Dear Jennie,

HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY to one of my life’s most important soul mates!┬áJennie, you are one of the people I most admire in the world, in my life, and I am so grateful that for almost two decades, I’ve have the privilege of being up close, to being witness to your many accomplishments, to your joys, to some of your life’s most profound events, and also to some of your deepest pain. I’ll never forget the day I came home from work to see you dancing around our Marina Del Rey apartment in your aqua bathrobe. You were light as a feather because you had just quit your job at Frenzi, and you did so because you had vision and you had courage. You knew your worth, you trusted your instincts, and you saw the path you were traveling even though it wasn’t yet totally lit before you. You were and are that light, and your courage and vision will be part of your legacy.

Jennie, you have spent a lifetime being yourself and encouraging everyone around you and every person who enters your orbit, your family, your friends new and old, your stores, your daughters, and your clients and collaborators, to do the same. You have generously encouraged countless women to be more self-assured, to be more confident, and to love themselves better. I am one of them, and I am so grateful. You’ve also created literal, inclusive space for women of various backgrounds and socio-economics and sizes to be in community with one another. And you have used your platform and your spaces and your body to speak truth and advocate for justice, which is at your core.

Watching you become a mother was and has been an absolute delight. Georgie and Niah can’t possibly understand yet just how special it is to have Jennie Mae O’Dell as their mother. All the innate creativity and empathy that has been a source of joy and light to every person and pursuit you touch now being poured into their hearts and lives. It’s a wonder, and you are an incredible mother, even on the days you don’t feel like that’s the truth.

Jennie, your empathy and generosity are unmatched, so much so that I know at times it’s felt and been lonely. This is part of your superpower, your skin that’s a little thinner than most, your heart that’s a little bigger, your vision that’s a little clearer and deeper, and your ‘bladder that’s behind your eyes.’ As you enter this new decade, I hope your commitment to reserving some of that generosity and empathy for yourself becomes a source of strength and joy for YOU, and not just for those of us who are fortunate enough to be close to you. You are worthy of being selective with your love and your energy, and you are worthy of prioritizing yourself near the top of the long list of friends and family you continuously empty yourself out to love. I hope this next season is one of deep connection, connection with your creativity, with your loved ones, and also with yourself. I hope the ideas inside you that are yet to be birthed rise to the surface and renew your sense of purpose.

I love you, Jennie, and I am so damn grateful for you. I hope that you feel seen by me and within our friendship.