Our Blog

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.

MML

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.

Enjoy!

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.

Enjoy!

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

Shoes

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 :)”

- Diane

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

- Jessica

“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.”

- Katherine

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

- Abbie

“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. :)”

- Hilary

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

- Melissa

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.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Jen of MadeByGirl

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

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

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!

Today I’m gonna jump right in. Hang on, its gonna be a bumpy ride.

Here’s where I get real and share some of the tough stuff I’ve learned from the past three weeks of the “new” Jess LC. Though I usually wait a bit longer to share lessons, I think it’s safe to take this moment and really get into what I’ve learned and gone through the past 21 days since I re-launched. As you know from the behind the scenes series, the process to make the new brand took six months and a ton of work, miracles, and amazing help. I was ecstatic, elated, and overflowing with gratitude.

For 72 hours.

On the third day after the re-branding, I had what I now call The Pilgrim Effect. What is the Pilgrim Effect you ask? Well, let’s put it this way (in my fuzzy and distorted recollection of American history), I’m sure that when the Puritans decided to leave England to practice their religious freedom, they felt that God had put a knowing-ness in their heart, they knew deep in their bones they were destined to move to the New World and start afresh. They made plans, built boats, sailed countless days in said boats, struggled, survived, and eventually landed on our dear shore. I’m guessing that they were ecstatic, elated, and overflowing with gratitude.

For 72 hours.

Because you see, I too had a similar vision on a much more personal scale. I felt last November that I was meant to make this shift to the new site, the new brand, the new look, the new jewelry. I knew deep in my gut that I could no longer keep Jess LC in it’s previous state. I simply felt it was meant to be new, different, improved. I also had a bigger vision for the new site and bigger company goals. So I worked, and planned, and struggled, and had amazing help to get me to the new shores of the integrated shopping cart, video, lookbook, Division collection, and logo.

But what I (think) the Pilgrims and I forgot to realize is that after spending so much time and energy throughout the journey, we started to build up a vision of what that hard work would manifest. Sure, the Pilgrims got to worship however they wanted and I got a sweet new website and look for my company – but the reality of that shore near Plymouth rock was hard (pun intended). It was cold. The winter was setting in.

And they didn’t even have a city or home to live in.

Not that I think that the Pilgrims were dumb, but I am guessing that if they were any thing like me, by the time they got through traveling, they half hoped they’d find a quaint bed and breakfast or at least a Sheridan Inn on the other side of the ocean so they could finally rest in the Lord’s blessings and 500-count Egyptian cotton linens. And maybe even have a continental breakfast the next morning.

But it didn’t happen.

When I finished the site, I expected 75% of the female population to find out about Jess LC, fall in love with the jewelry, and buy for everyone they knew. I expected Daily Candy to write it up again, Lucky Magazine to call me begging for samples for their upcoming photo shoot, and if Obama or Oprah called to wish me luck and much continued success, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

But none of that happened.

I definitely got lots of great support, feedback, comments, and orders came in at average to slightly higher rates. But not a fraction of the expectation I had built up to that point. I expected things to come to me, when the reality was I needed to work even harder to see those new opportunities come to pass. I, like the Pilgrims, needed to build a city in the New World and that meant even more hard work.

Needless to say, it was unsettling and worrisome for a week and a half.

But then I started to see myself react to the situation, after hanging my head for a few days, I started to pick up the phone again, I started to make calls to Lucky Magazine, to Daily Candy. I started to go to new networking events and I started to talk to designers with bigger followings to learn what my next steps should be. I started to take risks and actions that I never dreamed of making while the “old” Jess LC was around. And over time, I’m starting to see results. I’m starting to see the possibilities open up.

I’m starting to build my city, just like the Pilgrims, brick by brick.

And so I guess what I’ve learned after this whole experience is that when we take a leap of faith on something we feel so inwardly compelled to do, we must not assume that the outcome will always be easy. But once we make that shift, we can expect ourselves to rise to the occasion and bring the outcome we seek to fruition.

reminder: dream reporter and giveaway

April 19th, 2010   |   Life

Just a few reminders for Wednesday…

To see the details on the Dream Reporter “casting call” click here and remember to send in your emails before Wednesday.

