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end of the week exfoliation
January 30th, 2010     |    Life

Ah! I need to get a move on if I want to make it to my favorite class in the world (Power Flex, at Bally’s). I gotta get out of here, but check out the awesome exfoliations for this week. If you look carefully, one of the exfoliations is becoming famous in an upcoming movie!

Please note: exfoliations without images are welcome, but will not qualify as a chance to win the giveaway giveaway prize ($40 Jess LC gift certificate).

End of the Week Exfoliation

“This is bag #2 of my “surely I don’t need to take all this stuff with me when I move” cleanout. Purses, hats, lamp, etc. donated to a local thrift store.”


“I have had my laptop from college, which I haven’t touched in 5 years, sitting under the desk of my office.  I always had the intention of clearing the files and donating it.  Today I found an organization (http://interconnection.org) that accepts donated computers, removes the data and refurbishes them for people and communities all around the world!  Right now they are collecting computers for Haiti!  They also give you a shipping label, so all you have to do is pack it up!  I feel so happy to have gotten rid of it and given it to a useful cause, especially in such a difficult time for Haiti.” (no image)


“Old pair of sneakers – saving for working around the yard – I’ll never wear them – tossed.” (no image)


“The twin bed we had in our guest room/office. Since the new sofa is a sleeper, we decided to ditch the bed. After multiple dropped sales, we found a winner. Our bed was purchased by a production company for an independent horror film! They’re filming in an old hospital on the South Side. It’s about college students that participate in a psych study gone crazy. Search for “The Removed” on imbd.com in the future.”


These two shirts have hung, unworn, for the last two years. I see them and feel a twinge of guilt each time I look in my closet. So I finally tried them on, realized I don’t like the fit, and now they are getting donated. Buh-bye guilt and hello new life for the work shirts.

dream report: week one
January 30th, 2010     |    Life

Hi everybody! My name is Ashley Inzer and I have some big dreams. For as long as I can remember I have been a dreamer and not a do-er. I constantly get tons of ideas, get really excited about them and then quietly let them go without acting on them. There are a ton of things that I have allowed to hold me back…fear of failure, fear of success, insecurities, jealousy, fear of responsibility, money mindsets, debt, getting older….the list could go on forever. So here I am, at 32 years old, ready to kick some serious dream butt. When Jess asked me to be a “dream reporter” for her blog I felt some serious fear. What if I can’t do it? What if people think I am ridiculous? What if I am too lazy or unorganized or a terrible writer? But somewhere deep in my gut I know that this is exactly the thing I need to do to end the “dreaming only” cycle and start the doing process. First I want to mention that I am not “prepared” to be a dream reporter…I do not have my ducks in a row, I don’t have a specific plan, I am not a life coach or a self-improvement guru or a writer with a blog filled with amazing content that will help you on your way to your dreams. This whole thing is about the process. Its about the raw realities and authentic experiences. This is an experiment to document exactly what it looks like when a woman decides it is her birthright and responsibility to follow her dreams and live within her purpose.

To get a better understanding of where I am coming from here is a bit about me and my dreams….

I created a “personal statement” for myself a long time ago….”Creator of beautiful experiences”. Since I am a multi-talented person (I enjoy doing lots of different things), this can manifest in a variety of forms. Ultimately if someone encounters me on any level I hope that when they leave they have had a beautiful experience and are inspired to live authentically and with intention. My dream is to be an entrepreneur and to inspire people to dwell within the world of possibilities and to live creatively with intention. I feel my purpose is to inspire people to live authentically.

I have had an entrepreneur mindset since i was a kid. At 7 years old I was going door-to-door selling my own watercolor paintings (for 10 cents) and loom-weaved potholders (for 25 cents). There was never a weekend when I wasn’t selling something in my front yard or trying to explain to people why a certain office supply (that I happen to find in a drawer in my room) or a cup of my special recipe lemonade (that probably just had 2 extra cups of sugar added to it) would make their life so much better.

I have also always loved creating experiences for people. As a kid I would put on productions (fashion shows, carnivals with free prizes, cooking lessons, etc) and go around the neighborhood and pick up other kids in my wagon and bring them to the “event”. As an adult I have coordinated, produced and designed several special events as well.

