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off the chain: Jess LC and the holidays

December 30th, 2009   |   Life

package

As we slowly return to work and “life as normal” during these awkward days between Christmas and New Years Eve, I’m sure people are slowly checking in-boxes and blog readers to see what they’ve missed during holiday parties, glasses of wine, and Christmas cookies.

Or is it just me?

Either way, based on our Jess LC holiday sales, I’m pretty sure there were dozens (or even hundreds?) of happy ladies receiving jewelry all over the country. Maybe even you? [If so, give me a shout out in the comments section!]

And let’s not forget the ladies who won Jess LC jewelry on High Heeled Foot in the Door and PVE Design. Both Emily and Jen sent me pictures of their new baubles. Take a look.

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jennecklace

Check out Jen’s full post about her prize. Like her necklace? It’s right here.

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Doesn’t Emily look adorable? This is her new necklace.

Send me a pic of you wearing your new (or old) Jess LC necklace and I’ll post it later next week. Email it to jess@jesslc.com.

my favorite christmas gifts

December 29th, 2009   |   ExfoliatingLife

vintagegucci

Good morning! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday so far. Mine has been great. I found myself mildly allergic to the computer after arriving at my parent’s house and I vowed to take a few days off from email, blogs, and Jess LC. It was definitely a good decision. I now have more energy and ideas for the company and blog in 2010.

grandmascocktailring

Today I’d like to share my two favorite Christmas gifts. Ironically neither of the presents were actually wrapped or laying beneath the Christmas tree. Sure, I got a lot of great new gifts like these great lamps, but this vintage bag and cocktail ring were both meaningful and perfect for me. The Gucci was originally a gift to my mom from my grandma. Since I’ve never seen my mom wear it, I’m know she hasn’t used it in many years. And the same goes for the topaz ring. She has never worn this piece which was originally my other grandma’s 20th wedding anniversary present.

So what does this mean? It means that my two favorite gifts were actually my mom’s exfoliations! This is a perfect example of why it is good to exfoliate on a regular basis. These two items have been sitting around in my mom’s closet for decades. Now that she’s passed them on to me, they will have an entirely new life and purpose, suited exactly for the way I live.

So I challenge you to find something that you have lying around, unused/unneeded/or unloved and pass it on to someone who will put it on the top of their holiday list.

spring: my “about me video” is posted

December 21st, 2009   |   Life

spring_header5

Good morning! Today is a bit of a flex day for me. My brother, Mike, just got into Chicago and will be staying with me until Wednesday morning when we fly home to our parents house outside of Philly. I’m busy working on the last batch of holiday orders and getting things done for Jess LC while Erwin and Mike watch Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’m hoping I’ll be able to wrap up in the next few hours so we can get a few last minute presents for family.

Spring – My “About Me” Post

If you have 10 minutes, feel free to hop over to Spring where I posted my “about me” video. I explain how I started Jess LC and what sparked MakeunderMyLife. Enjoy!

end of the week exfoliation

December 18th, 2009   |   Exfoliating

Good morning! It’s a fairly minor miracle that this is getting posted today! Last night we had a small Jess LC holiday party (which included sangria, Baked Brie salad, and Top Gun). And this morning I am frantically getting all the new orders ready for Susie (I don’t know what I’d do without her), so I can head down to Macy’s for the last trunk show I will do there for the next few months. Seriously. I promise. It’s the last one until spring. So if you still need to do some shopping, come on by and say hi. I will be at the State St. location from 11-5.

And I’d also like to give a shout out to you all for the comments about my Think About It feature. It was so amazing to hear your support and encouragement. It means so much. I am taking your thoughts to heart, and I will try not to disregard the intentional posts that I have maintained throughout the year. I don’t say the word “y’all”, but if I did, I’d say “y’all are great” in my best Paula Dean* voice.

(* No idea why I chose Paula Dean to impersonate. It just happened.)

End of the Week Exfoliation

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“Some work shirts that don’t fit anymore.”

Christine

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“We’re currently selling a microwave… on Craigslist.”

Cathy (It was so great to meet you!! I can’t wait to hang out more in 2010.)

exfoliationboots

These Aldo rain boots do a fairly good job impersonating Hunter boots. And with the fleece lining, you can’t even tell they aren’t Hunter. That said, they were not the warmest, and I spent much of the 2008/09 winter freezing in them at the bus stop. So now that I have Bare Trap boots, I don’t need these impostors anymore.

