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the next dream reporter is….

April 30th, 2010   |   Life

First, I’d like to thank everyone who applied to be the new Dream Reporter. Reading the amazing stories and dreams of such an awesome group of people was humbling. The variety of backgrounds, ages, lifestyles, and purposes was staggering. I feel so thankful to have met each and every person. Today I am going to take my time and write each person a personal response and share some ideas and encouragement for their journeys. My goal is to reach out to everyone this morning before I leave for the weekend, but I realize I might not have the time to really respond thoroughly. So please be patient if you don’t hear from me until next week.

Given the incredibly high quality of all of the applicants, the decision for the next Dream Reporter was certainly not easy. And I hope to include the dreams shared in the submissions in a variety of ways in the future. My vision of MML is to become a community rather than just a place for me to share my story, and I hope to find the means and time to devote to this mission soon.

And now without further delay, I am happy to announce the next Dream Reporter will be Piper of One Sydney Road! After hearing Piper’s story and dream, I sensed her excitement and enthusiasm immediately. Her dream is to create an online homewares boutique to merge her passion for interior design with e-commerce. The great thing about Piper’s reporting is that she’s where so many MML readers are; she’s identified her dream, taken the first steps to get it started, and is teetering on the edge of the diving board. We will get a glimpse through her reporting of the immediate thoughts, fears, and triumphs faced right before diving off the board and the challenges, and successes that come upon entering the water.

Stay tuned to hear Piper’s story in her own words tomorrow. I think you’ll be as smitten with her as I am.

a quick update

April 29th, 2010   |   Life

I have to admit, this week I feel a bit scattered, and I thought it might be nice to let you all in on what I’ve been working on and what I have coming up.

Jess LC

As I mentioned in the Pilgrim Post, I have started to take new actions to get the business to the next level. Some of those changes include interviewing PR firms, securing a credit line for Jess LC, getting official business insurance for the first time (an exciting new retailer I’m working with this summer requires it), finalizing the samples for the awesome new collection that includes the intention messages you all submitted, designing the fall collection, and talking to potential New York showrooms.

Phew. I’m tired just thinking about it. The best thing about these actions is that they put me in a state of “stretch” – doing new things I haven’t done before for the business. Which is both exciting and nerve-racking. But I’m going ahead anyways and I find that it’s not (always) as intimidating as it seems.


As far as MML goes, we don’t have a DYL this week, but have an awesome one planned for next week. Tomorrow I plan to announce the new Dream Reporter(!!), and I personally will be heading to the great state of Ohio tomorrow afternoon to celebrate my grandpa’s 80th Birthday party for the weekend. I hope to also email all of the Dream Reporter applicants a personal letter talking about their dreams tomorrow morning.

If I happen to get to the End of the Week Exfoliation post for this weekend before I head out, all the better. But no promises.

Sometimes I just gotta do what I can and let that be enough. :)

Today we have a great guest post by Rebecca of Loving.Living.Small and her newest super-cool venture, Sweetline Agency. Since I know there are quite a few dream followers and small business owners in the MML community, I think Rebecca’s post about social media voice is super important for long-term success and to for making the biggest impact.


Defining Your Social Media Voice

Hi there, it’s Rebecca from Sweetline Agency and I am so thrilled to be contributing a guest post to Makeunder My Life’s small business series. I truly love and relate to the message of Jess’s amazing blog – living a life with intention – yes! I live my own life embracing this idea of being true to yourself  as I experience life adventures, in particular with my career journey. I feel that my topic today – defining your social media voice – relates completely to the Makeunder My Life vibe. Keep it real!

As I just mentioned, today I am chatting about small business owners + defining one’s social media online voice. As a small business owner, getting your company and brand up and running takes time, is equally challenging as it is rewarding and finding time in a day is sometimes hard. As you tackle your daily to-do list, consider adding one thing that is always at the top – provide service to your own brand.  One of my main messages for Sweetline is that you are your biggest client and taking time to curate + define your own brand is important. Your website is your professional voice and your social media communities are your personality, a peek behind the curtain of who you are and what your company stands for. One of the best ways to do this – social media.