I also happen to be a designer and artist. I love working in every medium possible. Painting, ceramics, sewing, embroidery, illustration, photography….I love it all. I currently make my living as an Art Director designing print materials mainly for women’s magazines like More, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Budget Travel, etc. Also recently I have been working with brides to create print materials and DIY decor to create a truly authentic wedding that is specific to the couple. I started a blog almost a year ago to document my crafty creations and to communicate what it looks and feels like to live an authentically creative life. Unfortunately when we moved, in September, to a new state I kind of lost my center and have been struggling personally (with being so unhappy at my job and wanting to follow my dreams so badly) that my blog has paid a price. I am ready to get back to it. I was never happier than when i was communicating and sharing my story and connecting with other like-minded peeps. I love stories. I want to tell stories because they really are what bring us all together. I love hearing other people’s stories and connecting on that level.

I am so ready to do this dream thing that I can hardly stand it. I have taken several steps to get me going in that direction (mainly personal steps like hiring a coach, a nutritionist and a boot camp physical trainer) though I am still on the edge about exactly what I want to launch. Starting Feb 1st I will be taking a business class (http://www.unconventionalguides.com/100biz.htm) with Chris Guillebeau and I will leave my 28 days with him with a business plan in place (the dream will sprout legs!).

So hopefully all of that makes some sort of sense. The most important thing for me is to be honest and authentic about where I am in this process. It is all very raw right now for me as I don’t have a definite course of action laid out….I only know what I want. I am very nervous about stepping fully into my dreams….I have major financial concerns (especially since I am the only one in my home generating income at this point – my partner is in school full time – and we have a good bit of debt) as well as issues with my confidence and trusting myself to make decisions from my heart. I believe that each person is different and each person has the ultimate power to create the life that they want to live. I don’t want to live re-actively, I want to live creatively (and I don’t mean only in the artistic sense) and with intention. I don’t want another year to go by where I am just wishing that I could be doing something else or being someone else. I want to inspire other people to live authentically as I am doing it myself. I like the idea of revealing the good and the bad…the true path to living my dreams.

As scary as it all seems, spending my life outside of my purpose for yet another year seems a lot more terrifying. When I step back and get that perspective it doesn’t seem so much scary as it seems necessary, important and responsible. (I wonder what the world would look like if every single person was dedicated to living within their true purpose?) So what do you think? Will you go on this journey with me?

new saturday series: dream reporting with ashley
January 29th, 2010     |    Life

I hope you have a great weekend planned! I have just a handful of days before Erwin comes back in town. Which means I’ll be catching up with plenty of friends and doing girly things. (I’ve already “scheduled” a homemade mani/pedi appointment with myself in the living room on Saturday.)

Ashley, MakeunderMyLife Dream Reporter

I also want to let you know that if you decide to do a little blog reading tomorrow you will see a new face on MML. Recently, Ashely, a makeunder reader, reached out to me and explained that she is bound and determined to follow her purpose with intention this year. After listening to her story, I thought she would be the perfect weekend reporter for MML. Sure, I think that my story has helped people and can inspire others to start taking steps to design the life they want. But since I’ve been gradually doing this over the past ten years, I often share past experiences. Whereas Ashely is experiencing those milestones right now.

My hope is that Ashley’s story and journey shared each Saturday will help those who are ready to make a change but haven’t… yet. So stay tuned to find out more about Ashely and her story.

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: jeanine of aphro chic
January 29th, 2010     |    DESIGN YOUR LIFE

Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE is brought to you by Jeanine of AphroChic. As I have mentioned (many times before), Jeanine’s business, textiles, and spirit have inspired me to take Jess LC to the next level. She is also a style and interior design blogger, check out her blog, AphroChic. And she recently did a stint as a Lucky Mag blogger(!!).

Though Jeanine has already gone above and beyond to help guide and support me with my new changes, I couldn’t help but ask her to participate in a DYL. The ability to peek inside her brain and see what principals she values is priceless. What struck me personally about her DYL is the intention to dream big dreams. I’m taking a note out of her book and doing the same myself!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Jeanine of AphroChic

Always dare to be different.

