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Filtering by Category: Things That Need to Be Addressed

Coming Back Home: Food, Fears, and Finding Yourself

Danika Brysha

I’ve found what I want to do with my life.  What I want to be when I grow up.  I’ve always had an idea and I was headed in the right direction but the last couple months have been filled with a few lifestyle changes that have put me on the yellow brick road to personal happiness and fulfillment.  What is my dream? Well since you asked… I want to inspire and motivate people to live their best lives ever- focusing first and foremost on developing a healthy relationship with food.  Food addiction, constant dieting, eating disorders, obesity, emotional eating, body image struggles… all of it. I’ve been there and while it still takes daily work to maintain, I have found the answers that I spent so many years looking for.  And I want to share them.  Through blogging, videos, books, public speaking, comedy, media, photos, the fashion industry, by interviewing others and hearing their stories, and through any other platform that helps build a connection and create positive change.

Over the last decade or so, I have suffered immensely in regards to my relationship with food. I still define the last 15 years by the different stages of food struggles I endured.  I’m working on that.  It has been my comfort, my therapist, my loving connection, and my greatest enemy.

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I grew up on McDonalds and other fast foods, ultimately feeding my young brain and body with chemicals rather than the nutrients I needed to fully thrive.  We were busy kids and my parents were doing their best to get my brothers and me all over town to our various sports and activities.  Not many people were educated on what was going into those quick “meals”.  My poor nutrition led me to gain weight which led me to feeling different and being bullied for being the “big girl”.  Which led me to seek comfort… which I found in food.  I’ll never forget the time when a car full of boys yelled out the window “Go back to the beach whale”.  I felt ugly and undesirable which created extreme body image issues.  Instead of focusing on what I could do with my innate talents like writing, performing, and inspiring people, I decided it was more important to prove people wrong. To show them I was more than a “whale”.

(My bedroom walls during high school- floor to ceiling photos of models)

My goals shifted from owning a zoo and having my own talk show, to being a model.  The skinny, emaciated kind.  After all, I had “such a pretty face”.  I learned to diet and lost 45lbs doing Atkins in high school. And low and behold- I won homecoming queen. I made varsity cheerleading.  Guys loved me.  But when the weight started coming back on, I had to find other ways of staying skinny.

When I was sad or stressed or insecure or lonely, I binge ate thousands of extra calories a day.  And then I threw them up. Seven, ten, twelve times a day. I had a special blue toothbrush hidden away for this very event. I wouldn’t weigh myself with even a bobby pin in my hair in fear that it would tip the scale unfavorably.  Four root canals later I knew I had to shift my process.  Enter drugs and alcohol.

I drove to dangerous neighborhoods to buy hard drugs that I had heard were appetite suppressants.  I was desperate to keep the weight off and spent thousands of dollars on my new “hobby”.  Something finally told me I was too valuable to go down that path and I managed to ditch the drugs.  The illegal ones at least.  I realize now that food can be more of a drug than the hard stuff.  But each time I decided I was better than some disorder or temptation, I unknowingly moved on to something else.

Alcohol gave me an escape like binge eating did.  It numbed me and for those drunken moments I didn’t have to feel so much. And when I was drunk and able to let go a little bit, I ate even more.  I spent years and all of my energy caught in the diet/binge cycle- turning to food for love, affection, comfort.  My life was defined by two things… the times I was in control, and the times I was out of it. Do you know how exhausting it is to think about food, calories, and your body image for every waking moment of your day? I have a feeling a lot of you do.  I was robbing the world and most importantly myself of all the amazing things I had to offer.

I’d finally had enough.  Enough weight watchers weigh-ins, enough writing my goal weight in my planner, enough shoveling food into my body unconsciously while no one was looking.  Enough of not feeling like enough.  That little voice in my head that told me I was better than all this popped up in the time of crisis like it had done a couple times before.  And so I made a promise to myself.

I quit dieting once and for all.  I didn’t talk about diets or negatively about my body and my friends weren’t allowed to either.  I saw THIS BOOK on Oprah and I read it.  It changed my life.  Somebody was finally speaking my language.  I wasn’t alone.  I started sharing with close friends.  Not only was I not alone, I was actually one of many. Why didn’t anybody talk about this?

Little by little I started loving myself and my body more and more.  In the mornings I’d wake up and rather than thinking about losing weight and how flat my stomach looked, I was focusing on growing as a person, finding the things that made me happy, discovering new passions that had been buried under my weight consumed brain for so long.  And when I finally found a bit of peace with my body, guess what happened? I became a model.

I was running an errand at Bank of America and was approached by an agency and asked if I had considered plus size modeling.  I did some research to make sure they weren’t murderers and eventually signed with them.  My career took off quickly and I added agencies in New York, London, and Germany to my roster.  I was living my dream in a way that didn’t require me to hurt myself.  Turns out that whole “be careful what you wish for” thing is legit.

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During the last few years while I’ve been working as a full time model, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’m a little ashamed that it took the industry to tell me that I was “good enough” but for me that was what I needed.  Modeling gave me the opportunity to travel, meet all sorts of interesting people, and to work on my confidence- but most importantly, it has awarded me a lifestyle that allows me the time, means, and financial freedom to chase my other passions.