When I need new rain boots for the spring, I’ll splurge for the real deal.


new series: “think about it”

December 17th, 2009   |   LifeThink About It

I apologize for the break in the DESIGN YOUR LIFE series. Things have been much busier than I expected this week… well, really much busier all of December, really. (It’s holiday season, why did I expect things to slow down?!) Which left me with little time to snag someone for a DYL post.

Think About It

thinkaboutit

But the good news is that this leaves me with a chance to run a new series I’d like to start in 2010 called “Think About It.” Over the past few months I have had a lot on my plate. And in trying to do each thing very well, I have let a lot of the theory behind MakeunderMyLife go by the wayside here on the blog. To be honest, it has been easier to write about things that are actively going on in my life (like decorating, Jess LC, Spring, and exfoliating) rather than talk about the principals I believe in. Principals take time, thought, and careful writing. Which is hard to accomplish during a full work day. But the quality and usefulness to you, my dear readers, is diminished when those topics are all the blog is about.

So one of my intentions for 2010 is to bring back this thoughtfulness to MakeunderMyLife. After all, I am extremely proud and humbled to be fulfilling my purpose here on the blog. And to dilute this vocation with nothing but recipes, interviews, and decorating is doing us all a disservice. This is not to say that those more lighthearted topics won’t still be included, in fact, to a large extent they will still be the most popular topics. But a weekly dose of “Think About It” might keep the bigger picture in perspective as well.

So stay tuned for some thought provoking entries in the year to come! And thank you for sticking with me while I learn to balance all that is in my life right now.

whatidontwantchristmas
Today is a special day. I am instituting a new holiday tradition, in true MakeunderMyLife fashion. I am doing a thorough exfoliation before the holidays begin. Why wait until I get new things on December 25th and have too much stuff and clutter? By going through my stuff now and asking “What would I NOT put on my holiday list?“, I can make room for the new gifts to come.

If you think about it, it’s the same reason my weight-lifting class instructor, Shannon, always makes us work out extra hard before Thanksgiving and Christmas. She knows we will soon be eating a lot of food. And by stepping up our fitness now, we will offset (some of) the sweets later.

So I’ve done a deep dive into my wardrobe and picked out what I don’t envision myself wearing in 2010. If the piece of clothing doesn’t match my vision for 2010, it doesn’t deserve to be in my wardrobe come January 1st.

What I DON’T Want For Christmas 2009

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Jacket and pants claimed by Susie.

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Workout gear.

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Shoes are mostly size 8.5. All are up for grabs.

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Latico Red Leather Handbag

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Charles David Leather Bag

So How Can You Have Some of the Loot?

If something above struck your fancy, you are welcome to comment and claim it (first to comment, wins). I do ask that you pay for shipping (I will send you a PayPal invoice for the shipping amount). Susie has already claimed the jacket and pants in the first photo (she looks adorable in them), but the rest are up for grabs.

As for the bags- they are great. The red one is a leather basket weave by Latico. And the brown one is Charles David with putty colored leather and gold accents. These bags are heavier than most things I send, so I ask for $18 to make sure I cover the shipping costs.

And the Big Question Is…

Are you thinking about making this a tradition as well? Let me know if you are thinking about doing something similar. And as always, feel free to send me pics to post on the End of the Week Exfoliation. You could win a $40 Jess LC gift certificate in the process.

next spring topic: intentions and 2010

December 15th, 2009   |   Life

springintentions

Yesterday Susie and I were knee deep in orders and filling them at the speed of light. All of them have now been made and shipped, so many people have surprises arriving in the mail. Thank you for your orders and support!

Okay, now to the business at hand. Our next Spring chat will be about intentions and the new year. We will be taping this Thursday and will post the video in January. Which is why we need your feedback, thoughts, and ideas about the topic. We will incorporate what you mention in our conversation.

So feel free to leave your thoughts here on this post or over on Spring.

off the chain: holiday shipping info

December 12th, 2009   |   Life

As the holidays approach (13 days until Christmas!), we have been completely floored at the amazing number of you who have put Jess LC on your Christmas or holiday list. It’s quite possibly the highest honor I can imagine as a designer. And I’m happy to report many boyfriends and husbands have been carefully paying attention to hints and suggestions.