Being different is a wonderful thing.  Since I was a child, I have always been different.  I was an incredibly outspoken six year old, who loved politics, and dreamed of becoming a minister, a fashion designer and a writer (all at once).  Why not?  There were times when I didn’t always accept my difference.  Why couldn’t I be quieter?  Why did I have to be so opinionated?  But now, at 31, living out my dream as a designer, I understand that there is a power in my difference, and a strength in my voice and my vision.  It’s what sets me a part from everyone else, and what makes my work unique.  And most importantly, being different and offering a new perspective makes me happy.

Don’t be confined by one vision of who you are and what your life should be.

Life can take you on a number of twists and turns and you can’t be confined by one vision of yourself.  One day you’re a lawyer, and the next you’re making pillows.  That’s my story.  And yes, it seems strange that someone who spent so much time studying political science and law would one day go into textile design.  But, if I had only allowed myself to be and do one thing, I would not be on this amazing journey I am on now.  I’ve learned not to be confined by who I “should be”.  I am open to all of the opportunities that life has to offer.

Dream big dreams, and then make them come true.

I have learned that the bigger the dreams, the bigger the goals and the accomplishments that follow.   I have never been afraid to dream big.  At the start of every new year I sit at my desk and make a list of my goals for the next 12 months.  It’s a list of dreams and big thinking for my company and what I want to accomplish.  It’s a list I constantly revisit and tweak, and it keeps me focused on the big things I want in life.   When you are focused on what you want, when you believe you can and will fulfill your goals, you’ll be amazed about what comes true.

Don’t listen.

Truth be told, I am a terrible listener.  I have always been guided by my own thoughts and intuition.  I never do things by the book, and enjoy thinking outside of the box.  If I listened to what others said, I never would have changed my career and followed my passion.  I would not be living a life that fulfills my creative spirit.  Sometimes, it’s important to know that the most important person to listen to is yourself.

Never go it alone.

My husband is the love of my life and my partner in all things.  Everything we do, we do together, and it’s his support that helps me reach my goals.  Whether it’s a partner, a mentor or a friend, it is important to surround yourself with positive influencers, people who push you, who believe in you, and who help you be your very best self.  I could never have transitioned to this new path or reached my goals alone.  It’s the support of my partner that helps me make my dreams a reality.

Always have fun.

I have always been a Type A personality.  For years my life was on a constant path of stress, the need to control, and more stress.  But now that I’ve discovered a new life as a designer, I want to enjoy what I’m passionate about, and those Type A traits just aren’t fun.  I spend a lot of time each day working on building a business and brand, but I spend just as much time having fun and enjoying what I do.  When life stops being fun, when you can’t find the laughter, it’s time to move on to something new.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

jessica’s raid my closet
January 28th, 2010     |    LifeWardrobe

Good morning! Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE will be posted later today or tomorrow. It’s a good one, that’s for sure.

But until I have a chance to get that formatted, I wanted to share a little project I did with Jessica of Polished Sense. If you haven’t seen her awesome selection of shoes, hop over to her store and check it out. One of Jessica’s blog series is called “Raid My Closet” and I was her most recent muse.

Take a look at some of my favorite looks she pulled together- right out of my own closet! Combining the awesome ensembles she made with my existing pieces, she added a pair of her awesome shoes. The outcome is so fresh and original. Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 for the complete set of looks she made for me.

Needless to say, my daily routine consists of jeans, t-shirts, and cardigans almost exclusively. But after this experience, I’m going to try to step out of the box a bit more. Thanks, Jessica!

This post is really written for me, but might be helpful for others.

Saying “no” means saying “yes.”

Sure, we’ve all heard the anti-drug tag-line, “just say no!” since elementary school. And as children we knew not to accept offers for illegal drugs. It meant bad things. But what I think they didn’t manage to teach well in grade school was that by saying no to drugs, we are saying yes to a healthy life free of drug addiction.

But somewhere between fifth-grade and adulthood I (and probably many others) have lost the perspective we had when we were little. Not about saying no to drugs, but in saying no to things that are offered to us in relationships, career, and life. We all talk about striving for “balance” (I should know – it’s one of the most popular DESIGN YOUR LIFE intentions), but are we ready to actually follow through on that goal?

