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.

A New Man In My Life.

As my next court date grew near, well not near but closer, I began to worry that he would find a way to postpone it again. I spoke to my lawyer and asked that he give me every scenario of what could happen when we walked into court. Looking back I realize this was probably an unnecessary, not to mention expensive, move, but the last time I was so unprepared for the postponement I didn’t want to be taken by surprise again. In the state of California the family court system doesn’t care who did what, it’s called a “no fault” state. Basically, it means they don’t care that my husband had a double life or that we had lived together for four years. All that mattered was the date we got married and that I walked out on our marriage four months after we walked down the aisle. It is a dumb law- just sayin.

After reliving my week of “one-year” mark memories, I decided to take my friends up on the invite to spend a week in Hawaii. I thought it would be a great time for me to relax. I could work from anywhere I had a phone and a laptop, and the idea of getting out of LA for a bit sounded like heaven. This trip would be very different from the last time I was in Hawaii. I had no intention of sitting on the side of the pool and crying for two hours; I did however have plans of lying next to the pool with a cocktail in hand for many hours! I was in a much better place and felt like I could enjoy myself. Just looking at my calendar these days made me exhausted, so I welcomed the break.

I also had a new man in my life, my assistant Jack, and he was fabulous. He was reliable, honest, funny, caring, had flawless style and fabulous hair. He could give a look of death in less than 3 seconds, one of those looks you can only learn from your east coast Italian mother. He quickly learned about everything that was going on in my life, and I began to notice that my calendar was suddenly so packed that I didn’t have time to be sad or lonely. From the day Jack started working for me, he always knew what was best. Jack had dropped out of Medical School to move to LA and become a stylist. When he first told me this, I blurted out, “wow, your parents must be so proud,” intending to sound as sarcastic as it did. He immediately laughed, and I knew we would be together forever! A celebrity client of mine introduced Jack and me, he had interned on a movie she had just finished and when I mentioned I was looking for someone she jumped at the chance to introduce us. It was love at first site. Jack quickly became the man in my life.

I was crazy busy with work and decided I didn’t even have time for men in my life other than Jack. Of course, Jaxton was in and out, per our usual routine of the past one hundred years. Rick, on the other hand, was in my life often, he was someone I relied on regularly; he was dependable, strong, caring and kind. I remember on particularly stressful week, he called and asked if I could be at a meeting with him the next afternoon. I agreed, even when he called back 2 minutes later to say that I better clear my whole afternoon because the meeting may take a while. I didn’t have time to ask questions, so I said ok and rearranged my week to block off the day. I figured the meeting regarded a show we had discussed and that we probably had several meetings lined up back to back. Rick was picking me up at 9 am and at 8:30 he called. “Wear something comfortable,” he said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “Well, you need to wear shorts and tennis shoes,” he replied. “I am NOT wearing shorts and tennis shoes to a meeting!” I said with my voice raising. “Well, I might have stretched the truth a bit about the meeting. We are not exactly going to a meeting today. Just get dressed, and I will explain when I pick you up, be there soon!” He said as he quickly hung up the phone. Grrrr, I was so pissed. I had a super busy schedule and didn’t have time for this shit. I took a deep breath and decided to put on shorts and tennis shoes and meet him outside. Rick had been a great friend, and I wasn’t going to throw a fit when he was trying to do something nice, though I thought about it.

“Where the fuck are we going?” I said as I got into the car and slammed the door. “Good morning to you too,” he said in an annoyingly cheering voice. He immediately started driving, probably so I couldn’t get out of the car. Before he could tell me where we were going I started asking a million questions; “Where are we going? What time will we be back? Will have cell service? Why didn’t you tell me?” “Just relax! You have had a rough couple of weeks, and I think you deserve a day of fun. He didn’t know I was headed to Hawaii in a few days, and I decided to keep that to myself. No need to ruin his fun! As we drove further and further outside of LA, I was totally stumped. Finally, I got it out of him; we were going zip lining at some semi-ski mountain town 2 hours outside of LA. WHAT? I had two thoughts; two hours outside of LA??? And, this was the sweetest thing anyone had done for me in a long time!

Being a girl who is afraid of heights I knew this was going to be a challenge for me, but it was exactly what I needed. The field trip got me out of my head, which has always been pretty difficult to do, and got me smiling and laughing all day. I couldn’t remember the last time I had that much fun. After our zip lining adventure, we went for Mexican food and beers. It was the perfect ending to an unexpected perfect day!

As I left for Hawaii, I knew all the time on my hands would either be a great thing or a not great thing. At times, I feel that too much time on my hands causes me to over think things, wait, but maybe that is wine. Lately overthinking things had become my new past time, and it was dangerous. I started writing in my journal more and more and when I would go back and read the entries it always seemed like someone else had written them. I would swing between sad and lonely to positive glass half full, I can concour the world attitude. I don’t know if it was the roller coaster of emotions or the feeling of being a stranger to myself, but either way it was exhausting! Sabrina would tell me it was perfectly normal, but I felt like I was crazy.

Once I arrived in Hawaii and smelled the ocean air, I decided to treat Hawaii like a spa vacation. I slept a lot, went for long walks each day, swam in the ocean, tried not to drink too much. I wanted to come back from the trip feeling great, and I did.

I came back feeling powerful and recharged. I knew it was going to be a hellish couple of months with work, my pending court date and the holidays. I am not a fan of Halloween and barley recognize it as a holiday, ever. I would spend Thanksgiving in New Hampshire for the Miss New Hampshire USA pageant and though I hated not being with my family on holidays, this year it was a relief. The thought of going home this year didn’t even sound fun. The thought of sitting around a table, seeing friends, and having everyone giving me pitty face was something I was not interested in. I decided work was the perfect excuse to avoid my first holiday as a single!

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

As I think about the holidays and spending time in cooler weather I think about winter coats, and this year I am obsessed with capes! They have such a glamourous European feel to them and they are perfect for fall and winter- in LA there isn’t that much difference!

*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.

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 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.