On Finding Joy in the Journey...

I think eating sushi must make me smarter.

The last few times I’ve had light-bulb moments have been between dunks of a shitake roll into wasabi-laced soy sauce…

I know there's a theory about hand-and-mouth activity being good for cognition, but my hunch is that the spice is really what kick-starts my brain.

A few weeks ago, I was at an incredible Japanese restaurant with some new friends in Austin, and someone asked that we go around the table and answer the question:

“What is the one big thing that you learned from 2014?”

As I listened to everyone share their insight and accomplishments (which were both blindingly bright and equally inspiring) - I began to panic while my turn inched closer.

Was I distracted by the blistered shishito peppers and braised eggplant, or my frosty glass of perfectly chilled sake? 

Yes! Obviously, YUM! 

Was I enthralled by the table-full of such brilliant minds and cozy-warm hearts?

Of course! Right from the start.

Was I so overwhelmed by all of the good snippets to share that I froze to keep from sounding blurt-y or boastful?

Humility always seems to have a much greater return.

When I finally made myself work up the chops[ticks] to just say what came to mind first, I was relieved by the feelings of content that I found in such a loaded moment.
 
I wish I could say that I’m writing to share some profoundly original or encouraging soundbite, but my answer for the table was starkly sincere. (Yet, it satiates my heart just the same.)

Twenty Fourteen has taught me that achieving a lofty goal is NOT always the greatest reward… Some of our most treasured moments are made by simply enjoying the road along an ambitious adventure. [click to tweet]

I don’t think that goal-setting and dream-catching are intrinsically wrong (otherwise I’d be in trouble with a Capital T), but I DO know that having a "why" rooted in the right reasons can keep us from being distracted by the final outcome or derailed by fear

If these big dreams are truly driven by our heart’s desires, we can trust co-pilots Patience & Peace to help us appreciate the scenery along the way. When I realized that taking joy in the journey is WAY more fun than stressing over the view that flies by my window, I decided to crank up the music, grab my favorite snack, and invite your sweet road-tripping selves to do the same. :)

Hoping that your 2015 has mountains of blessings on the horizon, and I’ll see you right back here next year!

Countdown to Confetti Kisses,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Care to tell me what your own heart has learned in the past twelve months? You KNOW that I’m truly dying to hear... If it feels funny at first, just pretend that we’re sharing something sweet and singing along in the backseat!


PARTY-WORTHY STYLE // I can hardly believe that my cherry on top of 2014 was a national TV segment & partnership with Pinterest a little earlier this week!  Go here to take a peek at my Good Morning America debut, and please promise me you'll partake in something shimmery tonight. (Even if it's just these!)

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 Finding Your Golden Comb...

Sweet Rubi chops my hair like a champ, and I’m convinced it’s because she’s got a magic wand up that stylish little sleeve of hers.

Since my last several styles have been the product of her own artful handiwork, I’ve sworn that no one else should ever come near my head with a set of scissors ever again.  She always seems to turn my untamed mane into something that punctuates the way that I express my personal style, and can't we all just agree that a good hair cut is like the silky smooth icing on a perfectly frosted cake? 

While I know that her brilliant aesthetic and extensive experience play a major part in such dazzling work, I have a hunch that the shiny golden comb she uses as her signature tool doesn’t hurt.

Besides that magic wand, though...

>  She knows how to use JUST the right fringe to compliment any face.
>  Her creative projects inspire me to push forward in my own pursuits.
>  She listens to a LOT of ladies each week, but those wise chocolate eyes always make me feel like she holds my words amidst a special place in her tender heart. (Quite possibly the best skill of them all, no?)

I truly believe that she sees nothing but beauty beneath layers of locks, and when you combine all these things with a comb that literally glints in the light with every swipe? It makes sitting in her chair feel less about looking good and more about watching a dear friend do what she loves best.

(In my world, we call this a trip to Beauty Parlor Heaven.)

Her flair for what she does, that extra-special something that is added to every encounter... It is far beyond what I see most people infuse into their everyday work.  This lady is truly in love with her craft, and I love letting her sprinkle that passion into my pixie whenever I can.

Not only has her signature skill inspired me to find an actual golden comb to keep in mybeauty cabinet at home (maybe it holds a little magic of it’s own?), but now I'm convinced that having a trademark tool is a great way to symbolize the special brilliance that spreads throughout whatever you do.

I’m in a brainstorm-y mood (look-out universe!), so play along by telling me what you do each day and I’d love to help you come up with a magic wand of your very own.  You know I love chit-chatting with you here, sweet sisters...  Just hit reply and we’ll come up with something special together!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Your responses to last week’s question are SO precious and I’ve been working on an individual (video!) response to every single one. How fun is that?! Stay tuned if you're still waiting for yours, and as always - hearing what is on your heart feels like SUCH a big blessing every week. :)

P.Ps. - More of a hairbrush kind of gal? I'd never leave you behind! Happy detangling!


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT // This sneaky sweater set will blow your mind, never thought I'd be eating apples three ways at once, little old me on Taxi TV, and Broadway's latest musical: Jessie and the Amazing Monochromatic Dreamcoat.

On Expectations & a Bit of Encouragement...

Have I ever told you about my Fancy Aunt?  

She took me to lunch at one of my favorite spots last week, and while we chopstick-sword-fought each other for the last bits of vegan sushi, she shared about a recent situation where her expectations were seriously smashed. 

While she explained that setting "the bar" low (or leaving it altogether at home) seems like the only way to prevent this from happening, I began to wonder: Could adjusting my own pie-in-the-sweet-blue-sky standards be the best way to avoid future disappointment or regret?  

I’ve always thought that expectations make great kindling for the dream-fires of our creative brains, but am ALSO aware that they can cause big piles of disappointment to pop up on the landscapes of our lives.  

(They become especially dangerous when we rely solely on others to satisfy the desires of our hearts, but that’s something we’ll have to talk about another time.)

One of the best books I’ve read all year is called Start by Jon Acuff, and I love that he writes about how it’s nearly impossible to dream without having crazy expectations.

"Expectations of the future can inspire you to reach for things that feel impossible in the present... But after the expectation has played it’s role, after you’ve squeezed every last drop of encouragement out of it, I want you then to let it go."

Makes a lot of sense, right? 

I’ve found that the first part of his mantra is a handy approach when we're striving to do great things, but it’s the last bit that I’m trying to focus on lately...

Tomorrow, I start a brand new decade of life (!) and while my heart feels particularly hopeful about the goodness and joy that is yet to come, I'm reminded that loosening my grip on a few ideas will allow those new lovely treasures to filter right in.*

Turn your longing into a lasso for those big darling dreams,
let the leverage launch you toward them with abundance & ease.
[Tweet it]

I’m so thankful to have YOU as a part of this year's journey, and can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store! Knowing that these little messages bless you in even the simplest of ways is the BEST birthday gift a gal could ask for, and of course - I'm always SO honored to hear what you’ve got on your heart. 

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Loving this lady's recent account of expectations & heart... That Erin sure is a keeper, isn’t she?

*Kind of reminds me of how our pitchers work! Still one of my favorite letters to you. :)