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end of the week exfoliation

October 30th, 2009   |   Exfoliating

Good morning! I’m off to my second day of a Macy’s Trunk Show, stop by if you are in the city and want to chat or see the goods in person.

My weekend will commence immediately following the Trunk Show. Tonight is my friend Katheryn’s birthday trolley ride (I’ve never been on one before, but I hear they are a blast). Tomorrow I will be scrounging up some sort of passable costume for a few Halloween parties, and Sunday I hope to get some decorating projects for the living room and studio under my belt.

As for my “mental exfoliation” of the week, I’m going to exfoliate the thought “my business might be slower after the holiday season.”

What is your mental exfoliation this week?

End of the Week Exfoliation


“Some shirts I don’t wear anymore…”



This is the old table from the studio. Since I found the new marble beauty, this guy is outta here.


Finally, I have a new DESIGN YOUR LIFE to share! Thank you for your patience with this segment as I was travelling the past few weeks. Today I’m excited to share the intentions of my friend Jessica, of Polished Sense. We first met online via our blogs and Twitter. But we soon decided to meet up in real life since we both live and work in Chicago. The rest is history.

After graduating art school, Jessica decided that she was meant to stay in the fashion industry. She has created her own online shoe store and accompanying fashion blog called Polished Sense. Not only is her shoe selection well edited, but she takes it to the next level by blogging and showing how to actually incorporate the edgier styles into your existing wardrobe (something I find extremely practical). My personal suggestion is to browse her Raid My Closet series. Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Jessica of Polished Sense

Every child is an artist, the trick is, finding out how to remain one.

When I was little you could catch me coloring, having marker hands, painting or down the art aisle at the toy store.  I had paper rolls, cans filled with crayons, easels and matured into a drawing desk at my home.  I was always making something.  I asked my father when I was little, “Dad, how much to artists make?”  His response was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear they make a lot of money.  From that point on, I thought art was just going to be a hobby for me, not a career.  I stopped doing what I loved for a long time to try to pursue other careers that could earn a living.  Along the way I found nothing that came close to art and how it made me feel. When I graduated high school at 18, my art teachers told me to go to art school.  I kept telling myself no, because I had to do something else with my life if I wanted to make an honest living someday.

So off I went onto my big ten college lifestyle. After graduating college, I made a very big decision. This decision was to go on to art school and find my passion again, which I did and am ever so grateful for that experience. After graduating design school I realized it was time for me to do what I love and to make a career out of it. Here I am today running my own company, Polished Sense.

Live Artfully


Everything I see in front of me turns into art.  I love to design and I love to be different.  One of my favorite quotes is, “To be human is to be creative. You don’t have to go outside yourself to find creativity – you already have it.  It lives in your heart and mind every moment of every day” by Joseph Chilton Pearce. I don’t even think about it anymore, I just do it.  No fear, no questions, it just has to happen.  When I design, I see the color wheel, one of my favorite things as a child. It’s my true inspiration, which is why I call myself the Fashion Artist.

Dress Up & Go All-Out


One of my favorite things to do is dress up.  I love putting outfits together and accessorizing them. I love to perfect the look and make it “pop”.  My theory for styling is to always make a statement.  I love to create looks that stand out.  I feel that when you go out, why not go all-out? My inspiration is texture, color and fine detail.  Where do you find your inspiration to dress up?

Express Your Love


My loved ones know that I love them.  Even if the love is obvious, the ones that are most important still need to hear it.  I love to share what’s mine with great company.  One of my favorite things to do is to create for others.  There are many ways I express this such as; cooking for a crowd, putting together a flower arrangement to say thanks or designing a hair piece for my best friend’s wedding, it’s endless. I even make soup mixes in a jar and all they have to do is add the water, it’s great for all my friends who do not cook.  I am always finding ways to do what I love and to share it with people that surround me. I look forward to going places, doing exciting things and experiencing these adventures with the ones I love.

Do What You Are

We all have that special “X factor”. It took me awhile to figure it out, but now I can accept who I am and where I came from. It is what gave me my strength to go on to live my lifestyle. “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong” – Joseph Chilton Pearce. (Another favorite of mine.) Now I have my own life and my own goals.  My very first goal on my list, is to never give up.  Once you figure out what it is that you love, you should do it.  Most of the time it’s right under your nose. I know that I’m creative and that’s what I plan to do from here on out, and I’ll figure it out along the way.  I hope all of you to do the same for yourself. :)

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

off the chain: macy’s trunk show thurs + fri

October 28th, 2009   |   Life


And for those who can’t visit the Windy City, check out Jess LC here.

new white marble studio table

October 28th, 2009   |   LifeStyle

I’m in love. I went thrifting at the local White Elephant for some cool figures to spray-paint last Friday. As I browsed, I noticed a beautiful white marble farm table but passed it by since I have a great new glass table for the dining room.


But you know, I’m intentionally obsessed with white marble.

Two days later I realized it would be perfect for the jewelry studio!

So after a dozen phone calls and a special delivery, the white table and I are now family. Take a look at the before and after of the old table vs. the new.


The old table was nice, but nothing special and added darkness to a room without overhead lighting.

Voila! A brighter, sturdier, and oh so beautiful work surface.