The social media wave is still going strong and the neat thing about it is that you can jump in anytime to begin building your community. A great first step is to define your online voice. What does this really mean? Well, it’s basically deciding the tone of your communities – your blog, your twitter, your facebook fan page. What type of blogger do you want to be – maybe a curator of ideas, a creator of new content, a news collector, a mood board, etc? Another tip – keep it real. Always. Social media communities are connections + relationships and being authentic and sincere goes a long way. A third thought – know your audience.

Here’s a story – I recently went to Sonoma for a weekend of wine tasting + bike riding + good food. (um, doing all of these things at once is not a great idea, fyi!) and I discovered a neat olive oil company, The Olive Press. When I got home, I checked out the company online and clicked on their blog to find impressive + interesting reads. They decided to blog about olive oil from a cultural standpoint offering amazing recipes, health benefits, cool events they were part of, wine country, wines they love, etc.  I would say that they defined their voice 100% – they are embracing the curator of ideas tone, their vibe is super authentic even when they talk about awards they win (it’s as if they are sharing with their family good news) and they writing to their audience of wine lovers. Yes across the board!

Ok, small business owners, get out there, blog your heart out and tweet your style. Make time everyday to share who you are and what your brand is about with you’re your communities – they’ll love you for it! Check out more ideas about your online voice in my post – 12 Tips for Defining Your Online Voice – over on the Sweetline blog.

What a great title. This article I stumbled upon by Martha Beck is pretty darn amazing.

Read Martha Beck’s article, What’s Really Going On In Your Life?

After thinking long and hard, I’ve decided to institute a new policy at Jess LC: free shipping on all USPS First Class Mail orders (with no tracking number).

Though the decision wasn’t easy to make as a store owner, the answer was obvious as a customer: I don’t like paying for shipping online.

And I’m guessing you don’t either.

A few weeks ago, MML reader, Ann of the blog Glamourshoes sent me a great email explaining how she has done such a wonderful job “designing her life” by pursuing a variety of passions throughout the past twenty years. But she is now at a new crossroads: life after raising three awesome children. From the bit that she shared, I knew her story has a lot to teach us all. For those of us who are just beginning life after school, Ann’s story points out that we can design our lives in multiple ways throughout the years. And for those who are also in Ann’s shoes, her story demonstrates that a new “life design” is necessary to stay inspired, purposeful, and fulfilled.


Ann’s Designed Life

When Jess asked me to write a guest post about how I have designed my life at various stages, I was surprised.  I discovered Jess in a desperate attempt one night to find something, ANYTHING, to inspire me!  My creativity seems to have evaporated and I’m not sure how to find it. I tend to let life just happen to me and then I have to intend my way through it!  Making under my life struck a chord as I am realizing that perhaps I need to intentionally design the life I want and then intend my way toward  it, instead!  Aha!  That’s the way it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?

I married and had kids young and now two of my three kids are in college and one is about to start high school.  At 44, my life as a full time mom is coming to an end.  What in the world am I going to do with myself now?

My intention out of high school was to move to New York and write for a fashion magazine.  I fell in love, got married and had my first child at twenty.  Quickly, my intentions shifted to proving a young mother could be a great mother!  My husband was starting medical school and I realized I would be the present parent and that I needed a plan.  I decided early on that I never wanted my children to doubt for even a minute that they were loved, so I told them so with words, hugs and kisses, everyday.  I chose kindness and honesty as the virtues I would work hardest to instill.  I made sure I respected them as individuals and that I listened to their opinions.  I was kind to them even when I disapproved of their actions, and I was honest with them when I made mistakes.  Teaching them to be self reliant and providing them with the best education possible were some of the ways my husband and I made this happen.  He lets me lead when it comes to parenting but he always backs me up!

At 25, I had my second child.  I still wanted to write for a fashion magazine, but moving to NYC, wasn’t going to happen at the moment.  We moved to Texas for my husband to do his residency.  My intentions had conflicts.  So, I found a job as an editorial assistant at the Dallas bureau of Women’s Wear Daily, which is the trade paper for the fashion industry and based in New York, with bureaus around the globe.  For three years I had a blast.  It was a very small office and so, not only did I answer the phone and type letters, I got to be a stylist for fashion shoots and write the occasional article.  My first priority was being available to my kids, but by design, I was able to also take care of my personal priorities.

