In the spirit of Valentine’s Day I decided to share some of my FAVORITE food hacks! I know that some of you fellow If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) people have some of your own too. I’m all about sharing because, let’s face it, this dieting thing is NOT easy. I hate watching people’s scrunched up faces as they stare at the nutrition facts on the backs of peanut butter and tubes of cookie dough while wasting precious time in the grocery store. I’ve been there and will offer up advice whenever I see the “huh-uh-erggg” face.

“What’s a “macro”, you ask? (what’s the right way to write that I ask) A macro is the shortened form of “macronutrient”.  All food has macronutrients composed of Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate. These macronutrients (macros for short) each have a caloric value. Pay attention, this is why eating Paleo may not be working for you. One gram of Fat (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, lard, etc) yield 9 k/cals, while one gram of protein yields 4 k/cals, the same goes for carbohydrates (1 g=4/kcals). You can see why eating a lot of almond flour or avocado might be adding a little too many calories to your diet! That being said, most people who choose to eat Paleo don’t eat enough carbohydrates-so the fuel comes from the fat. Just be mindful and start looking at food as fuel. You’ll also want to make sure you get lots of fiber and water in there too… fiber = happy.

Many people have the misconception that fruits and vegetables are not considered “carbs” because they’re not starchy-correction- Fruits, Vegetables, Breads, Candy, half and half, milk, even some marinated meats and ground meats HAVE CARBS, be mindful of this. You’d be amazed at how many things you think are low in fat or carbs are actually not. Some good examples of this are almonds (1 cup of almonds has 45g fat, 20 g carbs, 20 g protein-not really a great source for protein), peanut butter, granola, and dried fruits.

Alright, now that we have that covered-according the the FDA an average woman should be consuming around 1600-2000 cals/day give or take a few hundred due to size, activity level, and other health factors. Men should be consuming 2,200-2,400 cals/day, same rules apply. Here’s my disclaimer-I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist-if you want solid nutritional counseling please look up Kyle Glickman-he’s phenomenal and has his master’s degree in nutrition and strength and conditioning. He’s also a fitness model, competitive body builder, a strength and conditioning coach, and an all around nice guy! He will meet you where you are without any judgement. He has been my coach for the past 8 months and I’ve lost close to 30 lbs of FAT since working with him. Note-It has only been a month since I have been extremely strict-dropping 10 more lbs. I wasn’t always strict which is why it took so long to get to where I am now.

Moving forward… My daily macronutrient goals are going to look very different than yours and yours may look very different than someone else you know. I’m training for a body building competition, so my macros are high in protein, but my carb and fat intake varies depending on my training etc. We will make up some macros here for instructional purposes.

I keep track of what I eat with My Fitness Pal, it makes it easy to track my eating. It’s a free app that let’s you scan a bar code- try tracking what you put in your gullet for one day.. it’s pretty eye opening. A friend of mine text me the other day when he did this for the first time-he was AMAZED!

It’s way more accurate if you weigh your food, so I invested in a $20 digital food scale-“The Biggest Loser” is the best I’ve found, don’t skimp and get the cheap one at wal-mart, it’s no good.

OK- Pretend I have 150 carbs, 135 protein, and 40 fat for each day-that’s 1500 calories/day (if my math is correct). I have to make sure I eat this much of each macronutrient, but not any more. It can be tough when faced with doughnut or cupcakes, maybe you love a good marbleized steak? Well, here are my favorite food hacks so that you can enjoy some of the indulgences you really love once in a while! Here are some screen shots of my daily intake to give you an idea of what typical meals look like:


Without further adieu-MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Sweets/Ingredients for Sweets:

Arctic Zero Ice Cream- Cookie Dough ALL THE WAY

Teddy Grahams

True Whip– I love this because it’s a better option than Cool Whip-more natural ingredients

Nutter Butter Wafers – I love these because one serving is 5 wafers-so I can eat one or two and they are delish!

Maple Grove Sugar Free Maple Syrup

Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup

Nestles mini morsels

Nestles Fat Free/sugar free hot cocoa

Protein Fluff-Click for various recipes-you’ll need XANTHUM GUM

Stevia in the Raw, Truvia, and Splenda Brown Sugar and White Sugar Granules-I’m not crazy about stevia or splenda, but I spent a ton of money on huge bags and will finish them. Next time I will try monkfruit.



