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Secret’s Out: I’m A Disney Princess

While admittedly I’m not a real life Disney Princess, I certainly felt like the Belle of the ball during my first ever trip to Disneyland, California.

As a kid, our annual family vacations always included a trip to Florida’s Disney World. I have countless fond memories of the larger-than-life characters, the thrilling roller-coasters and the endless yummy treats.

This trip was completely different. It was my first time witnessing the magic as an adult. As my fiance, my brother, and my two nieces and I made our way past the infamous mouse ears I couldn’t contain my ear-to-ear grin. I was as excited as Ariel was when she got a pair of legs!

Yes, that excited, Beauties!

I’ve loved Disney princesses since I was a little girl, and who am I kidding, I still do! Each princess has such incredible beauty. Those luscious locks of hair, zero visible pores and wrinkles (those lucky bitches) and most importantly they possess an enormous amount of inner strength, drive and determination. Getting to meet their life-sized versions at Disneyland was a reminder of how much I admired these beautiful creations.

By 11:30am I had checked off the following:

✔️  ride Space Mountain

✔️  proudly wear sequin Minnie Mouse ears

✔️  be present with loving family

✔️ devour delicious pink cotton candy

✔️  cast fears & worries to the wind

✔️  enjoy every second

And then I had a moment. A realization. Why was this joy so overwhelming?

I’d forgotten about my own inner child for far too long.

Beauties, when was the last time you took your inner beauty out for a playdate? See, I’d realized it had been months. I had spent the last 7 months drowning in to-do’s, I’d completely forgotten what it was like to play with no agenda, to soak up the magic and revel in creativity.

A huge part of my beauty therapy is self-care. And a missing link in so many of our self-care regimens is PLAY. We put so much emphasis on doing, and not enough on simply being.

Whenever I find myself anxious, stressed, out of balance and exhausted emotionally & physically, I know I’ve been skimping out on my dose of play.

Why is play so important? Doesn’t it seem like a waste of time and energy when bills need to be paid, family needs must be met and deadlines at work slowly box us into our work work work mindset?

Surely play will seem wasteful when our first priority is work, Beauties. So I challenge you to re-evaluate what’s important. Is it staying busy at work? Making money and accumulating material goods? Or is it enjoying life to its fullest despite all those things?

All things in good measure, I’m not saying quit your job and don’t pay another bill until your dying day. I am saying that bringing play into your routine will create more energy, motivation and joy in your life that will inspire and fuel the passion you have for all the things in your life. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

So take a moment and write down what’s most important. What values do you desire to bring to the forefront of your every day? Focus on what you want more of, not less of. What we focus on grows, and I urge us all to focus on magnifying beauty in all aspects of our life.

What’s important to me? Let me share a list I’m working on:

  1. Joy — without it, nothing else gets done well (if at all)
  2. Health — see above
  3. Family — and this goes for friends, loved ones, and blood relatives — I highly value my community and close friends & family, they are of utmost importance to me. This isn’t to say that family must be a top value for everyone, there are no right or wrong values in life. What’s important is that you sit to think about what is important so you can manifest it.
  4. Purpose — the reason BeautyTherapy.Life was born. Without purpose and meaning, I lack that extra pep in my step and passion for living. But that’s just me.
  5. Love — love is the underlying value that unites all of my values. Without love, there is no joy, health, family or purpose. Love is what we are made of, where we come from and what we go back to. That starts with tremendous amounts of self-love, and that brings me back full circle to…

Disneyland reminded me how much I love and value myself. My inner child. That spirit that was, is, and will be. That aspect of me that is free & innocent, and desiring to explore, connect and love unconditionally! Walt Disney himself said it best, “that’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”

Beauties, let’s play together!

Where can you squeeze in a few moments of playtime daily or weekly into your schedule? Please share some of your favorite places to play! Comment below, Beauties! 