I also love the contrast between the modern chairs and the old Italian marble. So chic. All it needs is a yellow rug beneath.

Who knows, maybe one day this table will become an island of my future kitchen.

And the best part? It only cost me a grand total of $85*!

* Price is including shipping fee, 50% discount, tax, and funds from the old black table sold on Criags List.

apartment design plan a la “kelly + olive”

October 27th, 2009   |   LifeStyle

I. Am. So. Excited.

As I’ve mentioned, running has been replaced with decorating this fall. I’ve been getting things together using lots of ideas I’ve gathered from design blogs and from a custom moodboard Lauren and Courtney of Kelly + Olive drew up for me. Though we’ve been friends since co-creating Chiblogo, I’ve never had the chance to use their services until now. And I have to say, they are super easy to work with and I highly recommend picking their brains if you are doing a room re-design yourself.

As a jewelry designer and avid decorating fan, I thought I could do the rooms all by myself. And I could have. But they wouldn’t quite have the same polish and freshness that I wanted without an expert(s) opinion.

Check out what they came up with for my new apartment.

Kelly + Olive Moodboard



Love this room! At first I was a bit unsure about the patterned rug, but when I saw a room shot with it, I knew they were right. The price however was a bit too steep for me, so I passed and decided to go with another suggestion Courtney made from Overstock.com. I also found very similar pillows on Overstock. I adore the boot umbrella holder and hope to get it in the weeks to come.

As for the coffee table, though I think it’s awesome, I’m not sure we will have space for it in our living room.


This dining room combination is perfect. The table and chairs are now in place and the flower painting is ready to be hung. I like the accessories and might get them for the holidays.

For the time being, I’m going to stick to a beige rug I already have and swap that awesome aqua blue color for the living room.


Of course, I love the chevron project (I’ve been thinking and thinking about it for months). I also think the acrylic chairs rock, but since I already have awesome Room & Board chairs, I am going to stick with them.

The chandelier is a great example of why I asked for C+L opinions’, I never would have considered that fixture, but I think I might get it! We could certainly use more light in the studio during the dark Chicago winter.


Yellow! I can’t seem to get enough yellow lately. So the Flor tiles are awesome and when I have some extra cash to spend, I plan on getting them.


I love the idea of yellow, black, gray, and white – these items or something similar will definitely find a home in the new studio.

If you are as smitten as I am with Courtney and Lauren’s ideas, feel free to get your own custom moodboard at Kelly + Olive.

reader inspiration

October 26th, 2009   |   Life

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend. Over the past two days I’ve managed to finally get my new dining room table(!) and the new rug is waiting for me in the package room.


A while back, I elicited the help of Lauren and Courtney of Kelly + Olive to get a fresh perspective and expert advice on decorating the new place. They had some great ideas which I’ve been taking to heart. I’ll share their suggestions and inspiration tomorrow.

Reader Inspiration

Today I’d like to share an email I got from a Makeunder reader. I’ve asked her to share the letter here on the blog because though she wrote it as a thank you for me, I think a lot of people will be inspired by her courage.

Here’s what she shared,

I wanted to send a thank you note for the inspiration that you have been to me through your blog. I found your blog about three weeks ago and immediately gravitated to your ideas re: living an intentional life, weekly exfoliation, designing your life. I recently turned 26 and up until last Friday I was doing a lot of pretending. I had a career that was not a good fit for me; but because of family expectations, money and status I kept trying to make it work. This week is my first week on an unpaid leave- I’m taking three months to understand myself and re-evaluate my values. For the first time ever- I really feel like I can design my life! I was so happy to find your blog, learn new tips and know that there are others out there on a path less traveled. Thank you for being so awesome!

Though many people tell me that they are inspired by my business or career path, this woman’s choice has inspired me. I decided to start my business full-time right after college so I would not need to leave a cushy paycheck. I vividly remember my dad telling me as a high school senior that I should start my business right out of college – he said leaving a secure salary to start a company would be too hard to do. He believed that if I worked for a major marketing firm like many of my business school peers, the pressure and lifestyle I’d grow accustomed to would be too dear to leave.

I took his advice to heart.

Five years later when I announced that I would indeed start Jess LC full-time in Chicago after graduation, I’m sure my dad gulped behind his collar. It’s one thing to speak theoretically about self-employment, and another to actually follow that path.

So with that in mind, reading this letter I have shared obviously hit me in a unique way. This reader has had the courage to take a step back, evaluate her life, and choose to make a different decision. There is more sacrifice on her side of the equation than mine. And I think among those reading this blog, more fall in this reader’s shoes than my own.

Many readers have shared similar intentions of re-evaluating their careers. And I hope this single letter can inspire others in her position to redesign their lives as well.

end of the week exfoliation

October 23rd, 2009   |   Exfoliating

I hope you have a great weekend! I will be enjoying a massage and manicure in exactly one hour, courtesy of Erwin.

Tomorrow, I’m going to hit the farmers market in the morning and do some treasure scouting at the White Elephant. And I can’t wait for my new rug to arrive.

End of the Week Exfoliation

I’d like to start off this week’s End of the Week Exfoliation by introducing a new exfoliation idea from a reader (we’ll call her “L.C.”). She suggested that we incorporate exfoliating “metal clutter” as well as physical clutter. I think this is an excellent idea.