Tumaro’s Let’s Skip The Sandwich Multigrain Wraps

P28 Protein Flat Bread (high fiber and protein) and Bagels-careful of the fat content here

Kontos Flax-Oat bran and whole wheat Lavash

Explore Asia Soybean, Edamame, Adzuki Bean, or Black Bean Pasta

Shirotaki Noodles (6 Carbs for 2 servings) –

Yam fiber  No oodles that are gluten and soy free I believe

Gold Fish Pretzels and Crackers-check the label-23 carbs for almost 50 pieces

All Bran Buds- HIGH IN FIBER- I like adding 10 g of this to my yogurt some mornings

I caution you against any granola-I LOVE granola, but it’s not worth it-you’ll eat it and then be hungry the next day


Dairy/Yogurt/Cheese- Includes Dairy Free Substitutes

Laughing Cow Light Swiss & Regular Swiss (wedges)

Fat Free Cream Cheese

Franklin Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese

Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mozzarella and Mexican Blend Cheeses

Sargento Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Blend

Kraft Fat Free Shredded Mozzarella and Shredded Cheddar

Oikos Triple Zero yogurt-high in fiber, low in carbs, high in protein

Plain, fat free Greek Yogurt- I use this as a sour cream substitution all the time!

Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk (30 cals)

Almond Breeze Coconut/Almond Milk  (45 cals)

Olivio Light-olive oil spread 1 TBSP=5 g fat



Fat Free Refried Beans

Baby Bok Choy -I make a ton of this (steam it) and dress it with low sodium Hoison)-again careful there are 5 carbs per serving here

Spaghetti Squash

Broccoli-though it’s not my favorite




Cherry Tomatoes

PICKLES!!!!- these can be high in sodium-careful

Yams (be careful-these are high in carbs)

Romaine Hearts

Raspberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries (high in fiber)

Granny Smith Apple

Stay away from fruits high in sugar like mangoes and bananas-limit your consumption



Just Great Stuff Powdered Peanut Butter

Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter

Sugar Free Peach Apricot and Passion Fruit  Spread

Olivio Light-buttery spread

Bolthouse Farms Cucumber Dill Dressing

Spicy Mustard


Jalapeño Tabasco



Egg Beaters Liquid eggs, not egg whites (same as buying an 18 pack egg carton)

Free Range Eggs-Poached in these little cups. Be careful with eggs, yes high in protein, but also high in fat-I mix eggs and egg beaters to get the healthy fats from the eggs and the amino acids from the egg beaters

Gianelli Turkey Sausage

Chicken Breasts




Smoked Salmon-lower fat-need to check

GNC AMP Wheybolic 60- cookies n cream, chocolate and vanilla ice cream- Cook with a lower grade whey that’s a little less expensive-use the isolate for after workouts

Dymatize Elite ISO (this is isolate-don’t cook with it)

Jay Robb- Egg White Protein Powder

Optimum Nutrition Casein – I LOVE making my protein fluff with this before bed-Casein releases into your muscles slower than the isolate which curbs morning hunger


What are some of your favorite healthy foods???


Macro living is great because you can pick and choose what you eat, as long as it fits. A lot of diet foods are filled with chemicals which can be more harmful than healthy.

Be careful not to consume too many products with aspartame. I think eating sugar substitutes are great for a small treat, but these can have ill effects on your body and mental function. I know that I have adverse reactions to stevia and think it can be quite bitter tasting. Back to aspartame-try not to consume this more than once or twice/week. I can’t tell you how many people have told me about aspartame poisoning-symptoms can be found here.

Bottom line: I need to remind myself of this too… Regardless of the sugar substitute you use, you’re tricking your body into believing something is sweet. Your body can’t process it like it would glucose which can cause issues-possibly even pancreatic cancer and Grave’s disease. Again, I’m not a doctor and I only have a limited understanding of this stuff, if you want to know more I’d suggest a google search.


Chirkey Broccoflower and Banza Soup

I started this soup before I went to the gym tonight, decided to make an “everything but the… refrigerator” soup. I had cauliflower and broccoli that needed to GO stat. I quickly threw the green and white florets into my food processor and then dumped it all in the crockpot. Set it on high and dashed out the door to destroy my lats and lower traps. I returned from the gym and could smell this soup from the driveway, the odor wafting through the large cracks in the door frame (note to self: get door seal fixed). I was so excited to try it (AND HUNGRY) that I threw in the pasta and then took a spoonful straight to my gullet, BIG MISTAKE-HUGE.  The roof of my mouth is now raw… UGH. Enough babbling… here’s the recipe!


3 Box Containers Wegmans Organic Chicken Broth

1 lb Turkey Breast cutlets

6 oz chicken breast

400 g broccoli (food processed/blended)

400 g Cauliflower (food processed/blended)

3 stalks celery

5 baby carrots

100 g chopped onion

2 large garlic cloves chopped

Few sprigs of fresh parsley

1/4 cup sherry

1-2 TBSP Trader Joe’s every day seasoning (to taste), cracked red pepper

170 g Banza chickpea pasta

As much salt as you need to taste (I try to keep it low bc it affects my weight too much)


1) Shred broccoli and cauliflower in your food processor or blender until it looks like confetti. You will have to do this in small batches so you don’t muck up your food processor or blender.

