The Child.

I am not a girl who has ever dated boys; that is what I call men younger than me either emotionally or in actual years. So pretty much everyone. I never even entertained the idea of younger men, that was until Nate. In high school, I dated at least two grades above mine and now it has been as much as a decade and a half at times. Nate was the first guy who ever sparked even a consideration in my mind.

We met at a wine dinner. I arrived at the wine dinner wearing my favorite Beetlejuice jeans (they are wide black and white stripes) and black silk tank top paired with silver pumps that I was obsessed with at the time. I took a friend with me, older gay gentleman, a girl can never risk taking an actual date to this type of event. Friends from Napa were hosting the event, and I was excited to see them. When I arrived at dinner, I heard him before I actually saw him; the accent. In reality I think almost all accents are sexy, except Scottish- then I just feel like I am being spit on. He was an Aussie, and when I turned around, I quickly discovered his face was sexier than his voice. Actually that isn’t true, he was pretty, a younger version of handsome but the combination of the face, accent, and attitude- he was nothing but sexy. My sly girlfriend Mikenna had done the seating, and she sat us across from each other so we could chat. At the end of the night, he slid his receipt across the table. I was slightly confused until I turned it over and discovered his phone number. Right then and there I should have guessed he was a baby, no real man would give me his number, they would ask for mine- but I liked his style.

I tucked his number into my pocket and started plotting how I would contact him. Clearly I wasn’t a gal who is afraid to make the first move, and it made me feel in control… which of course I like. I text him the next day saying it was nice to meet him and picking a point of our conversation from the night before to mention.

“I look forward to an adventure with you in the near future.”

While we were at dinner the group around us started talking about dating in LA, basically how awful it is. He made a point to say that he was done planning dates and only planned adventures. That statement confirmed what I already knew; he wasn’t a dinner and movie typical type of guy. He quickly wrote back that he also looked forward to our first adventure. We then discovered that our schedules would prevent this from happening for at least a few weeks. It was worth the wait.

I had played everything super cool but when it came to the night we were supposed to meet up, I was a nervous wreck. Jack was at my place helping me get dressed, of course. I decided on a flat shoe, so not to appear as one of those girls. We, Jack and I, decided on my J.Crew navy and white summer linen dress that was the perfect length of short and the perfect amount of cleavage. We paired those with my gold Stuart Weitzman gladiator sandals and a classic denim jacket. I was pleased with the look, I couldn’t remember the last time I went on a date without wearing heels.

I had no idea what the date would be, but I never thought it would be as much as it was. We started on the rooftop of building to watch the sunset and drink a bottle of wine he had brought. We continued on to sushi, bowling at a party where his friends were and then back to his place. It might be the best first date I have ever been on. When we got back to his place, we decided to turn on some music, pour a drink, and do a few yoga poses. Nate was the kind of guy that American men, at least where I grew up, are embarrassed to be. Yoga, gourmet food, un-matching colorful socks, loafers, talks about his feelings and wear a speedo when he swims. Above all, he was sexy, the type of sexy that made me feel sexy. As our yoga session began, I found it much more difficult to keep my balance after our night of continuous cocktails. It was about this time I convinced myself it had nothing to do with my intoxicated levels but everything to do with my restricting dress. Lucky for me Nate had an easy solution… I should just take it off. Being the gentleman that he was, he decided to take his pants off as well. That way it wouldn’t be awkward for me. Great Idea!

After our naked yoga and a good make-out session, I had enough wits about me to go home. I called an Uber and headed back to my place. I really liked him, and I knew if that was the case then I needed to slow myself down a step- I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Nate and I would continue to play tag. He would call me, and I wouldn’t be available. I would text him, and he would be working. Finally, we found a night to have date number two. This time it would be dinner with his roommate at a new organic café that had just opened. I loved that he even knew about a place like that- this is what I needed in a guy. I noticed that his friend was young… like really young. This made me again question how old Nate was. When he mentioned that his roommate had just graduated law school an alarm in my head went off. What does that make him, 23, 24, 25 maybe, I thought to myself. Nate could be a few years older, SHIT he is under 30 for sure! My next thought was, Keylee… what the fuck are you doing?

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, 2015. 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.

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!

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*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.

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!

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*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 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!

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*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.