I find sometimes I struggle with saying “no” to things that I don’t want to do or feel right in my gut. There are times out of (perceived) social pressure, I feel I should say yes to something simply because it is in front of me. For example,

  • I should say yes to an offer to do a social activity I don’t enjoy.
  • I should say yes to more involvement than I’m comfortable with in a philanthropic situation.
  • I should say yes to spending more money than I really want to when going out with friends.
  • I should work longer in the evenings during my off-hours, if that is what others are doing.
  • I should say yes to drinking one or two extra glasses of wine when out with friends.

What I am working to realize, on a daily basis, is that by saying no in those situations I am really saying yes to the following:

  • I am saying yes to doing fun activities that I genuinely enjoy with others.
  • I am saying yes to my gut and intuition, volunteering in an authentic way.
  • I am saying yes to my intention to save more money.
  • I am saying yes to balance and being the best person I can be.
  • I am saying yes to living a healthy life with moderation.

Though I am still working on these intentions, there have been times when I have spoken up for my inner-voice and said no to similar situations.

I find that when I do so, saying the simple phrase “I just want to be honest” followed by my polite decline is helpful. Not only that, but usually the response is completely accepted by the other party, and releases me from the phantom guilt of “I should.”

Anyone out there feel the same?

jess lc $100 giveaway winners!
January 26th, 2010     |    Life


Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments about MML and your awesome suggestions for the upcoming intentional jewelry for Jess LC. There were 177 comments, some with as many as five intention message suggestions! Needless to say, I am going to need to do a little searching and come up with common themes that surfaced throughout many suggestions in order to narrow down the submissions to around 20. Then I’ll post those ideas here on MML and we can vote on which ones you’d be personally interested in buying or wearing. From there, we will narrow down the selection to the six most universal phrases.

But as you know, there was also a little giveaway attached to this post for two $100 Jess LC gift certificates… (I apologize right now, I had such a cute little graphic for all of this but my server seems to be acting funky and I can’t upload any new images which aren’t already on MML).

#2 – Marie

“how fun to read these comments! My message would be “together” – a daily reminder about community and the strength of relationships.”

#111 – WDT

“Your blog is the first I check everyday…I love it. Thank you and congratulations on a wonderful first year.
My mantra for 2010 is “breathe”. 2010 brought lots of changes and new schedules and added stressors, so I am trying to remember to breathe, come back to my intention for the day and do it gracefully. So that is my submission for a necklace: breathe.”

And as much as I’d love to comment and email every single person who suggested an intentional phrase, that is not in the best interests of my sanity and so I will say this to everyone who participated:

Thank you so much for your kind comments, and suggestions. Without your support and encouragement throughout the year, I may very well have abandoned MML. Sometimes it’s not easy for me to post and share five days a week, but your emails and comments help me to continue to grow and push myself to share the message of MakeunderMyLife. Your intentional phrases were touching and in so many cases, incredibly personal. I loved hearing your stories and I hope we will be able to compile a jewelry collection that speaks to your intentions for your life.


Good morning! I hope you have had a great weekend. Mine was relaxing and a bit strange since Erwin is on location shooting for the next show he’s working on (if I haven’t mentioned, he’s a tv associate producer). I felt like I had a lot more time in the day on Saturday and Sunday than usual. Then I realized that was because I wasn’t watching college or pro football- which is typical when E is around.

Anyways… I’m excited to (finally) mention that our Spring part 2 video about Intentions, Goals, and Resolutions is live! Click here to check it out here if you’d like a dose of inspiration and motivation to keep up your intentions for 2010.

end of the week exfoliation
January 23rd, 2010     |    Exfoliating

This week we have a larger batch of exfoliations than usual. If you want to send in your end of the week exfoliation, email your image, caption, and blog link (if you have one) and I’ll post it next week as well.

End of the Week Exfoliation


“This week I am happily exfoliating two old laundry baskets and their contents (one is chock-full of clothing, purses, and shoes)! Next week, I hope to shed a few old coats!”

“Set of old dishes – given to thrift shop for someone who has nothing. Proceeds from the shop go to support the VNA I work for.” (no image.)
” I have an upcoming move, and even though I don’t yet know which city I’m going to end up in, I know I don’t need to take all this stuff with me! Here’s bag #1 of my cleanout.”
– Anne
I love how funky and vibrant these earrings are, but they just don’t fit my style. I was told they are deadstock from the 80s, so they are pretty unique. They deserve to go to someone who will actually wear them!”

