I began to think, could this be it?  Is this what I have waited for?    Maybe Jaxton and I will finally have our opportunity to be together with no complications or confusion.  Are we finally going to find out if what we have spoken about, and I had dreamed about, so many times could be true?   In that moment I let all the shit in my life and drama I was dealing with float away and I drifted into the fantasy about a time in my life when I would be in a stable place with a man I loved and trusted.   Maybe this is what it was all for and my past was part of my journey.  Was Jaxton that man and this that relationship?  Was he my future?   In that moment I wanted a knight in shining armor on a white horse and so I let myself think it could be him.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

Who doesn’t love love?  Here are a few fun ways to show your love of love through fashion!

*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 KeyleeStyle.com, 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 KeyleeStyle.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.