Thursday, December 3, 2015

To my Pageant Sisters...

To all of my pageant sisters,

I've been thinking of how I can say all of this for a while. Hopefully the words come out right.

I look back to my first year when I competed as a teen. I knew NOTHING about pageants.

Who on earth let me go on stage wearing that dress?
* palm to face *

But I was 100% myself, I didn't ever have the thought of winning that crown cross my mind because I didn't even think it was a possibility. My smiles were 100% genuine and I was so shocked when I placed the way I did AND won photogenic?! This must not be real.

So I found myself in the pageant mix. If you've never competed before you'll soon understand. I wanted to compete again and again, and so I did.

It quickly become more and more about that shiny sparkly crown. More about the title and the feeling that I thought would come with it. I'm sure I denied that it was my goal and desire to win...but that's the downright truth.

Each year I found myself a step further from the crown. The more effort I put into becoming who I thought I should be the further away I got. Didn't even make the top 5, which in hindsight is a blessing because those questions were HARD!!!

Hence I find myself here...sitting on my couch stalking your Instagram and snapchat accounts to live through each one of you,

And it's this moment sitting on my couch with my dogs eating pizza that I realize...

I have finally won.

I forgot what that journey was all about.

So here are my two cents for you.

You are so brave. You had the guts to sign up and put yourself in a bikini in the public eye, geez girl! More power to you!!

You are so much more than a crown. Do not let your insecurities or the beautiful babes that surround you make you feel any less about who YOU are.

Maybe you skipped the gym a few times... But do not discredit all of the work you have put into this weekend. This is YOUR moment. Smile as big as you can and rock that stage.

The memories are what you will miss most when you're not competing. The backstage dance parties and funny mishaps. The friends you make are real, I know because I moved across the country with a girl I met at a pageant, I have late night chats with girls I met there, I call some of them my best friends.

Whether I know you or not I am cheering for you. I know how hard it is, I really do. But stop competing for a crown and compete for Miss Congeniality. Compete for future friendships, and find 100 times you can be a better woman and a role model to your "competition" this weekend.

Keep your eyes open for the girls who might need an extra compliment, a bit of advice, or just a quick laugh.

You are not a judge so stop judging. Yourself, others, dresses, hair, makeup, none of that matters. Your worth is not materialistic so get to know what's in each of these beautiful girls hearts this weekend.

You want to be a role model? Congrats, mission accomplished!! I'm looking up to each one of you. I want to BE you this weekend.

Take a deep breath and live in this moment. Stop chasing that crown, and embrace the experience. What will be will be.

I never won a crown.
I never shot with Fadil.
I never stepped a foot on Miss USA or had a crowning moment.

But I have gained so much more from the years I have competed and I wouldn't trade it for a thing.

Shed a tear, eat a burrito, have a few drinks....but wake up Sunday and know that you were the best you that you could be and enjoy the experience while it lasts. You'll blink and interviews will be over, your sash will be frayed, and your spray tan will be splotchy. But you will have so much more than that, I promise.

I love you all. Please please call me, text me, and know I am here cheering for you. Each one of you. Xoxoxo

Saturday, May 3, 2014


The warmth of an individuals embrace

A moment of comfort

A way to say hello
I'm sorry

A term defined as:

to squeeze (someone) tightly in one's arms, typically to express affection.

There is more power in a single hug

then there will ever be in a thousand words. 

I have experienced all sorts of strangely amazing hugs this week.

Hugs from old familiar faces

Hugs from people I love deeply

Quick side hugs

The memory of a hug.

Hugs from people I have watched grow up.

Hugs from a child

Hugs from a hero.

A sad hug.

A happy hug.

A hug that felt safe.

I'm not one to normally wear my emotions on my sleeve...

or in my back pocket at that...

I usually keep them locked in a safe that was dropped 
 in the Arctic Ocean 
under a thick covering of ice.

Safe from the world in a place where they will not be hurt, nor heard.

A catastrophic series of events occured this week which resulted in

the global warming of my soul

The ice covering melted away. 

An anchor pulled up that safe 

The safe that contains my feelings

Here they are

the stream of tears will not stop for more then a few hours

I have felt them all- even if for a split second.

I have spoken words that my pride would devour.

All I long for is for one of those amazing hugs I received to last a little longer.

My dogs don't have arms.

Here I am. 

for a hug.

There are more wishes then stars

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In a Moment Everything can Change.

