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pinkflowers

As promised, I am going to summarize my move from Blogger to WordPress.org. To make it more interesting and to capture my feelings along with the technical aspects, I wrote it as if I kept a diary throughout the process. Clever, huh?

Here it goes.

Day -7

Dear Diary,

I am so excited to move to WordPress.org. I am finally taking Pete, Tim, and Kaitlyn’s advice and making the move. The best part is that I will be able to make more changes to my site, use categories and a navigation bar rather than just tags, and have more flexibility with photos. Now that I found the Premium Template that I love from Woo Themes for only $70, I will get to have a unique site with just some minor changes in the template code. No biggie.

And I am lucky that Tim is offering to help me do the switch. My biggest worry: that the posts, pictures, and comments from the Blogger site might not be easy to get onto the WordPress.org blog. But either way, I need to make the move.

premiumtemplate

Day 1: Launch

Dear Diary,

Today I met with Tim and he helped me with the tricky parts; redirecting my makeundermylife.com address from Blogger to the new WordPress.org. He also set up my blog on his server (so nice of him). And he figured out how to move the content, pictures, and comments from Blogger to WordPress.org without a problem. The only glitch is that he told me I need to reload the images from the old blog onto the new one because eventually Blogger will shut down my old photos and the links/images will disappear on WordPress.org. He might be right, but I am too lazy to go reload hundreds of pictures.

Other than moving content, I also downloaded the Woo Theme Template. I started to mess around with the code but it was much trickier than I expected (so many sheets, style sheets, and phps (what is a php??)). I managed to change two fonts out of the entire template CSS style sheet by myself. There is a terrible black hover color on my navigation page that drives me nuts. I thought the support forum would be really helpful at making my changes but even the questions asked on the forum are over my head, let alone the answers.

I am going to take the night off and work on this in the morning. I will stay in tomorrow night too, and learn my way around the template code. The template I picked was good, but it’s far from finished.

Day 2

Dear Diary,

So I have now spent half a dozen hours combing the forums and support areas on Woo Themes to learn how to make the changes. I finally realized that some of the major, important changes I want to make on the site have to be edited locally, on my computer and reloaded with FTP. I am fine with editing php files and css files on my Word Press dashboard, but using FTP to find the files on the server and changing them… officially over my head. It is time to call in a professional and stop worrying about this myself. Definitely not a happy camper today.

Day 5

Dear Diary,

The past few days I have been avoiding the new blog and posting as usual on the Blogger site. I have been asking around for advice on good and affordable web designers that can help me with me troubles. But so far, none have seemed like the right fit. Deep down I know this is the right move to make, but this transition has not been pleasant.

ohbrooke

Day 7

Dear Diary,

Today I came across a great new blog, Oh Brooke. When reading about Brooke, I noticed she is also a web designer. So I emailed her and asked her to help me with my edits. She was super nice and agreed to help out. I think I might get my vision realized after all.

Day 15

Dear Diary,

It feels as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Brooke has been great and has been able to make almost every single glitch with the blog disappear and the look is just how I envisioned it. It is still clean, and in keeping with the makeunder theme but it also has personality. I am ready to debut the blog to the world!

Looking back on the whole process, I am glad I didn’t know what I was getting into when I set out to make the switch. If I knew how frustrating it would be, I think it would have discouraged me from making the move at this point in time. But considering I didn’t know what to expect, I got through it and came out of the whole ordeal with an amazing site that makes me excited to post every day.

pan-seared mushrooms

March 30th, 2009   |   Food

pansearedmushrooms

Yesterday Erwin and I postponed our biweekly Trader Joe’s trip on account of the freak snow storm that hit Chicago for 22 hours. Normally we go before noon to avoid the congestion, but on account of the blistery weather we waited until the clouds (and crowds) parted at 4:00.

Once we got home, I set to work creating two recipes I found on The Pioneer Woman, pan-seared mushrooms and blueberry muffins. (PS- have you seen that blog yet? Not only did she win Blog of the Year, but she has some amazing content. I heart her photography and cooking channels the most.) I chose the mushroom recipe as a byproduct of my continuing crush on the wild mushrooms in cream appetizer we learned to make on Valentine’s Day. Mmmm.

mushroomingredients

Per my usual recipes, this one is easy and quick, with very few ingredients (the ranunculuses pictured above are optional). The result was flavorful and the smell was fantastic. While we enjoyed them as a side dish last night, they would also make a great addition to a simple pasta dish or on top of toasted asiago cheese bread. Oh, and may I also mention that the mushroom packs only cost $1.99 each?!

