LIVING SEXY IS... Loving Yourself

I apologize in advance for all the noise and interruptions - but it was our only chance to get this interview done before Jessie’s big trip out west. I hope you enjoy it regardless :)

Sometimes life is unfair. This is one of those cases. Not even a full year has passed since I met this beautiful soul, and she is literally driving across the country as we speak to set up roots in California. 

The power of our minds is an undeniable force. It gives me the ability to write that first paragraph and immediately see the negative spin I gave it. So I’ll try once again.

Life is truly full of blessings. Not even a year ago I met Jessie, a gorgeous woman who has a giving soul, a joyful spirit and an infectious smile - and though it has been short, my life has been blessed by knowing her. 

That’s much better!

boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper

Jessie is a successful entrepreneur, with her very own style blog/ brand - Style & Pepper, business coaching services and even a hilarious podcast - which she hosts with her adorable and sweet hubby Gerard, called Marriage is Funny. But what separates her from the rest is her heart. Through her big blue eyes, you can see a heart that loves to give, a heart that loves to share, a heart that is both tender and strong and a heart that loves. 

I have to admit I totally “tricked” Jessie into participating in this feature. Well, maybe the word “tricked” is a bit of a stretch, but let’s just say Jessie and Gerard thought they were only meeting us for goodbye drinks, and then I said, “Guess what!? I brought my camera and microphone! We’re doing a shoot and you’re going to be on my blog. So start thinking of what you think living sexy is.” To which she answered, “Here? Ok, let’s order a drink and then do it."

boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper
boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper

Done. Simple as that. That’s one of the things I love about Jessie (and a lot of my friends for that matter). They’re always up for my shenanigans. And Jessie is no different.

I suggested we meet at one of Soho’s cutest hidden bars, Freeman’s Restaurant, because it’s tucked into a tiny alley and its decor and facade are a photographer’s dream - tea lights, hues of blue, art murals and soft natural light.

boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper
boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper
boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper

It took us about 10 minutes to take these pictures and shoot this video, and then another five minutes to record the [interrupted] interview. I mention this because it gives you a feel for what “Living Sexy” means. It’s not posed, it’s not staged, it’s a lifestyle. It’s just as much the moments when you're getting ready as they are the moments when you ARE ready - and everything in between.

When I put Jessie on the spot and asked what her idea of living sexy is, she said it’s “loving yourself.” There’s so much to unpack in that statement, because loving yourself also means forgiving yourself, it means giving yourself permission and it means being ok with not having it all together all the time. In day-to-day situations, it would be fantastic if we could all love ourselves fully in order to act from a place of groundedness and love. But boy is that easier said than done. Throw into that the desire to look and feel great and you’ve set yourself up for a doozy of a challenge. 

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"We have these parts about us that maybe we don’t like, or maybe don’t match up to what they’re supposed to be, and i think the natural reaction is to not like that part of ourselves - or to want to change it - and i think the change can only come when you can acknowledge it and embrace it. 

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Thanks to my interview with Jessie, I think I finally figured one of life’s secrets. Loving yourself is about recognizing the things you love - and doing them. But it’s also about noticing what you need in order to feel loved - and asking for them. 

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"Loving yourself is kinda an interesting concept because it could sound selfish or it could sound vain in many cases, and it’s something that I think people are fairly uncomfortable with… but by giving yourself permission to love yourself can really allow you to release so many other parts of your life that are preventing you from feeling a certain way."

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This idea of self-care is a practice all of us can and should do. Just like cars can’t run on empty tanks, a person cannot spread pure love without already having it in his/her heart. It all starts with self-love. Take this as an opportunity to love yourself first so you may begin giving, doing and being with love. 

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It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving. 

- Mother Teresa - the queen of love and giving

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Here are a few more pictures we were able to get of the whole gang! Pictured are Jessie's husband, Gerard, and her brother, Joey. Their smiles suffice in making my day brighter. I'm even throwing in some with yours truly, as this was a special afternoon. 

boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper
boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper
boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper
boudoir.photography.nyc.tuttidelmonte.jessie.styleandpepper

Much love to you three, and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for sharing this chapter of your lives with me/ us. I love you dearly.

Tutti

 

Here's the video!