The Power of Healthy Choices: Dani Stevens | OYNB 097

One Year No Beer Podcast Episode 097 – The Power of Healthy Choices with Dani Stevens

Dani Stevens is a motivational speaker and a social media powerhouse. She runs a lifestyle website with a focus on health, wellness, and nutrition and has amassed a large following on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. She’s also a mom to four children. She joins the podcast today to talk about her life and her own personal journey with alcohol. 

Dani is originally from Melbourne, Australia, and currently lives between Byron Bay and Gold Coast where, she explains, the sun shines 300 days a year. In today’s interview, Dani describes where it all started – how she had four children under the age of six, and how her life changed when she began using a hashtag on Instagram to talk about making healthy choices for her family. 

“We’re here to really guide these humans because, in today’s world, there are just so many lost children because parents are lost.”

Dani describes what it was like to suddenly have that recognition and what her goals are for posting about healthy lifestyle choices and nutrition. She talks about the importance of doing what you can do with the resources that you have available. 

Dani also talks about her experiences with alcohol. Despite being known for speaking and posting about healthy choices, Dani developed a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol. She describes using alcohol to avoid things that she couldn’t cope with, to numb herself, and to avoid searching within to find answers about the things that were bothering her. Things came to a head for Dani when her oldest son called her on the contradiction between her messages to others about healthy living and her own unhealthy behaviors. 

At the time of this recording, Dani has 148 days of sobriety. She talks about what she learned about drinking from watching her parents and how children generally learn from their parents’ actions and behaviors. She talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with supportive people and the difficulties of navigating social situations when you’re not drinking. She also discusses some of the projects that she’s working on and things that she’s looking forward to.  

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Episode Transcript

Jen: Hey, guys. Welcome to the One Year No Beer podcast. I am your host, Jen Fairbairns. Today, I'm speaking to Dani Stevens. She is a social media powerhouse with hundreds of thousands of followers both on Instagram and on Facebook. She posts daily, encouraging people to eat better, live better, feel better, and all things family life. She lives on the coast of Australia with her husband and their four children. 

Today I'll be talking to her about all things about being and her own personal experience with alcohol. I'm super excited. This is a bundle of energy that I'll be talking to today and I can't wait for you guys to hear it. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Dani Stevens. 

Dani: Thank you so much for having me, Jen. I'm super, super excited. 

Jen: I'm super psyched. Thank you so much for coming on and taking the time out of your busy schedule. I wouldn't say I stalk you, but I kind of feel like I do because I follow you on Instagram and Facebook. You are so busy. You're a mom. You're an entrepreneur. You're doing all this stuff. You're obviously very inspiring so thank you for that.

So we thought what better than to bring someone like yourself to our podcast and help inspire our audiences as well. Thank you for that. You were originally from Melbourne, Australia but where are you now?

Dani: We have moved in between Byron Bay and Gold Coast which is 300 days of the year, the sun shines. I don't function in overcast temperatures and rain. I do love it, though, but that’s one of the reasons. We love the water and we love to surf. As you know I have four kids so we're always outside. 

Jen: I can't even imagine just having that much sun and sunshine. I might come and join you right there.

Dani: You're much welcome anytime, Jen.

Jen: You just […] there four kids. How do you do it, girl?

Dani: I had a dream. Apparently I have this life philosophy and my mom tells me all the time. She said Daniela, you always wanted four kids. I strongly believe in whatever you think and you push out in the universe, it truly does come back. I've done a lot of that stuff over my 46 years on this earth. Saying that I wanted four kids, I did actually want some twins in there as well. People are going to call me crazy but yeah.

I had four kids under the ages of six and I sometimes look through the rearview mirror, Jen, and just go, wow, did they all belong to me? I must have this intrinsic motherhood gene that is just autopilot. Just like yup, you need this, and you need that, and check. I think naturally I have been a very calm person. However, I do have moments when I do lose it. We can talk about that later on.

Jen: Absolutely. What's the age split between your kids? […] boys, girls?

Dani: I got two boys and I got two girls. I have Noah and they're all turning a bit odd numbers this year. Noah is turning 15. Oscar would be turning 13. Mietta is turning 11 and my baby Zali is turning 9. 