[Chicagoans: notice all that glorious daylight at 5:00PM!]

mushroomprep

Pan-Seared Mushrooms

via the Pioneer Woman

  • 20 oz mushrooms (baby Portobellos are called Cremini and they work great and only cost $1.99 for 10 oz at Trader’s, regular Portobellos also work)
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1-2.5 tbs. butter
  • S + P
  • 1 tbs. cooking oil (I used Canola oil)

Chop mushrooms into 1/4″ thick slices and set aside. Heat large skillet with the oil for 2 minutes on high.

Add mushrooms into pan and add a pinch of salt to prevent mushrooms from drying out and sticking to pan. Cook for several minutes, mushrooms will shrink to about half their original size.

Towards the end of cooking, add butter and ground pepper to taste. For the last 2-4 minutes add shallots and allow them to soften, but not burn. Remove skillet from heat and pile mushroom mix onto platter. Serve and enjoy!

pansearedmushrooms

pretty sweet peacock: party ideas

March 29th, 2009   |   Food

watermelonpeacock

I spent Friday night at an awesome jewelry party to raise money for a Team in Training participant. It is always fun to see how people prepare for these events. Generally some awesome appetizers and wine are included. But this event had unique twists on traditional finger food. Check out the awesome peacock, above. The directions for this carving were found online, so if anyone else wants to create their own fruity bird bowl, check google.

I am not sure if I could even manage the fancy edge on the canelope myself. fancyfruitbowl

pinkcupcakes

carribeanbreezenecklace

carribean breeze necklace

Just in! New Studio 1423 pieces are in the Etsy shop. Stop on by and check them out.

carribeanbreezeearrings

carribean breeze earrings

bubblegum

pocket full of pendants, bubble gum

turquoisedanglesnecklaceturquoise dangles necklace

exfoliationoldsneakersExfoliating this week almost seems like cheating. Last weekend I went to DSW and bought some cute new sneakers (see below). I love the new shoes, and considering I wear sneakers about once a week, keeping three pairs on hand is unnecessary.

[On a side note, the old Pumas look nicer in the photo than in real life. Go figure.]    newsneakers

inspirationboard

Over the past few months I have been interviewing people about how they design their life with intention. With the move to Word Press(!) this week, it slipped my mind to find the next DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviewee. Which lead to two options: either skip this week’s interview or do one myself. Since I put others on the spot about their intentions, it’s only fair that I do the same. So here it goes.

Share my personal message

I started this blog because during junior year of college I went through a tough period (who doesn’t?) and learned a lot about myself and what was important to me. I will go into the details later next week, but lets just say that making under is what I am meant to do with my life. It’s in my gut. And rather than wait for a book deal to fall into my lap, I needed to actually go out and start writing about it. Blogging seemed an easy way to start- Now. Today. I already took the leap to be self-employed, to make excuses about working on Makeunder My Life was unacceptable to me. I can say three months into MakeunderMyLife, I cannot imagine my life without this blog and I am so thankful to have such amazing people like you, dear reader, encouraging me to continue.

Work for myself

shopchicagobooth2

Jess LC

After graduating from college I decided to pursue Jess LC full-time in order to have control over my time and energy. Sure, I took a much lower paycheck than many b-school peers. But after interning at Macy’s in product development for a summer, I realized I might not have made the best employee. I wanted to choose the color choices for upcoming collections, design the hang tags, craft the marketing plan, redesign the office space, and change the logo.

I don’t think interns have a say in logo design of a fortune 500 company.

Eat healthy, natural foods

naanpizza3

naan pizza

One intention I have is to eat nutritious foods. My first step was to stop shopping at the local grocery store. After months of examining bread nutrition labels to identify a loaf without high-fructose corn syrup for under $4.50, I figured it was worth the trek to Trader Joe’s every two weeks. Another thing I have been working on is my sugar intake. Understanding my family history with diabetes and my propensity to inhale anything sweet, I have found that it is easiest for me to strike a balance by indulging in amazing desserts once a week. This ‘treat of the week’ has now become something I look forward to and truly enjoy.