Just two more days to comment and enter the giveaway for Honey Pie Designs’ adorable Love Pillow!

(Comment on the post linked here to enter, comments on this post do not count as entries.)

It’s finally here! I’m so pumped to share the new Best Day Ever music video we shot during our lookbook shoot for the Division collection. It’s taken us a bit longer to get this piece finished, but the result is definitely worth it. Take a look and feel free to share it as well!

(More behind the scenes details about the video to come later this week.)

end of the week exfoliation

April 18th, 2010   |   Exfoliating

What a great weekend. Lots of relaxing, eating (at the new Nella’s in Lincoln Park on Clark – so good!), walking, and shopping. I hope you had a good few days of rest as well. I’ve also been playing around with my new hair cut which was pretty dramatic (you can see a pic below as my ‘exfoliation’).

End of the Week Exfoliation

“Goodbye to winter and to ill-fitting sweater tops!”

- Diane

“I cleaned out my classroom last week (or started to) and this is what I already got rid of!  It feels so great!”

- Morgan

“Something from my childhood that I have no use for now, but I wonder if other children might?”

- Jessica

“These are miscellaneous items that I’ve been given and have been shuffling around ever since. Nothing wrong with any of it, just not my style. Already exfoliated to Goodwill!”

- Stephanie

“Headbands that I never use. A purse I bought off of a street vendor in Italy in 2006. A picture frame we got as an engagement gift but just doesn’t really fit our style.”

- Katherine

This weeks “cleansed” item has some sentimental attachment and is one that I have been holding on to for quite some time. However, it no longer fits and I can’t even tell you the last time I wore it. So…away it goes. I am excited to find a new a better home for it.”

- Hilary

“My daughter is only a year old yet has about 25 stuffed animals. I went through them and am going to donate half to a local pregnancy center.”

- Melissa

“I’ve decided to sell my collection of Frankie magazines (an Australian art/music/fashion mag) and my barely used yoga mat on Ebay.  Someone’s already bought the mags for $50!”

- Sarah


“After the earthquake in Haiti, I found out that our local Salvation Army was collecting clothes & household items as part of the relief effort. My boyfriend and I decided to clean out our closets and donate whatever clothes we could to the cause. We managed to scrounge up everything you see in the photo. By the time we loaded everything into the car we had six hefty bags full. Its amazing what you can let go of when you think about what purpose it could serve for someone else.”

- Simone

“My boyfriend is a Sox fan and I am tired of hiding this bag…I am sure my friend Liz (hardcore Cubs fan) will give it a better life.”

- Eva

“I try to go through my closet every six months and purge.  It was that time of year again…  I was amazed at how much I was willing to part with.”

- Abbie

Out of the blue last week I scheduled a hair cut and twenty minutes later I donated about 8-10″ of hair to Locks for Love. Though the chop was completely spur of the moment, I’m adjusting to the new look. Overall, I’d like to grow it out to my shoulders, but it’s nice to know that this graduated bob helped a good cause.

In case you work downtown in the loop, I will be doing a trunk show in the lobby of 515 N. State St. If you stop by and mention this post, I’ll give you 20% off your order!

my pilosophy on entrepreneurship

April 15th, 2010   |   Business AdviceLife

Funny how things pop up in your life right as you make certain realizations in your mind. I’m noticing that a lot lately. Today I stumbled across a passage in a post by The Pioneer Woman whose husband (a cattle rancher) pretty much sums up all I’ve learned about self-employment over the past three years full-time:

… how does it feel to live in an ocean where the waves that carry you along are the markets, the weather, and other factors that are beyond your control?

That’s just part of it.

Part of what?

Part of agriculture. Part of life. It’s actually kind of liberating at a certain point—you do the best you can with what you can control, and you pray about what you can’t control. And you have faith that it’ll all work out in the end.

Amen.

Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE is featuring the one-and-only Meghan of Meghan Radke Web + Graphic Design who designed the new Jess LC website. Her expertise, patience, and good humor through all of the little tweaks and changes we made along the way demonstrated her ability to stay flexible, persistent, and generally rock her career. So of course I wanted to know more about her intentions and how she stayed so chill while juggling tons of projects.