And for a while I thought this was the end of my story.  Coming full circle, living my dream, finding contentment. But I was still seeking comfort in food and often alcohol.  I had come a really long way but I still felt somewhat consumed.  I wanted to feel my best- to live at my most optimal level.  And in the last few months something shifted.  My contentment turned into drive.  I stepped back and looked at my life from the outside.  I took into account the dreams that I still wanted to pursue and picked out certain things that were holding me back. I was fine with my body and was learning to love it but I knew I wasn’t living to my potential.  I wanted to feel vibrant and alive and full of energy.  I wanted to function at my highest level possible.  I wanted to be my best self ever.  And if I’ve learned anything, it is that the most significant change happens outside your comfort zone.  If I wanted different results, I’d need to take different actions.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

As it turns out, I was most certainly insane.  I committed to making 2014 the year of being my best self ever- and to be a person that keeps my commitments.  I spoke to a health coach friend and got inspired, followed a clean eating program called the Whole30, cut out alcohol and any processed foods like dairy, grains, added sugars, legumes, and more. I educated myself.  I started from square one and lived by the Whole30’s motto that “food either makes you more healthy or less healthy… there is no in between”. I committed to being active for 45 mins every day- incorporating yoga almost daily, running, strength training, long walks with my dog, and little things like taking the stairs and carrying my groceries home. I stopped eating out almost entirely and started hosting healthy dinner parties and tea dates (it turns out that a lot of people like these sort of get-togethers even more than the drunken bar ones!). I still went out to the bars occasionally and sipped soda waters with lime and danced until 3am- I’m pretty good at faking drunk after all these years of practicing the real thing. I focused on getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night.  I took baths, wore cute lingerie to bed for myself, read TONS of books (which I’ll share in the future), took pride in the cleanliness of my apartment, burnt all the nice candles down to the glass, and cooked myself elaborate healthy dinners better than most restaurants I’d been to.  I realized that every moment of life is a special occasion and it was time I started living it that way.

To wake up every single morning and know that you are a better version of yourself than you were the day before is a feeling that is hard to put into words.  A month passed and I had no intention of going back to my old ways.  Instead, I was so impressed with my ability to change my life in a month’s time, that I created a little game for myself called ‘The 12 Months of Greatness’ in which I commit to a new challenge, outside my comfort zone, every single month, while keeping all the challenges from the prior months.  In a year's time I would have 12 new habits.  If that doesn’t scream “Best Self Ever”, I don’t know what does.

For the first time in my adult life, I can say that I am truly coming to peace with food.  I still struggle with turning to food for comfort but I feel completely in control of what I choose to put in my body, yet not obsessive or consumed by rules and strategies and guidelines.  The key to making lasting change is to be compassionately strict with yourself.  Push yourself- but when you make a mistake, which you will, rather than beat yourself up for what you did wrong, instead look at how much you did right.

I had no idea that through changing my relationship with food and what I chose to fuel my body with, I would so immensely change my entire life.  I am cleaner, more confident, more productive, more vibrant, have more energy, more optimistic, more active, more balanced, calmer, less judgmental, more centered, present, and most importantly happier.  I can’t tell you how many times I start dancing around my apartment alone for no good reason other than to express my joy.  I still have a lot to work on but that is why life is a journey.

At the forefront of it all, I’ve learned to trust and listen to my body again.  I’d been so detached from it for so many years, it is nice to be home again.  And in trusting it I’ve learned that it has had a lot to tell me.  It told me that I’ve found something that works for me.  I’ve found the answers that I’ve been looking for all along.  It told me that I get joy out of sharing with others- being able to inspire those with similar struggles, telling my story, helping people find the answers that will lead them home too.  It told me- clearer than it has every told me anything before- that this is my message.  This is what I am here on this earth to do.  And what better way to be my best self ever than to inspire you to be yours?

I challenge you to take a step back and look at where you are.  If you are not where you want to be then have the courage to change something.  Make it realistic but push outside of your comfort zone.  Recognize that your personal happiness is a direct result of only one thing- YOU.  So trust yourself- your body, your dreams, your passions.  I promise they won’t steer you wrong. Commit to waking up every day as a better version of yourself.

Because when you truly love yourself wholeheartedly, and you recognize how valuable you are- you will take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.  And when you can do this, I can promise you with every part of my being, that every other piece will fall perfectly into place.

With compassion, love, gratitude, and so much more,

Danika

Sunday Worship: Lululemon Yoga Pants

Danika Brysha

I know it is Monday but the Labor Day weekend found me celebrating Sunday Funday with many a cocktail and a music festival, rather than a day sitting alone in a dark room editing videos.  And since nobody is paying me for these creations (though I'm definitely open to the idea), I can do this any damn time I please.  So here it is.

I'm a HUGE fan of Lululemon workout pants.  I think they are constructed by little fairies with magical fingers.  They suck everything in and make your legs and butt appear much firmer than it actually is.  Even if I'm only wearing them to Hometown Buffet, I can still give off the "Hey, I lead an active healthy lifestyle" vibe.  They are quite pricey but you'll understand why when you squeeze that sexy Gluteus Maximus into these girdle pants from heaven.  Without further adieu...

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68IvDlSjlKw&feature=youtu.be

Sunday Worship: In-N-Out

Danika Brysha

I hope everybody had a lovely weekend! This week (and really every week) I am incredibly thankful for In-N-Out Burger.  They provide me not only fantastically delicious food on the reg, but they also gave me my first job back in 2003.  I absolutely LOVED working there!  There is a reason all the employees appear happy and courteous, and that is because it is a great company to be a part of.  I worked with some of the best people and learned a ton from the bosses and managers I had along the way, regarding customer service and how to provide a positive community culture were people are happy to work!  I took away so much more than a paycheck from working there and I will forever be thankful for what I learned during my employment.  So here's to In-N-Out Burger... (And my mom for making that unreal Double-Double costume that landed me the job!

If there is something you'd like to see worshipped in the following weeks, and it is something I truly enjoy as well, please leave your ideas in the comments and I'll try to make some magic happen!

Sunday Worship: Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Danika Brysha

This weekend I was driving to Fresno for my friend Jenna's birthday celebration.  I was busy chatting on the phone with my friend and telling her that I was eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos but I had hidden the orange bag in my purse just in case anybody peered into my window and wanted to judge the beautifully personal moment I was having with myself.  And that's when I decided what this weeks Sunday Worship should be about. And then this happened...

Sunday Worship: Amazon Prime

Danika Brysha

I have to let you in on a little secret.  Now, this is a bold statement, but it is true... you are not living until you have Amazon Prime!  It has a lot of perks but what it mainly means is that you can basically order almost anything from Amazon.com with free 2-day shipping.  It brings my level of laziness to a whole new category and I couldn't be prouder.  Bodywash... Prime.  Tootsie Pops... Prime.  Mary-Kate and Ashley's "Billboard Dad" collectors addition?... you got it... Prime.