At 30, my husband and I decided to move back to Louisiana and our family, with the intention of designing our future.  It was finally my turn!  My husband had a fellowship for a year and I would finish school.  My new love was design, but as there are no design schools in our town, I would take basic classes and when our year was up, we would go somewhere that offered the education I wanted.  Our kids were five and ten and the challenging toddler years were over.  Then, we found out that my husband’s vasectomy hadn’t taken, and we were pregnant again. Perhaps the universe had other plans for me!  We decided that having three children required the help of grandparents and that staying in our hometown would provide us with a better quality of life.  We would stay until we got past the difficult toddler years!  I agreed, but started adapting my dream, again.  I looked at my life and determined what I needed to be happiest in my present situation.  I decided I needed to find work that would have something to do with design, that would be part-time, as I had three kids to manage and that would get me out of town several times a year.

About this time, a friend was opening a hair salon and asked if I would put a gift shop in front.  Isn’t it amazing how once you make a decision, the pieces seem to fall into place?  It would be a small store with jewelry and accessories and she would run it, for the most part.  I didn’t know anything about running a store, but it was small enough that I would learn on the fly and at least, I could sell good design if I wasn’t going to be able to learn how to create it myself.  So, I would bring beautifully designed things to my city, I could make my own hours, and I would get to go on buying trips three to five times a year.  Perfect!  It was successful.  After about a year, another salon owner asked me to do the same in her place and I had a friend join as my partner to help keep my work and home lives manageable.  One of the salon owners opened a clothing store and she asked us to partner with her. She would buy the clothes for the store and we would continue to provide the jewelry and accessories, but on a much larger scale.  Before long, we merged everything and my buying extended to clothing and shoes, as well.  We were going to market in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas.  It was fun, but my hours away from home became longer and longer.  Suddenly, My oldest child was leaving for college and my infant was seven years old and wanted to know if next year I would be able to drive on any field trips, as I hadn’t been able to make it to even one during second grade.  Uh-oh!

I made the difficult decision to close the store and return to being more present for my family.  Our children become adults very quickly.  I intended to enjoy as much of what was left of their childhood as possible.  I volunteered at the school, drove on those field trips, traveled all over the south to attend hundreds of my son’s soccer games, and I carpooled to dance class and soccer practice.  Soon, I was bored.  They were in school all day and there were only so many field trips a year.

I was looking for something else to do, so I made that list of what it needed to look like.  It would have something to do with design, be part-time, so I could be available to my family and it would allow me to use my creativity.  About that time, I was looking for some new furniture and found a picture of a beautiful, very simple iron table costing $10,000.  It occurred to me that I could probably go anywhere in the world and learn how to make that table myself for less than $10,000!  With a few phone calls, a welding machine was on loan and a very dear friend who is a metal artist, agreed to give me lessons.  Within months, tables, candle holders, fireplace screens and pet beds had been made.  Word got out and through many of my contacts with the clothing store, commissions came in, and I was in business.  Hollywood came to town and flaming fire-pits were ordered for a television movie.  I was proud of my work.  I felt like I was really doing what I was supposed to be doing.  I was having fun, until I bit off more than I could chew! I took on a project that required more labor and skill than creativity, and it shut me down.  It took me away from my family for too many hours and even though I was making very good money and building a name for myself, I finished the job and didn’t want to weld anymore.  That was three years ago.

So here I am, right now, today, in that same position, trying to figure out what to do with myself.  It feels a little different this time, though.  I know that the hours and the time I have to commit to this new project will expand in the next few years.  This really can be the time when I can selfishly devote myself to my dream.  My family needs less of me and it is necessary that I find work that I love to fill my soul when my nest empties for good, in four years.  So if I build something slowly in the next few years, it’s possible that I will survive the transition swimmingly!

So, what does this new dream look like?

It will engage my creativity.

It will allow me to make my own hours.

It will involve travel.

It will make me smile.

It is work I can do alone but then share.

It will be financially profitable, but work that I would do even if I didn’t get paid.

What puts a gleam in my eye?

Beautiful design

Contemporary Art Museums

Landscaped sculptural gardens


Jewelry: sculptural, geometric, vintage rhinestones and beads

Mid Century Modern furniture

Modular homes

Oversized objects: giant sculpture, wall-sized paintings, bib necklaces

Books: Design, Foodie Memoirs, Artists Autobiographies

New York City, New Orleans, London, Denmark, France

Flea Markets

What will make it Happen?

Consistency, Honesty, Kindness, Creativity, Love

How will I merge all of these things and turn them into work?  I don’t know, yet.  I do know, that when I start stating my intentions out loud, they start to come true.  So I think I will keep turning ideas over for a while, and eventually one will begin to work its way out.  It will be very important to devote some time to figuring out what I’m feeling and really listen to my inner voice!  She’s in there, and she has much to say!  I just need to start paying her a little more attention.

end of the week exfoliation

April 25th, 2010   |   Exfoliating

What a quiet weekend it’s been. With the rainy, gloomy weather, Erwin and I stayed inside most of the weekend. We ordered in pizza last night and today he’s at the Bulls/Cavs game with a friend. Which leaves me with a Sunday afternoon all to myself. I think the next few hours might just include baking banana bread (I’m going to try to add two or three over-ripe bananas to the Trader Joe Banana Bread mix I bought this morning, hopefully the result is a success).

End of the Week Exfoliation

“I will miss this pretty little dress, but I haven’t looked good in it since the reason I bought it: my college graduation.  Time to be honest with myself :)”


I got this in a concert goodie bag and have since wondered when it could be used.”


“A box of old clothes that I have been moving from box to box and closet to closet without wearing or touching for at least 3 years. Time to say bye. Most of the tops are just too short…I have a long torso and never realized that there were certain clothes and tops that just didn’t work for my body. A few Halloween costumes are in there too.”


“It was that time of year again…  I was amazed at how much I was willing to part with.  Clothing purge = hanger purge.”


“Here is the rest of my Spring “cleansing” project. I tried to be very honest with my wardrobe decisions and I think I made some good progress. Afterwards, I took my stash of giveaway’s to some friends at church and I think they found some things that they could really use. It’s so nice to know my cast aways found a good home. :)”


“Here is some random stuff I cleaned off my office shelf.”


These pillows are a blah blah microfiber and have over the course of the past several years been worn down and flattened. And since I got new pillows for our couch from Be Still and Honey Pie Designs, I don’t need these guys sitting around here ruining the pretty.

behind the scenes: jesslc video

April 23rd, 2010   |   Life

Today’s Behind the Scenes is about the two awesome people behind our adorable Jess LC video that pairs with The Best Day Ever Lookbook (Behind the Scenes Lookbook post here).

The awesome videographer is Erica Griffiths. She and I first met on the WCIU shoot about MML back in January. We hit it off back then, and she agreed to take on this project. I’m so glad she did. She totally understood how to showcase the jewelry without sacrificing the overall feel of the video.

And the amazing music which pairs so perfectly with the visuals is done by the talented Catiah Mars Li. Her site is still being launched (soon to be marsdesignschicago.com), but you can reach her at marsdesigns@yahoo.com.

And of course, I can’t forget to mention that the adorable model is Tieka of Selective Potential. And the puppy is a malti-poo : ).

honey pie design: giveaway winner

April 22nd, 2010   |   Life

Congratulations to Jill! She won the adorable Love pillow by Lana of Honey Pie Designs.

Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE participant is Jen of the popular style and home decor blog, MadeByGirl! I love Jen’s design perspective not only in blogging, but also in her booming online business. (I even have my own lemon colored Love poster in my bathroom.) Anyways, I have secretly had her on my list of DYL interviewees for a while and finally got up the courage to ask her to participate, and she said yes!

It’s very clear from following Jen’s business and blog that she really walks the walk when it comes to these intentions. They all align so beautifully with the life she leads and they translate so perfectly to her online presence, which is not always an easy thing to do.



I have lots of intentions for my life, and believe me….I intend to get to most of them.

My Relationship

At this moment in my life my relationship is very important to me, especially since we recently got married.  People always say once you get married, things change….oh how I am so afraid of that.  I think things change as a result of what you do & don’t do. For me, I intend to always work on the little things that are important for love to keep growing between us.  There are many things about my husband that I love and I think it’s very important to show how you feel.  I do things like leave him a hand-written note, a text message or a mid-day phone call to his office to tell him I’m thinking about him.  These are the type of gestures I intend to keep making.

Growing My Business

My 2nd intention is to keep growing my business and maintain a successful online presence. I’ve always felt  that working for someone else wasn’t for me, but if i had to do it, I would. However, life has given me the opportunity to start my own business and I’ve been living my dream of being an entrepreneur for about 3 years now.  Having an online shop has been an advantage for the simple fact that people from all over the world have access to my shop. I love knowing that we get orders from Australia, Brazil, Canada & more. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to know that my products are being enjoyed by so many people and that keeps me going.

My Passion

Anyone who reads my blog knows my passion for home interiors.  Knowing that, my goal is to one day live in a home that I feel excited and thrilled to decorate. The truth is, my current home is very cookie-cutter and I don’t feel I can fully express my vision the way I’d like to in this space. Basically, my style doesn’t fit this house.  I intend to make it my goal to find that home where my husband and I feel suits our lifestyle…  Being in Las Vegas has presented a huge challenge for me. Homes are beautiful here but they lack character and charm, something I had been used to growing up in New York City.  It’s so important for me to make my home feel like it’s an extension of my personality and I definitely intend to do that in our next home!


Spirituality and God have been part of my life ever since I was a little girl.  Life is full of disappointments as well, so there has to be a sense of love & hope to keep moving forward. I’ve never lost my faith I just put things ahead of it. My beliefs make me feel good & always keep me from doing things I know I shouldn’t be doing. You know, bad things. I normally don’t have problems with temptations and peer pressures because I have such a leader type personality. I guess that is what also keeps me strong.

Being Healthy

Being healthy….let’s see, I try to eat healthy, exercise and remain as active as I can, but it never seems to be enough.
Before I got my online shop going, I used to go to the gym 2-3 days a week, now I am no longer going. I feel awful admitting this, but it’s true. The only physical activity I get is Yoga class once a week & walking my dogs around the city on the weekends.  I also know that being healthy is more than just exercise, walking, going to the gym and eating. Having balance in my life & feeling happy also makes me feel healthy and in shape. When I say in shape, I mean my my frame of mind, it’s focused and ready to take on whatever comes my way. Being physically lean all my life, I’ve been lucky that I didn’t have to work tremendously hard when I did work out. I do intend to be more physically active, because as I mentioned before, it’s all about balance.


Art is a big part of my life….I adore painting my own work as well as purchasing artwork from artists I admire.  To me, a home isn’t complete without art, it really transforms a space. My favorite artists are Franz Kline, Mark Rothko and some paintings by David Bromley.  When I was young I wanted to be a painter and even though that isn’t what I’ve become, I am proud to say that painting is still something I look forward to doing.

Check out more DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

THINK ABOUT IT: unwillingess

April 21st, 2010   |   Think About It

Today’s THINK ABOUT IT struck me in a passage I read this morning in A Course in Miracles.

Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations that are poorly suited to your practicing from those that you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.

A Course in Miracles, pg. 197

Where are we using our schedules as excuses?

thanks for the submissions

April 21st, 2010   |   Life

I want to give a huge hug to everyone who submitted to be the next Dream Reporter! I have been saving the submissions to go through all at once and really take some time to thoughtfully reply to each and every person who sent in their story. Though I have tried to hold off on reading the emails until they all have been submitted… I have taken a few peeks. I am amazed at the awesome people want to try their hand at Dream Reporting! It’s pretty stunning. This will definitely not be an easy decision. But, nonetheless, I look forward to selecting the new reporter in time to announce him or her next week here on MML.

Stay tuned.

PS- Thank you for all the amazing feedback on the Pilgrim Post yesterday, I’m happy to know that many can relate and learn from what I went through!

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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Guest post + blog advertising policy.

Due to the format of my work, I do not accept guest posts or blog advertising (sponsorship is only available for The Lively Show podcast and you can get more info by submitting here).

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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