2) Combine Broccoli, onion, garlic, celery stalk (in-tact), carrots, parsley, seasoning, chicken broth, and sherry in your crockpot and turn on high. Cook for 4-5 hours

3) Take out chicken and turkey and shred, return to pot

4) Remove celery and carrots

5) Add Banza Pasta and wait 10 minutes-or until pasta is soft

6) Serve and season more if you’d like! Makes 8 large servings (1.5 cups each)-careful not to burn your mouth like I did! It was so good I couldn’t help myself!

Macros: 233 cals, Fat: 2.1, Carbs: 18.8, Protein: 35.4


Low Calorie Enchiladas

I love these little pouches of heaven. Easy to make and great macros with tons of fiber!!! The wraps (Let’s Skip the Sandwich) are from Wegmans, and you can only find them at the larger stores like Pittsford or Ridgemont. There’s another brand that gets close (Ole Xtreme Wellness) to the same macros, but you’ll have to adjust. Here’s the basic recipe, but you can add or subtract anything you’d like.


1 pkg Tumaro’s Let’s Skip the Sandwich

Overnight Beer Shredded Chicken

Fat Free refried beans (I use Old El Paso)

Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce

Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar

Sargento OR Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mexican Blend

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

Green Tabasco Any type of Hot Sauce you’d like-as long as it has no cals!


1)Preheat oven to 350 first. Then set up your work space by placing a small plate on your digital food scale and lining up the ingredients-I like to start with refried beans because I can smear them evenly on the wrap. I typically put the wrap on the plate, tare it and then add an item, tare-add another-etc. Each wrap should have this much of each item in order to get the same macros in each serving. Makes 8 servings.

1.5 oz shredded chicken

14 g fat free shredded cheddar

14 g reduced fat Mexican blend cheese

41 g fat free refried beans

1 TBSP nonfat plain Greek Yogurt (.1 oz)


2) Roll them however you want, but make sure they will fit in your casserole pan

3) Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the entire pan, make sure each enchilada gets some saucy love!

4) Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes


Macro breakdown for one enchilada: Cals-186, Fat-4.3, Carbs 18.7, Protein 24.6, Fiber- 8.5


If you want less protein reduce your chicken or nix the Greek yogurt! Sometimes I add peppers and onions! YUM




Overnight Beer Shredded Chicken


3-5 lbs boneless chicken breasts

3 cans of beer

1 packet of taco seasoning

water if needed to add


1) add all ingredients to crockpot

2) add water or more beer to cover the chicken

3) cook at low heat for about 12 hours ( I cook overnight)

4) Chill-skim off hardened fat (or skip this step and drain the chicken with a slotted spoon)

5) The chicken will fall apart naturally- I store it in some of the juices from the crockpot so it doesn’t dry out too much

Use it in enchiladas, salads, tacos, quesadillas, spaghetti squash dishes-so many more!


Go Figure…

It’s January 21st and I haven’t written anything original in over a year. I can’t say why, only that I have been a busy  lady, busy living other people’s lives and not creating my own. I was just perusing old posts and I think that the theme became very centered on me finding the real Mr. Right, which side tracked me from finding myself.

These last 10 months I’ve been prepping for a new goal… figure competition. You know, the kind of competition where girls and guys put on the skimpiest of outfits, prance around stage, only to have their bodies be judged by someone else? The kind of competition where the bodies glow a bronze-like orange, with ever so bright white teeth, and you just want to feed everyone a cheeseburger ? Yeah.. that kind of competition.

It’s been quite the journey. I started out in February of 2015 by trying a ketogenic diet, but this was too strict for me, and it put stress on my already strained relationship. I then transitioned to “if it fits your macros” diet and found a lot of success when I was actually weighing and measuring my food. It seemed so tedious and time consuming, not the kind of eating I was used to doing; which consisted of coconut oil and meat. The weighing part was annoying and always seemed to get in the way of actually enjoying my meals. The good news was that I wasn’t limited to broccoli, rice, oatmeal, fish, and chicken. The world was my oyster, as long as it fit my macros… bloody hell.. how was I to make three meals fit my macros??? This was a challenge.

The transition from being a Crossfit junky to a pure Gym Rat was different. I wasn’t used to using machines and isolating muscle groups. The experience was humbling to say the least. I thought I was strong until I attempted a tempo style leg press and leg extension. Starting out with thirty five pound dumbbells for bicep curls was pretty stupid too!