Let me tell you how I really feel...

 

Sunday Worship: Sriracha

Danika Brysha

These days, the words "Hot" and "Spicy" are adjectives I'm unfortunately not using often. But while they may be missing from my Match.com inbox, they have certainly found their way back into my life via scrambled eggs, poultry, and on certain occasions my body.  Who is this mystery man?  Oh, just my good friend Sriracha... you know, with the silent "r".  So chic.

To that red, firecracker
Hot chili paste on my tongue
Pour too much on everything
But the damage has been done
 
You deliver me the perfect spice
An addiction I can’t stop
The excitement spreads across my face
As I twist open that green top
 
Perfect during breakfast time
For lunch, dinner, or  just grazin’
The way your spices make me feel
Makes me think  I’m partly Asian
 
You taste so good with everything
You’re a true “anytime” food booster
So grab that sauce for that salad tossed
And shake up that little rooster
 
Pour it all over my body please
Some may call me a binger
I’d even lather my hair in that stuff
Even if it meant identifying as a ginger
 
So to all the people of the world
It's time to spice up your life
Every dentist, child, gerbil and squirrel 
Grab your lover and maybe your wife
 
It's the new sugar between neighbors
“You ran out?... Oh I’ve gotcha”
Bringing nations together
With the burning sensation of Sriracha
  

Sunday Worship: Novocaine

Danika Brysha

It's that time again.  Time to reflect on the blessings of the week.  And I thought... Why not spice things up a bit?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you this FREESTYLE (music video if you will) on why I am most thankful for Novocaine this week.

Sunday Worship: Costco

Danika Brysha

I'm not entirely certain when my obsession with that big, strong, warehouse of passion began but what I am sure of is that it is a mutual relationship that will most likely last forever... Or at least until my dad decides to stop paying my membership fees.   Regardless, Costco is something I can always count on.   Whether I need cheap liquor, a seasons worth of Tampax Pearl, or a new 72" flat screen that I will most definitely return after Super Bowl Sunday (or the new season of Toddlers and Tiaras), Costco always has whatever it is I need to fill an insatiable desire.  I definitely wouldn't be the woman I am today without it, that's for sure!

 
Ever since I was a child
Not too long ago
I’ve had a budding relationship
With a place called Costco
 
I got this passion from my father
For bulk items and great sales
He passed down his wisdom and knowledge
And his ingrown toenails
 
But I can forgive him for those
Because he’s so big and mature
While others learned to play T-ball
I was taught about Kirkland Signature
 
Whenever the time comes
And I need more toilet paper by the bunch
Eight new tubes of toothpaste
And three barrels of Captain Crunch…
 
I pick up my supersized cart
And flash my executive membership card
I am a master Costcoteer
For any beginner it'd be hard
 
Now, I first test out the speakers
The selection quite ample
I dance to the rhythms
Until I spot a free sample
 
Navigating the madness
Takes sharp skill and intention
I always start in the back corner
And shop the opposite direction
 
From the first bouncer to the check out
I feel so much joy I could cry
They swipe my AmEx and thank me
And I wave to the optometry guy
 
With a smile and name badge
They check my receipt at the door
I start heading to my car
But I get caught up in the lure...
 
Of the infamous food court
With frozen yogurt piled high
Huge slices of pizza
And hot dogs as large as my thigh
 
What a wonderful afternoon
At a place I hold in such high regard 
If Costco was a man, I would date him
I’d bring my milkshake to his yard
 
AMEN.

The Magic between Mike and I

Danika Brysha

Not too long ago a group of friends and I decided to spend our Friday night soaking up the sexiness that is Magic Mike.  Opening Day?  Sure.  Why Not.

As my friend Bonnie so perfectly put it...

"I am genuinely embarrassed for the female race"

We arrived to pick up our tickets at will call and were quickly informed that the line wrapping halfway down the street and around the corner was precisely where we should wait.  It was unlike any line I've ever seen with the exception of the time Ryan Cabrera came to my local Best Buy and signed my "On The Way Down" CD.

When we got to the theater it was a madhouse.  I've never shopped a big sale on Black Friday but I can imagine this is what it would be like.  I was flailing and running into anything that crossed my path.   Pre-menopausal women and a few gay men (and not even the fabulous West Hollywood kind) were darting every which way in search of the perfect love cushion in which to rest their bosoms for the next two hours of ecstasy.  Woah.  That was deep.  We found an adequate quadra-cushion for the four of us gals and started stretching.

To be honest, the storyline wasn't the best but I'm not gonna lie and say I took my eyes away from the screen for a second.  If I've learned anything from the movie it was that if this blogging/modeling thing doesn't work out, I can always take up stripping and put together a mean rendition of the In-N-Out drive thru speaker attendant turned meat market play toy.  Or King Kong.  Something like that.

Needless to say I have a couple ideas for the sequel...

Sunday Worship: Instagram

Danika Brysha

I've always been overly obsessed with the Iphone but when they went ahead and pulled this Instagram business out of nowhere, I knew my loyalty could never falter.  My friend Jenny told me I HAD to download it and since she is always full of truth, I followed her orders.  I'm especially grateful for it today because it has a way of making my life look much cooler than it actually is.  Currently, it is 3pm on a Sunday.  I am covered in Spray Tan and am wearing a full grey sweatsuit and a red pair of socks I got for free during a flight on Virgin Atlantic.   You ain't gonna find that magic on Instagram.  Or are you...

For those of you with a Nokia phone or who are not familiar with Instagram's capabilities, here's an example of what it can do.  You simply upload a photo of yourself, choose a filter, and VOILA!...

So to Instagram, I write this hymn...

I woke up this morning
Feeling a little bit rough
I've got to keep up my image
but today it's gonna be tough
 
All my followers are waiting
As they scroll through their feed
Photos of babies, vacations,
And quotes of how to succeed
 
But how can I contribute
When I'm doing nothing at all
but watching Dr. Phil reruns
Waiting for someone to call?
 