So here’s my Mental Exfoliation this week: I’m going to exfoliate the thought that “I don’t deserve to enjoy the afternoon off from work for a massage.

How about you? What’s your Mental Exfoliation this week?


“The exfoliation tally for this week includes a chair, four pairs of shoes, four coats/jackets, three shirts, some earrings, a hat, one pair of capris, and these classics. Geesh, I’m a pack rat!”

-S.E. Minegar

Some nice dresses that just don’t fit right anymore…”
These are my old inserts for my running shoes. I got new ones earlier this summer. Why they are still sitting in my closet is beyond me. Time to remedy that.

san fran: part two

October 23rd, 2009   |   Life

Happy weekend! I’ll start off by saying that the End of the Week Exfoliation will be coming later this afternoon.

For now I’ll share how the race and the rest of our trip went.

Random Side Notes


I didn’t mention it yesterday, but we stayed at the Hotel Monaco. It was a beautiful hotel and I would definitely recommend it for anyone visiting the city who wants to stay downtown.


On the way back from Boudin, we took a trolley ride back to our hotel. It was incredible to see all those hills in an urban area.


And of course I couldn’t leave without seeing the famous Panted Ladies on Steiner St.

Nike Women’s Marathon


When we began the race it was clear, Bernard’s idea to meet some ladies was a good one. The race was only 5% male.


The race was a good one. We took the first half about 1 minute to 1.5 minutes slower per mile than normal on account of the hills. This turned out to be an excellent idea because we were able to drop 10 minutes off the second half of the race and we finished strong. That’s us there in the peach and yellow. Erwin followed us via text messages and ran with us for a few hundred meters at mile 15. We ended up finishing just under 4 hours and 50 minutes. Not my fastest race, but I felt great.


As we were told, we got Tiffany & Co. necklaces instead of medals. They were handed out by cute firemen wearing tuxedos. On a red carpet no less. Talk about a women’s marathon.


And as for our plan to hook Bernard up with some hotties… we got a few calls, texts, and introductions during the race. And we heard laughter the whole race coming from those who saw the message behind us.

Napa and Sonoma Valley


Erwin took a flight after the race home for work. On Monday, Bernard and I stayed and rented a car to explore Napa and Sonoma. We stopped for a quick photo on the way.


The weather was all over the place. It rained on and off 17 times that day. Which meant we saw three rainbows including two rainbow tails!


We ended up tasting wine at two wineries, Murphy-Goode and Pine Ridge. I remembered Murphy-Goode from a blog I read months ago and Pine Ridge is the maker of my favorite wine, Chenin Blanc-Viognier.


The winery was beautiful and had a lot of tours and activities for those who have time to explore.

Overall, it was a great trip and we covered a lot of miles and sites along the way. I have to give a huge shout out to Bernard, who was part friend, tour guide, and running partner along the way.

san fran: part one

October 22nd, 2009   |   Life

Hello, good morning, and welcome back! I am excited to share some highlights from my trip. I decided to split the recap into two parts. This first one includes the activities of Saturday including touring Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, and eating at an enchanted bakery called Boudin. Take a look.

Tomorrow there will be a full marathon and wine country recap.

Alcatraz Tour


Many friends and readers suggested to tour Alcatraz, so we decided to do it first thing on Saturday morning. It was a good decision. We had a great time and I found myself creepily fascinated by the history. Definitely not for young kids, but worth a trip if you visit SF.


The guys played it cool on the boat ride there. Just seeing an old “Super Max,” no biggie.


I was so thankful that Erwin took the time out of his busy work schedule to make the trip. It was a great chance to get some new photos together.


The island was also a great place for photos of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

On the Pier(s) and Fisherman’s Wharf


The Piers reminded me of Navy Pier in Chicago. Full of touristy goodies that beg the question, “who buys this stuff?


A new look for our president.


A must have for all young children. Brooke, I apologize that I didn’t find this until after your baby shower.


Loving the water. Little did I know that just around the corner there were….


SEA LIONS! This was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. Dozens (maybe hundreds) of sea lions crowded floating docks napping, fighting, barking, and resting. It was like a sea lion house party at 4am.

Eating at Boudin


After wandering around all morning, we were ready to carb load for the race. My friend, Kaitlyn, suggested we try Boudin at the Wharf for lunch. Her recommendation did not disappoint. Here’s a little tour of this amazing store and restaurant.


A few minutes into my visit I noticed baskets of sourdough bread rotating around the perimeter of the store.


Their bread was pretty incredible. I especially liked the creatures they created.

Here are a few of the options.


This could be an easy holiday project to try for any foodies out there.


Isn’t this the cutest baby alligator? In case you are wondering where it’s mother is…


I found her near the kitchen.


The bakery is kind of like a Panera-meets-the-Lincoln-Park-Zoo.


And of course, they have regular loaves as well.

back in action

October 21st, 2009   |   Life


Good afternoon (and to some, good evening)! I am back from my trip to California. With my birthday followed directly with the San Francisco trip and marathon, I’m kind of readjusting to life post-whirlwind. Thank you so much for your thoughts and encouragement on my aging and race. It’s was so nice to see all of the comments and emails as I was traveling via Blackberry. But now it’s time to actually get caught up on responding to those nice thoughts on a real computer.