“This is the loveseat I bought from a friend after college. She was moving back to Denver from St. Louis, so obviously didn’t want to truck it home. So we used it in St. Louis and brought it to Chicago when John moved up in October. In order to make room for the new sectional, and through the magic of Craigslist, we donated the loveseat to a preschool serving low-income families.

– Cathy


These booties from Forever 21 are cute, stylish, and usually unworn. Since they are collecting dust in my closet they deserve a better home. Any takers? $10 for shipping and they are yours. (Size 8.) First to comment gets them!

semi-homemade garlic pizza
January 22nd, 2010     |    Food


Happy Friday! This week’s End of the Week Exfoliation will be up tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to this weekend as I have a coffee chat with a very dear blog friend on Saturday and dinner tonight with a close Chicago buddy. I hope your weekend is dry, sunny, and relatively warm!

It’s been a looong time since I’ve posted any food recipes. Mostly because I don’t generally cook that much (hello, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, turkey wraps, and Chicago restaurants). But today’s recipe is a new favorite and so simple to prepare.

While dining at Piece in Bucktown a few months ago, Erwin and I discovered the joys of garlic as a topping on pizza. It was incredible. And now we are recreating a knock-off version every week or two. We’ve started to cook frozen pizzas while simultaneously roasting two heads of garlic. Once the pizza and garlic are finished cooking, we add the garlic cloves on top of the pizza slices. It’s that easy.

Take a look.





Cook the garlic on 425* for 20-30 minutes, until golden and soft. Cook pizza as directed.

Once the pizza and garlic are done, carefully pull each garlic clove out of the shell and place as much as desired on the pizza.


(We add Parmesan and red pepper flakes for extra flavor.)

There you have it. Such a simple twist on a no-brainer dinner.

my first tv interview
January 21st, 2010     |    Business AdviceLifeStyle

Good morning! First, I want to mention that DESIGN YOUR LIFE will be back next week with one of my personal business heroes.

Today I have a pretty exciting piece to share: my first official television interview! Sure, its for a very local show, sure I say the word “absolutely” 26 times, and sure there is an interesting caller in the middle of the segment. But even with all of those things, I’m darn proud of this video.

To give you a heads up, I talk about how I grew the jewelry business, why I started the blog and how it’s improved Jess LC, and my favorite quote. (Personally, my favorite parts are in the last ten minutes.)

THINK ABOUT IT: single-tasking
January 20th, 2010     |    LifeThink About It


Wow. Oh wow. I am so excited by all of the awesome submissions for the spring Jess LC intentional message necklaces on yesterday’s post. Not to mention all of the blog birthday wishes. Thank you, thank you. I will continue accepting submissions until next Tuesday (Jan/26), so feel free to keep posting messages.

I’m also excited to share the tv segments that I taped yesterday. One feature about MakuenderMyLife will air on WCIU in Chicago next Thursday (TBA) and the other interview about Score and Jess LC aired last night on CAN-TV at 5:30PM. Of course I will be sure to post the videos once they are uploaded online.


Today’s THINK ABOUT IT is based on a personal intention I have made recently. It all began after the holiday season when I found myself easily distracted, forgetful, and generally a little “out of it.” I pondered why I struggled to hear someone speak while the television was on (sorry, Erwin), why I couldn’t remember details in recent conversations, and why I had difficulty concentrating.

After thinking about the frazzled trend, I started to wonder whether my work days were taking a toll on my mind. I hop between a half a dozen projects at any one time throughout the day. Running both Jess LC and MML at the same time require quite a bit of work in a million different directions. And when I thought about it, in a million different browser tabs.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Firefox fiercely and the tab feature is incredible. But I started wondering if keeping four windows open at one time was multiplying my distracted, air-head tendencies. Or, if talking on the phone while reading online was a good idea. So I’ve started to keep just one (or two) windows open while online. I’ve also tried to focus on one task on my to-do list rather than juggling three simultaneously.

And you know what? I think I’m getting smarter.

…Or at least I’m not feeling as dumb as before.

I suppose it goes to show that if driving while texting is dangerous, working on three projects at once is not healthy either. Sure there are no lives lost in the latter situation, but losing my mind is pretty disappointing.

Anyone else on the single-tasking bandwagon too?













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