Thats when a lightbulb flashed on
I knew just what I should do
My mom said anything is possible
When you have X Pro II
 
I found a great old photo
With nice makeup and hair
But... wait...SH*DFJKHL*ADSLK*JDHI!!!!
It won't fit in the square!
 
So on to option B
It's sure as hell to be a winner
So without further adieu
Here's what I'm having for dinner...
 
AMEN
 
*And if you want to follow me on Instagram and see tons of pictures of how glamorous and exciting my life is, my name is @danikabrysha 
 
 
 
 

 

Five Things I Know For Sure...

Danika Brysha

In an age of uncertainty, it's nice to know there are some things you can count on.  Here are five things I know for sure... 1.  No matter what, my car will always smell like sour milk

2.  That the "double bra" phase (yes, two bras layered on top of each other) that I recently went through seemed like a good idea at the time.

3.  That my retainers will never fit comfortably again

4.  That the website www.babyrazzi.com may or may not be on my bookmarks bar

5.  That my dad's dream of me becoming a professional shot-putter isn't in the near future.  I'm not saying it won't happen, just not any time this week.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday Worship- Spanx

Danika Brysha

At some point in the last couple years I graduated from one pair of nude colored, shorts-style Spanx to having a drawer of them fuller than the one holding my padded bras and sorority T-shirts.  Some people go to a therapist to keep themselves in order and feel their best... I wear Spanx.  Please join me in saying a hymn for one of the saints in my life...

Dear Spanx:

I can't thank you enough
Without you I'd be a mess
I'm reminded of your beauty
In my bodycon dress 
 
I would do anything for your love
Like a fraternity pledger
People are starting to catch on
Like Lululemon and Herve Leger 
 
But no one can replace you
How you look at me is so cute
And I love those little hot pockets
You leave loosely for my glutes
 
Celebs even love you
Think of all those hot bodies you wrap
Like Kim, Eva, and Beyonce
And that girl from Parent Trap
 
My days can be challenging
But you make life so worth living
I can binge eat Chipotle
And you're still so forgiving
 
So I stayed home from the gym
Eating Doritos on the couch
But you didn't hold it against me
And still smoothed my belly pouch
 
When I last checked your site
I just couldn't believe it
You now make Spanx for Men!
I'm sure he really needs it
 
 
You suck everything in tightly
And make a perfect package out of me
Like those genius Vacuum Bags
I always see on QVC
 
When I have to look sexy,
You're somebody I can rely on
It's the most love I've ever felt
For a blend of Lycra and Nylon
 
So here in conclusion
From my perfectly shaped thigh
Keep up all the hard work
You're a hell of a guy!
 
Amen.

Phone Contacts Storage

Danika Brysha

I've come here today to teach all of you a valuable lesson.  I have previously discussed cell phone etiquette with you, but in a day when space and time is of peak importance, it is crucial that when we need to make a call, we can navigate our contacts with ease and practicality.  As an example, I have taken some of my phone contacts and am sharing with you the most ideal way of organizing them so that when you need one, it can be easily at your fingertips...

1. BY BAR/RESTAURANT/FRATERNITY NAME...

        

2. BY WHAT BENEFIT THEY COULD BE TO YOUR CAREER...

    

3.  SO YOU CAN FIND THEM WHEN YOU'VE BEEN DRINKING...

  

*At what point does a person you hitchhiked with turn into a person you can regularly call for a ride?

4. BY DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS...

    

*If you're wondering why he is called "Blaze Picture Guy" it is because he kindly texted me these photos of himself the next morning for a refresher...

  

... I won't be mad if you want to save that middle one to your desktop.

5. BY ANIMAL OR OBJECT...

   

6. BY LOCATION...

  

7. SO YOU KNOW NOT TO PICK UP...

  

*Raul:  In college my loving friends gave my number to a group of 11 year old boys at the Winter X-Games.  Raul must have taken a liking to me because he would call to chat at various points throughout the day.  I don't think 11 year olds should have cell phones. When I was 11 I had a Tamagotchi and a Baby G watch.

*I left Princeton's phone number visible because I'm sure he would love a few extra customers.  Feel free to call but just know that once you do, there is no turning back.

7. BY DATING SITE...

 

Note: David Match is different from David Match Texas, I checked the numbers.

8. HONORABLE MENTION...

  

*"Young" in no way refers to somebody of a lower age number.  "Young" does however refer to a man I met while driving on Hollywood Blvd. that invited me to the Grammy's with him and 108% did not have tickets to the Grammy's.

MORAL OF THE STORY:  If you're not going to be able to recall who a person is or how you know them, then chances are you probably don't need to be storing them in your phone.

For more info on this topic please click here...

Sunday Worship: Ferrari Clothing

Danika Brysha

Sunday is the Lord's day.  A day to give back and be thankful for those things in life that we truly appreciate.   So what better time is there to write a hymn about something I truly worship?

This week I have been especially thankful for men who wear Ferrari Brand clothing...

To Juan:
It was another night out,
bored with men at the bars
But then I saw the passion in your eyes
for dollar bills and fast cars
 
You approached me so sultry,
Never seen a man so bold
And then like a sign from above,
I saw that emblem in Gold
 
The way that Ferrari logo laid
ever so gently across your pec,
You clearly had drive and true passion,
and a large pay check
 
We talked about cars,
I told you about my 92' Suburban
You quickly changed the subject
to your cousin who's Persian
 
You were so modest the whole time,
I probably sounded like a brat
And without further adieu,
you slipped on a matching red hat
 
We talked about driving down the coast,
and how much you loved Cali'
Images of love flashed through my head,
like when Harry met Sally
 
So I chugged that shot of Smirnoff
and finished your beer
"It's time to bump and grind,
lets get out of here"
 
You paid the valet ticket,
as I knew you could afford
And then out of nowhere I saw it...
your Honda Accord!
 
