today is the day.
i’ve been talking them up all week.
i’m even sharing some slightly embarrassing photos, because i love them, and you, so much.
get ready to meet…

the thugs.


the thugs are a group of six best friends from college.
pretty much the coolest cats around.
they are the greatest girls women thugs in the world.

here’s the story:

back in late 2006, this girl (me) wanted to move out of her dorm of all homeschooled girls with her friend jessi, into another dorm, with normal girls. jessi and i would walk miles everyday to chapel, chuck’s (the cafeteria), and classes day in and day out because our dorm was so far away. we hated it.

meanwhile, i was part of a group of freshman known as the multicultural community (mcc represent) because i’m a biracial kid. one day, i sat next to this tiny 1/4 asian girl named jessi (not the jessi from my dorm). we found out we both loved emery and vintage shopping. a friendship was born.


as we (jessi from my dorm) both searched for a cooler dorm that was actually on campus. jessi (mcc jessi) had an opening in her dorm, and i decided to apply. a few days later, i got an email telling me about my new roommate, in jessi’s (mcc jessi) dorm.

her name was also jenn, spelled with 2 n’s. her favorite movie was white christmas and she was born december 7, 1987. no, i was NOT reading a description of myself, like my aunt suggested.

there is actually another person named jennifer, born on december 7th, with white christmas as her favorite movie. and we just so happened to be roommates. i moved into my new room just a few days before christmas break freshman year.


after coming back from christmas break, i started to become friends with the other girls in the dorm. we spent many a night watching the office, eating meals together, playing at the park, and playing pranks on each other for april fools day.




one day, jessi (from my old dorm) was hanging out with all of us and said ‘jen, you and your gang of thugs…’ and our name was born.

in a little less than 5 months, it will be our 8th anniversary of being friends. 8 years.
i can say with such confidence that these girls are not just my best friends, they are my sisters. my family.


we have been through so much together. boyfriends and breakups. money struggles and new jobs. school troubles and accomplishments. family ups and downs. new haircuts and styles. fashion crisis’. new food adventures and more.

our husbands are away at war




wanna meet them?!!? do ya? do ya?
well, even if you don’t, i’m going to introduce you anyways! so there.
and yes, we have thug names for each other.
we are that cool.

 jessi (young bacon)


jessi is one of the coolest people i know. we share the same taste in music, tv shows (parrks and rec!), clothes, boys (ryan gosling!), and food (BACON LOVERS!). she’s a numbers nerd. and has the tiniest feet, so she gets all the good deals at t.j. maxx.

favorite. party nail.

jessi is living the dream in columbus, intentionally living in a low income community, doing life with her neighbors. she brought the prettiest house and made it into a beautiful place that i wish i could live in. she has an amazing heart for jesus and people. seeing photos of her and her little neighborhood kids brings a smile to my face every time.

she has high standards, especially for her future man. <– we want to marry black brothers that love jesus, kids, cooking and working out. if anyone knows brothers that fit the bill, please leave a comment below.

anytime i need inspiration, prayer or just want to talk, jessi is my girl.


the denominators
the denominators

sara (sara.ruthless.)


sara is my soul sister. i took a semester off from cedarville to take classes back home my junior year. since shley (see below) didn’t have a roommate, she roomed with this time, the thugs were somewhat known around campus. we had tried to bring other girls into our gang, but we never really found anyone that we all clicked with. until sara.

we’d been a band of thugs for almost 2 years, but it felt like sara had been with us all along.
*other tidbit, sara was actually in the dorm freshman year, but decided to save money and live at home a few days after moving in. she was meant to be a thug all along!


sara, like me, loves audrey hepburn and the color pink. we are both fashionista’s, although she is much more of a snappy dresser than me.  we are the only thugs that haven’t been in other thug weddings, so we have a pact to be each other’s brides maids. and she is a fellow activist in the fight to end human trafficking. we spent many a days shouting about trafficking injustice. her heart for the Lord is contagious.
IMG_0426-1she is a therapist and i go to sara all the time for advice. she knows the perfect questions to ask to get me thinking and to get me to spill my guts. jesus gave her such an awesome gift.