Ten months later and I am in the zone. I generally prep my meals for the week so I know exactly what I have left for snacks and desserts. I’ll post some of my favorite recipes and food hacks tomorrow because it can be quite overwhelming. I’d do anything to help someone else NOT spend hours on end in the grocery store staring at nutrition facts.

My workouts are all programmed by my coach, Kyle Glickman;  I just have to go out and tackle them. If you see me staring at my iphone for a few minutes, it’s because I am looking up an unfamiliar movement on YouTube. Hours in the gym have morphed into an hour and a half and cardio isn’t all that bad when you’re watching Netflix! It will be interesting to see how I feel about all of it as the show gets closer, but for now I can handle it.

Never attempt a lifestyle change without talking with your loved ones and friends. It’s important that everyone is on board with your goals. People feel uncomfortable when you’re not eating what they are eating, drinking alcohol with them, or can’t spend as much time hanging because you have to walk that 400 calories. This is especially important if you’re in a relationship; because your significant other may get jealous of the time you spend with “My Fitness Pal”, Pintrest, and your $20 digital food scale You have to make sure that you’re both on the same page and they’re going to be supportive of your goals and the means in which you’ll need to obtain them. Bottom Line: You’re going to need some cheerleaders-and if your people aren’t in your corner you’ll need them to sit the flock down.

Now is the time when I give my thanks to all of my friends and family who have been extra supportive and “in my corner”. I so appreciate you!!!!! I can’t tell you how awesome it has been to walk the 400 cals with a friend or have someone push me through a tough super set. I appreciate those of you who have just said, “awesome, keep it up, so proud”. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

pull downs


Pukey Poultry- re-post 2011

I was determined to make some tropical fare  to take our minds off of the dreary weather. How better to accomplish this than to add some pineapple and cilantro to a plain and mediocre turkey patty. SO, I did it. I had these beautiful patties combined with pineapple, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno. My mouth just watered thinking about it…. notice how I used the past tense, waterED. My mouth stopped watering when I threw these tropical turkey pies on the skillet and they began to melt like a super soaked wicked witch of the west. NO JOKE… MELT. By the time I was done, my perfect little patties looked like something my neighbor’s dog would regurgitate. UGH. A friend remarked that he would eat it as long as it was edible. EDIBLE???? I don’t even think a rat would eat this poultry gone puke.

I was puzzled and chalked it up to bad meat. I proceeded to defrost some chicken tenderloins, tossed em in a glass dish and mixed in my pineapple salsa for flavor. Boy, was it ever yummy! We packed the leftovers in a glass dish and snacked on it the next day, yum. The third day we decided to finish it up, but, to my dismay, the chicken had the consistency of wet and soggy corn bread. The chicken was mush, just like the tropical turkey burgers. These are the things that make me go, “hmmmm”.

So, what’s the deal???? Why did my poultry go to mush? According to Wikipedia: Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries.[1] It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone.[2] The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae.[3]  This bromeliaceae (family) contains a special enzyme called, “bromelain”

Although you may not actually hear the term “pineapple enzyme” thrown around a lot, you might recognize it by its other name: bromelain. Bromelain is a protease enzyme that is found in all parts of the pineapple, but the stem contains the largest concentration of the enzyme. So, what does “protease enzyme” really mean? This is simply a term applied to enzymes that have the specific trait of being able to break down, or “digest”, proteins. To put it into a better perspective, we are going to look at the top uses that make this pineapple enzyme so coveted.
This first use may seem a little funny, but it’s one of the top uses for bromelain–and one that you are likely to try out yourself simply from pure curiosity. Bromelain can be purchased in a powdered form to be used as steak tenderizer. No joke! Living cells contain compounds known as amino acids. These amino acids work hard to join together creating what is essentially a peptide bond. These peptide bonds play a huge role in the structure of tissues. Because the pineapple enzyme bromelain breaks down these peptide bonds by separating and digesting the amino acids, the structural integrity of the tissues degrade. In simple terms: bromelain tenderizer + meat = tender, juicy meat! You have to be careful when using meat tenderizers as they can cause the meat to lose too much consistency and turn mushy if left too long. Just follow the directions on any bromelain-based meat tenderizer and you’ll be chowing down on a steak fit for a king–without having to bust out that medieval looking meat mallet!
This all according to types of enzymes (yeah, seriously, there’s a website all about the types of enzymes).