As they handed you your keychain,
with a lanyard that said "Juan"
I realized I too could have that shirt,
for $18.93 here on Amazon
 
Amen.

  

Graduation Attire

Danika Brysha

My friend Lindsay Diamond, who is not a pornstar, graduated from FIDM (Fashion school) this past weekend.  A group of friends and I decided we'd go to the ceremony and support her but we knew we needed some pretty sweet swag if we were going to do this right.  My friend asked if we should make a poster.  That was funny.  I immediately knew that everyone needed a neon T-shirt and that I would handle the rest.

I have a new obsession with photoshop.  I have spent countless hours lately watching tutorials on youtube, trying them out myself, epically failing, and starting over.  And though I have yet to learn how to give myself a six pack, fuller hair, or a peg-leg, I am becoming rather successful at cropping myself and my closest friends into way cooler situations than Cabo Cantina on a Wednesday night.

And this was the result...

Now, Lindsay and her mother have two of the most severe ADHD cases I've seen in a living human, or for that matter a goldfish.  As a result, these are the best group photos we managed...

**Lindsay's mom asked that I use my photoshop skills to glam her up a bit as well and since "moms know best" I knew I had to obey

I'm available for all your political campaigns, Quinceañeras, and Speed Dating events.  See the above booking tab for more information.

Congrats to all the recent graduates of 2012.  Now go get a job.

The Family Christmas Photo

Danika Brysha

(Originally published: December 25, 2010)

You didn't think I was gonna write another blog did ya?  Wellllllll I DID!   What can I say, holidays do that to me....

  

Most families have one tradition they still hold dear to their hearts.  My friend Carissa's family sits down annually to discuss their life goals.  Her dad brings out a list of what they had discussed the year before and they then converse for the most part regarding why they still haven't achieved the previous years goals.  She says it is humiliating and self-depricating every year but it will never end.  My friend Caroline's family goes to church every Sunday together and then watches the Eagles game.  My family and I have two vodka grapefruits before we go out to El Ranchito three times a week for the Tortilla soup deal.

Regardless of where you're from, there is one tradition that has swiffered the nation and taken all of America with it in its Wet Jet.

And that is the Family Photo Christmas Card.

You'll be happy to hear that my skills for rhyming on Hump Day (and basically any day of the week) are built into my genetics.  My mom includes a poem with a stanza or two about each member of the family along with every photo greeting.  It truly is magical.  You know what I like to say... make the yuletide gay...

Here are a few of the top Brysha Photos over the last 25 years...

1990

I am using this photo first because I really have nothing bad to say about it.  It truly is the epitome of Christmas Card gold.  My older brother Blake's short suit is fashionable to the nine's.  Dad, Andre has an impeccable mustache to face ratio.  Baby Stefan looks drunk which you'll notice will reemerge in his later years.  Mom, Cindi is ever so delicately displaying the matching metallic silver sleeve bows.  And me... well... I have a double chin.  But that is something I learned to work with over the years...

1997

This year my mom decided to accentuate our gorgeous features with a little bit of blush and lipstick.  "Awwww, C'mon kids... no one will notice".  I can't tell if Blake managed to skip out on the lipstick or not.  I'll tell you one thing though, he definitely didn't skip out on the hair gel.  Little Stefan was too young and vulnerable to know the difference and was left looking like a gay ventriloquist.  I must note that this is before Crest Whitestrips and photoshop so any special touches had to be done on the actual day.  Speaking of special touches, cool Santa Hat Danika.... totally original.  I can't blame that one on my mom.

2004

Oh 2004, you were so good to me.  This marked the year they removed my braces and the first year I'd seen my collar bones in a while.  I thought that pink halter-ish top was really flattering and sexy and I remember wearing it to all the parties.  It went really well with my Smirnoff Green Apple Twist.  I'm almost angry that my parents didn't force us to wear Christmas colors.   I remember that we were in Las Vegas at the time and I'm pretty sure we had procrastinated taking our holiday photo until just before the actual day.  We had been out at the mall and there was a store of decoratively lit Christmas trees you could purchase for your mansions.  It seemed like a smart idea.  We would definitely be more respected around the community with a tree like that.  On another note, standing in a Christmas tree store in a Las Vegas, Nevada mall for two hours kind of kills the elaborate tree buzz I had going.

1988

This looks like something they would use on True Hollywood Story: Before They Were Serial Killers.  Bet you can't guess who the killer would be.  It's cool though.  Anytime you put a red satin cumber-bun on a 2-year-old with some classic Reebok hightops, you're alright in my book.

2001

We decided to be very patriotic this season.  The American flag doesn't look strategically placed at all... I might as well have worn it behind my ear but then where would I have suspended those gorgeous brown on top/blonde on the bottom locks.  Today people call this style ombre; in 2001 they called in Hanson brother.  Stefan looks like an asshole here.  I don't know why but I really want to slap him.  Probably because he was going through his prime... and it's pretty safe to say I wasn't.

1993

  

It looks like this is the year they realized that Stefan was the golden ticket and placed him accordingly on a throne amongst the peasants.  I'm digging the matching pajamas.  Almost as much as I'm digging that phenomenal dinosaur wrapping paper.

2000

Bra Strap Headband? Check.  Pooka Shell Necklace?  Check.  This was our first California Christmas.  The backdrop is very nice but taking the family picture in public places is always a little uncomfortable.  It reminds me of the time when I tried out for America's Next Top Model and I had to have my dad take bikini shots of me out on the public yacht club dock.  Not scarring at all.  Side note:  Blake would have been really successful in West Hollywood at this point in life

1996

To be completely honest with you, I don't think this was ever actually our Christmas card but there was no way I wasn't going to feature a gem like this.  The bowl cuts were very prominent this year.  I especially like how mine touches down and ever so gently sweeps my bifocal frames.  There are two people that deserve most of the credit here though.  #1 is that drunk man who is just trying to pay the bills who somehow managed to balance a family of five on his lap.  And #2 well... It's a pretty bold statement to rock a turtleneck and overalls combo to the mall with matching contrast fanny pack but you gotta do what you gotta do.  Purses were so 95'.

