Mental Health, Relationships

When its over…

Its still really raw.  I am hurting like hell right now. My heart is broken all over again.  received_10213671262954793But like everything else in my life, I hope that someone can gather something from what I’ve learned.

I give everything that’s in me when it comes to love.  I love my child with every fiber of my being and I give every relationship 110%.  I will never stop doing that till the day I take my last breath.  Fatal flaw?  Possibly.  But I know that when the right guy finds me, he gets it all.  The good, the bad, and the no-makeup and messy hair.

Disclaimer: I am annoying – I challenge stuff.  Norms. Values. Beliefs. Standards. Ethics.  You. Myself.   I’m not tidy, but I’m not gross.  My passion is


infinite.  My son is absolutely everything to me and I’m tired of seeing him hurt.  I do things different and I’m completely unapologetic about it.  I deserve the world and so does my baby.  But I also give the world; negotiate; compromise; I will fight to my last breath for a relationship that is worth it.

This also sounds a lot more like a dating application than I expected.

My reality is that I’ve been through circumstances most people don’t even want to fathom.  Death, displacement, loss, betrayal, hate.  I’ve allowed it to propel me, shape me, make me into someone I don’t even know yet.  But I certainly love her!  This is when you say “Oh well, duh, you shouldn’t be dating if you’re not stable yet.”  I’m not un-stable. Just like every human who knows ‘what’s up,’ I am growing.  A work in progress, destination yet to be determined.  I know precisely what I want and desire, but sometimes it evolves, just like every single human.  I was fooled by falsehoods and fraudulent promises.

IMG_20180316_143621_130I’m still a dreamer.  A romantic. Hopeful. I know the right person is out there for us, because that’s what we need.  Some women prefer to do it all alone.  Some men prefer to do it all alone.  Its not my preference.  While I am an introvert to the core, I still very much need companionship and I don’t apologize for that!  I know what I want and my optimism means eventually I’ll find it.

Whole 30

I Survived Whole 30… So Can You!

Ok Guys – I made it. I Survived.

I can’t lie though – it was barely a crisis situation.  It really wasn’t that hard!  I used Pinterest to gather recipes and make my shopping list.  I practiced intermittent fasting, so I only ate 2 times per day, about 7-8 hours between meals.  That helped me steer clear of temptation.  I even ate out a few times and did awesome.  I’m patting myself on the back for wholeheartedly sticking to my commitment to the month.

Those first few days were tough, fighting those sugar cravings.  I learned quickly that I crave the act of eating far more than food itself.  You know when you don’t know what you want to eat but you feel like eating? Yup.  Its that, and its worse when you are fully conscious of abstaining.  My office time is during my son’s nap time, so from approximately 3-6pm, my cravings are in FULL FORCE.  That first week was positively brutal.  I had to distract myself or I’d be sitting on top of my fridge hiding out with oreos and a bag of shredded cheese.

By the end of the first week, I learned where I was weakest, and was prepared.  I drank extra water.  I had a mental pep talk ready to go – “you don’t need food, you’re bored.”  If I was really desperate, I’d start some dinner prep, or start planning what I wanted to have.  No, I am not that uber organized Pinterest mom.  I am mentally incapable of food prepping.  Mostly because I’m about as indecisive as they come!  I could make 5 meals for the week and be annoyed I have to force myself to eat them.

Whole 30 has a few main components.  Here’s what you need to know: for 30 days, you’re eliminating craving-inducing foods from your life – Sugar, Dairy and Grains.  That means no wine or beer, but you can definitely have coffee!  I found it to be more of a fun challenge to push myself this month than a tedious chore to deprive myself.

There is sugar in darn near EVERYTHING.  Reading labels is your new favorite pastime.  But, it is avoidable.  I never realized how much I was ending up consuming every day!  Same with dairy – cheese is akin to salt in my house.  I was shocked by how often I went to reach for some.  This is not a carb-concious plan, necessarily, so if you cannot fathom Keto (I already know that style of eating does not work for my body) this is a fabulous alternative.

Here’s the beauty of this plan though:

  • my overall cravings for anything (aside from chocolate, a girl needs chocolate) are down to insignificant if at all
  • I don’t feel the need to even add these things back into my diet
  • My skin is clear for the first time – you read that right – FIRST time in just shy of 20 years
  • I lost 16lb!
  • I was willingly eating healthy stuff – double the vegetables, smaller portions
  • My nails are super strong, my hair is cooperating

So, needless to say, through all of this, I’ll be doing my best to stick to this plan for good.  I’ll be trialing the three areas almost like an allergy protocol to see which effects me the worst and what I can have in moderation.

If eliminating Sugar, Dairy, and Grains fits in your health plan (I can’t imagine there’s any ailment that requires any of these areas!), I strongly encourage this plan.  Give it the 30 days, really commit, go all in.  You will learn so much about yourself and your health! I highly recommend it for anyone who’s been struggling to lose weight and get healthy.

Here’s my Whole 30 Pinterest Board

Best Wishes and Delicious Dishes!



Learning to Laugh

I’ve built my personal brand around “Jess Knows Best.” I like to teach and people often seek me out for advice.  The brand will definitely continue, but I wanted to clarify the scope of my blog.

Learning to Laugh

AppleOrchard2017(33of84)One of the most curious things I’ve had to understand with Nicholas is his general lack of laughter.  The most glaring aspect of most kids with autism is their social skills.  Now, of course, this isn’t a gold standard.  Some kids with autism have a great social skills and lack in other areas.  He has always giggled when he was tickled but never expressed  humor outside of that.  I never struck me as weird, until he started imitating laughter.