WELL… now at least I know my mushy chicken isn’t bad bird gone barf!!! Interesting huh??? BUT, that’s not all that bromelain can do… more from types of enzymes:
Another popular use for the pineapple enzyme is for digestive aid. Because bromelain is well known for its ability to break down proteins, studies are being conducted to determine whether this enzyme could be the answer for people with digestive issues. Although formal testing has not produced much hard evidence either proving or disproving this theory, several manufactures offer bromelain in a capsule form with claims that it can help treat bloating, gas, and even irritable bowel syndrome. The purchase trend for this form of bromelain has grown rapidly over recent years, so there may actually be some truth to the claim. I wouldn’t recommend jumping on the wagon straight away, though, as we still don’t know what the long-term effects are.
Yet another “up-in-the-air” claim is that bromelain can reduce the swelling, inflammation, and bruising that can result from injuries or surgery. Bromelain wouldn’t be applied directly to the injured area, but studies have suggested that the regular consumption of bromelain supplements can speed up the initial recovery process. It must seem pretty promising because this technique has been approved for use in Germany since 1993. Jess’ note: I guess I better start stocking up on pineapple! They even use this for a gouty toe!

There are some known risks about bromelain supplements that you should be aware of if you are thinking about taking them. Diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach are fairly common if bromelain is taken on a regular basis. Other reports suggest that vomiting, drowsiness or sluggishness, and heavy bleeding during menstruation. Anyone with an allergy to pineapple should definitely stay away from products containing bromelain, as they are likely to experience an allergic reaction to the enzyme.
It is recommended that people with peptic ulcers or people who are taking any kind of prescription medication consult their doctor before taking bromelain supplements. Bromelain supplements have not been proven safe for consumption by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for children. So, while this pineapple enzyme makes a killer steak tenderizer, its safety and usefulness towards health issues is simply unconfirmed and should be used with caution–preferably under the supervision of a doctor.


I can’t believe this guy’s face isn’t being dissolved by the pineapple enzyme bromalain!!!!

Fail Harder- repost January 2012

We are programmed to think that there is no room for failure. Failing is bad.. don’t do it; but how does success happen without failure? One doesn’t just don a pair of skates and become an instant olympic figure skater. A friend of mine, Kate Sonnick, posted this video on another friend’s facebook page this week. The video was named, “Fail Harder”. Students at an advertising school came up with the brilliant concept.

Forget “Just Do It”, this was what I was looking for… “Just Do It” insists that you take a risk, the risk of failing… Failing is scary, especially when ego is involved. What will other people think if I fail? Will my failure affect their perception of my abilities as a coach, psychologist, mentor, friend, etc.  Perhaps, but what I should be asking myself is, “Will my failures inspire those same people to try… because without failure we do not have success.” This is the incremental way that we as humans can change our thinking to increase positivity and to encourage and motivate others. I’m not saying to go out there and TRY to fail… I’m saying take risks towards bettering yourself, listen to your intuition, and embrace failure as much as you would celebrate the success… Set goals, make the commitment, and stop using the excuse “But I’m afraid I might fail”, because if you never fail, you can never truly succeed.


The stuff we put out there….

I was hopeful that people would start sharing their lists with me and with the world wide web, and guess what??? They did! I’ve had so much feedback regarding the last post. I don’t know if it was the energy I was putting out there or if there was a fear of being honest and open about what each of us wants for ourselves-perhaps my jump off the proverbial cliff inspired others to take the leap as well? Whatever the reason, I feel humbled. I am just so amazed at the effect that just one person can have on people around them. I put my thoughts and feelings into words and BAM there was a reaction. It’s like a raindrop on calm waters, a loud bang in a peaceful night, or a push of a domino. People were talking about what they wanted or continue to want in their relationship or future relationship. I received numerous emails from people I haven’t spoken to in years-people I speak to everyday, and people I don’t really even know very well. It reminded me that no matter how big or small- the waves we create have an impact on something or someone-who then react and in turn their reaction touches someone else, and it keeps going-the ripple effect so to speak.

This is not about tooting my own horn or asking for recognition, it’s simply about putting it out there. What is it that you want in your life? How do you want to feel? How do you want to be known? Who do you want to be?

I met a man the other night-a first meeting-kind of an impromptu date. He said to me, “I read your blog post, it’s kind of overwhelming, and I’m not sure I will be able to do all of those things.”

I thought about it and my response went something like this-and if I didn’t actually say it verbatim-this is what I meant, “you know-it’s not really about following it all and strict adherence to the guidelines-it’s more of a declaration of who I am and what I’m looking for and what I know I cannot have in my life again. It’s a living document to be revisited throughout life. If you really like me and you want to be with me and we align then you’ll try your hardest to respect all of what encompasses Jess Hayden-you will TRY. It’s really about the kind of guy I want to be with-the kind of man who will demonstrate respect for me and our relationship-a cultivation of integrity. It’s about the kind of man I choose to be with.”

His response was simple, “well-I’m willing to try.”