2009

Last year is when my parents started getting a little cocky and inserting themselves into the image.  They'd been hitting the gym and golf course a lot more and decided they were in peak physical condition to gain a place on the card.  Grandpa took the picture, which was a challenge in itself but it turned out nicely.  This year they even have their own solo shot on the inside of the card.  Maybe by next year us kids will be extinct and they'll be GTL'ing somewhere in Miami.  Who knows.

1991

This is perfect.  There is nothing I would change.  Why the Pert Plus offers didn't start spilling in for Stefan after Christmas Card 91' is beyond me.

1999

Oh Jesus.  I don't know where to start here.  This is the final Christmas we spent on Long Island, NY before we moved across the country to Southern California.  I'm assuming Stefan was going with the tropical, California theme with the pineapple shirt.  It is really the only logical explanation I can come up with as to why my parents would allow something like that.  Blake really started blossoming into a young man here.  You can tell by his mock turtleneck, eyebrows, and business professional gaze.  We had to only take horizontal pictures this Christmas because I had a broken ankle.  My cast was neon pink with blue stripes and all my BFFFFFF's signatures.  The cast was cool but even better was when I graduated to the orthopedic black plastic and velcro walking boot.  It really went well with that gorgeous lip gloss and half pony.  Did I mention my parents moved me ACROSS THE COUNTRY halfway through 7th grade with acne, a retainer, a training bra, and a god damned walking boot? Oh ok... I did.

2006

If this blog post had a Facebook profile page, this would be the Default.  I only put this one up to remind you that like a diamond in the rough, we can come together about once every two decades and take a decently attractive picture.  (P.S. Blake- nice shirt choice.  Not distracting at all)

1993

If I were my parents I would have 100% cropped Blake and myself out of this image and just sent out the pure perfection that is little Stefan.  Look at those penny loafers.  Pretty sure this was the year that Christmas and School photos fell around the same time and also the same year that I fell into a bush of poison ivy.  Notice how my right eye is swollen shut like I'm winking at you......  Well I'm not.

2007

It has always amazed me how we managed to stay warm while hanging out in that icy and frosty forest...

1995

I truly cannot decide whether Blake's decision to open his mouth or my decision not to is better in this image.  Nothing says holiday spirit better than that smart ass attitude I have smeared across my face.  I was probably angry they wouldn't just send out a solo shot of me.

Note to Readers:  Blake's head did eventually grow into his teeth

1998

There is a fine risk when you decide to include the family dog in the Christmas Picture because it often gives you a lot less to work with.  Most families just keep the focus on the children and if the dog makes some slightly crooked eye contact then that works out but is not necessary.  Looks like we went a different route.  Everyone looks a little rough (Stefan's back with the drunk look), but Kodi the dog looks so perfect he could be a wax version of himself.  Sacrifices my friends.

1989

Even though Stefan was by far the cutest of all of us, I have never found babies to be attractive until they near the age of 2 so I am voting him off the island on this one.  I think my mom used the same bowl to cut Blake's hair that she used to cut my bangs.  I also think it would be epic to take a Christmas card today of all of us in the same outfits and positioning.  Dad?  Is it too late?

2003

Last... and certainly most amazing.  Yes as a matter of fact those are two white doves.  One resting ever so delicately on Stefan's shoulder, the other mid flight balancing on his thumb.  Something you should know about Stefan is that for the first 12 years of his life he was obsessed with magic.  He was actually really good.  Good to the point that as a family we were forced to move beyond your standard slight-of-hand card tricks.  At some point Stefan got these two doves and named them Siegfried and Roy, naturally.  He would make them appear from things and it was truly a hit for the first couple months.  All they did was quack (?) and poop everywhere and so we eventually gave them to our cleaning ladies who, I feel pretty confident in saying, roasted them for Christmas dinner.  But at least we're keeping with the theme...  Another important side note is that Siegfried on the left there decided Stefan's suit was the perfect place to let a load off.  God Bless Photoshop.  There are obviously other issues with this photo but I'm pretty sure they don't need to be discussed in any further in detail.

I hope everybody has a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Hit Me On My Celly

Danika Brysha

(Originally published: November 12, 2010)

Don't get me wrong.  I am very happy to live in a time when we have cell phones.  I constantly find myself reflecting on the days when, if in an emergency, I was picked up from Catholic Church Day Camp by my friend Annie's mom's minivan rather than our own white Dodge, Annie's mother had to know the secret password before I got in.  I get in more strangers cars today on the corner of Sunset and La Brea than I ever did as a child.  If you are 18 years old, Persian, and driving your parents Bentley, it is a sure fire way to get me in the vehicle and take me to whatever destination you please.  I'm going off on a tangent though...

There are a lot of cell phone issues that everyone experiences but no one talks about openly.  Gone are the days when the one kid at your private school had a Nokia and you could borrow it to check up on the status of your stay-at-home mother.   Gone are the days when I wouldn't notice if you picked me up an hour late from my International Club Meeting because I was too busy beating my high score on Snake.

Anyways, here are just a few things I've picked up in my last 8 years of having cell phone service...

1. ENDING THE CALL: No matter what I do or how hard I try to not be socially awkward, every single time I hang up a phone call with somebody it is uncomfortable.  Even if we talk on the phone everyday, it is that final moment where we both say "Ok, yeah, alright, sounds good, talk to you soon, ok, haha, laugh out loud, i love you, bye" that gets me every time.  You cannot NOT interrupt each other.

2. BLUETOOTHS (BLUETEETH?): There was a period of about 11 months recently where people insisted on wearing their bluetooth ear pieces out in public settings.  Mostly men but in some cases a female strolled into the elevator with the apparatus.  My friend Rick used to wear his around in college like he had a lot of business calls to take.  He's really hot so I forgive him for it but it's really not acceptable.  My favorite is when you see seemingly homeless people with bluetooth's in their ear.  I don't know if they are trying to trick me into thinking they have a marketing meeting with Google at 3:00 or if they just flat out stole it. Regardless, it just isn't that cool.  Also, people may think you are talking to yourself, or worse; you could appear through your semi-tinted Mini SUV window to be quietly singing Evanescence to yourself while eating a Yoshinoya Beef Bowl.