Jen: Oh my goodness.

Dani: Yeah, 9, 11, 13, and 15. Time flies when you're having fun with four kids now. 

Jen: You'll have a whole bunch of teens at one point. This is crazy. 

Dani: I will. As I mentioned, I'm in my mid-40s approaching my 50s, so my girlfriend actually said that to me. She goes Dani, you didn't plan this very well. It's going to be very hormonal in your home so not only are your kids going to be changing, but you will be getting very menopausal. It will be interesting.

Jen: Has anyone else asked how your husband is feeling about all of this?

Dani: Yeah, I know. I think that's why he’s there all the time.

Jen: You need to move into my place. There's a lot of outside space. 

Dani: Absolutely. 

Jen: You are a motivational speaker. You're inspired. You're an amazing cook. You know about health and building people up, and helping people just live better. You do that through your social media channels. Obviously now, we're locked down. You can't go anywhere, but you're out and about inspiring people. How did this all start? What got you into this?

Dani: As I said I have four kids under six and it was my girlfriend that came and I had Zali. I was breastfeeding and Zali was one. She said Dani, I don't know how you do this. I don't even have children. There's no way I would get four lunches ready or green smoothies out the door. I'm even running late for work. She said you got to share this with women that aren't potentially in the grove of motherhood, because we don't get a manual when we get these little cherubs. 

So, I just started on Instagram. I had a Facebook page for all of my mothers’ group because we moved from Melbourne, we moved to a country, Victoria town so I kept in touch with them, and my background is from Former Yugoslavia, so we have all of my family in Serbia and Croatia. 

Always had Facebook, but that's for kids’ photos and all of that stuff. But as soon as I started using the hashtag on Instagram, my world completely changed from a stay-at-home mom, everyday mom. I'm not married to a superstar, actor, and started my online personal brand. I was an everyday mom and sharing our everyday life of how we lead a healthy choice. I'm not going to say I live 100% healthy because I don't.

It was all about substituting the non-healthy foods that I used to eat and substituting it with healthier foods because now I had little humans to raise and I knew better. I knew that I wanted to give them a beautiful environment. So, even when I was pregnant, I didn't have caffeine and I didn't drink. That was one of the things I promised myself that they will have a beautiful ecosystem of pure health. That's how my journey started.

Jen: Lovely. What a great way to start a journey. People look at moms and go, they don't appreciate how hard we work. I was having just a chat with a friend yesterday and we're just talking about what we go through as a mom. Being pregnant, giving birth, it's quite extraordinary what we go through. 

We're absolute machines. We don't realize how absolutely powerful we are because we are kind of lost into this world of tiredness, just getting through it and doing our best. But during this entire time, all we want is the best for our kids. We do our very best. Do we fail at times? Yes we do. We're not perfect. No one gives you a manual, right?

Dani: A hundred percent. I think also our journey is all about growth. It depends on how our mothers treated us and how our fathers treated us. That plays a really big role. I have a lot of women just going, but Dani I can't do what you're doing, and they beat themselves up.

I really love to encourage women to just say do what you do the best with the tools that you have. Obviously with me, being in your corner, having your back. Download my free recipes or my free meal planner. Log on every day and let's give ourselves a high five. Whatever your day brings, they bring us both the same energy and the same joy because nothing is worse than just waking up and going another day, another nappy. Another sleepless night. Another nipple that needs a bit of soothing.

Then that's when this whole alcohol thing happened in my life where you get busy, you get stressed, and life happens. Your life is transforming from early motherhood to they're no longer breastfeeding, so you're going, yes, I'm going out. I'm going to be having champagnes or shots.

Jen: I'm going to relive youth. 

Dani: And you get back into that culture where you just then lose yourself. That's why I mentioned in life we're on a constant rollercoaster. I am the biggest adrenaline junkie. I love to party, but I also know that when you go up, you're going to go down, and you're going to need something to […] in, and I just got a little bit over that after a while. 

