Why A Podcast Steph?

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“So what is this good good thing you’re doing that we saw on Facebook?” My sweet grandparents had picked me up from the airport last night, and as we hopped into the car, this was the first question they asked me.

I love that question. So much. Because that question is exactly what I had to ask myself for years before I decided to just hop onto this fast moving train of the podcast world.

I will give y’all the short and sweet version: I love good conversation with good people. And I love podcasts. So why not put them together? That is all Good Good Talks is: just an excuse for me to get together with people I love and admire and cherish and record our random conversations for others to join us in.

I have listened to podcasts for years, traveling to and from Illinois to my school in Indiana, to traveling across the nation, and to the 45 minute commutes many many times a week for my first teaching job. I listened to stuff from sermons to crime podcasts, but my favorite ones were the conversations between two people. Two people who would share their stories, their goods, their bads, and all the in between. I learned more by listening to those conversations than I ever thought I could, and I figured, why couldn’t I join them?

Because everybody has a story that matters, a story that deserves to be celebrated, and I all I wanna do is share those stories with others.

So podcast world, here I come.

And thats it. I love podcasts. I love conversations. So I put two and two together- literally. So head on over to iTunes, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea or if you’re my friend Caity, a glass of water, and join me every other Thursday for a good conversation, with good people, on Good Good Talks.

PHEW. i’m sweating I’m so excited and nervous. Also I am trying real hard not to spoil the first episode for y’all because its 24 minutes of me pouring my dream of this podcast out for y’all, as well as about 10ish minutes of my friend Kennedy and myself throwing ideas back and forth and Ken giving me some encouragement and love for this crazy dream of mine.

So, I’ll see ya soon. Real soon.

Stephanie Lynn

 

 

We Women Need to Step Up

 

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Imma be real, real early on in this post: our young, tween, teen, junior high and high school, girls need help.

Sex is everywhere. And our girls are feeling it. They are feeling the pressures to look and act and be perfect. They are eating up the lies fed to them every day from Instagram to romantic comedies that their bodies, our bodies, are only meant for one thing. That their bodies have to be and look a certain way or they won’t fit in. That they were created not for His good and in His image, but only to wear skimpy bikinis, tight tops, or perfectly ripped up jeans while sipping on a Starbucks frappacino.

Ladies, our girls have fallen into the trap. We have fallen into the trap. I have fallen into the trap. The trap that is so hard to get out of. The trap that is sneaky and cruel and belittling and conniving. And we haven’t stopped it. We haven’t even tried to save them.

So now we are in a battle for our little girls’ souls. We are in a battle for our girls’ hearts.

And we need to step up and fight with them. We need to step up and be a model for them. We need to sit them down and look them in the eye and tell them, “You are enough, just the way you are.”

I never really liked junior highers. They are in that stage of wanting to still be their weird selves yet fit in with what Instagram has posted on its featured page. I just never thought I would understand them. But God was up to something when a mentoring position opened up for an 8th grade small group at my church. And then when one of my middle school teachers asked me to sub for her middle school classes three days straight. Because now, those girls have my heart. Now that generation has my full attention.

Because life is so confusing at that age. You’re just a girl walking down the 6th grade hallway, then suddenly boys start sending you messages on AIM and pushing you on the playground, and every girl around you is either ditching the sport bras and suddenly has all the guys attention or out of no where boys seem cute instead of gross- oh wait, that was when I was in middle school.

Now at that age, now our middle schoolers lives are still confusing, but a heck of a lot worse. There is no more AIM as a way to talk with boys, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, influencing our girls’ thoughts and actions at every turn. And that is only to name a few. And girls aren’t just ditching the sports bras, but they are embracing the push-ups and crop tops. And boys never went from gross to cute, they went from gross to the only reason girls should want to get up in the morning. The only reason the girls dress the way they do. The only reason a girl is a girl in the first place.

Our girls, your daughters, my peers, my junior high girls, are being told over and over, at school, on TV, from every corner in cyberspace, that they have one thing to flaunt and one thing only. That they can use their bodies to get what, where and when they want. Oh, and it better look this way and be dressed in this style.

