The Tour


Hey there, reader! Welcome to my website, The Merry Mess. I really want you to feel welcome here – welcome, and authentic. The Merry Mess is a space for my fellow twenty-and-thirty-somethings to get a joy refill through intentional celebration (more on that later), but you can’t fully experience that with walls up. This is a space for you to let your hair down, eat your favorite foods, and laugh until you snort without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. (Snort laughs just might be my favorite!) This is also a place where you don’t have to put your face on before you walk in the door. A place where you get a bear hug and a sincere compliment about who you are, whether you’re “put together” – or falling apart.

So come, just as you are, and make yourself at home here. I’m not one to mind a little dirt on the floor, but why not kick your shoes off? You may as well be comfy on your tour of The Merry Mess!

The Name & The Mission

I might be dating myself here, but did you read the Anne of Green Gables series growing up? I did, and I just loved it. One of my favorite things about that series was that Anne (almost) always lived in homes with beautiful, welcoming names. I wanted something similar for this website – this little corner of the internet that I call my own – and I wanted it to really serve people, just like my home does. I knew I had to pick a GREAT name for it – and since Ingleside is taken (and doesn’t really tell you much ) – I picked The Merry Mess.

Merry is a pretty common word. Google defines it as “cheerful and lively” – and for many of us, it even suggests the glorious, gracious, and generous magic of Christmas.

Mess is a less endearing term. Mess implies disorganization. Mess implies chaos. But . . . isn’t that so often life? We plan to the best of our abilities, but factors outside of ourselves send our plans into a tailspin. And sometimes, our own lack of omniscience fails us. After all, we simply don’t have the capacity to prepare for everything. And that’s kind of what I love about messes – at least, on the surface. They’re real. Honest-to-goodness, no-more-pretending, real.

But I also have this itch to redeem the word mess, and in researching the word, I found something fascinating. Here’s what Google’s dictionary says about this word’s origin:

+ It’s rooted in the Old French word mes, meaning ‘portion of food’

+ It’s also rooted in the Latin words missum, meaning ‘something put on the table,’ and mittere, meaning ‘send, put.’

+ “The original sense [of mess] was ‘a serving of food.’

Can you believe it?! When I read that, I just knew I had to use it in my website name. Because messes mean that life-giving things are being created and people are being fed. And that, friend, is why I’m here. The Merry Mess exists to create reasons to celebrate and nurture young women with that merriment  in both chaotic and calm seasons. It’s just that I know how your twenties and thirties are weird years – hungry years – when you’re figuring out all the things, from eating when you’re broke, to staying full spiritually, to finding enough social and professional nourishment . And . . . well, we each need a voice of hope and a safe place  during those years, don’t we? And here we are! Again, welcome!


The Floor Plan

I have this philosophy that my guests need to know where things are in my home. If you’re at my place, I want to serve you. I want you to know where to get what you need, and I want you to have the freedom to go and grab it.

I’m applying the same philosophy here, Merry Messer. I want you to have what you need, and I don’t want you to get lost along the way. Here’s the lowdown:

The Blog : You’ll find little nuggets of wisdom, inspiration, and friendship here.

The Gram : This will take you from The Merry Mess to my personal IG page!

The Tour : It’s the page you’re on!

The Gift : Can you say “free stuff”?! Hustle on over to download your FREE celebration workbook!

Home : Gets you to any page on this website!

And, of course,  if you need anything while you’re here – just ask!

Which brings me to my final note . . .

The Hostess

Visiting a total stranger’s home sounds uncomfortable at best, so let’s get acquainted. My name is Justine, and I’ve been a writing since before I knew how. Seriously. I love writing so much that before I knew words, I pretended I was writing by drawing squiggly lines on paper. In fact, I’ve got a little children’s Bible that has squiggles in the empty-ish introductory pages from when I was reporting on world news at the tender age of five.

I’ve given up my journalistic ambitions, but I haven’t given up on communicating through the written word. Words are so beautiful, so powerful, and so welcoming when we use them right. And since the only way to really get it right is to give it to Jesus, I pray that I’ll use these words correctly right here on The Merry Mess. I’ve got a heart for connecting with women and wherever you are on the other side of that screen, I hope you find encouragement, connection, and celebration here!

I don’t have all the answers and I’m not the most tech-savvy female out there, but I am qualified to do my part through this website. Over the past three years, I’ve had many great offline opportunities to nurture my fellow women, like . . .

+ leading a small group using Stephanie May Wilson’s guide;

+ co-leading a women’s Bible study through my local church’s women’s outreach program;

+ and being a friend and a hostess. (Which means cooking and serving food, rushing to the scene of a car accident, battling in prayer for my girls, championing other women, and so much more.)

I’m also a total prairie girl. I’ve called the beautiful state of North Dakota home for almost a decade now, and even though I moved here “for college,” I’m pretty sure I was subconsciously motivated by a mild obsession with Little House on the Prairie. (I even begged my grandmother to sew me a bonnet, which she did. I was in deep.) But plain though eastern ND is, I’ve fallen for these wide open spaces – adopted the sweetest little cat you ever did see – and made the absolute BEST group of girlfriends since moving here. I don’t have the coolest career, the nicest car, or the cushiest bank account, but I’m still pretty sure I have it all, and I’m so glad you’re joining me by visiting The Merry Mess. Come again soon!!

Thanks a million for dropping by! ♥
– Justine Elice