XOXO,

Enjoy my Disney photo diary Beauties 🙂

 

From Beauty Queen to Bride

Planning for a wedding is a unique process —  a wild, and (if you’re lucky) a once-in-a-lifetime journey, filled with twists and turns and highs and lows. The preparations leading up to the momentous walk down the aisle bring out so many emotions and opportunities for growth for everyone involved in the planning process. It’s no wonder there are reality shows, magazines and a plethora of stores and specialty services dedicated solely to the world of wedding and wedding planning.

But I don’t need to tell you that, do I? I’m sure you’ve heard and seen and even witnessed first-hand the fabulous frenzy of a loved one’s wedding season, or the impact of your own.

I’m here to share my unique journey, as a has-been beauty queen transforming into a bride.

I grew up in the pageant world, which meant wearing lavish dresses, high heels and fabulous hair and makeup from an early age. The attention paid to picking the perfect dress is not a foreign concept to me, as I grew up with my mother scrutinizing every inch and fabric of each competition gown.

Most little girls dream about their wedding and their wedding dress, but not me. I dreamt about my Miss USA gown instead. Plus, coming from a divorced family didn’t lead me to daydream about the perfect marriage.

Being a former beauty queen and now a bride bare quite the resemblance:

  1. Pageants and weddings both have their BIG DAY, where a crowd of adoring people gather to witness the proceeding.
  2. Both have a special (and often nerve-racking) countdown, which require preparing  mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  3. Both require paying close attention to every detail, from hair to nails — and if you’re like me, you aim for perfection. I know, I know, but hey–I’m a work in progress too!  
  4. And, of course, both involve THE DRESS! That’s right, the big reveal, the make or break, the final wardrobe change has to illicit wild ooohs and ahhhs!

Within the challenge of carving out the differences between a pageant and my big wedding day, came some comfort. Having the experience preparing for many a competition actually made my transition into bride-hood a bit easier. I found myself looking at this challenge as my biggest blessing — I’ve been down this road many times, and I in fact know what emotional/physical/spiritual preparation I need to get myself centered. Self-care nudged its way to the top of my to-do list.

That being said, picking my wedding dress definitely pushed some familiar buttons. This dress better be the best, you need to look perfect, blah, blah, blah!  This particular dress wasn’t just any dress, it was THE dress of all dresses, and I had to get this right.

So, how did I handle the triggers?

  1. Self Love — Be Your Own Best Beauty Coach

I gave myself a lot of love, and time, and encouragement. I was patient with my little beauty-queen self, who was scared to “lose” and “not be perfect” and “disappoint.” And because of the preparation and awareness I gave to my insecurities, the has been beauty queen inside of me, I was able to coach her off her high horse when she came up to try and make me feel imperfect.

  1. Patience — Every Experience Is Unique

I mentioned the advantage I have of pageant prep going into wedding season. However, I had to be careful to prepare for my wedding like I’d never prepared for a pageant stage. Pageantry wasn’t a marriage, it wasn’t one of the biggest decisions of my life. Love and marriage require an inner guidance and knowing that pageantry doesn’t. There aren’t judges and coaches. With marriage the ultimate guide is your very own intuition, and the honest communication between you and your partner. I had to be patient with myself as I travelled down some new and unfamiliar terrain.

  1. Joy!

The location, the invitations, the cake, the flowers, the dresses, who to invite, the seating, the registry. The list of to-do’s can feel as one-dimensional as a shade of foundation with no inner soulfulness to bring the honey beige to life. To plan without joy and love is no planning at all, an invitation without blissful intention will lack energy when opened by the recipient.

And then I had a little come to Jesus moment…that the very essence of both a beauty queen and a bride is this, we just want to be the best versions of ourselves, especially on the big day!

The process for me through my personal wedding season brought up a whole lot of stuff that I didn’t realize was still beneath the exterior. Growth never stops, in fact the opportunities for growth (often disguised as challenges during huge life transitions) bring up some of the unseen darkness that’s been waiting to see the light of day. And that’s all the drama that the shows catch, that the magazines expand upon and that so many of the wedding services cater to. With precious life moments come vulnerability, fear, and pain. It’s a normal part of life. But what we do with it is up to us.