You just never know what will happen when you put it out there…. (to be continued)

Dear Future Boyfriend

I stumbled across a blog from the amazing Danielle LaPorte a few months ago. This woman is uh-mazing. She speaks to my heart, soul, and brain! Sometimes I channel Lady LaPorte when I need a cheerleader on my shoulder… quotes such as “everything you have ever done, in the history of humanity, has brought you to this point; that’s a whole lot of life force on your side” and “Care more about being accurately and precisely who you are, than caring what someone might think about you” resonate clearly within my whole being.

I’ve found myself single once more, but this time I’m actually enjoying the dating scene. I’ve met a variety of totally awesome men-some who I could see in my future, some who I think were dear and sweet-but couldn’t see a spark in the dark, some who are just dusting off their dating pants after coming out of a long-term relationship-who need a few more dates (not me) under their belt so they can get the cobwebs out, and some who aren’t totally sure they’re in the right place to date. It’s been a truly wonderful experience and I thank all of them for assisting me in my road to relationship journey-which continues to evolve each day.

At any rate-a recent blog-“Dear Dudes” was delivered to my email a few days ago by Danielle LaPorte.  As I pilfered through my inbox-as one does when their inbox is flooded with advertisements and junk-I saw her email and I opened it. My mouth dropped as I read this most profound letter to all of the GOOD MEN out there… I found myself nodding and laughing and thinking-this isn’t just for all of the GOOD MEN, this is also for the GOOD WOMEN to study-because her letter projects/radiates/shouts out what women should be looking for in a GOOD MAN. It’s like cliff notes for guys on how to treat a lady-how to read a lady-and how to “dance” with a lady-or really it’s like cliff notes for GOOD people in general-and how to treat each other when you find yourself smitten.

I realized as I read the Dear Dudes-that I had a few of my own that weren’t included. I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE if, as you’re reading this, you become inspired to write your own “Dear Dude” or “Dear Lady” because this isn’t just about what ladies want-it’s about taking off the masks and making declarations and objections to the universe about what we all deserve and have the ability to give and receive. The objection part is really just calling people out- objecting to the universe when we see people subconsciously or consciously self-sabotaging their potential for finding a deeper love in a partnership. Whether the Dear Dude or Dear Lady is for you, for me, or for some fantasy person out there… do it..write it.. declare it… make it happen!!!! I want to see those declarations and objections in my comments section!!!! I realize this is a risk and I’m willing to take it-just remember to please keep it tactful!

Dear Future Boyfriend,

1) I cry a lot. Please don’t let this scare you-I cry when I’m angry, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m touched by the struggles or kindness of others, and I cry when I’m frustrated. When I cry, I only need you to touch my arm, squeeze my hand, beckon me into your arms, or kiss my forehead. I need nothing else-no words, no comforting pats on the back, no rationalizing or talking it out… just be present with me in the moment without trying to fix anything.


2) Which brings me to fixing-when I tell you of a dilemma I might be facing, please don’t try to fix right away. I need listening and then a question, just one question will do, “how can I help?” I promise I will tell you exactly what I need-it might just be the nearness of you.


3) Messy-I’ve always been a messy person and somewhat ashamed of it-but I’m now learning to embrace it. Be forewarned-I’m not OCD-but I’m also not a disgusting slob and I enjoy a clean living space-it gets done when I get around to it. It’s ok to light a fire under my ass sometimes. I accept it.


4) I speak my mind. I say what I’m thinking-sometimes there’s no point to it at all-just airing out the brain and purging. Along with this-I’m working on my filter-I tend to give gifts of TMI – again- I’m working on it and am very aware.


5) If you want to keep me interested-pursue me and keep me engaged-touch base with me at least once a day-I don’t need full on text or phone convos-just a check in. I want to be pursued-I’m worth it and you’re worth my attention too. This could be disastrous if I’m not that into you-it’s a risk we all take when dating though, and I promise to be up front with you if I’m not feeling it anymore.


6) I talk. If you want to tell me a secret-make sure you tell me it’s a secret-I like sharing, but won’t if asked not to.


7) I have amazing friends and want you to get to know them and want them to like you, but it makes me uncomfortable when you text, email, call, or meet up for drinks with my friends when I’m not around. However irrational or jealous or insecure that sounds-it’s how I feel. Please respect my feelings and don’t misinterpret it for being controlling. So, unless you’re making benign arrangements (borrowing a saw, a camera, a pan) or plans with me in mind (purchasing a gift, trying to figure out how to apologize, or conjuring up a surprise)-please don’t cross the line. My friends are my life-line, my support- I wouldn’t ever want to feel any reason not to trust. Becoming too friendly with my friends creates blurred lines for everyone. I promise to adhere to the friends rule as well.