Susie, my assistant, has been invaluable during this season and we are shipping orders within 1-2 business days. Orders ship via the USPS First Class Mail. Delivery time in IL is 1-2 days and outside IL is 3-6 days.

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And remember- any orders placed between DEC/23- JAN/1 will ship on January 2nd.

Again, thank you so much for making our holiday so bright- we hope our jewelry does the same for you!

end of the week exfoliation

December 11th, 2009   |   Exfoliating

Good morning! Since it’s Friday, you might guess that I’ll be doing a trunk show at Macy’s on State St. from 11-5. And you would be right. I’m predictable like that. So come say high and use your Macy’s coupons to get discounts on Jess LC jewelry.

Or, if you don’t live in the area check out our holiday shipping info. Basically, orders placed before Dec/23 are shipping within 1-2 business days, and arrive within 1-2 days in Illinois and 3-6 days outside Illinois. So there is definitely still time to get your shopping done while you are at work. Or at home. Whenever you feel like it.

Now it’s time to get rid of some stuff…

End of the Week Exfoliation

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“Some shirts that don’t fit anymore that I’ve had for a long time (probable since high school!).”

Christine

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“I really like these skirts, but the pocket placement is unflattering on my shape. The pockets bulge and make me feel frumpy. Time to pass them along.”

S.E.Minegar
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“I’ve lived in the same apartment for about 3.5 years, so there are plenty of things to get rid of. We’re currently selling a couch.”

Cathy

exoliationsusie

This zip-up jacket is cute, but doesn’t fit me very well. So now it belongs to Susie. Doesn’t she look cute?!

dylsteph

Today’s DYL is by Steph of Love in the Time of Foreclosure. I first met Steph online through blogging and then in person this summer at Chiblogo. It was great to meet her and hear her story firsthand. As you will read below, she has had quite a year.

And whether you yourself are facing foreclosure, debt, or another major challenge, reading Steph’s intentions are encouraging. Though she’s not immune to dissapointment, her resiliency shines brightly. Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Steph of “Love in the Time of Foreclosure”

Be happy. Now.

In the midst of fighting to save our house from foreclosure while drowning under our serious debt I noticed something strange… I was happier. Happier than I’d ever been, in fact. How on earth was that possible? On the surface it didn’t seem to make sense. Until I realized that I was simply choosing to be happy. Now. Not waiting for things to turn around, because who knew if they ever would. I strongly believe that happiness is a choice. It is possible to be happy at any given moment no matter what the circumstances in life. Throughout the entire eleven months of fighting to save our house from foreclosure and hold onto the life we knew in Los Angeles this became my mantra. Be happy. Now. There’s no waiting for things to get better in order to be happy. What if they never get better? That would mean I’d never get to be happy and that does not work for me. So I choose happiness.

Allow vulnerability

earlythanksgiving

I’ve always been a crier. As a kid, this embarrassed me to no end. It was impossible for me to hold my emotions back. To wear a mask of any kind. So many times I wanted to hide my emotions away, but wasn’t able. I saw my inability to hide myself as a flaw. I don’t know when it happened but there was some point in my life when I finally embraced my ability to put it all out there. This has materialized in the most concrete way in my blog, “Love in the Time of Foreclosure.” Writing has always been my way to sort things out for myself. And now I write about my most vulnerable moments in a public fashion. Putting it all out there for the world to see. The benefit? When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, it’s easier to be at peace with yourself… and people are in turn vulnerable with you. Life gets so much more real. Forget about surface conversations… deep conversations and connections with people just happen. Worlds open up. People open up. And life just is more fulfilling.

Life is easier when you’re helping others

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I met my husband on a 500 mile bike ride from Minneapolis to Chicago to raise money for people living with AIDS. We like to say that our first date was six days and 500 miles long. On the ride we noticed an interesting phenomena while climbing hills. If we focused on cheering our fellow riders on, we’d be at the top before we even realized we were climbing a hill. Putting our focus on helping others seemed to be the trick. When we didn’t, the hill was always harder. That’s when we’d notice the pain and would start thinking the hill was impossible. This phenomena extends to all areas of life. When I’m focused on helping others, my life seems so much easier.

