“Too much icing. Not enough cake.”

I stood in the mirror this morning and, like I do every November 17, watched myself turn another year older.

As I stood there, I took some heart notes:

My hair has darkened and thinned.  My skin is less vibrant in the right places and more translucent in the wrong.  My nose is more freckled (the kind that don’t fade after the long days of summer do).  And, in general, I feel creakier than ever.  Like that annoying floorboard in our master bedroom that sings its song with every passing.

I’m not complaining, mind you.


When I was younger, I wanted to look like this:


And be named Samantha or Alexandra.

NOT D.a.n.i.e.l.l.e.

Not a name that encouraged the boys to bow to me irreverently in the hallways:

“Ah…yes, Daniel-san.  You VERY special Daniel-san” (the Karate Kid generation will get this).


It was NOT fun.

I didn’t change my name.  And I don’t look like Christie Brinkley (not that I’d want to now, though she is lovely…she really is).

I just worked on my cake.

Those who know me will tell you that I’m not much into makeup.  I wear it, sure.  I. just. don’t. make. myself. up.

I was always told less is more:

“Show off a pretty eye or a pretty lip, but not both.

Never. both.”

So, I graduated from the minimalist’s school of outward beauty prep (or “the icing”, as I like to call it).  My icing consists of cream blush and ChapStick/lipstick.  That’s all I have patience for (with the exception of special occasions, like the one below):


When I was younger, being outwardly pulled together was of the utmost importance since inwardly I was falling apart.

I had always been relatively cute and slim until the waves of adolescence battered my charming shores and a lack of movement (coupled with an excess of junk food and emotional eating) lead to a heavier, then heavier, then still heavier version of myself.

At my heaviest, I weighed nearly 180 pounds.

My icing then was designer clothing.  I thought that if I was overweight, at least I was wearing the “right” clothes.

It was all in my head, of course.

Guess jeans didn’t stop me from being called a cow by a previous “best friend” during Senior Pep Rally and Coach purses didn’t stop me from hearing the words, “Hey…fat girl” ride the autumn wind while walking campus as a college freshman.

And nothing saved me from my own self-hatred and demeaning heartlogue.

My weight and my love/hate relationship with food have been relative non-issues since I took back my health in 2006.

And designer clothes aren’t a part of my current reality.

I’m a Kohl’s girl at heart.

And. proud. of. it.

But I’d like to think (no, I have to believe) that I care more about my cake than my icing.  That being inwardly beautiful means more to me (and to you) than a beautifully painted face or a beautifully adorned body (that’s me below…NO icing…post-wake up and pre-hair fluff (forgive the bed head and the dragon breath)):


Every November 17, I will stand in the mirror and watch as I turn another year older.  And while I’m sure I’ll have more to notice as time rushes on, I hope that I will always be more cake than icing.

That the moments that take place between the heartbeats are more important than the size of my jeans, the shade of my lipstick and the wrinkles on my face.



  One thought on ““Too much icing. Not enough cake.”

  1. November 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Happy, happy birthday, Dani! You are BEAUTIFUL inside and out! So glad to know you!!!

    • November 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      So sweet, Ginny! Glad to know you, lovely one…

  2. Kris Hall
    November 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I always hoped that the day would come when I would actually Like myself. I’ve always believed in the importance of self-acceptance, being comfortable in one’s own skin. Of course, the achieved reality of that belief eluded me for most of my life.
    Luckily, the past few years, though extremely difficult, have been major growth years. I’m at the point now that I can look in the mirror and not only love, but really LIKE the person I see. (“Liking,” I feel, is just as important as Loving yourself.)
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, my friend.
    Beautifully written by a beautiful person, Danielle.

    • November 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      I loved reading this, Kris. I’m so happy you’ve been held in the arms of self-love and self-acceptance.

      You are lovely, friend.



  3. Kathy F (sis)
    November 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Though you thought you did, you never needed icing girlie…though I understand the story….you were born beautiful and still are!!

    • November 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks, Kit.

      This means so much.

  4. November 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Happy Birthday to a fellow Scorpio!

    • November 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Heather.

      Happy Belated Birthday!! 🙂

      • November 18, 2013 at 5:39 am

        Thank you! I keep saying this will b the year for me lol so far the past 3 sucked. So I know it has to be THIS year that’s good lol

  5. Bruna Pellegrin
    November 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    mil felicidades Danielle!!! Parabens lindona! como sempre amei o post..e dei muita, mas muita risada na parte do Daniel-son kkkkkkkk (nao, nao tem graca..mas foi muito bem colocado).. acho que sabes o quanto linda tu es.
    beijao 😉

    • November 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Amiga amada.