jenn henn (h.booty)


i bet you are wondering how she got her name, henn…and i had to ask all the thugs how she got her name because i couldn’t remember! it’s the spanish pronunciation of jen!

this girl is all kinds of cool. we share the same name. same birthday. and same favorite movie. she also loves cats. and the color purple. henny boo (that’s my pet name for her!) is one of the best people i know at making conversation and making people feel welcome. she legit loves people and getting to know people. she majored in psychology, but has a social work heart. she is doing awesome things working with a community development association in pittsburgh and loves it.



henny is the one i look to for taking time for myself. you can tell when henn is stressed or just needs some ‘henn’ time because she takes it. she understands what her body needs. something i am working on myself. and she makes time for Jesus. another thing i am working on.

ashley (g-nasty)


ashley thinks she is the dictionary. like the whole world revolves around her. and it’s like, hello, that’s a globe (click on the jackie and debra link below to see where that comes from!). her last name is groce…so understandably, we make fun of it. we want her to marry someone with the last name of nasty.
the groce-nasty wedding! hah! still love it after all these years.

homecoming weekend! 091


she and i get each other. after h-booty found a new roommie for sophomore year, shley and i roomed together. we spent many a days laughing at the office, jackie and debra youtube videos, dave barnes videos and a dramatic reading of a real break-up letter (and yes, i was dying laughing by myself in my apartment at these videos as i am writing this!). we might have had tooo much fun that year. we were kind of a legendary pair of roommates.


shley is from the south and we like to make fun of her accent. she has the biggest heart. we joke because she cries alot, but it’s only because she feels so deeply. we share a heart for people, both social work majors, and she is my ranting partner when it comes to talking about social injustice.
she’s a fighter. she’s a servant. she dreams big.


ugly praise face
ugly praise face


kristen (k-money)


the BIRTHDAY GIRL!!! every year on kristen’s birthday, any time we saw her around campus, we would stop and yell ‘it’s the birthday girl! the birthday girl!‘ at the top of our lungs, for a good minute or two. don’t let her tell you she hated it!

kristen is smart. she is a writer. she is a vegan. she is funny. she is so wise. for the 10k i put on, she wrote this beautiful, sad, and passionate story that paralleled training for a marathon to coming out of a life of prostitution. it was amazing.

best. one.
best. one.

she is my go-to person when i want some sound advice because she doesn’t always give the answer you expect her to give. she is confident in what she believes, backs it up and is not afraid to give her option. she is passionate about being a vegan and eating healthy. i can rant with her about all the chemicals and craziness that is in all the products we use every day.

kristen is just genuinely funny and entertaining. plus, she is always up for a good time. and she wins the award for best laugh. in the world.


the thugster

now, i got this idea from sisterhood of the traveling pants. since in real life, unless they are elastic waist and a forgiving fabric, one pair of pants is just not going to fit all the thugs, lezzbehonest.

so, instead, we picked a journal. i drew the crazy little thug stick figures and we decorated one each summer. we had a rotation and rules in place, to make it official. we created a thugster for each summer we spent apart for 4 years. the rule is, that the thugster is supposed to go to a different thug each year (the old ones), but we haven’t followed that rule well though. check out instagram, there might be a photo up by now.



our songs

hey, soul sister – train

say a little prayer for you – dionne warwick

our husbands are away at war...
our husbands are away at war…

most memorable moments

orange races
one is the loneliest number (you will want to click that. especially if you need a good laugh!)
weekends at mom and dad martin’s house
ashley’s face – on a paper plate or piece of paper when she can’t make it to reunions. check insta for the latest since she couldn’t come this time.




i’m tearing up (because i’m getting OLD. 27 in a few months!) as i am reading over this post and looking at these photos because i am so blessed to have these women in my life. it is crazy cool how the Lord worked it out the way he did.

to see where we started and to see us know…it’s crazy. friends for life, that’s for sure.

just being thugs.









– jena.

p.s. do you wish you could meet them? or be a thug even?! tell me about ‘the thugs’ in your life!

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