And all of that is lies. Every single last word. Because our girls were and are created to live in His marvelous light. Our girls were and are created to be who their Creator made them to be. Our girls are not their own. They are His. They are loved. They are wanted. They are chosen. Yet, the world seems to be screaming its “truth” a little louder than we older women of Christ are proclaiming His. And that needs to stop.

I am not really sure what I wanted to come out of this post. I guess I just want women, women 23-83, to step up and BE a woman of God for our girls. We women need to step up and fight for our girls’ hearts.

We women need to step up and show our girls that our, their, bodies our not our/their own. That we were not created as a woman to be put down but to stand, strong and fearless in the name of the Lord. 

We women need to step up and be there for our girls. We women need to pour all His truth into the generations after us because they need us. Our girls need us. And God knows this fight wasn’t meant to be fought alone.

Our girls need older women, who have walked where they’ve walked, cried for the same reason they’ve cried, hurt for the same reasons they’ve hurt. We need older, wiser women to tell us it is all going to be okay. That we are enough. That this life has a purpose. That we have a purpose. That we can make a difference, not from how we look like the world says but from who we are like Jesus says.

So how can we do this?

Be there. Serve in the youth ministry at your church. Grab your daughter and her friends or your friends’ daughters and friends and talk about the crap that they see. Let them pour their hearts out to you. Let them be real with you. And speak truth every moment that you can. Use your place, where the Lord has placed you as a way to be a model for our girls, young and old.

I know it won’t be easy guys, believe me. Tween, teen and young twenty girls stink at being real, but we have to keep digging. We have to hit them where it hurts. We have to give them a safe place to pour their hearts out because if we don’t, they’ll find other avenues to do so.

We have all been there. We, each of us, have been 12, 13, 17. We know what it is like. So let’s step back in time a little bit and step up to the plate when see our girls hurting. When we see our girls trying to fit in and not squeezing into the impossible role the world has asked them to be.

Let’s step it up women. And show our girls Jesus. That’s it.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

 

 

I Wish I Was A WunderKid

 

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I finally recognized that too many artists at too young an age are compromising and ultimately shelving their dreams as a result of the rising cost of education. – Denise Troy

For the first time EVER I received an email to collaborate with an organization doing some good stuff for people- and I am STOKED.

WUNDERKID is it’s name and supporting young artists is their game.

WUNDERKID is an organization that empowers young artists and provides a platform for them to create beautiful art while simultaneously allowing them to meaningfully pursue a career in the arts. With each sale, they contribute into a tuition fund for the artist. Now that is an organization I can stand under. 

I think my favorite part about WUNDERKID is the fact that it not only gives students an outlet for their creativity, but it rewards them for it. It rewards them for being different; it asks them to be the change; it pushes them to pursue their dreams.

So I am totally on board with WUNDERKID, and I would love for y’all to join me.

From unique and silly and fun greeting cards, to original art and prints from emerging young artists, Wunderkid has created a little slice of heaven in their own little corner of cyberspace. 

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Like- who needs any Picasso or Warhol when you’ve got these kids?

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Guys their cards? I sent one to my mom for Mother’s Day and it was the hardest thing to let it go. They are that gorgeous. And fun. And unique.

I bought my mom this boring old, apron. But then I added the “I love you a latte” card from WUNDERKID and few little cheesy notes as well, and man did that apron look 20X better.

Greeting cards are a lost art, and I love that I have a new place to not only find unique ways to show people I love and support them, but I now have a place to support students and kids in what they are so brilliantly gifted to do- and help them take a step forward in their dreams of getting where they wanna be.

Honestly, I may just send all the cards to me-self. And hang them all on my walls. Their that great.

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So shoot on over to their website, give them a follow on Instagram or Facebook, or share this post just to get the word out.

Seriously guys- support the organizations that support our friends’, families’, kids’, students’ futures.

Cause we need more good things like this in the world. 

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

 

Give Yourself Some Grace

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I stink at giving myself grace. The kind of grace I try so hard to give to others. The kind of grace that I want everyone to give themselves. The kind of grace Christ offers me every day. THAT kind of grace I am no good at.

I am doing the Whole 30 diet. Let’s just say this: I hate every minute of it. Because cravings make me feel weak. And useless. And worthless. And just plain bleh.