I recognized within my life as well that I was turning to alcohol when I couldn't cope or I couldn't search within what's bothering me. I'll be opening the next vodka bottle and just going, oh my gosh. I'm so wasted but this is still numbing me. It's okay to have another drink. You'll be fine. I wasn't and I was self-sabotaging myself. It wasn't until my eldest son—that was recent times, that's why I've been sober now for 148 days—said mom, what are you doing? You are this health goddess out there in the world wide web, that inspires people to live healthily, and yet you're doing this? There was a couple of wake up calls that—

Jeni: I was going to say ouch. 

Dani: Hope you don't have your children tell you what you do because your ego keeps saying and goes, hang on. Who's the parent?

There were other scenarios, but that would have been one of the biggest ones where I just went, you know what? My children are watching us party, numbing our emotions because we can’t deal with stuff, and I just had to really start soul searching of my past and what triggered me to actually turn to alcohol. 

Even on a social basis, I used to just binge drink. I just go out. I couldn't just have one or two glasses of champagne, so I’m like, Dani, another one? I'm like, oh, of course. The way I held the liquor, I did it very well but it wasn't healthy at all.

Jeni: That's the thing. A lot of people, they might look healthy but dying inside. That's the thing. We always say you don't have to have an alcohol problem for it to be causing problems. What goes in here and most up it here. It was your coping mechanism. It's escapism, right?

Dani: Exactly.

Jeni: We never blame anyone. That's just the way we do, but it's all about that searching and realizing, am I feeling good? No. This is not doing for me. It's affecting my family around it. What can I do about it? And become curious. 

Dani: You just said something that resonated with me. I did blame a particular person and I would turn to drinking because I'm like, oh my gosh. This person, how come they're doing this to me? and I just went hang on, if they're doing that to me, you're letting them do that to you. Then I went within and went uh-uh-uh. No more. 

Jen: Nothing affects you externally, it all happens in here. Someone is being an asshole, you're letting them. Don't let them get to you. I'm just going to do this. Don't let it affect you. It's easier said than done.

Dani: It is. As I said, we're at our age, we're in our 40s, or we're moving on in our lifetime but if someone still offended you when you were a child or a teenager and even in your early 20s, you're still going to hold on to that anger even if you're 51 or 61. If you haven't got growth, cope with that, and move on.

Jen: Another thing when we say it's easier said than done, it's not supposed to be easy. We are always a work in progress. Everything is a work in progress and it's not easy. I think people say, well, okay. Should I just choose for something to change? No, no. You need to put down the work. You need to make sure that you put down the work and that comes with changing any habit whether it's alcohol, sugar, unhealthy food, exercising. It's not supposed to be easy. I think we have been a little bit too comfortable for the past couple of years and then now we've learned what uncomfortableness is because we are being deprived of the basic thing. 

Dani: We couldn't even hug each other. 

Jen: You go to a supermarket and now you see people and you do this weird virtual hug. 

Dani: Hello. We're like rappers. We're just like ‘yo, yo. 

Jeni: Now we are being deprived of those basic things. I'm hoping that we're all going to come out of this and be a bit more appreciative of things and go, hey it's not easy. We work for stuff.

Dani: And also just surrounding yourself with a really really supportive network. That was one of the biggest keys for me. My husband still drinks and he'll support me in a sense where he might not go here, then I might see him at the other side of the couch because I don't like the smell of the beer now anyway. As long as you got people that are supporting you and you got online support at the moment is also being crucial for me. That's how I discovered yours. I discovered Sober Motivation, and Sober as Fuck because I don't swear. You might hear this later. 

Really surrounding yourself with those people and also when you go out, which I found really tricky, was other people felt really uncomfortable that you didn't drink. I was okay, but they were just like, oh, you're not drinking. I've had a really hard day and all my kids are cheeky and I need a drink. Everyone's got their vice but it comes back down to how you want to feel in the morning and I didn’t like those hangovers.

Jeni: That's the thing. It's that moment that people go for escapism. It's not just going to help in the morning. That's what we say. Is it going to get you closer to your end goal of feeling better? Or is it going to take you further away? That's where you need to go and think because, at the end of the day, you're looking to improve your life and feel a little bit better.

