I was out shopping with my son and as I was walking past the store windows, I caught the reflection of someone following me… looking around to see who it was, I saw there was no one there.
I looked back to the reflection and saw this gaunt, and haunted-looking person. She was hunched over, her eyes looked sad and she looked like she was unwell.
I caught her gaze, and it was then I realized the person I had thought was following me, was actually me… I simply didn’t even recognize myself anymore.
If you’ve ever asked yourself:
“what on earth am I doing with my life?”
“really… is that all there is..?”
then you’re in the right place.
Back in late 2013, I didn’t recognize the person I had become.
I was 26, divorced, a single mom to 5-month-old baby who spent the first few months of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I couldn’t work my job anymore, I’d moved to a different town, and had lost a whole lot of ‘friends’ along the way.
Everything I had known about my life and everything that I had thought I’d known about myself was gone.
Over the next few years, with a lot of help from therapy and a few pity parties thrown in there, I realized that it was up to me to take control of my life, so that’s exactly what I did.
Now, in 2022, I am a (mostly) confident, strong, and independent woman.
I’m a wife to a super hot hubby who treats me like I’m the most amazing person on earth, a mom to two incredibly kind-hearted and spirited kids (97.2% of the time), and I am happier and more at peace in my life than I ever have been before.
Life isn’t perfect, I still have days when I’m a complete mess, I lose my cool, and I feel like everything is imploding.
But those days are fewer and further in between and so much easier to manage now.
It didn’t change overnight, not even close.
And there were a few steps forward followed by a few steps back, sideways, and a couple of spins around while I was at it, but without that realization, without choosing to be in control of my life, I can’t even imagine what my world would look like now.
So why ‘Project Hot Mess’?
Project Hot Mess was born in mid-2017 while I was pregnant with my daughter.
After having horrendous hyperemesis, not being able to work much, and feeling like I was going to lose myself all over again, I realized that I could use what I was already doing (blogging) and create a site for women to find bits and pieces of themselves to work on, even if they felt like a total hot mess.
In large part, it was so I had something to work on for myself, something that would keep me anchored to my self-development and remind me that I am a whole and complete person on my own, on top of being a mother and a wife.
And it worked.
Over the years, Project Hot Mess has grown and expanded, being featured in massive international publications (including Martha Stewart Living Magazine!! I had to pinch myself) and has been my comfort, my place to call home.
It hasn’t always been easy…
For the last 13 years I have worked as a Paramedic, a job I absolutely love and something that I had felt was a big part of my identity.
My husband is a Paramedic (it’s how we met) as is my brother (I started first, he copied me), and two of my sisters-in-law. It’s a big part of our world.
After I became a mom, the job changed. I felt myself being more emotionally attached to some patients, and leaving my kids at home to go to work was getting harder and harder.
I had always known that there was the potential of going to that ‘one job’ – the one that changes you forever, that makes it impossible to put your boots back on and keep on going.
In August 2020, I went to that job.
Looking back, it wasn’t just the job itself (as bad as it was, it was far from the worst I’d ever been to) but it was a culmination of events and a few other things in the mix to create the perfect storm.
I couldn’t put my boots on again. I couldn’t go back. I had a complete anxious breakdown and for days I couldn’t get off the couch.
Thankfully, with the help of some amazing colleagues, therapists, my family, and my husband I was able to work through the trauma and return to the job.
But it took a lot of work, and it still takes a lot of work, and so much of that is shared here on Project Hot Mess.
We all face our own issues, our own traumas, and our own challenges that make simple things so incredibly difficult, but when we have the right tools in our kit, when we know and understand ourselves better, and when we believe in ourselves, anything is possible.
Things I love that have helped me…
While I share so much of what has helped here on Project Hot Mess (check out anything in the Self-Development section – my favorites are the affirmations, they are GOLD), there are a few other things I’ve done that have helped me, and I want to share them with you and maybe some of them could help you too:
- I chose to surround myself with amazing people who loved and supported me and what I wanted to do.
- I saw several therapists until I found the ‘right’ one. You’re not going to click with everyone and that’s okay.
My favorite counselor is an ex-Paramedic who also had a sick NICU baby, she’s amazing, sweary, and tells me exactly what I need to hear (not always what I want to hear).
- Find things you love to do – for me it’s crochet. I know… I’m an 80 year old granny at heart, but I am super crochet obsessed and always have at least 10 projects on the go at once.
And let’s not even talk about my yarn stash…
- Journaling – journaling is such an incredibly powerful tool that I turned my nose up at for so long. I completely ignored it when others suggested I should start journaling, I thought that it was all a bunch of hoo-ha. It’s not. It’s amazing.
Try it – check out how you can start journaling here – How To Start Journaling: A Guide For Beginners
- Making time for yourself – I know, you’re busy, people rely on you, and there’s just so much to do… seriously, I get it, I do.
But I cannot stress enough how incredibly important it is to just have time for yourself, where no one is asking you for snacks, no one expects anything of you, and you’re not cleaning up after others… time to just sit.
Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to sit without any distractions. No music, no podcasts, no audiobooks, no crochet… to sit and do nothing.
The longest I can do at the moment is 7 minutes. I’m working my way up to 10 (it’s a lot harder than you’d think).
- Get outdoors – we live in such an incredible world and I’m pretty darn lucky to have access to some of the most phenomenal beaches our planet has to offer.
The beach calms me, it makes me feel grounded yet so empowered at the same time.
The mountains make me feel like I’m home, connected to the universe, and comforted.
Pay attention to how nature makes you feel and use it as needed.
And how does this all help you?
We aim to make Project Hot Mess a place you can come to find tools, support, and strategies to help you on your own journey.