But that is because I hold myself to a standard that doesn’t make any sense to anybody. A standard that doesn’t even make any dang sense to me.

A standard that makes it impossible for Jesus’ grace to cover all of me.

I’m a perfectionist to a T, who shames herself when she falls short in any way possible. Say something with a little too much sass? Eh, that person doesn’t like you now. Break a rule (like no gluten or sugar or dairy for 30 days)? Shoot girl, you better sit your butt down in the corner and think about what you just did.

Those are the thoughts that run through my head- daily. And it’s exhausting. It is exhausting to throw myself under the bus every time I make a “mistake.” It is straining to always be the one to take the blame. It is tiring to always tell myself that I am not a real teacher or that I am not smart enough to say I have a bachelor’s degree, or even that my words and actions don’t matter.

But Jesus didn’t come to just let me keep thinking those lies. Jesus didn’t die and beat the grave to just let me feed myself empty words until they become my truth. Jesus didn’t shed His blood to make me white as snow just to watch me sink under my own thoughts and worries.

So what does this have to do with you? What does this mean for you?

It means you should give yourself some more grace. It means that I should give myself more grace. Because we were not created to be perfect and flawless in everything we do or say- Jesus came to take that burden from us.

We were and ARE created to be who our Heavenly Father UNIQUELY created us to be.

Don’t even get me started on the social construction of beauty and perfection and the “American Dream”- it drives me up a wall crazy. And Satan knows it drives me crazy. And he knows the things that drive you crazy too. So he preys on your “flaws” and every moment you “fall short.” He throws little lies your way, like “oh look at that girl, you wish you could look like her” or “your mini-van isn’t cool enough for California life” (that’s a real thing I struggle with guys, call me crazy but its true).

Satan takes all the good things God gave us (which is every little detail of ourselves by the way) and twists it just enough to make us cringe when we look in the mirror. He twists the truth just enough to make it easy to believe that we are just a hair short of the perfect man or woman God has created us to be.

And each time we believe those lies takes us one more step away from the grace Jesus so lavishly throws on us every morning.

So take those little lies of you’re not good enough or smart enough or you stink at following rules why aren’t you better kind of lies, and throw them to the trash, every time.

Give yourself some grace when you miss the turn or say something extremely quirky or weird to the guy you’re crushin’ on. Give yourself some grace when your to-do list is longer than the hours you have in the day. Give yourself some grace and take a stinkin’ nap. Rest in the fact that God doesn’t look at your check list of accomplishments but only cares about how deeply you love others around you. 

Give yourself grace and rest. The world needs you at 100%. Don’t push too hard. – Hannah Brencher

The world needs you at 100%. God created you to live in your 100%.

So give yourself some grace and punch fear in the face.

And kill it this Monday. 

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

Let The Man Lead

img_6420I am the kind of girl that knows what she wants. The kind of girl that wants to be seen as independent and strong and is more than a control freak. The kind of girl that makes it really hard for a guy to take the lead because I have the reigns pulled so tight my way before he even gets a chance to think about where he wants to take me for dinner.

Why, you ask?  Because, I know what I want.  Which is good but also so so bad.

Because God doesn’t give us what we want, He gives us what we need. 

And apparently, I want a guy who will lead, but in my time and on my watch.  I want a guy who will take me on an adventure, but let me memorize the map first. I want a man who will say “let me lead” but let me throw the first punch.

And what I have learned over a good chunk of time is this: that no matter what I tell myself or how great I think I am, I suck at letting the man lead.

And I am pretty sure you do too. Because woman and girls now-a-days are taught to fend for themselves, to be independent, to never be too needy or to let the guy know you’re into him.We are taught to take the lead because WE ARE WOMEN AND WE ARE STRONG AND MEN SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO TELL US WHAT TO DO.

But ladies, they should. The man should lead. He should be the one to open your car door and pay for your dinner.

He should because he was created to.

He was created to be the leader in the relationship, to be the first one to dive head first into the unknown. Which means letting him pay for dinner and letting him make the first move; because those “moves” belong to them; those ‘firsts’ were made for them. Man was created to lead, but man also wasn’t meant to be and lead, alone.