3. FAKE PHONE CALL:  You have all done this.  I know you have. You're headed into Trader Joe's on a warm happy day.  You're feeling good since you just listened to Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo" on repeat for the last 30 minutes.  Then you see them.  Clipboard and a Smile.  You're still about 5 yards away and you can hear them talking about battered women, legalizing marijuana, and homeless children.  You have to act quickly. You pull out your cell and put it to your ear.  "Hello".... "Yeah"... (silence).  Just keep holding the phone there.  They'll never know.  Don't release until you get to the Hummus section.  All Good!  Interesting how that same person calls right back when you're on your way out...

4. SILENCE:  I really don't do well with silence.  Especially in conversations.  I'm also not a very big chatting on the phone kinda gal.  I expect all phone conversations to come with a direct purpose and then end as soon as possible.  I've noticed recently, as I have been talking to men about a decade older than me, that they like to take that mature step above texting and use an actual phone call to get to know one another.  That's the problem though.  There is no warning.  I am caught off guard, and considering we don't know each other we don't really have a ton to discuss.  Enter the silence. .......(Me): "Soooooooooo..... Yeah... Well thanks for calling"  (Guy): yeah... (me): so I guess we'll talk soon... (Guy): yeah... [Now is when you reference #1 above]

5. THE "IS MY PHONE BROKEN?":  This is that occasional time when you really have to question your social standing and friendships.  You're going along with your day as usual.  You hit Starbucks on your way into work and you've just updated your facebook status about how hard kickboxing was this morning.  You shoot a text to about 8 of your closest friends.  Some about the Argentinean guy whose house you spent the night at last night, some notifying your friend to get on ichat for the day, and other's talking about how hot your boss looks in plaid.  Then...a couple minutes pass.  Nothing.  5 Minutes pass.  Then 10.  Then it hits you.  Your initial thought... "Is my phone broken?".  "There is absolutely no way that not one of these 8 people are answering my texts".  "Maybe I don't have service in this room".  "It's just weird cause I always have service in this room".  After the initial thought process you have two options.  You could contact your phone carrier but that would take really long and your phone is probably "broken".  AH HA!! You text that ONE person that you KNOW by default will always text you back ASAP.  You put this to the test and immediately receive back a witty comment from SuperTexter Caitlin H.  You are happy she replied.  You knew she would.  It must be all your other friends who have broken phones.  How Ghetto.

Please Stop Asking This Question

Danika Brysha

(Originally published: November 4, 2010)

I hate when people ask me what kind of music I like.   If they ask me that initially, I know it’s not going to work out between us.   It is a sure fire way that you will be judged and placed accordingly.  It is similar but not directly related to someone asking your Astrological sign.  If you are someone that is going to judge our compatibility based on me being the “twin” and you are the “scorpion” (Is a scorpion a sign or is that Chinese New Year?) we clearly have different interests in life.

It’s not that I don’t like music.  Music is nice.  It is just that the question of asking what kind of music I like is so critical.  It’s up there with asking me which Hanson brother was hottest.  Can’t I just be honest and say my Pandora is still set to J-Kwon’s Tipsy and call it a day?

I don’t even know what this question means.  There are so many variations and ways to answer it.  What song do I most commonly enjoy karaokeing to?  What kind of music did I lose my virginity to?  What kind of music do I pretend to like to impress whatever person I am trying to impress?

This question is usually asked by someone who listens to some hip, underground, alternative group that no one listens to and frankly isn’t even good.  At work, I have made the conscious decision to never be the one whose laptop plays our 16-hour a day soundtrack in the office.  It’s a lot of pressure and god only know that with my luck my iTunes will get stuck on something like Dashboard Confessional.

I think people should listen to whatever music tickles them in that special way…

On that note I’d like to include a playlist that I like to live my life by and that you should probably listen to:

  1. Bed Intruder Song- Antoine Dodsen  Bed Intruder Song
  2. Cameltoe- FannyPack
  3. Teardrops on My Guitar- T. Swift… because no matter how old you are you have sat and listened to this song and imagined the person in your life who caused all those teardrops that stained your new guitar… kidding… kind of
  4. Teach Me How to Dougie- Cali Swag District
  5. Milkshake- Kelis
  6. That’s Not My Name- The Ting Tings… only because I used to pretend I was a Victoria’s Secret model in front of my mirror repeatedly to this song
  7. Graduation (Friends Forever)- Vitamin C
  8. Play- David Banner… The lyrics just always tug at my heartstrings
  9. My Dick- Mickey Avalon…. This goes out to my friend Val…
  10. The Theme Song to Full House
  11. Blue (Da Ba Dee)- Eiffel 65
  12. Summer Girls- LFO… I remember thinking this song was so cool cause it had the words “Abercrombie and Fitch” in it… I know you did too
  13. Mambo #5- Lou Bega… I rewrote this song with lyrics about my cheerleading team in 6th grade and performed it for everyone at practice.  So that’s comfortable.
  14. Stay- Lisa Loeb
  15. Who Let the Dogs Out- Baja Fresh Men
  16. Empty Apartment- Yellowcard… I used to listen to this in high school when I wanted to pretend I was emo and had a lot of serious life issues to deal with.
  17. Who’s That Girl- Eve… I liked to play this in my headphones while on family trips and pictured myself owning the Newport Beach sidewalks with paw print tattoos on my chest
  18. Purple Pills-Eminem… Same scenario.  Family Road Trip.  Had no idea what it was about.
  19. The Day I Fall in Love-  This is the song from Beethoven’s 2nd when Ryce gets a ride from Taylor Devereaux in his convertible after school and she is so speechless she has to run up to her bedroom and collapse onto her bed with only Beethoven to console  her.
  20. Trapped in the Closet- R. Kelly…

But seriously, what kind of music do you like??