Today’s my first day back in the office and I’m excited to share photos and stories from the trip. I had a wonderful time exploring the city and wine country with Bernard and Erwin. As you can see above, we had a blast (that’s us on the tour of Alcatraz).

And in case you are wondering, the marathon was awesome. I’ll share more about that in the days to come. Now that I’m back to “real life” after the marathon, I’ve decided to fill that space and energy in my life with decorating the apartment. So there will be much more to come in the next few weeks.

Brooke’s Oh Baby Shower


While I was away Brooke of Oh Brooke had the Oh Baby Shower I “threw her” via the interwebs. I would like to thank everyone that sent her thoughts, wishes, and gifts. Congratulations, Brooke!

(PS- I would also like to make a shout out to Brooke for doing the little fall makeover on MakeunderMyLife- you might notice that I’ve gone with a dark orange accent color with a light chevron(!!) background on the blog through the colder months.)

running and exploring in san francisco

October 19th, 2009   |   Life

As you read this Bernard, my running partner, and I have completed the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon. Though I am writing this on Thursday, 10/15, I’m sure the course is going to be hilly and our legs are going to be sore.

There is a very good chance that at this very moment we are heading to explore Napa Valley or Sonoma and get a good wine buzz worked up to dull the pain. I’ll have lots to share when I get back on Wednesday or Thursday.

Until then, I would like to share Bernard’s running shirt he sported during the race. From the front, it’s rather unassuming. Lots of people run with their names on their shirts for cheering fans. The back of the shirt however, has a little story to tell.



As you can see, Bernard is a smart cookie. When I asked him to train for this Women’s Marathon back in February, I’m sure he did a quick calculation of women to men (he’s in accounting, after all) in this race, and decided the odds were in his favor. He’s been planning this message for over a week. In order to show my support, the back of my shirt will read Wing Woman.

I’ll fill you in on how it went in the next few days.

end of the week exfoliation

October 16th, 2009   |   Exfoliating

Good morning and good weekend! I am on my way to the airport for the San Francisco trip with Bernard. Our flight is not until 1:35, but we are going to try do a standby flight to snag first-class seats if we can. I’m so excited to visit California for the first time, run the marathon, and drink wine where it’s actually grown.

We have also heard good things about the Alcatraz tours, so we’re going to that tomorrow morning. Erwin will be heading to San Fran later tonight to cheer us on. And with any luck, he’ll be ringing a cow bell, too :).

End of the Week Exfoliation


“Some “out of style” clothes that I thought I would recycle…”

- Christine


These boots have a wonderful vintage look to them. But I’ve fallen in love with a new pair of brown boots from Polished Sense and don’t need two pairs of brown boots in my closet. So Susie gets these little guys to wear around town.

my birthday.

October 15th, 2009   |   Life


Good morning! I apologize for the lapse in Design Your Life this week, I am taking the day off to celebrate my 25th year of living. So far so good!

In large part due to this blog and meeting you, I am happier at this stage in my life than I ever imagined I would be. I feel incredibly lucky to be charting my own career and pursuing my vocation at the same time. I am also thankful for all of my friends and family who have supported me on my “path less traveled.” And a huge thank you goes out to Erwin, for making my life happier, funnier, and for supporting me unconditionally.

And for those of you who still can’t wait for another DYL interview, check out the awesome archive.

off the chain: jess lc giveaway!

October 14th, 2009   |   Life


Oh ladies, you are in for a treat! This is Glamorous is doing a giveaway of one of Madison’s most awesome fall pieces, the bold stripe necklace.


Visit the giveaway and leave a comment stating your favorite Jess LC style. The winner will get this Madison Three Strand Bold Stripe Necklace (value: $150) in the color of their choice.

why i started this blog

October 14th, 2009   |   ExfoliatingLife


A few weeks ago I realized that I haven’t ever clearly explained why I started MakeunderMyLife. People have asked me about it in person, but I’ve never taken the time to share the background here. Which is a pretty sad reality, considering that you might be interested to know.

Planting the Seed

In college, I had a huge realization that my best self was laying dormant beneath a pile of “stuff” (read: clothes, junk, head junk, candy bars, fat from said candy bars, and illusions of perfection). At that moment, I realized that my purpose, my vocation, is to share and inspire others to makeunder their lives.

Charting a Path


At the same time as this epiphany, I had an extraordinary mentor named Mary who completely believed that I could become and do anything that I wanted. So I started to research how other women have shared their personal visions (namely, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey). In Martha’s case, the path to her success was clear. After starting a successful catering business, she wrote a book called Entertaining. This book became extremely popular. In many ways it launched her media empire.

After reading about her success, I decided to do the same. I wrote attempted to write a proposal for a book called Makeunder Your Life. But the process was overwhelming and I was concerned about content and authority. Who was I, as a junior in college, to tell people of all ages what they should do with their stuff? Taking a step back, I realized I was a green banana, unripe without any post-grad experience to share. So I let the project marinate in my head.