Some people don't need what we do. Some people are just fine and that's awesome. There's a lot of us on this planet and that's great. Some people are just, why can't I be like everyone else? Why can't I just exist and do this? Because it doesn't work that way.

Dani: It's all part of your […].

Jeni: It wasn’t meant for you. It wasn’t on the cards for you. You got to make certain choices for you to feel a little bit happier. Good one you and keep up the good work. You're not planning on just staying away forever or is this more of resetting yourself, finding yourself, and seeing how you're feeling?

Dani: Yeah. I think I'm resetting because I've had occasions where I could have had something quickly just to again I could feel my emotions creeping and going. If I just have a little bit or I'm mixing something and I need to put something in, I wonder if I just have a little bit of taste, or my husband’s beer and I wanted to really quench that thirst.

I'm like, no. It was like bringing it back to the food because I’ve had a big food journey and lost up to 100 kilos over my 10-year journey with all the kids and stuff. That's been up and down. I used to call them BLTs. When I used to bite, lick, and taste for my children. That was the extra kilos I was putting on every day because I'm like, oh, you can't waste that, because my mom would say, oh, Daniela. Don't waste that. Same with alcohol. You'll be like, oh, it's in there. You might as well just finish it off.

All those little things I just have to go, stop. You don't need it. Look how far you've come. Don't sabotage it. I'm not going to say, never say never. It's like when I changed over to my plant-based diet. We just came back from the Mediterranean. We had my village do a big meat fest and they were looking at me going, what? You're not eating meat? What do you mean? Who are you? Even though we do eat just all vegetables, it's a big treat to have meat in our village. 

So now, my life is all about what I call flexitarian. I need to have balance. I don't want other people to feel uncomfortable and I don't want to feel uncomfortable if I must partake in a cultural setting as well. I might have my Slivovitz or Rakija if I see my family, but I know I will never drink the way that I drank a few months ago because I was totally, totally self-sabotaging myself and I'm still a little bit emotional about it because I let myself get to that point. I don’t want anyone to get to that point because there’s a better option out there for all of us.

Jen: That’s lovely. Thank you for sharing that. You have to come to that self-realization yourself. You need to know what it is. You get very emotional because it was such a big thing for you, obviously.

Dani: Very recent to me. I’m still recovering. Even though I wasn’t a big long-term alcoholic, my father was an alcoholic. He had a liver transplant, he nearly died, and unfortunately recently, I also just lost him. I have a big history with drinking. I’ve seen the social aspect of keeping company, of hosting family and friends. I have always seen my father like that, but then I also saw the relationship he had with my mother. 

There are so many things that hurt me with alcohol. When it happened with my child who looks at me and says mom, you’re our role model, I’m looking at him just going who are you to tell me? I’m not totally intoxicated but I’m enough to… Mom, what are you doing? Lift your game?

As soon as your son says that, it was one of the biggest wake-up calls of my life. Remembering the party days when we used to have our heads down the toilets and vomiting, that wasn’t a lesson for us. We kept doing it the following week, you know what I mean?

Jen: You were unstoppable.

Dani: Once it hits in here, then that consciousness just goes wow, you are supposed to be guiding these humans. You should be a role model. We are human and they are very forgiving, my kids. We’re here to really guide these humans because in today’s world, there are just so many lost children because parents are lost.

Jen: Parents are lost, the parents are drinking, and they are so vulnerable. The perfect example with your son is they’re watching us. We don’t think they might be, they might be minding their business, but they see everything. Because we’re their parents.

Dani: We’re their heroes.

Jen: Yes. They see everything we do. We can’t fool them. We’re just fooling ourselves.

Dani: We have friends that want our children to go sleepover, and we just know that they’re really heavy drinkers. I’m thinking, you know what, I don’t want my children being around those environments. I don’t know who they’ve got coming over, what parties are happening, and who’s who. There are things like that, that the pennies just dropped now, where you’re having a barbecue and there’s just always beer, there’s just always alcohol, and our poor kids think just to get together with friends and to chillax, you have to have this substance that is carcinogenic. It’s just not even healthy for us. They can say you can have a glass of wine, it’s healthy, but I wonder who’s getting paid for that ad.

