He Said, She Said.

Well, I did it. I survived the first year of being single. My first Valentines Day, first birthday, first wedding anniversary, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Years and finally my first year anniversary of walking out on the life I knew. I did it! Wahoo, my year of firsts was over! Then it occurred to me, now I have to have a year of seconds, and I was still single! Ugh! One of the ways I got through the first year was telling myself, “don’t worry next year will be different!” Would it really be or was I still lying to myself?

January had been a very tough month. While in New York for the Miss New York USA pageant, I got very sick. I called my super doctor in Beverly Hills and asked for my usual miracle cure cocktail; antibiotics strong enough to cure an elephant, pain-killers, steroid inhaler and the “really good” cough syrup. He told me he couldn’t prescribe a narcotic across state lines and that I needed to see a doctor in New York. Blah, so annoying, I didn’t have time to see a doctor, I had a hundred things to do before the pageant and being sick was not one of them.

Thank goodness Jack was there, I agreed to go to urgent care so I could get some meds. Jack drove me to the urgent care and I ended up in the emergency room. I found myself waiting in the hallway on a stretcher with Jack sitting at the end of my bed covering his face with his scarf; he looked a little like the paparazzi photos of Michael Jackson. After a chest x-ray and a few tests and a lot of waiting around, I found out I had come down with pneumonia, for the second time in my life. I was laid out on a stretcher and not even a cute doctor in sight! Jack filled out all of the paperwork and gave them my insurance info.

“Sorry ma’am, do you have another insurance card? This one is no good.” The admissions lady informed me as I lie in a hospital bed wishing I could just go home.

“Excuse me, what do you mean it is not good. We have insurance; you must have entered it wrong!” Jack said like the momma bear he was, his voice going into the higher pitch it reached when he was really getting angry.

The woman walked back and pretended she tried it again. When she walked back, she said, “I am sorry, this is no good” and shoved the card back to Jack.

“Where is my phone?” I said with as much energy as I could.

“Why?” Jack asked.

“Give it to me!” I snapped.

I started furiously texting my ex. “What the fuck! I am in the hospital and being told I have no health insurance, are you fucking kidding me??? After all the shit, you put me through and now I have to deal with this?”

He text back fairly quickly, acting concerned and confused. “What? Are you ok? What happened? Of course, you have insurance!”

“Well, I am being told I don’t, you need to fix this and fix it NOW!” I typed back.

“I will fix it! ARE YOU OK???” He demanded.

“I am fine, just get my insurance fixed!” I was in no mood to fill him in on personal details of my life, nor did I want his sympathy.

I had to sign my life away to get out of the hospital, but to be fair I found out I did have insurance. He had changed insurance plans, and I didn’t have the proper card. But it was his fault that I didn’t have the card, at least I did have some insurance though I would be paying off that ER visit for the next year.

We had just finished Miss California USA the weekend before, and the New York pageant was going to be even more work, it was a more green staff and I had spent months working on it. I was beside myself, thank God Jack was there. We left the ER, went to Walgreens for the usual; prescriptions, Kleenex (the hotel tissue was shit), Gatorade, saltine crackers, cough drops and gossip magazines. The doctor said I had to stay in bed and couldn’t leave my room. What? How the hell was I going to do that when I had a pageant to produce? I had two days until the girls checked in so I decided I would be totally well by then! Yes, it had been a rough year but I wasn’t in that bad of shape, I thought to myself. I was sure I would bounce back quickly; I survived the last year I could survive this.

As I lay in my hotel bed, which was only marginally more comfortable than the hospital stretcher, I found myself too tired to even operate the remote to turn the channel on my TV. Fuck, I was really sick! I hated being sick, especially away from home. I didn’t even have anyone to send me flowers or that I could call and complain about how sick I was. My business partner was nice about it, but I could tell he was stressed. I was staying in my room in order to not expose anyone else on staff and have them get sick!

As the days moved on, I wasn’t getting better. As contestants arrived, I told myself that I would stay in bed until competition night and then would feel better! Well, that wasn’t true either but after a couple of days the guilt and stress took over. I managed to take a shower and wash my hair; I had to lie back down after that. The most simple task simply exhausted me.

I finally made it the theatre where the pageant was being held and about half way through the first show and after finishing a bit of filming I had committed to doing. I had to go back; I was too sick. I felt so awful for leaving everyone else with all the work and not being there to the level I should have. I missed almost all of it; I missed most of the weekend.

At the end as sad as I was to miss the pageant, but I was happy it was over. I couldn’t wait to get home, I had less than a week before we left for Paris and I wasn’t about to be sick on that trip!

Ah, Paris. I was excited beyond description!

Single & Stylish,

Xx Keylee

*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 Was In Stage Three.