1.5 Years Post-Grad Later


As you may know, I moved to Chicago after college and started Jess LC full-time. I envisioned a point in my life where I could juggle the jewelry and writing the book. But starting the business took all my attention the first year and a half. I barely had a moment to consider Makeunder Your Life and put it in the back of my mind.

January 1, 2009

In my new year’s intentions, I decided to revisit the book concept. I had been reading blogs for a month by that point, so the natural step was to start a blog to collect personal content for Makeunder Your Life. This way I could improve my writing, gather new ideas for the book, and start my vocation a bit early.

I never imagined anyone would read it.

But lo and behold, it did find an audience (Jess LC customers clicked the link to the blog and started reading) and here I write today. I have realized that since Martha’s Entertaining was published, things have changed quite a bit. I don’t need to have a book to start helping people all over the world. I just need a small corner of the internet to publish my thoughts and learn from readers as I go along.

Who knows where this blog will take me or Makeunder Your Life. But one thing is for sure: ever since I’ve discovered and pursued my purpose, some amazing opportunities have come my way. And if you are fortunate enough to know your own vocation, I urge you to follow it and see where it leads.

For those who are still finding your calling, it never hurts to makeunder and see what’s beneath your “stuff.” You might even find your life’s work.

And hey, it doesn’t hurt to blog along the way.

off the chain update: new best sellers revealed

October 13th, 2009   |   Life


Good morning and good day! This week is already rolling along quite nicely for me. I have to admit, my upcoming birthday and trip to California are definitely on my mind as I move Jess LC into the holiday season this week. And a four day work week never hurts.

The apartment is also coming together now that I’ve made a few more trips to Ikea. Nothing too amazing to show yet, but once Kelly + Olive share their decor suggestions, I’m off to the races. I’ll be hanging up artwork, ordering rugs, and preparing for a belated housewarming party. I’ll even have a blog house party so those of you out-of-towners can see the finished product (but that party is BYOB.).

Off the Chain Update: Best Sellers


I’m sure many of you are (very) familiar with Jess LC by now. But you may not know which pieces are our most popular styles. For the holiday season, I’ve decided to create a new way to search the collection. On our shop page you will now see a Best Sellers category at the top. It includes some great bargains (like three pairs of $18 earrings!), the most popular necklace ever, and this fall’s newest classic everyday necklace (loved by my mom and myself alike).

So if you are starting to think about gifts for yourself or for the holidays, I hope this new feature is helpful.

Here is a sample of some of the styles:


Wellington Ave. Thick Stripe Necklace


Armitage Simple Link Earrings


State St. Everyday Oval Necklace

intentional obsession: aphro chic pillows

October 12th, 2009   |   LifeStyle


This weekend I spent Saturday with a friend at the farmers market and seeing Couples Therapy (good movie, by the way). And I awoke Sunday morning to the Chicago Marathon running past my apartment. Last week I had started to feel some apprehension about my race next week, but after hearing the cheering and seeing the runners, the anxiety was replaced with excitement. Only four more days before the trip!

Intentional Obsession: Aphro Chic


Getting in the San Francisco spirit, I also want to share my newest Intentional Obsession, Aphro Chic. I found Jeanine’s new pillow collection via Made By Girl and immediately fell in love. She also has her own blog as well.


The collection is eco friendly, modern, and exactly what I have in mind for my new apartment.


Not only are the pillows fresh, but the lookbook is adorable!


This is the pillow I have my heart set on. I love the print and and the canary yellow hue. Perfection.

In fact, Jeanine’s amazing new business has inspired me to take my own business to the next level. For the last week I’ve been creating a new vision for Jess LC in 2010.

Great design is infectious!

end of the week exfoliation

October 9th, 2009   |   Exfoliating

Good morning! Or not so good morning, if you live in Chicago. As I write, the rain is smashing on the metal ledge outside my window. Just like it was last night. All night long.

Anyways, despite this dark, drab, droopy morning, I am busy preparing for another Macy’s trunk show this afternoon (11-5) at the State St. location. I have decided to do these little shows on (most) Fridays throughout the holiday season. It’s a great way for me to meet new customers, and get more exposure for Jess LC.

As for this weekend, I’m running my last long run before the marathon next week. I’ll also be watching the Chicago Marathon this Sunday while they run by my apartment building. And of course, there will be Michigan football to watch with E on Saturday night. Here’s hoping that the weekend weather shapes up!

End of the Week Exfoliation


“Introducing the retirees: pinchy, smelly, and tuckered.”

- S.E. Minegar


“A pair of my fiancees jeans that he wanted to exfoliate!”

- Christine

(Sorry that I posted this one a week early. I edited it before I realized it was for Oct/23.)


These running shoes have been with me since early spring. They’ve seen me through many runs, walks, and weight lifting classes. Now it’s time to move on to the new baby pink and silver running shoes for the race.


Happy Thursday! Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE participant is Rebecca of Loving Living Small. Some of you might also know her as the co-founder of Blog Out Loud, a great blogger resource. A few weeks ago, Rebecca asked me to do an interview for Blog Out Loud and I was delighted to be a part of the BOL conversation. What Rebecca didn’t know was that I had been following her own personal blog and Blog Out Loud before she even found me!

Oh, and did I forget to mention that Rebecca also writes for Apartment Thereapy?