As you read her interview, you will also see that she’s a fantastic graphic designer and she’s turned some pretty big obstacles in her life into building blocks. A key trait of all the DYL participants.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Meghan of Meghan Radke Web Design

Method to the Madness

A couple years ago I got a phone call that changed my life forever: my fiancé called to tell me that he got into grad school and asked me to move to Los Angeles with him. What ensued was a whirlwind of job-hunting and house hunting. Thankfully, I found full time employment. It was a position as a graphic designer for a social stationery company in Los Angeles and I thought that it was the start to a good long career. Then several months later, I was laid off and the store closed. At the time I really was puzzled by what the universe was trying to tell me. Had I made the wrong choice in moving to Los Angeles? Was I not going to make it in my chosen profession? Then I came to a startling revelation: No, I was not meant to be a print designer as I had previously insisted. I was a web designer.

Getting laid off caused a lot of stress and madness in my life, but it also allowed me time to focus on what I wanted to do, gain more education in that area and finally launch my freelancing business. Truly, there is a method of the madness in our lives; we just have to be flexible and ready for opportunities as they rise out of the oncoming craziness.

Follow Your Gut

When I got laid off from my job, I was in despair. In a moment of madness, I reached out to a contact from the past and had the opportunity to work for a well known company as an intern. The position would begin non-paying, but had the potential to develop into a paid position later. My fiancé was really happy that I found something to fill my time with and potentially our bank account in the future.

I went to my first day with high hopes, but as soon as I set foot in their office, I knew it wasn’t where I belonged. I talked it out with lots of friends and family and all told me that I should just stick with it, but I just knew I shouldn’t. I quit and at that moment I felt such a sense of relief it was amazing.

Since that time, I look back on the times when I did and didn’t follow my gut instinct and I can say that the times I didn’t usually ended badly for me. Now I really try to make decisions not only based on what my brain tells me, but also by what my gut tells me, too. In the end, I know that I am happier for it.

Fortune Favors the Bold

My fiancé is a history buff and when we are driving around Los Angeles, which is often, he’ll play podcasts about various historical topics. One that really caught my fancy was about the conquests of South America. These crazed, half-starved, desperate men were up against forces unknown and often times outnumbered thousands to one and yet they battled through and vanquished their foes. Of course, we know now that it was pretty awful what they did and that they had superior weapons, etc. but I must admire their craftiness that was born of desperation. These stories led me to my new mantra: fortune favors the bold.

I am a naturally cautious person. I like to know things first and not be surprised. Yet, being a freelancer you will be chucked into situation where you can’t be cautious and careful, you need to be bold. Whenever I get into a situation where I feel a little nervous I tell myself to be brave and be bold. Though it’s a small thing, it really does chase away the butterflies that live in my stomach.

Know Thy Self

When I moved to San Francisco from Honolulu, I spent 3 months almost entirely alone. It was really difficult for me in the beginning since I come from a very tight-knit family, but during that period of time I learned a lot about being my own person and enjoying my own company. I went to movies alone and I ate alone; mostly I did this out of necessity, with no one around there was only me, myself and I. Yet, through these little exercises, I was taking the time to listen to my inner voice and get to know me.

Though I don’t know everything about myself, I do know more than I did before and this knowledge has helped me when I face personal battles and demons that pop up in my life. An added bonus I discovered is that I don’t feel alone even when I am alone. I have my own company and honestly, that’s fine and dandy with me.

De-stress your Life

Life is tough. Don’t let anyone tell you different. There are professional and personal struggles and sometimes the best way to sooth these woes is a big tub of ice cream and popping in your favorite rom-com.

I found that I was doing the above a bit too much when I was particularly unhappy with life and the added extra weight made me even more unhappy. Finally, I knew that I needed to get in shape and find another activity other than munching to shake the stress from my life.

Now, I’m not very athletic. I’ve never been and I never will be and I also know that if left to my own devices I wouldn’t exercise at all, so I found a great trainer to help whip me into shape. It was hard work, but I found that my mental cobwebs were starting to dissolve as I moved my body and got oxygen pumping. Just getting out and changing my routine a bit helped me to feel less stressed about all my troubles and figure out solutions to problems that were clogging my ice cream filled brain.