Jen: Exactly. Someone very clever. I just like to read […] when you said the whole thing. The children, they watch us, they see us, and they see what we do. This goes down in generation. That starts with you and your parents. You’ve watched them. You come from, let’s say, you have Yugoslavian-Croatian, was it?

Dani: Yes.

Jen: Very big, heavy beer drinkers. That’s just the way they live. Nothing weird with that. I’m from Sweden, I know. Same everywhere. You live there. You watched your mom and dad, you saw it affect your parent’s relationship, but yet when you were a child, you see that. You grow up and then you may begin to drink to cope with what you’ve experienced as a child because you didn’t know any better, you weren’t taught any better. It’s a pattern. What more evidence do we need than that for us to make the decision and choice of maybe this is not good if it’s affecting my family and my children.

Dani: Just cut that off now. Cut out a different pattern. Do another pattern.

Jen: Make a different pattern.

Dani: Green smoothies.

Jen: I’m all about smoothies, health in general, but let’s just say I have my weak times where I indulge in a whole tub of ice cream. I don’t do a little bit of ice cream.

Dani: I’m all-or-nothing, too, Jen, so it’s okay.

Jen: That’s the thing, I’m all in with certain things, but I also work out a lot. I don't know when they'll let us out next but if we go to someone's big birthday or wedding I might have some Fonseca just for the heck of it because I choose to, but it doesn't define or it doesn't affect my family. It won't be around my kids, that's for sure. That’s the one thing. I don't want to be around my kids. You struggled after the kids. I couldn't wait to kind of like I need to treat myself. I started just hating myself for feeling bad and feeling in this dark place. It takes you into this dark, dark place and you feel like a terrible mom.

You're a great mom, you just feel terrible. It's that self-fulfilling thing. It's so hard but once you make that realization that nothing else matters but what your kids see, how do you inspire them, and they are always watching you. Creepy as it sounds but they are always.

Dani: They're the biggest teachers, too. They were the biggest teacher in my life, and they've taught me to look after myself. I’m very grateful to them.

Jen: Amazing. Tell us a little bit more. You have done some pretty extraordinary things that I want you to tell us about. I'm just going to mention Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What are those three things? Tell us a little bit more about those things.

Dani: As I said, I started as an everyday, and I still am, your everyday stay-at-home mother. I just did these hashtags. We had a team that wanted to ride. There was a Ride to Conquer Cancer and there were six of them in Australia. You normally just do one for the weekend, 200 kilometers, but we decided to do all six. First time ever in my life that I put my feet in cleats. I just had one of those bikes with baskets.

Jen: That’s the thing terrifying with the cleats. I can’t do it.

Dani: I even had my team because back in the day on Facebook you'd just be saying I'm training. Because I had a really severe pelvic instability with all my kids, I was sitting on a cushion on my bike with one of those trainers inside the house. They're just going what? Is she just training on a cushion inside? She hasn't even gone outside with the elements, hasn't even put her feet in the cleats. I remember it was one week before we were going for the ride that I just went up and down my street to try and get them in and off.

It's amazing what this brain up here can do, so mind over matter. When you've got a passion because obviously my dad had cancer and I had my uncles passed away with cancer, so I had a real connection with doing this cause. I just said nothing's going to stop me. My mom was just going, oh, Daniela. You just had birth. Why would you be sitting on a seat all day?

I'd put my hand up for this and the captain said look, Dani, you've got a bit of momentum in social media. You’re now the social media queen. We need to get somebody's attention to come to help support and raise some funds. That's where my dream big, believe, make it happen philosophy comes from. First of all, one of my idols that I adored. I thought who else would recognize this man. I had this big sign saying, ‘Sir Richard Branson, if I get a million likes will you come to ride with me and my team in Australia?’

I had a lot of pessimistic people just going, Dani has Richard Branson got back to you yet? I said, no, but he will. I’m maybe the 300th person that's SMSing him every day or on social media. It was actually the day before our first ride that he posted on his Instagram saying, “Dani and the Vision Crusaders, we wish you all the best.” I didn't ask him for money. I just wanted support to just say look, this is what I'm doing. We just need your backing because I knew he was a mad cyclist as well.