If words could describe all of the thoughts running through my head I feel as if they might still fall short.

Here I am listening to songs over and over again

Reading quotes on how to live in the moment.

Talking about how you need to say what you need to say when you feel it

Because that moment is all that you can count on

Because you don't know who you might loose tomorrow

Then I wake up-
to find out that one of my heroes, one of my mentors, and a person who has influenced my life in more ways then I could EVER possibly thank---

In the blink of an eye.

She is superwoman.

This isn't possible.

She was a hero and someone that so so many girls looked up to.

I find my mind running through all the times I disappointed her.  

Remembering the times that she hugged me and I could feel that she was proud of me. 

The opportunities she gave me to step up who I was and be a leader

The after school talks we had when all she wanted to know was if I was okay

Did I thank her enough
Did I write her enough cards to tell her she changed my life?
Did she know what an impact she truly made?

The amount of laughs we had way too early in the morning and knowing that the more hours I spent in that room the better my day went are just memories now.

I owe her...
She created a second family for me.  A group of girls I would do anything for.  
Creating a space where I felt like it was okay to be me
A place where the more outside of the box I thought the more unique the art became.
A place where it was okay to make mistakes and trip and fall because I kicked a little too hard
or spun a little too quick. 

I owe her...
For all of the times she told me I was better then that. 
For ignoring my lack of technique and believing in my passion.
For all of those times she forgave me for falling short, smiled, and hugged me. 

She IS a part of me. A part of my heart, my soul, and my passion.

It's amazing the impact one human can make in your life.  
The difference a little belief and a lot of love can make on a girl that is lost and confused by everything the world is throwing at her. 

Without her I wouldn't be me.  

I want to write her one more card.  I want to tell her one more time.
 Thank you for changing my life.
Thank you for opening my eyes to who I could be.

I wanted her to see me in 5 years....
and to give me that same smile and hug me 
and let me know that I had done okay.  

I wanted to show her that all the extra time and love she gave me was not a waste.
Or given to a lost cause.
That she was the inspiration behind it all.  
That I wanted to be her and pay it forward to more kids like me. 
Give them a judgmental free place to be themselves and find their passion.

I was so excited for that moment.

I guess that's what they mean by this moment is all you are guaranteed.

Life is a lesson.  
The lessons I learned in that room under her wing have helped me everyday.  
metaphorically and literally

I love you Queen Stoddard. 

I love the person you've helped me become.  
I will still show you someday.
I will try to be a little bit more like you everyday
 as you live on
in my heart 
and my soul.

"Those who glide dance on blistered feet"

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

According to my Facebook today is International Women's Day or something like that....

I guess times like I'm in now are the perfect time to look at how lucky and blessed you are.
I'm not sappy or open hearted often....So....pardon the deepness of this post.

So this is my shout out. To the women I love, and to people who have helped me become who I am.

I should start off at the womb I suppose.

My Mother, Mommy, Mama Bear, Mmmmooooommmmm, whatever sounds best at the time.

My Mom is one of the craziest people I know.  She definitely knows how to keep a personality.  She has been through a lot but has never hesitated to show us her support. Whether it's forcing her to come watch my soccer games in pouring rain, watching her reaction as I tell her I'm going to do a pageant, or her finding out through Facebook that my insane decision to move to New York was only 2 weeks away she has always been there to support me for who I am. She thinks I'm cool-which is equally cool. I love the cards she sends me at random in the mail.  I like that her texts usually contain one too many questions to ever answer in one response. I'm happy that she has shown me by example to persevere through whatever life gives me and just keep going. I hope that someday soon I can be a daughter that she can be proud of.  I love my mommy and all her craziness. and that's that.

My Sister, My Best Friend, My baby Mama

Oh Suzanna, I wouldn't even know where to start.  If you need to know my favorite color, food, or what my likes and dislikes are I suggest you get in contact with her.  She has known me for as long as I can remember and has never failed to remember everything about me.  Yes at times she has gotten a bit confused on my dating life, but nothing that wasn't easily caught up on after a phone call.  She is a sweetheart with so much love to offer.  I've always wanted to be like her.  She scrapbooks like a mad woman and never fails to make every pinterest idea a success.  I know that she is always there to support me and be my best friend when I need it.  I call her my best friend to everyone I meet because that is what she is.  I love her and she is my go to right hand girl who I call my sister.  I wish her all the happiness in the world!

My Baby B.

