It’s Never Too Late to Create the Life You Want

Danielle TamesIt’s Never Too Late to Create the Life You Want – Danielle’s Story

Twelve years ago, if somebody had told me that this would be my Life, I would have told them that they were completely insane. That is the funny thing about Life, no matter how hard we try to control it or plan it all out, Life has a mind of its own. Life does what it dang well pleases.

Back in 2002, I was in my early 20s and had recently moved back to Atlanta after a one year stint in my hometown of New York City. As much as I love my extended family and friends, living in New York dug up issues from my childhood, and triggered unhealthy behaviors that at the time, I was unwilling to address. I bolted back down South at my first opportunity, I needed to escape and I ran as fast as I could, back to the Southern pleasantries and magnolias; and into the arms of the man that would become my husband. Back then, I wasn’t looking to get married. I was looking to find myself, and for the love and acceptance that I had been longing for since I was a child. It was never my intention to begin living with my then boyfriend right away, but that Life thing had other plans.

I rented an apartment with two close friends in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. It was a nice place that none of us and our 24 year old salaries could afford on our own. We signed the lease, and were excited to move in when the unthinkable happened. One of my roommates was killed in a car accident. The days that followed were a blur, packing up his things and bringing them back to his family and attending his service in South Carolina. My other roommate and I were both reeling with grief, and couldn’t afford the apartment on our own, so we split apart and I went to live with my boyfriend until I figured out my next steps. I hardly had time to collect myself when I received a call that my close friend from high school and college had been killed in a motorcycle accident. With only 3 weeks between the passings of two of my closest friends, to say that I had an emotional collapse is a mild understatement.

I had never thought of myself as a fragile person before. I knew that I had issues – as we all do – and growing up in a challenging environment where I had never received the encouragement and support that I craved, I developed unhealthy coping mechanisms. I punished myself by denying my body nourishment, I was a people pleaser who would rather be miserable myself than to ask for what I needed because I never felt deserving of anything good. I didn’t feel worthy. I was taught that being selfish was a horrible personality trait. After the deaths of my friends, I spiraled and couldn’t handle my grief or my own life and was more than willing to hand it over to someone and let them deal with it. That person was my then boyfriend.

A year after the passing of my friends, I entered treatment. I was desperate to climb out of the hole of depression that I had dug for myself. It had been the year from hell. I lost myself in my sadness, and I punished myself in a futile attempt to regain control. Any joy, curiosity, or interest that I had disappeared and I was on auto pilot. I had zero concern for my own health or well-being. I meandered through life, taking direction and doing as I was told by my significant other, all the while I drifted further and further away from the girl I had been before. That girl was not weak; at least not on the outside. Though I viewed my boyfriend as supportive because I was such a train wreck, I was blind to how controlling he was; or maybe I was just numb. Though part of me believes that he was glad that I sought help, I also see how much it scared him. Even though he is someone who doesn’t believe in medication, I know he was relieved that I was prescribed antidepressants that flattened my mood. I couldn’t reach those terrible lows, but I couldn’t feel joy either. Slowly, I began functioning and working again. We became engaged and married the following year.

Danielle TamesFor so long, I viewed our relationship as a good one, and in some ways, life saving for me. Looking back, he kept me afloat, and supported me – but more in the way that a father cares for his child and not like a man values his wife. All decisions were made by him; he had absolute control over everything from finances and where we lived, when and how we exercised, where we went, what we did, what we ate and even what I wore. I had to be there when he arrived home from work, and I could never talk to family and friends on the phone if he was present. The week after my 29th birthday, he announced that we were moving across the country. There was no discussion. I was taken along with him; it was easier than fighting a battle that I would lose, but I was miserable. I never wanted to move to Phoenix, but oddly enough, it became the city of my rebirth, just like the mythical Phoenix itself – it was here that I rose from the ashes.

Five months after we moved to Phoenix, my husband’s company closed. The mortgage and real estate market crashed and since my husband had been the main source of income for our family, it was devastating. He had total control of our finances – he wouldn’t even let me know where our assets were – but I had trust in him at first. He was my husband. I made lifestyle adjustments and eliminated expenses I thought we could do without. Since we had lost our health insurance, I weaned myself off of my antidepressants. After the medication had left my system, the fog lifted and I started to wake up.

I found my voice. Things that I had let go of as to not start a fight, I spoke up about. I wanted to become an active participant in my Life, and quit letting things just happen to me. I had turned a blind eye to the countless, horrible, betrayals in my marriage, feeling that I never deserved more than what I was getting, that it was selfish of me to stand up for myself. After all, who did I think I was? All of a sudden, I had the stirrings of WORTH and it terrified me, but it terrified my husband even more.