Which is why the man gets down on one knee and asks you to spend the rest of your life with him. Which is why he is the one to open every door but then lock the door behind him. He was made to surrender and to protect. To lead and to love.

And women, we have to remember that. 

And then we have to remember how to balance their leading with our helping. Because we weren’t created after the man because we are less, but we were created after the man because God did not want him to be alone. Because God wasn’t done yet. Because it was “good” but not “very good” until we ladies came about.

We women were created because men couldn’t do this life alone.
We were created to stand by their side and to let them lead.
We were created to let them lead but then catch them if and when they fall.

And if you think about it, that is a pretty dang good team.

Way to go God.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn


Images by Morgan Hoogland

The Truth About Marriage

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I know what you are thinking. Steph, you ain’t even dating someone, how do you even know one thing about marriage?

That was exactly what I asked myself every time I sat down to write this post. That I don’t know anything about marriage because well, I ain’t even close to it.

But the thing is, that is so so not true. Because marriage is yes between a man and a woman, two becoming one, signed – sealed – delivered, forever together. But marriage isn’t just about a girl and a boy getting hitched. It’s about Jesus and His church.

If you have been following my blog for the last year or so, you know that marriage is a deep desire of mine. Something that I was so close to, yet thankfully, so far away from having. Living my life with my best friend is something I cannot wait to hopefully, one day have.

But through the last year of my longing for a relationship and a marriage and a husband (the truth actually sounds horribly needy), I have learned more than one thing about this thing that I so desire and hope for.

That marriage is simply just a shadow of our relationship with Christ.

I remember fighting hard to figure out what I wanted more: a husband or God. Crazy, right? But ladies, have you ever just stopped to think: if someone were to ring your doorbell right now or walk right up to you while you’re waiting in line for your latte, would you rather have it be your future husband or Jesus?

For a long long time I wanted it to be my future husband tapping me on the shoulder. For a long long time I could only see my desire and longing for something to fill a void that only I Am could fill. 

A couple weeks ago, a good friend told me to let God romance my heart. She told me to throw all my desires, the relational and romantic desires, and to allow God to fill that longing.

Allow God to romance you, to ask you on a date, to take your hand and get down on one knee, to know you and every part of you.

Now hear me when I say this- I know that is a weird thing to envision. It’s weird to think of our Heavenly Father as someone to not only protect us and hold us as we cry, but also as Someone who knows our every flaw and wants us still. But calls our name still. But calls us beloved and beautiful and chosen still. 

But its the truth- He loves us that much. He loves you that much. And He doesn’t love you with just some goo-goo-ga-ga love that fades after the honeymoon plane lands. It’s the kind of love that fights and chooses, that is fierce and unrelenting. 

Song of Songs has rocked my world. Like crazy. If you haven’t read it, stop reading this and dig in. It rocked my world, and after almost every chapter I left thinking, WHAT? God loves me THAT much? He loves me that much that He knows and wants to know every part of me? That He created me to be one with Him, to do life with Him, to always have HIM?

This love that He has for you and me surpasses anything we could ever imagine. It is a love that we cannot feel or receive from anyone else other than our Heavenly Father. 

Yet women fantasize about the day they meet the one and find the one in which their souls love. We dream about a man that will choose us and want us and desire us and love us for who we are.

But, we already have it.

We already have a love that will choose us and want us and desire us and love us for who we are. We already have Someone that chooses us in the mess, Someone that stands next to us through the thick and the thin. We already have Someone who has declared, “even death can’t do us part.”

Ladies, hear me out when I say this: I know the longing for a man. I know that longing for someone to choose you always. To love you always. To be there always. That longing is real. It is something we all have. But it is a longing only Jesus can fill. It is a longing only Jesus is MEANT to fill.

And marriage is just a covenant to point you back to the covenant Jesus came to fulfill with His bride.

Marriage is seriously a beautiful thing. Something that I would be beyond blessed to be given here on earth. But not because of all the things the world tells us we get when we “finally” have the one, but because marriage between a man and a woman is a gorgeous picture of the marriage between Jesus and His church. 

And you and me are the church. You and me are who He came for. You and me are who God chooses. And calls. And loves. 