So of course with these inspiring roles, I was pumped to have her intentions shared in the DYL series. I loved her intention to eat dessert (it’s right up there with Brooke’s intention to drink wine, if you ask me). Why not order something sweet to share with friends?


DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Rebecca of Loving Living Small

Love yourself all the time.


This was a life-changing year for me and I really learned the importance of self-love. I had found that I was often saying to friends or thinking to myself not so positive things like “I could lose a few lbs.” or “I don’t look great today, oh well” While being self-deprecating lightens things up, it can actually start chipping away at your self esteem without you even realizing it. Now, instead of thinking negative thoughts,  I embrace the positive side of things and feel better and my relationships are stronger.

Photograph your life all the time.

Take pictures – all the time. No, this is not an act of vanity but rather an act of documentation. My friends and family know that when I am around, they can be sure that I will be snapping a ton of photos of them, where we are, what we are doing, etc.  I was so inspired by New York when I lived there a few years ago that I started carrying my camera with my all the time and snapping photos of anything and everything that was interesting to me. 10,000+ photos later, I can look back and see my life over the last 9 years through these photos. It’s incredible! And it’s never too late to start documenting your life so go for it!

Just do it. Really. Go for it!


I have always lived my life with this intention – to go for it – no matter what! I learned from my incredibly supportive parents at an early age that if you believe in something,  approach it, try it and see where it can take you. You never know and you’ll most likely have a great story and memory out of it. Now is the time to do anything you want – embrace it.


Yes! This is a great intention and I am enjoying living this one. Listening more, really listening, has been an incredible intention to live by. It’s important to hear what people are saying and to let them know I am present and here with them.  I have to really work on this one because when I am excited about something, I tend to ramble on and on and sometimes miss what a loved one is saying to me.  Definitely a work-in-progress but a good one!

Say hello.

Whenever I am on a walk, grabbing a coffee, enjoying a dinner out or running errands, I say hello and smile to the person on the other side – the walker, barista, waiter, etc. I feel good and so does the other person.

Live now.


Life is happening right now so enjoy it!!  I definitely had to teach myself how to do this. I was definitely a future girl, often thinking, “In 3 months, I want to do this.” Or “I wonder what will happen next year…”.  The reality is that while I was wondering about the future, I wasn’t truly living my present. To be honest, I am not sure how I changed this, I guess being really conscious of it and waking up every day thinking what does today hold has enabled me to live each day in that day.

Eat dessert.


I love treating my self to dessert every now and then and why not? I could spend the next moments complaining about how “I really shouldn’t because it’s fattening” or I can share a piece of yummy carrot cake with my dining partners and not just enjoy the cake but enjoy sharing. And who could turn down this homemade cake that my boyfriend made for a few birthdays ago? He tried to make the standard double round cake my mom made for everyone in my family (you got to choose the frosting and cake flavors!) but had a little trouble. It still tasted great!

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

small business answers

October 7th, 2009   |   Business AdviceStyle

This might sound strange to mention, but I’m not quite sure how much to talk at the beginning of posts about my day to day life. Some bloggers share quite a bit and readers love it, others bloggers keep pretty private and share only topical information. I’m not quite sure where I (should) land on that continuum. Any thoughts on this topic?

Small Business Questions: Answered!


On Monday, I asked for any business questions that I could answer for my Small Business series. Today I’d like to answer Maggie, Diana, and Eva’s questions. So here it goes.

Maggie – Trademarking

Oh, I love this series. You may know about this or not… trademarking. The process seems complicated. Have you done this? Is it necessary? Is there a simple guide to it (NOT the gov site? LOL)


Dear Maggie,

Unfortunately, I have never personally dealt with trademarking. I have thought about doing it several times but always abandoned the project. However, I am a huge fan of Design Sponge’s Biz Ladies series. Other than Modish BizTips, it is the most practical resource for this kind of general information. In one post, Design Sponge takes on copyrights, this might be helpful. I’d also take a trip to your nearest Score Counselor and get some free advice.

Diana – Growing a Jewelry Business

hey jess,

love the blog! It’s been a great tool as a fellow entrepreneur!
Ok, so today I have a bit of a specific question to ask. I am a jewelry designer and my company has just ‘completed’ the following steps:

1. selling to friends, friends-of-friends, and other ‘fans’ online (Etsy.com)
2. selling to local stores (5 and counting…)
3. created a website (under construction)
4. just became an LLC
5. beginning to make contacts within the “fashion/design” world for runway, photography and collaboration opportunities

What do you suggest as the “next step” in order to continue company growth? (All listed below are goals/ideas, but I was curious to know if you had suggestions of how to prioritize, since you’ve “been there done that” :) )

- expand/develop an online store/website (outside of Etsy.com)
- continue getting into more stores (contact larger stores, “chain” stores, dept stores, stores in other states, etc)
- invest in advertising
- hire a sales rep
- ???

thanks so much and keep up the great work,

Dear Diana,

First of all, congratulations on your success thus far! You definitely have all of your initial bases covered. That is important. As you consider the future steps you mentioned, I recommend making a vision for the business you’d ideally like to have. Do you want this to be a full-time career or hobby/passion? Selling directly to customers is easier to do part-time. Wholesale generally has a higher time investment during the workday.