For me, my worth came from my new career in medical sales. Though initially scared to take the opportunity, I didn’t think I could do it and feared that I would fail miserably, I flourished. I found that I loved my job, which I was good at, and I felt valued. I was empowered by my ability as an earner, a resource, and a capable woman. At work, I could be the person that I truly was inside, and not have to make myself small for anyone to earn their approval. I was fearless and confidant. For the first time in my life, I felt good enough, and this started a tidal wave of events that I never could have predicted.

This brand new feeling of worthiness gave me the strength to leave a marriage that had become controlling, manipulative, oppressive, and deceitful. I don’t believe that my now ex-husband acted out of malice, I believe that he signed up for a wife who had no will of her own and he preferred it that way. Instead of growing together, he wanted all aspects of our life together to be dictated by him alone, and that didn’t work for me anymore. Some of the things that he did and said in a desperate attempt to regain control of our marriage, still echo in my mind at times, and I fight to squash the feelings those memories dig up.

When I left my ex, I had $50 in my checking account, he had wiped out my savings, and I had no furniture in the apartment that I needed my family’s help to rent. I remember sitting on the floor in the empty living room and crying uncontrollably. How was this Life? I was scared and alone, I had been isolated from friends and moved to the opposite side of the country from everyone that I knew and loved.

Little did I know that Life was just beginning for me. I am my own woman and free to make my own choices. I have learned to trust my judgment, speak my mind, and stand up for myself and others. I have learned to accept my mistakes when I make them and try not to punish myself for perceived shortcomings. I have learned about love and loss; I have experienced devastating heartbreak and also true friendships. I have become emotionally intelligent and situationally aware. Most importantly, I have learned to set boundaries and establish what is healthy for me and what isn’t. As a first born, a Virgo, and a chronic people pleaser, learning to speak up and say NO, which is sometimes painful for me to do, has been a huge step. I have also learned that it is okay to remove toxic people from my life, even if they are my own flesh and blood. I have learned that sometimes it is okay to be selfish. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Though this is the end of my essay, it is really still just the beginning. It is never too late to begin to create the life that you want and deserve to have. I am a work in progress – we all are. After years in a gilded cage, I am still learning about what makes me tick. I am rediscovering myself and what I like to do, where my passion lies. I am working on getting outside of my comfort zone and to quit worrying about what others may think of me, or worry about failing. I am eternally grateful to my wonderful friends, family members, and people who are a part of my every day for being there and making my life richer. They have picked me up off of the floor, dusted me off, and helped me to see that I CAN, even when every fiber of me screamed otherwise. I want to live my life with authenticity, and to really and truly be present for each and every moment. Being vulnerable is a big part of that, and each day I am taking a step to show the world who I really am, love me or not. The words that I have written right here are a leap of faith. So here I am, essentially naked on your screen; bearing my soul and my story, but this time I am comfortable with the discomfort because I am comfortable with me.

“BEST Mascara” – Cari Baker, Makeup Artist

Cari Baker, Makeup Artist

Cari Baker, Makeup Artist

“BEST Mascara I have EVER used” – Cari Baker, Makeup Artist

Oh the woes of a makeup artist.. Rarely do I get sucked into the vortex of “Its the next big thing, Its Amazing, It’ll change your life blah blah blah..”

But Urban Decay Cosmetics …with your shiny packaging and your promise of the Biggest Baddest Blackest lashes ever, I’ll be danged if you didn’t woo me to the add To Cart button! [Read more...]

How to STOP Breakouts – Over 30 years old

photo (3)How to STOP Breakouts – Over 30 years old

For awhile there I had terrible skin. Breakouts all the time.

  • I was told it was hormones. 
  • I was told I needed expensive skincare products. 
  • I was told to change my pillow case every day. 
  • I was told to clean my cell phone daily.

But it took a lunch with my friend #jjVirgin - and she asked why the hell was I eating dairy….”doesn’t it make you break out?” Uhm, I honestly didn’t know since my skin still looked terrible – even after I did all of the above. 

You see, eating healthy is something I love. So, I used to eat low fat cottage cheese and organic milk every day because it was ‘healthy’.

Almost immediately after STOPPING ALL DAIRY – my skin cleared and stays clear…until I eat dairy again.

Are you over 30 with skin that breaks out? Have you tried eliminating dairy? Eliminate dairy and eat/drink 8-10 servings of veggies EVERY DAY to dramatically change your skin.  See my Beauty Juice Recipe HERE

And yes, the more things you do, the better your skin will be.  So…..

  • Use skin care with active ingredients (like retinal, salicylic acid, etc.) – 30-90 days to see results
  • Get your hormones balanced by a naturopathic physician or endocronologist who specializes in hormones (sometimes it’s something as simple as getting a prescription for birth control) – 30-90 days to see results
  • Eliminate dairy (That means EVERYTHING dairy) – 1-3 weeks to see results
  • Consume 8-10 servings veggies daily (eat them or drink them) – 1-3 weeks to see results

What have you noticed makes a big difference in how your skin looks?