That just gave us the feather in the cap to go to other brands and companies to get some more sponsorships. I've got the backing of Sir Richard Branson, show me the money. That was phenomenal. That was one of my greatest career highlights. With Jamie Oliver as well, cooking on Jamie's Food Tube, doing an app with him, and contributing to a book as well. He was sitting in my kitchen. Who would have thought from the age of 17–18 when I started to love cooking and stuff that I had this English boy in a book, cooking and inspiring me. That's why I feel really strongly that I'm an exceptional cook because of him.

As I mentioned to you earlier, if you think of stuff and you do what you love, love what you do, these things come to you. I'll never forget someone just saying, oh my gosh, Jamie Oliver, he's just dropped in your lap. You've just got an email just saying he wants to work with you. I'm like really? I'm going, hang on, that was not luck. I have been cooking. I have been sharing. I’ve done all the hard work. He didn’t just go where’s Dani Stevens?

Jen: People get it. People go, they were an overnight success. No, there's no such thing.

Dani: No way. No way. What do they say? They say whatever's taken me 40 years and if I can just share with you in 15 minutes, it takes forever. It's a journey for us. I was really, really pumped with that. He's a really dear friend now. I'm so, so blessed that I've now got people that were my idols they're actually now my friends. It's mind-blowing.

Jen: […] anything happens. You’re right. There’s this dreaming thing, making it happen. There you go.

Dani: I have a lot of people that can sometimes be a little bit like you're such a dreamer, Dani. You know what? I want to show my children that I know it's all la la land stuff, but if you then believe in your dream, it then takes that work. Like you just said before when we touched on, you've got to do this every day. If it's something that you truly love and you believe, it will happen, without a shadow of a doubt. I am a testament to all this stuff.

That's why I feel that part of my success is the positive vibes and just surrounding yourself with like-minded people because as soon as you get those people that are a bit negative, they can weigh you down. But you then just know not to associate or give them as much time.

Jen: Just love on them. Love on them.

Dani: Still love?

Jen: Yeah. Love on them but don’t let them get to you.

Dani: Correct. The other one was a really super, super extraordinary experience. It was done for the first time ever in the world. I just started my yoga journey, and that was to open World Yoga Day on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Phenomenal. We were the first on top and doing all of our moves and it was vast.

Jen: The first question is, clearly you were not fearful of heights?

Dani: No. I told you I'm an adrenaline junkie. I love roller coaster rides.

Jen: Next thing you know you go upside down on top of the bridge just like that. I love it.

Dani: I love that. That was beautiful. That was such a feeling of just success in your own mind where I've just started this yoga journey. I wasn't some yogini. I'm not a teacher. I can instruct and guide you online, but I'm no teacher and guru, so for me, that was just a really, really special time in my life.

Jen: That's the thing, you say that it's all about a bit la la dream. It's not, though. People have perceived it like that. It's a bit like, you dream big girl. It is there and it's yours for the taking. Don't let anyone else tell you anything else because we suppress the thinking we should settle, we should be happy. If you're trying to break the mold you make people uncomfortable and then people will say this and that. Who cares? Why settle? Settle is boring.

Dani: I tell my kids all the time. We had a bit of a dinner accident in the kitchen. I heard Oscar as he was going through the hallway saying I'm so dumb. I just had to say to him sweetheart, please, refrain from using that language within your psyche because you are going to start to think that any time you have an accident or you've done something. You're not dumb. It was an accident. Just say okay, this has happened. I'm just going to go get the broom and shovel, and I'm going to fix it.

I'm very conscious when my children start to think not so positive things about themselves. I try and get them to think. It's like when we're talking earlier when I'm so positive throughout my day. And yes, I do have my down days, but I shift that mood really quickly because I can't function. I will cry, I will get angry, and I will scream, but it's not something that I would share on social because I don't want to burst your eardrums. Obviously, I just share snippets of saying this was not so much of a good day, but this is how I turned it around. I help people with those tools and guide them.