Use public transportation

One of the reasons I moved to Chicago was because the transit system would enable me to live without a car. After going four years in college without a car I wasn’t looking to add that expense and hassle back into my life. So for me, a city that was bustling and an aparment location with lots of fun things to do nearby was perfect.

Have really nice things

dirtybag1

end of the week exfoliations

As I have mentioned, I love the idea of having only really nice things. But with my budget that is not an easy reality to create. So my plan has been to decrease the amount of ‘not-nice’ things I have. I have worked on this by doing a weekly exfoliation of one thing I don’t need, use, or love. I am now about three months into this habit and it has been surprisingly easy to part with things that I don’t need/use/love anymore. Without this recurring habit I am pretty sure 90% of what I have exfoliated would be still sitting in my apartment or studio, collecting dust.

Stay active (and motivated)

Running has been a huge part of my social life and activities for five years. In order to stay motivated, I run half marathons and last year, the full Nashville Marathon. This year I will be running the San Fransisco Marathon and a few other half marathons beforehand. Running with friends (shout out to Kristin and Bernard!) and choosing new vacation destinations for the marathons has helped me stay excited to train.

Enjoy little pleasures in life

flowerpost

flowers for less

Having fresh flowers in my apartment is one of my favorite new habits, I figured out how to justify the expense and get more bang for my buck here. Another habit I am working to include in my day is laughing more. To do this I am trying to watch more funny movies and clips online.

Keep my relationship fresh

erwinandme

valentine’s day cooking class

Living with Erwin is great. And I think part of what works for us is our weekly date nights. Each week we take turns to choose a date. Without these special times set aside for doing new things, life would be a bit more monotonous. We are creatures of habit and this keeps things fresh. And though I proposed this ritual, Erwin’s date nights kick my date night ideas’ butts.

Accentuate the positives

Before sleeping, I reflect on the day and find ten things that I am thankful for and ten things I did well. I tend to be a perfectionist and will dwell on the thornier points of the day, so this nightly ritual highlights the positives.

Continue my education

I would like to read new, funny, and classic literature more often. This is the intention I am need to work on the most. I go on reading spurts, but often this gets pushed to the side with work, blogging, socializing, and Private Practice. Any ideas?

welcome to Makeunder’s new home!

March 26th, 2009   |   Life

welcomeWelcome to the new home of MakeunderMyLife! Pardon any small tweaks or changes as we aren’t 100% done with the finishing touches. But take a look around and add the new page to your RSS feeder, twitter (@JessConstable), facebook, etc.

studio1423pocketpendantsshot

It’s funny how things become cool. Then uncool. And years later, cool again. Kind of like those black and neon plastic sunglasses from the 90′s. While I don’t consider Jess LC too old, I have had my first déjà vu design. These Pocket Full of Pendant necklaces now available in the limited edition line, Studio 1423, were first available in 2005 and were one of my most popular styles.

Now the coolness is available on Etsy for just $15 bucks. The necklace comes with a silver plated lobster clasp pendant on a 16″ sterling silver chain and six charms. The idea is that you can customize your necklace with the charms you feel like, switching it up as many times as you like. I recommend wearing 2-4 charms at a time and playing with size and texture. Below are the color options we have available right now. And if these puppies get hot, more combinations will be in the works!

studio1423pendantshore

shorestudio1423pendantmeadow1

meadow studio1423pendantlilac

lilacstudio1423pendantcarnivalcarnival

dressing charlotte: bold prints

March 25th, 2009   |   Wardrobe

charlottegraphicprintdress

This week’s Dressing Charlotte is about pairing the right accessories with an all-over, bold pattern or print. When I wear any one of these three items, I let the print do the talking and wear one of two basic pairs of earrings: state st. large circles, or state st. large eyes. Their large size compliments the scale of the prints, and they have no extra details to compete with the prints. I also think large hoops or other simple, clean earrings over 1″ would look great with these looks.