We want this to be the first place that comes to mind when you are looking for ways to work on different areas of your life, and know that whatever it is you want to work on, we have something to help you.
We know that life is full of ups and downs, but it’s how we navigate these times which makes us who we are today.
Some of our most popular topics include:
After going through a divorce at 26, I realized I never wanted to experience this again. I set out to learn everything I could about marriage, how relationships work, what it takes to create a strong marriage, and how you can do all of this without losing who you are along the way.
I’ve studied marriage and relationships for over 9 years, conducted various studies of my own (including one on marriage and happiness with over 1000 participants – it was incredibly eye-opening), and have gone deep into the neuroscience of relationships.
It’s incredibly fascinating and I love sharing what I’ve learned with you.
We all have an idea of what motherhood should look like, but it never turns out exactly how we thought it would. The joys and the struggles are both real and I’m here to help you navigate them.
I’ve been a mom for 9 years now (to 2 beautiful kids) and I’m a massive advocate for women and helping them grow their confidence as mothers while ignoring what society tells them motherhood should look like (don’t even get me started on the ‘work-life balance’ BS).
It’s not easy, but it can be done! I’m here to share a little of what I’ve learned along the way.
Personal Growth & Self-Development
Personal growth is something that many of us struggle with as we’re often so busy trying to keep up with everything else that we forget about ourselves.
We’re here to help you focus on yourself and to show you how small changes can make big differences in your life.
We often look at the science behind why these things are important, and how you can actually implement them in your lives, because let’s face it, knowing what to do and actually being able to do it are two different things. But that’s what we’re here for.
Our Latest Personal Growth & Self Development Posts
Organizing Your Life
Life can be so overwhelming sometimes that it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we’re here to help you break down your goals into achievable pieces and start taking action on the things that really matter in your life.
We’ll help you create an organized system for tackling day-to-day tasks, learn how to make daily schedules work for you, and offer tips on how to create an environment that supports all the goals you have.
Our Latest Personal Growth & Self Development Posts
Who we are, what we do, and the environment we live in are all created by the habits we have.
We are always looking for ways to create better habits. We find the little things we can do that make the biggest impact, and how we can make our lives easier, more fulfilling, and all-around happier through the habits we create.
Affirmations & Journaling
As I said earlier, using positive affirmations and journaling have helped me in ways I never imagined possible. This is why I have made such a big push to include as many affirmations and journaling resources for you here at Project Hot Mess.
You’ll find affirmations for almost every area of your life (if you need something and we don’t have it, let me know and I’ll make it happen), and you can find a whole range of printable affirmation cards in our shop.
We also have thousands of journaling prompts to cover so many different areas to focus on (again, if you need journaling prompts for an area of your life and we don’t have them, let us know and we’ll get it sorted for you), and you can find printable journaling pages, prompts, and so many other journaling resources in our shop too (as well as a massive range here for free on Project Hot Mess).
Our Latest Affirmations & Journaling Posts
I’m a biiiiiiiig lover of TED Talks and there are always so many incredible ones that challenge your way of thinking, help you to see something from a different perspective, or simply make you go ‘huh… I’d never thought of that’.
I’ve watched hundreds upon hundreds of TED Talks and have created a huge range of TED Talks playlists to share with you the best of the best in each topic.
Team Project Hot Mess
Our team at Project Hot Mess is small but mighty…
Krystal Kleidon – CEO
- Creator of Project Hot Mess
- Head Hot Mess
- Yarn Horder
- Crochet Lover
Krystal is a thirty-something (heavy on the something) professional word chef, who is fiercely passionate about empowering women, growing their confidence, and giving them the tools to better understand themselves.
She’s a wife to a super hot hubby, mom to two crazy kiddos, Paramedic with a black belt in Taekwondo (and an instructor), and a somewhat unhealthy yarn addiction.
When she’s not writing, working, or crocheting, you can find her searching for new crochet projects on Pinterest, booking her next family escape to the beach, or planning the trip around Australia she’s taking with her daughter in 2030 (feel free to send her tips and ideas, or just stalk her on Instagram @krystalkleidon).
Cassidy Rowell – Graphic Designer
- Head Of Making Things Pretty
- Sanity Saver
- Passionate Artist
- Dog Mama
- Autumn Lover
Cassidy is a graphic designer, virtual assistant, and artist. Having worked on the team for the past few years, she loves putting her creative and organizational skills to use for the message of positivity, empowerment, and self-improvement that Project Hot Mess provides for women.
When she’s not working or being obsessed with her husband and her dog (a spoiled miniature dachshund named Winston), you can catch her traveling somewhere near the mountains, wishing it was always autumn, reading thriller and fantasy books, or baking a new dessert recipe to share with loved ones.
Cassidy also keeps Krystal in check, is incredibly tolerant of her crazy ideas, and is always up for a new challenge (even if it’s just a random tangent Krystal wants to follow).
You can find Cassidy and her beautiful art here – @Cassidy.Rowell
Our mission is to provide resources that allow women to explore who they are and learn to understand themselves so they can be confident in who they are, create strong and connected relationships, and create a life that excites them.
At Project Hot Mess, we believe that the most important person in your life is you, and that taking care of yourself and working on your own personal growth and self-development should always be a priority.
We strive to provide empowering resources and advice for women and mothers who are looking to grow their confidence, learn skills to help better understand themselves, and thrive in life.
We want to give you the tools and support needed to start living your best life and become the empowered version of yourself.
We hope that our stories, resources, advice, and experiences help you realize that anything is possible if you set your mind to it – because yes, with a little bit of hard work, dedication, and resilience, you can do anything.
We believe in you and we’re here to support you every step of the way!
Thank you for joining us on this journey of self-discovery and growth. We hope it will be an amazing adventure with lots of learning along the way!