Leave it all on the track

I ran track and cross country in high school and my senior year I battled injuries- stress fractures and a strained hip flexor. When I was able to compete, I was extremely disappointed by my performance that was nowhere as good as the year prior. Each time I stepped to the starting line it was more about, “Am I going to let myself down again this time?” than anything else. Not the best way to compete. Towards the end of the season before one particularly inconsequential dual meet my coach said to me, “Don’t think about winning. Think about leaving it all on the track. If you go out there and give everything you’ve got and make sure that at the end of the race you’ve put it all on the track and you have nothing left, that’s what matters. Think about that.” Those words rang so true. They were a call to action. I can do that, I thought. It’s not about perfectionism or even winning the race, but knowing that you lived full out and held nothing back. Ever since that day, that’s been the standard I hold myself to in life.

Don’t let a perfectly good crisis go to waste

Last year speaking about the economic crisis, Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.” There is opportunity in every crisis. The opportunity to do things you wouldn’t have been able to do before. That’s exactly how Bob and I viewed our personal financial crisis. In fact, we made a promise to each other to not let it go to waste. To learn from every moment. To grow as a couple and as individuals. To rise to the occasion. We talked about how things might look bleak, but that if we kept at it we could actually create huge opportunities beyond what we ever imagined. We didn’t save our house, but we did end up living rent-free in a big farmhouse in one of the most beautiful places in the world- San Juan Island. We haven’t recovered our income, but Bob landed a job with a great company where he gets to work from home and I became a blogger. Beyond all of that, though, what we gained from our crisis was the knowledge that we can weather any storm. And that our marriage, love, health and happiness are by far our highest priorities.

Be grateful in good times and bad

pablo_incar

It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well but it’s almost more important to be grateful when they’re not. This is what got us through the year of marriage counseling and the year of our financial meltdown. Gratitude. We put it into practice. When one of us is feeling down and out or downright sorrowful, the other will ask, “Name one thing you’re grateful for right now.” It’s impossible to not find one thing. At the very least we can say, “I’m grateful for you.” Or, “I’m grateful for Pablo.” (Pablo is our Pug dog.) Or, “I’m grateful for the love of my family and friends.” Expressing gratitude – especially in ‘bad’ times – has a magical effect. It’s worked wonders for us. In fact, it worked yesterday. When we were miserable because our pipes froze and we were freezing and feeling lonely missing our family and friends and our old house and Los Angeles… Bob said he was grateful for something. I honestly don’t even remember what. But it worked. It changed my focus from what we didn’t have to what we do have. And that’s a lot.

Acquire experiences, not things

giant_cow

This is one that I always agreed with but never really put into practice. Until our financial crisis. Through selling 90% of our possessions in a giant estate sale, I began my detachment to material possessions and honing the extremely important distinction between want and need. I firmly believe that less is more and more is burden. We are so done working to pay for things we own. Instead our life is now about acquiring experiences. I love that!

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

chicago french market

December 9th, 2009   |   Life

As I’ve mentioned, I went to the Chicago French Market on Saturday with my friend, Jake. We had a blast checking out all the stands and we I sampled a lot of delicious food including Sweet Miss Giving’s white chocolate and cranberry cookie and a crepe filled with brie, figs, and arugula.

The space was packed. But it’s nice that they are open Monday-Saturday so you can go at less popular times if you like. Overall it reminded me of the Green City Market in Lincoln Park with less produce stands. And having Pastoral there didn’t hurt either. As for the produce prices, I felt that most of it was less expensive than Green City, almost on par with grocery stores.

And my favorite feature was the giant wall mural which made you feel as though you were eating under the Eiffel Tower- check out the pictures below to see what I mean.

Chicago French Market

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sign

rolls

butter

fruit

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sweets

cappuchinocups

veggies

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beerfries

nataliejost

It’s been a while since I’ve updated with any business advice. And I don’t usually post about other people’s blog posts.

But exceptional advice from an exceptional blog makes this update worth it’s weight in gold. I found Natalie’s blog and order tracking system via Oh Brooke. Here’s a sneak peek of how she tracks her online orders with her gmail account.

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I have been using this multiple inbox system since Sunday and I’m completely in love. This system makes completing orders easier to track and manage.

Check out how Natalie has changed my [order processing] life.


Reach Out

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

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