If you were to make a list of the people in your life that you needed to forgive, could you be honest? Would your list have two names? 20? None? How many of those people are family members?

The family dynamics in Colossians 3:18-21 is God’s perfect plan. You can call me old-fashioned, sexist, barefoot and pregnant…I don’t care. It’s what I believe. Our family is supposed to be our first line of defense. Our parents to protect us. Our siblings to build and learn about friendships with, along with conflict resolution (even if that involves these hands! Right Lyss? You were so mean!). But instead we have strife. Jealousy. Bitterness. Anger. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). And no, I’m not referring to the SEC…at least not today haha!! Go Dawgs!

If there is division, it can destroy the family structure, causing us to “wander” solo. No one by our side to hold us accountable…yes we have friends, but we can talk about that later….that’s how Eve was able to be tempted. She was alone. When a sheep wanders away from the herd and it’s shepherd, it’s more vulnerable to its predators.

The funny thing about this blog post is that I don’t have an answer or resolve to what I just talked about. Which brings me to my next topic.

Today was my first counseling session at Elevate. I had one major issue in my life that was causing me a tremendous amount of stress. That’s what caused me to make an appointment in the first place. I wanted some healthy coping mechanisms for when I felt anxious. God had bigger plans, y’all. I wasn’t ready!! My first session and I’ve already learned that I’m dealing with un-forgiveness. I didn’t even know!!! It was so profound that I’ve decided I’m going to make this journey public. I’m going to blog after each one of my sessions. I will share my revelations, my heartaches, my joy and my victories. My darkest places. I really hope that my transparency will help you to see that you’re not alone. No, I won’t be sharing names if anyone, in case you were wondering! This is for my exposure, no anyone else’s.

I thought I knew how to forgive someone, but today I found out that I don’t. I’m excited to learn and share as I go. My hope is that it will inspire you to seek it out for you and your family too.


Dry January?

Alright y’all. I didn’t know that “Dry January” was a thing until a few days ago. I had unknowingly participated. Let me tell you about it…..

Today marks a month of no alcohol for me. My decision to stop drinking didn’t stem (wine…you see what I did there) from a “problem” per se. At least I didn’t think so at first. Just like everyone else, my personality would change when I would drink. But I was in denial. I didn’t want to hear that I was aggressive and inflammatory. Those aren’t exactly personality traits anyone would want to posses. Well, maybe some of y’all but no judgement!

When I would drink, I would wake up the next day with a tremendous feeling of guilt. It was like my soul was wired to reject alcohol. Even if I didn’t do anything worthy of that feeling, it happened nonetheless. This next statement might sound contradictory, but a lot of times I would forget things I said. I was a binge-drinker. I couldn’t enjoy just a drink or two. It was always shot after shot, usually Fireball or Jameson, followed by PBR or Miller Lite. No apologies. I’m a redneck deep down!

Drinking would always cause my emotions to go to the extreme. If I was happy, I was giddy. If I was sad, I was sobbing. If I was angry, I was aggressive. Insecure? Yes, you guessed it. It was terrible. I was terrible. So I decided to do some soul-searching. It was time to lay my relationship with alcohol to rest.

I’m happy to report, that it’s only been a positive outcome from it. No more feelings of guilt. I’ve saved money. Lost weight. My skin is clear and glowing. I’m just happier in general. However, one thing I wasn’t prepared for was having to face my emotions dead-on, without a crutch or something to mask them. That has been the hardest part. January has been one of the most challenging months of my life, mentally. Doing a competition prep, fresh off a breakup, school…it has been overwhelming at times. But now I’m in control of me. I’ve had to do a lot of deep breathing and most of the time it doesn’t work but I’m trying! Growth in 2019. That’s my goal. Like Cher said in Clueless “I needed a makeover…but this time I would makeover my soul.”

Am I saying I won’t ever have a beer again? No. Let’s be real. Braves. Beer. Some things just belong together. But now, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Being the drunken messy girl is not something I ever want to be again.

And to the person that forced me to see this reality, thank you. Hard truth isn’t something I’ve always been good at accepting, but thank you for loving me enough to hurt my feelings.


A Time to Heal

Usually, I write these on paper and edit them before I post. But today, I was inspired and while stuck in traffic, it got all jarbled  (I just made that word up. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. Oh and that was a quote from Anchorman if you didn’t catch it. If you didn’t, go watch it immediately.) So. Here we go.

This time last year, I weighed in at 108 pounds. We’ve been over this so I’m not going to dwell on it. Now I’m 145. Yay!! I had a gym partner that contributed to all of my gains. He was a body builder and I basically did exactly what he did. The results have been so amazing that it inspired me to become a personal trainer. I finally pulled the trigger and started my classes yesterday. It’s been SO MUCH INFORMATION. It’s definitely not as easy as I, or some people, think. Myology. Anatomy. Biomechanics. Kinesiology. Nutrition. I thought my brain was going to ooze out of my head yesterday. But it didn’t and I woke up this morning feeling even more motivated.

Before I talk about what’s next, first let me say, Body Design University has been incredible. Doug Blake is the single-most engaging instructor I’ve ever had. He is a wealth of knowledge and will answer every single question you have, even if it’s off-track from what we’re talking about. Talk about a mentor!!!!! Oh and he’s funny too. No boring conversations in that classroom! If you’re considering a career as a personal trainer, look nowhere else but Body Design.

So. Here we go. Today we took a field trip to the Bodies Exhibit today in Atlantic Station. It was mind-blowing. And a little creepy and very informative. But it made me feel (just a little) sorry for guys because I learned that one, women have bigger brains than men (duh, ladies, am I right?) and two, their junk is exposed and hanging out the outside. You think they’re not cute alive, try seeing it on a cadaver!! Be right back. I have to go laugh.

I’m back. Hahahha!!

One of the exhibits that stood out the most to me, was that of the liver. It has about 500 different functions in the body. So cool. But what got me was when he was talking about having a fatty liver and what can cause it. Diabetes. Alcoholism. Junk food. But then he said something I was expecting, and it was that people that struggle with anorexia and/or bulimia can also have a fatty liver. If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety. It’s managed much better now because of exercise, but at that moment, I felt overwhelmed with it. I started to cry, just a little bit, because I didn’t want anyone to see. The damage is repairable, another awesome thing about our liver. Once you change the thing that contributes to the damage, it can start to repair itself. I wasn’t upset over the fact that I was damaging my liver. I was crying because I am GRATEFUL. I am grateful that I’ve been in recovery and now have a healthy relationship with food. I am grateful that I was able to come back from it because so many people cannot. Now don’t get me wrong. I still battle negative thoughts. But it gets easier.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because whether you don’t eat at all, or eat too much, there is hope for you. We are all stronger than we think. It’s mind over matter. But sometimes, we need help. Sometimes, we need to talk to someone to help us not to feel isolated. If you struggle with this and you feel stuck, please reach out. I’m posting the number to the National Eating Disorders Association Information and Referral Helpline below.


Thank you for letting me share this with you


Jess the Haute Mess

You can also follow me on my new fitness journey on Instagram, @PurdyHauteMess. Make sure you say hi!

Let them eat, cookie dough!

Last night, while making cookies with my kids, they mention to me they’ve never tried cookie dough. Real cookie dough. Growing up, I want allowed to eat it because of the raw eggs. “Salmonella!!”, my mom would say to us. So much that it became an actual fear. Irrational c yes, but there nonetheless.

When my kids said this, it triggered something in me that made me do something I’ve never done before. Let me give you a little background. I’ll start with a simple, yet profound statement. 

Sometimes it takes losing everything to make you appreciate what you have. 

As most of you already know, my ex-husband spent some time in prison. I’m not here to sling mud. He’s done his time. But it still happened. That left me to try and pick up the pieces and try to keep my family from unraveling. Well guess what? I failed. I was on the brink of losing my home (for the 2nd time). I was working 2 jobs and that still wasn’t enough to keep up with everything. So after taking to my then-husband, we both decided and agreed it would be best for our kids to stay with their grandparents in Tennessee while I tried to salvage what was left of my sanity and my dignity, and he went back to jail to finish out his sentence. Trust me when I say this, it was the last thing I wanted. It showed weakness. It showed failure. It showed that I wasn’t enough. That I couldn’t handle it. Insert whatever statement you want here. I promise you I’ve already beaten myself up for it at least a hundred times. But sometimes, as a mom, it means making hard decisions. I’ll never forget the day they left. I was devastated. I kept telling myself “it’s only for a short time.” The pain was unbearable. I closed myself off. I rarely talked to them on the phone because all it did was tear my heart out more each time. And theirs too. This went on for (roughly) 6 months, maybe 8. 

Side note, this isn’t something I’ve shared with many people. If you were apart of my life during this time, you knew. But I don’t go shouting it from the rooftops. Until today. 

Being a mom is hard. You’re responsible for teaching and raising kids, to grow into successful adults. There is so much pressure to be “perfect”. Have them in the best school. Sports. Dance. Church. Good grades. Before their father was arrested, I was the worst kind of helicopter mom. I gave them freedom, but not too much. Looking back I now see it wasn’t very much at all. Them being away from me for that long taught me a lot of things. One of the most important things it taught me was to LET GO. I was trying to control their every move and every outcome. I couldn’t just let them be kids. But now?! Now, on the weekends, they can have ice cream for breakfast (sometimes). They can walk in the grass barefoot. They can hang their arm out the window in the backseat. They spent all day yesterday in their pajamas. We had pizza delivered twice in a week! The little things in life that are meant to be enjoyed, are being enjoyed. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and a step back. Yes, it was awful while they were gone. I hated every single moment of it. But it made me better. Better for them and better for me. 

Cut yourself some slack, y’all. Parenting is hard. Parenting with an ex-spouse is even harder. Do the best you can with every day you’re with them, even on the days when you want to run and cry in a closet. 

I guess I’ll address the cookie dough thing. We are cookie dough last night. A lot of it. And they said it was the best thing they had ever tasted. Something as simple as cookie dough!! They danced around the kitchen and laughed with delight. Such a small moment but such a huge impact. There will be many more cookie dough dates in our future. Oh and by the way, no one got sick 😉

xoxo,                                                                                     Jess the Haute Mess

This is why I don’t eat foods containing MSG



First off, let me say, I’m not a doctor. Just a girl who is taking charge of her health. Knowledge is power. I get all my information from trusted websites and books. I encourage you not to just take my word for it. Do your own research as well. This is my disclaimer.

Now then. Let’s talk about MSG. Did you know it has over 40 different names? Want to hear them? I was hoping you would ask.

  1. Glutamic Acid
  2. Glutamate
  3. Monosodium Glutamate
  4. Monopotassium Glutamate
  5. Calcium Glutamate
  6. Magnesium Glutamate
  7. Monoammonium Glutamate
  8. Natrium Glutamate
  9. Yeast Extract
  10. Anything “hydrolyzed”
  11. Calcium Caseinate
  12. Sodium Caseinate
  13. Yeast Food
  14. Yeast Nutrient
  15. Autolyzed Yeast Gelatin
  16. Textured protein
  17. Soy protein
  18. Soy concentrate
  19. Whey protein
  20. Whey concentrate
  21. Whey protein isolate

This is just some of the names our food companies are hiding MSG behind. 

Ok. Now that we’ve cleared that up, take 2 minutes and go through your refrigerator/pantry. Check the labels on any of your sauces, lunch meats and/or meal “helpers”. Go ahead. I’ll wait. 

Shocked? I was too. 

Now for the science-y stuff. I’m not a scientist. Just a girl with access to the internet. 

MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate, has been used for over 100 years. It used to be derived from seaweed. Now, it’s made from starch, corn sugar, molasses from sugar cane or sugar beets. Yummy, right? It was deemed safe by the F.D.A. (which, I’m sorry, does NOT make me feel any better about it) “when eaten at customary levels”. I’m not buyin’ it. The average American consumes 1.92 pounds a year. If it’s safe, then why is there such a rise in obesity, ADD, ADHD…I could go on and on but instead I’ll post a few links before we go on.

Some of the side effects of this excitotoxin (excitotoxin is a chemical that causes a brain cell to become overexcited) are as follows:

Headache, nausea, heart palpitations, chest pain, vomiting, sweating, facial numbness, wheezing, rapid heartbeat, intense cravings for the same foods, drowsiness, weakness…plus more!! Have you ever felt any of these symptoms after eating at a fast food restaurant? How about the following places?

Burger King



Taco Bell



Yep. Even my beloved Chick-Fil-A. These are just a portion of the fast food chains that use MSG. How about an all-you-can-eat buffet or chinese food? That’s why you leave Golden Corral and go home to take a nap. MSG-overload!!!!

Some of the items in your kitchen that contain MSG are:

Beef jerky, ranch dressing, Doritos, Cheetos, cold cuts, soy sauce, Hamburger Helper, Morningstar frozen vegetarian products, breakfast sausage, gravy/taco seasonings and ramen noodles. 

If you’re anything like me, at first I was overwhelmed, thinking, “what am I going to eat?!” I have some alternatives to share with you, including a delicious taco/chili seasoning recipe that blows those nasty seasoning packets of of the water. Ready?

Swap Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage links with Applegate Farms chicken and sage breakfast sausage links

Swap Perdue Chicken nuggets with Ian’s gluten-free chicken nuggets

Gorton’s fish sticks with Dr. Praegers Kids gluten-free fishies

Taco Bell taco seasoning packet and McCormicks Chili seasoning packet, with 2 tablespoons per pound of ground beef, of the following:

4 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper (I add white pepper as well, I just prefer the taste)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano


These are the reasons I cut MSG out of my diet. I’m not perfect. I slip up from time to time. But let me tell you, I surely suffer when I do. I. Feel. Awful. When you stop consuming MSG, you feel better. A lot better. Like a new person!! At least I did. Give it a try y’all. You won’t regret it.

I would love to hear your feedback, questions or comments. What products were you most shocked by? 

In the meantime, eat clean people! 🙂

Me? Aggressive?


My husband called me aggressive yesterday.

Me? Aggressive?!

Then I started thinking about it, and really let it sink in. We were talking about nutrition. Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t have a conversation with someone without mentioning some type of health talk. I can’t help it. It’s just in me. I guess I just assume that everyone around me wants to be healthy too. When I say healthy, I don’t mean skinny. I mean no diabetes, cancer, auto-immune disorders, hormonal problems, etc. You know, in good health!!

I personally do NOT want to be another statistic. Nor my husband or children. Therefore, I do a lot of reading. A lot.

That being said, I’m going to do a short series called “This is why…” I’m going to back up everything I talk about with science.

Psh. Aggressive. Yeah right. More like passionate!! 😉 When someone tells me they want to lose weight, eat better, whatever, I naturally share what I know. I don’t know everything, nor am I claiming to, but if I don’t know about something, I find out!! I search far and wide if necessary. Things I will be discussing are MSG, artificial sweeteners, nitrates, organic produce, organic milk, high fructose corn syrup, etc. I’m going to tell you why I don’t include (the bad ones) in my diet, why you should cut them out of yours and the damaging effects some of these things have on your body.

Now you’ll know where I’m coming from when I’m being aggressive.