And by the end of the second week of shopping, I was thrilled to have said a big YES to the dress of my dreams! Not because it was anybody else’s favorite but because it was mine.

Whew!

There’s more blooming to go in my personal wedding season. And I’ll admit, while challenges arise (and I initially attempt to avoid them), I’m so grateful for the opportunity to create a momentous occasion with my vulnerability in tow.

Why, Beauties?

Because I know this heartwarming event and all its trimmings will have the added fulfillment that hard work and transformation afford. And walking down that aisle will feel that much more magical if I can leave my jaded and bully of a has-been beauty queen at home.

Plus, it made looking at my mom with tears in her eyes, through tears of my own, such an everlasting memory that I’ll forever cherish. I’m lucky I was present, vulnerable and emotionally available to receive the moment in all its beauty.

I’d love to hear how you’ve navigated your own wedding seasons, and any tips you have for me and other soon-to-be brides trying to keep their head (and beauty) on straight?

Comment below, I can’t wait to hear from you Beauties!

XOXO,

The Beauty of a Birthday

Birthdays are beautiful, aren’t they Beauties?! A glorious 24-hour window in time dedicated to celebrating being YOU and only you!

Well, I’ll admit birthdays are slightly more conflicting for me.

Let me explain…

The most commonly asked question for me on my big day is “So, what did you get?!”

It’s not a bad question. Presents on my miraculous day of entering this magical Universe are appreciated, they’re generous tokens of love and affection. But, I think more importantly is the question, “So what did you give?”

A week ago I turned 32.

That’s 32 entire years of living, growing, learning, discovering, re-discovering — more importantly, that’s 11,680 days filled with opportunities to share. Wow! That’s a lot of days, Beauties. Seeing that number brings up a lot of joy in remembering some beautiful moments over the past year:

 

I got engaged!

My last full year with the last name I’ve known all my life, Barnette. And I really like that name, and all the memories that come with it! Making the transition to a new chapter as Mrs. Sanger was made so much easier by my handsome prince, who gave me the most beautiful, thoughtful proposal — something I’ll forever cherish. We’ve had almost five years together through thick and thin, and I am thrilled to step into this new chapter together.

 

I launched my dream brand and social platform — Beauty Therapy!

A virtual dream come true, but also a big leap of faith. I was scared, and admittedly still am at times, but I pushed and continue to push past the fear and into a medium of connection with all of you. Being able to relate and share with all of you makes my heart smile. Truly.

 

I traveled the globe!

Over the past year I traveled to Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, England, Spain, French Polynesia, Dubai, Africa, Italy and Mexico. To uproot and regroup abroad has helped me to widen my own horizons, and learn so much about the world and my place within it.

 

I fulfilled some major professional dreams!

Co-hosting Super Bowl LI Live was a dream come true. Being able to work alongside talented and knowledgeable hosts on one of the biggest platforms in our country was a humongous high! I even managed to grace a few magazine covers, which is a dream I prayed for when I was a kid, a dream that’s coming true. The last year also saw me working as a Lagree Fitness trainer in West Hollywood, giving me the opportunity to share health and positivity with others.

 

I spent an enormous amount of energy working on myself, from the inside out!

I claimed last year as the year I would not only focus on internal strength and growth, but also share it with the world around me. That’s not an easy feat. I’m a private person by nature and public self-expression goes far outside of my comfort zone, but another part of me knew this public declaration was necessary and timely.

But at the same time, all of the moments and gifts I received above are nothing if not accompanied by moments of giving to others.

What am I getting at?

I dedicate this birthday and my entire 32nd year to giving to you, my Beauties.

And I’d love to hear what’s at the top of your wish list.

What gifts can I give to you, my Beauties (and to the Universe at large while we’re at it)? How can I  leave my mark and add more beauty in your personal life?

Is it beauty tips? Is it access to Hollywood experts and top level gurus? Is it an inside peek into my travels? Is it lighthearted content to bring a smile to your face and peace to your heart? What do you need?

And on that note, I bid a grateful farewell to 31, as I graciously welcoming 32 with open arms. And excitedly await to hear your beauty therapy needs!

xoxo,