Scroll down to see the other outfits and earrings. (Charlotte’s only flaw is that she has no ears to model earrings.)

charlotteprintedsilktop

ch37abig

State St. Large Circle Earrings

charlotteprintedtunicdress

ch48big1

State St. Large Eye Earrings

internshipphotoThis week’s business advice is actually geared towards the other end of the business spectrum:

Interns.

If you are in school (for art or otherwiese) and need to gain experience working for a designer, please read this post before decending upon your next victim employer. This topic is very close to my heart at the moment becasue I have been indundated as of late with resumes and referrals for interns looking to get experience at a jewelry company like Jess LC. With the cloudy economic climate, I have been getting more emails regarding internships than ever. Some are great. Some are okay. Some are half-assed. Below are the attributes that will determine which category you will fall into- so take note and aim high!

Half-assed Internship Contact

  • Email employer with two line email mentioning you are interested in an internship. (May or may not include resume.)
  • Forget to begin the email with a proper greeting. Why will an employer care about you if you don’t care about writing their name?
  • No mention about the actual employer or the company in initial email.
  • Resume in a form other than a Word Doc or PDF.

Good Internship Contact

  • Short email mentioning employer briefly, with proper greeting (ie: “Dear Mr. Gates:”)
  • Professional looking resume (no watermarks or unicorns) with relevant work experience and complete contact information. Resumes should be exactly one page.
  • Open, friendly tone in email without over using exclamation points (!!) but keeping a professional tone.

Great Internship Contact

  • Professional signature block in email (with full name and phone number [no quotes please]).
  • Professional email address, preferably using your name (snazzykatz007@aol.com doesn’t say ‘take me seriously’).
  • Email doubles as a cover letter: highlights most relevant work and school experience, and also mentions why you are excited to work for that company specifically.
  • Resume is one page long, in PDF form, concise, and focuses on relevant work and school experience.

off the chain update: Shop Chicago 2009

March 23rd, 2009   |   Life

busstopjesslc

Last Saturday I had at Jess LC booth at the Shop Chicago designer show. I also did the fall show last August in Millennium Park. This spring event was in Union Station. The traffic and vendors were down a slightly from last year, but thankfully we ended up doing better than in the fall!

My favorite part of these shows is meeting customers and enjoying their reactions. This show was no exception. Several wonderful ladies remembered us from the fall show and came back to say hi and buy new pieces. And a few ladies were wearing Jess LC pieces to the show, that was so cool. I took lots of pictures for you to enjoy, so peek around.

allison

Allison, our resident sales guru is always huge help at these kinds of shows. Without her, lets just say… I can’t imagine doing these events without her. Her idea to use a bound notebook to gather emails was genius!

dressform

Dress form look familiar? Charlotte helped grab attention and sported some Studio 1423 pieces as well as Jess LC. The Addison bracelet collection was laid out on a wood tray. Soc Chic ended up finding a new home on the table a few minutes after this picture.

shopchicagobooth2

This is the final set up: we put the branch with Rush St. necklaces next to Charlotte and Soc Chic along the back.

shopchicagotable1Necklaces laid out by collection, State St., Elm St., and Southport pictured.

naan pizza: serve yourself supper party

March 23rd, 2009   |   Food

naanpizza0

This weekend Erwin and I hosted an impromptu dinner party with out friends Pete and Kaitlyn, of eatmyblog.org. In an effort to save time and money, I challenged myself to cook the meal using ingredients I had on hand. The result was personal pizzas made with Indian naan bread and topping choices including: chicken strips, caramelized onions, homemade pesto, marinara sauce, sliced grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and shrimp.

When cruising Trader Joes last weekend on a bimonthly grocery trip, I spied the new fresh baked naan bread in the bakery section and I thought it looked a lot like pre-made pizza dough. And since I am a consistently poor pizza dough baker, the naan seemed like a way to make easy homemade pizza. The recipe is completely flexible in terms of ingedients, and the baking directions are simple.The end result was amazing – I think this might become a weekly treat.

Naan Pizza

  • Naan (we used whole wheat)
  • Fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • Pesto or marinara sauce
  • Veggies chopped (whatever you have on hand)
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Chicken strips, shrimp, etc.

Top naan with desired ingredients on a baking sheet (we lined our’s with foil for easy clean up). Preheat oven to 400* and cook for 7-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

naanpizza3


Reach Out

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