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 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.
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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. :)

On Filling Your Sails with Flair...

Holy cannoli...  

You BLEW me away by sharing such dazzling dreams last week, and I’m still basking in the brightness of the responses as they trickle in.

Forever inspired by the grand plans you poured out… Honored, really. I know I always say it, butI’m so glad you’re here.
 
In an effort to keep it petit this week, I'm breezing in with a brief little reminder for your free-spirited self:

Whatever you do, do it with flair and guts and grace. - Seth Godin

Search out your North Star, and polish that compass.

Pull up the anchor, and unfurl those sails.

Press ahead with boatfuls of passion and courage and kindness and heart... Soon enough you'll have a journey that feels just as magical as the moment that you pushed off from the shore.

Xoxo - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Speaking of adventures: my next two weeks have enough flights to make even a Samsonite shudder... Relying on a few of my own secrets to ease the usual travel woes, but would LOVE to hear any extra tips you may have up your stylish little sleeve! 

PPs. - How CHIC is this suitcase?!  Mine is from the same line (in action here & here), but this vintage-inspired carryall would surely turn a few heads at baggage claim!


BOLD BOOTS // Funny how footwear can have such an impact on my mood, and ankle booties always make me feel like kicking butt and taking names... Just ordered this pair as a fall fashion upgrade (on major sale!) and can't wait to conquer the world (or at least the neighborhood?) by standing tall with a statement on my feet. ;)

On Passing the Pit-stops of Fear...

Hey. You don’t need to be afraid today.

At least humor me and think about holding off until tomorrow...

But right now? You've gotta tell that fear to scram.  

Just say, "Get out of my way, Dude. I've got big things to do."

Big things are mostly made up of lots of little things, and those tiny guys are easy to put off when the thought of tripping-up trickles in.

Let's take these beautiful minds of ours and gently tell them to get back on track, shall we?

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I recognize a special kind of spirit in you (mostly because I see it in my own self) … She’s like a wonder-on-wheels, zig-zagging all over the map like only the best cross-country road-trips can do.  

The thing is: I’ve driven this route before (am pretty much a regular in these parts), and I can tell you that fear is most definitely lurking at that seedy little pit-stop that sits way off in the distance.  

(I’m pointing. Can you see it?)

The glow is so easily drawing you in during a dubiously dark stretch of country highway... I know you’re tired and really have to pee (plus, a bag of the best would rock your world right about now), but I'm going to beg you to drive right past.  

Please, keep going my dear... 

I promise that the neon-signs of negativity and shiny souvenirs of self-doubt rarely lead anywhere that is truly worth the detour.

(Unless you like trucker hats and orange fingers covered in cheese-puff dust, but those are two things from my past that I admittedly always regret.)

Before you turn off the highway out of desperation or habit, let me assure you that there are far more promising options up ahead...

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As the sun starts to turn the sky from navy to pink, you'll start to see them: 

There's a diner with coffee so hot it keeps your heart warm for days.  Ask for Hazel; She'll treat you like family, and wait until your eyes are bright before sending you back on the road with a slice of homemade pie and a hug.

A little farther, you’ll see a road-side stand that has crates simply brimming with courage. The farmers will make you belly-laugh with their stories, and you'll feel stronger with each fresh berry that you pop into that pretty little mouth.  (Nature's own version of raspberry lip stain looks SO much better on a smile!)

Just as you start to feel desperate for a dose of beauty that will take you all the way to the next stop, you'll come across a sign for Look-out Point right at sunset.  

Pull over and get out.  

Gaze at that land while the dusk-y light lasts, and remember that it's ok to feel small amidst the vastness of a very big world.  

Let yourself be still until you're ready to press on, and while the breeze blows your hair back, it will surely confirm that you are not alone.  

I almost always feel like there's still a long ways to go (are we there yet?!), but soon enough - these small markers will have us MILES closer to our next big thing.

And in the long run? I'll tell you that it's totally worth the trip.  :)

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Now, in case you'd like to play along with the pondering this week - Are there any things waving a fear-flag in front of you today?  

Try writing down one thing that is making you feel anxious or uneasy today, and then think about the positive parts of your route that you can look forward to stopping at instead.

(Remember: No cheese puffs.)

Of COURSE I'd love to hear your thoughts, and getting the chance to encourage you along the way is easily one of the greatest highlights of my week... I mean, honestly - Traveling is WAY more fun when you have someone to sing back-up on your favorite road-trip tunes, don't you think?

Sending Good Vibes & An Open Road,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Can you tell I've got traveling on the brain?  We're hitting the road on Friday, so follow along here for sweet snaps of the latest #PepperAdventure!


I'M NOT FANCY:  My girls Brooke & Summer have done it again, and now I can't get their version of Iggy's newest hit song unstuck from my head... (If you're a mama, you're gunna love it.)