Watch out guys. My niece has more personality than most 30 year old women out there.  She is learning from the best (aka me) and will be a whirlwind once she learns how to talk.  She has brought me so many smiles and laughs and I could probably stay entertained with this chipmunk all day long.  I cannot wait to see how big little Berlin gets and how funny she is once she starts talking. 

My Little Seester

This girl used to think I was the coolest thing to ever grace the earth with my presence.  I remember how many times she told me she wanted to be just like me.  She thought everything I did was funny and that made me feel so cool.  I miss my little sister because now she is growing up and doing her own's not the same and it never will be....because that's life.  I don't think she realizes how talented she is or how much she could be doing....I just hope she realizes that she needs to do what in her heart feels right and follow that craziness instead.
Always gonna be a chipmunk to me.

It's your fault I'm a pageant girl...

Oh Jess, I had no idea when I showed up at an orientation for a pageant I saw advertised on facebook that you would someday be on of the funniest people I know and a true friend.  Thank you for helping me and encouraging me to not give up.  You met me at a time where my confidence was at an all time low. Had I not been blessed with you and the doors you were able to open for me I'm not sure I would be where I am right now.  You've always been straight with me and wont take my excuses in selling myself short.  I love your sense of humor and look up to you.  Love you Jess :)

You two probably have no idea...

Carol and Lindsay. Two of the most talented seamstresses I've met.  Your hugs are the best.  I know that anytime I run into or see you I will be filled with a warm smile and a huge hug.  You were always there to share your talents and support with me in more ways than you will ever know.  Lindsay you are so talented and I better see you on Broadway someday soon.  Carol, your support was always so genuine to me.  Coming back to the school to watch performances and shows you are one of the people on my list of must-see faces.  You're like a mother to me and I want to make you proud someday too.  Your family has been through a lot and the fact that nothing has ever diminished your kind hearts or ready to share smiles is something every human should strive for. 

To My Second Mothers
Kenna Marrelli and Linda Sullenberger

To Kenna and Linda, you ladies were my go to mother away from home.  You taught me by your example and were always a role model for me to look up to.  Your strength, humor, wonderful smile, and faith in me meant more than I could ever thank you for.  I want to thank you for taking me under your wing when necessary and encouraging me when I didn't have enough faith in myself to push anymore.  You have been two women in my life that I know I can always turn to and see an example of who I want to be in my future. Thank you so much. You both dominate two large parts of my heart.

The Woman Who Shared My Passion...

Oh Lisa, you master of many trades. I am so grateful for the years I had under your wing. You were more than a coach or a teacher to me.  Thank you for believing in my quirkiness and showing me that my lack of technique didn't have to always hold me back from expressing myself through a form of art I love so so much.  You're an amazing dancer, mother, and example to every young girl who is blessed to be taught by you.  Thank you for being strict with me when I needed it and for being soft and understanding when I was struggling.  You were a great balance between the two and I appreciate the opportunities you gave me to be a leader and find peace and happiness in my passion. 

My Boo....

Amanda. I'm glad I don't hate you anymore.  You really needed a proper name tag or something and we could have gotten our friendship started a few years ago.  I'm grateful that we got stuck in the same dressing room which spiraled into this whole random trip to New York for fashion week leading to us deciding to drop everything and move across the country.  There are times I want to murder you. Willow does too.  And then there are times where I'm grateful I have a friend that is here experiencing the highs and lows of this adventure with me.  Our midnight laughs as we are being attacked by a cat cannot be replaced :) I can't wait for the stories we have coming.

I could honestly go on for days. 

My Dance Company Girls

I want to thank the girls I danced with for years.  The girls that made me smile at 6:00 a.m that I've been able to see grow up.  I don't think I would have ever made it through high school without them.  My little sisters I adopted and the girls that simply shared a similar interest with me.  You were my family and all hold a huge part of my heart.  I hope my name written under that bench isn't shortly forgotten and that you know you will always have a sister and a friend in me. Never hesitate to call or text me. I will always be there for you. 

The Women that Believed in Me...
I want to thank Susie, Nicole, and Michelle at Mccarty for helping me get jobs and always being so sweet and supportive of me.  I want to thank the many teachers and directors I had through high school...Mrs. Hansen, Ms. Buck, Judy at the front desk, and Ms. Smith.  The many female artists, photographers, make up artists and models who helped teach me about this fashion world I'm pursuing a life in.  Thank you for taking pictures of me for free, for promoting me, and for giving me the proper guidance I needed to feel comfortable in my own skin in front of a camera.  I was blessed to be a part of your art. 