Jen: That's what you should be showing because that's what we want to know. I do the same. I'll show a picture of a freshly baked cake that is currently upside down on the floor. Baking with kids is a lot of fun, definitely worth the time. We do have these things. We have rough days, but we need to choose to leave those moments or days behind us. I just call them the grind days. Some days you just have to get through. Even with kids, especially now when you're at home with your kids a lot more, some days they come. You just have to get through and then make the next day beautiful, make the best out of it, love on your children, love on your partner, and not like oh my gosh, life is so awful and hard. It's not.

Dani: Because you're bringing that energy. Again, those words. You're already pre-empting that you're going, it’s such a bad day. How come this always happens to me? Already, that's just going around to just wait for the next scenario.

Jen: […] something to go look, there it is, there it is.

Dani: I knew that would happen. I knew it. I knew it. You know it because you just said it. You just made that happen.

Jen: What else can you make happen? This is a course of how many years that you've been getting into that? From the first day that you started posting a little bit to where Zali is…

Dani: Zali now is eight. I can honestly say I've been on social media for seven years every day of my life. To some people, they're like oh my gosh, I can't believe you do this every day. Do you have to plan? Do you have to-do? I said, no. I do all my stuff in real-time. There might be some photoshoots that the brand is doing. We've got photographers and I have some makeup, but otherwise, I don't Photoshop. I don't put any lashes on.

Don't get me wrong, I love to dress up. If I need hair extensions, I'll put hair extensions in. It's like when you go to a wedding. You're going to dress up beautifully, so I’m going to have those moments, but everyday life is me just sharing it on Instagram, and it's just been second nature for me. It hasn't ever been tedious. It's never been oh my gosh, what am I posting today? I think I would post everything throughout my day because I've got so much to share, but I just go to tone it down, Dani, because people are going to go how are you doing all that stuff. I must be just really energetic.

Jen: It's what you do. It's become beautiful. It’s your job now. You live in your own dream.

Dani: That’s true. Someone said you are a people connector. You are effervescence of energy that actually resonates over a screen. That is an amazing talent to have, especially during COVID now we can't see each other. When I do meet people they're like wow, I thought you had energy online. You walk the talk, you talk the walk. I'm very grateful that I've been able to be authentic, that gets thrown around so many times these days. Who you see online is exactly who you're going to see here, and you might hear me yell at the kids from time to time.

Jen: We all do. It’s just part of life. You're just going to keep doing what you’re doing. When life resumes—when, we don't know—what are your next plans, next steps?

Dani: What are my next visions and my passions? I just want to continue. My big motto is love what you do, do what you love so everything just unfolds. I actually get calls when people I don’t know work with me and I just go wow, that would be cool. That's been my seven years. I haven't had to ask for any work, but now with COVID and with everything changing, I am now building proposals where I want to work with XYZ or I want to produce content for these people. I'm sort of mapping that out. I really, really love to travel. I love watching shows, live music, so I can't wait to see live music. The first flight that gets out of Australia I'm going.

Jen: Anywhere.

Dani: Anywhere. People have always encouraged me to write a book. I've got this book and I don't know. It's obviously not the right timing, so I'm still going to go through this book because it's about my family, but I think it's also about me because everyone resonates with me as a person, then as the mom, then as the wife, and then as the friend. This book has changed my course as well. I just want to meet more people. I want to be able to go and do workshops, meet amazing people like yourself, do group stuff, collaborate, and have this energy in person. Do it with music festivals. Just have that real high vibration stuff. Just hug.

Jen: Yeah, hug.

Dani: Hug everyone. I'm just missing all the cuddles. I'm a very affectionate person, so I need my kisses and my cuddles.

Jen: I’m the same. I really struggle with this. I am Swedish so I’m not necessarily a hugger but I lived many years in Italy, so I’m all about hugging.

Dani: You know they’re all mwah, Bella ciao, mwah, mwah, mwah.

Jen: I’m all about kisses and hugs. I'm really struggling now.

Dani: That's beautiful. That’s my whole mission. When people ask me, what do you love the most? I would just say that connection, it's so important now, and feelings. Feelings are the most important and that's where it ties into all this drinking because if you don't share your feelings, you’re going to keep drinking and numbing that pain. We really need to have conversations and just start sharing.

