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. ;)

On Holding Hands Over Speed Humps...

Technical difficulties are THE WORST.  

Right up there with unexplained indigestion, chronically noisy neighbors, and hotel shampoo & conditioner (aka, instant frizz-ball).

I'd rather shave my legs with a one-blade, disposable razor before jumping in the salty ocean water* than spend any number of minutes waiting through the hold music of an IT support line, and YET... that is precisely what has filled the majority of my last 48 hours.

All of my websites (a few of which are still in the works, and feel as fragile as a nestful of baby birds) have been inaccessible from all angles this week, and a blank white screen was all that blinked back at us from each page.  Our hosting company seemed to have disappeared into thin air with a POOF of pixels, and we were left with nothing but a trail made from the crumbs found on the inside of my keyboard.

(Yum! Is that a sunflower seed?! ) 

Instead of letting it flip my lid - I’ve been trying to acknowledge that a ginormous roadblock in my week of work could:

A.)  Be a WHOLE LOT worse... (at least that's what I'm telling myself.)

and 

B.)  Mean that I now have extra time to help the friends around me who need a lift over their own speed humps.   

When my own projects are put on pause, it frees me up to lend a hand that simply needs one to hold.

Is anything blocking your road lately, Pepitas?  

Tell me what you are struggling with, because I would love to be praying for you this weekend.


(And I think God might giggle when I whisper things like, “MAKE HER ANGEL WINGS AWESOME, AND SEND HER SMILES BRIGHTER THAN SUNSHINE.”)

Whether you’re celebrating Passover, Good Friday or just the start of a gorgeous spring weekend today, I’m sending lots of love and lop-eared bunny snuggles your way!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - S&P is back to normal for now, but I lost certain pieces of this little guy in the recovery process... Wrestled with the idea of working over the weekend to get everything fixed, but decided that an extra special sabbath is FAR more important. 

*You never want to try this.  Take my word for it, and get those babies waxed. 

On Using Enthusiasm to Inspire & Delight...

About a month ago, I had a friend make a fairly innocuous (yet somewhat biting) remark about the fact that I seem to have a knack for whacking people over the head with my unbridled* enthusiasm.  #OOPS

Before you jump to the conclusion that my friend is rude (because she definitely isn't!), and before I feel the need to crawl into a hole for being overly-sensitive (because I definitely am!), I should clarify that her heart was totally in the right place.  

The observation popped up because we were discussing why my “coming on strong” can be off-putting to folks who may not be familiar with my overall disposition, and she was providing feedback with the intent to help me find a bit of clarity on the matter.  

Let’s just say I’ve ALWAYS been a bit excitable, and can ABSOLUTELY recognize my tendency to overwhelm others when I’m bursting at the seams with something I’m super-jazzed about.


Interrupting this regularly scheduled love note with jazz hands and big smiles to tell you HOW HAPPY I AM THAT YOU’RE HERE!!!


Even in the moments when I’m feeling generally “meh” on all other counts (which might happen more than you would think), if you happen to ask me about the tastiest hot sauce or my thoughts on impromptu dance parties or my favorite non-streaky self-tanner… It’s likely that I will eagerly launch into a heartfelt briefing and then ask if you’ve got another 2 hours to grab coffee so that I can give you the full rundown. ;)

As I’ve thought about how this expressiveness could be affecting different areas of my life recently (positively OR negatively), a very interesting thing has happened:  I’ve seen the above quote pop up in THREE separate places online this week, and keeping it front-of-mind has seemed to magically hold those ugly little meanie mongers at bay.  You know the ones I’m talking about?

They say: 

“WOULD YOU CALM IT DOWN, LADY?!”

"No one believes that you’re genuine.”

“Stop wasting your energy."


I try my best to answer: 

“This is how I was created.”

“My warmth will show the posture of my heart."

“Honest intensity can provide inspiration to others."


I understand that not everyone naturally possesses the same levels of general enthusiasm about life (thank goodness, or we’d probably be REALLY sick of each other by now!), BUT...

I absolutely believe that infusing any part of your purpose with warmth and intensity and emotion, can allow others to see meaning through the same brilliantly bright lens that you do.
— Jessie Pepper

Is mustering up or toning down enthusiasm ever something that you struggle with in your own life?  Reply here and tell me if you've ever had to push past the hump of letting it hold you back, and I can't wait to hear what's going on in that beautiful heart of yours!

SERIOUSLY Excited Call You a Friend,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - My purpose has been revamped just a bit, and you’re welcome to take a peek here.

* There she goes with the horse metaphors again.


ON MY FINGERS  //  I only brought TWO different nail colors with me to California (a real feat considering my collection at home!), so getting creative with the polish placement has been just enough to keep me from boredom until I can switch up my hues in a few weeks.  Feeling particularly inspired by thesehalfsies and am thinking that my favorite metallic polish will let me get the look quite nicely.  Try it with me?!

On Meeting New Friends & Owning a Room...

In Salt Lake City for Alt Design Summit this week [so excited to be speaking on a panel again this year!] and you’re probably not surprised that making new friends is by FAR my favorite part of going to blogging events and conferences like this one - does that make me a social-media-butterfly?  ;)

I’m guessing there may be a few of you cringing at the thought of diving into a sea of people you hardly know, and hopefully today’s Pepper Letter will help keep you “afloat” with these five handy tips...

bright-smile-warm-heart2.jpg

No. 1 -  Pretend like you're the host.  Walk in the door with the mindset that YOU are there to make sure everyone has a great time.  Not only will this keep your mind off of feeling jittery, but it is scientifically proven to transform you into a human-magnet.  (I hope I don’t regret slapping a “user warning” on this one…)
 
No. 2 -  Don't forget to don your super-hero cape.  I’ll bet you have a certain element of your personal style that you KNOW will make you feel great every time you leave the house (bold berry lips, sky high boots and breezy caftans are a few of mine) and these unfamiliar social situations are the perfect time to bust those out and let them do their job.  If nothing comes to mind when you read this, you MUST drop me a note and I will help you figure yours out immediately!

No. 3 -  Nail your intro, and never forget a compelling question.  Think about the way your favorite friends introduce you to someone new, and use the stand-out feature the next time you stick your hand out for a firm shake.  Including a quirky or little known fact will add a little something extra, and wrapping up with a clever question about the other person [Ex. What was the best thing that happened to you this week?] will assure them that you care to learn more. 

No. 4 -  Hugs hardly ever fail to welcome.  Uncross those arms and legs, put your smartphone to the side when you can and try offering a hug instead of a handshake!  Your body language says a lot about your mood, and the more open your stance, the more likely you are to be in the mood to connect.

No. 5 -  Bond over a memorable moment.  There’s nothing quite like a little camaraderie to bring people together… Haven’t you ever seen people rolling their eyes at each other in a long line?  Pick something positive or hilarious instead of resorting to a gripe, and that old dude trying to sing karaoke with the hotel lobby piano will have you giggling with your new pals faster than you can say “Living on a Prayer."

Bust out your brightest smile, lead with a warm heart & give ‘em a hug they can’t refuse.
— Jessie Pepper


Keep these little tidbits in mind the next time you find yourself feeling a bit more shy than sassy, and I’d love to hear if you have any of your own tricks for pulling yourself over those little bumps of bashfulness when they come!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

P.S. I think you’re fabulous, and I know everyone else will too.

P.P.S. If you’re at Alt this week, you’d BETTER come and find me for a big squeeze!