At the end of the day I could be grateful for every woman who has ever shared a smile, a thought, or a belief with me.  I am sure I missed some people so I apologize.  I have met some amazing people in my life and I want you all to know you have made a difference.

Thank you. 


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

They Say.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

They Say.

I say honestly- life throws you serious curveballs sometimes and you just have to smile and keep going.

Update on my life.

*WARNING* there will be run on sentences.


So I went to New York to attend fashion week simply to watch and cross my fingers that by some miracle I made it into one of the shows. It snowed there was a blizzard we made some videos and that was that. I met with a friend who suggested that I submit myself to modeling agencies and thinking nothing of it I said sure why not.  Expecting nothing to come from it I was invited in by some of the biggest modeling agencies in the world and lo and behold I was given an offer. So out of the blue I decide to chase my silly little girl dream to become a Victoria's Secret model in some way shape or form pick up and decide to drive across the country and move to New York City.


I mean moving across the country with your best friend, a dog, and two complete wardrobes in a Hyundai Accent is bound to create some stories, and it did.

Willow and I somewhere in the middle of Nebraska

Now I'm here.  I hang out at coffee shops all day while I wait for a phone call telling me to go to a casting. I watch people walk by all day.  Wondering what is running through their minds, what problems they might be having, what brought them to this crazy city.

The reality of the situation is that I'm in an unfamiliar place, feeling unfamiliar things.

But I asked for this- I want this somewhere deep down inside.  I know things will get better I really do. I'm just in a funk. Feeling like my crazy impulsiveness got the best of me this time.

Thank you for the curveball life.
Be ready because I'll be throwing it right back at you. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

There is Beauty in Everything... Well, mostly

I'm going to do you all a favor and make what could be a long story with years worth of background information and keep it short and simple.
I've been blessed and my dreams are coming true.
Private jet on my way to NY fashion week to model for Calvin Klein and rock the Dolce and Gabbana runway. Sipping on some ginger ale while getting a foot massage in a smooth sailing aircraft to be picked up by a butler with a sign saying "Welcome Miss Braun".

Okay, so not quite.

More like showing up at the airport after listening to Amanda throw up the Astro Burger salad she had eaten the night before to find out the bag was 9lbs. overweight. We repacked on the spot and continued along. Had a layover in Phoenix we hustled our buns for only to find out the flight was delayed. Phew!

On the flight to New York I have poor little Amanda sleeping away her stomach bug on one side, a nice gentleman eating his brunch on the other, screaming little kids behind me that think this is Iron Man's jet (oh I wish!! In another life I'm Pepper Potts), I have to pee soooooo badly but my fasten seatbelt sign is on due to turbulence, and turns out I have to pay for slate peanuts now too.

I just keep closing my eyes picturing the beautiful city awaiting me and the experiences I'm about to have. It's a breathtaking view. Now if only I can get there in one piece.

Oh and by the way/ I'll post videos each night of that days adventures and you can download VOTo from the App Store to help me make decisions.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Art of the Green Smoothie

Eating healthy has always been a challenge for me.
I refer to vegetables as rabbit food.
I should probably own shares in Taco Bell and Arby's.
I have no understanding of portion control whatsoever-I eat like a 400 pound man.
I love my sugar.
Needless to say the biggest part of following up with my goals has been cutting out the bad and putting in the good. 
When I was a kid I made up an allergy to spinach. Anytime my mom would make me eat it I would cry and scream that my throat was itchy and burning and that I couldn't breathe.  My creativity got me out of eating Popeye's superfood for a solid few years until one day I forgot to "react".
This new craze of "green smoothies" had me thinking.  If I could just start drinking one of these monsters a day with my enemy spinach, kale, and some spirullina it might be a good start to getting some good stuff inside of me. 
I like to do a few things differently.  I add almond milk as my liquid and say that more is better!!!
I've found that pears counter the grainy taste that spirullina contains,
and that freezing your fruit when you buy it helps it be more of a smoothie-rather than chunky juice.
Throw in a couple blueberries, some strawberries, a banana, a pear, a couple rasberries, almond milk, kale, coconut oil, and some almond milk and hit the mix button!
BAM!!!! Solid serving of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and tons of energy!!!
It's been about a week since I've started this-haven't been feeling the daily cold symptoms of winter as much
I'm starting to crave them!
I'm Dani, and this is my dysfunctional life.