Tips for Savvy Moms

all things mamaTips for Savvy Moms

By now, you’ve probably seen the 7 quick and easy things you can do to help you go from feeling drab to feeling FAB, right?  Well, recently I chatted with All Things Mama star, Nadine Bubeck about a FEW of the 7 things.  Sometimes it’s fun for you to have a visual.  So here you go.   [Read more...]

Diane Aiello – World Class Makeup Artist

Diane AielloDiane Aiello – World Class Makeup Artist

Diane and I met over our love of toffee….specifically our love of our friend Stacey who co-owns Goody Two’s Toffee (which is seriously THE BEST toffee in the whole entire world.  Seriously..

We bonded over our passion for helping women look and feel amazing.  Diane’s resume is to-die-for and she’s one of the most coveted makeup artists to work with.  And EVERYONE loves her!  Models, photographers, agents, editors….everyone!  Why?  Because she gets the best possible results for whatever the project is.  Whether it’s a high-fashion, vintage-glam, fresh and natural….whatever it is, she captures it in a way that is beautiful and polished.

Here’s more about her including a small sampling of the magazines, celebrities and designers who have trusted her with their image……. [Read more...]

LeeAnne Locken – She’s Got the Look

LeeAnne Locken

LeeAnne Locken

One day I’m sitting in my living room watching this fabulous new model search show – searching for women OVER 35, called “She’s Got the Look.”  Instantly I’m obsessed.  Some of the women are mothers.  Some of the women have been focusing on their careers.  Many had put their dreams on hold or given up on what they REALLY wanted to do – pursue a legitimate career in modeling.

All the women competing were beyond gorgeous AND inspirational.  One in particular stood out.  She had that larger than life Texas swagger, confidence, poise and the most STUNNING face.   She was one of the last ladies standing.  Her name?  LeeAnne Locken.  Fast forward to now.  This beauty not only still works in the modeling, acting, hosting world, MORE IMPORTANTLY….She’s working in the REAL world – of HELPING people.  Turns out the girl with the big Texas swagger also has a big Texas heart.

She uses her voice and her image for the most noble cause of all – making a difference.  Want to know more about this beauty?  READ on……. [Read more...]

Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Beauty Expert Rachelle McCraySpring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Spring is in the air.  That means it’s time to spring clean your closet and your cosmetics….but let’s thing about it as spring cleaning for fun things!  Because I’m going to show you a way to get rid of what isn’t making you look and feel like the BOMBSHELL and Red Haute Mama that you are, AND help you use your newfound space to add FREE pieces of clothing, accessories, and beauty products to your bombshell arsenal.  

 

READY?   [Read more...]

Alicia Blanco – 2nd Runner Up, Miss USA 2009

Alicia Blanco

Alicia Blanco – 2nd Runner Up, Miss USA 2009

Alicia and I knew of one another for awhile, but we became instant friends the day I helped her put on her underwear ….backstage at a fashion show!  (***This is NOT how I usually meet my friends!!  LOL***  Her dress was too tight to bend down and pull them up herself.  In the pageant world I’ve been known to do butt glue (a roll-on adhesive that sticks your swimsuit to your tush so your suit doesn’t ride up while you strut your stuff on stage) so pulling on someone’s underwear was no big deal.  And it’s not the first time I’ve made friends this way!

But there is something extra special about Alicia.  She is one of the kindest, most giving and caring women I’ve ever met.  Do you want to know about this inspirational beauty who is the living definition of “Beauty Inside and Out”?? [Read more...]

Tiffany Hendra – Sanctuary of Style

Tiffany HendraTiffany Hendra – Sanctuary of Style

A couple of years ago I was in Hollywood filming a video series and I invited a girlfriend to dinner.  She asked if she could invite a friend she thought I’d enjoy meeting.  That’s how I met the GORGEOUS and spiritual Tiffany Hendra!  We bonded over kale salad, inspiring women, and our love of our superstar husbands.  (Although her hubby IS an actual SUPERSTAR!  His new album releases soon www.aaronhendra.com  And check out how cute he is….AND he has a super-sexy Australian accent!)

She may look like a goddess, but since she is human of course everything hasn’t always been perfect for her.  Let’s find out more about this bold beauty and WHY she now has such a charmed life….

[Read more...]

How to Dress Younger – (And Still Look Age Appropriate)

My Daughter is 16

My Daughter is 16

How to Dress Younger – (And Still Look Age Appropriate)

It’s official.  I feel old.

My daughter is now 16.  My friends who are older than I am are just starting to have babies, so you and I both know I’m not really old.  But boy-oh-boy there is something about YOUR children getting older that makes you feel older.

Regardless of how old you are (in chronological years or in spirit), you can look young (and FEEL young) with how you dress. [Read more...]