Celebrate the small things

One of the hardest things to do when you work for yourself is to stay on task. This is especially true when you work from home. It’s so easy to kick back and watch TV. This is one reason why I don’t have cable TV, to avoid the time suck, but even then the internet is a heck of an invention! Facebook, anyone?  So how do I combat this? I reward the small stuff.

Every little step towards an ultimate goal is a step in the right direction; so I give myself mini-rewards. A lot of times the rewards are myself patting myself on the back, but other times I’ll give myself a little something special to motivate me even more. When I obtain my small goal and get a gift for myself from myself, I won’t lie, I feel darn good and this motivational technique helps keep me focused on the big and small goals.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

Okay, I know I don’t usually “vent” here on MML. I find there is a fine line in my mind between being transparent and having a pity party for myself. Because of which, I usually try to learn lessons before sharing the story here on the blog.

That said, over the past six months I have worked through a difficult private situation which has required a lot of personal and spiritual growth. So though the circumstances are hard, my ability to handle that situation has become stronger. Things aren’t still going ‘the way I want,’ but I’ve learned a lot about my own strength and spirit. Most of the time.

In addition to the personal life challenges, I’ve also recently had a very difficult situation arise in the business. Since launching the new version of Jess LC I’ve experienced some amazing highs and lows. The saying is true, with new privilege comes new responsibility and I’m learning day by day how to handle bigger risks and challenges.

These two areas of change in my life are often exhilarating, exciting, challenging, and rewarding.

Except when they’re not.

To be honest, sometimes it feels like it would have been easier to avoid the personal situation or to have delayed the launch of the new Jess LC. Things would (seem) more peaceful, secure, easy. Living through the “muddy” parts of growth can feel hard, depressing, and uncertain at times.

Two weeks ago I was feeling particularly “muddy” until I remembered this story about the no complaint bracelet. Years ago, I wore a purple string on my wrist to remind myself not to complain. If something went wrong, I was forced to ask myself: can I do anything about this? If I couldn’t take any action to improve the situation, I was forced to change the way I felt about the event. End of story.

So during my particularly grouchy day, I decided to strap a new yellow string on my wrist to re-visit the no complaint intention. And by the third day I could actually notice and stop myself from complaining. On day five, I actually become aware of complaint thoughts, and strove to let go of those as well. Overall, it did a great job helping me to be within situations that were beyond my control and not feel like a victim.

Yesterday it occurred to me that this no complaint string correlates perfectly with the idea of the happy string mentioned in the Happy For No Reason post. This string that represents no complaining also represents the ability to find happiness despite our circumstances. They are one in the same. I never would have guessed that tying the yellow string on my wrist would lead to feeling a deep sense of happiness. But it has.

At least most of the time.

submit to be the next dream reporter

April 13th, 2010   |   Life

First of all, I would like to take a moment and thank Ashely publicly for everything she has done to help inspire us all to go after our dreams. Her honest, helpful, and relatable posts touched many people and I am deeply sorry to see her leave, especially given the circumstances. I hope she gets well soon and is back in action with her business! I also thank Ashely for her commitment to making the Dream Reporter series so special by being consistent, easy to reach, on time, and for formatting her beautiful images to the MML blog width (hey, it doesn’t sound like much, but it made my job so much easier!).

With Ashley’s blessing, I’ve decided to continue the Dream Reporter series with a new reporter. Which means I need submissions from you!

How to Become the Next MML Dream Reporter

If you have a dream that just won’t go away, and you’re ready to start following it for the first time, and you want to share that process here on MML, please “apply” (the word apply sounds formal, but really, it’s not as hard as it sounds) after reading the following:

Dream Reporter Requirements

Simply put, I’m looking for someone who has recently (or will soon) begin to follow their dream. Honesty, authenticity, and integrity in the posts are most important. The idea is to help inspire others and also to share to the obstacles that the reporter faces along the way.

The Dream Reporter is responsible for posting once a week on MML about their progress and experiences that week. Weekly posts are due on Thursday evening and will usually post on MML on Friday or Saturday.

High quality photos and pre-sized images to 530 pixels wide are not required, but make my job much simpler in terms of scheduling and posting the Dream Reporter posts along with the usual MML content.