Do you dream of selling to stores across the country and doing wholesale mostly? If so, this would lean you towards an emphasis on getting yourself into more stores, talking to sales reps, and eventually doing trade shows. I’d prioritize more stores accounts, and making sure those stores do well with your pieces. Try to get your reorder rate as high as possible. Once you have a strong relationship with the buyer of your most profitable store, ask her who would be the best sale rep for you. Chances are, the buyer knows jewelry reps that can get you started (or at least give you advice).

On the other hand if you are focusing on retail, I’d think about advertising (blogs are a great place to start) and committing to either your Etsy site or a new separate site. Holiday shows are another great way to make retail dollar with your pieces. At any event you do, be sure to get the word out about your site with business cards and collect emails for an email newsletter. And finally, blogging can always help.

Eva – Blogging Consistently

Hi Jess, This is a blogging question, how did you become so diligent in your blogging, do you have a set schedule you follow?


Dear Eva,

Hah, it’s funny you mention that I’m so diligent when lately I’ve been feeling a bit off in my writing rhythm. The motivation behind the regularity is because I genuinely believe that sharing my experiences with making under and helping others do the same is part of my personal vocation. It’s simply what I’m meant to do. And at this point in my life, blogging is the best way to fulfill that mission.

As for my schedule, it varies day to day. Ideally, I like to write posts the day before. I also try to post by 7am CST in order to catch the early readers. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, my intention is to have five posts a week about a variety of topics including my personal makeunder, exfoliating, helpful articles I’ve read, and of course the DESIGN YOUR LIFE series.

Thank you so much for sharing your questions, Maggie, Diana, and Eva. If anyone else has a question, please leave a comment.

ten honest things

October 6th, 2009   |   Life


Good morning! I’d like to thank Arianna of AriannaBelle and Brooke of OhBrooke for nominating me for an Honest Scrap Award. As a recipient of this award, I am responsible for sharing 10 honest things about myself.

I will draw the line of honest right between “refreshingly honest” and “TMI.” We’ll see how well that goes.

10 Honest Things About Myself

  1. To varying degrees at varying times, I can become cripplingly perfectionistic. Not so much in business, as in personal standards.
  2. I’m left-handed, and I don’t like my handwriting.
  3. I always think a second margarita is a good idea. It never is. I also get really mad at myself when I get a hangover.
  4. Growing up, I hated my freckles. Now I pretend they don’t exist.
  5. I am not a great speller (have you noticed?).
  6. I’d like to stop swearing. I don’t do it a lot, but I’d like to stop altogether. Either way, I don’t try that hard.
  7. I really like my nose.
  8. When I was younger, I had everything from a uni-brow to small comma-like eyebrows. I also had braces for four years. Yes, I even spent several months sleeping in head gear. Yum.
  9. I used to think more “stuff” would make me a happier person.
  10. In high school, I thought the words to the Guns and Roses song “Paradise City” were “Prairie Dog City.”

small business questions?

October 5th, 2009   |   Business Advice


Good morning! In last week’s Blog Out Loud interview Rebecca reminded me about the Small Business series I started months ago. Since I haven’t done much with the series lately, I think now is a great time to collect some new questions to answer in the weeks to come.

So tell me, do you have any business questions I can answer?

blog out loud interview

October 2nd, 2009   |   Business AdviceLife


Today I was interviewed for Blog Out Loud (which is such a cool resource, by the way). In the interview I explain how MakeunderMyLife has helped Jess LC, why I write about small business advice, and what I recommend for new bloggers in terms of hosting and design. You can see the interview here.

Macy’s Trunk Show

Also, I am doing a trunk show at the Macy’s on State St. this afternoon, so if you want to see the jewelry in person and chat, come by and say hi! I will be there until 5 this evening.

end of the week exfoliation

October 2nd, 2009   |   Exfoliating

Is it seriously the end of this week? It is hard to imagine that I’m already approaching another weekend. Saturday I will be running (yay for the marathon taper!) and possibly going to Ikea. On Sunday I hope to be relaxing and I will also be meeting with a potential new intern for Jess LC. And if I have any luck, I will also get some quality coloring time in as well.

End of the Week Exfoliation


“My neighbors put these out for free (in front of their house), I grabbed them, read them and put them out for free a few weeks later. What’s funny is that as soon as I put them on the front lawn with a “please take” note attached, another neighbor of ours came along and snatched them up! I think its safe to say that these magazines have been exfoliated at least twice!”

- Simone


“I finally went through my jewelry this past week, and weeded out a few pieces that I love, but just don’t wear. I’d rather someone else love them and use them than have them sit in a drawer one more day.”

- Shanti


This top is great, only worn once as far as I can remember. It’s great, but the narrowness isn’t good for my ‘birthing hips.’ So this pretty silk shirt has become Susie’s (of Jess LC). Now she has a great silk gallery opening shirt!


Happy Thursday! Today I am excited to bring you the intentions of Brooke from The New Dorothy. I love what she’s said below almost as much as her Niner Project (her plan is to complete 99 goals in 999 days). This Kansas lady is also serious about travel. I can only imagine what her passport looks like after living in four different countries. Four countries. Unbelievable.

