Bravotv.com: How did you first meet Tamra?
Emily Simpson: Tamra and I first met about 3 1/2 years ago. Shane and I had recently moved back to Orange County, and we moved into a home directly across the street from my sister-in-law, Shireen (Shane’s sister). Shireen and I decided to start a small party planning business on the side (we are both attorneys). My mother-in-law, Pary, is Persian, so she and Shireen had planned amazing parties for years. Shireen really had a lot of prior experience in party planning. I decided to reach out to Tamra on social media and to tell her about our party planning services. The timing was perfect because Tamra was actually getting ready to throw a baby shower for Sarah (Ryan’s girlfriend at the time). Shireen and I met with Tamra and went over her vision for the baby shower. During the party planning process, Tamra and I hit it off. We had a lot in common and we really connected. I really liked Tamra immediately and found that she was very down to earth and personable. We both opened up to each other about a lot of personal things that were going on in our lives, and I felt like she was a friend I could really talk to. I liked her openness and how easy going she was.
Bravotv.com: Tamra said you had a rift for a couple years. How did you two come back together as friends?
I had always been bothered by the fact that Tamra and I had a rift in our friendship, and we had not spoken in a couple of years. I really regretted how I handled the situation when Tamra deleted me from all her social media. I was hurt and angry, because I knew that I had done nothing wrong and I had always been in her corner. In response, I chose to just be angry, and I never attempted to resolve it. A few years had passed, and as we all know, time heals all wounds. I really wanted the opportunity to resolve things with Tamra and to have the opportunity to speak to her in person. I felt like if we met and talked about things we could probably have a good laugh about it and move on. I decided to reach out to Tamra and attempt to resolve things. I have been going to therapy regularly for the past year or so, and through therapy I have really tried to grow as a person and accept responsibility for my own actions and to resolve issues so that there is no toxicity in my life. Honestly, I was nervous to call Tamra, but I felt like it was important to do it. I’m glad I made that call, because she was very kind and welcoming when we spoke on the phone, and after our phone call I had high hopes we could resolve our issues easily and get back to being friends, which is exactly what we did.
Bravotv.com: You're a party planner and an attorney? How do you make time for it all?
Fortunately I work for a great law firm that holds family time in high regard. I am afforded a very flexible schedule so that I can be a mom and spend quality time at home with my family, while I also get to put on my suit and heels and spend time with grown ups at the office. It’s a perfect balance!
The party planning business is more of a passion, and so it doesn’t feel like work at all. It is something Shireen and I do in our spare time. We might meet and plan our events over coffee and shop for what we need on weekends. Sometimes we have to divide and conquer. It helps that she lives right across the street!
Also, my in-laws are a huge help! They live around the corner (yes, we all live in the same neighborhood), and they help so much by picking up the kids from school on days that I work, or bringing over dinner (always Persian food!), or also helping out on party days. Shireen and I are always sending my father-in-law and Shane out to buy ice or toothpicks or more Mardi Gras beads.
Bravotv.com: Tell us more about your relationship with your husband. You said you didn't really date beforehand.
Shane and I have an amazing and strong relationship. He’s really my best friend. We have been married almost 10 years, and we have endured a lot of very tough times, but we endured it together as a team. We are great parents that are navigating the raising of five children ranging in ages from 3 to 17. Prior to getting married, Shane and I did not date. At all. We had worked together for about three years at the same real estate consulting firm, and we had always been friends. He was funny, witty, and always made me laugh. After he and his first wife divorced, we began chatting on Google Chat and one day he just said, "Want to get married?" I was 32 at the time, ready to settle down and have kids and thought, what the heck! I really just took a huge leap of faith. We were married a couple of weeks after that, and I’m sure my family thought I was insane…But here we are, almost 10 years later, three babies later, and we are stronger than ever!