About Darnell

I was born in 1968 in Merced, a small town in California’s Central Valley, one of five children to parents who owned and worked a small ranch. That’s right, our childhood chores included bottle-feeding calves, caring for the horses, and shoveling giant sticker bushes out of the pasture. But don’t get the wrong idea: I was a “girly-girl”. Although many girls grow up interested in makeup and fashion, I have very specific memories of being interested in skin care and fitness from a very early age. (Saving my wages to buy wrinkle cream at the age of 16!) During my junior high school and high school years, I worked in a local bakery; I continued to work my way through Merced Junior College andFresno State University.

But because my dreams went beyond the borders of our town (I’ve always dreamed big), I moved to Los Angeles in order to continue my education at Cal State Northridge. I met my future husband in 1991 and we moved to Shanghai (my husband is Chinese with a family business in Indonesia and China). After almost a year there, we moved to Singapore and – ever the dreamer – it was there that I started my first bucket list. (Which confirmed my suspicions that my desire for a “big” life had little to do with my small town upbringing and everything to do with my own inner appetite, no matter where I was living.)

I gave birth to the first of my three children, Kaile, in 1995 and had my son, Alec, in 1997. My husband and I wanted to raise our children in the States and so we moved back to Los Angeles in the summer of 1999; my daughter Nadia was born in L.A. in 2000. I loved being a mother – still do – and yet I wanted to learn more about what makes people tick. Even then, I knew that much of “Living Young” is about attitudes and emotions. So, juggling parenthood and student life, I graduated with my Masters in Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2002.

Our family traveled extensively, as I wanted to expose my children to worlds beyond the safe boundaries of our home in Los Angeles. Over the years, my husband and I grew apart – different priorities, different passions (my God, we were so young when we got married!) – and we divorced in 2012. Suddenly a single mom, I began to look around and recognize that my peers were all going through some sort of life crisis; our conversations reflected the changes we were going through, inside and out. We weren’t falling apart, but we weren’t spring chickens either. We were beginning to deal with the (emotional) gravity of life and the (physical) effects of gravity. It was while running the LA Marathon (yes, that was on my bucket list) that I began thinking about creating a blog, a community where women might share their stories about diet, exercise and beauty maintenance. Indeed, it was at about Mile 14 that “Live Young” was born. Two days later, fully recovered from the rigors of the marathon (an item checked off my bucket list, and no need to do THAT again), my blog still seemed like a good idea and so… I find myself a year later launching the site.

I’m currently living in Los Angeles with my fiancée (no, that didn’t happen during the Marathon) and raising our blended family of joyful, chaotic teenagers.