Since the end of April 2017, I’ve realized just how little I know about being silly, smiling, laughing, and enjoying myself.  Six years were spent bending over backwards for kids that weren’t mine, relatives that didn’t respect me, and a man who twisted my every thought and word.  Life was a challenging, if not downright awful.  I lost myself.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I ever knew who I was in the first place.  I’m a very flexible person, so I melt from situation to situation, learning how to blend because it helped me to be likeable.


What I lost was individuality and my own way.  I began a journey over a year ago toAppleOrchard2017(70of84) find myself.  It didn’t sit well with my significant other.  He bucked against my individuality with gas lighting, accusations, inconsistencies, and manipulation.  As I reached into deep corners of myself, finding motivation and strength I never knew before, he got more manipulative in his tactics.  Finding ways to make me feel less than human, a failure as a mother, an absolute failure as a wife, unable to earn through my own avenues.  I felt more defeated than ever, but felt more determined to do what was best for Nicholas and I.

I had to learn to laugh again too.

IMG_20180120_143350_983And I am still learning.  We are rapidly approaching the first anniversary of our world changing irreparably.  And as I sit here on Leland and I’s 6 month anniversary, I can’t say I wouldn’t change anything.  There’s plenty of things I’d change.  I’d do sooner.  Would do better.  But what I can tell you is I am learning to laugh right alongside my baby boy and that is something I wouldn’t change for the world.

Its worth it.  Every crappy thing you have to go through leads you to something better, if you manifest it for yourself.  Stay strong and love hard.


Mental Health

New Year, New Me… mmm naahhh

Ahh yes, our favorite time of year, when we promise ourselves to do more, be better.  What’sSnapchat-177795489 your resolution?  Did you make any?

Personally, I don’t do resolutions.  I know I’ve never kept any mediocre promises to myself before, and I need to stop fooling myself into thinking I’ll go to the gym more, eat fantastic all the time, stay on task every day.  Its unrealistic!

Have you heard this year’s buzz word?

Self Care.

Cue your friend who sells bath bombs and candles jumping up, the friend who sells in-home workouts, the friend who sells comfortable clothes, all jumping out of their skin to tell you what you need to “self care.”

I want to let you in on a secret about this buzz word of 2017: self care is NOT about bubble baths and buying yourself a Frappucino. It goes far beyond Treat Yo Self.  In fact, some of the most important pieces of self care is not about treating yourself, but rather, abstaining from something!

Are bubble baths and hot cups of coffee self care? Sure, but they’re not the key to true self care.

But here are some things that ARE self care, and are incredibly important to your overall wellbeing:

  • Getting to the gym you committed to even when you don’t feel like it
  • Taking care of your mental health (with medication, if need be). See that therapist, take the medications, do some reading about self help
  • Taking a shower when you don’t feel like getting up
  • Eating a healthy (or at least healthy-ish) meal when you’d rather skip or eat junk
  • Stop with the crappy habits – smoking, drinking soda, alcohol overuse.  You know how bad it is for you.  Get help if you need it.
  • Brushing your hair, brushing your teeth, washing your face, changing your clothes
  • Keeping appointments – friends, business, etc
  • Taking care of that thing that’s been hanging over your head – been putting off that doctor’s appointment?  Been delaying cleaning something?  Have to make an important phone call that you’re procrastinating on?  Doing it and getting it off your mind will make you feel exponentially better!
  • Making that doctor’s appointment and keeping it
  • Cleaning a room you’ve been putting off
  • Taking your medications properly
  • Remembering to take your vitamins
  • Smiling at yourself in the mirror; you’re your best ally
  • Keeping in touch with good friends, even if its just a brief message back and forth occasionally
  • Ridding yourself of toxic relationships.  Stop talking to people who are not good for you.  You don’t owe them any special explanation.  You don’t owe them any more of your time or energy.  You do owe yourself peace.
  • Setting real goals that will make you stretch, keep you interested, and have real rewards at the end
  • Taking time to do things that nourish your soul.  Did you read a lot before? Take some time to read each week.  Got invited to a yoga class? GO. Used to do needlepoint?  Pick it up for an hour here and there.
  • Getting your budget together, being realistic about it, sticking to it
  • Not running from problems; confronting, delegating, completing
  • Start CRUSHING goals. Not in the sorority, girl gang, rah-rah sense.  I mean taking that list of goals and doing something about it.  Following through, swinging for the fences, creating the life you deserve.

Stop living an unfulfilling coast-along life.  Start creating a life you don’t need to escape from with those bon bons, trash tv, and comfy clothes.  Build a life that makes you want to jump out of bed each day and not want to take a 6 month vacation, twice a year.

2017 has been a hard year for me to keep up with.  I’ve struggled to keep my house clean.  Cooking dinner has been an exhausting thought.  I have gone days without bothering to shower, some days managing to throw some dry shampoo in my hair and brush it.  I’ve gained a ton of weight back (well, a ton in my book).  I struggle minute to minute with motivation.  My business suffered.  My team suffered. My income absolutely tanked; I realized that not only was I making less money for the same (and possibly even more work), but other benefits had been stripped away one by one.

Not to mention, the biggest seller, highest ticket item – the easiest to maintain sales on – is almost entirely dependent on my personal weight loss results!  How in the world can I sell something that I’m not remembering to take, and isn’t working for me because I never remember to take it!

I had to make a change before I lost all of my income and passion.  I moved forward with a company that has the same green and clean product values, but is a product everyone uses almost every single day.  Now I have the ability to offer men, women, and children that first step in their self care without focusing on weight loss or sensitive subjects.  It touches every single life and is safe and healthy for them.

Life is short. You know that. You don’t need me to tell you that.  Start enjoying it and stop making excuses for why you aren’t.

Happy New Year!


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