And I also knew we’d be fast friends when I read her intention to drink wine. Why had I never thought about this intention before?! So read on, drink up, and enjoy.

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Brooke of The New Dorothy

Dream it. Share it. Do it.

Most people have a lot of dreams and wishes and “someday I’m gonna…” ideas, but few have the gumption to tell anyone about it and actually follow through. I have a lot of dreams, always have. But I often need a catalyst to get me out of the dreamer stage into the action stage. So, I talk about it. I tell everyone I know and everyone I meet that I am moving to China, starting a band, opening a coffee shop, whatever. For me, the dream is just a passing whim until I share it. Don’t hold your dreams inside; put them out there and you’ll be motivated to follow through. Next up on my “dream big” to do list:  Move to Australia!

Drink Wine


Okay…you don’t have to drink wine. But for me, after a long day at the office, followed by a frenzy to find something to cook for dinner, followed by my attempts to work on other things that interest me (writing, painting, reading, etc.), it feels AMAZING to stop and sit down with a nice glass of red (or cup of cocoa, or glass of water, or whatever) and breathe. It gives me a chance to catch up with my sweetie, enjoy the fact that I’m living/thriving, and allow myself a moment of peace.

Find Your Yoga

I sit at a desk, at a computer, all day every day and I need something to get me active and get my blood flowing. I started doing yoga about a year ago and it transformed my body and the way I thought about fitness and physical activity. On any given day I’m bending, lunging, leaning, and breathing for the sake of my health and fitness, and let’s face it, for my sanity too. Yoga may not be for everyone, but everyone should find something that’s physically challenging and completely different from their normal daily routine. I also run and enjoy training for races – 5ks, triathlons, cycling events, etc. Just find something that makes you feel happier, stronger, and better, and do it often.

Wear Fabulous Shoes


For me, I love a striking pair of heels or cute slippers. The shoes or clothes I put on often influence my mood, attitude, and how I feel about myself. There’s a time to feel powerful and feel like you could rule the world (i.e. my killer red heels), and there’s a time to feel snuggly and self-reflective (i.e. my Northeastern University hoodie). There’s a place for it all in my book. The key is to get to know yourself well enough to recognize when you need the heels and when you need the hoodie.

Play Nice

Life is just too short and I’m way too mortal to get caught up in the petty, mean spirited, or disgruntled attitudes that plague some people. My motto is “do no harm.” There’s no place/space for bitterness, spitefulness, or any other negative-ness in my life. But this doesn’t mean that I’m also the peppy pom pom, never do wrong type.  My point is that you can tease, be funny, get upset, whatever, but you should always play nice. After talking to me, I want people to walk away feeling positive, and maybe a little inspired. I don’t always succeed, but I always try.

Read Everything

I have a day job and it’s pretty good. But, if I could, I would sit in coffee shops, libraries, art galleries, or at my kitchen table for most of the day reading. I read everything from design blogs, to political cartoons, to Newsweek, to Monocle, to the NYTimes (news & style sections), to USWeekly. You never know where you’ll find little nuggets of interesting chatter or be exposed to a new perspective on a hot-button issue. In my mind, it’s just silly to stay sequestered in your own little microcosm, never really knowing, asking, or understanding anything about the world outside yourself. The era of selfishness is over. And it’s time we all took a greater interest in our community.

Keep Interesting Company


I’ve been lucky enough to travel and live all over the world. And each time I have a new adventure, either down the road or across the globe, I find myself meeting/befriending some weird characters (which of course, is a compliment). These people come from numerous professions, live in random locations, but they all have something beautifully unique to share with others. Growing up in a small town in rural Kansas, I was hard pressed to find people whose opinions or life experiences were very different from my own. But once I started asking questions, listening, and getting to know the various characters that came into my life, the more I learned about the world, but mostly, the more I learned about myself.

Go Explorin’


Get out there! See something different! If you’re on a farm, head to London. If you’re in Shanghai, kick back on a secluded beach in Belize. Whatever you do, just go. I’ll never forget my first trip abroad (it was my first trip anywhere, really). I was in high school and it was my first night in Paris with my teacher and a few other students. We had just exited the subway (my first experience with that too) and were walking along the enchanted streets of Paris. It seemed like we had been traveling for weeks to finally get to this pivotal moment when I would see the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I was impatient and tired. Finally, I said, rather rudely, “Where is it?!” My teacher just grinned at me and said calmly, “Brooke, look up.” I stopped in my tracks and gazed up through the branches and leaves and saw the Tower for the first time, peeking out behind the trees above me, sparkling and grand. Amazing. It was there that I became addicted to travel. If you do nothing else, give yourself the gift of exploration and the wonder that comes from seeing something new for the first time.

Have Fun

I laugh. A lot. I can’t help it. You should too. It’s what makes life…worth it.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

Reach Out

Want to learn how to live from Values-based intentions?

I run an online course, Life With Intention Online, to share exactly how to do just that. Sign up for updates and special bonuses here. (The next class will most likely begin in late 2015.)

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Have a question about your Intention Tattoo order?

Have a question about your intention tattoo order? Please email Ashley at jess(at)jesslc(dot)com directly.


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