“Application”

Send me an email (jess@jesslc.com) with the subject title “Dream Reporter” and explain what your business or dream is, where you are now in that process, and what your intention is for the dream in 1-2 years. I’m looking for someone who might not have a lot of experience before, but is ready and able to work each week to develop their dream and report honestly on the progress as they go along.

Please apply before Wednesday, April 21st.

honey pie designs: sponsor post + giveaway

April 13th, 2010   |   LifeStyle

Today’s sponsor post features Lana of Honey Pie Designs. I actually came about Lana’s NYC Etsy site via while blog hopping several months ago. I love her fresh, modern, and graphic style. After ordering my own yellow love pillow (photographed in my living room, below), we got to talking and she decided to sponsor MML and do an lovely giveaway (details at the end).

Here is a little interview we did, in which I learned that she will soon be doing a line of tote bags(!!). I know I’ll be back for bags and custom gifts in the (near) future as well.

Enjoy!

I love how graphic and fun your pillows are! Where do you get your inspiration for new deigns?

I get a lot of my inspiration from graphic and interior design books and magazines, vintage wallpapers and fashion. Being a graphic designer, I am a bit of a font fanatic. I’m always shopping around for new fonts and trying to find a classic yet modern font that would translate well on a pillow.

As a designer myself, I know there are some things that I love making more than others. What are your favorite styles to make?

It involves more work but I love making patterned pillows. I love creating patterns out of felt. I enjoy the process of sketching my ideas on paper, then recreating it on the computer, printing out my stencils and finally sewing and having a finished product.

I love the script you use on many of your pillows, it would be adorable for a child’s room or gift! Can customers request personalization?

Yes they can! I have made pillows for customers redesigning a new bedroom for their growing child or friends buying pillows for girlfriends that are expecting. I have also made personalized pillows as christening gifts. I love working with customers and making a special pillow just for them.

What is your vision for Honey Pie Design in the next year or two?

I want to create a line of baby items and gift sets. Before my daughter was born I made her some really cute bibs, toys and clothes. I want to start making some of these things for my Etsy shop. I have also been working on tote bags and hope to have my new designs on sale soon.

Giveaway Item: Teal Love Pillow

To own your very own Honey Pie design, please visit Lana’s Etsy shop. And to win this adorable teal love pillow, comment below stating your favorite item in the Honey Pie store before Wednesday, April 21st.

2010 intention review: update

April 12th, 2010   |   Life

Good afternoon! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had the hardest time settling in and getting a lot of real work done today. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s Monday, warmer outside, or what, but I’ve been kind of floating. Time to refocus.

Since there was such a great response to the Intention Letter (post one, post two) earlier this year, I want to let you all know that we passed the 100 day mark of this year over the weekend. So this week might be a great chance for us to revisit our 2010 Intention Letters and see how we are doing. I usually find that the majority of my growth is visible by November, so if you don’t find yourself accomplishing exactly 30% of what you set out to do, no worries. There is still plenty of time.

How are you doing so far? I’m off to re-read my letter right now. I’ll comment about my own progress in the comment section of this post so we can keep our little progress reports in one place.

end of the week exfoliation

April 11th, 2010   |   Exfoliating

Whoa, Nellie. We have a lot of exfoliations this week. I’m not sure if it’s spring (cleaning) fever, or the new bonus Giveaway Giveaway prize, Speed Decorating by Jill Vegas. It feels great to know that we are all exfoliating these things which are no longer needed in our lives.

End of the Week Exfoliation

“And I cleaned out my jewelry. It’s all from target but a friend wants them and is taking me to coffee to get them!”

- Sarah

“These items have been clogging up my kitchen drawers for months…but not anymore! Say goodbye to a pair of garden gloves that I got for free but are much too large, two Glade plug ins that just don’t work, a bag of magnets and an old calorie counter book; all are headed for donation.”

- Shanti

“These tops have seen better days!”

- Diane

“I cleaned out my classroom last week (or started to) and this is what I already got rid of!  It feels so great!”

- Morgan

“I actually don’t have a clue what this is for, only that it was very cute when I was purchasing it. It’s been unused for at least five years.”

- Jessica

“I had been saving boxes to use to mail my Ebay sales, but I decided to take a break from listing items back in January.  I finally decided to break all of the boxes down and take them to recycling.  I can easily find more when I decide to start listing again.  When my husband saw me loading my car with the boxes, he mentioned he was going to call the show Hoarders and tell them not to come now.  (The two big boxes were filled with packing peanuts alone… yikes!)”

- Abbie

“This is a picture of a diaper bag I got at my baby shower over a year ago. I used the bag for a couple months but the strap drove me crazy. My cousin has a 6 week old and made a comment recently about how much she loved the bag. I decided to exfoliate the bag to her since it was just taking up room in my daughters closet.”

- Melissa

“All of these clothes fall into one of two categories. Either something I wore a TON, but don’t find myself wearing post-grad, or something I talked myself into buying in a dressing room somewhere and then never actually wore. All in good condition and already exfoliated to Goodwill!”

- Stephanie

“I finally tackled my makeup drawer.  I found a few things buried in there that I’ll start using again, but also a whole lot of stuff that is headed for the garbage.”

- Sarah

I finally tackled my makeup drawer.  I found a few things buried in there that I’ll start using again, but also a whole lot of stuff that is headed for the garbage.”

- Katherine

“My friend just got engaged last weekend. She gave me this wedding planning book when I got engaged, so I’m gifting it and the “wedding” piggy bank to her as she plans her wedding. The hand towels will be given to charity since they don’t match our decor.”

- Cathy

These khakis are from high school. I have to admit that they are from a very different weight in my life and I’ve been keeping them tucked away for when I’m back to that size. But the reality is, that I haven’t fit into them since sometime in college. It’s time that I let these puppies go. If I get back to that size in the future, I’ll reward myself with a new pair of pants.

Ashley’s Dream Report: Farewell

April 10th, 2010   |   Life

Being a Dream Reporter has been a dream come true for me. I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to share my story and hear so many of yours through comments and emails. And I am so grateful for Jess for being a constant support and source of inspiration for me throughout these few weeks.

And this really sucks but its the reality right now, I am going to have to call it quits. I have been in pretty severe pain due to a spine injury for the past couple of weeks and I will more than likely be having surgery soon. SO this is put a little kink in the process, don’t you think? I haven’t been able to work on the business or my dreams at all..i have been focusing on my health. Jess told me that I could take a break for a while and then come back when things have healed but I want to make sure that you guys are constantly being feed inspiration and the truth about following your dreams. So shortly there will be a call for another Dream Reporter to take my place.

Again I want to thank everyone for the AMAZING support and encouragement you have all so freely given me over the past few weeks. I am so grateful for this experience and I wish you all the luck in creating the life of your dreams!

Love to you all!

To continue my ‘behind the scenes’ series about the re-launch of Jess LC I’m excited to feature the best part of the whole process: shooting the lookbook. What a fun day after months of planning. To help with the process I had a little dream team.

Photo Shoot Theme: The Best Day Ever

As you are well aware by now, I decided to choose the scenes for the lookbook based on what I considered one of the best days in Chicago I could imagine. It started with waking up in the morning, lounging around the apartment, eating cupcakes and drinking champagne at Molly’s Cupcakes, playing with puppies, wandering the streets with a big bunch of yellow balloons, and having a foamy latte at Noble Tree.

Of course I also wanted to include some of my favorite dresses and pillows, so I called upon ModCloth and AphroChic to help with the styling. They were so great to work with. And I can’t mention the lookbook without thanking Megan, our wonderful stylist intern. She was totally on top of securing the clothes for the shoot, creating the looks, and making my life oh-SO-much easier. Not having to think about the shoes, hair, makeup, and scarves saved me a lot of time and headaches.

Obviously the other key element of the lookbook was photography. I was fortunate to find out about Jon Hamblin a few months before the shoot. After seeing his work, I was sure that he’d be able to nail the indie-polish I was looking for. Jon was so easy to work with, upbeat, and I couldn’t recommend him enough to anyone else needing photos in Chicago.

(Erica, our videographer, is still completing the video, so more on her later.)

And last but not least, the new face for Jess LC, Tieka of Selective Potential. I think she’s the perfect fit for two reasons: she’s freaking adorable and because she also has such an inspiring and relatable story. I wasn’t looking to have a glossy high-style photoshoot with a glamazon, I wanted to show someone just like you and me, living her life with intention, having a great time in Chicago. And Tieka captures that beautifully.

Overall, I’m so happy with how everything came together. It was a long time in planning, but the product is well worth the effort. To see the full lookbook click here.

Those who have seen the new Jess LC lookbook might recognize Tieka of Selective Potential. Having met Tieka during the photo shoot and through reading her blog, I’ve come to admire her so much for her sweet, kind personality. No to mention her accomplishments in art school, her personal life, and the blog. So of course I wanted to learn more about how her intentions guide her actions. (I feel pretty lucky that I can just ask the people I admire to spill the secrets to their success through DYL interviews.)

After reading Tieka’s intentions, I really admired how honest and candid she was about her progress. I feel like she’s almost left us a road map of sorts to help us overcome some of the same obstacles she’s faced in the past.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Tieka of Selective Potential

Just go for it

I run a personal style blog, Selective Potential, and when I started – I had no idea where I was going with it… or how to even start, but I just went for it. I set it up the best I knew how and started networking and working hard. It was day in and day out on the blog, making it better each and every day and all of those hard working days turned into months of amazing success. I was so intimidated by such high powered fashion bloggers – I always thought to myself, “I could never afford that!” or “I could never pull that off.” It’s not about that. Running my blog – I just put myself out there – with my budget, my life restrictions and try to inspire others through what I’m able to do. I always try to put my best work into the blog – I truly think it all out – and then I just go for it! Most of the time, I get an amazing response from readers and truly feel accomplished with what I have done!

Be in control

I found that I used to “out of control”. I didn’t have a good grasp on time management, or what I should be doing with my life. I found that once I tried to make every second of my day count – the day ended and I felt amazing about how I spent my time and how the next day kept looking better and better! Last year, I lost 35 pounds following the Weight Watchers program. Prior to starting the program, I found myself stressed, busy, with no motivation to wake up in the mornings causing me to be even more rushed and busy, I’d grab food without thinking about it, I’d put off homework to sit on the couch and complain about how I didn’t have it all together. Until, I was tired of that lifestyle! And my weight was the biggest thing holding me down. As soon as I was able to control my daily diet with Weight Watchers, I felt I could do anything. Losing weight made me a better student, a happier wife, a more motivated person to clean the apartment or to be active outside. I’d think of each activity as a bonus for the diet and at the end of it all, I found myself having a blast being busy, and active because it was all things I wanted to do with my life.

Love your surroundings

I grew up with people who complained left and right about our state, our town. “It’s awful here,” “There is nothing to do,” “It’s freezing,” “I hate everyone here,” whatever their excuse, it was unnecessary. And I used to be one of them, until I embraced my surroundings. I live in Michigan – a place not too exciting to the outsider – but as soon as I immersed myself into my surroundings, I fell in love with living here. And being in love with your location and your surroundings, changes your entire outlook on life. My husband, Brett, and I now take monthly adventures around our state to explore something new. I always try to incorporate something unique about Michigan into my fashion blog, by surrounding myself by interesting sculptures or gorgeous scenery. I’ve even found that putting myself into these settings has helped inspire my fashion sense! I feel like whenever I look at an outfit I put together, I think to myself, “That is so Michigan – so perfect for my little beach town!” It’s amazing the fun you can find in where you live, instead of wishing you were always somewhere else. Love where you are.

Love who surrounds you

Surround yourself with genuine people. And most of the time, you’ll know if they are genuine or not. I used to surround myself with some of the worst people and I was never sure why. I knew they weren’t good people, but yet I still spent my time with them until after enough time passed – I still felt alone, like I didn’t actually have friends. I didn’t really get a good grasp on this until I met my husband, Brett. He was the most kind and most caring person I had ever met. Spending so much time with him makes me realize I wish I had spent more time with people like him my entire life. It would have been so much more fun and carefree and “drama”-free. He comes from an amazing family who makes my life so much more worthwhile. And granted, I don’t have many girlfriends – two very close ones – but I know they are both going to be there for me through everything. It’s not the quantity – but the quality of the relationships you have in your life.

Be passionate

I get countless emails from girls asking, “How did you get so many readers?” “How do you get so many comments?” “Why am I not getting comments or readers?” and my answer is always – don’t do something for others, always do it for yourself. When I started blogging, I had no idea what to expect. I blogged because I thought it looked fun, and it was a great hobby, for a keepsake – never to gain sponsors, or readers, or clicks, or whatever! In each one of my blog posts, I always think to myself – how do I want to remember this time period, what outfit do I want to wear while having fun, etc. Many of my blog posts back in November didn’t have many comments – but I put just as much hard work into those as I do now! It’s about yourself – if you’re not passionate about something, then it becomes a job and it loses its edge! So many people believe they can start something and it’s an instant success – it doesn’t work that way. I spent seven hour alone coming up with a blog name! I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent designing the layout, taking outfit shots, editing the shots, planning outfits, shopping, networking, commenting. It’s honestly a full time job – but it doesn’t feel like it because I love it so much. And this pertains to anything in life – whether it’s a blog, or a shop, or a class, or going to college – whatever. As soon as you look at it like it’s a chore, it’ll be a chore!

Every day counts

This was my motto when I started my “life change” January 1 2009, the first day I started Weight Watchers. Every single day, I made sure that every day counted. It would motivate me to wake up in the morning, attend that 8:30 AM class, make it count, to pay attention in class, to eat something healthy for that day’s lunch, and that day’s dinner, and to head to the gym afterwards – just for that night. I didn’t think about the upcoming weeks – how many countless hours I’d have to spend eating non-buttered popcorn or sweating around the track at the gym. I’d think about today. And by the end of it all – I was 35 pounds lighter, ran my very first 5K, had a straight A semester, was on the president’s list at college and the happiest I’ve ever been. After keeping up the “every day counts” mentality for over a year now – I’m graduating, with a studio excellence award, still at my weight goal, insanely passionate about blogging and still have those true genuine people in my life – and I feel like all of those “every days” made up some amazing successful months (and years!)

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

giveaway giveaway update

April 7th, 2010   |   ExfoliatingStyle

Since I haven’t mentioned the Giveaway Giveaway so far this year, it might be a good time to do a quick shout out about my not-so-obvious monthly contest. In the spirit of making under, I have a monthly giveaway for a $40 Jess LC gift certificate chosen from those who send me their End of the Week Exfoliations. You can see the details on the giveaway here.

This April, I also have an additional gift for the winner of the Giveaway Giveaway. The new book by Jill Vegas, Speed Decorating is included in the giveaway prize. I’ve had a chance to go through the book myself and found it to be incredibly helpful, particularly for those who have done a recent makeunder and find themselves wanting to design their newly clutter-free space. And of course, I couldn’t help but notice this delightful passage:

Wise words!

giveaway winners

April 7th, 2010   |   ExfoliatingLife

Congratulations to Jen for winning the To Be Luminous 6 Week Coaching Package with Heidi! And congrats to Eva for winning the End of the Week Exfoliation Giveaway Giveaway prize for March.

And stay tuned for a bonus Giveaway Giveaway prize for April coming up later today…

I don’t know if it’s all the making under the past four years, but for some reason I’ve become extremely aware of unnecessary clutter. Sounds pretty normal and understandable right? Until you find out I now am super conscious of the trash outside as well.

Growing up, I never really noticed trash on the sidewalks or in parks. Sure, there probably was some out there in the grass, but I didn’t pay too much attention. Now, while running on the paths along Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park, I really notice it.

At first, I was just bothered by the occasional empty bottles, plastic bags, or pieces of paper. Then, I decided to start picking them up if I was able to see a trash can within eyesight. But that soon became an path to OCD paved with good intentions. I couldn’t be Miss Trash-Controller of Lincoln Park. Well, I could, but that wouldn’t have been much fun for me, and my running pace would have slowed considerably.

Instead, I’ve decided that if I see a piece of trash and a recycling container or trash bin nearby, I will pick it up and do my part to help keep my favorite city prettier and more “made under.” Just one piece of trash a day.

Recently, it occurred to me that if everyone running on the path also picked up a piece of trash, the park would be immaculate (though it’s very clean overall now). So I guess my point is, if you see a piece of trash and feel like picking it up, it’s an easy way to help makeunder our outdoor environment.


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