The truth about marriage is that it isn’t about you and him, its about you and Him.

The truth is that marriage has nothing to do with you but everything to do with Jesus. The truth is is that when you find the one in whom your soul loves, who sweeps you off your feet, who chooses you and fights for you and loves you, when you are given someone to share those forever vows with, it actually has nothing to do with him or her, but everything to do with Christ and His love for you.

This truth has smacked me in the face and pushed me back more than a few steps a couple times over the last 6 months, because I didn’t view marriage this way. I didn’t view marriage as what He created it to be.

I viewed marriage as a relationship that gave me someone to be “the one and only” not as giving me someone to always point me to the One and Only.

Ladies, guys if you’re reading, stop searching. Stop waiting. The One is right there with you.

Seek Him, and He will sweep you off your feet. Seek Him, and you will always have One who chooses you. Seek Him, and you will find the One.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

My Confidence is Your Faithfulness

IMG_6128I am moving in one month.

Just an hour or so away from my community of where I am now, but I’m moving away none the less.

And I am not moving because I am looking for anything better, but because I feel super lead to be out on my own. Completely.

Without anyone to lean on, anyone to use as my crutch, just me, myself, and I.

And I am scared out of my mind.

I am scared that it is a stupid decision. I’m scared out of my mind that He won’t provide. That He won’t follow me.

I am scared to take this leap, even though I know it is what I need to do. I’m scared He won’t stay.  I’m scared He isn’t enough for me. I’m scared I can’t be who He created me to be.

In short, I am scared because I don’t trust Him. I don’t think I deserve anything good.

I am almost waiting for the bad to strike me any moment, and a move will probably do the trick.

But then He reminds me of when I had this same feeling a year or so ago.

I was afraid to do what He asked. I was afraid of fully surrendering my future and my plans because, what if His plans weren’t enough for me?

And He provided. And provided, and provided.

He was more than enough, giving me more than I could have ever dreamt.

Yet here I am again, 18 months later, with the same gut wrenching fear that He won’t provide.

That He won’t follow through with His promise.

His promise that I struggle every stinking day to believe.

And then I remember Him.

I remember His mercy. I remember His kindness and how it has never failed me.

And with that realization I am faced with a choice: a choice to live in fear or a choice to live in full surrender to my God and His plans.

And even though I am scared out of my mind I may fall, I still find myself whispering, have it all Jesus. 

He has and always will be faithful.

So I am making the daily choice to say that my confidence is His faithfulness.

And it can be yours too.

You just have to hand it all over, fears and all, and choose to trust.

Choose to rest in His faithfulness, no matter the fears and doubts that weigh you down.

Choose to trust that He’s got it all. And I promise He will never fail you. 

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

 

How To Love Jesus When Shiz Gets Hard

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We all can be dramatic sometimes. We all can make things worse than they really are.

Take me for example. My dad has a swollen lymph node in his neck. First thing I thought? Cancer. Second thing I thought? I’ll never see him again.

Now that is dramatic. But let’s get real for a second: life can get real freaking hard sometimes.

Shiz can hit the fan.

Anxiety builds, fears pile up and bad things seem to be at every corner you turn.

Those moments where we don’t get the job we thought we had in the bag, and we think the worst. Or we got one stupid B-, which takes the GPA down .00007 points and our whole life might as well be over.

Small stuff happens day after day until suddenly, those positive thoughts of a bright future and overcoming failures, turn to negative ones. Shame becomes your middle name. Suddenly you’re a failure with no future.

And then sometimes, the real shiz hits the fan. Like a breakup or a diagnosis, a job loss or another friendship lost. And then those lies of worthlessness and shame and failure quickly become the truth.

You feed yourself those lies until they become your daily bread.

You feed yourself those lies until you believe them. 

So why is it so hard to love Jesus when shiz gets hard? When times get tough?

Well because, it is hard to believe Him after all the crap we’ve fed ourselves.

It is hard to believe that Someone created us to love and to be loved when we can barely look at our reflection without noticing every flaw. It is hard to believe that our Heavenly Father cares for us and our every breath when we can barely whisper grace upon ourselves in the first place.

I had two people ask me to write about how to love Jesus when life gets hard or troubles come.

