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 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 Sharing Your Sweet Hearts...

Each time I get a rung higher on the ladder of years, the view expands and my perspective of beauty and adventure seems to grow.  

I look around at the world through lenses of love, and can see that pouring into others is a true expression of the person that God created me to be.  Writing these love notes to you each week is the closest I have ever come to having a band of sisters to be a part of, and while it feels like SUCH an amazing gift - I know that eventually, it could morph into something quite different from how it looks now.

(Not going anywhere just yet, but you know I love to dream about the next best things!) 

Trying to make sure that my head and heart are on the same page because they deserve to be prepared for whatever else is next in store.  Instead of sharing buckets of words with you today, I’m going to request one BIG favor as a leeeeetle birthday gift:
If you could ask a big sister or mama or mentor just one thing today… What would it be?

(Please play along -- I’d love to get to know your own sweet heart a little more!)
I may not know exactly how you feel, but I know what it’s like to have emotions like tidal waves.

I may not have the most poised answers, but I know that holding out for the heartfelt can deliver big blessings.

I may not be a fairy godmother, but will happily pile generous helpings of grace on that pretty little plate of yours.

I may not be the bravest soul, but I’m a big fan of flooring it past fear.

I’m certainly nowhere NEAR perfect, but I believe that confidence comes from truth, and I know with all my heart that you were created to go out into the world and do great things. ;)

From Swirling Golden Leaves & Gusty Days,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

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. :)