On Tenderness Amidst Trip-ups...

“HOW COULD YOU BE SO STUPID?!"

"I'm never buying you anything. EVER. AGAIN."

Watching yelly parents in action is something that makes me squirm under NORMAL circumstances, but when I’m seat-belted less than two feet away (within the tiny confines of an airplane cabin)…  You can go ahead and count it as one of my least favorite ways to watch a budding spirit get crushed.

To clarify — This wasn’t some little brat who was kicking the back of my seat or screaming for "MORE JUUUUUUUIIIIIIIICCCCCE!”  

This little guy could not have been more than three years old, and hadn't gotten even a single sip of his soda before accidentally spilling the entire cup on the iPad in front of him. (Ironically eliciting a huge commotion from the parent who shoved it in his hands to keep him quiet in the first place.)

I held my breath while watching the crocodile tears ROLL down those ruddy little cheeks, and did everything I could to keep from wrapping my arms around him in a hug.

He was visibly shaken to his tiny three-year old core, and I could immediately relate to the mix of emotions that follow a big spill.  

(Probably because it’s a weekly occurrence for me, and I don’t have to think back very far.)

That sad little kiddie-cocktail was made up of equal parts devastation and embarrassment, then combined with a dash of bitterness from the loss of one very special bubbly drink. 

I get it, Little Dude... What’s the point of a Bob the Builder Marathon without your Ginger Ale!

The toothpick that really pierced my martini-olive-heart?  His mama continued to berate him for “treating their stuff like shit,” (Earmuffs!) but it didn't really seem like she was treating him very well at all.

Parenting expert I AM NOT, but any adult bystander could be sure that the wrong person was having the temper-tantrum in this situation.
 
Plus, I know that very few problems are fixed by hurling insults at the person who has disappointed us, no?

It got me thinking about the last several times that I had witnessed such unwarranted criticism, and I’m sad to say that I often see women treat themselves with this very same toxic tone again and again. 

Including me.

We all spill. We blurt.
We trip. We cry.
We fall. We curse.
We make mistakes.
We have bad days.

We are not perfect, but still deserve to be treated as the dazzling creatures we were designed to be. 

Just wanted to be today's little reminder that tending to that precious heart of yours is going to mean plenty of grace and rest along the way. ;) 

With Tenderness & A Life-time Supply of Tide Pens,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

We are not perfect, but still deserve to be treated as the dazzling creatures we were designed to be.

MORNING REFRESH  //  Looking for some fun healthy breakfast ideas? Check out Part II of my fun video series with Plum Vida and get inspired to start your day off right. ;) 

On Twelve Twinkling Truths...

Stringing permissions together like twinkle lights this morning, and thought it might be nice to hand you a strand...
 
You CAN explore now.
You CAN venture there.
You CAN dream it up.
You CAN crank it out.
You CAN wear that.
You CAN create more.
You CAN call him.
You CAN befriend her.
You CAN play well.
You CAN push yourself.
You CAN bless them.
You CAN rest soon.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE...

Scatter across your mantle or hang them above the place where you wake up everyday.

For best effects --  plug one end into the wall, but be careful to keep the cord high enough to lift your spirits and draw your heart upwards.

Warning: May brighten dark corners without notice.

If a bulb breaks, please write to jessie@styleandpepper.com for replacement.

(Lifetime guarantee for current subscribers, and new little sisters always welcome.)
 
I couldn't help but pop in as your little Secret Santa this weekend, and would LOVE to see the lights strung amidst those bright lives of yours... Send me photos and I'll share them with the rest of the gang?  

Love You to Peppermint-Pieces,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - I'd love to give you a hug along with these glimmery little wishes, so come join us for brunch next month in NYC!

On Piling Our Plates With Purpose...

I was at a holiday party a few evenings ago, and simply could. not.stop. stuffing my face with cheese.  

(There were at least a dozen kinds on display and it felt imperative that I try them all.)

Not even a SPECK of hunger stirring in my belly before I got there, and yet I was instantly transfixed by the towers of tasty options.

Silky bits of brie on a perfectly toasted slice of baguette.
Super-stinky gouda sandwiched between dried apricot and a crispy wafer.
Creamy mozzarella on toothpicks with basil and tiny tomatoes.

Those salty, paper-thin slivers of parmesan perfection? 
They needed NO help in being shoveled straight into my mouth.

As I perfected my second (full!) plate like a true asiago artiste, I was struck with a familiar pang of guilt when the next bite reached my lips…

What am I REALLY craving that this mountain of snacks will indulge?

Comfort? Delight? Fulfillment? Pleasure? 

Here’s my best guess:

We fill our plates because we crave satisfaction, but unless there is substance to the things we consume -- Our insides can quickly become empty again. 

Fullness is only found when we rely on the right things to satiate us.

So HERE comes the season for scarfing down treats and compiling to-do lists the size of twenty pound turkeys.

With entire tables full of things to EAT and DO and BUY and WRAP and FIND and CLEAN and FINISH at this time of year, it can be hard to know the difference between the splurge-worthy and the skippable, yes?

Instead of obsessing over creating “The Perfect Holiday Plan”, I'm aiming for a simpler approach…

Piling our plates with meaning leaves less room for junk.
Your heart is healthiest when fueled by goodness & love.

Sending you wishes for a weekend full of festivities and friends (and at least a LITTLE bit of feta), and I’d love to have you share your ideas for a purpose-filled plate here in the comments below!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper 

Ps. - My favorite way to find cheese-centric gifts for every person on your list… It’s definitely become one of those "two for you, one for me" kind of sites! ;)

P.Ps. - Looking for a literal way to fight off the high-calorie cravings at this time of year? I hardly ever leave the house without these snacks in my bag, and love coming up with creative ways to use the extras. ;)

On Flower Crowns & Faraway Friends...

What’s a girl to do when her closies* are scattered around the country like a bunch of wind-blown wildflowers?

I know it’s the product of a free-spirited life, but also — I’m the kind of gal that’s always falls in love with friends fast.

This sort of landscape certainly makes for a vast array of places to visit, but as I get older, I find myself longing for the impact and presence of a more tightly-knit bouquet.

---

My mom has always kept the most gorgeous floral wreath crowning the wall above their mantle at home.  Bursting with hundreds of dried blooms, and bigger than a pro-basketball player’s hug.  

That garland grows even more vibrant every time I see it, and I love watching her make thoughtful additions as she cultivates it's blossoming shape...

Flower image by  Claire Thomas

Flower image by Claire Thomas

It has helped me see that there is tenderness in the organic approach of collecting precious friends as we go. [Tweet to share.]

... Letting them tuck right in to where they seem to fit best, and looping them together so they can bask in each others beauty.  

... Using the visible display of memories as a mark for special occasions and a keepsake of all the beloved places I’ve been.  

... Decorating the front door and always welcoming new guests.  At the same time, a familiar greeting made with local favorites, woven in with the special flowers from much father away.

Even though I'm still learning to enjoy an arrangement that’s a little less consistent, I'm grateful to keep a flourishing crown of flowers as it grows!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

*Closies are like besties whose hearts are especially aligned. ;)