And the only thing I could think of that you can do?

We have to believe Him.

We have to believe that He is good. That He is a healer. That He is our comforter. That He knows every hair on our heads. That He created us to be more than just another face in the masses. That He has a purpose for every mess, for every hurt, for every piece of shiz you face.

So how do you love Jesus when times get hard?

Believe He is who He says He is. 

Catch the lies you tell yourself.
Catch the lies then replace every lie with His truth.

Take every stinkin’ thought captive until the only thing you have left to say is Jesus. 

I can’t lie to you. It is hard to love Jesus when all I want is for my dad to be healed or my grandpa to finally see again. It is hard to love Jesus when every corner I turn seems to push me 6 steps backwards.

It will always be hard to love Jesus because things like cancer and breakups and broken families were never His will for our lives. This broken world we live in isn’t the world He created, this place isn’t the place He wanted for you and for me.

So we have to believe Him when He says He is good. We have to believe Him when He says His love can conquer any pain.

We have to believe that He is bigger than any crap we face.

And we have to make the choice to believe it every single day. 

So start now. Believe His truths now. And speak that truth every day of your life- through the thick and thin of life, believe it.

See you soon,

Stephanie Lynn

Wardrobe Wed|Nes|Day Is Back: Season Style

So Wardrobe Wed|Nes|Day began because I wanted to share with y’all what I think is so worth it and so great to add/have/invest in for your spring, summer, fall, etc. wardrobe.

Insert Season + the Pepper Dress that I mentioned on Monday’s post.

I really don’t need to tell any of y’all anything about Season and the Pepper Dress except this: please know that the investment into this beautifully designed dress by Jessie Artigue is more than an investment in your wardrobe.

It is an investment that says the hands that make and produce what you wear matter.

Its choosing to say what you spend your money on matters.

That is why I love Season. 
Because it is a brand that cares from beginning to end.

From the material and design, to the hands that make it, to the fashionista /small town girl/city gal/adventure seeking/beach loungin’/CEO boss woman who rocks the Pepper Dress wherever they go.

It’s a brand that wants you to feel beautiful and spunky and worth itbecause you are. 

That’s why I love Season.

And I hope y’all love it too. 

Support and snag yourself one of those beauties pictured above on Jessie’s Kickstarter Page.

Let’s blow Jess’s goal for this kickstarter out of the water. What’d’a yall say?

See y’all soon,

Stephanie Lynn

All Photos By: Christa Norman

This Season Ain’t Just For a Season

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Anybody remember Jessie Pepper from Marriage is Funny that I met way back in September?

Anybody remember how hard I was fan girling over meeting her?

Well heck I’ve got something
to say about her, y’all.

She picked ME as one of two people to intern for her new clothing brand.

WHAT?

Yeah. I must have died and gone to heaven. Because not only do I get to call Jessie my friend, but I now get to call her a mentor that I now have the stinkin’ honor to learn under.

Okay enough about me, let’s talk about Jessie.

Here’s the short and sweet version:
She’s a beast stylist who designed the ultimate and perfect dress just for you.

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The Pepper Dress as we like to call it around here.

And the kickstarter for The Pepper Dress starts just in TWO DAYS, and I want y’all to get the headsup.

I love when I can get behind something that is doing good. Especially when it’s good all the way around. And that is Season. The Season brand and it’s first piece, The Pepper Dress, is simply just good- from the designer and creator, to the hands that sew each garment, to the way it gives back to our earth that never stops giving and deserves only the best in return. – me

The Pepper dress is made with biodegradable silk, is produced here in the United States, and gentle on the hands that sew each dress.

Now that’s good. And that’s why I love it.

And I can’t WAIT for y’all lovely women out there to get your hands on it. Or body in it. I don’t know, is that weird? Eh, oh well, it’s the truth.

I just can’t wait, period.

Check out Jessie’s Seaon brand and dress here, and sign-up for all the goodness with just one quick type of your email and one quick click of a button.

OH. And Wardrobe Wed-Nes-Day is making its debut-comeback (does that even make sense?) this Wednesday with a full spread of the oh-so-glorious Pepper Dress.

Stay tuned, friends.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn