Closer than I thought

Driving to work this morning I was felt kinda blah. My brain was on overload with all the things I had (and wanted) to do, and I started feeling like I was doing lots of things, and none of them well.

When motherhood is on pointe, I’m less prepared for business meetings. When dinner is homemade and healthy, I end up skipping a workout. When I meet my friends for wine, I miss quality time with my husband. Such is life, and it’s a natural give and take. But sometimes it’s just like MEH…I have 10 pots on the proverbial stove, and nothing ready to eat.

So anyway I’m driving, and stewing, as is my style. Trying to figure out how to put all the things into nice little boxes. And I flash back to watching Lila put together a puzzle yesterday.

She’s too little to understand what a puzzle is, and gets no more satisfaction from having one put together appropriately than can be expected from a toddler. But watching her try to place the oversized wooden pieces into their proper places is amazing. She finds such joy in studying them, trying them in different locations, and then exuberantly applauding for herself when she gets one in the semi-correct location (or gets distracted and throws it at the dog).

She doesn’t care about having everything perfectly lined up or finished, she simply delights in the process. She takes the experience at face value, embracing the fun, the challenge and the lesson.

So maybe I need to take a step back and approach my own life puzzles with this same attitude of determination and mindfulness.

Things are never going to all magically fall into their assigned slots, ever. And the more I make that perfectly finished puzzle my goal, the longer I’ll remain frustrated. So instead of trying to fix everything I’m working on, I think I need to reevaluate what I’m trying to achieve in all of this.

If it’s perfection, I’m doomed. But if it’s to learn and enjoy myself, I’m closer than I thought.



Lean with it, roll with it.

We had Lila’s 15-month check up on Monday. Having missed and rescheduled it three times, there was NO WAY I was going to be late. We arrived 10 minutes early and I spent the next 15 minutes coaxing my child not to lick the waiting room doors and chairs. I dont care that it’s the well child room, pediatrician’s offices are the very reason hand sanitizer exists.

We finally got called back to a room, and it was an unusually long wait to see the doctor. We tried playing, and twirling around, and eating puffs, and reading…and then there was nothing that was going to appease this bored child any longer. Being a superstar mom I’d forgotten extra diapers, and even the most patient child would have gone batshit at this point of being confined and forbidden to lick strange surfaces while wearing a wet diaper.

So I started getting restless, and she picked up on it and started crying. And work was calling and texting and I’m like, please can you people let me be just a mom, and nothing else, for five minutes? Because that’s the rub in the motherhood/career thing. We’re needed in both, but each side has visibility into only its own stuff, so the overlap leaves us feeling a bit crazed.

Anyway, we kept waiting and waiting and at this point I’m sweating through my blazer and my hair is frizzing and ALL THE FRUSTRATIONS were happening.

But then I stopped to think about how absurd it was that I was upset over this. No one was going to die if I wasn’t at my meeting that morning. And a doctor running late, who had chosen to spend more time with another patient, is only doing her job. And seriously how many thousands of mommas around the world were praying at that very moment for what I was complaining about. How many would give anything, and are giving up everything, to find a safe country to live in with access to great healthcare. I felt like a really big jerk for finding anything to complain about in this situation.

I told my cortisol levels to take a chill pill and I took Lila on a walk around the office (she was wearing only a diaper – whoops!) and then 20 minutes later we were on our way, blessed with a perfect health report.

Perspective tends to flee when we’re stressed, but if we can step our of our drama and our own heads to look at what’s really going on, it’s so much easier to just roll with it.


Lila at 15 months 

Dear Lila,

You are 15 months old and an energetic bundle of joy. You run – everywhere – and are constantly on the move. Busy as can be and interested in everything.

You are starting to use words: dah (dog), mama, dada, woo (woof), uh oh and whoa, and we are amazed at how much you understand and how well you follow directions. You can point to your eyes, nose, ears, head, tummy and feet, and will clap or blow kisses if we ask. Waving is still touch and go based on mood, but high fives all around.

You are very strong with impressive balance and physical coordination. You will climb up steps and hills without pause and go down over curbs with ease. You have enjoyed visiting parks and the children’s museum and went to your first pumpkin patch/petting zoo last month.

You love to bring us books and turn the pages for us, and sit yourself down in our laps for stories before bed. Often while we read one book to you, you insist on holding another on your own, and flipping the pages independently. You still enjoy stroller walks and shopping cart rides.

You just cut your first molar which was your 9th tooth, and are about to outgrow size 3 shoes.

You love running to your classroom at school and greet me with an enormous smile and shrieks of joy each day which is the best feeling in the world.

You are quiet and observant of strangers but warm up to them quickly. You adore our dogs and the act of climbing onto anything from the couch to the fireplace. You love food and still have yet to refuse anything we offer you.

There are so many feelings associated with parenthood, some that I anticipated and others that were more surprising. But what awes me the most is the love and pride I feel as your mom. There is no way to describe it other than my heart might burst at any moment. 

You are a joyful, giggly baby who amazes us in so many ways. I love how perfectly you complete our family and embody the best parts of your dad and me. You are the most wonderful thing in this life.

I don’t wash my hair (and other beauty secrets)

I have fine curly hair that I sometimes straighten and style, but mostly just accept as something that protects my scalp and gets really obnoxious in humidity.

I spent years battling it with straighteners and blow-outs and expensive pomades and tinctures. I did highlights and lowlights and treatments galore. And then, I stopped.

I stopped coloring it. I stopped getting fancy haircuts. I just let it be, mostly out of laziness and being cheap. So sadly, this post will not reveal some best-kept-secret product from a foreign land.

What’s funny though is in the past few months, all these people have started complimenting my hair and asking what I use on it. And I feel like a giant phony baloney because it’s quite literally nothing. I posted this dressing room selfie today because I thought the shirt was funny, but everyone just commented on my hair. WHAT.

So I’ve decided to let the cat our of the bag and finally share my secret approach to haircare.


  1. I get $13 haircuts at Great Clips.
  2. I use whatever products seem the least toxic and are under $10.
  3. I condition my hair everyday but wash it maybe once or twice a week. (I know that sounds gross but if you have curly hair you understand.)
  4. I drink Shakeology once a day.

I think the differentiator is Shakeology, it just never really dawned on me until recently. But ever since I started drinking it, my hair has been stronger, shinier and healthier. It’s not just the incredible nutrients in the shakes, but the way your body is able to absorb them in the shake formulation (whereas you pee out most vitamins, womp). I call these #magicshakes for lots of reasons, and I guess haircare is falling into the mix now too.

So, there you have it. I expect Cosmo to call me for an interview any minute now that this is public.

If you’d like to try these shakes I speak of, shoot me an email. I’ll even explain how to get them at a discount:

Scales are stupid, and other musings

Eight months ago I began leading groups of women on their journeys toward better health, and for the past 20ish years — until very recently when that venture began — I’ve worried that I was fat.

I’ve been so unkind to my body for so many years, all as a slave to the almighty scale. And I’m kind of done.

I remember in first grade, looking at a girl next to me in class as we sat reading, feeling self-conscious that my legs were bigger than hers. I was six.

I remember in 8th grade, we had to get our height and weight measured twice a year, and I would FREAK OUT inside my head as the day approached. What if someone in line behind me overheard our gym teacher as she told me mine? If I knew what day it was coming I would fake sick to miss it. I was 13.

In high school, as I saw what made certain girls popular, I considered if I should try to starve myself. I was 16.

In college, when friends in my dorm made late-night pizza orders, I vowed that I would only ever eat the crust, so I could avoid the fat and oil in the cheese. I was 18.

These are actual thoughts — nothing I’m fabricating — that a straight-A student with engaged parents and a strong support system had. I think to some extent many of us share similar memories: we’ve all felt the excessive pressure to look a certain way, and so much of that is centered around our weight.

I’ve always loved exercising and paid attention to what I put in my body, but I admit now that for many years it was for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to help my body run efficiently or to feel strong, it was always to lose weight. As if losing 5 pounds would magically change my entire world. I had no problem spending an entire Saturday at the gym in a desperate attempt to ‘burn off’ what I had eaten the previous day. Makes me cringe to think about this now.

So, what changed? 3 things:

  1. Pregnancy. Creating a life takes your body out of your control in a forcefully magical way, and the experience teaches you how amazing your body is and all it is capable of. After having Lila, sure part of me wanted to lose the ‘baby weight’ and feel good about my appearance, but I hated the pressure to completely and immediately revert to my ‘old body.’ It somehow dishonored the amazing shit my body had just done for a year by having to eradicate every trace of it.
  2. Raising a daughter. I’ve become so much more aware of the words I choose to speak about myself and my activities with a tiny little gal in our world. While she’s only just starting to form words, I know how much Lila can perceive through my words, actions and energy. I want to be a role model for her and not just another source of pressure. I do not have to work out, I get to workout. I do not work out to be skinny, I workout to be healthy and strong. This is as much an exercise for myself as it’s an example for her.
  3. Being introduced to Beachbody programs and Shakeology. These are things that are still funny for me to admit because I always scoffed at them, but using the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology changed my life. I finally realized, in my 30s, that being strong and healthy is what matters – not a number on a scale. I can look and feel my best without being chained to my weight. The way these products have influenced my life is truly profound, and as a coach, connecting other women to them is a privilege. You see, it’s not me selling a quick fix or promoting a certain physical ideal — it’s simply helping others find the tools and accountability to feel better.