Jen: Yeah, that's a good point. Hopefully, people will come out of this and go I know, this connection is so important. There’s always a saying of the opposite of addiction is connection. Because addictions or drinking, especially, can be a very lonely place, and you can stay lonely and feel lonely because you're staying in that circle, whereas connection like this will keep you distracted. It will have all these other positive things that bring with it. Hopefully, people come out of this and be like I need connection.

Dani: Yes, and no more texting. Don’t get me wrong. I love social media, and I am sort of a bit of a texter, but make the time to actually just catch up with people and pick up the phone because the voice, that vibration is a lot more powerful than just a text.

Jen: Yeah. The voice for sure. I like Zoom calls and stuff like this where you can actually see each other rather than—

Dani: See the expression.

Jen: Expressions make such a big difference especially if you live far away. You’re in Australia and I'm up in Scotland and we’re having this.

Dani: I love it.

Jen: It’s beautiful. I like to focus on the positives that are going to come out of this whole COVID situation. Anything I've missed that you would like to share with our listeners? We have a whole bunch of our members listening right now, we have your listeners right now, so this is a perfect opportunity. If there's something out there you just want to share like some Dani Stevens’ wisdom.

Dani: We've covered so much and I'm really grateful that I've been able to share my life with your audience and vice-versa with my audience to connect with yours. We can all help one another. That's my endgame. I do what I do because I'm here to help through my experiences. I've experienced suicides. I've experienced deaths, divorces, all that stuff, alcoholism, and drugs. I can say I've experienced everything, or I've had other people that have shared and I've been able to help them. That's my whole mission in this world. If we can all just collaboratively connect and just help one another, that is my mission.

Jen: I like that because together, we can make a difference. One person can make a bit of difference and it's great, but if we just start connecting the dots and help each other rather than go you're my competition, or you're this thing in the corner. It's not about that. It's about what collectively we can do to help out the world. That's beautiful. I love that.

For those who are listening and would like to check Dani out, your handle for all the socials is @danistevens. The website is danistevens.com. On Facebook, she's got over 220,000 followers, she's got 126,000 on Instagram. Guys, Dani is worth checking out. She's super inspiring. I check her out every day. It sounds creepy, but I check her out. It’s fun. I'm going to the supermarket and get a watermelon today because I saw you made—

Dani: I have a little cake, yes.

Jen: The watermelon cake and a snack for your kids. See, that’s the thing. Some people are just natural. I would never have thought about that. I'm looking. I'm going to try out. The kids are going to love it. 

Check her out. Her Insta is brilliant, […] some inspiration, especially for moms out there, especially in these times when we're looking for a little bit of inspiration on what to do.

Dani: If anyone wants a laugh as well, I've just started dancing with my kids on TikTok. I didn’t even think I would get on TikTok, but I'm actually hooked. Every Tuesday we have TikTok Tuesday. If anyone wants to have a bit of a laugh…

Jen: Ru, my husband, he has TikTok. I don't even get it. I thought that was for the young kids and now I see all my friends. I might have done what […] is doing. Obviously, I can check it out, too.

Dani: That’s what I want to inspire all the 40-, 50-year-olds. We are never too old to be doing anything. You've just got to do it. I'm such a 20-year-old anyway. Half the reason why I think I am a great mom is because I am like my kids. I'm so youthful, I'm so childlike, and I just want to have fun and make people so, so happy. That brings a smile on their face and then people also say Dani, that's so amazing. You just brighten my day. That's what fills up my heart every day.

Jen: That's beautiful. On behalf of One Year No Beer and on behalf of our listeners, we appreciate you taking your time and sharing your wisdom. We'll keep in touch. Hopefully, we can touch base and see what you're up to. Whenever you have something going on, we'll get in touch and see (maybe) if you can get some more involvement in what we do. We love having inspiring, strong females (and males, obviously), coming in and sharing their wisdom with us.

Dani: I’d love that. Thank you so, so much for having me. Kisses from Australia.

Jen: Thank you so much.

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