After my October 8th burning ceremony, I felt a bit better. It is amazing what a little pyro- therapy can do for the soul. I decided to take that “better” feeling, slow down and reflect on what had happened the last nine months. I first turned to Gina and Lisa for a girl’s sushi night. This had become our tradition, and it was our favorite form of group therapy- with sake! I then turned to Sabrina. She was proud of me for burning my wedding photos and felt it was good therapy. She was also proud of me sending an email to my husband’s family. Though it had been a few days I had not heard back anything from any of them, funny thing was, I didn’t care. I didn’t write that email for a response, I wrote that email for me. I hadn’t spewed anger at them; it wasn’t the goal. I had plenty of it, but I knew it was pointless. I basically said that I would spare them the ugly details, I wished things had turned out different, and I wished them all well.

Though my life was fun and seemed exciting from the outside, and much of it was, I was lonely. I had become an expert at avoiding my feelings, pretending everything was ok and getting on with my life – but that had not gotten me very far. The reality of my situation started to settle in, like really settle in. Ever since the one-year anniversary all I could think about it is, “it was one- year since…” this or that.

At work, we were all preparing to head to the east coast for New Hampshire pageant orientation. One-year prior I had gone to the New Hampshire pageant orientation the weekend after my wedding. We had decided to put off our honeymoon due to our work schedules. In fact, the day after our wedding we flew to Las Vegas for a work conference that my husband needed to attend. Literally twenty-four hours after my wedding I was at a cocktail party on my new husbands arm schmoozing and being the supportive Mrs. Married Woman. Two-days after we returned home, I barely had time to unpack and head to the airport. This was normal life for us; we both often traveled and had adapted to mutual hectic schedules over the past several years. It hadn’t always been easy, but we found our groove.

I was heading east, and my husband was speaking on a work conference in Napa. He was a bit nervous for his speech, but he was so charismatic I knew he would do great and charm the room in an instant. I kissed my new husband curbside at the airport and was off. We kept in touch throughout the weekend via text and brief phone calls. The three hour time difference made it difficult but we made it work. He told me his speech went well and sent me a photo of a wine label from the bottle he was enjoying at the dinner. Since moving to San Francisco, we had started to enjoy wine so whenever either of us had a special bottle we would send the other a photo of the label. It was our way of saying, “wish you were here.”

He spent the weekend, what should have been our honeymoon, networking and entertaining. I spent the weekend working with pageant girls and parents, proudly showing off my new ring. Though the trip was going well, I had so much guilt for having to go to New Hampshire. I had was married less than a week and here I had flown off, leaving my poor husband. I felt like a terrible wife. He reassured me that it was fine, it was going to be mostly men at the conference anyway he said. I was so lucky to have such a supportive husband.

What I would later learn is that my husband spent the weekend in Napa, not alone, but with Katy. I even found the same photo of the wine bottle on her Facebook page months later. When people would ask me about our honeymoon, “no we didn’t take one, well my husband did, he just didn’t invite me.” Had become my standard smart-ass reply. Needless to say, we never took a honeymoon.

During my next session with Sabrina, I told her I wanted to step up the work I was doing. I, of course, thought that if I could speed through the steps and really dive in, I would be back to my old self that much quicker. I know that sounds crazy, but it made sense at the time. I started dating less, and though I was still in my bad habit of recycling I decided only to spend time with those in my life that made me feel good about myself. In LA that is hard to find but I was lucky to have supportive friends.

The one person, man, I knew I could still rely on was Rick. Rick and I had stayed close and for some reason I felt close enough to him to tell him everything. All the dates, the drama, my feelings… which I shared with almost no one. I kept thinking that if I pretended I was ok, I would eventually actually be ok. This act might have eventually worked in the long run, but it wasn’t working for now. Rick could see the semi- self-destructive path I was on, and I think he stayed close and put up with my over-sharing to make sure I didn’t spiral out of control.

I decided to take a break from men, which, let’s be honest, lasted all of about 15 minutes, and I was busy at work which kept me focused. We were only a few weeks away from our first pageant of the season, and things were getting hectic. I started staying later and later at the office. I didn’t like being alone in my apartment, so I started going home late and left early each morning. I started going to the gym again and decided to do whatever I could to get myself into a good place. Sabrina told me to be a bit selfish; that is what I planned to do.

Sabrina and I also discussed the five stages of grief and loss: 1. Denial and Isolation 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance

At this point, I was in stage 3. Bargaining. When you feel helplessness and vulnerability, you have a need to regain control. I needed to regain control of something in my life. The hardest part was I didn’t even know what I was trying to regain control of. During this stage many people try to give the marriage one last-ditch effort, this was not my case. I defiantly had zero desire to give my marriage another try; I just wanted to give my life another try. The life I had before I ever met my husband.

I did eventually get a response to the email I had sent on October 8th, eight days later. The response was what I expected; brief, empathetic, and final. We never spoke again.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

When you are going through an “all about me phase,” it is good to spoil yourself a bit! Here are a few things that will make you feel spoiled but won’t ruin your wine budget!

*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.