8) Family-please don’t introduce me to your family unless you really like me and can see yourself with me for the long haul. I tend to get attached and find it really difficult and unfair to break those connections when a relationship ends-even though I know it has to be done. Conversely-you want to get to know my family and want to share the time between yours and mine. Family is sacred-wait until you know. This includes your kids-please-if you have kids, don’t introduce me to them until we have decided we are in it to win it. Maybe down the road it doesn’t work out-but I’m not going to meet your kids until you and I are both sure that a life together is what we want. In the mean time-I can deal with the inconvenience of not being able to see each other when you have your children. It’s not fair to your kids if one of us is not totally invested. Your kids will respect you all the more for waiting and not having a turnstile of women in their lives-I promise you-if you truly love me and want me in your life-your kids will too-after all- I’m a GOOD WOMAN too.


10) I like surprises-flowers, little gifts, notes, sweet texts… I like- keep it coming- also my friends like to see me liking and that means BIG things for you all around.


11) I am always rooting for you. I like you after all and want you to come out on top. I may disagree with what you are doing or have done-but I want you to do well and will try to make that happen-ask me for help if you need it.


12) Planning & Dating-I like to know that you’re thinking of me and want to make sure that no other guy is going to sweep me off my feet while you’re not around. So… make a plan for when you want to see me next.


13) I need a strong man by my side-tell me like it is-don’t be wishy washy- games and flirting are fun, but be direct and if you’re not feeling it anymore-be a man and tell me-stringing me along is so not cool.


14) Must love or like cats and dogs. I have a cat and a dog-they are a part of my package. I may compromise on sleeping arrangements if you are allergic, but they’re a part of who I am and I will not get rid of them.


15) I have a heart of gold-I am a helper and a giver. I will often do things to show you just how special you are to me and to let you know I think about you even when you’re not around. Accept these gifts of gratitude and please see it for all that it’s worth-it’s because I believe you’re worthy of receiving tokens of my love and appreciation for being present in my life-not because I’m obsessed or trying to bribe or manipulate you. If you ever feel like you are unworthy or I’m manipulating we need to talk.


16) If we happen to come to a crossroads and we part ways- know that I have break up boundaries and that I need time to heal. I can’t go from girlfriend to good friend over night. It takes time for energy to shift and for love to change from romantic to friendship. When I don’t respond to emails or texts it doesn’t mean I never ever want to talk to you- or are playing games or being manipulative-it just means that I need more time. I will let you know when I’m ready-if you don’t respond to a text or email from me I will assume that you aren’t ready. I will also promise to retreat back to the life I had before you appeared-again-I need my friends to be my friends during this time and assume you would need your friends to be there for you. I’m not asking anyone to take sides or to call names or point fingers-I’m just asking for space.


17) I love to cook, I’m an adventurer of food, please adventure with me… it’s so much fun to cook for someone else.


18) I need physical contact-I like a hand on the back, linked arms, forehead kisses, back massages, and compliments whispered in my ear-think Eric Clapton “Wonderful Tonight”. On the flip side-I’m not into making out in public or excessive PDA in front of an audience-don’t be offended if I swat you off when I don’t feel it’s appropriate-trust me-I like you and can’t wait to have my hands all over you-just not in front of the faces of friends and family.


19) Drugs-no thank you. Alcohol-enjoying a few beverages here and there is fine, but you don’t drink excessively and you know when to say when. Cigarettes-if you smoke an occasional butt when we’re out don’t expect me to kiss you until you wash your mouth, hands, and face. I hate it and would prefer you don’t ever do it-in fact smoking is a deal breaker for me if done one a regular basis. Cigars-I might take a puff once in a while and that’s your philosophy too.


20) I love that you are intelligent, articulate, witty, and hilarious-you make me laugh, have an appreciation for the arts, history, literature, and science and enjoy learning. You’re like an urban cowboy-you’re adventurous, handy and like to get your hands dirty, but you clean up well. You like the outdoors and are always pushing me to get outside and enjoy it with you. You’re handy and can fix stuff around the house-if you don’t know how to do it you’ll figure it out.


21) You have your own interests and appreciate that I have mine-we know how to make time for each other. I promise to always encourage you in pursuit of your goals and know that you need time for yourself and I need the same. I’m cool with it all as long as you can carve out some time for me (see #12).


