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Meet Jessica

It's been said that writing can be very therapeutic. (The same thing has been said about wearing beautiful custom-made pieces of jewelry but we'll get to that later.) Maybe that's one reason why blogging has continued to gain in popularity since the first "blog" was created in 1994. Creating her own blog and launching Found the Marbles filled a professional void and is now a personal passion. Meet Jessica Cohen.

From the time she was about 11 years old, Jessica set her sights on a job in the magazine industry. When it was time for college, she majored in advertising at Penn State University. After graduation she launched her career in publishing as a media planner at an advertising agency. Jessica's career path lead to positions at Hearst magazines and eventually a decade working for Conde Nast.

One random act of kindness can change a life

During those 10 years, Jessica and her husband decided to start a family but were faced with the frustrations of infertility before two successful pregnancies. She spent a month in the hospital before the joyous delivery of her son. Happiness soon turned to sadness as she dealt with postpartum depression. Later her son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, asthma and a rare esophageal disease known as Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It was a challenging time for Jessica and her family, however, a chance encounter at the supermarket would change her perspective on life.

While shopping with her son, a man approached her. He handed Jessica a $2 bill and asked her to put it in her son's piggybank because the bills are a sign of good luck. Everything changed in that moment. That one random act of kindness has become Jessica's daily focus on paying it forward.

Eventually the family moved from New Jersey to the Central Bucks area while keeping her job at Conde Nast. Then came the day when Jessica had to decide whether to stay at a job that required a two hour commute or resign.

"I truly loved my job, but I chose to walk away. I was a mess. While debating what to do next, I launched a hyper-local blog targeted for women. It was the first time in several months that I felt a thrill of excitement," said Jessica.

A year later, Jessica's excitement about hyper-local content waned and the market was getting crowded. She loved writing about people and wanted to focus on people and companies who were giving back to the community.

How she found her marbles

In early 2011, Jessica launched Found the Marbles and rediscovered her passion for writing with a focus on people, social good, and enjoying life. Her idea for the name of the blog came from the 1991 movie Hook starring Robin Williams and Julia Roberts.

"During my battle with infertility, the complete lack of control over my body and it's response to the treatments drove me crazy. There was a sweet and simple moment in the movie that made me laugh and cry hysterically at the same time," said Jessica.

On her website she describes the scene that inspired her in detail:

Hook is a story of Peter Pan as an adult. At one point his elderly, seemingly senile, Uncle Tootles is searching all around claiming that he's lost his marbles. Later, Peter has returned to Neverland when one of the Lost Boys approaches him.

Thud:   Peter, can I talk to you?
Peter:  Sure, Thud.
Thud:   I remember Tootles.
Peter:  You do?
Thud:   He was lost too.
Peter:  How could you know Tootles?
Thud:  He was a Lost Boy. (Thud then takes out a small pouch.)
Thud:  These are his marbles.  These are his happy thoughts.  (Peter empties out the pouch of marbles and begins to laugh.)
Peter:  He really did lose his marbles, didn't he?
Thud:   Yeah, he lost them good.

It became her moment to find her marbles.

Today, thanks to receiving that $2 bill and her choice to focus on the good that can come from overcoming difficulties, Found the Marbles is Jessica's personal commitment to "paying it forward" and sharing inspiring, happy thoughts every day.

Jessica certainly "walks the talk" when it comes to turning difficulties into opportunities to do good deeds. After diagnosis of her son's food allergies and medical condition, she turned to Kids with Food Allergies Foundation, a national non-profit organization. She got involved by serving as a Member of the Board for nearly a year and a half before resigning to focus on her business. However, she's still a big supporter of the organization and often refers to it on her website and shares links in her blog.

Real Hip Style

Jessica has had many challenges in her life, but those have given way to greatest joy in her life: watching her two boys play and laugh together. In addition to her family, the work she is doing today is what clearly makes Jessica unique.

"When I feel fulfilled intellectually, then I am complete. As much as I adore being a parent, I crave this other fulfillment to be happy. Blogging has done a lot of that for me. There is always something new to learn with blogging and social media and it's that continual learning process that fulfills me," Jessica said.

Authenticity is the word she uses to describe being real. "One of the best parts of getting older is that we have the confidence to eliminate those people from our lives and stick with the ones who are real at their core," added Jessica.

She describes her style as a combination of "casual, conservative and sporty." She likes to add a couple of fun pieces—usually a funky piece of jewelry or a pretty scarf—to her look when she goes out.

"Neida's designs are terrific because they are simple yet sophisticated. Her jewelry is fun and unique. I'm a huge fan of her creativity," said Jessica.

Jessica fell in love with a particular blue bead that was a small part of one of Neida's designs. When she couldn't stop going back to look at it, Neida noticed. The result was a one-of-a-kind necklace inspired by the mesmerizing bead with the power to hold the gaze of a unique woman.

Jessica wore her custom-designed necklace in her professional headshot which is used on all the promotional marketing pieces for her business. "The necklace is part of my personal branding. It's who I am. I receive compliments on it all the time," beamed Jessica.

Now that's a real woman with hip style!

Many thanks for Jen Ashenfelter, from Pen & Page Communications, for this awesome interview!