But back to why I hate scales.

Since March, I’ve led more than 100 women through the 21 Day Fix, and it never fails that every week or two I’ll get this feedback in a text or an email when I check in with people: “Hi! I feel great and my clothes fit better, but the scale isn’t moving so I’m really frustrated.”

Think about that sentence for a second. You’re essentially saying that you feel better and your body has made positive changes, but because a simple measurement hasn’t shifted, it’s all in vain?

Scales are a single measurement tool, and one that is fairly one-dimensional. Is our performance at work defined by just one metric? “Well Jessica, you’re always on time, have a great attitude and meet your deadlines, but your PowerPoint presentations are pretty disorganized, so no raise for you this year!” Do we love our friends any less if they are always good listeners, generous hosts and babysit our kids on a moment’s notice, but forget a birthday card one year? No! That would be ridiculous, and that’s how I feel about people only focusing on the scale as an indicator of success. I’m not saying we need to disregard the scale completely and go all Office Space-copy-machine on it, but just take your weight with a grain of salt. Incorporate what you weigh no more than once a week, in conjunction with how you feel and how your clothes fit, and instead track how your overall measurements are changing.

Scales don’t factor in body composition changes, like muscle gains (which can make you weigh more while taking up less space). Scales don’t consider things like sodium and hormones and drinking 8 glasses of water a day that can falsely make you weigh more. Scales don’t know how your skinny jeans fit or if your face is thinning out or if you can lift heavier weights than you could last week.

So, my friends. My point here is to be gentle with yourselves. Work hard toward your goals, but know what’s driving them and if your heart is in the right place. The scale will move when it needs to, but what I really hope for you is that your mind feels lighter as you feel healthier.

If you’re ever interested in joining one of my private health accountability groups on Facebook, comment here or send me an email: Everyone is welcome and no purchase is required, ever. And if you want to know what the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology are all about while they’re on sale this month, here’s a link to the products on my site.



I sacrifice my nails.

You know these busy lives we lead, where most things feel unfinished and many things overwhelm us? We want to do it all, and for a while we will try, but eventually we have to make room for what really matters and weed out what’s “nice” but less essential.

This might mean embracing the piles of clean laundry that never make it from the couch to the closet before being picked up and worn again, because really – it’s the worst chore ever.

Or it might mean you eat take out for dinner and don’t feel bad about it, because it means less stress and more time with your family. And no dishes!

Maybe you forgo cleaning the kitchen floor, even when you walk on it barefoot and things stick to your feet, because when you mop it the cleanliness lasts for approximately three hours before you can no longer prove it ever occurred.

Sacrificing and prioritizing is ok. Motherhood has slapped me in the face with this a time or two this past year. We all do it and then pretend that we don’t, and then admit it and make fun of ourselves, but that’s a complicated process so I am here to tell you that we don’t need to feel bad about our choices. The more time we spend chasing the illusion that things should be a certain way, the more we wind up going in circles and overlooking some awesome stuff in our lives.

But what does that have to do with my nails?

For the most part, I try to make myself presentable. I bathe regularly, despite hating the process, and when I go to work or appear in public I dabble in the whole hair and makeup thing (I use the term dabble loosely here). But despite it all, I realized long ago that I was never going to be one of those women who had nice nails. Never ever. Not because I don’t like how nice nails looks – they are lovely – they seem so fancy and professional and a general indicator of being put together. But it’s just never going to be my thing. Especially with a toddler.

Manicured nails, or gel nails or ‘tips’ (I no idea what those even are) all sound divine, but they are not for me. And at 32, I’m ok owning that.

Instead of feeling bad when I see other ladies with perfectly shaped and painted nails, self-consciously curling my own fingers to hide my own plain-jane fingertips and lack of lacquer, I realized I really don’t care anymore. It’s eerily freeing to stop giving a damn about things that are trivial. Take my fingers as they are!

I sacrifice my nails. I’ll save the $30 a month and time breathing in fumes and I’ll use it for something equally unproductive, but more fitting for me.

Like the baseball player who sacrifice bunts to let a teammate advance, I will go back to the unmanicured dugout and let the polished ladies stay on base.


Wrapped in love

We spend years of our lives eating every meal strapped into a strange chair, yet we won’t remember any of it.

We won’t remember if our food was cut into perfectly sized pieces, or if it was organic or purchased on sale. We won’t recall whether we had protein at every meal, if our puffs were the store brand, or how much food ended up in our hair.

We will always grow forward though, as a result of these endlessly calculated decisions, knowing only that we were wrapped in love.