22) Last but not least-talk. I believe in talk therapy-you are open to that as well and not afraid of what that means. I believe in talking and being honest with each other no matter how much it might hurt-I can take it and will be interested in it. I don’t mind goofing around and being silly, but some subjects are sacred and require a certain level of seriousness- I believe that we should talk with intention-don’t throw stuff out that we don’t mean and can’t uphold later on. If you’re annoyed, happy, want to kill me, feeling unsatisfied, think the sex could use some spicing up… TALK. I need a man in my life who can cry without being ashamed, who can be controlled in his temper-but talk it out without acting, who can be honest with himself about his feelings and who can share those feelings with me-you are this man.


So, I think that’s it… though I’m sure I will come up with more as I journey.


I’m looking forward to meeting you…


Jess xoxo


P.S. Please access Danielle LaPorte’s letter here-I have only added my own individual needs to hers. If you think it’s too much-it might be for you-we are all beautifully complex human beings and this is absolutely WHO I AM! Again-I invite you to write your own notes to the current man or woman in your life, to the future man  or woman in your life, or to the fantasy person in your life…..


PPS. I realize that some guy friends in my life have objected to this letter by Danielle… they say-why do women think that we need to give them something to complete their happiness? I say, “did you read anything about us wanting you to make us happy?” I say, “look in the details of the fabric… it’s about how we know we operate-it’s about men too-I mean-this could probably be written from a man’s point of view as well-it’s not really gender biased-it’s just that women tend to put their feelings out there more often than men… not ALL men, just more often-it’s a fact-our brains are wired differently” Here’s the thing though… I feel like Danielle is giving all of the men out there the key… the key to breaking the code… you can resist it or you can study it and figure us out… it’s not a list of demands or specific rules per se… it’s just what we talk about and wish for our friends, for ourselves, for our universe… OK.. that’s enough.. write on you writers!




Sometimes you have to just walk away…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately; which is really never good for me because thinking a lot equals racing thoughts that keep me up at night. Recently, my world shifted a little and I’m having difficulty navigating the shift. * ADHD side note- shift sounds a lot like a certain 4 letter word that means “poop”- take out the “f” it’s all the same shift*

I don’t want to speak about my shift explicitly, but let’s just say I’m adjusting. There are some decisions that I need to make or don’t need to make- but there’s a whole lot of “stuff” floating around. The draw back to this adjustment is frequent crying at random times in random places-what can I say-I have a tough time with change. The positive side is that I’m beginning to be able to get a better perspective, though it feels extremely drawn out. I’ve been hanging on to what hasn’t been serving me for a while now-and before you jump to conclusions-I’m not really talking about any one specific “thing”, but many things in many different facets of my life. I typically try really hard to fix whatever is broken and make “it” better. I want to work out my differences or problems, often analyzing the heck out of them. Funny thing is, I rarely look at what I need and if I’m getting fulfillment too- because generally speaking-pleasing others is fulfilling to me. Sometimes though, I come upon a situation where I just can’t see how to make it all work. Then BAM- something completely thought provoking occurs-usually brought on by some seemingly mundane event.

I was faced with a very challenging work out the other day. I walked in thinking I was going to nail it and would be able to go slow and steady. I started out strong, but then got light headed and dizzy. My heart rate was soaring through the roof, and I kept pushing through. I pushed and pushed and pushed, but my body wasn’t having it… and then I thought to myself, “sometimes you just have to walk away.” I did, I walked away. I walked away with tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart, not because I was giving up, but because I was giving in. I was giving in to my gut and listening to my body. Something I have a really tough time doing. The crying wasn’t really attached to the workout, but to the realization that sometimes I just have to surrender to reality.

“Sometimes you just have to walk away”, can apply to almost any challenge you face. I’m not advocating giving up, quitting, and not trying, I’m saying… when you’ve tried, and you’ve put all of your heart and all of your energy into something, but it’s just not giving you what you need-or it’s not good for you, or it’s just not working right…. sometimes you just have to walk away. Come back the next day, look at it from a different perspective, let it come to you, or try something different. Walking away can be very scary, but what is it that we are truly afraid of? Is it not getting the attention, not winning the award, looking like a “bad person”, not meeting the goal, failure, losing someone or something? What is it really? There’s a whole new world on the other side of fear and guilt, own your stuff and apologize if you’ve hurt people along the way.

After some truly heartfelt conversations with my friends about different circumstances in each of our lives, a good friend of mine told me, “you just gotta get in that dinghy and start paddling-don’t look back”. She often reminds me that I’m doing much better in my dinghy than when I was trying to tread water and make a raft out of materials not suited for floating the long haul.

So when stuff just gets too overwhelming or frustrating and you feel like you’re banging your head on a wall-let go of the rope you’ve been hanging onto-it’s likely that the fall isn’t that far. You might end up with some bumps and bruises, but nothing you can’t handle… you’ve spent your whole life preparing for each moment that you meet. So, dust yourself off, get up and walk away….

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