Wait, Jessica has a new company?

standard January 13, 2016 Leave a response

If we’re friends on Facebook (and if we’re not, what up with that?) you might have heard a little something about my new company, The Zen Pencil. It’s new and I’m SUPER excited about it and therefore I can’t stop talking about it, which is why you’re hearing about it here too.

Journaling prompts via email subscription

So what’s the deal with The Zen Pencil?

Well, it grew out of a desire to help people find the kind of joy at the tip of a pen or pencil that I find at the end of mine.

I see you back there with your skeptically poised eyebrow. But I’m 110% serious.

The Zen Pencil is a subscription based journaling prompt service. You sign up for a themed course and I send you daily journaling prompts. It’s that simple. Really.

And why should you sign up for daily journaling prompts? Well, that’s simple too. Journaling is the gateway to a healthier and happier you. And it seriously doesn’t take more than an idea of something to write about (which I send you), a pen, and a piece of paper.

The science behind the whole concept is sound. When you write, you engage both the creative side of your brain and the fine motor part of your brain. BOOM. Left side working in conjunction with the right side. And that’s where the magic happens. Because when your whole brain is engaged, all of your brain power works to help you understand yourself, process your issues, or just even help you get a better understanding of the world that surrounds you.

It’s like crazy cheap therapy.

Not 100% convinced? Give it a go. What do you have to lose?


And if you’re looking for other ways to support me? Thank you! I’d be incredibly grateful if you could:


I look forward to helping you and your friends discover the joy of journaling!

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Do I really have to be a grownup?

standard January 11, 2016 3 responses

I turned 39 this past summer. Not a momentous birthday. Went out with a handful of friends. Had a lovely dinner. Moved on.

Except, apparently, I didn’t, because I catch myself increasingly frequently saying things like

“Listen, we’re almost 40, we should…”

“We’re almost 40, isn’t it time we…”

“At almost 40, we should probably…”

As if it were a deadline after which things will Change, with a capital C, marking the difference between the Before 40 and the After 40.

I pondered it briefly while on a plane this past weekend – because nothing really makes you face your mortality and fragility more than those two seconds after the plane has taken off and is leveling off and you’re not quite sure if that’s what’s happening or if you’re about to nosedive back to the tarmac – and I realized that somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain, 40 is apparently when you become a grownup.

40 = grownup. End of story.

Which is funny a) because when I was a teen, had you asked me, 30 was pretty damn old and grown up, and b) some of the least grown-up people I know are pushing (or have pushed) 50.

But in my mind? I have 6 more months to live it up because after July 22, the party is over and the shit gets real.

Which is also funny because a) kids, b) mortgage, c) life.

On paper, grownuphood has already been achieved.

In my mind? Not so much.

Which raises the question to beat all questions.

Does anyone ever, really feel like a grownup?

And should we?

Is there any added value to being figuratively stamped with a big, red “Grown-Up” label?

I’m not so sure. Maybe I should stop saying “we’re almost 40” like it’s a momentous thing and just start saying “eh, we’re still young, let’s live it up some more.” I can probably get away with saying that until we’re 80 or so, right?

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The No-Word Year

standard January 4, 2016 Leave a response

I love the act of picking a word each year, one word to focus on, to center on, to aim for, to help you come back to what mattes, what counts. I’ve picked some doozies over the years. Great words that have been inspiring, motivating, even comforting. (I fully, 100% embraced last year’s word, Cry. In fact, I think I cried almost every day in 2015. Because I’m an overachiever like that…)

This year though? I’ve been struggling to find The Word. The right one. The one that would sum up everything I want out of 2016.

Personal and professional success. Joy. Comfort. Stability. To feel fulfilled by everything that fills the hours of my working days. To connect more, engage more, partake more. In life, in relationships, in everything.

Everything I came up with felt so big, so overwhelming. It all just left me feeling like I needed more time to lick my emotional wounds, to take care of myself, to sit on the couch in comfy clothing, knitting while my TV friends engaged in their own dramas.

So, instead of picking a big word like Engage, or Immerse, or Conquer, all of which I wish I were ready for, I think I’m going to give myself a break. I’m going to keep making my goals small and tangible. I’m going to keep getting through small chunks of time instead of trying to stare down a whole year.

I have high hopes for the year ahead. I plan to enjoy watching The Zen Pencil take off and change people’s lives. I know I’m going to make my consulting clients really, truly happy. I’m greatly looking forward to enjoying my kids, my husband, my family, and my friends.

But I’m not going to burden any of it with more than just hopes. No quarterly goals. No big words to live up to. Just days to be crossed one at a time, with whatever energy and mettle I have that particular day.

So I might not cook 7 healthy meals a week, or lose the last 10 pounds stubbornly hanging on. I might not run a race or even around the block. But I will be treating myself with the kid gloves and the kindness I deserve.

I’m usually the queen of words, embracing their power whenever and wherever I can. This year, I’m embracing space. The space to heal, to grow, to be, without judgement or pressure.

Let’s see what that leads to, shall we?

2016 is the No Word Year

Past Words:

2011 – Guide

2013 – Brave

2014 – Embrace

2015 – Cry



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Come Pley with me!

standard December 5, 2015 Leave a response

All of my daughter’s clothing is piled high in two laundry baskets near the laundry room. Why, you ask? Ah well, that’s easy. It’s because her closet is packed to gills with toys. There’s a bin of doll food, and a bag of puppets. One shelf holds an entire Playmobil schoolhouse and another holds an assortment of building toys all jumbled together and virtually always ignored.

We can’t fit a dresser in her room because the walls are lined with an assortment of organization bins designed to hold (and organize!) even more toys.

Yes, yes, I know. It’s beyond high time I went in there with some big ol’ cardboard boxes and sorted through the mess to find toys we can donate or even just get rid of. But it’s a big job and it’s way down on my ever-growing to do list.

But it is one of the reasons I’m seriously dreading this holiday season. No matter how small the gifts end up being, I truly have no idea where we’ll stash them.

I’ve been working recently with a company that seems to have the perfect answer to my toy clutter situation.


Pley Logo

What do they do? Oh, simply enough, they rent toys.

That’s right. Rent. Toys.

You sign up for their service and, with your child, built out your “pley-list” of toys you’d like to receive. Then Pley sends you the first toy on the list. When you return it, they send the next one out.

Magic. No shelf space has to be dug up. Happy kids with new toys to capture their imagination. Delighted mom who doesn’t have to yell at anyone about picking up toys any more.

What kinds of toys does Pley offer? Mostly LEGO and other construction toys, but they have a few other options.

How clean are they toys? Super clean. Everything gets sanitized before it gets sent out.

What if you lose a piece or two? Eh, these things happen. Pley will replace the pieces before sending the kit out to the next person who requested it.

What if your kid falls in love with a toy and does that ear-splitting death screech when you want to return it? No problem, with one click of a button, the toy is yours. Finding a spot for it…that’s up to you!

So, when family starts to ask you what your kids want for the holidays and you start playing mental tetris with the toys they already have, think about asking for a Pley subscription. Then you’ll have many, many reasons to smile throughout the year!

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Please note: Pley is a client of mine and I was compensated for this post, that said, I do adore their service and believe they’ve truly hit on one of the great parenting hacks of all time, so all opinions contained in this post are 100% genuine and mine. 

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