  6. littlevoicetalks
    November 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Happy birthday x

    • November 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  7. November 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Fab post, and what a lush photo. For what it’s worth, Danielle is a far prettier name than Samantha 😉

    • November 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Thank you for this. Oh, and I completely agree with you about the Samantha thing. Danielle is prettier, but Dani fits me much better.

  8. November 18, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Happy Birthday! I think you are a very pretty girl! 🙂

    I always wanted to be named Diane! So funny what kids think and want!

    • November 18, 2013 at 3:07 am

      I appreciate your kindness, Alexis.

      It really is funny what kids think. Thank goodness we generally make the BIG decisions once we’re past the Samantha/Diane phase.

  9. ShethP
    November 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Happy Birthday! 🙂
    This is a beautiful post and I salute you for your strength and outlook on what really matters. True beauty is definitely the cake and not the icing!
    I look forward to reading more of your posts, and thank you for stopping by my blog!

    • November 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      So nice of you to say so, Sheth.

      I was more than happy to stop by your blog (we all need to encourage each other, right??)

      And thank you for the birthday wishes.


      Thank you.

  10. November 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    You look beautiful just the way you are! Happy Birthday and take a bite of the pink cupcake for me too!

    • November 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you, kcg.

      Oh, and consider the cupcake…

      taken care of 😉

      • November 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        I wish! Take Care!

  11. Dawn Brill
    November 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Happy birthday, to you! and thank you for sharing this!

    • November 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Thank you for visiting, Dawn.

  12. November 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you to all who have visited/commented.

    But just so we’re clear:

    Please know this post was not a plea for praise, but a heartsong needing to be sung.


  13. November 18, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you so much for this. Your honesty, vulnerability and determination inspire me and encourage me! :)))

    • November 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read, Charissa Grace.

      And thank you…




      • September 4, 2014 at 4:16 am

        …and now you know, so much more…i truly was inspired by your words, and daunted too…but determined that day to try and love myself

  14. November 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Very introspective Dani. Happy Birthday! I like the cake analogy but if you are talking about real cake you can never have too much icing!

    • November 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you so much for your visit! And I agree with you about the real cake…

      the more the better!!

  15. November 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Happy Birthday Dani.
    Reading what you’ve said — I hope that you focus on your feelings to notice when in yourself you feel best about you… do more of that to a slight advantage and see if it works with how you feel when you are with others. Tweak it — but be focused — being you in the present moment is really what you want — we all do — especially when the advantages of this blossom.
    Comfort comes with practice and less contrast. You probably don’t want to eliminate all contrast — but too much is confusing. You possibly want more comfort some days — but too much is boring.
    So, you’ll need to invest in making career/family decisions. Same thing applies there.
    The only perfect part of the formula is that whatever you are in the present isn’t far off from what your feelings are attracting in towards you. Its like breathing — they say.
    ~ Eric

    • November 27, 2013 at 9:39 pm


      Thanks for taking the time to share your nuggets of wisdom with me.

      Honestly, I am quite happy with who I am becoming…I just need to remind myself of that when things get hazy.

      Thank you again for your visit and your time.

      Happy Thanksgiving,


  16. November 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Happy today, Thanksgiving and every day 🙂
    ~ Eric

  17. December 2, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Happy Birthday fellow Scorpio! Mine was the11th! It’s good to meet you and I think your attitude is wonderful. Thank you for following my blog and I wish you all the best. Great post….

    • December 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks for the attagirl, Steve! Sometimes it’s only our attitude that gets us through…

      Happy Holidays,

  18. December 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    On people – no icing should be necessary. On real cake – there’s never enough icing (for me).

    • December 4, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Much agreed 🙂

  19. December 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    First belated Happy Birthday! I was 56, October 30th a fellow Scorpio. Girl you don’t need the icing you are cute can be!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    ✿ღ✿ღ.¸¸ღ♫*¨`*•..¸ƸӜƷ ✿ღ ✫❀

    • December 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks for your visit, Sindy, and your sweet comment.

      And Happy Belated Birthday to you…

  20. December 16, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Dani, this is a lovely write and you are so beautiful you don’t need any make up. Thanks for visiting my blog and liking my posts. Cheers 🙂 Irina

    • December 16, 2013 at 2:08 am

      No need for thanks, Irina.

      I appreciate your dropping by and your lovely words.

  21. December 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I loved this post! You look beautiful!

    • December 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you, sweetie.

      Getting older really is “for the birds”, as my grandmother would say, but it can be done with a certain amount if grace.

      Striving for that.

  22. StephanieJane
    April 18, 2014 at 4:23 am

    I love this. So much.

    • April 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie Jane. Birthdays really take you to THAT place…

      At least they do for me.

      • StephanieJane
        April 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm

        I completely agree!

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