Halloween Part 2: My Roommate Meghan

Danika Brysha

(Originally Published: November 1, 2010)

Because I am obsessed with Halloween and today is the only day that I can still get away with posting more Halloween paraphenelia, that is what I am going to do.

This weekend I took a very last minute road trip from LA to San Francisco with some friends for no good reason whatsoever.  My roommate Angela and I were originally going to be Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick (guess which straw I drew...) but the trip happened so quickly that I decided to be Marilyn Monroe.  I think this is the first time I have ever been anything that you can buy at Spirit Halloween Store or any Halloween store for that matter.  My mom might disown me.

I like to believe I pulled the costume off well, but I was consistently getting "Anna-Nicole" shouts from across the streets.  Now, I think Anna Nicole Smith had some good points in her life but I'm pretty sure those things aren't what she is recognized for.  I don't know about you but the first things that come to mind for me are TrimSpa, Larry Birkhead, and the fact that she is DEAD.... I'm sure they meant well though... um... yeah, I'm sure they did.

Anyways, to distract you guys from the fact that my Charlize Theron in Monster/Scott Disick costume didn't quite work out, I thought I would highlight 20 of my roommate Meghan's top costumes over the years.   She is single and on the market so please send all boyfriend/date night/casual sex applications to danika.brysha@gmail.com.

Just so you know, this is what she looks like in real life....

  1. Colonel Sanders

2.  Santa Claus

3. Nacho Libre

4. Elephant with complete with Beer Bong Trunk- Meg is all about practicality

5.  Marie Antoinette

6. Da Bears

7. Charlie Chaplin

8. Bjork

9. Mexican

10. Kung Fu Panda

11. Christina Aguilera

12.  I don't even know what this is other than creepy

13. Michael Jackson (RIP)

14. Shirley Temple-  Considering Meghan aged about 15 times slower than the rest of us I'm assuming she was about 27 when this picture was taken

15. Man-  She probably got laid this night...

16. Prostitute Innocent Hawaiian Hula Girl

17. Zombie

18. Cupid... This must've been during her sorority days

19.  Centaur-  completely homemade might I add  (sorry for the darkness... this was last night so we don't have a great image yet)

20. And last but certainly not least, one of this years award winners... George Costanza

I'm assuming at this point you probably want to come over.  Good news.  We have decided to throw a Quinceanera.  You have about a month to pic up a neon rhinestone encrusted poof dress or matching neon striped tie/pocket square combo and to find an amigo guapo.

Until next time...

The OK Cupid Experiment

Danika Brysha

(Originally published: October 29, 2010)

My friend Ben from work always tells me really funny stories about the dates he goes on with major creep statusers from OkCupid.  I thought I would take it upon myself to find true love and joined the site.  (okcupid.com... lots of gems)  I made a profile and posted the below pictures that I thought I looked the prettiest in so I could get the best caliber of men.  Boy was I right.  They had a lot of good things to say and since inner beauty is what counts, I knew they were in it for the long haul.

My profile was rather short.  I hit a few key points in my life that you all should know about me.  To sum it up, I said I worked on a TV show, I like to snowboard, I love sushi and sandwiches, and that I have a GREAT smile.

I felt like the Keebler Elf and jumped with joy when I received many new messages from single men in the Los Angeles Area.  Most of them really knew how to woo a woman of my stature and I was certain I would find my life partner like Ellen and Portia.

Below are some of my favorite messages I've received....

  1. "I don't think I can sleep tonight, unless I can kiss you goodnight!"
  2. "wow. you're gorgeous. do u like tall men with large italian cocks? i only ask because i'm 6ft3 and i own and over-sized chicken farm in rome."
  3. Subject: Yep. "Definitely your smile."
  4. Subject: Cucumber "You're cute. BUT  Are you cool as a cucumber? It's a must. ;)"
  5. "Your smiling is stunning!!!!" **My Smiling, Huh?  Good to know**
  6. "Danika, I'd love to talk to you and take it from there. If we were at a bar I'd buy you a shot of tequila, because that's an awesome way to roll and ask if you'd want to go to a Laker game with me sometime"  **I'm actually considering calling him.  I like how he just gets to the point**
  7. Subject:  I'm on a Horse:  "ahah just letting you know you were one of my matches and you seemed interesting! I love that you're ambitious about making movies. Have you made any of your own yet? I hope that didn't sound too creepy..." **.... So tell me, where does the horse come in?"
  8. Subject: Sail Away With Me  "We can go to Greece where I'll become an emperor and you can come and bring me grapes. Or we can become pirates and have an excuse to get drunk all day and steal things." **This is just weird**
  9. "I haven't talked to you in a long time. How have you been? : )" **I'll admit.  I fell for this one.  I don't know this guy.  He wanted me to think I do.  But I don't.  And now I never will.**
  10. **This one's my favorite: (I blocked out the info cause my blog is super famous and I don't want you weirdos contacting my boyfriend)** "You seem like an fun and interesting person I would love to chat with you, hit me up 310.XXX.3394 and my BBM is 30EEXX1. If you have AIM add me PhaXXneusa is my ID and for MSN nicXX100@comcast.net/Facebook it is nicXXX44@gmail.com.  Have a great weekend!  **I love a guy who plays hard to get**

Here is where the experiment comes in.

Because I am a big believer in true love, I decided to post some new pictures of myself to keep the messages flowing in.  I deleted the prior ones I had, and posted these new ones below...

And I waited...

Eureka! Finally my prince charming responded.  Here is what he had to say...

"Hey I think your pretty awesome and I was just wondering what your thoughts were on casual sex??"

I think he is the one and he seems to really know what I'm looking for in a man.  I'll let you guys know how everything works out.  Keep a look out for a change in my Facebook relationship status.

P.S.  About 30 minutes after I changed my pictures from Exhibit A to Exhibit B I got this email...

The Interns at OkCupid voted me GOOD-LOOKING!! I'm going to hang this on my fridge.